I passed a man
playing accordion on a park bench
filling the thick afternoon sunshine
with strands that made me homesick
for that time I never had in Paris
and movies with saturated colours and quirky love stories
and he smiled
at passersby and nothing
despite his gnarled teeth and dirty pants
smiled as though he knew that God had put him there
and melodies in his soul
Advice for Metro Surfing
Widen your stance.
Bend your knees.
Stay focused. Note: if you pay too much attention to other people, you will lose your balance.
Loosen up and move with the bumps and turns.
Lean into the pressure, or it will lean into you.
Be ready to reach out if you need to.
Don’t take yourself too seriously; it is always more charming to stumble with a smile.
I believe it’s called grace.
Rebuild by Razing
Please forgive the mess.
Over the past decade I have spent considerably more time rebuilding than decorating
and this fresh landing pad is as yet unadorned.
Through the packing and unpacking I have defined and refined all the pertinent pieces
and while they are rarely in order
they’re all around here somewhere
including all the reasons why I should know better by now.
True, it’s been a long time since I played with the kind of fire that burns bridges so easily
but I’m sure I’ll remember the drill if you hum a few bars
and it’s true they say there’s something purifying about uncontrolled flames
and that if the flaw wasn’t in Achilles’ heel
it would’ve been somewhere else.
I have been a fire-walker so long that sensing smoke is now my nature.
I have walked longer than you know
water-bucket in one hand
match in the other.
I have earned each scar and story
stood covered in sweat and soot
burned the beginnings I have built —
both reinforced walls and warm homes —
and have learned to build both quickly.
I have screamed through searing lungs
and come through safely on each other side.
So rest assured that the freedom to wear
this heart on this sleeve
has been hard won
and is neither ignorance nor cutsey-poo innocence
rather it is a bold blazing testament to
the force of my will
to bare myself time and again
risking what feels to my core like everything
to roll the dice for every modern fairytale
every cheesy TV movie
every book about the weirdos who find their perfect weirdo
because I have the technology to survive all the falling skies along the way
but would surely die of a broken heart
if I didn’t keep up the chase.