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without bones

April 13, 2015 3 comments

It’s never the time
or the place; we’re never
quite alone enough
to let go, hands like rivers
and mouths like deserts,
we are always thirsty,
we are, and we are not, enough.

There is no blueprint
for magic, but if there were,
it would look like your smile,
the way stars gather
in secret
when you laugh, and how
home curls up
in an afternoon
when no one is looking
for us.

Tell me
how the sky is a miracle
without any edges. Then,
give me your mouth
like a magnet, offer
attraction as extraordinary
evidence against the mundane –
there is no bottom
to this want, and somewhere
in the wild night,
a wolf howls, explaining
how rivers move
with a ferocious grace, quietly
unrelenting.

What I wouldn’t give for wings –
that is, time. That is, you.
Yes, this is the wrong moment
for anything called love,
but here it is, broken open
like a bad sentence, tender
and without bones – what will you do
with it? What will you do
for it?

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Prayer for the Days of Parking Lots

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Remember the lights
and the inconvenient timing,
hearts showing up
to find hands, love
in the time of early mornings
and parking lots,
memories
split open to reveal
only the best parts –
now, I have sticky fingers
and too much rain.

This winter
has become a river
inside my heart, unsteady
and wanting, with gravel
and glass for hope,
an unconventional mess
of beauty, an unsaid
prayer for the days
of parking lots, hands
like kerosene,
when you conjured fire
and we only thought
we were alone.

We have tried on every season
like stars, our bodies
as certain as the night sky,
and this is how we always found our way
home, kisses like constellations
and stories arriving
in sighs – all before
the moon had a chance to sleep.

I want the ancient creak
of mornings and the sound
of footsteps on old pavement,
waiting around corners
for doors to be unlocked
and the chance
to kiss hello – the hour
may have been angry
with the dawn, but I was never
unsure of any minute,
that small scored out piece
of an unexpected heaven
was ours
yours and mine.

Let’s forget
the frail hands of fear
for stronger secrets:
I’ll bend if you will,
come on now –
you know where to find me.

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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: , , ,

Speculation

November 26, 2014 7 comments

This is what I was:
a happy accident, heart
like wolves running
alongside train tracks,
a bomb in every kiss,
a repeated mistake
that split your life
in two. Do you know
how it feels to be somebody’s
shouldn’t? How that revelation
bleeds into not good enough
a reminder than possession
is nine-tenths
of the law, and everything
about me is empty.

This is what I am:
an alarm, a hurricane
without notice, the reason
you can’t go home,
the reason you have no home –
tell me: which one
of us is the arsonist,
which is the impossible fire?
Your bones
are all excuses, so
I hardly think names matter:
you’ll just deny everything.

This is what I’ll be:
gone, left, leaving –
the broken blood
of a clock, unwound,
a prophet
with too many hands
and not enough feet –
it was never in me
to run, no matter
how sweetly you kept
asking – my loyalty
somehow managed to be
a disappointment.

This is what I could’ve been:
a safe house, yours,
heart like a prayer
against the growing dark,
sweeter for the dance
you didn’t know
how to ask for, a blueprint
for freedom
in a body built with the word
love. Miraculous
was my name, once; I knew
how to die, but keep on living,
pain was a parlor trick
of heavy secrets, unnecessary
to explain. But now,
this leaking heart
is a magic to you took
for granted –
don’t you dare forget:
you chose this
and I have to live with it.

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junkie love*

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

This much is clear: you don’t want to see the mess. The aftermath. The aftershocks. The absolute wreck of split atoms and shattered everything. The consequences might make you change your mind, so you don’t look. You don’t acknowledge. You leave without a word, shut – not slam – the door, careful not to leave any clues or raise any alarms. You don’t want to be there when the wolves come from the inside, teeth gnashing and without mercy. You don’t want to witness what you have made out of this, turning hope into poison like a magic trick. Easy misdirection.

If you keep moving, none of it matters. Not of it has weight. The girl is like the wind, anyway – everywhere and nowhere, unable to be quantified. If her heart has no bones, maybe she’ll survive it. You tell yourself that she’ll be fine, if you don’t look. Close your eyes and all the bad things disappear – this is a game we carry from childhood. It is easy to let go if you don’t stick around for the impact. You pushed her off a cliff, and maybe she flew. Maybe that’s just how she gets her wings. Maybe you’re doing her a favor, saving her from herself, offering her kindness in disguise. It’s the best thing, really. Or is it the easiest? The less disruptive, the least possible collateral damage. She weighs less than she ever did, right? Doesn’t even register on the scale. Of course, you never bothered asking about the knives. You did not stop to wonder about the burden of guilt – how some people ingest it like sorrow. How blame has such sharp claws. No matter. She didn’t mean anything to you, anyway. How many people have you told that lie to, convinced it sounded like the truth?

If you never tell her goodbye, it’s the same as not leaving. And if she never explained every single way she loved you, maybe she never did. I mean, really – who can trust feelings these days? And you were never really hers to begin with – there was never any real evidence, certainly no contract. She was always going to be just a secret.

So, go on then – run.

*poem title take from “thine” by Marty McConnell

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Too Many Days and Counting

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

My bones are so rusty
that I need another word for broken,
some kind of glue
other than tequila, something
more reliable than duct tape
and silence: poor offerings
at an altar
I wish I could burn down –
each prayer candle
lit with a mistake, each stinging
like a bruise, blame
closing every door, until
my hands are useless,
but I already tossed my heart
into the ring –
and you, you always run.

This is what I get for being a heretic
in love with a holy man,
heart more hanged man
than hierophant,
all angles
and no expectations, passion
spreading like grief, fingers
pressed into ribs, only
my hips are a rosary
you can no longer rely on –
besides, my redemption
is nobody’s business.

I wonder how many times
we can play these parts
without becoming them –
how brave would we
have to be to peel back the layers
like a striptease,
dancing between forgiveness
and infidelity, our promises
made out of glass, so close
to the real thing –
but with all these departures
who are we even fooling?

I look like steel, spine
made out of sky and buildings,
but I am no more than
flesh and feelings, nothing stronger
than dye dropped into water,
a disruptive element,
just enough glitter to distract from
the ruin underneath, always
understanding that there’s no real way
to survive the fall –
this is not your problem.

Today, I will not answer the phone,
I won’t even acknowledge its ring,
but the pressure is still profound,
a fiction unwinding
in the wound, the noises piling up,
and I can’t stop
looking at my keys
as if I have somewhere to run –
I know the danger of repetition,
I know how to be close
and how much it costs,
and I know that you love me
and it’s all my fault,
but there’s no more marrow
in my bones – what else can I give you?

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vulnerable as a match

October 19, 2014 1 comment

You told me
seeing each other is not
a good idea – echoing
a confession I had once made
to myself, breaking
my weakest moment
like a bomb made of wolves,
all howl and teeth, pacing
and moon, no relief,
just a fear loping
between my ribs.

Maybe we are not
perfect – maybe
we are a circus
made of madness, a bridge
of wishes taken for granted,
kisses consumed like air
until I don’t know
how to breathe without you –
maybe, maybe that’s love.

So many times, I have burned
you out of my life
by accident; so many times,
you have sent me off
in a flood. Each time,
I think maybe it’s my fault,
did I make this burden myself?
The truth is,
I don’t know how to hate you,
and I don’t know how to stop
missing you, and I think
the wolves are hungry –
what should I feed them?
What’s left to give?

Maybe we aren’t
a good idea – maybe
there’s nothing safe
about a body made of earthquakes,
hands like a hurricane, heart
like a four-alarm fire
but vulnerable as a match –
but this is what I offer,
this is love nakedly surrendering,
and yes
I am small
and easily pulled apart,
but I know your mouth
like a poem, I know all the worlds
in your voice, and I know
your hands like wind chimes
moved by an invisible force.

Good may never be
our adjective, and maybe
ashes are all we’ve become –
but I will not disappear
because of what people
might say – I am right here,
I have not changed the locks,
and my luck
is a wolf willingly standing
on the train tracks, defiance
for a spine, unafraid
to face the wreck – the question
then is:
how gone are you?

Categories: poem, Writing Tags: , ,

this love is a fourth river

October 10, 2014 2 comments

This is what you call
madness: love
so fierce that it forgets
itself, that it forgets why not
and how much hell
it might raise. This is six seeds
from a pomegranate
eaten willingly, this is the soft
beauty of the dark, and risking
the journey and waiting
for the agony of nails.

Three matches
and a wish, then everything
is burning – and hope kept neatly
in a jar, explodes
in the flames –
sometimes, even the good
becomes shrapnel, sometimes
a want is so full of teeth
that it reimagines itself
as a monster, but even
in the mirror, there are no
none here.

This love is a fourth river,
the final crossing
of roads, an intersection
of absolute chaos
and absolute faith –
but love that is not mad
around the edges
is nothing more the infatuated interest,
and I dare to give you flames,
to watch the old things burn,
naked, honest as a clock,
every person
I might’ve ever been
loves every angle of you
(both real and imaginary) –
so, here is everything
we might be,
offered like a bloody fruit
that looks like a fist –
this is how we wage war
together, Hades and Persephone.

Categories: poem, Poetry Tags: , ,

sometimes, we burn

October 9, 2014 3 comments

Our history
sits like a cat on my doorstep,
bringing me clever presents,
leaving and returning
out of instinct, waiting
for me to open the door.
It paces. I pace.
It brings me more hope
like dead birds –
and there’s a moment
where I feel less like a liability.

This is how it always starts,
and I know
every hip-curve of this world, I know
how to break a window
when the doors won’t work,
nobody else
will ever see the mess, anyway,
but it could also be happiness,
these ashes, a new start –
sometimes, we burn
the house down
as an act of disclosure –
this is mine.

I wonder
how many different kinds
of loneliness
lie in between us. How much
empathy is there
in this absence? Our story
should be softer
than the angles of a spine, but I
still want to scream things
until even the wind
sounds like your name –
is there another ending?

Tell me
we aren’t lost again, aren’t
running headlong
into rush hour traffic
wielding excuses
instead of knives, lingering
too long on the edge of can’t
and fear – give me
a forest of solid ground
and passion that is its own promise,
give this a heartbeat
and not just flesh
and bones.

Categories: poem, Poetry, Writing Tags: , ,

summer secrets

June 18, 2014 Leave a comment
 
When you can’t shake feelings of
error and mistake, as if every word
has become an enemy, every silence
a weapon – what then? Do you
arm yourself with exorcism
and prayer? Do you clutch
forgiveness like a rosary,
or do you make apologies for the bleed?
 
When you can’t cast aside feelings of
lost and alone, as if every step
leads in the wrong direction, revealing
another wall, another place
you shouldn’t be – what then?
Tell me: what is the quickest way
to unravel this labyrinth
in my head? Tell me: how do I find
and vanquish the monster
surely at the center of it?
 
Perhaps I am just flying
too close to the sun,
all height and no safety net,
all consequence and no relief.
Forget the bandages –
you cannot fix a heart on fire,
and I fear there is no tourniquet
for all the things I wish.
 
But when I can’t forget the way
freedom and hope feel, as if
these fierce summer secrets
know the winds of my soul – what then?
How do un-love?
How do I un-ask?
How do I undo every promise?
That is not my religion –
tell me: is it yours?