Thursday, November 29, 2012


You abandoned me on the steps
of the love we'd built for one another,
and I hadn't the key to unlock any of the doors.
You must have been watching, surely,
from the windows of your guarded tower
as I stood up slowly, dusting myself off,
starting my way back from where
you'd led me with your beautiful
words, dreams, and desires.
You must have known, too, that I
heard the door open behind me,
and heard you beckon someone
inside before my bed was even cold.
Knowing now I was erased to you,
wondering how warm I ever really was,
Knowing I might as well have never happened,
wondering if this had been done before,
to men like me,
and I shoulder this, my burdens,
as I am the one who walks forward, then, from there
down the road I'd paved for us, now only me,
while you're the one now left behind,
up inside your tower,
with all your childishness, and toys.



She drips onto me like water,
sometimes slowly - a faint trickle
I barely notice, dancing onto my
moppy hair, until it collects and dribbles
in ice cold tributaries down my back.
Sometimes it comes all at once,
forcing my head into a vast, ice cold ocean,
plunged, with no warning, no time
to catch my breath
as I flounder, trying to use my useless arms
to force all the salt water back into my eyes
before I drown, or
someone else notices
and I drown someone with me.
She drips onto me like water,
sometimes warm, like a soft
cascading waterfall,
sometimes cutting me like ice.
She drips onto me like water.
I am forever thirsty.
(She is no longer there.)

Oklahoma City, 11:00 PM


It's like Seattle here,
like London,
like all my impressionist dreams
which Monet could have painted better -
The white of bradford pears
made hazed and haloed by
stoplights peering cautiously through
the bulbs of a million candied
water droplets
descending like silk curtains,
light and billowing,
throwing a thick net of
liquid air, porous like igneous rock,
over my slick and glowing arms.

From Pittsburgh to Portland; a Love Poem

4/07 - This poem was published in the Sigma Tau Delta poetry journal, The Rectangle, in 2008. It's also the poem, in my mind, responsible for sparking the arguably most meaningful relationship of my life thus far. I think it only fair that I immortalize that poetic sentiment here, as well.

If we were men,
we almost-twin cities -
you with your music and greenery
and I with my industry, my dirt,
we'd make something,
you and I -
you would be soft
and fond of caresses,
leaving your cherrytree blossoms
scattered in the bed after making love
and I'd comb them from your hair;
and then my rivers would
meet your ocean,
and I would bridge you
like I would bridge the nation
to be next to you -
they say we'd get along,
They don't know I've loved you
and your cherrytrees all this time,
and share your rain,
and bridge you, I'll bridge you,
God, I'll bridge you.

My Mother's Mysticism

4/07 - this is the poem I've been looking for. This is the poem that inspired the title of my blog, and I have no idea why I never put it here. It took me a while to find it. It was written on the same plane flight, home from a Pittsburgh conference.

We're still in the clouds, mother,
and I think of you every time I
pray to God for his existence,
or feel the wind, or meta-wind -
something more than wind -
wrap itself around my hair
or hold my hand as I walk these streets alone.
You taught me these ideals;
these arms, like rocks,
you worked milk-smooth with the
love and tenderness
I try to reflect in my eyes as you did yours.

I was raised by a woman,
and some say it shows,
though you were no Amazon, and your
brown eyes were framed with a short stature,
rounded face I will never forget as it
hovered over my school-age,
tired eyes, like an angel in a dark green nightgown -
"Sprout," we used to call you,
when we were tall enough to see over your head.

But the rock on which you built me shines now
like translucent glass and streaming flowing waters,
and I want to look out of the window
into the clouds outside my plane
and let your face see mine completely,
so you could know your mysticism
lives on still, inside these liquid,
living bones.

Melancholia, don't call me, anymore.

4/07, on the same plane flight

Melancholia, don't call me, anymore;
My cell-phone is already packed full
of everyone else's problems, and
I've turned my ringer off - no, to vibrate,
in case my mother calls again.
I've checked my e-mail again and again
as I peel off the words and
attach them to my skin like an overcoat
of other people's emotions, from which
I refuse to be disconnected. Go ahead
and laugh at my sensitivity and
my armor of papered words and
selfless thoughts, but I cannot separate
myself from the world without
separating the world from myself, and
I fear the thought of being left alone
under the covers of my bed, drawn tight,
like a wiry pencil that can't write
back with disconnected words.
I fear the void, and being left behind,
just as much as I fear the familiar
ring of my cellphone, when one more
friend calls to dump on my the morning's
garbage, and leaving me without apology
to pick up my own pieces and wait
again for you, my melancholy, to
order me a rum and coke and play your cello
softly, at my bedside.

steamed milk

4/07, upon returning from an English conference in Pittsburgh

It's like a portal, a pathway,
a liminal, literal, white space
we have to pass through to achieve reality,
as if everything else we experienced
down below and miles away
was nothing but a dreamy fantasy.
Coming, and going, both,
I've seen this milky froth
dance just on the other side of my
pane of plexiglass, rendering
the very tips of the metal wings
almost invisible.
I am not anxious to be grounded -
I want everyone to meet me
in this sky of steamed milk
and find another fantasy
on the other side of these clouds.
Maybe I won't have the same reality
when and where we land -
but the world always assures me that
while good things are spontaneous,
the bad things never go away,
and the ground rushes up to meet us
with the speed of two
jet-turbo engines.


3/07 (this is one of the poems I'd been searching for, prompting my sudden discovery of all the poetry that had been lurking in my journals)

I lose a few hundred words between
the ballroom and the twentieth floor,
where I'll fling myself upon the hotel bed
in orgasmic exasperation,
flipping the lid of my journal open,
like the lid of a toilet,
trying to wretch up all the beautiful
past words that had leaked out
of me slowly, before I had
the chance to write them.

Birthday Card

3/07 (edited 11/29)

You do not belong in this world,
as I sit and think, and ponder on the
means in which you might have lived -
the world would get too full if everyone
we loved could stay alive.

You were not made for this life, and even
thinking when and where and how
you would live now is in vain because
there's always something I'll forget to add together -

You will now forever be past tense to us,
even though we carry you in picture frames,
in letters, in that card I got form you
on my birthday the year after you died -

It said "Return to Sender" because you didn't
write my address correctly, and your parents
waited until my next birthday
to give your card to me,

"Forever Loving You," spoke from inside
with a force like timeless fire, flowing from
the pen with which you wrote,
your handwriting not yet shaky from the illness
that took you away from your words.

I smile at all the smiling stickers with which
you decorated the envelope, and how you knew
they would make me laugh, as they did -
I tucked the card inside your Bible,

Your old study Bible full of all your other
notes and thoughts - and I take the card out, still,
every now and then, and stare at the 20 dollar bill
you had put inside for me -

knowing you touched it last, and so afraid of letting it go,
and losing part of you all over again.

To My Breadwinner


I have my book open to Baudelaire,
but you have your nose in medicine,
the inner workings of God and man
and secrets hiding in hearts and livers.
You never cease to amaze me with
the expressions of your eyes,
as a flash of anger twists into
a kinked and crinkled smile as I
grasp your hand under the table
and refuse to feel unsexed when
I promised myself as a housewife
to you, and promised to raise
our children through my rose-colored
world of Flaubert and Faulkner,
while you save lives for future men
and women to realize and appreciate -
you, the power, and I, the voice -
and no matter how hard you struggle,
or how loudly you scream against
the pain and obstinacy of this, a dying world,
I'll always be holding your hand,
translating those screams into soft
whispers and ballads of love
I like to compose for you, my breadwinner,
under the sheets by lamplight,
or on the streets of Paris in my arms,
or where I hold you in my heart and high esteem,
to cook for you, and clean for you, and
write over and over, forever again, "I love you."



You, Ophelia, backed out of life
when it proved more than you could handle.
The water rose to meet you, but you took
the drink wittingly, and we don't need
each other, or want for nothing
but that we could have both been unsexed
or born again as different creatures,
outside of this existence.
But, struggling like worms, we failed,
and you gave up on what
you thought was love, for an invisible
garden of rosemary and thyme;
Rosemary for solitude,
and time for your melancholy,
and I couldn't uproot you,
neither from the lily-sweetened water,
or from that ground of skulls and bones
where I tried to shake you at last
and ask if only now, my brother,
were you content with your existence?



Hold the light. Hold is closer
to his Yorick, soon-chapless
Unbidden, he shuffles into greater sleep.
Oh, Prince -
the spell bound for all the world
is mettled up in you.
You, now as was and not as is - 
to be, you are not to be.
What's done is done and cannot
be undone.
Your death is heavy,
and that of all your men,
be you twice or thrice the King
your father could have been,
before hell began to swallow your whole accursed race.

I am more than a word

Written 2/07

I am more than a word;
I am a word.
I am one,
but more than one.
Can't I contain more?
Can't I contain two? Can't I,
too, contain multitudes?
I is a word, is a me, is one, is more.
I is a me-lettered word.

Three Views of a Life Saver

Written 2/14/07 - a creative writing class assignment, beginning with an actual transcribed conversation.

"What are you staring at?"
"A Life Saver."
"I don't know - it's here - "
"And your brain is - ?"
"Why do you think they call them 'Life Savers'?"
"Because they're shaped like - "
"Yeah, but why the candy?"
"I don't know. Why don't you just eat it?"
"Look, a tiny piece broke off."
"I can't see anything."
"On this side here, along the edge, it looks bumpy."
"So, it - "
"There's the piece! Inside the wrapper!"
"That white speck?"
"Why's the wrapper so dusty?"
"It's slowly disintegrating."
"It is not, why is this important?"
"I don't know. It's a life saver, but - "
"But what?"
"I don't know. I guess there isn't anything profound to say."
"I didn't think so."


It was perfect in the sense that it was delicious, and it was his. Every single, solitary, white letter belonged in his twelve-year-old hands. "L-I-F-E-S-" - oh, there's a piece missing, there. That's okay. "A-V-E-" - oh, another dent. Oh, well - "R-S-." He found the tiny piece inside the back of the wrapper and determined to suck every crumb from the bag after he popped it in his mouth. Maybe he'd lick that dust out, too - he knew it was part of the candy, not dust like the dirt in the air was. But he had the candy, and he had it dust and all, no matter what kind of dust it was. He thought of the sweet, minty flavor. Momma gave it to him, after lunch, for "fresh breath," she'd said, but wasn't it candy? He decided not to tell her it was, and smiled at the secret knowledge of the candy he held, the white candy that was his, dust and all. He anticipated the feeling of the candy in his mouth, with its funny, smooth hole. He laughed when he remembered how he liked to make it dance on the tip of his tongue. He would try to make his momma laugh, too.


If my candy was a story,
I wouldn't let it go, or put it in my mouth;
but if I couldn't help it,
I'd try to record every spark of flavor,
and shed real tears
when I let it dissolve.


I'm surprised I hadn't put this yet on my blog. Written 2/14/07 after a creative writing exercise. We were told to pick a sea shell out of a bag, and then to write about it. I of course don't have what I wrote during the assignment, but this is the second draft of the poem that resulted from the exercise:

She gathered them up on the shore,
     from our hands full of sand and ink,
     and hid them in the folds of her purple jacket.
We were eager to hear her decipher
     the winds and the waves
     and the ocean hiding in the curves
     of each shell.
She walked a ways and sat among the grassy dunes
     holding each shell to her ear
     and listened to our words,
     our children,
And we watched her smile of approbation grow
before the cold foam broke around us and sent us,
shivering, back into the depths from which we came.

myself, my heart, you

Written 2/07

I placed "myself" up in the sky,
in emboldened letters,
if you looked skyward;

I placed "my heart" in slick
italics on every shirt
you ever wore;

I put "you" in curlicues
on every mirror
in our apartment;

But you never saw my
penmanship, because 
the words don't read well
on their own,

And "myself," "my heart," and "you,"
doesn't read as well as
I love you
straight from my lips,
swallowed in your ears,
and digested in your heart.


Written 2/07

I want to rearrange words.
I want to become words themselves
and not only roll them,
like duck-pin bowling balls
through my cavernous mind
and over the bumpy road of my tongue,
but feel them on my skin,
in my hair, and in my nose.
To find out if "enlightenment"
doubles well as a shampoo and conditioner,
or if "plethora" can keep me warm
if sewn together with "wit," and "comfortable";
How "water" as a word feels as it
rolls over my back, or if
"caress" feels as light as fingers across my chest.
I envy my pen, the only direct contact 
I can have with my words. - I can't even
touch them until they've been
written on paper or printed from my laptop,
a distant connection to objects that seem
to shoot straight from somewhere between
my heart and my brain, then
traveling down my strong, left arm
while I sit and cry, wondering if
the weak tea I'm drinking of
"sorrow" tinged with "jealousy" will
keep me satisfied until
"philosophy" is done, baking with the bread.

Word Count

Written 2/07

She confronted me
with her small, brilliant voice
and sharp eyes,
asking me if I had completed the assignment -
written enough words to fulfill the word count
on the writing prompt,
"going home,"
(whatever the hell that meant),
and I had contrived a reply
to buy myself time,
but then I felt that familiar feeling -
the one I get every time I read
Wordsworth or Emerson -
like a javelin, or whaling hook,
thrust from some outer darkness,
caught in my chest, my ribs,
and some distant cable pulling,
pulling me somewhere to some stage
of new enlightenment,
and I decided, instead of responding,
to let it lead me,
as I took my leave of her
and picked up my own javelin
to sit over a pool of thought
and spear enough well-placed words
substantial to meet
the word count.

she is ether

Written on the one-year anniversary of my mother's death (12/06), but edited and written in my journal on 1/07.

She is ether
and I am silent,
watching her as a mist
rising over the mountains -
a favorite spot
from where I sit in a vast meadow;
The sun has just risen,
and golden slats of sunlight
pour through her
as the wind wraps her arms
tighter around me.
She is thought; she is formless;
She is ether.

Bend lower, branch, enclose the circling light...

Written 1/07

Bend lower, branch, enclose the circling light,
And guide yourself against the frost of night,
This is the only beauty of fluorescent light,

When the only glow, a man-made glow,
is reflected off the face of ice and snow.

Silently, the snow but sleeting...

Written 1/07

Silently the snow is sleeting,
Swiftly, softly, sombre, sweeting,
Saunters, steeping, sudden sleeting,
Swiftly, softly, sombre sky.

From afar, a fleeting feeling,
Felt a fractured, far-off flailing,
Fallible, a phantom failing,
Forever falling, falling I.

Silently, a far-off fleeting,
Feeling swiftly, sudden sleeting,
Flailing from a steeping feeling,
Far-off phantom, sombre sky;

Softly falling, falling, sweeting,
Falling, sleeting, falling, sleeting,
Sudden far-off sombre feeling,
From a flailing, fractured "I." 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reasons Why

I do not need reasons why
not to know or love someone.
I do not want or need to be
told my heart is wasting time.
Purest love is not a love that
waits or lets itself be burned
but is a love that understands:
the need for a community,
the beauty of our memory,
and the knowing that a man
who causes pain is still a man
who needs pure love the most of all.
This is why my light stays on
and all my doors are open, still,
to every man who's hurt my heart.
I have armed myself for this,
armed with tea and coffee for
all the souls that need to stop
and warm themselves and find
forgiveness, rest and peace,
within these walls and arms.
I do not need to know why I 
mustn't love or hold someone
for if I "mustn't" love someone,
that must be the very thing they,
themselves, need from
someone, most of all.

Relationships (a fragment)

What is it that we fail to understand
about desire and relationships,
when those whose hearts and loyalties are vast as
oceans end up by themselves
while others who find simple, happy partnerships
still feel utterly alone?
What does it say about those of us still searching,
and what is even meant by searching,
as if it's all worthwhile?
In what strange tea of hopes and dreams
do we steep ourselves
and imbue with every ounce of our Romantic longing?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Alarm Clock

I wake to the ringing cacophony of
the patchwork amalgamations of my silence,
emanating from the jar of promised futures
sitting on the table near my bed.
Sometimes, before getting dressed, I like to roll them out,
one by one, across my lap
and run my fingers up and down all of the
bumps and ridges of beautiful words I've saved,
words that still cut like the knives they were never
really meant to be.
I've been told to throw them out,
and perhaps with them throw out the hollow ache
that resonates with every morning's call of haunting silence -
But if I am not filled with the pain of this bittersweetness,
or feel the cuts of your once beautiful turns of phrase
beneath my fingers, with how little will I be left
to remember all the times I loved, and loved so fiercely?

How silent will my silence be when I
open the window and relinquish all the
hopeful dreams and wishes
I never got to see come true?
And will that resulting silence be loud enough
to wake me once I resolve to shut my eyes again?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Behind Close(d)t Doors

I wish you were here -
here, in this moment, the quiet releasing exhale behind
closed doors, at the end of the day, at the end of facades,
The breathing out as guards are let down, as we slip
into pajamas and slide into bed beside one another,
you climbing in close to me, our chatting about
what happened to us "out there" and how we felt.
This moment, the stillness of a new place,
the silence that echoes inside the closet walls
we have to hold up until we close the bedroom door -
in this relief from tension, is when I need your ears and voice
and arms the most,
or maybe I just need someone next to me to hold me and
tell me I'm not alone, and that he understands, though I'd
rather we could seethe together, or laugh together
at the great game of pretend we're supposed to be playing.
It reminds me of a game we played, or didn't have to play, 

before, as you let me into your childhood bed, 
and we closed the door behind us
while I asked a million questions about what
your family thought of me. There is a certain strength
between the minds and hearts of lovers, behind closed doors.
I love the pieces of relationships that remain publicly unseen -
The glue that holds two souls together, in the knowing one another.

Now, no one knows me here,
and as nice as it is to visit my family homes,
the only family and the only home I want is in the
company of an understanding heart and pair of arms.

The only ears here are these pages,
and the arms I draw here with my words aren't long enough
to hold me tighter than this blanket can hold me,
especially when my arms, try as they might,
are still so bent on stretching out toward you.

Monday, November 19, 2012


"We'll see you soon," I heard her say,
and my breath caught at the lump in my throat
before I could hang up the phone.

"We," and not "I," she said.

But there is no longer a "we" for her, I told myself,
and I wonder if she'll think of that when she
puts down her phone - if the realization will come to her
with force or slow resignation -
if the tear peeking out of the corner of my eye is matched
or surpassed by her own,
if she said it not knowing, only later to catch herself and
ponder later, in the dark, alone,
or if she said it knowingly, in acquiesced defiance,
an homage to the "we" that once was,
an ode to the comforting home she still keeps despite the
haunting absence of her husband, my grandfather, her son,
my uncle, and her daughter, my mother.
And even still perhaps it is a royal "we," and my grandmother's
inner strength has surpassed us all now, expanding, and
forming into something regal, something plural,
something outmatching itself in the strength of such a noble matriarch.

Soon I will be shuttling across the country, toward her,
toward a house that's still a home but aches with silence and loss -
good company we'll be for one another.
I leave loss behind, or rather attempt to run from
the spectres of those I've been forced to try to forget,
or who have left me,
her home now to become a haven for these two souls,
haunted and seeking solace in a communion too long coming.

For soon it will be Thanksgiving Day,
and soon I will be joining faces of family I haven't seen in
months, or maybe years -
all of us surrounding the table, hands clasped and heads bowed,
praying, filling the voids we carry with us,
all those silences,
with songs and words of gratitude and thankfulness.

We'll say a prayer, I know, for her, my grandmother,
and for the "we" she was, no longer is,
the "we" she still says, out of habit, over the phone to me, making plans,
And while the "we" I lost so recently cannot compare
to so many years of faithful service and devotion she holds behind her,
my heart still aches for all the futures I've lost in my past,
as "we" after "we" has dissolved from my arms.

But for now I look forward simply to pushing myself
toward her and her dining room table,
and those talks of time, distance, and memory we'll share,
just she and I, over mugs of microwaved hot chocolate,
pausing between words to hear, ever so faintly,
the voices of the "we" that has moved on and left us both,
as we bow our heads and, despite the pain of death, of loss,
of separation, send gratitude out into The Universe,
offering up thanksgiving for what we were allowed to have,
and all that we have lost.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Normal Heart

I watched over 1,000 people die on stage today -
probably over 5,000, still being just the tip of the iceberg
of an oncoming storm we couldn't fathom or properly predict -
And all of them embodied in the one young man I watched
be wheeled away, outstretched and cold on that black gurney.

Three weeks ago I'd received the phone call:
"I have it. I'm positive."
And suddenly the understanding of what it all means
becomes more present, now a more urgent part of you because
you "know somebody."
And while neither he, nor I by proxy, will ever need
to know the kind of fear and death our ancestors faced,
my heart still clenched, my lungs deflated, and
I listened to the small voice and the tears of a friend
I might as well have called my brother,
telling me he knew he'd still be okay,
that he'd been doing his research,
Telling me a full 10 years after last I saw him,
10 years since we'd come out to one another,
10 years after I had held him and told him I
would help him find out what all of this meant,
taking him under my wing.

Ten years later and I watch this story,
of our family's terrifying past, unfolding in this
theatre of weeping memories - everyone seems
to know someone with it or is hiding it him or herself -
and I wonder, too, if I had been more informed,
if I had been more aware, more constant - would
he be facing this, or facing it alone?

And you have to know that I couldn't help but
think of you, too, as I watched two lovers at the moment
one was taken.
Think of you and every other man to whom
I ever and will ever consecrate my life -

Because I am and always will be the one
to stand beside and hold the hand of him I love,
through cold, through rain, through fire.
I am the constant, I am the keeper, I am the one who'll stay,
like he who, when asked
"What did he die for?"
can stand tall and proclaim
a love that proves that death is not in vain.

And all I thought was you
and how I hope and wish you well and safe,
since you won't let me near you
to say it to your face.

And even while I cried and held myself together, then,
I know that many, many millions more men, women, and children
join the ranks of the dead both before and after
the moment caught for us to witness,
all being rolled away from view
as the lover says goodbye beneath
that glowing image of a single, red ribbon
left for us to take away,
encouraging us to live, to fight, to breathe,
to love, survive, and help to heal
the world so many, many hateful voices
tried so hard to keep us from imagining.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This silence weighs with its own heaviness.
This silence is miles long, dragging like chains, louder than jet engines,
Full of a nothing so dense
it's hard to move or breathe.
Like Fuseli's nightmare perched upon my chest,
It presses deeper and deeper into me until
I feel my heart beat strike against my rib cage and
Struggle with my lungs which fight to fill themselves with air.

Why am I baptizing myself in this fiery silence, marked as it is
by the absence of voices?
I'm becoming one with it, putting it on like a suit,
trying it out like a thick coat, a suffocating woolen blanket draped across my shoulders
and wrapped around my waist.

I was the one full of words, at first, to fight his ghosts and silences.
I sent out the arms and strings of my eyes and heart
to someone who once told me he was destined for silence, 
solitude, isolation.

Why is it that giving all of me to prove to someone that
he was worth it -
Why is it that I'm the one that ended up alone? The one discarded?

Now I seek solace in the very silence that oppresses me,
befriending the lack of voices in my ear,
as I shut them out one by one - only the important ones remain.
But still not the one to whom I gave my voice,
to whom I gave so much of myself that this silence
found its room and inflated inside and,
surrounding me, muffled me into submission,
sitting here, aching once more, and always,

Wondering why it was you, the man to whom I want
to give the world, who was the only man to ever
tell me that I didn't matter -
When I knew you didn't mean it, and when I would still
defend you and your own broken heart,
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the silence
to break, with the tap, tap, patter
of your footsteps on my walkways.


Written 11/15

Sometimes The Way, The Universal, The Great Aeolian Harp
stirs or sounds at the strangest of times -
Here in this bar, the loud music overtaking 
the sounds and voices of my mind,
I am left with few thoughts that chase away
or disconnect me from the divine -
That driving, driving force, striving to
push all distraction from me as all I'm left with
inside is your beautiful face.
And while you may be over, may in fact be done 
with me, you have to understand that every
breath I take is an exhale-inhale of your absence
and the fiery desire of your being -
that looking into your face, seeing you laugh, leaning
into you and all you represent for me
is the long and short of the desire of my soul,
And all these songs play, and all my
music points to
my inability to let go of you and your sorcery:
Your bewitching presence that pulls and compels 
every harmonizing fiber of my being.
No we're not done, at least I never was,
And I love you - love you with all the strength and
inner growth and serenity that I don't yet even have
because I'm letting it grow - and am willing to give you 
already or cash it in, in exchange for the warmth
of your smile and the feel of your arms.

Forgive me, then. Forgive me for not letting go.
Absolve me, if you can. Who can blame me for wanting
You, and only you, alone?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Harvest Time

The crows have started to flutter around here,
More often now than they had been. The ground is
Brown, everything already taken, gone, sent somewhere
Where it could be of more use to people who weren’t
As lonely as I am. Just standing here.
For a while, you kept me company. I suppose you
Liked the way I looked, or maybe on particular times of the day
You found me to be a comfortable place to rest.
You would lean on me. Share with me your secrets,
Your desires for the future. And I believed you.
I suppose, when you left, I expected that I would be able to follow you.
The way you’d made me feel, with your words,
I thought surely I could fly away, with arms outstretched.
Anywhere, with you.
Instead, I find myself planted here, firmly,
While I have to watch you walk down that road,
Away from me, with someone else linked in your arm.
I felt like I’d been promised the world,
But who was I to think such things?
For all the talk you were, about how you had felt 
Destined to end up alone, small wonder that it was me
That was destined to be here, by myself, in the end.
The shoulder, the chest, the ear, on which you and others
Had relied, really only made of straw, staked to the ground,
Surrounded by the remnants of a harvest I didn’t get to eat,
My only company the crows that, slowly, learned not to fear me,
Showing their affection for me by taking me away from here,
Piece by piece, until soon there won’t be anything left
But the stake in the ground that is my heart,
The one I wish you’d taken home with you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Contemplation over Scones

"I know I would fuck things up."
She poured herself another cup of tea
as I put jam on another scone. They were
scones I'd made, just for this moment,
having tea in the dining room of this
gloriously ancient home, complete with
its push-button light switches, and stained
glass overlooking the courting room with its
stately wooden benches and landscape murals.

There was something in the air besides
the Britishness of our little ritual,
a shared experience we discussed to take
our minds off of the busy-ness and anxiousness
that both our minds delivered.

We talked of our men, or rather, those men who
weren't ours - those men we know may
want to be, or may have wanted us, but weren't
with us, anyway. And she said exactly what
I felt I knew he had said to himself when
I opened my doors and offered my world.

The truth is (and these are only truths as I feel
or experience them, and may not be his truths at all),
he could never fuck it up - that even if he feels
he already did, mine is a heart that cannot be lost
if I feel that I know that something is there
beyond the walls and facades that have been set in my way.

But, more than that, it's not about what I've lost
or what he didn't want, or what I want, at all.
It's about reaching out, forgetting and forgiving
enough of the pain to know that all I want
is to be able to support the person who means the most to me.
However I am able.

And all of the screaming and shouting and angst
that I've let leak out of my fingers into these
silent, angry spaces, is not as powerful as love is -
As selfless love is,
the love whose pureness humbles me, that even unrequited
fills me with joy, just knowing it exists.
And if I can only be a voice of comfort or encouragement,
if I can be allowed to sacrifice my very bones
to be a support to him, and a friend when he needs it,
then I hope that he'll allow me to be there,
if I'm the one who knows him best of all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Clay Words

They sit beside me, inside me.
These little balls of clay.
Some are red, as hot as embers,
some a cool blue, or a brilliant green,
but all of them lined up ready
to be formed into something
that I hope to be beautiful.

Sitting here, at my desk, I often
ask myself what it is I hope to accomplish,
forming these pots and bowls of clay,
sending them out to be read, or not,
by eyes other than, or only mine.

Some of them are ugly. Some of them
scratched or tarnished with a pain
that either makes them crumble in my hands
or catches the light that certain way
that makes unseemingly beautiful objects
glow with inner radiance.

Sometimes they are already beautiful
before they even pour out of my fingers,
these balls of clay, almost fully formed
into flutes or cups or vases, just waiting
to be gilded and received by the right
pair of seeking eyes belonging to a thirsty soul.

Regardless, I am surrounded by so many
pots, brimming up, up, and over with the
emotions that made them. All of them, my children.
All of them, my own.

And while some people may never understand,
each of them, the ugly ones, the broken ones,
the beautiful ones, are all pieces of me.
Broken, crumbled, malleable, fixable, unfixable
mutable, hopeful, pieces of me.

I am made of this clay. And I make this clay.

I am the sum of all my parts, and all my parts
are made of words.

And still the subtle beating of a small heart.
The memories of evenings on your sofa,
choosing movies amongst popcorn and drinks.
The first night I shared with you.
The newness.
The light.
The us that was you and I,
the way we worked so well.

Nothing is ever gone forever.
Even if only in the memory of my mind.
Even if that's where the fondness of love
might have to remain. That's where I'll be.

We're Tired, Both of Us.

We're tired. Both of us.
We had come together like two sinking ships in the night,
unprepared for the waves that would wash across our decks,
my vessel steadying firm as I reached out to you,
watching the water engulf you from afar.
You weren't ready, and you disappeared,
the rope still in my hands to save you.

We're tired of fighting.
Both of us, exhausted.
And while it hurt to watch you drift,
I understand the revitalization of
unfamiliar waters and shores,
and perhaps I'll meet you again
on the other side of those islands,
those tropical reefs,
those as-of-yet unnavigated oceans
of our unknown futures.

No need for shame and apology now,
as tired as we are of feeling.
We'll see one another again
when once more we've rested and
have had our fill of the uncharted seas
that lie ahead in anticipation of our journeys.
And I promise not to cast my rope
unless you ask it of me.
And I promise not to board your ship
unless you say you want me.
And from a distance, I'll hail you,
and smile, knowing you're life is just beginning,
and there's so much exploring left to do.

We're tired. Both of us. Exhausted.
I understand the urgent need to rest.

Monday, November 12, 2012

All the Experience You Were and Are

I remember when you took my hand
and guided me up the stairs to that room
at the back of the library. I had spilled
myself and my anxieties across the
screen of your laptop while you were in class,
typing up a conversation I wanted to have,
but made you read, as I was
too afraid to ask the question out loud:
"Do I need more experience?"
Up in that room, you leaned back
in your chair at the table,
the look of tortured patience
playing across your face.
How you had to know you intimidated me.
Your knowledge, your experience, the ferocity
of your desire for what I was, for what I
held inside me you wanted to be yours.
You had known so many men, and for me all
I had known was my marriage - could I be the
"enough" you had been working toward?
What was "enough", and were you and I
a part of the right narrative -
a narrative in which no other
puzzle pieces were necessary?
Later, before we made love again,
you cried in my arms from the insecurity I had
hurled at you - that being enough was
all you could offer.  That if I needed
something else, or something more,
you would give me up - Oh, such love -
but then, did I want experience... or did I want you?


I remember the days after I lowered all
my walls to you.  You had returned to me,
a poor, self-deprecating boy shivering in the
figurative downpour on my front porch,
waiting, hoping, to be brought in out of
the rain, but so afraid to knock on the door.
The deluge was all your own, and I did all
I had ever wanted to do - hold you close to
show you love and protect you from
the pain you held inside yourself.
I remember hearing, or rather reading,
as you retreated back into the textual realm
of your fading existence, the very question
I had posed to the ghosts of my own past:
"Maybe I need new experiences. I don't know."
I was your age when I asked that same question
to the man that had promised me a future,
and whose answer I repeat now.
Because I see myself in you.
Because I understand, so much more than you
would ever let me tell you, as you backed out
and closed door after door after door
only just re-opened,
telling me "not to put [my] life on hold,"
Perhaps not knowing how much those words
carve into the bitter memories of all
the weight and hurt of my past tears,
and signifying to me beyond doubt that you
were going to choose to leave me, again,
for experiences you felt you needed.
And, because I understand, I too can take
the shape of tortured patience and let you go.
Because I understand, I can only hold myself
together and watch you leave, and watch you
grow and live and, I hope to God, find happiness.
But then, again, the haunting question I was asked
so long ago. The question, now, and my response.
"Do you choose experience... or me?"
I chose you, and all the experience you were and are.

"Let the slow hands of time
and the even slower dreams of sleep
consider all the rest."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Brick and Mortar: On Saying Goodbye

You dropped the vase of flowers you never really bought
before you had the chance to even put them in my hands,
two days after you told me you missed me, and two days
after I opened every door, aired out every closet,
and laid bare for you every corner, and crevice,
along with all the contents of my chest of drawers.
Two days later, and instead of receiving flowers
I received the silence of fear and foreboding.
I won't deny I pushed you further, and I won't deny
I regret so many words.
But if there was ever a hand or heart that wanted
to hold and guide you away from the darkness
into which you so consistently let yourself slip,
mine were the hands and the heart that had always
been there that you would never see.
Especially now, as strength fills these arms,
yet the ache of bitterness sets into the brick and
mortar I feel underneath my palms, between us.
Unscalable walls, perhaps, spreading out behind me,
or, at least, barriers just now set that feel impervious
to my shouts and my fists. Again, it seems,
and for a final time, we've locked ourselves apart.
Soon, in some distant future, when we arrive
on the shores of our memories, we'll
examine the ruins of this monstrous wall we created
and realize that it never really existed, except in
the words we kept using to shield ourselves from hurt.
And that if we had merely turned around and looked,
Face-to-face, beyond the words behind which we had hid,
we would not have found the brick and mortar
that we felt was there, behind us,
but merely would have met each other's eyes,
the reflections of ourselves in one another's gaze the only
walls that stopped us, the only fear that formed us,
and the only remorse we, in the end, could not overcome.
And while I never saw your face or held those flowers,
and while you never saw or heard from me again,
That mingling of remorse and pain, yearning and love,
and the unquenchable desire for your own happiness,
even outside my own,
Will safely be solidified, like brick and mortar,
within the walls of my heart, where the memory
and arms of you will forever be secured.


Is there a sound to loneliness?
Can silence be inverted - not just into
The absence of sound but the
Forced exhalation of air as even the
Possibility of words are taken away?
What does it mean to pass sleepless nights,
A mind churning and bubbling over with impossibilities,
With a heart pining for the hands and arms that
Only ever wanted to use you just to push you away again
Once the veins were drained and cracked from overuse?
What does it mean when those sleepless nights
aren't matched by the sleepless voices and eyes
of the one you love?
That's when the exhalation begins,
Slowly, as you first weep all the air out of your lungs,
But faster and faster the noise of
loneliness pushing every bit of time and memory
out of your body, as you realize there
Was probably no air there to have sustained you in the first place,
Nothing but cheap promises and false tears.
This terrible noise, the inverse of silence,
the gnawing and thrashing of embittered arteries and tired veins
and aching of hollow lungs -
This is the sound of loneliness.
The terrible, awful sound of the beating heart
against the infinite backdrop of muffled, muted space.

But at least, at least, you know who you are,
and this time the loneliness won't frighten you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Reading Tillich Over Breakfast

This is what I see, and want, for my future,
So many coffee shops and books,
journals and pens - Sitting alone with my
own voices in attempts to harmonize
myself with those others who would attempt
to persuade me toward anxiety, the walls
closing in, the voices of loneliness, the
clamoring, ringing intonations of silence.
I sit here, with my mug and pen, weapons
against the darkness slowly attempting
to encroach upon my sacred spaces -
A sacred space I occupy and know am meant to occupy alone.
Here is where, unexpected, the Universal speaks
to me, and I pause from my breakfast
of quiche and existential theology
to reach up into the Over-Soul
and pull these words down,
like a soft, warm blanket
over my shivering spirit,
and join myself with ideals of
Beauty, Truth, Genius, and Love.
And, for a moment, these voices
inside my head sing in perfect harmony
into my cup of coffee, and I only
hope that feelings and intensities
like these will keep me company
throughout my day, as I try so desperately
to drown out the sobering sounds of silence
outside both these literal and figurative doors.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Daylight Saving Time

Is daylight actually saving time?
From what does time need saving?
These extra morning hours
Now more fully lit,
Now more exposed by the sun who
Sneaks into every crevice and
Wakes me through the giant windows
Of my lonely bed -
Were these the hours worth protecting?
If the sun could penetrate the windows
Of my heart, would my soul be saved?
It's still nighttime there, and nothing has stirred, 
But I couldn't say if I am merely sleeping still,
Or so far beyond the realms of sleep
That the sun in my eyes will not be enough to wake me.
I do not want time saved by daylight
If I can't have the time I wished to have and hoped would lead me to be
So much less alone and so much less exposed than I am now, in the early morning by the sun.
There was no extra hour of sleep for me,
But only an extra hour to examine the empty spaces that now, thanks to daylight, I am
Forced to see around me.

But, even so, today will still be beautiful,
The daylight is still idyllic, and the sun
Does not know or care about the crevices he lights - only that they become lit, exposed, and warmed.

And maybe warmth is what we need,
And maybe that's why daylight's saving time.


Written 10/29

My fingers retraced words, like waves, today.
I wished that I could swallow them back up, and dam the flood,
Take them all back. Start again.
You were right, when you approached me, your arms outstretched.
Seeking me as a confidante,
You were frightened, seeking help, an arm, an ear, a shoulder,
And I - I unleashed a beast on you,
And the rage I let seep out and cover you and swallow you whole
Was the most unkind and unfair thing
I could have done.
I could have listened quietly and kindly and taken your hand.
Instead I pushed you further away.
I don't say that I blame myself, or you,
For these oceans between us -
These tempestuous seas we've attempted
To drink up to find each other, find ourselves. No more apologies are needed -
But there is simply too much water for the two of us to bail alone, or simply not enough strength between us.
And when I told you we were on different life rafts, floating toward shore,
I forgot to remind myself that we hadn't yet made it there,
That we're both still floundering,
And that all you were asking for was a rope to guide you. My advice. My aide.
And instead I let my waves of pain and anger crash over you and send you in the wrong direction. You were caught
In a whirlpool, but instead of pulling, my words pushed you deeper.
I see now only from afar, and hope you've sighted shore, yourself, to get yourself on course. I will shout my apology across time and space, and hope that you can hear me.
I will prepare myself next time with rope, and supports, not words, not waves,
And pray that I did not push you further than your voice can reach me,
For whenever you next need me by your side.