Subway Woman

She looks into the subway car

like a criminal looks into their jail cell

with contempt, with bitterness,

with acceptance.

 

It’s 1AM, car a quarter full,

faint summer air conditioning filling

the air along with her grievances.

 

She resigns, lays back in her seat

after picking some lint out of her hair

she doesn’t know how she got here, either.

 

 

Why this city? Why that man

that made you so tired you didn’t care

to go back to the love you found

beneath the stairs, hand in hand,

balancing the acts of dependance and diplomacy.

 

Plastic bag full on the lap,

eyes closed now, keeping still–

maybe that will make everything less real:

 

“I belong in the subway, now.

This orange chair may backdrop

to a life of longing,

I’ll sit here and nap

until I reach my destination unknown

(probably 145th street).

 

Perm fixed upon me with slight pride

I thought maybe that would help free me

but I guess adding more layers, more chemicals,

more time and energy doesn’t make up

for the enthusiasm my story has stolen from me.

 

How fun it was to lay in the sun at high noon,

park bench, husband waiting. How full the moon

felt when I first read his lips, his eyes, his kiss.

 

The kids will understand;

they are older now.

 

I can sleep in peace.”

 

based on a woman I saw in the NYC subway 

 

July 31, 2016

 

Flowers

These flowers are growing again

in my head

and like a vine

they neither swoop nor swing–

they cling

to each side of my brain,

try to determine what type of learner I am

but either way, thoughts can’t be pushed

out of the way

so I’ll plan out another day to pluck and prune.

 

For now,

let me sit, lay down my head and rest

let nature have its way

before I run and play, amidst the gardens

outside these walls; in each season

they grow flowers, all their pinks and blacks

and greens– they look familiar to me.

 

In my mind I see a mirror,

one I can’t protest:

an image of you, an image of me

and sweet, pink, spring flowers,

scattered at my feet.

 

Each petal falls so slowly;

I do not stand in their way.

 

I watch in perfect silence;

I pray for peace today.

 

February 28, 2016

The Fight

I once thought of life as a screen.

Shakespeare had his stage. Silverstein, some blue skin.

Entirely hidden.   A teardrop in a lake.

We all have our moments.  The daunting school hallway at ten. The basement party at twenty.  The busy conference room at thirty.

But I don’t want to hide.

I don’t have anything to hide.

Somewhere down the line of evolution, we established that our lives are meant to be competitive. We are meant to thrash and wrangle and bite. We are meant to be afraid of each other. I’d like to think we know better now. There are greater things that motivate us.

Then why don’t we act like it?

Life can be pretty scary. When all you hear on the news are gunshots and all you read about is a blonde Republican’s hair, why wouldn’t there be some fear?

I’d like to think we know better.

Competition separates us. We have isolated each other.  Our money. Our land. Our relationships. Our minds. Our hearts.

We all come from the same thing– we should know that now. We still don’t agree upon it.  Isolation still pulls through. When religion is supposed to bring love and it instead hides fear– it continues to isolate us. When education is supposed to open minds and it instead hammers the same ideas into us over and over, we remain locked in the past.

I’d like to think we know better. I’d like to think we can think better, act better.

I’d like to think that we are all just humans– not the money we decided to print, documents we decided to write, governments we decided to form.

We are all just people.

Yet I still feel the need to remind myself of that sometimes.

A friend of mine recently told me that being vulnerable, not wearing the mask, laying it all out on the table– it’s more than the fear we perceive. It means you don’t need to wear any armor. It means there is no one left to fight.

I’m ready to stop fighting.