It’s over. Done. The last stretch sprinted clear through the finish line. The explosive finale bursting through retinas and eardrums only to fall—blind and mute—as spent, acrid ash.

What, then, comes next?

There should be withdrawal symptoms. There should be the pain, the void, the post-stress collapse, the binge sleeping. There should be the obnoxious absence of what had previously tyrannized my time, the overcompensation of a battered immune system jerking the body back to homeostasis. I feel them, looming in the distance. Brief, imperceptible throbs of panic growing steadily, threatening to crescendo, threatening to commandeer my sanity.

And yet.

A deep breath, eyes closed. I can control it, curtail it. Exhale, exhale. Focus my mind, find new pursuits. Exhale, exhale. Diversify my interests, dally in more leisures. Exhale, exhale. It’s time to distract myself from life; it’s time to live my distractions.

Fin,” says the French film.


The Anxiety of Influence

New thoughts are new to no one but the late.
To those who mimic though, they seem to flow,
While seldom are they simple to create.

The brain may murmur, fester, and berate,
But rarely are ideas apropos.
New thoughts are new to no one but the late.

And fraudsters sidestep and equivocate,
Recast precursors’ thoughts into their own,
While seldom do they simply go create.

Yet some whose efforts never will abate
Will always strive to innovate although
New thoughts are new to no one but the late.

Fresh notions have their own peculiar trait.
Once found not difficult are they to grow,
While seldom are they simple to create.

That even this is old must be but fate.
Still I imagine, even as I know
New thoughts are new to no one but the late,
While seldom are they simple to create.


Awkward Conversations

She asked if I had been there before.
I hadn’t,
But I said “Yes” anyway.
Don’t ask me why.
The clouds just dropped me a whim.
It was all for the better, I think.
Perhaps if I had said no,
The conversation would’ve ended immediately.
It ended anyway.


My explanation’s long overdue, I fear.
I checked it out months ago,
But it’s just been sitting on the shelf
Cultivating a blanket of dust.

I use big words. They make me feel smart.
Psychoanalysts will tell you
That I’m intellectualizing,
Satisfying some innate thrust of the ego.

Maybe that’s true.
Maybe I should try
Rationing my words,
From now on.

Personally, I think it’s just how I write.
Or how my brain compensates
For lack of sleep.
Don’t worry. I don’t get the rationale either.

Is that long enough for you?
I’ll be fine if you’re fine
With dropping the fines.


The windshield squealed a lethargic blink.
Raindrops rolled off a weary eyelash.

Reluctantly, they traced glass contours.
And chased after seasoned cousins.

Engulfing each other like macrophages.
Tears rinsing orphaned grime.


I wonder how tops feel...

Excitement! Exhilaration! Enthusiasm!
Epileptic swirls—like fruit in a blender.
Not a stumble, not a swerve, not a single startled wobble.
The tune of confidence unerringly hummed. Whistled while working.

Skitter around with a staccato tap tap tap TAP.
Aimlessly meander. Nonchalantly window-shop.
Find a groove, find a groove, find a groove, find a—


Stable, serene,
Familiar, fatigued,
Monotonous, malcontent,
Curious, capricious,
Eccentric, erratic.
Lurching in circles,
as if drunk on gravity.

A final listless dip.
A last frenzy of rushed effort.
Harsh, harsh scrapes along the harsh, harsh ground.

Silence and stillness.
Stillness and silence.
Apathy and nullity reclaim their thrones.


Do you really smile
That edgy smile
Each time you type

Because if you do
I don’t envy you
Your lips must hurt
So much by now.


You Can't Blame Us

Ah, yes. I remember that.
But we were infants in those days,
Too immature to see beyond our selfish noses.
You can’t blame us for youth.

Passion? More than enough, I daresay.
But our minds were yet unfilled with concerns.
The rose of knowledge had yet to blossom.
You can’t blame us for ignorance.

I suppose we could have begun by that age.
But we’d been freshly thrust into the world,
Still unused to shifting paradigms and effecting change.
You can’t blame us for inexperience.

We’re sorry now, if that counts for anything.
But you see, life had been hectic lately.
We didn’t have time to concern ourselves with “posterity.”
You can’t blame us for busyness.

Maybe we could start now.
But you shouldn’t trouble us with your affairs.
It’s your problem now.
You can’t blame us for senescence.


March Through the Skies

The clouds in formation marched in unison.
Sporting immaculate starched uniforms.
They leisurely marched across fields of blue.

Unhindered by roads. Undaunted by fences.
Unleashed by the Sun’s terse, “March through the skies.”

So they marched like soldiers. Soldiers to war.
Ceaseless. Restless. Unfurling their wisps.
But ever marching. Ever rolling to unknowable adversaries.


I remember...

…flying smugly through grammar worksheets,
multiplication tables, handwriting practice.
stickers and “Good Job!”s.
school was easy, then.
no homework on weekends.

…and single file lines down reverberating halls.
toes on the silver furrow,
whispers bubbling like a teapot—“Hush!”
whispers again—“Shhhhh.”
spittle everywhere.

…or darting out of class at the recess bell.
scrambling to the swings:
rusty, squealing swings
that pinched fingers
and left purple bruises.

…but the sandbox trumped all.
desiccated, scalding grains
over a dense, moist layer.
building towering castles.
sand caked on arms and legs, in shoes and hair.



We drove away from the world for a day. Away from the harsh glare of freeway billboards. Away from the perpetual hum of filtered, conditioned air. Away from trimmed lawns, from dusted tabletops. Away from right-angled envelopes and right-angled walls and right-angled spreadsheets on right-angled LCDs.

To a backdrop unblemished by try-squares or straightedges. And we danced in the dappled sunlight. Ran our fingertips across century-old bark. Sprung from decaying stumps to soar momentarily in the sky.

Never before had the air been more cleansing, than at the moment we rushed through it. Never before had the ground felt more alive, than at the moment we landed on it.

We forgot our spreadsheets that day, under a mossy canopy of spindly limbs, watching a single dusky cardinal blush amidst denuded twigs.



I’m simply too quickly distracted
By life and its wondrous splashes,
                Its galvanic sensations,
                And light palpitations,
—What was I saying again?

Synopsis of My Life

Defiant was I as a child.
Of late though my temper’s been mild.
                Still I am quite sure
                That in the future,
Once more will the world make me riled.


From Now On, Call Me Pluck

Naïve I was, when once I strived
To court Success as naught but Drive,
When all the while, her beau was Skill,
Whose crafty fingers did her thrill.
So now I see the tragedy
That unrequited work can be.
Yet still I toil as if confused,
For Pluck is never disabused.