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

 

 

 

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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

Liberation

how many years have we been told

our eyes must sink like suns

behind the mountain men,

because warmth is an invitation

to strip the valley of its flowers

 

how many hours have we spent

covering our faces in flesh-toned tarps

to keep the rawhide in

and the tired out

 

how many times have we cradled

our sagging skin like babies,

damp from neglected tears

and swollen from the sting of

unattainable perfection

 

vanity is a word they made up

to excuse their expectations of

soft but firm

sweet but assertive

pure but provactive

wise but ageless

 

now when my eyes

are trapped in glass,

I liberate them with

a gap-toothed grin

and tell the world

it can’t have me

 

4-29-19

 

 

 

Moss

a million screaming voices

hang like moss in my throat

 

I want to hold you up

with the roughs of my tongue,

you’re in every word

that I can’t get out

 

instead, my mouth clicks

and quivers and I drown

myself in confusion

until I’m convinced

you’ll flee before I can cut

back the moss, swing out on a vine,

and say I love you

 

please stay

 

4-5-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He couldn’t

he couldn’t strip me

of my color,

though he wished

I wasn’t bright

 

he couldn’t keep me

hidden from curious eyes,

though he tried to bury my name

 

he couldn’t keep my spirit soaring

lower than his own,

though he tried to strap his shame

like weight on my wings

 

he couldn’t break me

like a horse

(I broke away)

 

4-4-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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