Just a Little Flutter

Just a little flutter,
Just a cardiac arrhythmia
Whenever you are with me, a
Skip in my pace.

                                Just a little intake,
Just a pulmonary spasm —
They say everybody has ‘em —
Breathing like I’ve lost a race.

Let me see you more, in incremental doses,
To inform the differential diagnosis,
And we’ll settle on a treatment
Pending if that off-beat beat meant
Love, or maybe just arteriosclerosis,

On account of all the butter-
Flies that palpitate in my stomach, so
I’m acting like a lummox — oh,
But who needs style or grace?
Just a stammer or a stutter,
Just a flicker or a flutter,
But you turn me to an utter


   Peach mojitos,
Four-buck Woo Woos, ten ‘til midnight,
   Used tuxedos,
Disco Dancing With Your Kid Night,
   Guys in Speedos,
Plates of sadness shaped like cheese:
She’s got all you’ve ever wanted,
And they call her Independence of the Seas.

   So we cruise along
And we hope the ship has brought
   Sufficient booze along,
As we down another shot
   And leave our shoes along
The beach beside our phones and keys —
We won’t need them where we’re going,
When we’re on the Independence of the Seas.

   Sun and ocean:
Certain joys have never worn off.
   Stay in motion —
Strange to think we could be borne off
   By a notion
Like a lanyard on a breeze.
Nothing’s there between ourselves and water
But the Independence of the Seas.

   So cast away,
Throw the worries and the trials
   Of the past away,
For we’re bound for warmer isles,
   Speeding fast away,
Bringing all life’s luxuries:
We’ve got hopes and dreams and passions,
We’ve got — several days of rations,
And we’ve got the independence of the seas.

Over and Over

Feeling overburdened, feeling overbooked,
Looking over all the little things I overlooked,
Bending over backwards, smoothing over stress,
Stressing over small stuff (but we broke up over less).

Getting overanxious, getting overwrought,
Thinking over all the things I think I overthought,
Still can’t overstate how wretched being over feels,
Still can’t overcome the way my head’s still over heels.

Fawning over many, fretting over one,
Getting over what I did is getting overdone,
Turning over fresh leaves, starting over new
(To paper over, day on day, how I’m not over you).

Girl With a Blog

    She compulsively tweets every meal that she eats,
    And she Instagrams the menus and the food and receipts,
And she tags us all to join her every time she’s going out for drinks.
    I’ll religiously read her when there’s posts in her feed,
    And, yeah, I’ll follow her, but not as far as this could lead,
Even though I sorta like the things she sees and hears and reads and thinks,
‘Cause I’ve clicked all those links —
I really think so, but
I shouldn’t fall in love with a girl with a blog
(with a girl with a blog,
with a girl with a blog)
I shouldn’t fall in love (in love)
With a girl with a blog.

    All the secrets she shows, all the thoughts she’ll disclose —
    I forget that there’s a side of her that nobody knows,
All the fascinating facets that her Facebook friends have never seen.
    Now she’s put up a list of all the people she’s kissed,
    And it isn’t that it bothers me that they exist,
But I need to stop imagining I’ll see my name appear onscreen,
If you know what I mean,
And what I mean is that
I shouldn’t fall in love with a girl with a blog
(with a page with a pic
with her out with her dog)
I shouldn’t fall in love (in love)
With a girl with a blog.

    And I know
It’s only in my head,
    And I know
It’s better left unsaid,
And it’s better left unread,
And it’s better left for dead,
    I know…

    'Cause after all, if we dated, it might get complicated
    When our evenings out and little jokes get regurgitated,
When our stories get reorganized and sanitized and sliced apart.
    And I could deal with it better not to read I’ve upset her,
    How I “used to understand” but now I “just don’t get her”,
What she’s writing when we’re fighting, how she’s saying how I’ve broken her heart
When she’s broken my heart,
Don’t let me start because
I shouldn’t fall in love with a girl with a blog
(not with a girl with a blog,
not with a girl with a blog)
I shouldn’t fall in love (in love)
With a girl with a blog.

Airplane Standard Time

          Flew from Honolulu to the US mainland,
          Jolted from my slumbers when I feel the plane land,
Can’t remember if I’m stopped at LAX or SFO.
          Stumbling off the jetbridge and I check the screen,
          Tells me my connecting flight’s at 5:15,
Don’t know if that’s now or in an hour or an hour ago.
You know why I’m disoriented?

                                             I’m all
Set to Airplane Standard Time, all
Done with stupid stuff from SkyMall,
Looking for a way back home –
There’s got to be a way back home.

          Flew from Hartsfield-Jackson through O'Hare to Sea-Tac,
          Guy behind me grumbles as I shove my seat back,
So exhausted I don’t really give a damn for etiquette.
          Overcrowded flight gets me a free hotel,
          Going straight to voicemail on my girlfriend’s cell:
“Baby, where I’m calling from, your birthday isn’t over yet.
I’ll see you in the morning. (Won’t I?)”

                                             I’m all
Tuned to Airplane Standard Time, all
Done with Hemispheres and SkyMall,
Looking for a place called home –
It’s in my contacts under “Home”.

          Flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C.,
          Had too much to drink but it was duty-free,
Said some things I won’t regret to people I won’t meet again.
          Red-eye, but I’m too awake to shut my eyes,
          Looking over spreadsheets ‘til my laptop dies,
Everybody in the world except for me’s asleep by then.
(Well, maybe the first officer.)

                                             But I’m all –
Lord, how I’ve meandered! –
                                             I’m all
Stuck on Airplane Standard Time, all
Looking for a place to call home –
There’s no place like a place like home.

When We're Done, I'm Done

When we’re done, I’m done –
Giving up won’t be fun,
But it’s easier than convincing myself that you’re not the one.
There’ll be nothing you can do but take your heartache and run,
So stick a fork in me, dear, ‘cause when we’re done, I’m done.

When you’re gone, I’m gone –
I’ve been hanging upon
Someone a little bit committal and a little bit non-.
There’ll be nothing left of me to look nostalgically on,
So don’t look back when you go, 'cause when you go, I’m gone.

When we’re through, I’m through –
For I haven’t a clue
How I’d cast you from my mind and look for somebody new.
But there’s something tells us both that day is long overdue…
Just call the hearse when you’re through, 'cause when we’re through, I’m through.

Want You Around

I think about going to find myself,
I always come back to remind myself
Every version of me that I’ve found
Wants you around.

I look for a beacon to head towards,
There’s just one thing my compass is led towards.
In whichever direction I’m bound,
I want you around.

And it’s okay
    To be stuck in a rut
        If the rut’s big enough for two.
We’ll get away
    When we feel like it, but
        Let’s enjoy it for now, me and you.

I change in my world would just ruin it.
My life still feels newer with you in it
And my feet on familiar ground –
I want you around.

Want you around...

Make Your Own Magic

(for Gavin Verhey)

I've wandered through planes, crossing sky to sea,
Armed with only what's here in my hand.
There's a world of enchantments I'd die to see,
If I'd only stop missing my land.
All the moves that we've planned --
They're a guess, not a guarantee,
Take it from me.

The future we anxiously try to see
Gives us puzzles that no one expects,
And we can't shake the eight-ball or scry to see
What's waiting on top of our decks.
Never knowing what's next --
That's the source of the sorcery,
It's that certain uncertainty.
'Cause you see...

You've gotta make your own magic,
Start your game off today.
You've gotta make your own magic,
And when you go astray,
Go play,
And make a little magic on the way.

Or keep fleeing from failure, from sky to sea,
Never gambling, whatever the cost.
Just don't wait 'til the moment goes by to see
How you've won every time you've been lost.
So you've got to exhaust
Every last possibility,
Take it from me. 

So examine your limits to try to see
If they're only assumptions you've made.
There are rules that you have to defy to see
There's no reason they should be obeyed.
You can sit in the shade,
Take your chances vicariously,
All you'll miss is the mystery.
'Cause you see...

You've gotta make your own magic,
Start your game off today.
You've gotta make your own magic,
And when you go astray,
Go play,
And make a little magic on the way.

Sonnet: Not enough, I suppose

(for C.)


Not enough, I suppose, just to declare I want you.
It is my curse to dissect and reflect and compare. I want you

Like the castaway who, sighting a distant sail,
Sends up a silent prayer — I want you.

As men seek Right, as rightful men seek Praise,
As drowning men, by God, seek Air, I want you.

The captive wants release more than life. The torturer
Wants answers more than any life he could spare. I want you.


And that's the one fixed truth, with all else in flux,
Through the eternities I've been aware I want you.

Eyes wide open, in spite of all your warnings,
But then you like it, don't you, how I stare? I want you.

Packing the snow in your soft gloves, you've got me dead to rights.
I turn, a beast at bay. I've got you where I want you.

And every phone call should be as urgent as the first.
Earnest, desperate — Mr. Watson. Come here. I want you.


Perhaps because I never wanted anything till now,
I've not learnt to stop hoping for whate'er I want. You

Make me into this, with your look, your smile, the way you move —
I'm helpless, you know, it's not fair! I want you

To be happy. With or without me. I want you to be happy.
So that's that. But I'm sorry, I swear — I want you.

Yet if I do not dare disturb the universe
(I wonder, I have wondered), how dare I want you?

I think too much. Absolve me of my thoughts,
And let me lay my head back in the snare. I want you

Always to be young, and keen, and beautiful,
And unrepentant. Or don't. I don't care. I want you.