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For All the Things That Own Your Heart

July 17, 2020 Leave a comment

When the dark hits, where do you go?
Inside, where you remember
how nothing mattered, until
everything did, and that history
unravels in the silence,
but it is not silent—
and memory offers
an unhindered laugh, a gruff
softness, a steady hand,
and a mirror
for all the things
that own your heart.

When the dark hits, what do you say?
Everything, but not always in words,
instead giving the gift
of presence, a new sacred space,
a bit of humor
amidst the chaos,
the not-so-small grace
of loving every way you can—
thoroughly and without question.

When the dark hits, what do you feel?
Each howling ache, the way it builds
like heat, burning in the space
between here and there,
and yet, the light lingers,
a glint of remembrance,
of what was, what is,
and what will be.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

Some Hearts

April 10, 2020 Leave a comment

 

Everything was something else, once,
but you burned it down, one match
in that too-dry house,
that kindling-no man’s land
where you had become a ghost,
and with that impossible heat,
everything changed,
crumbled like gingerbread,
until everything was smoke
and memory,
and you left your shoes
right where the door used to be,
because you were never going back,
and you are always leaving things behind,
but you needed to make new memories.

You pulled your heart
from its harbor—that bloody mess
of howling—and you gave it
to a girl you thought was the moon,
and the whole world spun wide
and wild, and you could taste
freedom in her name
every time you whispered
in her ear—
but you forgot that the moon is fickle,
and she changes
without mercy,
and everything goes dark
eventually.

Sometimes, love snaps your heart
like a bone, and those fingers
that used to shiver across your skin
suddenly leave you wanting,
aching, and your heart is howling again
but out of absence,
burning with mourning
until you don’t what day it is,
and you don’t even care,
but it gets better—
eventually.

And then here is a fey girl
of chaos, ripe as sunlight
and messy as a pomegranate,
sweet but not without difficulty,
her soul a song
made of the impossible,
with scars no one can trace
with a hand, but that burn
like sigils in the dark
when no one is looking,
and yet, she gives you laughter,
and meets you at the crossroad
full of old memories,
waiting without hesitation,
and there’s a fire in her mouth,
while yours holds the ocean,
and she’s drowned before
so she knows what might happen—
but some hearts
always know where they’re going.

Everything was something else, once,
but you cannot measure the past
by the smell of its ashes,
and you cannot train your heart
not to howl, wolf-wild
it once lived for its solitude,
but that’s a mouth keen on starving,
and every instinct
dwells in passion,
a sharp spark of stars
that trip their way across the sky,
an offering
of pure light,
when the dark
would overtake you.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

What If?

April 8, 2020 2 comments

Once, I loved a man
who built walls, brick by brick,
only to pretend they weren’t there,
that the illusion was sky,
and I buried my heart in the dirt,
at his feet, because maybe it would grow,
maybe hearts become trees,
and a branch would be wide enough
for some kind of miracle—
I wanted it to make sense,
I wanted him to understand
that love will sometimes break you,
but what if it didn’t?
What if love is a tree
you tend until it dares
to give you fruit?

But some people only know
how to live with clay feet,
and after a rainstorm,
a mess I summoned
with both hands
and a spine full of possibility,
I dug up my heart
despite its howling,
and I took it home
that is to say, here,
in the middle of my chest,
and I let it mourn
the living, I let it count out
all the chances scattered
like stars, all the ways
he almost, but never.

Once, I loved a man
who did not love himself,
who could not see the sky
for all its bright insistence,
who held his hopes
behind his back,
two fingers crossed
out of shame, scared
to face the consequences
of being brave enough
for wanting,
and this is a lesson
that stands out the most:
love is a wild thing
you give freely,
or not at all, and it
will grow, even under
the poorest conditions,
always beautiful
even when its full breadth
is unseen.

If you listen, you can hear
the heart-quiet now,
content, an unexpected lullaby
singing in the distance,
not love, but wind-wild,
something like roots
and a forest fire,
the sharp pitch
of a rough softness,
and it makes me question
everything,
but not what might
grow.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

Elsewhere, a Wolf

March 30, 2020 Leave a comment

A ghost calls, but you do not answer—
that way, you know, lies madness
and sorrow, the soul-split
of both desire and heartache,
a fire made more of damnation
than warmth, and it is buried,
finally, in overdue earth,
salted and left alone—
those bones
were never good
to begin with.

And, somewhere, a crow sings,
teal-bright feathers gleaming,
beautiful in its darkness,
its spinning melody
holding new secrets—
and yes, everything worthwhile
is dangerous,
and here, this apple,
and there, this path,
and then—
everything changes,
now what?

These things you leave behind
are not breadcrumbs; no one
is coming to find you,
and you do not need saving—
but you have been cursed before,
asleep to dream awake,
here but only a shadow
of yourself,
and never again that,
never again less,
from here on,
more rose than thorn.

Elsewhere, a wolf howls,
and your heart feels like the moon,
but you do not trust it,
because there’s too much worry
in the waning,
and yet, here you are,
in this forest of nowhere,
stock-still and stubborn,
lost, and yet
content to wander
where others dare not go.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

there are things I shouldn’t say

March 7, 2018 Leave a comment

At some point, you wake
with my name in your mouth,
a spark in a forest
long since burned,
a haunting of bones,
a car crash kiss,
stolen light
woven into the ghost
of longing,
you and I,
an arsonist’s lullaby,
every note, a sustenance
of stars, the curve of the moon,
hearts too big
for the night.

Let the memory fog up
like windows in summer,
the catch of an indrawn breath
obscuring all view, all thought—
why not take
with both hands, here
this trespass, there
the impossible,
always this
sacred space,
a blessing of salt,
a benediction of hip,
a reckoning prayer.

We are new reflections
of our old selves, imperfect
as every photograph
we never took, happiness
caught up
in the trap of time—
tell me, do you still love me?
Tell me, have you learned
to love yourself?

There are things I shouldn’t say:
I crave your mouth, your eyes
full of mismatched feelings,
our silence leaning
away from our hearts,
all the noise rushing in,
your voice carrying
further than it should,
something snapping
in my chest, a spell
breaking, hope
untethered
from a cruel curse.

It would be easy to end this,
to begin it again, possibility
spinning like an unsatisfied compass,
we could pretend
bending toward joy
is an unforgivable sin,
let the dust settle again,
familiar and easy—
but what is dust
except a reminder
of what isn’t there?

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

the asking

October 26, 2017 2 comments

Tell me what lives like a storm
of secrets, tucked inside your skin
like a scar of tragedies, a lighthouse
of wanton shame, hesitation
that sings
like falling stars—
messy and imprecise,
absence in all its splendor.

Show me where the world bends
within your soul, the moments
where your heart folds in on itself,
a labyrinth of want, wild
in its own grief.

Keep the sweetness at bay—
this, a green apple,
that, a mouth of salt,
here, skin like sin,
a slink of fire, a match
of hip, the touch of hands
a rebellion.

Offer me what breaks
like a fever, relief
flooded and flushed out,
the last temptation of everything
you never said aloud,
the slow burn of stars
howling into the night.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

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: ,