if i built a life am i responsible


there are parts to me that who i am
is who i could
not and never be
the stitching of my skin was deliberately wrought
by weathered hands other than my own.

in the woods
tertiary mothers and fathers always
dreamt to impart to me their own brand of pride
and our culture suckled long on iodine-dipped teats
that traveled beneath tired sows on a merry-go-round.

mothers and fathers taught their babes
to dream only how special it could be
to keep the closed loop looping
taught them to knit connected tapestries
taught them only this.

and this ribose thread runs deep through my dreams
for when i turn in i’ll imagine my forebears
and their million faces return a glance in a mirror.

memory 10: when i was younger

Blair witch

There was a moose by the pines last night.

Her heaviness suggested to me
that life-giving is a burden
carried by those who unsuspect
that life could do such a thing

and burdens are life-giving
for those who finally learn
that life will do such a thing.

It was neither for her.

She laid down reluctantly
with small lilacs as neighbors
and the usual saw whet owl above.

I’ve never
seen such
eyes like
these with
so much
deep inside
her tired eyes.

I know I will never experience the long temporal pains of pregnancy. And on most mornings I am relieved, but even that seems inappropriate. We simply are what we are and we carry what we carry.

memory 9:other people

copyright 2016 zachary flessert

but when the bell rang at 10:14 pm
i felt my skin pull tighter over neglected bones
and i wondered if it was possible
to invert myself
into and
out of this place

this space is new
at night i pace a hallway while
ancient boards creak up
right back at me
a whispered conversation between
running ruminations and ghosts from the ‘20s
at 10:17 pm i paused at the door
there was no peep hole
just my eye pressed up against cheap grain wood

and closing it, knowing my windows were
thrust open to welcome the air
humid oppressive but freeing summer air
but also the wondering stares of those not let in
i hid myself into the folds of couch cushions
and turned off all of the noise
to just feel the stare of those
not let in

when i fell in love when i was away

I remember dreams like the strolls along canals trembling
your whispers, in my ear, like switchgrass
your hand a latchkey on my hip to unlock
the rest of this place, the rest of you
to rest with you

I remember my dreams landing in the blue of your eyes

I remember dreams as sun-dipped cheese in the park
broiling summer coals surrounding us
like the sense of loss looming before us
I remember loss like I remember you

I remember sleep on the cheap upholstery
industrially conditioned air and expensive instant coffee
bananas and canals and the lack of every eye wondering over us

I remember lavender fields rolling down from just the edges
of my fingertips and exploding into sound and smell and sight
just as they kiss the ground, the gentle lovers

I remember a life spent in an hour
cornflower blue skies hushing the golden grains
cornflower blue eyes hushing your golden hair

I tried to remember the future
I feel I am only just remembering you

a break

i suppose i’ll walk north
where the trees with evergreens
blossom out

i could have written here
but between knotted shoulders
my ribs hold only a blurred body

in a morning i stood upon a bridge
broiling black water tumbling below
black ink like i’ll never have

and below the intrepid loon
teaches its children how to fly
and reminds me of my own reward

memory #7: i thought i was going to love you

small laughs like a melon’s delicious
and those found precious dishes
he shook his tailbones wildless
string peas and lion’s mess

i held your hand deep onion brown
eyes so sweet but cucumber frown
deep our love in the willow glen
dug it there, with a blooded wren

hair straight so ribbon fine
hair so cotton a garlic line
toenail to toenail
fingernail to nose

skyways breaching, and solar flare
an empty night, a solo dare
green grass infinity and waves
white flowers yet squirrel graves

trust issues #8

a window could hold
so much more than just
loud rain drops from the west

a young lady is soaked
and she hugs a tree trunk
still soaked more

she rests her head against
the trunk and closes her eyes
and smiles

i do not know who
or what
she waits for

in any case i am inside
and she is in the outside
these things happen

a robin beside pulls up
mealy worms and
seems content

robins wait for nothing
beside what the ground
will provide in a moment

a hand in the small of my back
“c’mon–i’ve been waiting”
but i never have been

just sit and have dinner with me please

did i exist to you that morning before you ran out
did you remember my love
that middling sunlight stitching in between switchblade blinds
your words then were cotton candy, sweet but thin, gone the instant i tasted them
was this really what i was looking for
was this enough

have you ever walked down to the pond on a cold, spring dawn
the grass weeping with joy, sharing its dewlife in marriage with your soles
and your soul renourished, refreshed
a fog just like a blanket, you are beloved, you are cherished
and the two ducks by the shore, still asleep
their necks craned around in bliss
they don’t know what the world holds for them outside this space
they don’t know the world exists outside this space
but they have each other, and for them, it seems to be enough

i’ve found there is enough in life by itself
the bounty of beauty and love overflows
yet another boy looks at me and asks me another
and he smiles and laughs and asks me another
and he nods and looks serious and asks me another
i answer another, i need another
am i enough to hold your interest
am i enough to fill that void we all have

have you ever embraced boredom?
do you think of the ducks?
have you ever wondered what animals do

Please excuse me, I think I can’t go on until I’ve shared this, something from online: My name is Zach. I teach physics and I like to spend my weeknights running, cooking new dishes, reading, lesson planning, and Netflix :P. Anytime I have the opportunity to travel I am on that plane! LOVE Miyazaki and Tarantino!!! Spend my weekends hiking, watching new film, and getting wild with friends! Summer 2016! Hit me up! #blessed

now, don’t you feel just as empty as i do
tell me, which of these am I enough of: fun, interesting, intelligent, passionate?
because i am not enough
without being fun enough, intelligent enough, passionate enough, interesting enough
well, this how it is:

i teach physics. i am happy when i walk to work and the sun is rising over the mississippi and i have a strong coffee in my hands. before me is a day with smiling kids and adults with infinitely deep hearts. when i go home i am exhausted. i love my family and my friends but my life is given to my school, and that is enough, and it will not be given to you, yet. when i am outside i am rejuvenated. i do not believe in the chase for the novel or the unique necessarily. i believe in love that is deep and honest like the Earth. i believe in love like the redwood. i reject irony. i believe i need no one to live my life to its entire potential. i believe in sharing this life instead.

Sitting across from me, another boy is asking me another question. His aspirations are big, lofty like his dreams he was taught to dream from adults who love him unconditionally. To fill his instagram with the foreign. To seek out all local food experiences. To learn how to brew beer and talk about it for hours. He wants to be interesting. He wants to be passionate. He wants to be intelligent.

I want
a man that holds me like winter
frost on the window, fingers tracing me
drawing out the slowest shiver

I want
a man that loves me in silence
draws out the moment with a glance
Tolstoy in a blink, but only
my heart can beat in response

I want
a man with eyes a coffee prize
warmth and depth in one infinitely intimate sip
drives me to a place, rain and train
and inside out

a man who knows I’m not everything
for whom I can’t be everything
the world is too much
for one person to fill it at all
but just enough to share

And what does he do when he sits alone at night, nothing immediately before him? This is all I want to know. How do you handle the void in our lives? How do you handle boredom? Please do not make a joke. I am serious.

I am serious.