Watching

the dry leaves dance,
but the earth stands still

 

a hesitation

 

like one last squeeze of Mother’s hand
before taking the teacher’s

while the fog is crisp
and the sun is soft,
the mornings drag
like stale cigarettes
in a prison guard’s mouth,

 

watching

 

as the world falls,
she soaks in hot springs,
shedding summer’s robe
and painting in brilliant
gold and then white

only for you to stain her canvas
with fumes and false promises

10-03-19

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Weightless

Barelegged and braless,

stargazing at the wall,

waiting for

a burning ball of gas

to sweep me into a vacuum

where the air is so thin

that my brain can’t

find it

 

“How does that make you feel”

they would ask

and I’d say “weightless”

 

for now, though, it’s all heavy

and my eyes are falling in

so I can’t see the starlight

 

only a wall

 

9-04-19

 

 

 

 

Another Bird Poem

If I was a bird

I’d fly as effortlessly

as she pulls on his heart

and watch him watch her

through the clouds

 

There are other wings

he’s fixed

but he’s never had to bandage hers

so I wonder sometimes

if he sees me as wounded

or if someday he could look up

and see me

in the same sky

 

8-22-19

Shattered Glass

Sometimes shattered glass still cuts my brain

and you see me wince like the child I was

when I went running through the tall grass

with snakes and ticks and spiders

who made better company

than the venomous tongues in the kitchen

 

Resolution was a closed door

and three young girls

talking about tomorrow behind it

 

Peaceful were the days when I foraged for

shredded cheese and ketchup sandwiches

and raced the dogs to the creek

 

Heavenly were the days when I visited

my friend in the trailer park

and we sang Shania on the trampoline

while her mom made us macaroni

(she always asked if I wanted seconds)

 

Now I nod along to J.D. Vance

but you can’t understand where we’ve been

and how hard it is to throw away the white trash

that we’ve collected in heart-heavy landfills,

our memories like landmines exploding

with a mere whiff of mildew

or the sound of shattered glass on linoleum floors

 

8-16-19

 

 

 

Speak Up

how do I talk to a river

when I am an ocean,

pushing and pulling,

swelling but never

reaching the mouth

 

you are constant and strong

most days I am quiet and calm,

but some days I rip through

my own flesh to break free of the tide

 

how could you ever understand

the storm that bites my heels

or why I never left it at the riverbanks

where I sought any semblance

of love or strength or presence

to stifle my little voice

 

I thought I was preserving it

but I think I may have lost it

somewhere in a prayer

 

so how do I talk to a river

now that I am faithless

 

7-25-19

Sober

The sauvignon blanc fills his mouth and
his eyes burn blue and gray and bright
as the kitchen’s light

He crafts his incite like a carpenter,
filling my ears with the sawdust of a previous life,
but all I can hear is “A Case of You”
And I finally understand what Joni meant

I have always collected rain water
but I have never stood out in a storm
with my mouth and eyes wide open,
watching my future light up the sky
in shades of blue and gray

I have never been this sober

and I have never been so in love with the rain

7-9-19

Sucking teeth

that last inhale

just before the rain clears

sucking teeth

to dry the leaves

and call the fireflies

out of the grasses

 

and after the earth exhales

there’s only the stillness

of wet pavement

and the vapid efforts

of bald tires,

extended like the Creation of Adam

with no solace from God or turf

no direction or pull of the moon

no outstretched hands

 

only the asphalt vapors

waving at the headlights,

watching the cars pass by

 

6-29-2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinning

tight chest, juice pressed

from the fruit of my labor

and its rotting skin

 

do you remember

blades of grass under

small feet?

the world spinning by

on the merry-go-round?

we laughed and jumped

and felt our bones crack

for the first time.

it was never a thought

until we were motionless

 

the whirring world

carries on but with

less laughing and

more cracking of the whip.

 

nothing is broken

but something is always spinning

 

5-14-19

 

Light

Stalking the sun,

it paints the dirt before me

like a reckless Pollock

 

The colors splatter

against the trees

and freckle my skin

 

Birds cry out for attention

and I give it to them

(you say I have a hard time saying no)

 

I have always chased the light

as if it’s something to be caught

 

But what difference does it make

if it steals my eyes

when I see how the world could be

and not how I have known it

 

5-7-19

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