Romantic love – I’ll just say it’s something I haven’t grown out of –
that’s what I’ll say;

I’ll pull my teeth out of your whiskers;
I’ll come back up for air
gasping
clutching my clavicle
for something
to ground me
to root me
a stray hair out of place
a stray root
still rooted
in these silly ideals
I should have given up 10 years ago

I’ll tell you I’ve grown past them –
mossy edged and weed ridden, I’ll tell
you I’m a woman now; I’m a realist now;
this isn’t my first rodeo,
and about 10 other cliches that roll off the tongue
that roll through my body
like a fire
like a flood
I’ll tell you it’s ok,
it’s just a Saturday afternoon; just a little prayer to the moon;
I’ll tell you I’m a big girl now
firm handed, strong-fisted
a real realist radiating with reason
I’ll sit in the stars and suck on the methane of the sun,
I’ll tell you I’m just a girl,
But by now I can’t believe you haven’t noticed
I’m hot breath and oxygen – supernova imagination,
Wildfire captivation, I am helium
I am exploding
(Your mouth just a catalyst)
(my heart just a chemical)

five times nine times the rain. times the time it takes to trim your wishes to lullabies.

Push your soul through your feet and pedal the goddamn bike

All of a sudden I was alive, all of a sudden you were alive in me
Listen to the rain – keep listening, will you?

 

new meaningfuls

new meaningfuls will come. worry not,
they will come
the cardboard box in the garage
will not take it all –
new meaningfuls will come

angling high and wish-washed dry
the world will give you hands again –
offer you a petal – say cherish this one too

new river dreams will come –
new sandwiched toes between the mud
new hearts red-rich and filled with stories-old
will come;
will be made new again

new meaningfuls will come –
the past will not walk away
with everything –
you have more years to grasp; you have more years to grasp,

gather, gain, grimace and sing

soon, soon, your heart will pump clear blood again. the riptide rumble of toxic funnel will pearl its way out of your veins. i’m sure, i’m sure, love will come running – fire will come tunneling. sun will come hurling like wings. someday, someday, I’ll have enough time to tie myself to something firm and basket-sized. something i can place things inside of. something i can place myself inside of. i’ll tuck myself into bed, i’ll tuck my time under the sink. i’ll clean my blood – my fuzzy edges, i’ll clean my fear. some day, some day, you’ll hear me again – songboat melodymind and riverwide heartbeat drums. do i have love – a place to funnel it? and whose mind is it that i am always searching for?

am i always a river, headed west? will i one day funnel out into the ocean?

happy, i am a bottle of aperture and fstops – with my little boy I am a funnel of tunnel vision – satisfied light captor. i am a lens – photographizing every moment. the way the light plays in your hair. the way the grass sinks into your toes. the way your singsong voice comes thrilling through the air. i am devoted, little one. i am devoted to your heart. that is something that never wavers.

keep pulling the light towards you, keep tugging it tighter. keep walking away from the violence, keep funneling the abuse into something powerful. keep doing it, keep breathing. you have to keep finding strength in his fury. he is a victim of never having been given the tools to process his anger. his emotions. his place as a man in this fucked up patriarchy.

step back, step back. he is a victim of never having been given the tools to process his anger. his emotions. his place as a man in this fucked up patriarchy. i’ll say it again, i’ll say it again, i’ll say it three times too loud – the patriarchy hurts us ALL. not just women. and men get swallowed in the current of not being allowed to be men just as violently as women get swallowed by the back side of the shovel. it hurts us all, it hurts us all. the false pretense of the male form. the false rejection of vulnerability. not giving our men tools. not giving our men freedom. to feel, to understand, to cope. we equip and we equip and we equip women with the tools to learn how to learn how to have emotional intelligence. we practice. we say its ok, its ok, feel, feel. talk about your feelings. honor them. talk to your girl friends about it. process, process. this is part of your gender, this is good. this is good. and then we fucking send three signals three different ways with men. we shame vulnerability, then we shame them for not know how to be vulnerable.

that doesn’t mean masculinity should be shamed. masculinity should be honored. femininity should be honored. and vulnerability should not be relegated to one sex or the other. emotional tools should not be given to one sex and then used to beat the other up for not knowing how to begin to fashion tools for themselves. we feel very comfortable saying that it’s time now to teach girls to be strong, to be empowered, to fight. and we rarely sit in that place of deep knowledge of what it is we must do to better equip our boys. to let them be. strong, scared, vulnerable, manly, light, bright, dark, shadowed, rageful, hopeful, wide-eyed, fearless, terrified. it is not weakness, it is not weakness. to tremble with the recognition of yourself. to survey yourself. to understand your emotions. to reflect. to breathe, to pause. to learn how to open up. these are not feminine traits, nor are they the anti-thesis of manliness. when will we get past this? get past the “man up”, “stop crying”, “don’t be a fairy”. when will we get whole? when will we even recognize that we need to get whole in order to fix the whole problem? stop the cycles. stop the cycles. you want your little girls to stop being abused? give little boys a respect for their emotional life. teach them how to communicate, how to open up, how to be vulnerable, how to process anger. do not glorify a violent response. do not glorify violence. do not glorify an angry rebuttal, a fistful of answers. give little boys questions. and ways to walk themselves into them. to sit with them. to be patient with the confusing tumult of emotions. do not keep convincing them, through imagery or otherwise, that a violent, aggressive, or angry reaction is the manly way. and that apologizing is weakness. and that self-reflection is self-pity. and that strength lies in winning. and that your manhood can be found inside of your venom. suck the poison out. snakes can coil, but do not them choke. manhood lies in something deeper, something wilder, something free-er than the bonds of anger and the simplicity of violence. these are not the brave choices we have been taught they are – they are a trembling animals’ self-defense mechanism. glorify the real man – the new shape of manhood. the firmness of heart, the fortitude of spirit, the ferocity of forgiveness and giving and growth. the strength beyond gender. the strength within gender. the fire banked down deep. the one you cannot spit out of your mouth or cower behind meanness – the one that spills out of eyes – fumbles out of warm hands – curls over a hurricane spine. he a storm, he is a river, he is a meadow, he is a wanderer. he is his own; and he belongs to the world. he gives back to it. he knows what it is to give. to receive. to feel. to hunger. to ache. to make whole. to search. and to find.

let’s glorify that manhood, shall we? and everything in between. nothing is wrong – except the wheel that keeps spinning blood from blood. break the cycle of abuse. we know better now, don’t we?

27

I am so grateful for this strange, pitter-patter heart that always seems to want everything.

I am grateful for my desires – wild, seemingly unbound and violently a-sway. I am grateful for this house – the swell of bugs tickling at my nose. I am grateful for May. I am grateful for May. I am always grateful for May. For the way this day sinks into my flesh like a memory not born yet. I am grateful for my eyes – the splinter cell arrangement of neurons that keep placing themselves like an organ. Like a piano. Like something to play. And be played. I am grateful for this strange, mysterious unfolding. I am grateful for the mystery. I am grateful for silence now, the prospect of being able to reconnect to myself. I am grateful for connection. I am grateful for fire, I am grateful for water. I am grateful to have made it through another year. A year of wild beauty and fresh disaster. A year of heart and a year of mind. Rhythm. Courage.

I wish for more courage. This year. All years. More peace, more reaching out. Reminding myself to reach out. To stay connected. To show up. I wish for more focus, for more rapture. I wish for the search and I wish for the finding. I wish for the keeping – but I do not assume to know yet what it is I should keep. What it is I should let go. I hope I will learn how to let go, when the time comes.

some settling may occur

some wandering may perpetuate
may infatuate
may drill the thousand tiny sounds of your feet into your heartbeat –
keep walking, they will say
keep wishing yourself home /
there’s no place like home, they’ll say
like the hollow warmth of a shell still kindling

keep labeling yourself the same things
we want to know you as –
messy girl, mess of a girl –
“i feel comfortable when I can place you under the heading
mess of a girl”, they’ll say /
your gaze will confirm – your handshake will squirm
you’ll still feel comfortable in your own chair if you can keep classifying –
glassy-eyed and classy –

you’ll keep nodding, saying clearly and sharply and soundly that
that the image of me you like most dearly is the one you
paint from the shadows of my hobnob splinter-story (told on its side, told unrefined
and one-sidedly)
my story doesn’t get to speak up for itself (you speak for it) (you talk to the sound of my story, the way it clinks its champagne glass, the way it shrinks from subtlety, the way it echoes back to you some other path you were too scared to walk)
you imagine the edges, the places too far for me to run
you give it back to me scribbled ballpoint pen on a napkin
you say wipe your mouth, messy girl
you say stain your lips with ink, messy girl
then I’ll have one more reason to remind you

of the way your paint drips plaster onto your skin
your mascara tattoos itself in the ridges under your eyes – raccoon baby,
you are a mess of a girl –
i am here to tell you this,
because your stutter arms cannot hold your face close enough to a mirror
because your pores are too wide to hide from, because you cannot see yourself
through your own imaginings, they’ll say

messy girl, they’ll say
clean the chalk up from under your heart – all the scrap paper collage and glitterglue
maps you drew to find the
hue that you are now – something past indigo –

a shade you do not recognize
or you cower from, or you pretend to not see
how the river has turned carminered; how the buckles on my hands are veridian, how aquagreen has filtered out of my eyes now
you stand, apparently
unable
or
unwilling
to see the rustgold, the silverhaze, the polished wrinkles under my eyes, the hurricane icecream skies i have swallowed, the vertebrae i have curled and unfurled, the strength i have sat upon sinew

the hues i grew into – the subtlety of color – the way the colors stand against one another
you’ll see greyscale
(you’ll tell me even)

i’ll see a fire; tumult of shade and oxygen /
i’ll get to see, and i’ll get to burn.

did you not remember?

I can’t make it there by 7pm
I’m sorry, I simply cannot make it
did you not
remember by May 9th the moss his draped itself
over the swollen wooden staircase on the other side of the canal –
the sight is a devastation of beauty

the weeks have grown up over the river banks and musty shadows of the dust-flies
have kicked up a new light
and the pools of aqua-green chase my bike tires /
hungry-hued at golden hour

I cannot possibly miss this sunset / I cannot possibly miss this
please I cannot possibly miss this dusty emberglow
please do not ask me to /
Please do not ask me to

a poem regarding my anticipation of your coming comment upon my work

do I hide in my words /
do I rest on tropes /are the tropes that I rest on words that seem out of reach or splicing / do I splice myself?
Do I show enough of myself (a comment I was recently given by the aunt) (but what of that comment truly) / am I supposed to show more of myself in my work?
How about this true fear – that if I am to peel too deeply and critique my own process too profoundly that the process itself will walk away from me like an old lover I have only just begun to learn how to lie next to?

Do I feel comfortable with the process processing me – fear not of the ‘you’ processing me – but with my own capturing of the process in my own butterfly net /
is it ephemeral /
is it based on my own strange conscious concoction /
is that why I dropped out of poetry classes in college where I was going to have to stand up and read my work in front of the class / do I believe it is a strange shadow in the corner that comes right through me?
Do I believe that I write or that words just funnel / do I rest on tropes / can there be any tropes after all

This is not to say I feel uncomfortable about the coming words / this is to say – can I make your uncomfortable more comfortable by starting somewhere first / by saying what I think I run away from in my own words /

is it true that you have to pain your way through the process?

Is it organic – the process that I am?

somewhere i have never traveled –
is a forgery of facts
somewhere i am always growing –
and where are you now, and where are you then?

some day may 6 will be a sitting chest of drawers – someday something fervent and replete will greet you – a dove, a perch, a set of pomegranates draped across a lens

What am I supposed to do with this heart that is a mass of messes?

rough and tumble – riptide and rumble, hear me little rain – pour me out again. the spring is come, the spring is come. the rain is washing us, washing us. let me be a hard hunger for words again.

“i wish that i had been there, to save you zack”

I send you love, dear Ryan.

I feel confronted by this event in ways and with questions I don’t feel prepared to know how to answer. The pain, the unnecessary pain in your body that will now become your home, your way of living – I don’t see the silver lining in that pain.

And maybe that’s okay, maybe there can’t be, and shouldn’t be. But I don’t feel qualified to dictate that, or anything really, for that matter. For some reason this seems to shake me more than death. Death I’ve approached – and death I’ve reasoned through, but all this pain. The shattering of a life, of a path, the endless, slow pain. I can’t reason through it. And I know it’s not my sadness to take on, to claim for myself. But I feel existentially confronted. And I feel confronted by how many unnecessary pains like this happen all the time in the world. Confronted in a way that it isn’t just a narrative on an episode of ER television or stories that paint you a picture. It isn’t a glossy story I can compartmentalize and place with all the other feelings of guilt. It is standing in front of my eyes. Too close to be in focus. And I can’t see the picture just yet, I just see your pain. And your derailment from your life. I feel confronted by all the people who fall sick, who deal with chronic illness, with shattered bones, with devastated young lives – with fallen eyes of little ones.

And all this today on this day of the health care bill. It seems a little consuming. A little too dark and answerless – the sky seems unfair to enjoy today. I walked down the canal path – it was lush and glowing and full of life and seemingly unaware of all the hospital rooms and rushing faces and unfair signatures at the end of unfair bills. It seemed incongruous – like the world did not know all it’s parts – only what it wanted to show you. I felt confronted by the ways we so often live our lives with all the shadows of the world eclipsed from ourselves. How are we ever to enjoy a gorgeous spring day in Bucks County when there are so many people falling through roofs in the world? How are we supposed to do it? How am I supposed to be grateful enough to make me allowed to enjoy something that another will never have? How am I supposed to stand in a warm shower letting the warmth glow over me knowing that all the bones in your body are broken and you may not stand, you may not know comfort for years. And how? How can this world be made of so many broken things and how are we supposed to be okay with the perfectly fair wind of a spring breeze in Yardley, Pennsylvania. I feel too entitled in my own body that works and hums.

You can fall through a roof anytime. I feel haunted and unworthy of my manifold riches in this world. My body, above all things, my health, above all things. It seems too decadent – to be young, to have it all work.

I feel haunted and unworthy of my manifold riches in this world. My body, above all things, my health, above all things. It seems too decadent – to be young, to have it all work.

I feel nauseous.

 

Well, there’s something.

 

I am sending you love Ryan, and hoping the path will find your feet again, and let you walk it.