25 March 2013


most days
I am not sure what I'm doing
flying or falling
how quickly feelings change
when you once again
remember the tug of gravity

13 March 2013


I have regretted
things I've said and
the bitter taste they've left in me
and the damage
they have done to others.
I have never regretted
holding back
words, or words about feelings
even though I'm told
it's best to tell people
how you see things.
even faced with loss
I have not regretted the unsaid
because those who go before us
already know by then
but something said in haste
cannot be taken back.

10 March 2013


beyond my need to control
lies the apathy
I can't pull myself from the sheets

there are days I give up
give into the loneliness
let it wash over me
until I am drenched in paralysis

as it dries
I can find the strength
to sit up
make the bed
and keep searching for my place in the world

07 March 2013


somewhere inside
past the numbing of the anger
she wonders how much she’ll have to give up
to find herself in all the chaos
loveless lovers circle the past
and the communion she now shares
was bought with the
death of another

she’s not foolish, she’s not ugly
wonder what she sees behind the glass
she is so much deeper than
she seems to know
flying high one day
he aches in her bones the next
my hand never reaches quite far enough
to pull her from the past
she’s not dragging herself out
just waiting for another knight
to give her the safety
she can’t give herself

03 February 2013

gilded cage

in your arms
are security without peace
love without trust
an extraordinary life
in a gilded cage
I could never say yes

still, somehow held on
to the idea that it could change
I could be myself
pressing coffee in the morning
to your sweet smile
rather than watching your regimen
of medications
and moody judgment

I couldn’t hold us both up
I could never say yes
to living in that kind of bondage
tied to your self-pity and power
as I struggled to tread lightly
remain unbruised
your chain of indifference around my wrists, my neck

except when I could turn your disposition
to something that more resembled
the extraordinary life
that held us together
the vision of something better
that we could never attain

24 November 2012


interminable wait
I think of the way you feel around mean
and beside me
and in me
I have waited this long;
why are the last days so much more
unbearable in your absence?

this is tearing me inside
to live this life of longing
confusion for what I want
and what you are willing to give
I don't even recognize myself
in some of my choices
not knowing if I can ever love
and also be true to myself

but when I see you
these questions will fade
all I will feel is your presence
and my quickening heartbeat
you will look at me with those eyes
a mile deep
I will melt into the moment
forget where my skin ends
and yours begins
it can't come soon enough

20 November 2012


there are moments you experience
and know you will remember for many years
I close my eyes and see the streaks
of clouds across the sky as it lightened to dawn
I will forget
the cold feet, the cold fingers, the icy bum, and the way my goosebumps were unavoidable,
but not the sky as it turned to daylight.

19 November 2012

so many of me

I play many roles. I have many parts, many labels, many sides. Most people see only one or two. I am outgoing and friendly. I am a curmudgeon. I am exhausted but hyper. I am soft spoken. I am a good listener. I can't shut up to give you a word edgewise. I am professional. I drink at some shoots. I take photos in traffic. I hate when people don't pay attention at the wheel.

We are all so many people. It is impossible to know someone completely. When you aren't around, they are different, even in some small way, no matter how well you know them. It is what makes us ourselves. When you accept the "whole package" of another person, you also accept those parts you'll never see - and you promise to be okay with that, not to push and pull and starve someone out until they are malleable to your wishes. It is okay to be yourself; imperfections are loveable, too, and definitely don't preclude you from a life of love and joy. It is okay to share how you feel, with respect, and not feel the need to submerge your true self beneath the surface of the "you" that someone else knows.

We are all strong, and we are all weak. It's the self-awareness of the gray between these poles that draws me into you. I play so many parts, I can't help but being a little bit of all of these people inside me. No, I'm not crazy.

16 November 2012


skyline crowds the dark
watch sunset waver to dusk
another day gone

27 October 2012


Parts of the year have disappeared. I don't know where they went. Between sickness and struggle, I lost a lot of time.

It's like a time lapse exposure. The parts that resonate were painted in with a low-grade flashlight. The rest faded to black. Hard to watch another year wrap about without feeling a strange nostalgia.

Photo: OttoFocus

25 October 2012


amidst the scattered remnants
of the life I left
I recall seeing the clothes strewn on the floor
the occasional cigarette in the ashtray
half-drunk glasses of water on the sill
there so long that a film of dust covered the surface.
I recall the dim lights we supplemented with enough candles
to burn the building down, the romantic embraces and
the way you’d pull me in close as I stirred dinner
and, the large words you scrawled over thin paper
we lived on each other
ate the sweetness as well as poison
we each had to offer
my tongue filled your mouth each night
and I would wake up hours later
to find you slumped over the chair
more words pouring forth on paper
you grounded me
and while so different from the others I’d known
I found myself imitating you, as is my way,
admiring you
wanting to be like you,
so possessed by your passion for the storm inside
that it overwhelmed your life
I wanted to know what it felt like to be driven
and consumed by one’s work and thoughts
so that the rest of life, so often exploited to be important,
would become meaningless

the laundry was never folded
and I began to wash the sheets every week
knowing you would not
the dishes rotted until I rolled up my sleeves
and I pulled matted hair
from the drains of the small bathroom with the cracked sky-blue tiles
the ugly side of love disenchanted me
and no crushing wave of memory,
of the beginning,
could dredge up those first miraculous months of lust
our bodies entwined still
but my mind wandered to other cities and the life I might have
if I left you

I had not become you
the chameleon changed its look and ways
but could never truly transform
I could not embrace the recklessness and fever of your passion
and my attempts would keep me awake at night
cold sweat on my back
and racing thoughts that I, yet again, was wasting this life
I could admire, yet never achieve
I was not like you

I packed a small bag
the bra that had hung on the armrest of the sofa for three months
finally pressed my flesh again
and I roughly pushed my own scattered thoughts into a pocket
they were written rudely on recycled postage paper,
thoughts I could never have shared in the shadow of your brilliance
I made the bed one last time as you slept defenselessly on the sofa,
head back and legs apart
I looked at you and knew I didn’t love you
not for your plain humanity
or the fact that sometimes you don’t shower enough
no, I did not love you
because when I did
I loved what I saw in you
that I was really searching for
within myself

22 October 2012

22 February 2012


Sometimes I'm serious. Sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I play nice. But really, how often is that?


15 February 2012


these ideas rise up
swell and break on this narrow strip I’ve claimed
unable to discern between the
natural course
and the rage of the water
I’ve been pacing the sand
waiting for a grander thought
to crush me with its weight
wash away the rest of the unscheduled chaos
that won’t flicker out
when the sun goes down

09 February 2012


It is hard not to wonder where this is all leading.

All of the choices that have shaped my life, the people I've met, those I've let go and why, the places I've seen... all of these things alone are anticlimactic, and I feel hollow when I look at the individual parts.

Where is this going? My path has never been straight. I've never been inspired to walk toward one goal, solve one problem, or achieve a particular standing. I can only surmise this is the foundation of this aimless wandering.

I know I will never wake up and say, "I've arrived." I will never be there. But only recently have I woken up, just a few mornings, and been completely at peace with the state of my life, and more importantly the exact moment I lived. Why has it taken me so long to be present?

Is this how is feels to wake up and feel like "I've arrived?"

05 February 2012

move on

Another day, another city.

© Otto Focus

31 January 2012

30 January 2012


copyright Chip Bulgin 2011


envy is that bony creature
so malnourished and malicious
she might blow away in the wind
like thin bodies
tangled together
but to weak
to unknot themselves


25 January 2012


sit on the bench
waiting for the fight to come my way
reason soothes my nerves
but I am always defensive
always have to explain my life and choices
or at least my loyalty to them

wait a moment
what is my obligation to make others understand
where do I fit into this picture
that they have framed
it should be mine
that I concern myself with
not the offense of another
not waiting for the attack
already long gone

24 January 2012

drive on

© S Billups

this road is engulfed in mist
so dense I may have to pull over for a while
face the fear of defenselessness
and have to make peace
with the consequences
I stay calm and check the mirrors
already planning escape
should the road suddenly vanish
I realize it was gone
miles ago
and I’ve been grinding the gears over gravel
too much damage
for the mechanic to fix
in the short time I have left
carry on
watch the mist come and go
sometimes I see the horizon, so far away

23 January 2012


sometimes I can't stop worrying

inside I ache for you
my bones are hollow in your absence
I left the space we had carved out
of flesh and stone
for each other
and you followed shortly after
I regret the choice to leave
but sometimes
even when I make a choice
I feel I have none
hands are tied now
bound until you
turn your attention to me again
inside I can’t help but wonder if

19 January 2012

fill the space between the lines
finish the song
interject chaos into silence

sometimes my momentum
takes over the sacred moments
the quiet that heals
and the solitude that brings
meaning to the moments
I have yet to process

step back
learn not to be so greedy with time
snatching more into these dirty hands
if only because I fear
the day there is nothing in my grip

wait a moment
be still and silent
conquer expectations and
revise plans
the best is yet to come

18 January 2012


rot in silence
you know when the ghosts creep upon you
and you won’t help yourself escape
I wonder if it will always
take such a toll
turn empathy to apathy
and corrode my will to do anything
but ferment these nasty thoughts
in memories of mistakes

there have been so many beautiful moments
if only I could let them
fill the space in which this
terror now lives
seething and scratching
like nails ripping the already bruised flesh
why am I stuck in this wretched place
instead of allowing
the sunset over the desert
rain and shine in Dublin
the tenderness of a soft touch
the fever of climax
or the taste of his kiss
take over my thoughts

sometimes I fear I am scheduled
to take the hardest path I can find
deliberately choose pain
over pleasure
I might live a beautiful life
full of loving friends
and I’d live it with sadness and apprehension
sometimes I don’t fear it
so much as know it

11 January 2012


everything rolls, undulating ocean of moments
they seem unconnected but are
really tied to a picture
I'm not big enough to see
can't keep track of the madness
in each moment I am composed
but inside, reeling

be careful what you wish for
how damaging it can be
nails sink into flesh
trying to control the outcome
but chaos always wins

to see myself so differently
those placid eyes caught in momentary sanity
I know how to play the part
keep the boat from rocking
and put one foot in front of the other

Image from Joe Rooney

07 January 2012

gray days when the rain is relentless
but you know the seeds are taking root
under the skin of the earth
translucent, bare shoulders
a glittering trail of water over the milky exterior
emptiness is the blanket cloaking me
not warm or comforting
but a silhouette against your hide
cover the soft noises with soil
fresh from the soaked ground
charcoal tracings over the blue veins
and the deeper afflictions
thin mental on the red flower blooming from my wrist
there is nothing beautiful a scream cannot disguise
and in your voice an urgent red seeps forward
drips into everything gray about today
seams ripped and resewn together
this tessellation, a pattern, this reminder
that every ache is less than someone else's injury
and the ground spits forth only good
and swallows the bad seeds back into itself

Spring season, 2003

11 December 2011

05 December 2011

domestic life

the mundane becomes my escape
into the gray spaces
devoid of thought or opinion
no need to overanalyze the trivial moments
when the only thing to do is clean up

emotion absent
pressed into the corners of the past
pinched and swept until the room is clean
almost clinical
but free from memory

water boils
pause momentarily
sit and watch the rivers stream down
the glass panes
habitually breathe cool air
across the meniscus of tea
and feel the steam on
the skin I thought was dry

dinner is another chore
the cracked hands working expertly
to stir and shake
what was cold and raw
into something appetizing

is it all for me
or just another show
for whomever may come by
I am living this prayer
to rewrite the ending I see

this is the act of the séance
to twist fate
and buy a new future
either way
it is time to put the past in the grave
and find energy in the routine
wipe the mirror so the glass is clear
and the spots don't distort the reflection.

28 November 2011


I have given you
my naked thoughts
unadulterated with the poisons
of other people's expectations
I have shown you
exceeding amounts
of what lies beneath these red curls,
in the shadows of my eyes
I have given you
permissions that
others took as liberties
and yet
you want more of who I am
what I give is not enough
you want me to
peel back
layers of flesh and inducements
reveal the parts I save just for myself
the parts that would
if uncovered,
this thin skin,
a delicate edge
to protect the weak underside.

08. October 2001
Yes, this is from a lifetime ago.