Thursday, April 17, 2014

a street

sometimes I turn off the black little face of my phone
so that I can be alone
and not have to worry about you worrying about me.
I know you're expecting me home tonight
but I'm too young to be expected or predicted or usual
I don't want to be important or anticipated or waited on
I just need to be alone
I have to be alone.
sometimes I turn off the blank little face of my phone
so I don't feel at home
I don't want to be at home
have you noticed how little time I spend there
it's not because of family or mem'ries or suburbia
it's not because I hated childhood, it's because I'm too well denied
living inside a set of lines, that I made -- for my life.
I don't need to be spontaneous or individual or adventurous
I don't want to be a rebel, hopping freight trains like my father
so the only lines that defined him were the tracks he runs over and the states that he crosses
I don't need to be my sister, hitchhiking down the coast because 11th grade got complicated
and you can be sure that the pencil strokes of her note weren't the only lines she left behind
but I don't need to defy
I don't need to defy
I just need to not -- be defined
can you understand.
can you understand why sometimes I turn off the blank little face of my phone
even in a room full of people
just so I know that no one who loves me
can find me
and this isn't a cry for help, it's a plea for understanding can you understand
that I'm not -- old enough to be at home
I don't -- want to be at home
but this place is beginning to feel -- familiar
this room is as messy as the one I grew up in
you are as constant as a cat or a mother -- or a street
how can you be a street, without a home
you are -- a home
I am -- at home with you
but I don't want to be at home
I can't be at home
do you understand.

do you understand why sometimes I turn off the blank little face of my phone?



it smells like rain.
it smells like rain, and I only feel safe in the shadows.
it smells like rain and I only feel safe in the shadows, which worries me.
I only feel safe in the shadows: which only worries me at night
like poems on worry me at night
because every day is a flood
of forgetting and forgetting and remembering
discussing imagining considering
and forgetting again,
replacing each thought with something new until nothing stays anymore
a cycle that feeds and fills your life, unless
you are forgetting the only thing worth while.
right now the only thing worthwhile is that it smells like rain.

it smells like rain, and I only feel safe in the shadows.


Little Corner

I wish
I could write
I wish I could tell you all the goddamned things
that inundate my brain,
creep in, tendrils of unease --
how I grasp at friendship in
the unlikeliest of places,
and thrust aside
old friends I have,
how I watch my email count grow higher
and higher,
but never respond and yet
can hold conversations for hours in places
uncommon, uncomfortable, home,
how I try to comfort the woman
who wants me to hold and I hurt
one I wanted myself.
I wish I could explain
how alone I feel, not here,
in every spoken moment of my life
how alone I feel, surrounded,
in a crowd.
I wanted to tell you
that I feel connected in this
dark, lonely room
that I feel alive here
that I feel at home, here,
that I don't
feel the same
in this little corner

of life ---



She sits there in
the front seat.
She sits there with her eyebrows
illuminated by the glow of music,
with her mouth a regular,
even shade of indifferent,
with a hand left lazily
at her side.
I'm used to seeing her
in extremes: body
tense, eyes tense
standing ready in
that same stance,
looking past me.
I'm used to seeing her
dancing, her hair
backflipping over itself,
I'm used to seeing her
in control, collected,
dressed in proper blue
feminine clothing, I'm used
to seeing her
in extremes:
but here she is
in between, sitting there
inattentive, inactive,
a gradient
of herself --
and my eyes waiting wondering,
wishing to see more of her

between extremes


Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I have to wonder how you knew
Edvard Munch.
I try to imagine myself three or six
years ago, at Your Age,
sitting naked before him
for hours. Did your mother
know about this?
Who brought an old man
into your bedroom?
Who took off your shirt,
your skirt,
your long white stockings?
Who arranged your lank dark hair
just so, behind your shoulders,
leaning across you to make sure
that it stayed? Who placed
your hands between your legs,
rested your palms so softly
on your skin
your arms left straight, still -- stiff?
Aren't you afraid
to move? Aren't you afraid
of shifting, of smiling, or of
whoever's shadow lingers
on your bedroom wall? And
aren't you cold? I heard
it was cold in Norway -- I can imagine
your skin, shivering, numb
everywhere, except where the warmth
of a hand rests on your thigh ---

Written to Edvard Munch's "Puberty"


Thursday, April 25, 2013

how to justify

it was the first time we'd spoken but my tongue felt
loose instead of tied it was like instead of drying up
our conversations just got less conducive to people
it wasn't an interaction between humans, but ideas:
because over the past four years our thoughts have
never changed. I could always predict the next word
to exit your less-than-beautiful lips. the only change
was to the supplementals, in our reactions; the way
I shifted when you pressed your leg up against mine
or how I don't watch you anymore when you speak -
you boasted improvement for the future but I didn't
respond, you could say I'm not as optimistic as you
(at least not anymore) and, besides, I know myself
and neither of us can gaze in the heart of the other.
it was the first time we'd spoken, but my heart felt
less gulping than grudging. you seized the future,
but my darling, I'm still struggling through the past.


If you can find the pun in the title... you rock.


You agreed with me
You said you felt old
And that the sun was sapping our strength on that field,
And that we shouldn't fill out forms.
You agreed with me, once again
You offered something repetitive of yourself
And told me I'd be happy (I think)
And talked about yourself.
Let's agree. Let's say I'm happy
Let's say we both worry about money,
And four years isn't so long.
I wish I knew what was inside of you.
I wish I could touch something
You didn't mean for me to see.


rainbow bones

I wanted to show you the confidence you might expect from these rainbow socks.
I wanted to walk in to a gust of music and let it wash over my body like light
and be filled to the brim with assuredness.
I wanted to smile into your eyes and show you
how easily all my features settle together when I am happy.
how instinctual it becomes to wrap my arms around another human when I feel loved
when I feel home.
I listened to the first bass drop from the towering speakers,
and I wanted to slip out of my shoes, and my cape, and my skin,
I wanted to let the sound waves crash through my bones, rattle them into a rythym,
take the floor with some sort of unadulterated joy and remind us both that my feet dance by themselves
and my hands' motion feels smoother than silk
when I know the song.
what I really wanted was to walk through that door, my friend - that thin-plated door -
and throw off my cloak to show you the adult I've become.
show you the eighteen years of flesh I've built up inside, a flesh of feeling and self
a flesh that knows how to leap into the air and how to open itself up but apparently not how to dance
not even in the rain.
instead I walked in and barely remembered how to exist here. how to feel safe
how to feel like dancing with my feet off the floor.
I'm sorry how my eyes stayed on the ground, even my smile,
I'm sorry that I felt as young as I used to before I owned these rainbow socks, it should have been different
I wanted it all to be different when I saw you again
but all I could think of, looking at you,
was how very similar we are.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's Been __ Months

It was a lie of conviction, that one year was long enough.
I s'pose I understood better... but I was still wrong enough.

I poured my life out in music, composing halves of our duet,
But the only singer was I: and I'd heard that song enough.

A self-isolation, blocking windows, cutting friends
Sixteen months in seclusion: now am I strong enough?

You tried to gather me up. Wind me back onto your spool
I'm your toy, your possession; but now I won't come along enough.

I climbed into your lap, I fell into your arms, and I felt it -
But I can't sink back into your heart. Now I'll never belong enough.

I've come to terms with your absence. Your shadows are gone
But do you know? How can I ever prolong enough?

 I thought life would get better, I thought the past would all fade
And it mae. I wasn't wrong - but I was still wrong enough.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to Get Found: A Guide to Driving Home

Step 1: Feel a little lost inside.
Start out somewhere you love and leave through the front door like you always do
And let the dark night air overtake you as you are pressing the key forward in the ignition,
And just as the engine grumbles into motion realize
That you don't want to go home.
As you pull away from the curb and orient yourself realize
That you don't want to leave this car,
This perpetual motion machine that is aways in suspension between one place and another,
You want to stay in limbo, you want to stay in flux,
And it's not that you don't want to go home it's just
That you don't want to be anywhere, you want to be in transit
Without a destination or a path.
Step 2: Take a left turn where you usually take a right.
Find a familiar intersection and forget the turn signal,
There's no one else on these residential streets at midnight,
Take the mental map of your small, small world and start filling in gaps
Like that road behind the park that might be a dead end
Or the other end of your best friend's street
Or just take a left turn where you usually take a right
And see what happens.
Seek out the twistier hills where you can speed
At a whole four miles over the 25 limit
And make it feel like mach 2
Flip on the radio to the most auto-tuned pop you can find
And every time you turn onto another street you don't know, turn the music up a little
Until you can advertise your adventures as sound waves through the windows
Scratch that, roll down the windows and try to catch the wind in your fingers
With both hands safely on the wheel.
Step 3: Start to feel a little uncertain
Drive for four full minutes without recognizing where you are
Take six left turns and still end up on a different street every time
Try to catch a glimpse of the street signs as your headlights flash past them
And peer into the dark for landmarks
And after thinking you've finally found yourself three times in a row
Make the stunning realization that all LFP streets look the same
Every time you begin to feel the endorphins of mild panic in your system
Throw your head back and laugh
Even when you aren't sure you'll find your way out
Step 4: Escape the labyrinth
Begin to turn onto only larger streets
Seek out neighborhood arterials and be surprised when there are other cars around
Which might actually know where they're going
Use your well-honed survival skills to support you:
Trying to figure out which way is North is fine
But turning around is illegal
Go ahead and attempt to use the position of the moon as a crude navigational tool
But mostly make turns based on momentary whims
And eventually you'll find your way out.
Discover yourself in the opposite direction of where you expected
Or possibly back where you first began.
Drive down a familiar road and lower the music until you can hear your heartbeat in your ears and then
Step 5: Repeat,
Get addicted to the rush and the bass beat of the next song,
Crave the freedom of letting go of decisions
And the relief of finding home.
Step 6: Exhaust yourself with exultation
Intoxicatingly concentrated within your little metal container on wheels
And point yourself towards home.
Let the music quiet as you tread through familiar waters
And take an unusual path to your driveway.
Roll down the concrete like you've been on your way home for a few minutes,
Instead of an hour and a half,
And sit with the engine off to hear the last song out until it ends.
Climb out of the seat and walk through the dark
And take the usual path to the door. Spend the rest of your foreseeable night
Being predictable. Wrap up the hour you lost inside yourself,
Without telling anyone,
And try not to regret the gas bill.