Posts Tagged ‘poems’

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,
things work out—
sometimes, the soul speaks,
and the brave listen.

honest monsters

December 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Something always
goes wrong, and we end up
here, lost in a language
made of rain boots
and untied shoes, leaving
the windows open
in winter, boundaries
earned in inexplicable ways –
I’m a postcard girl,
always so close to leaving,
always wanting to stay.

But here we are:
a man, a woman, a coward,
a moon – an easy study
of separation, inherited thorns,
and something that calls itself
relief when it’s really flight
we take turns ripping out the garden,
guessing at what might’ve grown.

If you put me on a scale,
I’ll weigh no more than a photograph –
the idea of something, a memory
gone gray around the edges,
and this story is old
but repeating, feelings
so bright they’re bleeding,
heart an unsleeping
crime scene –
okay, yes: I miss you.
So, what?

There’s only ever one train
to this city; we both live here,
we’ve both left, and we always
come back, carrying words
like new pennies, kisses
like vanishing points, full
of last spring and everything
we’ve yet to learn, convinced
there’s a new bravery
in place of our spines, that ruin
is not our only gift, that love
may not be the first sin
but it is the last,
and this is war
and this is peace,
but I believe I can hold us,
so, give me the stars again
and I’ll give you the keys,
fear dissolving in light,
let’s invent new ways
to become who we already are.

I was born
for this, hands open,
heart full of ugly gods,
honest monsters –
I am always, but you
are not sure
how to love me, your
body a surrogate
for fear, but it’s time
to lean in, skin to skin,
shut the windows
and begin, watch
what I can do with my hands –
sometimes yes
is the answer to all questions.

Categories: poem, poems, Poetry, Writing Tags: , , ,

a relentless grey since dawn

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s the thing. I sat down with the intention of writing something pretty. But I got about five sentences in, when I realized that I was writing the world’s dullest commonplace book. It was all banal clichés and pretty descriptions of nothing. And, for once, I don’t want to talk in metaphors.

I’m working on a new poetry book. By that, I mean it will be done shortly. I’m in the middle of sorting out the cover art. I don’t have an exact ETA yet (sometime in February). But it’s called I Don’t Love You Pretty.

The past couple of months, reading and editing, I’ve gone through the evitable,
“This line isn’t bad!” to “This whole thing is total rubbish!” cycle. It happens. It’s unavoidable. My dear friends always seem to know exactly when to hide the matches. But, reading things over, I’m proud of this bloody book. There are pieces of me in it, because no poem springs out of a vacuum. But only one poem is really me, entirely. The rest are things I tried to capture. Moments I wanted to rescue. Shadows I borrowed from other people. Imagined conversations. Worst fears. Stilted hopes. As the title suggests, it isn’t always pretty.

It occurred to me as I was re-reading, today, that I’m not always good at letting things be. And a part of that, I suppose, is an issue of control. To willingly let go of control is a leap of faith. It’s a thing of trust. It can be both freeing and scary. To put something out into the world and go, “Here, this is mine.” It’s terrifying in all the ways it should be terrifying. Because if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a risk. And all good things are, in their own ways.

Joan Didion once wrote, “In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.” To an extent, I believe that’s true. Writing is always meant to show, like a mirrorbox (shout out to Trinh T. Minh-ha): it reflects a certain spectrum of things. It all depends on the angle, the lightning, and how much you close your eyes.

But I digress.

Reading through this manuscript reminded me that I messy things. I like the honesty you can find in fingerpaints or a kiss at three a.m. I like storms, because they’re beautiful – and then either create or destroy. Yesterday, the skies were a relentless grey since dawn. Then, in midafternoon, as if someone flipped a switch, everything changed. The skies were full of sunlight, and everything glitter. Life is like that, most of the time. It can be a dark wreck, only to reveal something beautiful. Something miraculous. Something worth fighting for. Something worth the storm. Because, really, it’s the messy moments and things that brings us back to ourselves, isn’t it? It’s the chances we take. The words we dare to say. The love we light like a candle in the dark.

Writing a book – any book – is a lot like falling in love. In the beginning, it’s beautiful. It’s perfect. It’s new. Then it gets…difficult. There are times where you want to run, where you can’t put two sentences together, and you really wonder if you’re doing it all wrong. But then, you take a breath and really look at what you’ve made. And you rediscover why it all started in the first place. If it was easy, if it all just fell into place without a fight, we wouldn’t really love it. Because nothing worth having, worth making, worth possessing, just falls into your lap. Nothing ever spontaneously comes into being, darlings. You have to make it. You have fight for it. You have to take risks for it.

(All those things apply to writing and love, dear hearts.)

So, soon, this book will be a thing. Which is scary. And wonderful. And scary. But I hope you love it, mess and all. I won’t light it on fire, before you get a chance to see it. Although, to be fair, this is glorious weather for a bonfire…