all your best monsters

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

First, you will pull your heart
out of your chest, feed it
carelessly to any wolf
that wanders by. Then,
you will fill that space
underneath your ribs with stars, a universe
so vast that it makes you
feel small inside your own skin.

You will begin to live
like a warning shot: all noise
and suggested danger,
no lasting heat.

Second, you will learn to lie
with things other than your mouth,
but your hands will keep
telling the story of your gone-heart,
wanting to break
every window, every clock,
every failed confession
until the pain sets in again,
feeling so much like relief,
a flood of otherness
that spins the absence
off kilter.

You will lose your breath
like an old arsonist: lungs
tarred with regret, fear pocketed
for safe-keeping.

Third, you will stop coming back
to this doorstep, even as you
return and return, harsh
in your routine, this practice,
this pretending, this dark—
it’s no match for this alarm,
its disclosure a wail
for the safety
of what is wild, the lips
of all your best monsters
begging to be kissed, intimacy
flinging itself against
your sanctuary
until you see it for what it is
in all its broken glory.

This is your warning
to get out
while you still can.

This is your reminder
that age doesn’t matter,
that nobody’s safe,
and that hearts are not harbors
where love is kept still, moored
and neat. No, that universe
between your ribs
is the chaos of new star—
and you are a constellation
of everything
that has brought you here.

That old wolf
is just your head, all teeth
and tricks. You may believe
you will never again
find your way home, but
what if
what if
home begins
here?

Categories: poem, poems, Uncategorized, Writing

not winter pollen

December 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Tell me about your worst day—
who stayed, who ran,
who held your hand,
who pointed a finger,
who kept your heart
safe, and whose touch
bled scar tissue
across it.

Tell me what happened
when the world cracked—
was the truth
like the river
or the rain? Did you dance
or look for shelter?
Did you pull mourning
out of your bones
like marrow,
or did you begin
a fire with your soul
as kindling?

Tell me the truest thing
you are longing for—
name it. Curl the hope up
in your palm, carefully,
as if it is bird-fragile,
be gentle. Do not lie
to yourself, saying
you have forgotten
how to seed, how to find
dirt, how to grow. This
is not winter pollen,
this is not ghost tracks
in the far-reaching snow,
this is not impossible,
and this is not
your worst day—

you have permission
for anything you can imagine,
now,
what act of wildness
do you dare commit?

Categories: poem, poems, Uncategorized

On Fear and Narrow Vision

December 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Here’s the thing, guys: I hate politics. I try very hard to avoid talking about them. But I have read so much lately that punishes an entire religion, an entire people, for the actions of a few radical individuals. And to be honest, it scares me.

 

But once upon a time, Americans were horrendous to the Japanese citizens within our own country. Not because these individuals did anything. No, simply because of their heritage. And I used to look back at that, back at things like Hitler and segregation, and wonder how it happened. It seemed impossible.

 

Except, right now, I can see how hate spreads. How fear becomes viral.

 

A few weeks ago, a man ranting about baby parts shot up a Planned Parenthood. Before that, a racist shot up a church full of people. This partly because people in positions of power are inciting fear, instead of reason. These events are something we need to work on. We need to find ways to change the conversation, to prevent these horrific tragedies that are absolutely avoidable. They’re not tragic accidents. A rock didn’t fall from the sky and kill people. No, men did. Other humans did. It is scary shit.

 

Lately, I keep hearing things like, “We have got to fix everything and worry about our nation first!” This is, I should point out, largely in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis. And while there are absolutely things we need to solve, problems we need to fix, things we had to alter—one thing does not discount or negate the other. We are not, and have never been, a perfect nation. A brief glance at our history (hi, slavery; hi, Native American genocide; hi, gender wage gap; hi, gay bashing and hate speech; hi, vandalizing menorahs during the holidays, because some people don’t have anything better to do).

 

We are not a perfect nation. But we are a great one. And we need to live up to that. America is built on immigrants—so, unless you’re Native American, sit down. The majority of heritages are traced back to refugees. We started out fleeing the control of Britain. We are not a nation of fear. We are a nation of fuck you—and then we dump tea in the harbor. We are give me your poor, your wretched. Not, sorry, your crisis isn’t good timing. The timing is never good. If we waited for all our problems to vanish before doing good in the world, we’d never extend a hand again. Because real life is not a utopia.

 

“People need to learn to fight for their own freedom. They can’t just flee their country when things get tough.”

 

I read that, this morning. And the lack of compassion stunned me. Maybe the concept of a refugee is so foreign, so far removed from our daily lives that we can’t register what it means. Maybe it would help to watch this video and read this, from the incomparable Neil Gaiman. Again, we are a country built on that premise. We wanted freedom, a better life. So, we sought it out on other shores. The refugees fleeing Syria aren’t doing it because it’s fun. They’re not angry about the temperature of the hot towels at the country club. They are being slaughtered by their own government. They are being terrorized.

 

If that doesn’t qualify someone for refugee status, if it doesn’t conjure up kindness in your heart, then what will? No one takes a journey, on foot, across a desert for fun. It’s not a small undertaking by any stretch of the imagination. It is harrowing and awful.

 

We have an actual statue telling people to come to this country. She is beautiful and a beacon for all those who need it. We have people seeking asylum through proper channels—so you can’t argue illegal this or illegal that—and there are some who wish to cow to fear and turn our backs. Yes, we need the infrastructure to support this. Yes, proper screening and processes are necessary. No one is arguing otherwise.

 

Recently, France endured a horrific terrorist attack. They are holding strong on their promise to take in a certain number—much greater than our commitment—of Syrian refugees. France has often been the butt of so many jokes for long ago surrendering to the Nazis. We cannot be a nation that just gives up—gives in to fear—because it gets to hard.

 

We cannot punish an entire religion, an entire people, because of a few remarkable assholes. There are radical monsters in every corner of the world. People claiming Christianity as their mantle can be terrible people. Spoiler alert: I can claim to be a faerie princess, but unless I have pixie dust and actual wings, that doesn’t make it true. Monsters and hate-spewers will take anything and twist it to fit their agenda (just look at Trump!).

 

We are not a people who back away from kindness. We are the first to jump in and offer aid. And that is one reason why our country is amazing. We cannot afford to compromise one very fundamental truth on which America is built:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
~Emma Lazarus

Spread love, not hate. Don’t let fear sharpen your vision until you see monsters around every corner. Don’t judge one man by the horrors of another. And when all else fails, dump the goddamn tea in the harbor.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

a band-aid for this bad heart

November 27, 2015 5 comments

I don’t want to be gone
but that’s what I am:
an empty coffee mug,
a house full of old silence,
a ghost-filled parking lot,
arms and bones
shaped by the word without.

How did I get here?
This place where there’s too much
blame in my blood, where
I’m sure I’d fly away
if it weren’t for these
bricks of doubt
around these clay feet; now,
even my heart
refuses to beat right, a reminder
of everything’s that matters
more than I do—
sometimes grief echoes,
and the sound is worse
than its origins.

I made this
with my own two hands,
but it’s gone monster
and it intends to swallow
every one of my limbs,
and sometimes (don’t tell)
I consider letting it,
because giving up
seems to be the thing to do—
tell me
how many broken miracles
does it take
to make one that’s whole?

You don’t know
what I’ll do next, and that’s
a problem. You were
what kept me
from burning down
this house, with me
still in it. Now, maybe
I don’t care. Now, maybe
it’s time to stop
swallowing the flame,
to let the new undoing
push out the old, if only
to recognize
everything holy that hurts,
heart like a wafer on a tongue,
I’ve always been
a melting woman.

But in the end, it isn’t shame,
never regret, never wished-it-didn’t-happen,
no, this devil in my heart,
it’s grief. It’s adding up
everything and finding the total short,
it’s not getting to see your face,
it’s a goodbye by proxy,
it’s the flashbacks,
it’s not enough.

These walls, this war,
this want, the cruelty
of losing. You were so much
brawl, so much fight, so much
courage, so much strength.
When did you lose the word
for love? When did you turn
your back on hope? When
do you misplace the power
of forgiving yourself? When
did you sell your fierce
for something dull, something else?

We were so open, once—
tell me how to pretend
it never happened. Offer me
a broken dam
for this willful river,
a band-aid for this bad heart,
one kiss I don’t have to send back,
one moment
that doesn’t corner me
as an accident; be unapologetic.

Categories: poem, poems, Uncategorized, Writing

Beside the Golden Door, the Lady Still Stands

November 23, 2015 6 comments

(On the Syrian Refugees)

 

Give me your inconvenient,
your war torn, your ragged,
your wretched. If you no longer
have a home, let this
be yours. Welcome. This is
no inn you will be turned from,
and you are not deserving
of scorn, so please—take a seat
at this table.

I’ll be honest: I’ve never
parted the red sea. I am not Rachel
or Rebekah. My sins are many,
my mistakes my own. But I remember
what happens
when the mob rules, when people
crucify, instead of offer kindness.
It’s love thy neighbor
not
shun the blameless. It’s peace be with you
not
here is my contempt.

To anyone who wears a cross
and offers vitriol
instead of forgiveness: you
taking the Lord’s name
in vain through practice; I imagine
that’s much worse
than a reflexive damn.

To anyone who forgets that
Jesus was brown, that he washed
the feet of those he loved
within questioning their worth—
what are you doing? Why
are your hands clenched?
Why are your backs turned
on the needy? Where
did you stash your mercy
and when did you last see it?

What is often called righteous
is prettied up fear, living
as a wolf among the sheep,
vicious and bloody. Do not
become merciless
because it is easier than being kind,
do not forget that we are a nation
founded on freedom, on escape—
we came here
to begin again without tithe
or restriction. Our arms
should be open, and our hearts
should be as well—or have you
forgotten
that most of our ancestors
were not even born here?

Give me your hopes, your dreams,
your anguish. Tell me
everything you have lost
to arrive here, let us
collect those griefs together.
Let us look at the shoreline
and see hope. Let us
sit down with water
and turn it into wine, and even
if we fail at that, let us drink
from one cup, together.

Categories: Uncategorized

the blindsiding moments

November 4, 2015 4 comments

I don’t believe in coincidences. There’s too much that goes into a moment—too many factors—to pretend that something means nothing. It’s not random. It’s not happenstance. There are a handful of things, at the very least, that aligned, which results in a Thing Happening.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I drove past—literally—someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, someone I have been thinking about. Someone who I miss, for a million reasons. The person was in the lane next to me, and there was this shock of recognition, as I leaned forward, “Is that…? It is.” But then, I drove through the intersection, and that was that.

This person isn’t someone I ordinarily run across. But things like this have happened in the past, in instances where it should’ve been impossible. Or, at the very least, highly unlikely. And yet. And still.

That happened. This small moment, literally at a crossroads. And it really got me thinking, more so than usual. Because so much has happened lately, and some of it isn’t mine to tell, but they’re the blindsiding moments that take your breath away. Sucker punches to the soul, the kind of things that make you stop, force you to stop and think about your life.

Are you doing what you want? Are you doing what you love? Are you with the person you love? Are you allowing yourself to be loved? Are you open to it? Are you open, period? (If the answer to any of these is “no,” then that’s something to think about.)

There are no guarantees. There is right now. And right now, whether or not we know or acknowledge it, we’re all at a crossroads. Every moment is a choice point. Every second is an opportunity. Seize it.

Because everyone has that person, right? That person you can’t stop thinking about. Maybe your reminders are less literal, less in-your-face than mine. But when it’s quiet, when the world stops demanding things of you, when it’s just you and your thoughts: what’s occupying them? Who’s occupying them? That thing your heart and your head on settle on?

Make the choice to bring it into your life. Because there’s just this moment, there’s only right now.

Happy Birthday Month, Patty Blount!

November 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Guys, it’s a very important month. I’ll give you a hint as to why: pie, confetti, and Baby. Confused yet? Good, my work here is done. *wanders off*

No, seriously: It is Patty Blount’s birthday month!

She’s a fabulous author and darling person. Patty and I have a lot of things in common (Italian, pepperoni-loving, rainbow-cooking eating word ninjas!). There’s also a deep, abiding love of all things chocolate, and I may be eating a piece of dark sea salt wonder right now. But I digress.

So, Patty’s birthday is upcoming, and we are celebrating. Who’s the ‘we’? Me, pie, and the Winchesters:

Sorry, I forgot Sam, didn’t I? My bad.

Supernatural is one of my favorite shows. Patty adores it too. And there are a lot of funny things that have happened in the show. And in the outtakes. So, without further ado, let me point you toward a few things.

The best gif for every writer:

Twitter-relevant:

Life relevant:


(Because, one time or another, we’re all Cas.)

Now, if you see Patty in the wild (Twitter: @pattyblount) in November, this is appropriate:

Of course, you only need to be around the Supernatural fandom for approximately three seconds to know this exists:

But it is basically an instant smile. So is this, the most meta amazingness ever;

There are a ton more gifs and amazing things, but they’re not exactly birthday appropriate. So, if you happen to cross paths with Patty this month, wish her a happy birthday! And maybe give her a pie. And a Winchester. But you know the drill: holy water first. Because you never know.

Categories: Uncategorized
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