Absent Beauty

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I usually cringe at the idea of writing explicitly topical poetry, not because I am repelled by the medium, but because I lack the skills to execute it in any way you wouldn’t have to call “ham-fisted”.
In spite of this, I wrote this poem a few weeks ago when considering that satisfaction and joy (along with peace, love, and, yes, beauty) can often be found, not in the presence of things, but in their absence. Think:
-a clear horizon line
-a clean dinner plate
Considering the Christmas season, and in light of self-reflection on the year at its close, I tried to capture what it means to behold the beauty of nothing, of the lack of something. This is no anti-Capitalist screed aimed at guilting you for your presents (I mean, I’m already enjoying my Christmas pajamas) but instead is an invitation to consider the gift of emptiness.
Hope you enjoy!
(More importantly, the holidays. But if you like the poem, that’s nice too.)


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I have arrived in my hometown,
Lazarus-like, my windshield coated
in the spittle of dead insects and
the fuel gauge hanging around a quarter.

In the rush to return
I forgot my address,

but I found it writ-large
in the space between

the turning windmill and
the steadfast horizon.

Behind lie rows of unkempt almond trees,
a silver-grey rut in Highway 5,
and the sun, rolled away as a stone,
leaving itself behind in the humming haze above the valley.

For Lease

The latticework exposed
in the shopping center’s signage
upon vacancy hangs
lifeless, like
the scraping away
of the strings and flesh-
golden with the hum
of mid-afternoon sun,
flung lazily through the windshield-
of the sticky body
of a nectarine.

The Crash Pt. VII

VII. The Wounds

I run
My tongue,
along my open
knuckles: bubbling blood
from raw asphalt
flecked skin.

it’s not as warm
as I thought
it would be.
that hot life that
endlessly percolates
our veins cools
to a crust in
February air.

I want to be able
to compare it to
something about a thorn
in a lion’s paw,

but it’s not
so sharp as that,
and it definitely
wouldn’t fit in
a kid’s book.

The Crash Pt. V

V. The Flight

My feet aren’t pressed into the pedals anymore–
in a macabre cartoon mockery they spin
on pistons pressing against air–against nothing–

I’m floating on invisible strings tied to the balloon
of the sun–until the weight of earth snips me from flight
and I’m falling–

I’ve been up here forever–My face now inverted towards
my future embrace with the asphalt–there goes the median
rushing beneath me–and here comes the crunch

The Crash Pt. III

III. The Sidewalk

Mailboxes with those little red flags and
the golden shining characters of the
Davis Chinese Church
and wind whips my jacket behind me and
flowers peeking out from beneath the
apartment complex sign (FOR LEASE
NOW) and the pedal presses
the crank arm spinning
the gear, pulling the
chain, wheels
turning left, leaving the safety of the white bounds of the bike lane,
turning away from the soft pink of the Chengdu Style Restaurant blinking OPEN
and in front of the black maybe Mustang.