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

 

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Morning Commute

Take

your hand

off the door

and take a step

with me.

 

Flex

your eyebrow

while your side eye

grants me a grin–

did I say it

again?

 

“I like you,”

and all those messy thoughts aside,

“I know you,”

or at least I want to.

 

My steps feel lighter

now that you’re part of the story

rolling through my head–

or is this my stop at Penn?

 

Don’t want to miss my train again…

M-New-York-Subway-Paul-L-via-Flickr.jpg

January 28, 2016

Forever Love

The final drop

in the bucket,

knowing it does not exist

that all expands

and contracts

and realizes its impermanence

simply by being free.

A free love–

it is all I could ever wish for.

..

My hands on your cheeks,

tracing your smile

and the etches of your mind

that I once thought to be unreadable

.

I want you

to flip through my pages

and learn my story,

to write it with me:

our forever love.

November 29, 2015

Watching the Clock

Love

is a drug

that just keeps on giving

despite its worth,

commercialized

side effects

how to handle

a man

one on one

a manual

I was never given–

where is it?

 

The time I found

the nail

and all I wanted

was a hammar

to put me back in my place

I found you,

instead–

eyes glazed over

from the fact

that I was a well enabled

woman

to kick your ass

back to second base

 

Just tell me a story,

dear Love,

of how you existed

among priests

and kings

and witches

and me,

stories of younger days

past narratives

water drowning

my teacup

and all I want is an answer,

or at least the right question,

’cause I know I’m responsible

for making something–

more than this house

all alone,

wondering what time

to expect Love

to come

knocking on my door.

 

November 24, 2015

just a part of me

I grew up in a world where it was not okay to be quiet–

in some ways, I still live there.

Soccer practices, soccer games,

school hallways, overflowing lunchrooms

family parties,

hanging out with friends.

Being labeled,

The Quiet One

felt like wearing an oversized sweater,

one I could sink into and never be found.

In college,

I spent one night peering into a bar

from a long, underaged line

and met a young man.

I spoke to him for ten minutes,

and he took my phone number

without me realizing it

(but that’s another poem).

He messaged me later

calling me,

Shy Girl.

After living in a locker room

for what felt like the two years prior

seemingly ignored

by supposed friends–

I couldn’t help but accept the label.

Of course,

I am Shy Girl.

Naturally,

I am The Quiet One.

Blurring into the background is just part of the package.

Society wanted personable presidents and extroverted aristocrats;

I was a simple shadow,
my identity

the pen that fell out of my hands.

Was I really ignored for being introverted?

Was I really unaccepted in full

because I’d rather listen to your story

than fill up space with my own?

Is it true

that this happens to children every day?

When we think “micro-aggression”

we often think “race,”

“gender,”

“sexuality.”

I want the conversation to start including

“personality”

because the fact that children can feel unwanted,

not enough,

simply because they are being themselves…

it is not okay in my book.

It’s only when I started writing it myself

that I realized being part “introvert”

is but a simple petal on a flower,

a single leaf on a tree–

it’s just a part of me.

October 1, 2015

Reading about micro-aggressions in graduate school brought up this thought, these memories.   Can you relate? 

The Story

It’s what we write every day and, whether we are fully aware of it or not, it’s the grandest story of all:

The Story of My Life.

From the news and social media, to conversations at work and on the street, stories make up the “stuff” of our lives.  I truly believe that we are more than all of this “stuff.”  When you take it all away, there is only the simplicity of life churning away through our veins and souls, connecting us all to the universe.

And yet we still live here, on Earth.  We are always in the midst of other people and countless narratives.  We can’t just run from them.   The world will keep turning.  Even if we close off all our senses, the stories that make up society aren’t going to go away.  Yes, we can shape our personal narrative by stating: “My life is more important than my life story.” And you’d be right!  I am solidly in that camp.  But we are still responsible for our stories.

What do you tell yourself, about yourself, every day?  How do you view your relationship with others, with yourself?  Where does your self confidence fall based on these guidelines?

If I have a problem, I like to think about it in broad terms, considering the evidence of one truth versus another.  By doing so, however, I put a lot of pressure on myself (and my brain) to get it right.  As if I have all the answers!  It’s insane, and yet this pressure follows me day to day, allowing myself to identity with both intelligence and inability.  So when I ask myself the question, “Am I capable of changing how I tell my life story?” I doubt myself.

Do you have any doubts about yourself, about your abilities– about your story?

A wise friend of mine told me today that fresh starts are precious: not everyone can have them, and you can do whatever you want with them.

They symbolize ultimate freedom.

Today, as I find myself in the beginnings of another “fresh start,” I’m taking a stand.  I want to claim responsibility for telling my life story–  to the world, to others, and (most importantly) to myself.

In more ways than not, I am whatever I want to be.  I am whatever I believe myself to be.  There’s no pressure to know everything or for everything to be perfect.   But I’m the main character in this play, as well as the audience.  All I can do is balance the tragedy with the comedy and know that, in the end, my “life” under my “life situation,” my “life story,” will always be there.

***

So, hey you!  You’re a person with a story.  Go out there and write a good one.

Stories

They
flow out our mouths
fill up our memories
fill ourselves

And yet our
selves
are not what stories
should inhabit.

Our identity
is not what has happened to us,
what is happening,
what will happen–

it is,
simply,
what is.

Your identity
is not your life story;
it is your life.

The fact
that you are alive
in this simple world
of overindulged stories
deluding our minds
with fictional realities

when the treasure,
all along,
has been sunken
in your own
skin.

 

August 1, 2015