Letting the Memory Settle

As we skipped rocks at Walden Pond in steady rain,

you told me I just needed practice,

that my outstretched hand needed to move

in one single, continuous motion.

You selected each stone with care, inspecting

their flatness as if choosing flowers for a date,

only to send them off into the gloom, certain

of their own uncertainly paced descents.

I laughed at your advice, my voice skipping

rhythmically despite my un-thrown stones.

We were part of our history class field trip,

and you asked, “Why does the water

only reflect parts of the trees?” I shrugged,

letting the question settle into the pond and practiced

questioning what parts of you I could see:

lone like a stone, easing me away with each ring

of water that expanded to meet the trees;

you alone, like Thoreau, without me.

 

Unknown, 2014

White Houses

When someone lives

both near

and far

from your heart—

where do you go,

where do you start

to make sense

of that sense of loss,

that sense of time

passing like a train

past white houses

they have sat

and waited,

sat and, sat…

I see Paul in a fresh tuxedo and his bride in a gown

and I laugh:

how could this idiot get to be this “happy” before me?

Bullshit.

How’d this boy once a man cut me out of his social fabric

and still get the chance to be walked down the aisle?

Shit…

men are socialized that way:

the give and take, the call and response.

Somewhere in my heart, I missed you, Paul.

I missed all of you.

But finally, I am waving goodbye…

 

A throw back in many ways. Thank you, Vanessa Carlton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM3fEJyPrrg

 

February 28, 2019

Hugs

A huger

of the mind,

a huger

of the soul–

“find that out about your surroundings”

who is who?

I have a friend

who does both–

take care of yourself,

I need to connect

on that deeper level

I am grateful

to have found a match,

to find when I am not looking,

to sing when I am not sung to.

Hollywood is a trick of the eyes

tell me you are more human than the next

“She ain’t lookin’ for love”

no shit, fool– you are white as fuck

and don’t realize it, there is a difference–

watch the children run

and know that spaces are spaces

and home is home

and know it is different for everyone.

Now my friend–

they hold me,

steady me,

validate my existence

just by meeting my mind,

my soul,

right where they are.

 

A stream of consciousness reflection about my best friend who, while not big on physical hugs, supports me in the ways I really need…all while I listen to shitty rap music (and quote and complain about it) on a long car ride…

 

February 25, 2019

Assumptions

assume you’re not gonna call back —

trauma says, “Why would you?

Don’t you see my flaws?

Don’t you see my fears

written out in flowers and bulbs?”

 

Ballpoint pens do not lie

like the rest of the world,

like my mind hearing you say

I am pretty, or I am adventurous,

I am, I am…

 

How about you tell me for a change,

don’t let me give my hopes up

but chase me instead–

I know that’s problematic.

But we’re both runners.

You’re faster

(I don’t like admitting that).

 

I assume — don’t you see

and the truth is if my mastery of sound

bites is greater than your impatience

for the uncertain, maybe I have a chance…

Maybe you have a chance…

 

Because I see, too.

I do.

If you just talked out of your ass

that’s one thing — but you paused,

read your thoughts, chose your words,

and said them! To my face!

In a bed, three years of friendship

between us.

 

I will not go skiing.

I will not go see your band,

or whatever men are up to

in a year or two.

I will add you to a list of what-ifs

but fuck-yous,

and I will see you again–

in passing, not friends.

 

You can’t just lay half your heart

out on the table, my friend.

I can’t, but you can, so you did.

Because it’s easier.

Because you’re not as brave as you look.

 

Are our hearts not supposed to

break a little,

after every lost moment?

Are we supposed to minimalize them,

untethered,

dead grandma in a shack,

bury her before the police comes — run! run!*

 

At least I have a beautiful line to carry with me.

No one has ever told me I look like a painting.

Or maybe they have…but not lying on a bed.

 

Because it’s not a big deal, right?

Little lapses of judgement

where heartache dissipates,

feelings exhale, share themselves

outside their owners

what a privilege to be the one

the thoughts were about,

to be there, ready, receiving?

 

A fucking painting.

Yes.

We all are, no?

 

*Last night I saw the film Shoplifters and it was truly great. This line refers to the movie – apologies for the possible spoiler – you should still go see the movie!

 

January 11, 2019

Oh, heart

How many ways can a heart break?

How many ways can it be seen?

 

It’s different than being watched–

that’s what they teach us

(that’s what I’ve learned, anyway).

 

They are watching me, all of them:

walking, sitting, eating, drinking,

readying themselves

to be the same animal I am.

 

But they don’t teach us that.

Animals?

What animals?

 

Do squirrels know a broken heart?

A lost friend, cousin, partner,

hopeful wanna-be?

Do humans have a “special”

bone in their bodies?

 

Back to heart break, then.

 

One way, friendship.

You make excuses.

You give them the room they need to hurt you

because you love them, and so they leave you

(congratulations on your wedding–

your dress was snug, but otherwise alright.

P.S. I don’t know how to forgive you).

 

Sometimes, you hurt them, friends.

Sometimes, you don’t know how or why.

Letter to future self (heck no, past self):

communication is a measure of maturity.

If someone won’t talk to you, it’s not your fault.

Go find someone that will, and send your love

to the quiet one. Fuck them, but love them anyway.

 

And then there was the time you fell in love with her

anyway, the time you learned that it was possible.

The world of love is not only “he’s” and “she’s.”

That is good.

 

And then you look behind that crevice in your heart’s

third chamber and you see all the “he’s”:

the high school acquaintance, the high school sweetheart,

the best friend. You see the quiet, lonely college boy

in the body of a man, the head-one-size-too-big gentleman

who was not so gentle, took a plane to Berlin

and never called again. You see the stupid in-betweens

who you never really cared for, who sunk you down

slowly, slowly,

and the one you learned from for a year,

but still kind of reminds you of Arnie.

 

And then there’s you.

The perfect face. The perfect hair.

The perfect laugh. The perfect stare.

All the perfections of a momentary crush

that don’t seem to shake off.

 

You’re just the next one to break my heart.

 

I don’t want you to, though. It feels too good

thinking of you. So I’ll keep the talking to a minimum

in my head, save it for next time I see you and make up

another story of how I’m not good enough,

of the ways your perfection (I know “there’s no perfect,”

but you still mesmerize me)- could never consider

looking my broken hearted way.

 

But you don’t know how I feel, do you?

Why would you?

I’ve known you for 2 years

but have felt this for 2 months.

 

It never makes sense, remember?

 

Because humans are not special.

Because no one is watching.

Because we’re all just trying

to find someone,

some one,

to see us.

 

Titled inspired by/owed to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqvuydbEv10
September 30, 2018

A Song For You

To write a song for you…

I’m not sure

that would be enough

to conquer all the land mines

and droughts of ego,

to call back love and light and mystery

all in their due time.

You are an angel

from a sky I have not seen;

you are a fighter

sent to battle with the demons of our ancestors,

a capitalistic machine

that drowns us all in its own way;

you are the oxygen tank.

 

Take your place on the stage, my dear,

and I will hear your heart sing before your lungs,

will promise to throw every rose

from my garden up to you,

to let you take a bow,

to strike up a conversation with my neighbor

when he says, “God damn, that child sure does know how to sing,”

to which I will say, “And she sure does know how to live.”

 

May 6, 2018