Orange You Glad

You can take the time
to peel the rind from it, but
underneath is still
the same damn fruit -
sweet or bitter
ripe or sour
segmented center,
firm or foul
cannot be fathomed
til you bite -
so open wide
and taste
the pithy insight.

The Performer

They told her she could be a real hit
hard hitter
in the scene
strut the stage
like she means business

The Benjamins
would unfold themselves
to find her
be with her
burrow their way into her pockets

and she could have everything
if she agreed
donned the meat dress
built the persona
put on a good show

Misunderstanding the novelty
of this
missing the whole point, actually
that she has been playing a role
all her life

that’s how she got good at it
in the first place
became shining star against dark backdrop
became anything necessary
to survive

and now she spends all her time
backstage of fluttering lashes
unbecoming perfection
ripping costume seams
and removing makeup

Stripping poise and promise
to stand naked and writhing
with purpose
to withstand empty scrutiny
something more rare than stardom

something human
you can see yourself in
you can see right through

a month away

John Taylor’s Month Away from Frames of Reference on Vimeo.

I love to look
Out at the sea
From the swing park here
At Roome Bay Beach

Today John Taylor
Starts his month away
On a boat, one ten miles east
Of Aberdeen

A dozen men, thirty days
With twenty-four hours in each
Of shattered boyhood dreams
And not much sleep

I'd much rather be me
For once I'd much rather be me
A month at sea
And then they'll surely sleep

With their heads
Still stuck on land
A month on land
And then they'll surely dream

Of girls they can afford
But cannot have
And in a drunken haze
They're on the rolling wave

Once again I'd much rather be me
I'd rather be me
Once again I'd much rather be me

For once
I'd much rather be me

Songwriters: Jon Hopkins / Kenny Anderson
John Taylor's Month Away lyrics © Domino Publishing Company


No matter what you say,
you are just another California commitment -
another casual "let's do coffee"
tossed over your shoulder.
Your smile all sunshine and pristine sand -
still, the eyes tell the tale - scudding clouds
always searching the next horizon.
You'll never rest on the shore of now
and then - sincere presence
eludes you. You are a stranger
at an endless cocktail party, faking
eye contact and sipping mimosas
while the sun sets on the Western world,
always staring beyond,
chattering aimlessly about changing the future
whilst gazing over the naked shoulder
of that which lies plainly before you.
You'll hold out, endlessly
for something better than this reality -
sweltering honesty laid on heaving dune,
sweating brow
over beckoning palms.

In quiet reflection.

I would like most to remember
his hands - palm pressed to calm cheekbone
a cool touch, collected
and capable of anything.

I have seen these hands
prayer-stitched and penitent
folded neatly into one another.
They have been both church and steeple - prayer and pulpit.
They have known the weight of praise, and the light of Saturday nights
spent in quiet reflection.

I have seen these hands at peace,
a symphony of purpose - harmonic
and charged with their own music -
a metronome precision of movement,
no note wasted.

I have seen them, also - uncertain
constant as clockwork
twitching and shifting agitation,
a steady, endless ticking...
Fondling cigarette casualties
casually, with fixed attention;
flicking ash into air
into cup
into upturned palms -
lighting one off the knuckle of the other,
smothering the unsteadiness of time
in the constancy of ritual.

And also,

his tentative grip - slow and timid
shufflestitch of fingers,
seeking shelter between my own.

Still, I would like most to remember this -
calm palm pressed to cheekbone.
His cool touch, collected
and capable of anything.

The Family Paradox

What dwells on either end of the extreme
one whole
when born
under the same roof -

in the same way
one sheds tears of joy
or resents a work of art
for being too admirable
or loves
all of the worst parts of themselves
too intensely
for change

this is the conundrum
blood ties - which are both
gift bow and binding -
unexpected sweepstakes
and taxed burden
which follows
is that really winning?
The discovery
that loving and loathing
sound very similar
when one speaks them quickly -
without thought
to consequential enunciation -

and, isn't it strange, that
one home
might shelter so many
still call them relative -

Elegant, this
remiss tug of war
just the tautness of heart strings.

Barflies and Bedtime Stories



Insecurity lives two doors down from Love - wants to adopt a pet, so she won’t feel so lonely - so she can feel someone’s loyal devotion. Insecurity does not like open spaces; is good at taking up less space - diminishes herself to make others more comfortable. Insecurity spends too many nights dressed to expectation - can’t meet her own eyes in the mirror. Spends too much time in front of it, anyway. She is always becoming something other. Molding herself to fit into the moment - into the desires of the present. Into the waiting hands of entitlement. She is not the kind of girl who walks home alone after the party. She does not believe in her own strength in the face of darkness - in the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

She is slow to smile - often awkward. Covers her mouth when she laughs hard. Holds her breath more than is healthy. Doesn't believe she is lovely. She needs to compete - needs to win - will still not feel worthy of the prize. She will still flinch at the flicker of their eyes as she walks by - never believing her stance is inspiring. Insecurity is not the type to ask for what she wants - only questions the sound of her own voice - echoing, reflective. She is all swagger and high heels and hip sway - only stumbles when Love is near. Insecurity grapples with pale fear, and her own sharp teeth.

Love wants to rest quietly in bed - still hears Insecurity’s heels clicking, a slow stroll down a nightmarish hallway. Love prays for the white noise camouflage of the heater - for endless compassion, and patience. For a generous slice of kindness, and clear communication - but Insecurity wields a sharp knife, hands shaking; waiting to slide it between Love’s soft ribs -

still, Love is not a victim. Love is no sleeping fool. Love is a five-alarm house fire, flashing a winning smile. All sirens ringing, blazing the way with no fire escapes - razing the walls to lick at her insides, resolved to burn them both down to the ground… only Love will rise, whole - from all of this ash.


In this moment

are not
the man


are not

What Eve Said

When I was younger, I was naive. I didn't know our sins were cumulative. It doesn't happen overnight, see - the fall to despair. The fall of a body into disrepair is a slow fight to the death, literally. A house that crumbles, eventually, under years of foundational stress. It starts with a dripping faucet, or flexed glass which cracks and remains unfixed. Ends in a flowing carpet of ivy, starred over with the flowers of clover, and becomes once more reflection of the night sky. There is beauty in decay, sometimes. The gorgeous wreckage of our lives' lack of common sense, forethought, or funds.

When I was young, all I wanted was to know the feeling of nourishment. The joy of joining one's source - of letting my atoms go, to be transported or reabsorbed and formed again into another life - maybe as an apple, this time. Maybe something better than a man's left rib. Maybe after seeing what happened to Lilith of Mud or all the little Cinderellas on their knees in the dust - maybe I was hoping harder than I should've for mouthful of poison and a soft bite - the snake's first strike.
Really, can you blame me? He was always wandering the garden. Naming birds in the air or stars in the sky, never noticing those shining here, in my eyes - all that wondering miracle - when I was younger, I was more easily swayed. Wasted all of my beautiful becoming so quickly. Confused coup de foudre for {cold} fusion. Back then, no one told me that it would all unfold in perfect order - one fractal path following another, into the drastic infinite. All becoming the mass of experience which carries us along, slowly increasing in size as it tumbles in orbit, gaining momentum until it's own force simply tears it apart. The friction of it's own body charged, weighed, then dissipated. But none of the language surrounding it matters. We'll all give ourselves back to the cosmos, eventually. Water and ground will absorb us. All the sheltering stones we've stacked, crumbling. All debts gathering interest, eternally - all our bones dents gaining density, reinforcing themselves into calcium fortresses - still, breaking down. Falling, laden with the burden of age on old limbs, letting go.

When I was younger, I was not afraid of this. I was not afraid of anything, then - I had no understanding of consequence. How one bite of fruit might move shift straight to my hips, or dole the cursable gift of knowledge both good and ill - I was just naked and craving, seeking fulfillment from anything but him - still hungry and yearning for new perspectives...

See my point of view? I had no ill will - just nothing to lose - and a sweet tooth.