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The Lorelai Sings

July 17, 2017 Leave a comment

These are all the ghosts I’ve loved before,
their delicate bones, neatly arranged
into new mistakes, bright
and blanched like stars,
a history lit up
and unexplained,
hearts unexamined
at the roots,
careless in the quiet
shadow of maybe.

There’s the ache of space
between one rib and the next,
a breath of hesitation
crowded by what-ifs
and moments that linger
too heavy with empty,
the trembling
possibility
of familiar footsteps,
a wrong turn down
a forest path, hearts
full of wolves
that howl at a false moon—
fear is the worst companion.

Ghosts always have too many hands,
an endless reach of wailing
memory, an old song
re-varnished
as a thousand secrets,
all gasping for attention,
a kiss so full
that all the rules break
and time separates
from reason—
an unforgiving split.

This is what it’s like
to live at the center
of a labyrinth, heart
wild as a monster,
waiting for what will wing
itself around the last corner,
unannounced as any madness,
a graveyard of old promises
firm in its teeth,
and me with a cracked mirror
for a soul—
there’s nothing left to do
but sing.

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

When the Believer Begins to Doubt, A Prayer

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

When it happens again, I try not to play the old game
of habit over reason, but I fear I am losing everything
the way light loses itself
in winter. Still, I leave the doubt
between my teeth, try not to bite down,
try not to let all the old ghosts out,
but they are always howling,
even on nights
when there is no wind.

This is the way every nightmare starts:
a crack spiderwebbing the glass,
a splinter of dissent,
a key with no lock
and endless questions.

When it happens again, I try not to hold my breath,
knowing it’s just as easy to drown
on dry land, in the middle of a crowded room,
I know
that this is alone as it gets,
but I’m still smiling,
and that’s careful enough.

This is the way I remember
all the places in which
I don’t add up, from hip
to rib to heart, weightless
as a laugh and twice
as easy to lose—
somehow, an ordinary magic,
somehow, an aftermath,
a wreck of a wild thing,
a ruin of red lights
and missed calls.

When it happens again, it’s all train tracks
and wolves, but I stand there anyway,
defiant as a hurricane, a mouth
made of prayers, a gathering of red,
a tumble of what’s most vulnerable.

This is what I am:
a symphony of impossible
want, flowers dancing
in miraculous places, the feathered
promise of maybe,
the way love shatters
all other expectations—
sometimes, the old fears
slink back into the dark,
sometimes, not everything
is a mess waiting to pounce,
sometimes,
things work out—
sometimes, the soul speaks,
and the brave listen.

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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

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: , ,

all riot red

January 27, 2017 Leave a comment

If you believe
love is a bone
you can set right,
I will not argue.
This is not science,
and we are not atoms
splitting, hands
are not gravity,
but a kiss
will spin the universe
like a kaleidoscope,
fractured glass
wondering if it’s still beautiful—
does everything
that’s broken
still sing the song
of its old self?

If you believe
an apology is enough,
that it does not sit
like a grenade
in every weak moment,
I will not argue.
This is not a war,
nobody wins,
and every heart
goes hungry
as a consequence—
did you know
that souls have ribs,
and during lean times,
you can count them
like excuses?

If you believe
I was a door marked exit,
a holy heart
curved into a mistake,
I will not argue.
This is not a prayer,
and I will not perform
forgiveness like a sinner—
all riot red,
all wine,
all trust,
I know what it is
to be an unexpected martyr.

To believe is to make
a choice between desire
and expectation,
to patch a wall
in a house with no roof,
to mend the moment
with quicksand,
to forget the sky
and worship only the root—
but you cannot unmake
the way two souls touch,
in this, we are magic,
unforgotten,
lost in a thousand things
unsaid.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

Gods and Monsters

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment

(I had submitted this to Rattle for their Poet’s Respond section, but they selected something else. I still feel as if this is important, so I’m sharing it here. This was the statement I wrote to go with it: At about 1:30 am, steps were taken to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This has been initiated without a suitable replacement, which will lead to millions of people to die. Among other things, the ACA ensures that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied insurance (pre-existing conditions include common things such as diabetes and pregnancy). You can read more about it here: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/12/509441874/senate-takes-first-step-towards-repeal-of-obamacare.

This poem is directed toward every Congressman/Congresswoman and Senator who looks at this potential repeal favorably.)


 

You have rearranged the bones
of your service,
made a false god
out of every
undignified inch,
not content
to eat your own heart,
you have savaged
everyone else’s,
instructing the future-dead
to thank you
for the gift of pain,
this sacrament of fear.

Holy are the thorns
of the self-righteous,
grateful is the stoned wife,
sinful is the leper—
this is your legacy,
turning wine
into water,
then offering it
to parched lungs.

The hour is late
or early, dark
and noisy,
it should be full of silence,
but yours
is an angry grace,
but
your god
is not my god,
for you have lit
candles
with other people’s lives,
aghast
at their screams
as they are burning,
you tell the poor
to be honored
by the lesson
of hunger
and wanting,
but try as you might,
you cannot make a man
out of nothing,
and when everything is ash
and ruin,
no one will say a prayer
for you, no one
will even speak your name.