And Sometimes, I Sing Her Lullabies

The truth is, I am trying to tell you something
in a language I don’t know how to translate,
and it’s like there’s an ocean
where my heart should be
and I can’t remember how to swim.

The truth is, you cannot put joy
in a box, and getting lost
is the only way to find
what you never knew to look for—
but sometimes, you don’t
come back, and always
you don’t come back the same,
and it’s okay
not to recognize yourself
in someone else’s mirror.

The truth is, there is a monster
in my chest, and sometimes,
I sing her lullabies,
but she doesn’t scare me
as much as everything I want,
a need that is its own dimension,
rattling like a wind chime
in a hurricane, and I think:
I made this,
so, now what?

The truth is, you are standing on a bridge
with a lit match, and maybe
my bones are gasoline, maybe
my hands are tinder, maybe
my kiss is the friction
of the night sky
and new constellations—
but you can still go back
to where it’s safe,
there’s solid ground
and old miracles,
and it would be alright.

The truth is, instead of safety,
I would rather drown
or burn, throw all the windows open
and laugh in the rain, meeting
like ink clinging to fingers,
unexpected, a beautiful darkness,
like laughter trailing
through a kiss, unhindered
and insanely free.

Categories: poem, Poetry, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

I Believe in AMERICANS GODS

 

 

When I heard that Bryan Fuller was tackling Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for Starz, I did a happy dance. For one thing, I have adored all of Fuller’s work, with literally no complaints. That is rare as fuck. For another, Gaiman is my favorite author. And while Gods isn’t my favorite Gaiman book (that’s Neverwhere, thank you), I was insanely thrilled at the prospect of seeing Shadow Moon and Wednesday and Bilquis come to life.

 

You could say, if you wanted to be clever, that the premiere (“The Bone Orchard“) made a believer out of me. And, as worship sometimes proves without a doubt, that faith was rewarded when I watched it last night. It was, no exaggeration, flawless—the use of light and color, the brilliance music selection, the razor sharp dialogue, and the astounding performances. I wondered how Bilquis’s scene would be depicted, and holy hell in a handbasket—Yetide Badaki was flawless. Ricky Whittle’s turn as Shadow was nuanced and powerful, even when there was no dialogue. My heart broke for him at the funeral and again at the graveyard. In that garden full of dead people, his best friend’s widow (Betty Gilpin crushed it) was a hurricane of grief that was so raw and yet so real. Betrayal does strange things to a person, and in that frenetic explosion of pain, there was no false note.

 

Jonathan Tucker’s Low Key was a barely contained tidal wave of mischief and misdirection, a stream-of-consciousness maelstrom, a clever contrast to Shadow’s steady and unwavering nature. There’s an undertone of madness there, as he bends Shadow’s ear in flashbacks, giving advice that plays perfectly into the future.

 

Not to be outdone is Bruce Langley’s Technology Boy, who is menacing as all hell. There’s an edge to him that I did not expect. But the limits of his power are tested, when Shadow’s nearly hung, but  he’s saved by an unknown force. Given the immense presence of technology in everyday life, what would be strong enough to stand against it? Who, or what, saved Shadow?

 

My guess is Ian McShane’s Wednesday had a hand in that particular salvation. Wednesday has invested in Shadow and his future, a winding and strange journey so far. McShane, for all his manipulation and bluster, stole every scene he was in. He shapeshifts to fit the situation, but he’s always in control, always in power. McShane’s delivery was always pitch perfect, sly and subtle, but no less powerful for it. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role.

 

Fuller’s distinctive style and attention to detail (“Fuck god and cum hard” etched in the bathroom mirror—McShane mentioning one eye) are in full force. The bar and the ensuing brawl with Mad Sweeney (deliciously played by Pablo Schreiber) was perfectly done, giving a nice glimpse of what happens when Shadow is pushed too far. The overlap of past, present, and well beyond into the Twilight could have been tricky. It easily could’ve felt stilted or disjointed. Instead, the clash of past and present was like the striking of a match: brilliant and unmistakable.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready and willing to worship next week.

you find yourself in a forest

April 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Life can be so unexpected, sometimes. We often try so hard to keep it neat, clean, within the lines. Only walk in a straight line, stick to the plan. And I get this. I’ve been there. The unexpected can be scary, because it’s almost always a hell of a question mark. Even when presented with a choice, you then have to be brave enough to choose. Left or right. Leap or stay. You either hold your heart within your chest or offer it in the palm of your hand. You walk down a new street, into an unknown alleyway and see what happens—or you take the same route you’ve always taken.

These seem like clear cut decisions: you either do or you don’t. But that’s hardly the whole story, as much as we may want it to be. Because when making a choice, you find yourself in a forest. The forest is kissed by fog and soft light. There’s one path before you, and you know where it leads. It is a path you’ve walked before. It is safe, steady. Destination certain. There’s no guesswork. You can easily just keep walking, put one foot in front of the other.

But off to your left, you hear a noise. The snap of a twig, perhaps. The crunch of leaves. You turn and look. You lock eyes with a white stag. And for a moment, you hold your breath. For a moment, you don’t even remember where you are. All you can see is the gleaming white fur and kind eyes. You can feel your heartbeat thrumming in your chest, breathe leaning against your ribs. And you wonder at the beauty there, a thing you’ve not seen before.

The deer turns and walks the other way. You then have a choice: step off the path and see if you can catch the deer—or keep going the way you were. Resituate yourself in the familiar and keep to the path. There’s no guarantee you’ll even catch the stag. You might wander after it and never grasp it. You can try and still not succeed. That’s the catch. There are no certainties here, but there is always merit in the journey. It might not go the way you think. It might even be better than you had hoped. But you have to suss out, often in too short a time span, what you want. If you’re brave enough to do the unexpected thing—to say, “to hell with it,” and walk in a direction, knowing that you probably won’t ever see that path again. Knowing that to step off of it means an entirely new world. And it is, of course, terrifying and thrilling, the spark that lights the flame inside your heart.

You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to fall. You have to be willing to explore a part of the unknown. You could lose sight of that stag and never catch it. But what if—what if you did? There’s a crazy amount of joy in that. There is courage in stopping to think you might get what you want. A lot of things in life come down to how brave you are, how brave you’re willing to pretend to be. There’s no absence of fear, only telling it to shut up. Fear doesn’t get to run the show.

I have been that girl in the forest. I have looked at the easy path. I have seen the white hot flash of possibility. When given the choice, when my heart starts to race a certain way, the path stops existing for me. There’s just the curving beauty of a question mark, the stark pull of maybe, what-if clamoring for acknowledgement.

Today, what would you do, if you found yourself on that path? Are you brave enough to follow that deer?

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March 31, 2017 2 comments

(after Marty McConnell’s “treatise on the nature of non-abandonment“)

 

Anything can happen. A fire,
drinks, a kiss in a bar
neither of us can remember
the name of—one more secret,
rain-soaked in an old city,
or a new one,
I would go there with you,
which is to say: anywhere.

You are real, but your body
was once a stranger,
your laugh unfamiliar,
your kiss undiscovered.
Now, you are backroads
and crisp air in October,
your face
a book I can’t stop reading,
a favorite place.

I’ve kissed men
who couldn’t remember
my birthday, but you
know how I take my coffee,
how I always pull at my sleeves,
how I take forever to unpack—
but what do you want?

This is me: carefully reckless,
a hurricane of words,
a collection of left-behind sorrows
that seemed so big, once,
but now, they’re an old chapter,
a too-cluttered page, the wrong metaphor
and too many goddamn
parentheses—
and we are not that,
no punctuation, no pause,
no end stop.

And the truth is,
I didn’t know how many languages
a heart could hold, a mouth,
a tongue, a miracle.
The truth is,
I want to kiss you
while I’m making dinner,
decide your place
or mine, or ours,
or somewhere
in between.

Somewhere, someone whispers
caution, but I don’t know how,
and maybe you wouldn’t
love me if I did,
but it’s hard to imagine
a universe
without you in it,
and I’ve spent three decades
losing people
like misplaced keys,
turned backs, unsaid goodbyes,
a listing of loved ones
in a newspaper—
and my name’s not there.

There’s always chaos
in the left-behind,
like how I used to love escalators,
but now I’m afraid of heights,
an unstitched seam in a heart,
the way ink stains
everything you make
and unmake—
always messy.

Anything can happen,
so bring me all your imperfections,
every bad break,
the monsters that live
in the dark of your heart—
maybe it’s time to share bread
with all the possibilities,
make new keys
to old doors, reimagine
life from this moment,
seeing you on a street corner,
deconstructing the unsaid,
the way bodies
crash together like worlds—
ruin yielding as a placeholder
for what
comes next.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

a mouth full of amen

March 11, 2017 3 comments

This is what it is
to wake up with bones
full of want: a snake
of desire for a spine,
each rib a bottomless need,
hip bones full
of yes, skin flushed
full apocalypse.

This is hands
like a rosary, each finger
a prayer, kneeling
with a mouth full
of amen, body lit up
like light
through stained glass.

This is the unraveling
of polite, all wine
drunk, all gasp,
the graze of salt
on a tongue,
the way even the riverbeds
surrender to fire,
how the sharp breath of a name
can burn it all down—
and leave you grateful,
coiled, and curious
for more.

Categories: Uncategorized

Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point*

March 1, 2017 2 comments

Because I have swallowed silence
as perfect as a thousand empty forests,
all bark and no bird.

Because sometimes
I try too hard,
but I don’t know how
to stop—I don’t know
the curve of the word
less.

Because I am lost
and leave you breadcrumbs
in a place
no fool would ever follow,
not out of habit,
but out of hope.

Because I don’t know how
to ask the right questions,
so I say nothing.

Because I can say
I miss you
in three different languages,
and I love you
in five—one of which
uses no words.

Because I want
and that is the beginning
and end of everything.

 

 

*Title from Blaise Pascal.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized Tags: ,

the shape of things

February 23, 2017 1 comment

Let your bones
become a safehouse,
remember
that your sternum
is like armor for your heart,
but let it keep time
anyway, the tick
of truth against your ribs,
spine like a scaffold,
steady steel—
sometimes the shape of things
changes, sometimes
you soul breathes
like blown glass:
make art out of it,
every shatter,
every shadow,
every monster howling
in your stomach.

Because this is how you make a new world:
footprints in unfamiliar rooms,
uneven stitches, the rough kiss
of fog through old streets,
a constellation of stained glass,
one color for everything
you cannot bear to leave behind,
a garden full of winding grief,
a sky full of songs
that were once stars.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized Tags: , ,