Monthly Archive-December 2018

Persephone

Why do the young
poets
all write
about Persephone?

Maybe it’s because
we can relate.

To a goddess?

To being half
sunshine
and half
grave.

 

Artemis
Artemis kisses every leaf
with light as she moves
through the dusky forest.
Her feet fall silently
as gathering dew,
her arrows fly
certain as eternity.

Performance
if every word you speak
is a performance
and every step you take
is a dance,
are you human
or are you
a work of art?

Soulmates
They sweep produce
into the cart with
the casual elegance
of a waltz.

If you think I am
exaggerating, you
have never seen

soulmates
in action. Synchronicity
creates its own beauty.

Stitch
I try to stitch my world
back together
and prick my fingers.
The truth blossoms
scarlet on pure fabric–
I wish to heal,
but there is beauty
in the wound.

Athena
They call her grey-eyed,
but are her eyes grey
like battle-worn armor

or like the graceful wing
of thought,
grey like the owl’s claw?

Wisdom is lovely,
but is it kind?

Flight
Flight is tonight’s
obsession.
There always is one.
Maybe if I spin
fast enough, jump
high enough, climb
the tallest mountain,
I’ll make it
into the light.

The Moon
The moon is not
on my side
tonight.

Angel
the angel’s words brought
a soft light
to savage hearts
and weeping
to harsh eyes.

Rain
The rain created a flood
of serendipity,
a bell-clear river
leading home
to books and peace.

Light
The first breath of light
revives my spirit.
It only takes
a tiny spark
of hope
to bring me back
into the fight.

Drowned in Moonlight
she went
like a myth

having
given courage
and strength,

having raised her voice
in ways that still
can’t be tamed.

people still call
on her name
when they reach
for strength

but that doesn’t mean
she didn’t go too soon.

Sweet
Your heart is full
of the sweetest secrets,
your words like honey
hidden within a tree.

Consumed

Sometimes I am a tree,
but sometimes I only make sense
as a flame. Or a river.
I am consumed and extinguished
by my own metaphors
and contradictions.

drowned in moonlight

she went
like a myth

having
given courage
and strength,

having raised her voice
in ways that still
can’t be tamed.

people still call
on her name
when they reach
for strength

but that doesn’t mean
she didn’t go too soon.

Monthly Archive-November 2018

Harmony
I am a discordant harmony,
a hum of sunlight and shadow,
plenty and emptiness,
the clear sparkle of a brook
and the overwhelming embrace
of the mists.

Apocalypse
When I was a kid, anxious
about the state of the world,
I used to read wilderness
survival books as a coping
mechanism.
My teen self was an integral
part of several
apocalypse survival teams.
It was all the rage to plan
one with your friends,
back in 2012.
I could kind of aim
my bow (if only my arrows
were not lost)
and I could kind of find
food and scramble
shelter together, so I
figured I knew enough.
If the world did end,
I’d scramble my teams
together into a village.
Now, I’m less certain
in my skill (I’ve grown
wiser) but generally
I’m as uncertain as I
have always been.
I have never trusted
the world to hold
itself together.
I still trust the forest
to keep me, if only
for a while.

Quest
These days, I don’t look for love
as much as I used to.
The thing I’m seeking is the quest
itself, and love is a piece
of the Hero’s Journey. So let
me journey, let love find me,
let the near destruction
and surprising rebirth
envelop me and recreate
me as someone capable
of saving.
Call me to my adventure
already. Give me a quest.
I’ll find the rest.

Wholeness
I want to feel whole again.
What can I do?

But you are already as
whole as a thunderstorm,
and as full of light.

No, I mean…
I want clarity.

You’re as clear as a
rushing river, what more
could you want?

To stay in once place,
to be at peace.

Maybe next year.

seedling
they watered the seedling
with their dreams,
some hoping for a flower,
others hoping for a tree.

the seedling bloomed into
a simple shrub, green
and lush. they shrugged
and left. they forgot
it all depends on the seed.

Nightmare
My life dissolved.
I was living
in your dream.

You did not see
that for me, it was
a nightmare.

You did not
understand
my scream.

chamomile
1. november
this month always brings curses along with the blessings. by now, i should have outgrown my surprise at this phenomenon. maybe next year. the leaves drop and the rain turns to snow and the government steals the only usable hour of sunshine i can get. i gain a year of wisdom and i draw my family close and hope that arguments die before they can blossom. sometimes, the unending grey is a comfort. i’m tired.

2. the thing outside my window
i keep my blinds drawn, because the thing outside my window is not a thing at all. it’s the noise of the road and the prying glare of the streetlights. it’s the creak and sway of the berry tree. we used to throw the berries into the road for cars to crush, laughing all the while. the thing outside the window is my own reflection–i can’t make eye contact with myself without worrying that ghosts are looking back at me. my reflection’s eyes hold more past than future. i’m tired.

3. chamomile
i know exactly what everything will look like when everything is fine. someday. i’ll be in love and together we’ll plant the yard with chamomile. you don’t have to mow it and it blooms for the bees and i’ll be able to make tea from the same leaves we dance on. we will bottle sunshine to tide us over through november’s shadows. all that lives outside our window will be what we plant together.
when we’re tired, we’ll hold each other.

we’ll hold each other.

haunted
one of these days I’m going to make a list
of all of the things I believe are haunted.
there are people who could convince me
that anything was haunted. i have friends
who could point at a random lightbulb
in the supermarket and say “that’s haunted”
and i’d reach for my cross when it flickered.
i’m not saying i’m gullible, i’m just saying
that i have a tendency to believe
and a list of haunted places a mile long.

pewter
i have a heart
cast from pewter
and plated in gold,
heavy, but soft
and warm to hold.
there’s a hint
of poison inside,
but you’ll only
find it if you break
my heart.

the end
i. farm road
we’re driving down a farm road and all i can think about is the end of the world. there aren’t many signs about it in this neck of the woods, but there was an eroded billboard that said “te rive” two miles back. it brought my mind to postapocalyptic naming, to lost people finding meaning in fragments.

ii. stab wound
the problem with stab wounds is that your instinct is to take the knife out. it’s the same with love. if you walk too far away from it, the sadness will start spilling from you and leave you with nothing. it might sting, but you have to hold it close until someone saves you.

iii. satellite
satellites look steadier than stars. they move, but they don’t flicker. one will last billions of years and take everything with it when it burns out, and for some reason, that’s the one that flickers. i’m still not sure which one to wish on.

iv. horns
they used to sell narwhal horns as unicorn horns. is it a lie if everyone is in on it? if i am not expecting it to heal me and i am not expecting it to grant my wishes, if i’m just expecting to claim a symbol and to make someone jealous, i haven’t been lied to. have i?

v. chopping wood
i’m trying to get the bonfire ready. trying to create some light and some warmth. if you can wish on flying embers like they are stars, does it matter what the satellites are up to? does it matter if you’re lying about everything being alright, as blood and love stain your sleeves? has the world ended if you are still standing?

Love
May the love
that you have given
and the love given to you
blossom
and sustain you.

Loud
I awake to the sounds
of the road.
They are too loud
for the window
to be closed

and I stumble to shut
it before the rain
invades.

I can’t stand how loud
the road is here.
I grew up in a house
distant enough
that I could never hear
the cars pass by.

To find peace
when I have a home
of my own,
I will have to count paces

so I know how
far back I have to
scar the grass
with a path and where
to gouge the foundation
into the earth.

To find my own peace,
will I have to raise
my children like me,
unable to withstand
the noise?

Perhaps I’ll live alone.

Or perhaps,
each weekend,
I’ll tote them to
my friends’ houses.
Maybe then, both
silence and sound
will feel like home.

nostalgia
1. lantern light
the front window has such a specific glow to it, like lantern light. i’m not sure which parent insisted on shaping the window like that, but in the snow it seems less like leaving home and more like leaving narnia.

2. bundled
we always shop for a christmas tree late. dad gave us his chronic procrastination and mom wants a boxed tree that won’t fall. we haven’t gotten a robot tree yet, just these lovely snow-covered forgotten things bundled on the roof the day before.

3. late night run
the grocery store is better past midnight. it’s a fact. silent and holy. so what if we’re making a late night run because we are too forgetful. we’ll make this place a church of laughter and shriek along to all the songs.

4. salt
there are snowflakes melting on my face. so what if some of them taste like salt.

5. video store
we never quite agree on a movie, we just mill around the last remaining video store for hours, holding up scratched covers. we don’t know how to watch a movie anyway, we do it wrong–pausing at the most important parts, missing all the dialogue, missing the laughter. i leave half the movies we watch without knowing the character’s names. i leave the house with the light in the window flickering, pine needles stuck in my hair, the snow plowed up and scattered with dirt.

Flight
Tonight I’m tripping over
all the words I used to write
like I’m walking on ice
in cheap boots.

The only thing keeping
me from breaking
anything is the training
I got growing up.

I learned how to fall
without breaking
and that’s a gift I’ll need
if I want to walk

this path I’m on.

Forget walking.
I was hiking on ice
yesterday and there
were geese flying

in the icy
rain, far above the ice
of earth and the need
for boots, migrating–

not falling. I shouldn’t
be jealous of geese
but the truth is I yearn
for magnetism,

for certainty,
for immunity to falling
and for a voice that
carries without faltering.

The Artist
November
lets me go reluctantly
each year.

I’m her work of art,
a lonely sculpture
in a community garden.

I was made one year
just as she gave up
her last rays of sunlight

and each year
she returns to the garden
to reinvent me.

Some years, she paints
over rusted spots
and leaves me brighter.

Some years, she tears
off the ivy that grows
in spring and summer.

Truth is, I like the vines,
but I am November’s
creation,

and each year,
I must be changed.

Monthly Archive–October 2018

Icarus

You tied wings to my arms
and then you told me
not to fly too low
or too high.

If you had
truly known me, you
would see my nature as one
of extremes, of absolutes.

You would not have asked
me not to chase
the sun.
You never would have
given me the chance to fall.


candle
like a candle,
you promise a feeling
of warmth and sweetness
but give only
their illusions

fragment
at this point,
I don’t know
if I’m a wanderer
or exile

green
we send hearts
as green
as life,
as envy,
as inexperience,
out into the world
in the hope
that they will
find new hues.

Mouse
There is a mouse in my walls.
I know it’s a mouse, but

(it’s dark out in October,
what am I supposed to think?)

it sounds like a vengeful
skeleton trying to depart
its grave.

stake
the first time someone told me
witches were burnt at the stake
and so were heretics
and so were all the others
who did not fit

all that i heard was
this is your destiny.

that should
have sounded like tragedy,
like terror,

but nothing could stop me
from falling in love
with flame.

moon
you sway my heart
the way the moon
sways the ocean–

from a distance,
yellow light full
of love.

Harbor
I return to safe harbor
only to take an ice-pick
to the port.

I land in the sea
and fly up carried
by dragonflies,

their wings beating
a discordant
tambourine,

a sound that can’t
be captured
on any record,

a light that can’t
be reflected
in any photograph.

summer
i wove rings of daisies
into crowns, slitting
each stem with my nail
to make room for the next
blossom.
i pretended to be a star
in ripped denim,
to be bright as the fire
and airy as the smoke.

void
i watch a friend embroiled
in an argument
with himself
over whether the void
is light or dark.

he cites
esoteric philosophers
supporting an argument
for each as time
passes on.

what matters, you see,
is perspective–
is the void obliteration
or potential?

the infinite crash
of destruction
or the whisper
that begins creation?

Shield
It feels like I was born
without a shield,
without anything to divide
me from the universe.

I don’t know how I survive
with a heart that is
always bleeding,
but I can’t imagine myself
any other way.

Without a shield,
there is nothing standing
between me and the heartache,
but there is nothing standing
between me and the love,
between me and the songs
the stars sing in praise,
the dance they have twirled
since they were spoken
into existence.

I may sink into sorrow
more often than I should,
but I can feel the promise
of Home and that is worth
the ache of keeping
my heart open.

fate
you hire a fog machine
to drown out the stars
and proclaim yourself
a master of fate

Baker
I’ve always been more
of a cook
than a baker,
always eager
to improvise.
I run entirely on
impulse and heart–
a mindset
incompatible with
the carefully measured
world of baking.
Spice I can manage,
but I’ve always loved
sweetness
the most.
Maybe I should
seek to love
a baker.

Escape
I’d like to escape
my humanity
for a while,
I think–

maybe to
hibernate,
maybe to
fly.

dance
there is no higher
romance than this:

slow dancing
to a fast song,

transforming
the moment

to suit
your sweetness.

fragment
the ghost shivers
through my bones,
gleams and shadows
at the corners
of my eyes

Monthly Archive-September 2018

fog
you’d think there’d be a warning
before the fog rolls in,
but no.

in the mountains the fog is predictable.
its ethereal fingers caress
the valleys and leave when
the sun surmounts the mountain’s
peaks. it’s gorgeous
as it goes.

and in the harbors they have horns,
haunted and mournful, and maybe
they’re too loud and make it
impossible to think
but at least they tell you
what’s coming.

but the fog in my mind
rises without warning
and passes without beauty.

Ivy
You weave around my heart
the way ivy climbs
a brick wall,

so beautiful and lively
that it’s easy to forget
the wall is crumbling.

Heart
I looked through all the closets
and drawers and bins
trying to find my heart

but when I discovered it,
my heart was in your hands
and you wouldn’t give it back

even though it was dripping
and staining your shoes.

roots
my heart is
like the dirt still clinging
to the roots
of unwanted weeds.

Dog
By the side of the road
yesterday, a large dog
was standing at attention,
staring at a bonfire
in the neighbor’s yard.
He seemed puzzled,
unwilling to bark
but ready to rescue
at a moment’s notice.

thorns
you find my heart
wrapped in thorns
wonder why
i planted roses
instead of softer
flowers.
i couldn’t tell you.

daffodils
my grandparents’ neighbor
planted daffodils on the wrong
side of her fence
years ago,
just so my grandparents
could see them.
they bloom again
every year, and every year
she shouts over the fence
to ask them how they like
the flowers.

marathons
we’re running marathons
trying to escape
our own hearts

Icarus
when are you going
to stop writing
about Icarus?

when someone gives
me wings of wax
and lets me fly
into the sun
on my own

moon
she takes a bite
out of the moon
like it’s a soft
shortbread cookie.
she washes it down
with the milky way.

 

Monthly Archive-August 2018

stone
bring me home a sliver
of sunshine, a spark
of the stars, a perfect
daydream.
bring me home a stone
from the river.

sun
the sun is 93 million
miles away
but it’s also
right there

just like you.

Hope
Hope seems so easy
in the daylight,
so simple,
when it can warm
you up like sunshine,
when it meets
your eye with a gentle
gleam.

The thirsty nights
spent kneeling
by the well,
trying to haul
up a bucket full of hope
grown heavy
remind you of what
hope is worth.

Drink it up like sunlight
glimmering
on the surface
of the glass.
Let it sustain you.

like dancing
girls gather in dream
to talk about dancing
the way girls do,

ginger rogers recalling heels
stained girlish pink
with blood, her blood sacrificed
in pursuit of perfection,
weighted dresses floating
like her soul,

the girl on the neon sign
laughing about her flight
up the pole, untouchable
even when touched, 

joan of arc stepping with
deadly grace, calling holy
fire into her eyes
as bright as the glint
of the light on her arcing
blade, unextinguishable
by any flame…

in this way the multitudes pass
the night, girls in scuffed up
shoes and grass-stained pants,
girls corseted and uniformed,
soft and scarred,
lost and found, sharp
like broken glass and strong
like willow trees, 

remember dancing. 

camera
it’s strange to realize
that without the camera,
i never would have seen
what i look like
looking away,

not that i’m not preoccupied
with mirrors, i am
(perhaps unhealthily) drawn
to my own gaze,

wondering if i’m perceived
the way i perceive…
in life that eye contact
is an unbreakable limit.

it’s strange.
in profile, i can’t
recognize myself.
my voice muddies
and fades when i can’t
feel it leaving my lips.

Rust
I bite my tongue
trying to impress
the crowd
and then blame
them
for the rust
tainting my lips.

optimism
tomorrow i won’t burn
the spinach before the eggs
ever hit the pan

and i won’t cry
over the waste and i won’t cry
over nameless sorrows.

tomorrow i won’t stumble
over yesterday’s forgotten
basket of laundry.

tomorrow i’ll mix vinegar
and water and drink
to my health

and i’ll be so happy
even sour
will seem sweet.

silver
i don’t have a heart
of gold, i have a heart
of silver:

worth a bit less,
but easier to make
something of,

moonlit,
if a little tarnished,
still moonlit,

the terror of monsters
and the love of
magpies,

glitter and bane,
mirror and magic…
it’s something.

forest
take me back to the forest
and make me mythic,
intangible, unfathomable.
i want to become
less like a human

and more like the
the glow that lingers
on the back of your eyelids
after you stare at the sun
through the trees
for too long.

i want to become
the echo of the wind’s
whisper and the bird’s song,
the shadow of a fish
swimming through the stream.

i don’t know if i want
to be or grow or glow
or vanish,
all i know is i want
to be there
when it happens.

time
the concept of time
flickers just out of my reach.
maybe it’s because time
maps out like
invisible distance
and i’ve never
been good at knowing
where to go
or where i am.

cats
the cat keeps killing
small things
because she loves us

stealing life
because of love

there are people
like that too
but they know better

Supernova
Call me supernova
if you have to call
me anything–
I’m the light shed
from too long burning,
the beauty in the
destruction,
the cataclysm
in the emptiness.
I’m a pinpoint
become a
cosmic roar.

eyes
your eyes hold
infinite energy,
like the moment
when the air changes,
hovering between calm
and storm,
the promise of light
and chaos
and life
in the air.

dream
let’s curtain our home
with spider’s silk
and build our walls
with roses.

Inscription
I wish I could inscribe
the light that gleams
through the leaves
and the shadows
they leave on the earth
into my skin
so everyone who looks
at me could know
the kind of peace
I feel in the forest.

forest
walk with me
for a while
in the forest.

let’s see if we
can find our hearts
together.

Monthly Archive-July 2018

Unnatural Reflection
the multicolored broken glass
seems less quirky
and more haunted
as my face fractures
on its surface.

this is less an object
and more a beacon,
calling to sides of myself
that i don’t want to face
tonight.

too lost to set the glass
back on the shelf,
i clutch it tightly
and stumble home,
steps scattered as my heart.

home, i scrub the glass,
removing the dust
of unknown place
and overgrown time.
if i get it clean enough,
my face might resolve

into one image
and reflect
a clear heart.

Score
The world says you are good
because you built ten houses

to much acclaim.

In the dead of night
you burnt ten down.

You believe your score is even.

You burnt down ten houses
with the people inside,

and you believe you’re even.

tears
my tears burn my cheeks
like holy fire
like their purpose
is to sting my body
into remembering that I
belong to my soul

lines
my heart lives
between the golden
lines dividing the road.
always on the way
to somewhere,
never to be crossed.

Lighthouse
You never broke my heart.
You were the rock
I hurled myself against
again and again
as the storm raged on.
I was desperate
to reach the warmth
of the tower,
the light that promised
nothing but ruin.

Soda
You used to shake sodas
just to see
the reactions
when they popped.
Rage, tears, laughter–
all were more delicious
to you
than the sweetness
could ever be.

Vines
My veins are replaced
by vines. My arms rise
to become branches.
My lips give way
to soft moss
and I speak
no more of
my sorrows.
In their place,
I take up
the songs of
wind and rain.

Jars
This weekend, I am going
to the thrift store
to buy glass jars
to keep my spices in.

I’m starting grad school
soon, which is why
I bought cheaper spices
in plastic bags, and why
I need small jars,
and why the thrift store
is my go-to source.

That’s a lie. It’s true,
but it’s a lie. I can’t resist
a good deal regardless
of practicality.

I’ve gone without bread
because I was at a store,
but not the store that sold
it cheapest.

The bagged spices
have better flavor,
anyway. The bread doesn’t.

I could keep trying to seal
the bags with tape, but they
will lose their spice,
their purpose.

Besides, an eclectic
assortment of glass jars
with unknown stories
surrounding each one
is prettier, more picturesque.
This is my most obvious
obsession.

My needs for the picturesque
and for good deals
don’t always align
so neatly.

Maybe one day I won’t
try to veil my needs
in practicality. For now,
my dishes will be flavorful
and my shelves
will catch the light.

roots
i have a heart
made for fleeing
but my feet
are built to stand
firm as roots

weeds
water your heart
like a garden
but weed it too

Fairies
In my childhood dreams, the fairies
stole me away from my own death,
time and time again.
Their forest became a haven
from the flames the mob
created for me, the traditional
penalty for magic.

I can’t remember when I started
to shy away from fairy rings,
when I started to adorn myself
in iron and play with matches,
when I embraced the crowd
with open arms.

The forest was made by
more ancient hands than theirs,
kinder hands, and
I have no magic,
only broken words
that take to the air.

moth
my soul flutters
like a moth
in a forgotten
library–I fly
a bit crooked
and live
on books alone.

Dewdrops
I spent my morning
cataloging dewdrops
as a form of prayer,

asking for the wisdom
to learn the name
of each glimmer

and the love
to treasure each
delicate truth.

 

Monthly Archive–June 2018

red
it reminds me of petals
stolen from roses by rain
and crushed into the asphalt

it reminds me of the lipstick
i used to put on when I was angry
and couldn’t find the words

it reminds me of the ink
dissolving from my arm when
i wash away anxious scrawls

and yet i have a love
affair with that same
shade of red.


lilacs

the air is so
saturated
with lilacs
you could
get drunk
on the scent
alone

smile
they say they wonder
why i smile with closed lips,
and they say they want
to see my teeth
but they don’t,
not really.
they are not sure
whether they are looking
for pearls or fangs.

Floating
The fountain flows lyrical
as song, capturing the reflection
of sunrise as morning awakens.
Flowers float on the summer
breeze and my heart floats
with them.

Bravery
They say bravery lives
in your bones.
They say that if
I hazard everything
I have, bravery
will grow within.
They say that if
I’m brave, I’ll walk
strong through damp
caves and dark
nights without
whimpering.
They say I can
grow brave,
but I would rather
cry and still carry
on than stumble
in the dark.

Reflection
I am tired
of recognizing myself
in sepia photographs
of young ghosts,
in cracked canvases
of vibrant paintings,
and not in
the mirror.

Flame
I stared at you like you were made of magic
when you tossed pine cones
into the fire and changed its nature.
The flames danced scarlet and jade,
and the embers took on a light
of their own, ash sparkling into the night
like fireflies. I never learned to fear the fire,
I only knew its comfort and its warmth.

tears
we were strangers, so
i did not ask her about her tears.
i thought i might have
misunderstood–maybe
it was joy or dust
that caused them,
anything but real sorrow.
i was too uncertain
about whether she
needed me to reach out.

Poison
Her devilish smile
shatters like porcelain
as she re-reads
the label on the bottle.
This was no tincture
of sweet love,
but of madness.

Tree
Being human is exhausting.
I think I’ll take a break
for a while. I’ll sink
into a tree
melt into the ease
of wind and leaves
and daylight
and starlight.

Catawba
I’d leave the flowers that fell
from the catawba tree
in my hair if I weren’t so afraid of the bees.
For a moment I dared to wear a blossom
before tossing it back to the ground.
I wish I were brave enough not to fear
something like a sting. But that’s not me.
I’ve found all my strength in running,
found all my beauty in the instant
before I cast it away.

violets
i’ll hide my heart
to grow
somewhere
among the violets

city
in my dream
my love planted
manhattan
with a thousand
trees, all abloom
with cherry petals.
the city’s
infinite grey
keeps me at
bay. my love
wanted me to
visit its streets
and feel at home.
if only i wasn’t
awake, if only
i was beloved.

spell
weave a spell
of song.
persuade me
that my soul
is worth
the sorrow.

shadows
the shadows
shudder from beneath
the surface.
the light
was supposed
to clear them,
but they stayed.