Saturday, April 17, 2010

day 17: UGH.

Well. On the days I don't want to post what I've written because I don't think it's up to par, I get harassed by people who love me saying they damn want to see what happened. I feel like Michael Corleone here, staring my wife in her face saying "JUST THIS ONCE YOU CAN ASK ME ABOUT MY WORK."

See because while I wrote a couple tonight I don't like either enough to share, but JUST THIS ONCE YOU CAN ASK ME ABOUT MY WORK. But then if I'm feeling self deprecating and don't want to share next time well darnit that's tough titties.

It isn't at all curious or even, really, significant
that I'm afraid of heights unless you already know
that if I were allowed one wish I would wish to fly,
that my first crush was on one Peter Pan. I hate
the fear, the blind irrationality of it, and so
at every opportunity I try to challenge it.
I ride rollercoasters and when it gets
to the very top and everyone else is staring
dead ahead to see what comes next, I am peering
over the side, looking straight down
at the ground below, piercing my lower lip
with my teeth. I climb trees, I go to the rooftops
of buildings and creep out to the edge, hold on
for dear life as I look over, trying to stop
my spinning head. I'm afraid of public speaking
and so I sign up at every open mic; I'm terrified
of bugs in my house but I somehow manage
to kill them or scoop them into cups
and carry their bodies outside do you see
what it is I'm trying to say what I'm trying
to say is that I will keep coming back to you,
to the idea of us, just like it's the edge
of some building because there's no good reason
anyone should allow something so trivial
as a fear of heights to keep them from seeing
the view because when one finds oneself blessed
with a love like this, fear should get nothing
but a shove.

when she began cutting, it wasn't,
as some suspected, because she wanted
to die, far from it. it was just that
of all of the systems of coping she'd studied,
this one seemed best suited for her own
particular needs. well, to be fair,
narcolepsy had seemed more romantic but
as a newly developed insomniac she didn't
think she could make it stick. the first time
she picked up the blade and pressed it
to her canvas like a brush, she didn't
press deep; she didn't want to see blood.
no, instead she cut into that transtitive,
gossamer place just beneath the skin
where fears and memories stayed. she cut,
and out flowed that rooftop in winter,
the recurring dream of the grocer's son,
the first time a lover had hit her,
the eighth, the fear of never-good-enough,
the simultaneous need and impossibility
of sleep at four in the morning.
she pressed deeper. there, the first time
she cursed at her father, there, the tenth time
she she said she hated her mother to her face,
there, the times she ran away, filing out
in a meticulous line, one behind the other.
a little more pressure and just before
the single drop of blood that made her stop
came the day she first realized her parents
were not gods, the day she first realized
perhaps her lover might honestly be, and the day
she no longer could deny the truth of the canyon
of her own inescapable and utterly trivial

Friday, April 16, 2010

day 16

i wrote but won't share it so there.


NO I DIDN'T write a poem for day 15 and I'm okay with that. This April has been a lot harder than the past three, and I blame my close personal friend depression and I do not blame myself and I forgive myself and that's that. I love me even if I don't write every day this time around. I'll still try, and some days I'll crank out two or three. And they'll all be terrible. So I'll write another one at the very last minute and share that one instead. Or something. xoxo

Thursday, April 15, 2010

day 14: the science of it

she loves him hardest
on the nights when he's maddest,
when his anger approaches sacrilege,
when his raised fist becomes a feather of flame,
his entire body an iron jet,
each wicked glacial tooth cutting slow
across the flatlands of her skin,
each wave of rage revealing
a new coiled tempest in his chest.
on those humid evenings
when he tells her he loves her,
she can look him fully in the face,
and see the bald truth of it in his eyes,
the academic sincerity, the silver exact science.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

day 13 of 30: the gospel

The Gospel of Virginia Dare Swepston Wallace

Sit up straight. Alignment can be justification,
the reason for the cause. Challenge provocation
with the subject of your spine; then even
the release can be a statement.

Cross your legs, keep them together from top
to toe, every inch, more. Transcend your angles,
exceed corners. This is the price of our
promises. This obligation the cost of commitment.
Surely you mean to fetch a husband one day.

Say please, and thank you. This is your wealth,
your asset, your advantage.

Set the table like this, cook the pie
like this, sew a stitch like this, show
your love like this and they will love
your show. And remember, now, if you forget
everything else that above all,
you're a young lady and ladies
are never to be kept waiting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

day 12

Messages I would have left for my Muse yesterday if s/he had a phone:
Hey there. I don't know if you're busy or whatever but I
just wanted to call and remind you that we're supposed to
get together today, you know, so I can write that poem.
I mean, I'm sure you remember, so I guess I'm just calling
to see what was keeping you and find out when maybe you
might want to get together. Okay, let me know, thanks.
Hey baby. Me again. Maybe you just forgot to bring your
phone with you today. No worries, I'm sure I'll see you
soon. I love you. Bye.
Okay, ah, it's getting late. Baby we really need to get
Goddamnit this is ridiculous. I thought we had something.
Baby I need you to grind me like thick bass lines I need
you to sweeten my mouth all sticky like taffy I need you
to come over here right now right this minute and give me
all of your fingernails in my shoulderblades, to
pierce me a hundred thousand times. Just tell me what
to do.
Because the dishes have piled up again and even though
the house smells no one's taken out the trash and my dog
is starting to wonder what he's done wrong that we aren't
walking every day I know I have work to do but none
of that matters when your smell fades from my pillow when
your shoes are never by the door my own fingernails
just don't feel like yours I am freezing each night.
I'm sorry. I don't know
what happened but I guess
this means you aren't
coming over. I've made
do. Brewed tea, tried
to write but when I couldn't,
forgave myself,
I hope you're alright.
I hope we talk soon.
Can you maybe just forget
all of those other messages?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

day ten, so difficult

The Girl Next Door Dates the Acupuncturist:

When she opened the door, there he stood,
well-dressed and so polite, wearing a grin
and holding a boquet of needles. He didn't
offer them to her so the vase stayed
where it was. They left, went to dinner,
he asked about her childhood and when
she said they didn't hug her enough,
he took a needle from the bunch
and ever so carefully buried its point
in the nape of her neck. She didn't blink.
She went on. They picked on her, she said,
and there, a needle in her forearm.
No toys, she moaned, and he placed one
right in her palm. I still have problems
making friends, she admitted, and he threaded
a needle through the skin above her heart.
And with her admission that she had
no idea how to fall in love, he opened
his mouth, pierced his own tongue straight through,
kissed both her eyelids and then her mouth
as sweetly as she'd ever been kissed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

day nine, all apologies for messiness of draft

Most mornings you woke before me
to begin your sacred rites, first
bringing a glass of water and leaving it,
just there, on the nightstand that instantly
became an alter with your offering. Then,
to the kitchen to brew coffee and sometimes
I'd wake with the smell of it, stretching
into its earthen scent, the hazelnut creamer
you knew was my favorite.
If that was not enough, you'd bring out the pans,
the tongs, the spatula, and cook a breakfast
that would almost certainly coax me out
of dreaming, convince me to leave the comfort
of cotton and down. These
were your rituals, your prayer beads,
your communion, each morning kiss
an ablution, a baptism, a benediction.

I've never been good with the concept of the divine.
I left the church at age eleven, had a talk
with God to apologize, said I just couldn't hold
the idea all at once in my mind.
And so, on the rare mornings with you
when I woke first, all I could do was stare,
my heart trapped in my throat, wrapped in awe
and fear and rapture like a cloak, my eyes brimming with love
and wonder, too frightened to move, afraid
even the smallest ripple could shatter it all,
that you, like God, were just a fragile dream.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

day 8 of 30

For Tyshani, in the hopes that she can forgive me for writing it:

As sure as you know that you love her
with all the wild strength of a runaway train
despite never having lived with her outside of your body,
you must also know she loves you,
that the not knowing you doesn't matter.
When she plays make believe, it's your voice
she speaks in, the tones of your voice
a soaring tune she wakes up humming, never really
caring why. When she was given the doll that she knew,
sure and immediate, would always
be her favorite, she instantly gave it
your name, or perhaps some variant,
Tiffany, Bethany, the exactness
of the consonants muddled during the swim
to her tongue from the depths of her dreams.
When her adoptive parents ask how she conjured up
such a name, she shifts her weight from foot to foot,
anxious and darling, scratches the exact same place
on her body where you have the tattoo on yours and says,
iono, i think i dreamed it; in the dream
a pearl-covered mermaid brought me the name,
carried in a basket hand-woven
of love songs and tears.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

day 7 of 30

Today ends a week of depressing poems. Someone posted (on facebook) a "Pay it Forward" for creative people - you reply to their status and they will give you something handmade, and you then must do the same for five others. I'm giving poems.

For Erica:
Your mother may have told you tales
of hospitals, painful labor until dawn,
your brand-new foot slathered in black ink,
your grandmother cutting the cord.
These are all lies, of course,
and some part of you knows it. That part
remembers the dark cave wall, the breath
of the one who painted you there, remembers
the thousands of years spent waiting
until the day the woman who would become
your mother arrived and saw your image,
ancient and wild, there on the cold stone,
and she stood there, breathless, awe-struck,
and decided she had to have you. And so,
she gathered wood, lit a fire beneath you
and sang to you every day
for a full cycle of the moon until
you fell off the wall, crying with joy,
into her arms.

One day your son will come to you. He will
inform you in his infinite innocent wisdom
that he knows the stork is a lie.
When you look at him quizzically
and he will state with all the sureness of a prophet
that he knows his father brought him to you,
a giant swollen seed wrapped in butcher paper
and sheet music and together you sprouted him
in rich dark soil until he grew big enough
to love you back. You will not correct him.
You will look at him, silent and stoic and finally
you will nod, and say, "That is the way
of our people."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

day 6 of 30: Running In Water

With apologies for quality...


to have a mile-long grocery list,
but an empty checking account.
to have a clock but no desire
to keep track of the construct called time.
to have friends over for dinner
but sleep alone. to wake alone.
to have a dog who loves you but
no motivation to throw the ball.
to not want to do anything, in fact,
to not want anything.

One day at the university pool,
I witnessed a girl in a lane
standing upright, making her way
across. I asked what she was doing,
and she replied "running,"
because she was a runner, and
an injury had slowed her down.
Her doctor had told her to run
back and forth across the pool.
She said the extra resistance
made her stronger.

it only makes me tired.

Monday, April 5, 2010

day five of thirty

From today's batch, I hate this one the least:

These are not clouds. They are ghosts
of water buffalo, pregnant, lumbering slowly
across the sky for two days now, the humid air
so thick with their sweat I must push it aside
like curtains just to leave the house. The moon
is waxing; I can feel it, but cannot see it
for the clouds. I come home and close only
the screen door, so I can relish the smell.
The charge is driving the whole town mad.
There's pollen covering everything and
the wisteria has all exploded at once.
I go outside in the night, throw back my head
and bark at the sky but there comes
no moob, no rain, no relief.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I've been writing all day but nothing I want to share :(

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Having never expected to marry, the divorce
came as an even greater shock. Fortunately my friend
had the courtesy to die, tragically, gracefully, right in the same week
that I signed the papers; I cried blessed tears and named
every one after him, pictured in detail his car going
over the bridge instead of the beautiful blond back
of my ex-lover’s head driving away, thought
in detail about how he’d suffered as he drowned, and in a way
it helped drown my own sufferings.

That summer I left everything, took a job overseas, finished
the work and went to Spain. Only a few days after
my twenty-second birthday a boy in the bar told me
he loved my skirt, danced too close, called me pretty.
That was all it took. The sangria went to my head and I
took his hand, we left the club, kissed on every park bench
we passed, went straight to the beach and he fell into me
much in the same way, I imagined, as that sweet boy fell
into those dark waters, and I didn’t shed a single tear.


((I was in the woods yesterday, a field trip for class credit, and unable to upload.))

What the Brothers Grimm neglected to include,
whether because they didn't notice or they were just
being kind, is that Cinderella's feet didn't
actually fit. A cruel joke on the part
of the old fairy godmother? An undersight? No
idea, but rather than pull some trick
like her sisters, and cut off a toe or a heel,
she sucked up her pride and squished
them on in there, keeping her wincing
all to herself. And then never took them off.
It became a source of pride, not just for her,
for her beloved prince as well. He'd invite
his friends over, ask her to show them, to dance,
to spin, to step prettily while they all stood
and admired, he loved the praise they'd receive.

And then the day he invited over
her old flame, just to show him, and she made
a misstep, and they shattered, and there she stood,
beautiful, a sight to see on broken glass,
rivers of blood running between the pieces,
tears streaming down her cheeks, she went
mad as a result, was locked in a tower,
and all she said for the rest
of her life was "They never fit.
They never fit."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April. 1/30.

I don't know how to write about you without using the word
loss. I open my mouth to talk about our first date and
say it was a blue shirt, with buttons, my favorite, my father's,
I lent it to her and she never gave it back, I know she had it
when I went to her house and asked for it back and then
she moved away and she took it, I know she did and now
she wears it in all of her photos, smiling
. The first time
I invited you into my bed becomes I was seven years old
and thought I could surf on the life raft but I went
out too far and the waves started to pull me
further out to sea and I was nearly lost forever
until my father and the lifeguard came out to save me
but there's no father, no lifeguard here now.

I move my pen as if to write "the last time I saw you"
but all that comes out is I've been looking for days
and days and days but cannot seem to find a single
one of my teeth.