and words come to rest on my shoulders. and fireflies come to dance in the darkness. and spine comes to keep me upright.

Instead of having dinner with my father, I went swimming. Capsized my ribcage into a small boat and let my insides float through the water. I kept hoping something resembling calm would begin to reside in them once more. I kept trying to breathe, hoping the world would breathe back a little softer/a little sweeter. My body felt lighter in the water – just a piece of a current. Just a currently floating egg in a world doused in gravity. I kept swimming; the light kept dying. I felt summer curl its hands around my throat like a promise. I felt summer come swarming in like a fire. I kept swimming; the light kept dying. The sunset hurled its hands towards the stars – the fireflies shook out their dancing legs and wandered me alive.

You brought up brother Richard, I saw you choke a little on your intake of breath. I feigned disinterest/I said I hadn’t heard from him – it was true. The look in your eyes said the same. I wish I knew how to help you brother, I wish I knew where you were. I wish I knew how to bleed out our family blood. I wish I knew how to feel whole again. I wish a family was a pair of strong hands on your back.

I think about the swell of the summer singing towards me. I think about endings. I think about beginnings. I think about the reason I broke up with you. I think about honoring that reason. Holding it to the light and being loyal to it. I think about loyalty. I think about finality, the fierceness of the heart, the windchime of the rain. I think about running back to the forest, folding myself up in the trees, covering myself back up in bark. I think about writing, getting myself back into the flow. I think about all the things I need to write. I think about honesty. And fear. And how to fight bravely for fearlessness. How to walk towards honesty. How to be brave.

and words come to rest on my shoulders. and fireflies come to dance in the darkness. and heart comes to keep me fearless.

warm cotton heart, tucked inside my chest – i feed it well, keep it fearless and folded/a turn style/a watering can. the light – a presence; a singing bell of summer starting to chime. the way the dashes and hyphens of the branches keep tapping morse code to me. calling me out, calling me out, get out of your skin. carry your fear to the center of the forest and leave it there. bury it well, in desert ash and worm soil. let it go, let it go. the weight of worry that hums with you on a tuesday afternoon. let it go, let it always go drifting into this bask of light. this swelter of sunlight leaves. this canopy of harmony and hallowed wind. sacred is the day/sacred too – my heart. our little hearts that light the way like fireflies come out to dance in the darkness. our little hearts that light the way.

follow them. let them go. let them be. let them sing. let them swarm into the light. moths we are, little winged ephemerals. little things we are, just bursts of light. little hearts aflame in the dark. lighting the way are we, always lighting the way are we. always fighting the fear are we, always fighting the fear.

and winning, we are.

little word wizards

goldenfire hot rod light – pummel me, little photons. courage me out of my skin and let us glow, let us glow around this theatre – hunger voices parading about the stage, let my ribs catch the hollow echo of my own voice. let us wade deep into the light – let us wash clean the ghost voices that sit in the bricks. let us make our bones into magicians – little word wizards for an hour or two. hungry my heart, hungry my words/fire my cavern of a chest that cripples itself with ribs and cages – burned ash and tenderness. i keep loving the world, i keep loving the walls of a theatre, i keep loving the spin of a spiral staircase in a satin dress, i keep loving the swell of the sea that hunts me across a stage. the world is touching between my heart and the air i still have yet to breathe. the world is watching, i am waiting. waiting to explode again. i love breath, i love light, i love catching fire in my skin and racing it around in circles until the audience claps. i love this fire and i’m not ready for it to go out. even the embers, i think, will still keep my skin aglow. so let it burn, let it burn.

golden hour, they call it

never nothing always / calls me from my skin
rings me round my rosie – a pocket full of
folded napkins / wishes / tissues;
pat-a-cake corners and creases

 

goldrenrod afternoon and i am a curled toe on a blade of grass. june wanders in like a warm lagoon-fellow, i am a suitor. the summer sizes me up, asks me whether i am gentle enough to know it. i bask in the rays of something ponderous and hazy – gold-flecked and sun-beam twirled. there is light coming through the leaves – haven’t you heard? haven’t you seen their electricity on chlorophyll? haven’t you seen the tongues of roots – pulling towards – the sun, or the haze, or the courage of june to exist. like a small thumping heart under the ground – pulsing green fire into the sky. everything reaches – higher, hazier, dipped in fresh goldleaf. the meadow, walking towards me, knows nearly everything i do not know.

the fallen sun, hungering towards sleep, rests its solid colors on the horizon like a pillow, turns to tuck itself in, rolls about in its cotton sheets; its violet, pink and rose; its sunset wool grasping towards the evening like a lullaby in the sky. i sing heavy eyes – wild eyes – gold is gasping in my hair. sunset eyes now – dappled vision – song of bravery through the trees now. turning now, towards the approach of summer moonsong. it’s coming, it’s coming. summer moon is rising.

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?

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.

all the years in the world – all the places where our minds meet, where our souls meet, where our stomachs clang against one another’s in hunger. in grace, in anger, in the river, in the river – i am always in the river swimming upstream.

i am a blanket of cold thank you’s praising the world for the strange bucket of lovely it has placed on my front stoop. the love, the wild love. the laughter, the echoing laughter. the friendship – such a thing i have forgotten, i have released myself from – to feel their laughter on the back of my neck again – grace, grace. gratitude and love. worship and magic – i will always worship the love in my life, the life in my love.

with half the afternoon past on an April 28th

sing a little, swing a little – singe my heart, will you?

i never want to take these smells for granted – the conifer russet, the mulch iron, the fuzzy grace of the lilac and the wisteria. i never want it to be anything other than a 3pm April 28th – curled catnap cat napping in the corner of the porch (radiant and perched, he swirls his body lithe). i never want to be anything other than a friday afternoon, deep spring (phase 4 and a half of spring to be exact). i want the alwaysbreath of the willow to lie with me on the days that are not this day. i want the alwayssky of the April 28th to be my horizon, wrapping around me with silver cord. tucking me in to my little garden bed. sprinkle a little soil on my head, and send me on my way. grow, grow, little one – the sun’s come out see you. to let you see. to let you be seen. come out, come out, little one – seeds are only one of the many many’s you are. you will be. you can be.