My Art


I tried to be honest
I tried to do you right
I tried to listen to everything
This is what I get

I tried to be a man
I tried to own my mistakes
I tried to answer and write
This is what I get

When I say “love has a cost”
When I say “yes it will hurt”
When I say “I hope you move on”
It doesn’t mean I never cared

I caused all of this
I know I broke your heart
I am the one to blame
But I am done trying to help




“I expected a bike ride, a sprawling green-possibility adventure
I was wrong – she never felt it, not even after dinner”

What I see


“I see you behind bars;
A steel smile
yet the lift in your eyebrows.
I see bright eyes
with Gatsby-green light
as you sit by the river
and order non-alcoholic –
though your smile is steel.

I don’t see a butterfly.
Not yet-
Sitting by the river,
now ordering fries,
I see you on a journey:
Nothing simple, nothing flat
Nothing resistible, nothing cold.
A leaf falls to our table.
Your knee moves to mine
and I see you reach higher –
But I don’t see a butterfly.

I hear you too.
I hear you want to
Stop to watch the ducks
And their babies
Play in the river
And you say “Family.”
I hear you aren’t what I think.
I hear you want out of your own steel bars.

Now, a hotel-room incompatibility.
What I hear is not what I see.
When you say “you know what,”
Fire and water crash.
I am all water;
Your fire rolls you away.
You don’t see my fire behind the water.
To you, I am drowning.
To me, I am staying afloat.

I see you warming your hands by your fire,
Bringing them so close that
Soon you won’t feel fire at all;
Killed by the steel-smile that saves you.”


The small door in the metal gate
The words prepared on the motorcycle
You are on your porch
Your smile

Weeks before, African Christmas
The buffet at the hotel
The dance by the pool
Words without thoughts

The hotel room
The mosquito net draped like curtains
The golden mirror and the sinks
I do what I have to do

The bus to Kenya
Lake Elementaita sunset crooked mountain
You are on your kitchen floor
New Years in Nairobi, I don’t call

The Barranco cliff face
The clouds below me
14,000 ft phone: “Your voice, J”
I can see for miles, miles, miles

Uhuru Peak
The glaciers and the wind
You are in them
I don’t understand me



This is our fifth time
Not as good as the second, but fine
The first time I turned my head
The third time you were in my head
But the second was like fireworks in bed

I can’t tell my friends
That I sing about you going around bends
When you’re in my car – I’m Swazye
Footloose dancing, I’m blazing
Singing to 18 wheelers like I’m crazy

Even if I’d never met you
I’d know you like I’d known you since two
But since we just met
and the other boys haven’t caught you yet
You’re like my secret cigarette

Your radio roll stops the hole
The workday drain on my soul
Even though our love is shady
I think I’ll call you – maybe.



October in a Pint

October in a pint
Mahogany and amber
Fragments of light
Shatter the tambre

Waiting for a flight
Midnight lander
Pint-glass sight
I can understand her

Salt on the tongue
Futures grow near
I’d be undone
except for this beer

Need to read Yung
Practice my seer
The song is not sung
Nor do I fear her



Leopards In Trees

It was when you least expected it
that the impossible suddenly happened,
and then it seemed as if the world
you had been walking on
had all at once flipped upside down.
Suddenly you found no gravity
to hold you any longer and you
walked on the ceilings of tall buildings
like leopards in trees.



I want to hate evil

I want to hate evil
like your word tells me to
but I can’t see past
pleasure that isn’t true
Poison deep in my heart
it’s stirred within my mind
I need a surgeon, father
I’m not the right kind
Many men have power
and effect the world for change
but they are powerless
with humans, to begin to rearrange
the pleasures of the heart
and get them into line
Our heartbeats have no pulse
Our eyes are always blind
Until then, lonely hunters,
our hearts are on the prowl
devouring what they desire
but it’s always tasting foul
I’ve tried the world’s fair
come empty every time
I want to hate evil Lord
Please save me from my crimes


Will I go?

Gunfire in the valley
red flares like sun beams
next to you, rocks at your helmet
he was up, now he’s gone
you’re still going
do you bother ask the questions
with no answers

Serenity –
that you are still
is a miracle
and that you see
every day
as it always was
is grace

To go through hell
and return
brings new diamonds
To know you could do anything;
to know you were never more alive
than inches from it

How now shall you live?



Now color fades
from earth again
Trees coming into fire

and out again
Fire in leaves
Fire me up


Learning how to start a fire

I am a leaf
I remain on the tree

blows my fire low
like a campfire

going down
not out
My embers see

bigger embers
Who lights them
Proves what

Is my tree true
Wind blows embers higher
Damn the wind

I see a tree
in men’s eyes
What tree

Will their leaf fall
not grow back
Wither into grass

Will the wind blow
them away
in a mist, gone

Do I have a tree
planted by stream
Do they have a tree

in the wasteland
dwelling in a parched

Is my leaf
green even
in drought

Will I fear
heat when it comes
dry up roots

Will my tree
shine like the
sun at noon

Will a leaf
leave my branch
grow another

Will a spark
from my ember
catch another

It will take the wind

And what good is it for a leaf
to grow into the whole world
but lose its soul

I don’t know

This I know
Leaves, we are all
lonely hunters

And each gust of wind
in each aspen
is doing something



“Don’t be late again.”
“Who takes you seriously?”
“A waste of time.”
“Pick it up.”
“I don’t care what your problem is.”
“I need you to move.”
“Out of the way.”

Then a voice said from nowhere:
“Do not be afraid,
for those who are with us
are more than those who are with them.
O Lord, please open his eyes
that he may see.”

The Lord opened his eyes
and he saw,
the mountain was full of horses
and chariots of fire.



He stuck his neck out
in his red gullet warning
telling what was coming.

I crushed his ribcage
with my fingers like
a clothespin in the air

Then it happened:
Why I dropped him
five feet down to the ground

In fear is something to consider.
He’s a lizard;
teeth left no marks.




“Jumping In”

Cold water, freeze at edge
Toe dip
Stand on sand
Every cell aware
Mind riot
What if, when will

But – ah! – if

Shock, splash, enter, exit
Fresh, zest, thunder bolt
Leave world, enter new
No longer think
Or dream
Now do, now be
Swim the stream
Live the story
Walk the water
Not on the bank
Wishing you were





What has God done to me?
He picked me up dead from the field
Brushed me off, stronger than any
Now I’m the battlefield king
Now shots can’t hurt me
Zero for five, done my tragedy
The only battle I can’t forget
Is the only one I won but regret
I start to wonder, is it worth the fight?
My battlefield heart can attack
But can it re-light?

Looking for it
Makes sense makes none
Still looking for it
Full mind full love

No second best, no half my heart
Not a business, no graph on a chart
I want to look into eyes and go crazy
But stay sane while they amaze me
I’ll need to see a little beauty
I’ll need to see the face of God
I’ll need to ride above the city
I’ll need to feel it all

Looking for it
Makes sense makes none
Still looking for it
Full mind full love

Don’t want to be battlefield king
Heart, please communicate with me



Nothing is sacred

A flag without salutes
And a hall without books
No paper in a class
No philosophy just laughs
The lack of it at home
flows off the walls we roam.
Too cool rules many
and makes you learn it too
Everyone a roman candle on the last pop
burning the edge until they stop
Left without law, the halls waste
Only soldiers in this place

A scuff on their shoes
is more like a bruise
The brim of their cap
shading a trap.

… June


Too Cool

Too cool, must rule
Over here, last year
In woods, no shoulds
No pressure, in the dresser
Come on, not long
In dark, white spark
Back of gym, not him
Drag deep, silent keep
Heard a kiss? Witness
Don’t tell, bottle fell
He’s in, not a sin
Come with us, do you trust
Just a hit, you’ll quit
Great lie, worth a try
Out late, my mistake
Yes sir, all a blur
Hand to head, in bed
I am who? isn’t true
Never fool, too cool
Must rule, this school.



… May

Written for my Year 9 English class


I am the bend of a lens
That brings backgrounds to life
Or decides that a photo
Would look better fuzzy and white
I am the curve of your mouth
When you look through the view
To see the image develop
And smile back at you

I am not only in cameras
I’m in classrooms as well
Although to see me in action
It’s harder to tell
You’ll have to look close
At the fire in a brain
That’s just left the station
And is a fast-flying train
I hold to one idea
and I never let go
I have a jaw-grinding grip
On what interests me so
If you wish you had more
You must read what you fear
And when you focus your mind
The confusion will disappear

.… March

A scarf
with your business
suits you nicely – board the
nine-twenty and forget about
it all.

Snacks are
not as costly
as they once were.  Ring the
bell, trolley man, and give us some
thing sweet.

…. January

A chapter house, a meeting space
A hall of brothers face to face
College couch, political air
While votes compile, flood surge pace
I passed you by, so many times
I said nothing, no opening lines
No spades to dirt, no soul to spare
I said nothing, brother of mine
And years go by, we brothers still
In name, in pen, in scroll and quill
In common bond, in promised fare
Though we are separated, distance til’
Were only words and words alone
No promise to write or dial a phone
No coal within my soul to dare
Forgive me brother, I have no bones
You said too much, me none at all
Goodbye to winter, spring and fall
Were words! The phileo fuel I bare?
Action, my friend, will collapse a wall
A drive, a hike, a ferry ride
When we were men faced side to side
You whispered a song, perhaps a prayer
Our blessings, Lord, had sanctified

And like a snowfall on my impression
We come to this complete confession:
Let’s torture time, hearts aware
No longer friendship is our digression
If ever life is our possession
I’ll make to us this one concession:
United in the bond, we are kinsmen where
Our skulls collide in sweet expression!

…. December

Art Gallery, Cork Street, 7pm, 2 degrees Celsius

We are pinballs
magnetized to find it
bouncing from one intellect
to another
ringing a light
scoring points
wine in hand
showing teeth
curious accent
snap photos
opening lines
have my card?

Instant impressions
cocaine for the pressure spot
This one looks good –
have you seen the famous one?

And the students…
our teeth are in their skulls
art is killing them.
We left the paintings long ago
prom kings and queens
he who dies the most expensive

Wine, sushi
why thank you –
how nice this all is, we say
looking out the window into the Christmas cold.

…. November

Mud on Knees

More than mud on knees
the boys find
when they touch the try

Look at his eyes light
his teeth snarl
crawling in his soul

It is there, closing
out his mind
the savage within.

Facultly Lounge

We have lost all sense
when we sip
hot tea in the afternoon

No, I can not laugh
clever wit, you –
you steal what children need

Green House Apple Sky

white fire, hot spark nights
bring my eyes alive
one at a time, with blue bombs
and red chandelier centerlights

in my head there is a forest burning
when the orange whistlers rise
that lights up like day
at the kaleidoscope turning

in my chest – a gunshot
that one, then another
leaves me bleeding for something
there in the pressure spot

I have watched too much magic
too many yellow lines
turn to purple rings
and that’s tragic

I have stood in the wind
without a scarf for too long
I have held a cup of cider
and pressed its hotness to my mind

I watch the white fire die
at the end of the show
and clap in my chest
and turn back to my lie

but then a green catches my eye
a green house apple sky
this is the green fade out surprise
that must be real, or else I die.

… October

Eating an Orange, Followed by a Lemon

I don’t know what it is that tears me apart

in oranges and lemons and things that are tart.

I don’t know how to say what floats through a moment

when facing a love who becomes an opponent.

I could point to the grass and the dew that is in it

or the light and its shadows that arrive every minute.

There’s also the phantoms that haunt the skin’s surface,

that hike up the back and burn it in furnace.

The wind might kick and turn towards the heart

and blow down the music for Beethoven’s part.

The birds that are there in the trees lose their cue;

how can they continue a song that’s not true.

Of course there’s the water, the glistening waves

that bring joy to the hearts of all children at play.

While they splash and they romp and flip in and out

I forget why it was that I loved her, about.

What details, what certainty, which words are true?

To unravel the knot, in heaven’s a clue.

To find the beginning would be a suspension

of time and its space and God’s good tradition.

The airwaves surrounding her hair start to freeze

as the wind stops – its performance, then leaves.

There’s a glow that tells the worst is arriving.

To forget this next line will take all my surviving.

The smells are the worst, if you want my opinion

because miles from this day, in mountains Virginian,

in the scent of a cedar or the hint of a pine,

I’ll see her before me and know she’s not mine.

It’s hard just to say what makes up a moment

when facing a love who becomes an opponent.

I don’t know what it is that tears me apart

in oranges and lemons: I need their sweet-tart.

Bikes In August

Riding bikes at night there was no trace
Of daytime’s reserve, and so we raced
But no one needed to dare to say
Why we raced or what felt this way
The lights turned red as we went through
No signs to break the lines we drew
Could you word it out tonight?  I could
But the spokes of the bikes would have misunderstood.


6 comments on “My Art

  1. Harrison,
    These are fantastic. I’ve been stalking you for like an hour. A letter will certainly follow.
    p.s. I’m applying.

      • Well, it is public you know. Anyone can see it. Does that make you uncomfortable? I believe you would say “not at all”.

        Not as of right now…but I believe I will in approximately 5-6 months.

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