I have lived on two sides of the same hill
Held my head under water until my lungs ached
I’ve counted stars around the world,
and blades of grass in my father’s backyard
I am privileged, and lucky beyond belief
Forced into humility, down upon my knees
I’ve seen the other side, the darkness, the anguish
Walked the boulevard of broken dreams
Stood at the bottom, my spine crumbling inside of me
beneath the world weighing on my shoulders
I felt an insatiable desire to destroy the ground I stood upon
I was black and blue, barely breathing, when she called out:
“I felt your pain. I came as fast as I could fly.”
Her voice, the only thing that stopped the ringing
She lifted me up, carried me when I couldn’t walk
Through her, I found my place, my heart, my smile
It was like a fog was lifted from my eyes
The realization that life would never be the same
I have loved the most precious woman in the world
And lost her, more than once, often my fault
Her touch, like an anchor that keeps me grounded
She holds me like the horizon enveloping the sunset
A gate ajar, a gravel drive, a white picket fence
Years passed before I realized that she was home
I remember quite vividly the moment
you realized that you’d outgrown me.
It was winter, cold, evening and you
were in a sports bra and underwear.
You weren’t trying to be sexy...
Apparently, I made that difficult.
Flashback to the day we met:
I stopped you in the hallway,
leaned in front of you,
hand against the wall,
with swagger that I hadn’t earned.
I made you uncomfortable then too.
It was a different kind.
You giggled nervously.
I talked over you.
Why did I talk over you?
Maybe if I had listened to you then,
I’d have known that you liked to sleep
beneath the sheets, not on top.
That you didn’t need saving,
but you always carried your inhaler,
just in case...
I’d have known that you wouldn’t wait forever
for me to grow up, despite what seemed
to be your immeasurable patience.
You stood on a bridge once,
holding my guitar against your chest,
and I took pictures.
You asked me if I played,
And I told you “not the guitar.”
I thought that I was clever...
Now, I wish I could remember
how it felt to be held by you like that.
The night we went back,
drove out to the end of Rock Quarry,
I tried to convince you to go against
everything you believed in.
It’s no wonder that you left me standing
bewildered and alone, in front of
the Tiger Hotel, still wearing
that same swagger that never fit me
in the first place.
I am not naive enough to believe that you’ve
forgiven me for those bottom-bottle nights.
But I hope that I can make it up to you
with early morning sunrises, breakfast in bed,
balconies, and lukewarm tea.
This crossroads we’ve come too isn’t perfect,
but it’s where we’ve always meant to meet.
In the middle, minds and arms open wide.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder,
and mine seems to still love yours an awful lot.
It’s nice to see you smile again,
won’t you sit and tell me about your day?
The first night that we made love,
we had no idea what we were making.
That those few short hours we spent
exploring each other’s bodies with fingertips
would leave lasting impressions on our hearts.
Our arms wouldn’t be the only things
we’d wrap tightly around each other --
our promises would also remain.
In the early morning, I fled to my room.
Sheets and heartstrings were too much
for me to tug on, so I left you there
a mess, covers pulled back,
corners perpetually un-tucked,
like secrets strewn about
from the night before.
You probably never made your bed,
but you‘d made up your mind.
To you, I was better than sliced bread,
hotter than asphalt in July,
tougher than the nails I drove between us.
I wasn’t the love you needed to make then.
I was too busy making like with anyone else,
But you never saw that side of me.
We didn’t know what we had started,
an idle engine, aching to go full throttle.
with neither of us seated behind the wheel.
You were on stage, mid-pirouette,
and I was balancing a chip on my shoulder.
If only I’d dropped the handle,
the chip may have fallen away with it.
and you’d found me for the first time
with a steady hand.
It’s been years since I’ve gazed upon you,
But I remember the warmth of your smile.
You’re like a lazy Sunday, no pants required.
A rainbow, without the uncertainty of rain.
I’ve made a lifetime of mistakes
in twenty-eight years, but the only one
I regret is not chasing after you the night
you told me you wanted to be alone.
I know now that you didn’t mean it.
I have witnessed endless beauty
in the shape of breasts, and hips, and thighs.
I’ve seen forever and goodbye
in the reflection of the same set of eyes,
But never have I explored the depths
of a mind like yours, like a black hole
there is a beginning with no end.
In you, there is chaos and control.
Like a blanket, I pull my insecurities back,
And for the first time in years, I let myself feel.
You’re not the answer to the question that I asked.
But here you are, cliff notes to an unread novel.
I am an avid reader with an expired library card.
I still owe on what I’ve checked out in the past –
seasons of stories collecting dust on my shelf –
but you’ll never hold it against me if I turn the page.
A pounding heart, a complex mind.
Turning tables, and tales of time.
She coddiwomples through the wind,
to find the place where it all began.
Relentless inspiration was all it took.
Turning the page of a good friend's book.
The words that set her on her way
of discovering peace on her own someday,
And now she spreads that love with all,
the broken promises, away they fall.
She carries her head up in the sky,
with confidence unseen by the naked eye.
(In response to Tennessee William's -- The Beanstalk Country)
There will always be people like these...
The maddened few.
Crowing about destruction and debris.
Wielding weapons of nonsense
and false equivalence.
But that beanstalk will not last forever.
It will die or be chopped down.
Let's leave the Ogres to their ovens,
Jack above the clouds.
And carry on, elderly in our wicker chairs,
speaking of reassurance
and what bread to break for lunch.
A stranger to the bitter truth ought not lend
his tongue, for even that is borrowed
as the sun rises overhead stealing hours
from the moon like pecks on a blushing cheek.
We are no more kept together here than
anywhere, yet we hold our hands
outstretched waiting for someone to
fill us up with hard candy and quarters.
A bit of whisky for the whistle and you fall
back into the footsteps of your parents.
Carrying not your weight on the world,
But the weight of the world on your shoulders.
It is not the job of anyone else to make you
believe in yourself again.
There's a young man outside my window,
banging on a trash bin,
yelling "Fucking bitch. Fucking faggot."
What have we taught our children?
I watch him through the blinds,
fist clenched around a broken broom handle
as he swings desperately, over and over,
connecting with the side of the dumpster.
Where does all that anger come from?
"Bring him back!"
He cries out about a dead brother.
My shadow sinks against the wall.
It's a pain I cannot relate to.
It is a wound I cannot heal.
We perpetuate a never-ending cycle.
Broken children. Broken homes.
And they grow up to be broken mothers.
And broken fathers.
And broken people.
There are things about my own
childhood I still wish to forget.
"I did not fuck nobody. Y'all fucked me."
I hear him say.
You have no idea how right you are, kid.
I hear you.
You may not know it,
but your voice is one that I recognize.
Your passion is something I share.
Do not lay down your stick, boy.
Keep it aimed at bullshit and garbage.
We run, hearts racing, through
this jungle of concrete and wire,
electricity surging between us.
I never dreamt you’d let me plug in.
I’ve felt nothing before you, I realize,
my palms perspiring with gratitude.
Your physicality, spirituality,
hypnotizing even the widest awake.
Mad, crashing waves and landslides
haven’t the effect that your kiss
will have upon me. I know this
as my lips part, letting you inside.
Your skin, like tracing paper, with
a history of lovers etched before me.
Through the chaos, I clock that I
can leave a mark. I’m careful not to.
I beg you, dream not of another,
or this realm might find me dissipating.
Press into me. Feel this pulse.
It is you that my heart beats for.
I have never held you,
but at night when I am drifting off --
My arm is wrapped around you,
your back pressed to my chest.
My lips rest gently against your
shoulder as you sleep.
The baby is beside you.
My hand finds the cup of his thigh.
I remember, from watching you rest
on the way to the waterfall,
that your forehead twitches.
His does too.
I remember who we were last March.
And last July. And seven years ago.
You remember who you ran away
from in Maine.
I am not her.
I am not the woman that you
didn't say goodbye to.
That you didn't text
before you disappeared.
I am the woman who loves you.
Even after all of those question marks.
Even after all of these commas.
I am older, and wiser, and more patient.
I am a lot of things, and become
something newer everyday.
I am someone that you could be proud of.
That he could be proud of.
I am a history of hanging on,
and sweet, run on, over-exaggerated,
poetically justified sentences.
I am the one you never see, period.