rose girl.

has she always been that beautiful?
I don’t know.
our lives are two pieces of thread
knitted together from knotted skiens.
she is fraying from all the misuse,
but I look at her & see
the finished piece.
we are different, I am
the shade of purple in the crayon box
always mistaken for a deep-hue blue.
she is the color of her eyes that cannot be
melted into wax & boxed for play.
I would give her flowers,
but she is not a rose girl. she is
thorns & fallen leaves, September
or unexpected rain.
I’d call her beautiful but I think
that word is insufficient.
how do you remember
breathing, how do you archive
the tickle of a firefly in your fist?
I take her picture & still,
I cannot capture the clear-night sky
I find in her.

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the storm.

thunder run me down.
& river, sing my symphony.
call me into watery depths
of summer rain.
hide me in the creek bed, or drown me in
a backyard stream.
carry me away, wind.
I am buried in the mudslide
breathing like lightning.
bareback as shelter
in skies gray as ashes.
howling gales
wolf-cries in a moonless night.
come, storm, be my lullaby.
let them scatter, too afraid to feel
your rough-leather touch,
icy fingers & cold smiles.
they call you unstoppable
so I will not fight
an inevitable force.
if this is the crisis, consider it
solved.
the storm of my mind quiets
as my house of cards
is demolished.
come, storm,
help me prove them wrong.
soak me to my
marshmallow bones.
thunder run me down & river
sing a simple song,
find me in creek bed arms.
this storm is mine alone.

Image found here

heads/tails.

I trust the coin to fall,
because I was told that gravity
is a force that never fails.

what goes up
must come down.

you’ve put your trust in gravity,
leaving us defenseless
to fate’s deciding rule.

//

I wonder if you think of me
the way I often do.

you’ve calculated the percentage
of us lasting past this month.
the number is low but
my expectations are high.

even though you’ve taught me

the numbers never
lie.

//

creating travel plans,
drawing maps & skirting county lines.

we are only
where we plan to be.
you promise flight, so I
carefully believe.

under sunrises we unveil
our shooting-star wishes,
counting

could have been

moments we shared,
until we fall
asleep.

//

there’s a sliver of hope
left among our things.

I sift through coins
& an old love’s new dreams,
hoping that I’ll find you.

turns out our chance,
hidden in the numbers,
was too small a value
for you to stay around.

I wonder if you found your city.
did you find a new window
to gaze out of?
have you built your
castle of dreams, & did you find
a place for me
among your memories?

we’re dealt the cards, so we play
the game.

the rules remain the same.

//

I have extinguished
the nightlight
you lit in my eyes.

I hope you’ve found peace
the way I’ve found silence.
your numbers are cold,
unfeeling stacks of data.
but maybe
they calm the fever
dreams of your soul.

call it in the air.  

Inspired by this song. Image found here. 

lost and found.

cobwebs flutter–
gauzy curtains in the corner–
every step made
echoes down the hallway.
walking over well-worn floors,
pacing in time
with the ticking of the clock.
light like icing streams
through the broken rafters.
light breaks & shatters,
over the tumbling beams.
imagine, once
this forgotten place
was somebody’s sanctuary,
a heaven for a stranger’s feet.
crumbling glass beneath
the window; wonder
who looked beyond
its’ frosted pane.
a memory so elusive
lost & unnamed–
abandoned like this building.
the house stays silent,
stays the same.

image source: here

my funeral comes early.

they say you’re remembered,
not by what you say
or even what you do,
but by the people
you affect.
they say your life should be
a series of faces,
a chorus of voices,
that make up your story.

//

I am a decade
of misplaced memories
& another decade
of what they molded me
to be.
if I was made up of
shared experiences;
if I were to die today,
I don’t know how well
my story would be told.

//

who best to represent,
who better to tell
my life as it is,
than my own memories?
I would pick & choose,
would compile them
like pictures for a slideshow
to be played
at my funeral.

//

the tears of my father
(who I thought could not cry),
braiding my mother’s hair,
the trust
in my little brother’s eyes.
the first lie I told
(over a roll of Smarties),
my grandmother’s watch,
butterfly-shots,
my second dose of distraction.
a misunderstood friend
(a friendship I have yet to understand),
writing words of sadness
in the fog of the car window,
singing too loudly without caring.

//

the years of confusion & self-confidence,
before the mirror wars
& collection of unused notebooks.
when shy was still acceptable
(adorable, even).

//

I imagine my ghost
approaching the podium,
looking out over
a spotty audience.
“Do you miss me at all?
Hard to go unnoticed
at your own funeral,
believe it or not. I
don’t blame
any of you, you know.”
while my slideshow plays,
I see the gaps
of my existence
being filled by the reactions
in the eyes of my spectators.

//

is that life, then?
a delicate art, a masterful
performance
for everyone around you.
so, that,
when you are dead & gone
someone can say
I remember.
we all want to be remembered.
some of us
work on our slideshow
a little too late.

//

slowly, I am
reconciling
with the hard fact that I
may never get
both sides of the page
even in my own book.
in the end, I will be
an interpretation
of the people who knew me.
I may never be complete.

Image source: here

through woods.

we are running through woods
through childhood
dreams & fantasies
that we have allowed
to gather dust.
we are running through woods
through a sea
of green shadows
& sunlight
that doesn’t quite reach
the cold chill
that has settled in our bones.
we are running through these woods
like something is chasing us,
like the wind is a creature that bites
& instead of giving us a boost of speed,
all it has accomplished
is tangling our hair with treetops
of almost-dead leaves.
we are running
because our legs have been bound,
our legs have been twisted
by hands that told us
to stop believing,
to stop loving
because we were the runts
of our litters. we were not
as good
as the shining ones surrounding us,
we were not
as good
as the paintings of faces
that adorned our walls.
we were second-best,
or not even, we were
second-hand, we were
the discarded, the clothes
that no longer fit but still
smelled like their
unloved laundry.
we are running because when once
we were prisoners, they
have loosened our leash, & with that glimpse
of freedom, we have built up the strength
to gnaw through our chains.
we have seen light
at the end of the tunnel,
the door has been left open & we
have barreled through.
we are running through these woods,
we are running through
the dark, the cold,
through our own insecurities.
but we are not just running,
we are living,
we are in the woods but we
are surviving
because what else is there
to life, to the ability
to make wings out of
broken promises,
to run like we are flying
through these woods?

frail.

he understands that word
because of
his father’s late nights,
because of the rhythm
of heavy black boots
crossing from
the living room
to the dim-lit kitchen
where his mother stood,
pensive,
washing dishes.
she ran the water, watched
the water crash
onto porcelain & plastic,
listened
to the cascade.
it might’ve spared
the dishes in the sink,
but it did not spare
her favorite set of china
from his father’s flying fists.
the next morning,
his father was
gone
& his mother was
not-gone
(though it sometimes felt
like she was, too)
& that china
that he’d been warned
to stay away from
was still lying,
shattered,
on the kitchen floor.
he picked up the shards
& let them fall.

//

he understands that word
because of
the years following,
when his mother became
strong enough
to do more than wash dishes,
strong enough
to resist her husband’s
raucous behavior.
the late nights of crashing
glass were not
as often,
the mornings of
empty chairs
at the breakfast table
became
commonplace.
until the chair
disappeared
completely,
& heavy black boots
no longer tramped
through the halls.

//

he understands that word
because of his
highschool girlfriend,
who had
too much time on her hands,
& too much future
to worry about.
a girl who
used her words like a shield,
who laughed too much
& too loudly, but said
that she loved him
& he believed her.

//

he understands that word
because of
the last night,
under stars and
city traffic lights,
because of her
tears
& his confusion.
he said
that he loved her,
but she didn’t believe him.

//

he understands that word
because of
his mother’s sudden
visits to the doctor,
the bags beneath her eyes,
because of her
softened voice &
saddened demeanor.
because of
the days that followed,
her steady decline
& his grief
at losing her slowly,
instead of all
at once.
because of her shaking hands,
the blue eyes
they shared,
delicate like china,
like glass.

//

he understands that word
because of
falling in love
with a girl who didn’t
understand her own worth,
but looked at him
like he was the sun
to her flower of a soul,
the rain & the soil,
keeping her bright.
she gave him
the power to
burn her with heat,
drown her with rain,
to choke out her roots,
but she trusted him
to feed her with sunlight,
to water her dreams,
& to give her the nourishment
to carry on.
she could’ve been frail
but she was strong
enough to love him
& for that
he loved her more.

Image found here

leaning.

I’m leaning on your shoulder,
trying to ignore the sounds
of thumping music I don’t enjoy,
while your breathing sets me
more on edge
than anything.

trundling along,
we are two packages
of ever-moving atoms,
stagnant in our
togetherness.

I’m sitting next to you,
leaning against you
in uncomfortable silence.
but, for a moment,

you chuckle at something
someone has said,
& I feel the rumble
in your chest
like aftershocks.

for a moment,
caught up with your
own bliss, I think
you feel familiar.

I realize
with a jolt
that you are familiar
in one way,
because with him I leaned
in the same way
on his shoulder.

but you are not him.

I will never confuse
you & him
again.

because, while with you
I am uncomfortable but
I am safe; while

with him

I was unpredictable but
I was happy.

& that is something
you never can
(I will never allow
you to)
make me.