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

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My Body, My Choice

Vinny chats me up as one can do in 8th grade

(as boys can do in 8th grade), and says,

“Girls look better with their hair down.”

 

10th grade:

Allie tells me over pizza in a torn up, faux leather booth:

“People think you’re really pretty.”

 

“Take the bait,” they whisper.

“We are you.”

Your face, your words,

your worth:

we hold them in our hands.

 

I grew fragile.

 

“Not to mention you’re beautiful,”

a text from Devin I saved on my phone for 2 years,

a reminder that if I kept this up,

I could be loved.

“You’re special,” they said.

“Your precise,” they reminded.

“Keep it up.”

I never heard them clearly;

it was always muffled in my ears.

 

Confidence was for the battlefield,

and without cleats on my feet

and a soccer ball underneath

I depended, fully,

on this

damn

face.

 

Middle school:

Vinny was saying he “saw my potential”

and in that moment he pointed a finger at a moon

I did not know — that lights up the sky day and night.

With each step forward from that statement came promise,

like one day my body would, miraculously, lift off the ground and fly.

 

High school: I worked, observed, learned to follow the rules.

I made friends. I chased boys (or at least followed the chasers).

I saw a twinkle form in my eyes like the sun hitting my face

and I felt something grow: confidence big enough to sew a sweater.

That confidence was soft and warm and humble,

each stitch a modest color, so I put it on:

oh, the comfort…the ease.

 

What sweater?

This is my skin, clear as day.

I don’t need all of these words–

they’re woven into my Long Island DNA

and somewhere…somewhere…I seized it.

 

College: I was prepared!

My sweater was woven!

My charm was rooted!

Soccer, friends, face.

 

And then, college happened.

And it was full of devils,

people a mere sweater cannot take on

you want — comfort?

We’ll beat you.

You want — friendship?

We’ll desert you.

You think you’ve got talent?

We’ll show you.

Bam               bam              bam.

My skin faded, my body ached,

and what can a person do but blame what is left?

 

Wisdom swims through my veins.

Nana has her Jesus

and I have my Julia de Burgos

and that’s quite alright with me.

I build a new ship to freedom…

something you cannot wear, but ride–

invisible on all sides, impenetrable,

so much so that my world forgets the words

“break” and “fear” and “fall,”

that Kenny’s story can be his own.

that Marlena’s antagonism can be her own,

and that I can feel the wisdom in me,

the quiet confidence that does not need

a coach to tell me my worth.

 

I just play.

 

December 22, 2018

Trees

My back

is strong

like a piece of bark

it has its edges

but it is stable,

it stands tall–

it is stillness

and silence

and me.

 

These elements

of control

have never been

my friend.

 

Illusive fears

of loosing

a self

that I had forged

by lack of force

the word loss–

I could write odes

to loss

and sonnets

to loss

and haikus

to loss

and I would still

remained

lost

in the same sentiment

 

Who am I?

 

Where do these attachments

leave me?

Where did I acquire them?

 

Did death bring up something

deep inside of me

that always needed healing?

 

An unknowingness of stability,

the entrance of doubt?

 

I am here, writing,

wondering,

thinking back to trees with hearts

written in their sides.

 

October 8, 2016

Words

Write patiently,

darling.

 

Syllables don’t just

bounce

from cloud

to cloud

as if Noah’s Arc

was reinventing itself–––

 

a rainbow proclaiming

its glory.

 

Time–––

is slow,

when you discover it

piece by folded shirt

by flowing grass blade

to the piece of hair

falling on your cheek

pushed back by a stranger,

a smooth talker.

 

It’s like the wind:

how you can’t see the meaning

in words, you can only feel them.

 

April 29, 2014