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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.

the dark of my heart

January 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Some days, I am all scar
and not enough skin,
kiss like the crash
of waves
on rocks
in front of a dark lighthouse—
heart singing a song
that no man should follow,
all hip and promise,
all jealous grace.

I do not tell you of the drowning,
the way water slips
from mouth to lung,
how salt brines bones,
or the current
inside the dark of my heart.

Yes, I am sea glass.
Yes, I am the fog
on a window,
the want of steam,
a temporary picture
of maybe,
a clash of moon
against the tide. Read more…

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

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