Saturday, September 22, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
Paused at the Otis Record. Left it.
Return with beast slung over his shoulder, conquered.
No one is patient enough, anymore.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
In an attempt at bribery
My parents bought me a puppy.
A motivation to stop screwing up.
The first night,
I slept on the linoleum floor of our New York kitchen with him, and we both whimpered a little--
He because he missed his mom, surely.
At the time, I didn't know why I was sad, but in 8th grade, who does?
That night we made a deal:
If I would hold him, he would listen.
This morning, all of my secrets died with my loyal confidant.
There is nothing poetic about endings.
There is only the scraping sound of unraveling twisted metal cable.
Location:Seaview Ave,Jamestown,United States
Sunday, October 16, 2011
No damage, save for a twinge of sadness,
mourning only the wasted time spent unwisely
on a heart not worth loving.
I will, as always, be the one dancing, smiling, being brave.
You will forever be standing still on a dance floor in my mind
Avoiding my eyes, and letting your fear stop you
From living a life you won't regret.
That's why I left you, after all.
When I attempt to rise higher,
I think about what I have learned since we parted.
I have had my heart torn apart,
And I was so filled with anger...
Until I did the same to someone else.
It was then that I realized
That sometimes people are the casualty,
when we need someone to care about us.
Empathy comes only from life experience, and that is actually what they mean,
when they say
that time heals all wounds.
It is not the distance in the rear view mirror that allows forgiveness,
but a shared experience of humanity, of flaws, of mistakes.
I don't think you've ever hurt anyone.
I hope you get the chance
to break someone's heart.
So that when you're 80,
and taking inventory of your heart, you realize what matters-
Here's hoping I'm still alive.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
With calmer winds that no longer have the strength to lift me off my feet,
carry me away to something new,
again and again.
With all valuable things tethered to something unmoving,
and thus protected,
I find myself, again, preparing for the rush of water that comes with impending flood.
The lines of such constant rising, receding
show clearly in the space between my eye and ear -
permanent marks of change, that cannot be scrubbed away.
Evidence of brackish tide strong current survived, if barely.
On shore, as the water rises slowly, nodding to the filling moon,
I lick the back of my salty palm, remove a layer of white.
As if to travel backward to a place
where I did not have this protective coating
where skin was young, more vulnerable, but braver.
The veins present and protruding are new, though.
This is not the same hand that shakes
at the thought of your silence
where it meets my attempt at a proper ending.
And so two years later,
at another wedding of friends,
where I will once again stand facing the crowd that you occupy,
I will do things differently.
Show myself what I have learned.
Stand straightened, knowing in my heart that it is right to want endings, and peace.
Send you nothing but a message of kindness,
that one day you may be able to stand tall enough to want that, too.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Each time it's summer
I want to toss all of my belongings out of open windows
And make the active decision
To allow each thing inside again.
To feel the weight of these things-
To feel the consequence of keeping.
I am a better editor now, it is true.
In my 10 years of adulthood
I have unpacked
11 different times.
I have bought and sold a home. I am 28.
I have seen things fall apart,
And I knew which things could be salvaged.
I have control over my sentimentality,
I still have every letter ever sent to me, though.
And I'm terrible at writing back.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
In the life of every slaughterhouse employee
Where she must decide whether hurting living things
Is something that she is still capable of.
She calls in sick a few times that month.
Eventually, she picks up the want-ads.
Years later, she will laugh over a meal with friends -- make light of it.
It's what she's known for.
But later, in the quiet of her attic apartment,
She will say out loud:
How very far I've come.
And all the while, the earth is spinning beneath her feet.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Which had so firmly threatened permanence
on the eyeballs of the citizens of the great white north
are dissolving, now.
Our paces quicken, and yet we linger in the rain
...because this is a new kind of precipitation.
One that does not shock the skin,
But jogs the memory.
And when feet find each other beneath blankets
There is warmth.
And in warmth, softening of skin, lengthening of muscle.
These muscles, which had wrapped themselves so tightly around my bones
To keep the frigid air out,
to protect the heat of the coil in the middle of me.
These muscles loosen, now.
The ragweed and I, we are taller.
We wave at each other, on highways
From opposite sides of a car window,
And we point our shaggy heads southward, smiling and golden.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I was re-assembling my dressertop after a day of
sweet-fruited labor -
Carefully hanging jewelry on the ends of cigar boxes,
When I discovered the necklace.
It had been invisible to me since the day that it broke,
When I hid it away beneath more pleasant memories.
The necklace you gave me for my first gallery opening.
A dark garnet, surrounded by marcasite,
Gleaming then, but far more beautiful now in it's tarnish.
After you wouldn't take me back two summers ago
I wore that necklace every day
Like a totem - I am romantic - I believe.
I wore it until it broke one night,
In bed with a man who wasn't you -
When I woke up I realized that my life was something different.
I didn't try to fix it.
Or the necklace.
...And so when I found it again, yesterday
And rolled it between my fingers, I said out loud
To the man in the next room,
Who is a romantic,
That it is funny, how old people can tell stories
About simple objects from their past
That are so loaded with meaning, that you don't know how they survived
Under the weight of all of it.
And that every day, as we inhale, exhale, cope, flourish,
We are building those stories for ourselves.
When he came into our bedroom and found me holding the necklace,
He kissed my forehead,
Said, "Fair enough."
When I am old, longgreyhaired, calmed,
When I can stay in one place for more than a year,
When eager, young hands search through my jewelry box,
Asking for stories,
I will tell them of the life I lived before
With the man I didn't marry.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
That I threw your zippo in the Winooski River today:
The one you said your father used
In his coast guard days
When I heard the sharp words
That fell off of your tongue
In talking about me.
And if I had stolen your stuffed fox
like you think I did
I would have burned it's fucking nose off
And spit on it
And sent that down the river too.
I have never done a mean thing to you
In my life.
This is just to say that I regret that.
Friday, November 5, 2010
(which mean the same thing, when speaking of water,
but are different enough to list,
when speaking of words between lovers)
...so for those purposes, and so that we
can be in agreement about the kind of life this will be
i tell you this --
the moment I knew for sure
that you were the man I would grow old with
was across a table at biscuit world in west virginia
me wearing your giant wool hat, with my feet in your lap
and a strange meat platter in front of me
i was woozy, you were tired, and still we were grinning.
with a little biscuit in your mouth you said,
darlin, you're beautiful.
do you want to go to the taxidermy shop?
and if there had been a ring hidden
inside of my square hash browns
it would have been a done deal.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
to have no desire for anything
but the ground beneath you
and the sun rays that lick at your shoulders
as you ride a borrowed motorcycle
down a long, empty road
and into fall's arms
spread wide, like a promise
that it won't get too cold this winter
and even if it does,
you know you can handle it, now.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
that I find where I have changed.
The act of being here being enough.
The tracing of my own fingers
on my own skin
in my own home
on my own terms.
My own new reality
That I expand every day --
And contract to squeeze out those things
That don't seem to fit.
It's in the careful decisions,
I know things, it turns out.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Whipping my hair around at 3am
I perched, clawfooted on the fire escape
of my very own Birdhouse.
I held my dress to my knees with my elbows,
smoked, determinately, resolutely even.
My new neighbor, the tabby cat
Climbed up all 14 steps to tell me
in no uncertain terms:
It is not until you do to someone else
What someone has done to you
That you realize who you are, and who they are.
What we are all made of, and what color it is, what texture.
"And then", he said,
Wrapping his pipecleaner tail around my waist as he began his descent:
"And then, you have a decision to make."
I would have let him in to stay the night-
To keep me company as I remember myself.
But i'm allergic to cats, and anyway,
he was a little cocky.
So I'll get a dog.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
for some time now,
I feel cinematic, in my re-appearance on the horizon.
all blaze and smoke and colored haze
uniform (same dress, every day, a ragdoll costume)
soldiering for something unclear, foggy.
Fighting tooth and nail for freedom by day,
stubbornly and bravely,
and then nightly, tying my own binds
out of fear of moonlight mutiny.
My absentee-ballot, unfortunately, seems to have been lost,
and I haven't updated my address since I left the floodzone,
so I'll do that now.
And I'll take back my voice, my vote.
And I'll make some decisions.
Most of all I won't dwell on battlescars.
I will not submit to regret for lives lost,
it was all in the name of Freedom, after all.
((so you too, take up your sword.
Let's join forces with the foxes,
and read poetry as prayer,
and say thank you, thank you,
thank you to objects
that may not even breathe. -avm))
Monday, August 16, 2010
the steering wheel of my car came off.
underneath, it was revealed to be sealed only with a dab of hot glue
which had yellowed, hardened, become like resin-
A place for insect skeletons.
i gave up on the car, and all of my belongings
followed a long trail of powerlines down a flat, long highway in the desert.
how did i get to the desert?
when I woke
still in a state of sleeplogic
I rolled over to my side,
pulled a pillow in to rest between elbows and ribs
and laughed at how simple the answer was:
shoulda just licked the glue, stuck it back on.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Has become embarrassingly straight forward
And what room is there for metaphor?
When we check in with everyone so frequently that there is no longing
Or deprivation of information
That creates desire?
Sometimes I think Best has it right
When she falls off of the map
For weeks at a time
Leaving a trail of question marks bouncing in her wake -
reigniting the idea of intrigue.
We are becoming creatures who want to know everything.
And once we do, what else will there be to learn?
How much time do we have to evolve,
If we spend so much of it reporting where we are at?
I have never been good at balance, I know this.
An office job I held for three years (with two slippery fingers, by the end of it)
Asked for frequent reports of progress
And this, eventually was enough reason to leave
Because how can I move forward
And also tell you where I am going?
I know it's possible - I know.
But maybe not for me?
And are we still lovable, with nothing left to learn about us?
So many relationships begin
With the phrase:
"I'd like to get to know you better"
And then, there comes a point
Where we know each other too well.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
"It was then that Tristan came into the quiet heart of his life.
The bear inside him was sleeping.
It is hard to tell of happiness.
Time goes by and we feel safe too soon." - Legends of the Fall
I am, for the moment, wordless.
And so I borrow the words of others.
The words that ring in my head,
Get stuck, like songs.
And just as I wonder about the idea of silence
And not communicating
I get a message from Best,
And she asks for words from a book I have taken with me,
Words that I read aloud in a bathtub in low light two evenings ago,
And they are these. And they are perfect:
You came one day and
as usual in such matters
significance filled everything--
your eyes, the things you
knew, the way you turned,
leaned, stood, or sat
this way or that: when
you left, the area around here rose
a tilted tide, and everything that
offers desolation drained away.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Inside of it's mama
A hoof, really,
Wedged inside, beneath breath, short hairs, skin, muscle, fat, layers
Twisting a little, uncomfortable in it's small world
So quickly, we outgrow what we're made of.
And I had to put my sunglasses on
To hide wet eyes from my students
After I put Mechiah's hand on the cow's side, pushed it firmly
So she could feel it too.
And as she walked away, I heard her remark to a friend
"It's crazy, I watched my mom be pregnant..."
It's those connections that get me every time
The ones I try to build in my own mind and heart
But don't need to, because goddamn, they're already there.
Those connections that go:
grass to sole
to sock to foot to ankle to...
Stronger shoulders, clearer mind,
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
The night we sailed three hours down the river.
Triple-fisting drinks, until I couldn't stand in my heels, laughing, dancing,
Threatening to hold hands and jump off of the back of the boat together,
Find some new world under the water to exist in.
Where half-baked, hair-brain ideas were currency,
We would be king and queen - invest in barnacles, plankton.
Jacqueline Cousteau, you said. You were jealous of my name.
On the bus ride back we stuck our heads out the window
Shared a wet, limp cigarette, and each drag was a toast -
Because at that moment, our city was the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen.
And so we had Eliot drive us to the river, we ran!
Jumped in with our costumes on, and the river claimed my hat.
We spent hours dancing, soaking wet at the same bar I would later lose you at,
When you were so drunk that you fell asleep between cars.
(The night you told me I saved your life as I dragged you into bed).
But I digress (always).
Back to the photograph.
It was Richmond in October,
And you can tell in the picture that it was still hot
Our skin rosy, glistening, both of our costumes over the top,
What I notice most about the photograph is our hands.
How tight our grips are: yours around my shoulder, mine your waist -
As if letting go would have meant falling.
And it would have.
We needed each other then.
This is, of course, a metaphor, (isn't everything?)
For the six months we spent separating from each other.
Grasping onto mirrors of ourselves,
Until we realized that parts of the reflection were missing.
Large, important sections: the left side of your face, my ribs...
Your heart, my head. That's right, isn't it?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
One is afforded the opportunity
To walk, single file.
To visit with the bones of the dead,
To smell the absence of flesh,
To see what is left,
To examine themselves, upon exit:
What do I have, that they don't?
What do they have, that I don't?
I will be accepting visitors
In this tomb tonight
The last night that it belongs to me
And in the morning, with holes freshly spackled,
I will hand over my keys,
And with everything I own stuffed into my rickety station wagon
I will forget everything I lost here-
You forgot what I lost not moments after I told you.
So I realize, finally,
I'm allowed to forget, too.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Offered grammatically to us
In the punctuation of endings:
An ellipses begs us to wait
A comma takes only a breath of rest
Before continuing forward, making lists, categorizing
A semi-colon binds the unrelated, creates relationships
In it's forward motion-- asks us to consider connectivity.
The period, though.
That's a different story.
It gives us permission
To think about something new.
An ending as a chance to let something else live?
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
All wind and darkness and flapping like beating hearts
Stiff, velvet feathers swatting at the insides of my rib cage.
At the heart of me, I imagine, there is a water tower-
And me, afraid of heights, but too stubborn to tell anyone
When the time comes to be brave.
My sister says the best ending would be to just walk out
on your partner in the movie theater. An ending
you don't have to look at, looking at the screen instead,
distracted while your heart hops over the chairs,
down the aisle, past spilled popcorn and jackets, asking,
are you really leaving, now, just as the story gets good?
An ending with a bow. An ending as a death.
An ending as a birth. An ending you don't call an ending.
An ending as a chance to let something else live.
-from wind, in the making, by Harmony Hazard
Sunday, June 6, 2010
In the waning of this terrible light
My shadow is slowly disappearing from this place:
First a couch,
A box of clothing six sizes too big
Some books that weren't mine,
and then an unanswered phone call - an unintentional goodbye.
The yoyo that had been released and dragging
Knotted up in best's fingers--
It's string is cut squarely in two: so that I may attempt
To tie up loose ends.
Square knots, sloppy, and like a little girl, clumsy
So that no matter how hard I try to make my double knots overlap
They fall separate, form a chain
Look like bedsheets dangling
from my 3rd floor window outside of the train station:
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The one you picked up on your own
Shoved haphazardly in the back of your blue hatchback
It saw three houses, and sat dormant in the last, until the end of us.
When I camped out in the guest room, silent, mourning.
Did you know I was mourning?
How could I blame you for not knowing,
When I became wordless, paralyzed by the idea of killing us off.
Of letting us go.
I sold it today.
And then I went to brunch.
Every time I sell a piece of you and me
I toast to you, silently.
This time a cranberry mimosa
I let the ice cubes roll around in my mouth
And there was barely room for them in there
Among all of the things unspoken
That I hold behind my tongue.
Friday, May 28, 2010
On the shore of our very own river.
Begin to dig a hole that we say is the way to China-
And focus on transferring sand
From one place to another.
As if it's an important job. We furrow our brows.
...As if we could have some sort of affect on this landscape.
As if the shore will not have what it wants, will not make smooth again our meager divets,
Reclaim our attempts at change.
And at the end of the day it is our own skin that is changed-
Darkened from sun, saturated with the power of the current,
We pulsate on that walk home.
Lap at our own shores with parched, salty lips.
And under our nails we are scrubbed clean, but for the tiny pieces
Of this day that we decide take with us.
What changes us, renews us, it comes with us.
The rest we leave behind.
Monday, May 24, 2010
With a Dr. Pepper under your arm for me.
And at 12:01, we realized it was your birthday
Standing by my fridge
I grabbed you by the collar
And we danced a little, in my living room, with tent as chandelier
My arms reaching up to rest on your neck
Long enough for my cigarette's ash to bend and drop behind your head
Like a weak magnet chain
The good kind of topple: absent-minded.
And we talked about altars and ice cubes and honesty, trains.
And when i woke up in the morning, you smiled at me and kissed my forehead three times.
You make me happy (birthday).
Monday, May 3, 2010
Blooming from a hole in your throat as you spoke
And i was mesmerized,
Surprised by the early presence of purple
On the spring's landscape.
And me, without my shears, as you posed your question.
I listened, my hands shook.
I wanted so badly to give in
To support your frame again, again, just one more time.
To give you what you want, because I care about what that is.
For some reason.
But my shoulders grow weaker by the day,
the slope from nape to joint more pronounced.
Collarbones peek through, neck tendons
a physical manifestation of the clenching that comes with tears.
So I said no no no
As I swung from a lamppost on a corner
Your sound: indignant, surprised.
A bus roared by and I made myself hang up.
I want to run from this town-
Leave you in the dust for once-
Go somewhere where you can't reuse meaning, because you won't know mine anymore.
Go somewhere where I hope for chance that isn't tied up in you
And your fucking beautiful shoulders
Your sad eyes
Your wheat germ skin,
and your grip on my heart.
Every streetlight I tried to shoot out that night
With my new slingshot
Was an attempt to extinguish this burning in the middle of me
But the glass is so strong on those damn things
So I snuck into someone's backyard
With a man who has the same name as you
And we kissed in the mulch, the smell of spring filling my nose
As we giggled and rolled, spitting out pieces of earth
And when I said goodnight to him, it was two birds, one stone.
"And I'm with another man, he's asleep I'm wide awake. And he tries to win my heart but it's taken....time."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
To describe loss
There is only silence, now.
I am, for once, without metaphor
Even when I search for it.
Even when the Camellia flower that I have shoved haphazardly behind my ear
(As a reminder of Spring, of beauty, of new life and birth, o birth, you fickle event)
Comes loose of it’s stem and falls to my feet.
I am without metaphor, disconnected from the loveliness of chance.
Chance? What chance? Choices are made by flawed humans. Chance?
And so I kick the bright blossom to the curb
And pam clicks her tongue as we walk, in percussion
Retrieves the flower, o divine rescue
And our feet slap pavement, malt liquor sloshes wildly as we run downhill
Toward water, rebirth.
We are the open containers, can we be arrested for being so?
(and aren't we? arrested?)
For swallowing (hard) our own question marks
For attempting to ingest the sun, to keep it with us
Warm within our chests, for fear that Spring is not yet here, really
Tickling the tips of our noses and then retreating back behind storm clouds
Behind the humid weight of the here and now.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I was still dressed, still working
And you settled into the windowsill spot as if you'd never moved out
And we smoked across from each other
Me sober, you distinctly un.
The tent hung over our heads, suspended
In the rafters like a question mark--
A bubble that needed to be burst
And I've never been good at holding back, so I point at it
It might as well have a pink elephant painted
Sloppily on it's side, anyway
I wanted to say:
Yes, I do still sleep in it.
Yes, I do still miss you.
But I didn't. Instead I giggled about bank robberies
Let you have your good mood
They're so fleeting in you these days
And then I watched it change
Your eyes became retreating horizons and I imagined you thinking
About the way she would have laughed at your jokes
Thinking about the way I laugh at them now.
And when you left at almost 5am
I didn't sleep
Paced my dark apartment in my underwear,
Pulling on the filters of cigarettes
Being a fucking film noir stereotype
Watching my own reflections in the smudged glass
Of the frames on my wall
Just like you.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Friday Etymology: Aftermath -1520s, originally a second crop of grass grown after the first had been harvested.
You see, aftermath is easier,
opening again the wound along its numb scar;
it is the sentence spoken the second time — truer, perhaps,
with the blunt edge of a practiced tongue.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I couldn’t bear to help you pack, help you leave
I asked you to, I know, but I’m doing everything I don’t want to
and nothing I do.
Someone said it was good for me.
And when I stopped you in the hallway as you were leaving
The only word that would come out, it wasn’t the right one
But I saw your heart from the top of the stairs, bruised,
Even with no glasses on and tears fogging my dark eyes
and when you told me you didn’t know what to do
I believed you.
And when I slammed the door
I stood on the other side
And imagined the morning two weeks ago
Where I sat on the edge of the bed putting on my boots
And you put your hand on the small of my back
I felt cherished in that moment, discarded now.
So I slammed my hand into the kitchen counter, which is a ridiculous thing to do.
I don't ever use my kitchen.
For now, I pitch a tent in the living room
Pile different blankets, different pillows, not the ones we slept under, with
Because the first morning my alarm rang,
I turned over to scratch your back and cried.
And I turn on Christmas lights as the sun begins to drop
Because dark is too dark with no metronome of breath counting out the night beside me.
For now, I still wish you were here,
And knowing what I’ve come to know
I’d be a fool to think that won’t change.
But for now my dear love, just for now,
You are the greatest loss I’ve ever spent six months losing.
And I’m not sure I ever had you completely,
But you have me.
So I pretend I'm not hoping for a tigersuit
To come crashing through my window
And I pretend I wouldn't give you your key back in a second
That I wouldn't run anywhere in the world
To chase after you, to feel your hands in my hair as you slept.
I pretend I don't want you to need me, and maybe you're pretending too.
But for now, dear love, I have to believe you.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
And so two nights ago, when you said there are moments with people
That are pivotal, that crack open the door to love
Let you peek in, get a glimpse of a what-if
And then you listed them: Ocracoke and the starsand, Tigers at the River,
The Drive-in, rooftop nights...
I named them in my head: Double Rainbows.
And I thought about Taylor and I
Standing outside of our old house at Hunter Street
After a storm that felt like the apocalypse was upon us
And I stood on soggy ground in squeaky red galoshes
The sky was orange and purple all at once,
And we. Were. Amazed.
I gasped and pointed
And a double rainbow stretched over the Free Clinic across the street
Like a halo over poor sick angels, spitting chaw and spinning tales
And then I took a picture of the rainbow as Taylor’s halo
And crowned him the Patron Saint of Rubber Cement
But I think I forgot to tell him.
I name everyone, but I can’t tell you what your name is yet.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Obscenely large scarf wrapped tightly around my neck
I fumbled with my keys at the entrance to my apartment
Before looking down.
Mail from Sarasota.
My eyes sparkled, I'm sure of it.
Gleamed like a Japanese cartoon character as I clutched the box under my arm
Raced into my apartment with it, nearly tore it open.
A tattered white box with carefully taped cutouts of squid, sperm whales
Every man I've ever loved has written his name like a child.
It was filled with treasure.
Well, things that only you and I consider treasure, I suppose,
Which only made it better.
Paper scraps, an old book, a coveted zippo, your words and sloppy drawings
A card addressed to Bonnie,
You're coming home tomorrow.
I sat at my windowsill tonight
Staring out at the train station that you said you'd like to make your grand entrance from
Your triumphant return with a grappling hook and a tiger suit
Crashing back into my living room, into my world
I lit my cigarette with the zippo and
Rubbed the side of my thumb over it's worn engraving of a ship
And thanked my lucky stars for the flood walls in Shockoe Bottom.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The sky was overcast
I was getting a little sick,
I felt the tickle in the back of my throat.
I had just watched a movie about the apocalypse
As I walked toward the parking lot
The window made a frame around the back of your head
As you walked to your car, arm in arm with a woman I don't know
I recognized your walk
A slight bounce, you walk on the balls of your feet
The red plaid shirt your dad gave you that you wear like a jacket
You needed a haircut.
I watched you turn her and kiss her and my lungs filled up with lakewater
My words caught behind my tonsils
And I choked out
"Let's stand here for a minute, I don't want to go outside" to Matthew
Who politely obliged. Stood as I stared.
On the first day of the year, I realized why I was sad--
I don't know you anymore.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Yours, ripped clean through
From a night when we were happy
And I followed you home on your motorcycle
You laid the bike down-- showing off
Circling a monument to a dead villain war hero
The pocket, the only casualty.
My heart lodged between my teeth for an hour afterward
That was when I realized just how much I cared. I didn't tell you.
You wear the pants every day still
A monument to the idea of charmed existence, to lady luck.
And my pocket, now
Where I put these things away:
An owl feather, the damaged lone ranger postcard, the idea of a letter
never sent, Oregon, toy tigers, the good and bad stomach aches, silk
flowers and bolo ties, Bonnie and Clyde...
And so I slip my foot into another pocket
The one on the dash of my timebomb of a car
Knee above shoulder
And I blow out my speakers and my vocal chords
And I sing.
Fuck I miss you.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
And my words pierced the darkness
Can I put my arm on you?
And you grabbed my arm,
Laid it over your chest and held my hand inside of your palm
And out it fell:
I am going to miss you so much.
And you turned to me and agreed, squeezing my thumb, and my heart was so full inside of my chest
I could feel it grazing the inside of my cage of ribs
Prowling in circles, like a captive polar bear
Begging to not be protected anymore, to be set free
Not for long, I said.
I sure hope not, you said.
I still kiss like a walrus, you said.
And I said show me.
When we finally slept at 4am
As one, exhaling body
You put your hands in my hair.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
That that house was the one
I remember standing outside for a few minutes, looking at it's strange front
On a block full of normal looking houses
It stood stoutly, starkly
Like the mexican restaurant of the block.
A huge Magnolia tree shaded it's front.
I had never seen one before--
The gigantic velvet blossoms softened my eyes.
When I begged you to say yes to the house I grinned and repeated:
"That's our tree! I know it!"
Later on, we groaned about the carpet of brittle brown leaves that it dropped,
But at night, the blossoms would shine like miniature moons
Reflecting the porch light when we came home.
To our home, our life.
And so on the last day that we owned it together--
On the last day that we had something that bound us together
With the hairy, prickly twine of complications and bills and legal documents,
Magnolia leaves and branches and blossoms...
I took the tree with me.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
From an Andrews Sister...
A 1920's Strongman...
Richie and Margot....
And Paula Deen (pictured: far right)
An Epic evening on the RVA Ghost Ship, followed by jumping in the river in 1/2 of our costumes (???) followed by going to Cous Cous soaking wet and dancing on the dancefloor for an hour, barefoot and soaked. Followed by Alladins.
All in all, the most wonderful Halloween EVER, minus one Alice Virginia McClain.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Because you said you don't want anything
And certainly not from me
And I'm taking the thick, green cups
And the 1950's radio
The Chinese laundromat sign that hung over the cabinet
My travel photo collection,
And all of the framed nonsense
The sanctified garbage that I clutch to my chest like treasure...
But I'm leaving the bowls.
10 glass bowls that nest inside one another
Given to me by your mother
With a winknudgenod
And a "All of the Cartwright women have these bowls..."
It was a small, silly gesture
That made my eyes wet behind thick rimmed glasses.
Just like it did today, as i opened the cabinet and placed my hand on them
The way you would palm the side of someones face,
When you were speaking true words that were hard to hear.
When you loved them enough to help them hold up their head.
I sat there holding the side of the thick, cool glass
Imagining other futures.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
off the phone with him telling him of my wanderlust, and then I lay
down to read my copy of deadeye dick and I find this inscription from
before I was born, when my parents were in love and my dad had
apparently just returned from Saturn. Universe WHAT are you telling me?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
And there were many:
(The treehouse in New Brunswick, that crowded Hunter Gatherer Lair,
A leaky, creaky rowhouse on Grace Street, the cement bungalow near the park...)
It was the only one we owned.
And the first time we did not follow our tradition
Sleeping on the floor for the first night, ordering pizza
Living in voluntary poverty for the romance of it - the silent nod that said:
We're doing this together for another year. Cheers.
Our time together measured in years, in houses, objects
In methodically arranged book spines on shelves.
In the year we spent there, not much changed.
Maybe that was where we went wrong.
And so today, we sold it all, to someone who will never know what happened before them.
To them, history begins today
And for us, darling, the book has closed.
I told Lisa I was fine, but when my pen hit the paper the tears flooded my entire body
Overwhelmed me, just for a moment.
I broke down behind closed doors, because of the finality of print, of ink, of final chapters.
Tonight I set my phone alarm for 9:17pm, a number that means something
(Because in my great big pulsing heart, I want everything to mean something,
to point somewhere, to conclude)
And when it rang I glanced through the crowd, when the coast was clear
Lifted my glass just a little, in a crowded room
Made a silent toast to you and to me.
Goodbye, dear love.
Monday, October 12, 2009
That I make my stories more fanciful
For flair, for impact, to invoke magic, create metaphor...
And maybe I do.
But not this time.
Saturday night found us on a North Carolina island
And when we danced in the sand
(A giggly, fast-footed jig)
The sand underneath us lit up like the night sky
And the faster we danced, the more it glowed.
Bio-luminescent Zooplankton, he claims.
But I think it might just be proximity to each other, honestly.
The moon was a pirate's moon, golden and wrapped in grey clouds
And the wind was cold enough for matching Zissou hats
And Seu Jorge
But not cold enough to leave before running down the beach like little kids
Trying to find Dolphins and Blue Crabs and Sea Monsters and Tigers.
The non-metaphorical, non-poetic reality is this:
we were honestly running around the beach
In our steve zissou hats
Dancing on star sand and catching ghost crabs.
Friday, October 9, 2009
First, get the giggles out. You can't take yourself too seriously. Sometimes the giggles may last for a very long time. Hang in there.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Owls are omens, wisdom, the ability to see the hidden
And with no turnaround for the next 25 highway miles
He went 50 miles out of his way
To collect feathers, talons
And when he placed the limp, feathered saint
In the bed of his truck
It's mate followed, watching from above
As he shot through the darkness, down the same highway as before
Because there's only one road, really.
And then this morning, there's a feather from that owl
Sitting on the counter of my new apartment
And he says it's for me.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
To the brim with water
Downpours threatening, but never arriving
Only a thick, smoky humidity through July and August
The sort of weather that makes you wait.
And then came September, and the sky opened.
The still-fertile ground, soaked
Delaying the browning of grass that comes with fall.
I wander the familiar streets of a city I was ready to leave behind
To run from, really
And my feet, my shoes are always soaked with rain.
And so tomorrow I sign a piece of paper
That says okay, I will stay.
But really, it's a love note
To sandy river shores,
To empty beer bottles, full ashtrays,
A bottle of Applejack tucked in my back pocket
To rooftop singalongs that leave me horse
To floodwalls and mayan ruins
To tiny toy tigers on motorcycles and drive-in movie dates
That leave me grinning into my pillow.
I will pack up my books and my birds, my maps and precious scraps
And start this new life off proper
With a high, hopeful heart
And a red silk flower behind my ear.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Like sleepy fireflies in a car-shaped jar
On Forest Hill Avenue
As water poured from the sky
As if someone had stabbed a knife in the floor of heaven
And ripped the blade through the tender bottom
Only to discover that heaven wasn't sunlight and warmth
But overwhelming current, quick tide
On that night
We sat in silence, Joe Pug on the radio
And he sang "I've come to test the timbre of my heart,"
And every set of stairs to every apartment building
Was a waterfall
And every set of glasses in the car was fogged, rendered useless
We sat, waiting, and I tied knots in my fingers
Worrying, wishing I wasn't drunk
Wanting to grasp the silver handle and make a run for it
Let the current take me, give me a path or a reason
To do what I would do next
On that night I had less hope than I do now for what lies ahead.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Heading straight into the mouth of the past
Upturned corners forming a grin, stretching wide across the Rappahannock River.
In the southern states, Rivers are magnets.
They pull us towards them with strong arms
And there is comfort in the combination of their power and our own buoyancy.
Since before our feet could touch the muddy bottom
We have been told to stay afloat -- and our bodies have learned this lesson well.
At 26, I know my own strength, and know better than to underestimate
The strength of the current.
And so I prepare.
I pack too much underwear, every beauty product I own
I steam my dresses, pulling hard on the hems to erase wrinkles
Pulling hard on the filter of my cigarette to create some.
I pause at my jewelry box, my lucky ruby pendant, and consider the idea
That sentimentality is forgivable, allowed.
So I close the clasp around my neck and sigh, just once.
My stomach agiley flips in both delight for the people in my life whom I travel to celebrate with
And in anticipation of flooded river banks.
I pack my purple cut-offs and giggle to myself, and I say
Out loud in my empty bedroom, to no one in particular:
(Or maybe to Pasco the dog, who always stays near when he knows he's needed)
Here comes the flood.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I feel so helpless now, my guitar is not around
and i'm struggling with the xylophone to make these feelings sound
and i'm remembering you singing and bringing you to life
It's raining out the window and today it looks like night
You haven't written to me in a week i wonder why that is
are you too nervous to be lovers-- friendships ruined with just one kiss kiss
I watched you very closely and i saw you look away
your eyes are either gray or blue i'm never close enough to say
But your sweatshirt says it all with the hood over your face
I can't keep staring at your mouth without wondering how it tastes
I'm with another boy (he's asleep, i'm wide awake )
and he tried to win my heart, but it's taken . . . . . time
I know the shape of your hands because i watch em when you talk
and i know the shape of your body cause i watch it when you walk
and i want to know it all but i'm giving you the lead . . . . .. . .. .
So go on, go on and take it, don't fake it, shake it
Don't second guess your feelings you were right from the start
and i notice she's your lover, but she's nowhere near your heart
This city is for strangers, like the sky is for the stars
But i think it's very dangerous if we do not take what's ours
And i'm winning you with words because i have no other way
I want to look into your face without your eyes turning away
Last night i watched you sing because a person has to try
And i walked home in the rain because a person can not lie
Monday, July 27, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Because it's been written before.
In blacker ink and bluer blood,
On hotter days than this, on colder nights
By women who have lost more
Lost life, lost children, lost the sorts of things
That leave permanent gouges in the skin
Everything I could say has been said before - but not by me.
It's my first time on this trail.
I'm cutting away branches, ripping briars from my skin, toes sinking in mud, trudging forward
Bushwhacking my way through Thursdays, sleeping through Saturdays.
It feels like a concussion.
Me, begging everyone to let me fall asleep,
Them, slapping my face, keeping me up
Forward, they say.
And the vines on the trail grow so fast --like serpents, the sky darker.
Friday, July 17, 2009
The summer grows hazier by the day.
Walking the pipeline last Sunday
When the river was clear and cold
My unsteady hands wavered and
The river claimed my compass.
I watched it sink
Into the mud and thought about diving after it
But I don't need direction when all I want to do
Is stand still.
I've been carrying a thick, white piece of chalk around with me
It marks up the inside of my back pocket
But it's useful for scrawling
Drawing hearts on buildings
"Do something pretty while you can" on the sidewalk at 3am.
I wrote your name
Smeared it with my hand
Not to take it away
But to take it with me
As I navigate this world without you
A time in my life which my poor, ragged heart
Will not allow me to think
I'm proud of myself for something,
but I'm not quite sure what.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
A former Marine Corps Sergeant, from 1960 to 1968, he was a Drill Instructor at Parris Island, S.C. He was a disabled veteran who served faithfully with the Thundering Third Battalion Fourth Regiment of Marines Company "I" in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. He was the recipient of the Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze stars, the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon with one bronze star, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, and the Gallantry Cross Medal. Following his military career, he entered law enforcement and retired in 1993 from the Swampscott Police Department as Sergeant after a 23 year career.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Carol-Lee (Armstrong) Kehoe; a daughter Patricia Elaine (Kehoe) and son-in-law Michael Peturrson of Leicester; a son Sean Michael and daughter-in-law Tanya (Anderson) Kehoe of Kensington, N.H.; a granddaughter Lee-Ann Pereira and great-grandson Adam Pereira of Peabody; two step-grandchildren Hayden and Elizabeth Petursson. He also leaves behind three sisters, Patricia Cannon and her husband Bernard of Long Island, NY, Margaret Massa and her husband Lawrence of Brooklyn, NY and Ann-Marie Stone and her husband Bruce of Port Monmouth, NJ, one brother James Kehoe and his wife Maureen of Middletown, N.J.; a sister-in-law Robin Talbot Thebodeau of Dublin, N.H. as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was an Honorary Life Member of the American Legion Post 227 in Middleton where he served as Commander for several years, life member of Marine Corps League in Peabody, member of US Marine Corps Drill Instructors Association, Member of VFW Post 1240 in Peabody, life member of AMVETS Post 6 in Lynn, member of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 100 in Peabody, and former member of the Blue Knights of Topsfield.
ARRANGEMENTS:- His funeral service will be held in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St. (Route 62), Danvers, Saturday, at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours Friday 4 to 7 p.m. Interment in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the America's Vet Dog Program, in Memory of Michael Kehoe, 371 East Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, NY 11787 Or American Legion Post 227 Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 227, Middleton, MA 01949. For more information inquire at 978-774-6600. Online guest book at www.legacy.com.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
My hands shook as I parked the car
And I knew
That most likely the black bean and corn thing
That I choose for you from ellwoods
Would be my melancholy Friday lunch
But for the first time in my life
I can see clearly
That there are some things worth waiting for.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Think of others before yourself.
Show unconditional love.
Right your wrongs.
Honor your family.
Sacrifice whatever it takes for the people you love.
During my greatest test, I did none of these things.
There's something in fiction that gives us hope for our own non-fiction. If the stories can build tension, crescendo, collapse on themselves and still end with someone alive at the end, then perhaps there's hope for us real life folks, too.
Stand up, Lazarus. This is not the end.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Black pen in mouth, blank pages in her lap,
Her only power now is her words.
If she could, she would camp out on the steep roof of that old brick house
Hold a vigil for hope, prove herself to be new
On this, the first day of summer
She would lift her eyes to the sun and let it blind her
Wash away the past two months, the ones that broke her down.
She can't, she knows that.
What she can do is wash color across page
Draw and draw and draw and wait. Rip out the page. nail it to the smudged, white door.
A record of wrongs.
All we can do in this life
Is do what we do well, do it earnestly and prolifically.
And those things we don't do well?
Those things are puzzles that we are challenged to solve, to better ourselves.
All we can do is be kind and open, hope for the highest.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Skeletal and black
I could change this all, I think.
If it were possible to deliver a sermon
To my own soul
And to Jack's soul-- to anyone else who would listen
I think I could just float
Up above the slippery, hazy grime of these early summer days
That are slowly breaking me down.
I went to the river to submerge, to go completely under, break the heat
But having never swam in the river, I didn't understand.
That in this River City, the swimmers don't mean swimming --
They mean standing, wading, the water isn't safe.
Nothing here is completely safe.
We sat on the shore, four of us sharing one beer, tall as it was
The herons stared from across the water, and they looked frozen
I wanted to stand up and shout --
"We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread bleak dusty imageless locomotive..."
...But i'm always the one who looks crazy, so I gave it a rest.
Smoked a cigarette, drank the dregs
Walked the pipeline home.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
That once you release your toes' grip on the edge
that once you do a swan dive
Off of a bridge into dark water
You realize it was wrong
That it wasn't the answer you hoped it would be
That falling, fleeing, is never the end of the sentence.
It's the confusing punctuation, the semicolon.
When you hit water
When bones shatter
They say you don't know which way is up.
Maybe if I just float here
If I just am still
I will drift to the surface.
Monday, May 18, 2009
There is only the twisting, grinding, ear-scraping noise of
Unraveling rusted steel cable, wound tightly. Not meant to come apart.
It was never meant to come apart.
There is only the flat smell of hastily packed cardboard boxes
the strangeness of new, empty beds.
The dark, where unfamiliar.
There's nothing easy about the telling.
About watching the eyes of people who know you
Realize that they know you less, with cables now unraveled.
There is only a pair of eyes, set northward.
And hands, unwaivering, gripping the wheel.