Posts in POEMS
Paradox

We let each other shit talk

Especially when that shit dropped

Especially when he hurt you

Especially when she hurt me too


But then we find the ground together

Then we paint the fuller picture

Call out where the truth is missing

In the other’s recollection of things


You help me float

By letting go

Plant me

By holding on

You understand the value

Of both


We are a x b

a-to-the-b-squared

the square root of a + b

What I’m trying to say is that—

Together—

We are the fabric of complicated equations

We are the lines and curves

That make up letters and numbers and languages


We are paradox in human form

Equal parts plugged into this life-formula

Unearthing deeper understanding

By our differences

 

(Marriage.)

this ground

this ground

feels like shifting sands

like shaky hands

like a scribbly line drawn

on a piece of paper

like when they measure

an earthquake

i hope i have a way

of seeing the magnitude of

the lessons I’m learning


this ground

feels like farmer's land

like rich soil

like it's letting my soul

breathe

through the soles of my feet

and i know that it's teaching

me something

--that I'm growing

For Frank

my ears are open
and i study the sound of your voice
          running through them

like water
like sky
like clouds
and now
i am        floating
both feet on the ground

a dance from left to right
the airwaves play
with melodies
unexpected and soothing

and my lungs
my lungs are full of
e x h a l e s
keeping time
the way your voice
echoes
"breathe here"
and "here"
and "here if you want to"
and "here if you'd like"

nothing touches me
and yet everything moves me
a world of possibility
expands between
the drums of my ears--
left and right and back again
and all around the inside
of my head

words paint the sky
scales of colors
vibrations that the eyes
cannot see
so i lean in
look with my ears
peeled

and you carry--
transport--me.

It's Like

i know what it’s like to hold on
like at six—when you clenched a fist
full of rocks from the playground
wrapping your sweaty fingers around
fool's gold
and it made no sense to anyone else
except to you and the dirt
that held them
before you found them
these diamonds in the rough
glittering pieces of nothing
now mean something
because you discovered them

i know what it’s like to let go
like when the ribbon of a balloon
tickles your hand
dances across your palm
and you release it
to test the patience of your mom
as you walk the short distance from the store
to the minivan
and she tells you to get a grip
but you cannot
because you are too curious
about what it looks like when a balloon
disappears into the sky
how far before your eyes
can’t see it anymore

i know what it’s like to have loved and lost
and also to have never loved at all
and also to have loved and found
and also to know that there’s more love out there
than the whole scope of us can wrap around
fourteen billion arms
like the black space between the stars
and the stars themselves
and the rings of jupiter
and the volatility of the sun
that god decided to put close enough
to us to keep us alive
but also far enough away
to keep us in time
with the seasons
all four of them
and there’s probably more of them, to be honest
or less, if you live in south florida
but i’ve learned that there’s love for all seasons
and then there’s love that doesn’t belong in seasons at all
but it shows up anyway
covers the world like global warming
walks right through your ozone layer
melting your glaciers
and makes the roaring ocean in your body
a sight to be seen—
believe me—
a flood of serotonin
makes the deserts of your mind
reel with mirages like movies
with temperatures hotter than last summer
you’re certain

i know what it’s like to say f*ck the haters
and then cry into your pillow because the haters were your friends and your heroes
what it’s like to be mute
and for their words to become dictators
to your emotions
napoleons taking over your motherland
throwing your motherboard overboard
and for your emotions to reject
the new member of the Good Intentions Club:
“i don’t care what other people think"
and for you to care so much
that you cry in public places
or leave them for fear of crying

i know what it’s like for no one to understand your story
and for everyone to tell it
boredom-born story-tellers
what it’s like to wear the scarlet letter
like a patch on your cool jean jacket
alongside metal pins that say “i tried my best”
and also “never give up”
all of that to say, i know
what it’s like to be a contradiction
to be so ashamed that you fight yourself
and the screaming minds of silent strangers
by yelling “i’m a good person! i’m! a! good! person!”
but never out loud
always very quiet
always in your heart
and never in your head

i know what it’s like for your heart to break
for your spirit and your bones to ache
what it’s like to inhale
the mistakes you’ve made
and radiate
like you swallowed the moon
like you took what life threw at you
and you threw it back
and you lay in the grass
and you stare at the night
with specks in your eyes
and you know that there’s love in those spaces between
and you exhale the song the stars sing

Shame

Every word spoken
A testimony
"You can believe me"

If I may
be so bold as to ask--

When I get back to the place
where I can
make eye contact again
with the person looking back at me
(in the mirror)
Can I look into yours?

 

Well, I'll be.

Well I'll be--if I didn't reinvent my story
So it would fit inside your ear
Land comfortably in your mind
Spill confidently out of your mouth

If I didn't find myself on your wheel
Keeping it spinning
Thoughts running
With every word you wanted to hear

If I didn't lose myself in your vision of me
Who a strong woman ought to be
What a strong woman ought to think
Where a strong woman ought to sleep

Well, I'll be.

Gravity

Sometimes I turn my face towards the sun
Close my eyes
Feeling its daunting heat on my skin,
I melt into the awareness of my existence

Were the sun just a few inches closer
Or the oxygen a little less in supply,
I would know that my being here has very little to do with
Conscious eating
Or responsible bill paying

I would know that my being here has very little to do with me at all

Except that it is me here.

And these atoms don't belong to me
(Who do they belong to?)
Yet they are mine

And this ability to move my feet
Isn't my invention
Yet I am the one who tells them to move
I am the body they carry through spaces I cannot explain -
Matters of physics and biology -
Only to arrive at a place that I call my home.

And are these thoughts even my making?
And how did they enter this mind?

The arrogance
Of claiming ownership

The irresponsibility
Of denying it

I am made up of seven octillion atoms
(There are three hundred billion stars in the galaxy)
Reactions in this body like the Milky Way
And I alone am one of seven billion

It is a miracle that I am here
It is a mercy that I belong

Will You Show Up?

What will you do when things don't come easy--
when rubber meets the road--
when privilege has taken you as far as it can go?

What will you do when
it's up to you--
in the quiet?

What will you do when
it's not just you--
in the noise?

When the crowds aren't roaring behind you,
will you lose your voice?

Last Night in My Parent's Living Room

It wasn't cheap forgiveness
Wasn't a bandaid
It was the costly statement

"We've been there."

It was the phrase
"We're all human"
Said with certain eyes
That had so many stories to tell

It was a gift I couldn't have asked for
The one that we all have to offer

It was love in the form of
A life lived
And given

In the form of
Two hands on my shoulders,
Two eyes sharing my heavy gaze


"You're okay."

Life is Hard

When--with eyes that had a story to tell--
they spoke those vague words,
they might as well have been speaking Chinese.
You had no idea, wrapped in your eager youth,
what they had just said.

But don't worry, child.
You will get the chance to wear them
in your own way.
You'll have your moment.

And you just might sum up the most painful of life experiences to a youth--who could not possibly understand yet--with
three
vague
words.

Train cars of memories might flash by as you stumble to catch a quick description of the lessons they taught you
and finally land, discontented, 
on the phrase you've heard for far too long. But out of your mouth they spill like oil from a tired engine:

 

Life is hard.