this is true

bones coffins and crosses crashed
through the kitchen wait
somewhere south of here/
pieces of tombstones lay among
the plates;
{these people lived downhill
from the muddy death slide)
and there was a picture/ the woman
holding a hip bone
like a soupspoon,

this is true,
and so is this;
the inanimate and the dead
don’t flinch/

and i get to;
just lucky/

big ball

it’s what was;
a big ball
of string/ missing most
of its unraveled clock like precision,
it’s slow motion has rolled
out at an involuntary pace
not to draw immediate attention/

how much is left;
perhaps much less
than a useful measure/
and what’s the result;
is it just string and then
nothing/ or will there
be the little souvenir
rubber ball that bounces
back for more/

the truth in a ball
of string is that

you use it to tie up
loose ends/

and you never know
at the time
if you have enough
to finish properly/

forever & always

there are words
too big; we live them
without speaking out loud/
they fit tight like bands
to fingers,
they hold together
against gravity/
ma king smooth spots
under their meanings;
leaving marks when they
are taken away/

and so we wear them;
around our heartbeats,
and in love’s
whispering eyes/

forever and always/


the destruction was
beyond insurance; but i lived
there no more/
claims were only carved
against the vacant/ time was in
the wind/ past was
passed/ torn, mended;
lost, found/
broken hearts transplanted
with a common sense savoir-faire/

and yet just as sure
as a getaway,
there are those collectors
who never give up/
whose soul occupation
is teaching us to recall;
to flinch
just in case/

and testify
that memories bleed/

half of life is night;
we paint our own dark/
nothing covers our shadows
except broad brushstrokes
and stillness/
we stand
back to the nearest exits/
face trying
not to twitch
and give ourselves away/
but we must;
and again/

i created what hunts me
in the night;
it leaps like a light switch
on my insecurities,
eating my confidence/ now
i lay me down,
and there is no sleep/

i father my weakness;
raised by the accusation
of terrible mistakes/
i gasp in anticipation
of my missteps/ nothing seems
to disappear in a thousand good deeds/
the scars are shaped like a lifetime;
the tears forever,
the night too long/

it didn’t come all at once
like most thoughts in flashes when i
let them/ it was like cats feet on my first
waking/ i almost didn’t know
until i did; and then
a slow denying shrug
of shoulders followed by a flinch
that knew something was there/
something that glimpsed back,
a thing that noticed
and waited its turn patiently/
for me to change it
into. lines each metered
and timed like the mathematics
of pain;
like the poems torn up
lest the truth escape to strangers/

now it draws me,
it asks to be introduced/
i must

as I am unfortunately too polite
and its dread needs to be fed;
this unpainted guest
at the last supper/

this ungrateful unwanted uninitiated
unkind unfortunate
itself in the whisper
of my own voice/

the house is no more,
but the ghost is real/
they built a freeway over it
and cars whiz through
my old living room/ it was
• doomed to repeat itself;
a broken record of dysfunctional
harmony/ i’ve kept moving
until there are no more rooms,
kept flinching
until the palsied past
has left me shaken/
and all that’s left
is knowing that
things break/
night’s dark/
best isn’t always/
truth is/

More cheap advice
(a continuing embarrassment I can’t control)

tim martin
C 2002

Those Sayings

I think you’ve got to be careful about listening to
sayings· and quotations. Think about it; those things
were made up to either prove an individual’s point,
cover a lie, or make the guy saying it seem smarter
than you.

One of my favorites is, “When you close one door,
another one opens.” Really? What if you’ve walked
into a closet? …. and you will find out that there are a
wealth of “closets” in life ..

You have all the sayings you need inside your own
soul. Listen to them. They and the truth don’t have
anything else to prove but loving you.

Go Back Where You Came From

Every few years I go back to Covington, Ohio. That ‘s
where l and my parents and their respective families
come from.

Now, Covington is small and insignificant to the rest
of the world; 3000 or so population with really
nothing much going on. Its claim to fame for me is
that it’s where I come from…and therefore an
elementary part of who I am.

I go back to Covington to remember that; to drink in
the feeling of belonging to my past. It’s quiet and
there’s nothing much else to do but reminisce….And
so that’s what I do. I sit on my high school best
friend’ s porch and he tells me who I am.

And then I’m free to go.

Time and Age

You’ve probably heard people comment that the older
you get the faster time goes by (another one of those

Obviously, time is constant. What changes is your
conception of how little you’re doing with that time.
The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize
just how much of my time I’ve wasted…and what I’ve
wasted it on.

It doesn’t come back, folks. It’s just like what comes
out of your mouth … it’s too late right after it’s done.
I’d like to be so smug as to say that I make each day
precious· and use my time wisely. I can’t do that.
Not that it isn’t valid. I just have a thing about taking

Use your time however you choose….and know it’s a
one time deal.