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Wishes for the New Year

December 30, 2016 1 comment

Every New Year’s Eve in recent memory, Neil Gaiman writes his advice/wishes for the new year. Spoiler alert: I am not, in fact, Neil Gaiman. I’m not even British. We both do have unruly hair, though. But if I ever start drinking tea regularly instead of coffee, well…assume I’ve been kidnapped and am trying to signal you for help. Same goes for drinking decaf.

Where was I? Right. Neil’s advice. It’s sage stuff. Like all his writing leans toward, it’s perfectly phrased, deceptively simple, and sure to resonate somewhere deep within your heart. That fantastic bastard is pretty damn talented. (I don’t know him well enough to call him a fantastic bastard, but just go with it.)

In the same tradition of the Crazy Hair’d Gaiman, here are my wishes for you, for this coming new year.

  • Be yourself as brilliantly as wildly as you can.
  • Write the thing that scares you to the depths of your self-conscious heart. Make the art that you’re not quite sure you can, because the truth is – you won’t know until you try.
  • Find someone and encourage them in their pursuits, because we are meant to lift others up, not keep them down.
  • Let go of what doesn’t (sometimes, who doesn’t) light you up. Life is too short for tepid, okay, and painfully familiar.
  • Go on adventures, even if it simply means taking a different route home from work.
  • Don’t try and get something right the first go around. No one does that. Even da Vinci had first drafts. You can always fix what you’ve created, but not what’s still stuck in your head.
  • Stop explaining your choices to anyone who does not support you.
  • Read books outside of your comfort zone/genre. Read diversely.
  • Don’t accept less than what you deserve. Compromise, but do not compromise yourself.
  • Love as deeply and as honestly as you can. Whenever you can.
  • Kiss, hug, and cuddle whenever you get the opportunity, because touch is a language that needs no translation. Kiss someone who thinks you’re magic and real, all in the same breath.
  • Speak out and speak up – for yourself and in defense of others. We weren’t put on this earth to be cowards or to bow to anyone or anything that is unworthy of respect.
  • Figure out what Carrie Fisher would do, ready your middle finger, and sharpen your tongue. Same goes for Bowie and Prince. Sparkle. Wear funky clothes. Don’t conform.
  • At the end of the day, tomorrow is not promised. The next choice you make could turn your life into magic. So, open your heart and go shine your light into this world. It needs your light. And that’s the only way to chase out the dark, darlings: share the light.

 

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Neil Gaiman, Coraline

a girl falls in love with the ocean

December 27, 2016 2 comments

(After Sarah Kay’s “Postcards”)

 

I had already fallen in love with too much water, when you showed up out of nowhere, heart full of flood, mouth full of ocean. You kissed me, and that was it. I stopped looking for the shoreline, and I can’t tell you the last time I did that. I can float here for days or find my way to the bottom—both equally safe. Is there a word for arrival that feels like the word home? If there is, it is made of a bird’s wings, the smell of dirt in spring, the crisp smell of a fire burning on a cold night. If there is, I’ve seen it in your smile.

 

I keep waiting to take one breath too many, to let in what should be kept out, to be overwhelmed by it. But it doesn’t happen. I’ve started to forget what pain tastes like, the metallic aftertaste, the way grief always finds the bathroom floor, how nothing’s ever as clean as it should be. I stopped counting the awkward tick of my own heart. I used to think it was proof of life, but it’s only living if you are brave enough to share it. Here, look: I’ve got something in my hand. Sorry about the mess. I’m not one to be afraid of it. I know other people are. Still, look: red’s always been my color.

 

Is there a word for yes that feels like warm blankets, a deep kiss, the lingering of fingers on hipbones? There are a thousand rivers underneath my skin, and each of them are looking for you. There is purpose in the current, but I know it holds too many secrets. There’s always something living underneath the surface. Would you wade in anyway, not knowing what it is?

 

I don’t know what to call this. There’s no way to dam it. All I know is I love the undercurrent of your laugh, the way I can picture you in a room, even when you’re not here. Come, paint the ocean on my back. Say it’s a map. Say it’s a lighthouse. Say you can find me, even in the dark.

more than

December 14, 2016 1 comment

This is to say
I want to write you a lullaby
for the bruises
on your heart.

I want to remind you
that they’re proof
of the body’s defiance,
a mosaic of the night sky,
the sun,
a thousand secrets.

I want to explain
that survival is like this:
a scald of coffee,
a glove left behind,
an unanswered kiss—
you learn to live
a tasteless life,
no salted skin
or apples,
sweet only in its
sameness,
the way want curls in,
learning to comfort itself.

But darling,
you are more than
measured bones,
more than the sanctity of reflex,
more than someone’s
safe choice—
your heart
is not a habit
someone else
can tame.

This is to say
that I have known impossible magic,
thrown open the windows,
called spring
by its first name,
made promises
with my hands—
this is to say,
sometimes,
it’s wonderful
to get what you want.

Categories: poem, Poetry, Uncategorized

all that is wild

December 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Give me imperfection—
the distance between hips,
the grief of your body,
the way want uncoils
like spring, endlessly
green, always reaching.

Hold your tongue
unless
it is put to good use.

Unfold this map
with greedy fingers,
then, get lost.

Recite a spell
written on skin,
but use no words.

Give me
a prayer-song
that no church would allow,
the catch of teeth on a promise,
all that is wild
and bone, a fogged window,
the greed of a too-full heart,
the click of a belt
unbuckling—
beg the stars
from my bones
and I will give you
the night.

Categories: poem, poems, Uncategorized

Rise

November 19, 2016 Leave a comment

The stitch of mouths,
the binding of hands,
the fire, the pyre,
the frenzy—
history hangs
in the balance,
tucked between teeth,
a bite,
a smile,
a coward—
he asks you to come closer,
he asks you to trust,
he demands
your silence,
and make no mistake:
a wolf
can easily hide itself
among other wolves,
but it takes a monster
to stand in the center
and call the mirror a liar,
to deny the twist
of his own myth,
to burn Rome down
and call it justice.

There’s nothing in this room
that hasn’t happened
before—but that doesn’t mean
honest hands should give Nero
his fiddle, or that solid souls
should offer
Circe her poison—
once the seal is broken,
you do not accept it,
you do not condone it,
you do not make it pretty,
and you do not look away.

Tomorrow
has a thousand heads,
and your heart is a sword:
use it wisely. The wolf is waiting—
be the stones
in its stomach.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

these bones are marked

November 12, 2016 Leave a comment

You speak to me of secrets,
but the storm is right there,
I can point to it
with my whole hand,
feel it with my whole heart,
the darkness
that refuses to see itself
in any mirror, refuses
to acknowledge the mirror
exists, turns its back
with a smash, kindness
shattering
in the wake of a scream.

Wait and listen, then—
someone will call for your silence,
someone will ask you to calm down,
someone will tell you to buck up,
someone will demand your acceptance,
someone will remark that it will be okay,
but I want to know:
how loud is your kindness?
how furious is your compassion?
how strong is your courage?
how weak is your apathy?
and how wide are your eyes open?

This world, right now,
offers us a new gravity,
its weight is heavier
than it was a moment ago,
full of fire
that can do two things:
ravage or warm,
and we must be mindful
of the spark,
the way it catches easily
on what’s been leeched
and blanched
beyond all human recognition,
these bones
are marked by a living ghost,
a thick howling creature
with a gentleman’s smile.
Do not tell me to look the other way
in the presence
of a monster. Do not ask
that I turn the other cheek.

Do not think I will sit
down
and stay small
when a mouth
becomes a noose,
a knife,
a burning cross,
a gleeful hate.

Remember, remember
this: in a world of burning things,
we should strive
to be water,
but do not forget
that water also drowns.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

Hurricane

November 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Don’t call it what it is,
don’t examine it too closely—
the way want arrives
without ceremony
or warning, there’s no
howl, just the flick
of fingers, a feeling
that spreads like sunset,
all color
and no shame,
an unexpected patchwork
that reads like a miracle,
invisible
and yet not—
an echo,
an unwasted spark,
a hurricane
of body and bone.

There’s always more
than one way to strike
a match, to give thanks,
to unravel
the astonishment
of desire—
but a crooked heart
always leans in one direction,
and you are a splendid
magic, a fully satisfied
smoky secret,
pushed beyond warning
into bonfire,
and this
is a steady invitation,
unbuttoned
and imperfect,
a crack of fire
undeterred by the rain.

In the end, a mouth
can be a safehouse,
the curve of a hip
a happy mistake,
the way it feels
to laugh into a kiss
without breaking—
no self-defense,
only freedom.

Now, examine it closer,
take a naked look
at this sweet circus,
the harbor of a red mouth,
all salted skin
and rough promise—
there’s a story
deep inside, a name
hidden
in a gasp,
come, find what’s waiting
in the dark.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized