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an ocean made for drowning

August 17, 2017 Leave a comment

This is a peculiar darkness,
a humming thing
made of low magic, a creaking
heart that betrays itself,
limping through a song of shadow,
until everything is different,
and there is no going back.

Sometimes, silence
is an ocean
made for drowning,
a tide of conflicting
forgiveness,
the rush of hands
receding,
the taste of salt
on sin.

The truth is often fashioned
out of secrets, tucked
like a quilt
so that no one looks at it
too hard, a pretty wreck
of what was
and what-might-have-been,
reframed by what is,
longing threaded through
with too steady a hand.

No one can unmake time,
and that is love, ticking
fast with each passing second,
unnamed
and faceless, beneath
the doubt of past mistakes,
unmoored
and set lost, not free.

Everything is a consequence
of something else,
sometimes it’s an echo
of old, familiar ghosts, a mourning
that speaks beneath the din,
purposeful in the quiet,
begging not to be seen,
open hands
that tell too many stories—
the bang of a door
no one ever walked through.

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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.

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: , ,

Placeholder

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: , ,