or the reason I haven't stopped loving you yet.
Because I've never wanted to. Because
dementia runs in the family,
and I will forget everything, even
the sound of my own voice. My children
and their children, warm or disinterested
strangers who speak too loudly and
point to photographs of people
I may have lived with or seen
in a movie once. They'll call me mother,
or Stephanie, say other names
I won't recognise, and none of it
will mean a thing. But if I love you,
if for sixty years I love you,
then I will remember that.
Of leaving pieces.Understand this: that love is a religionOf leaving pieces.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of birds, of restlessness, of flight.
Of moving somewhere warmer when the cold sets in,
of longing, of leaving, of being
the one left behind, of feathers,
of an empty nest in the heart of winter,
nestled in some firm elbow of brittle branches
that stopped reaching for the sky when the last
leaf fell, bleak against a landscape of
blacks and whites and greys save for one
little piece of red string,
tucked lovingly among the twigs,
so dutifully gathered, piece by piece,
by a creature who had seen winters before,
but made a home for himself here anyway.
L'appel du vide.there is no word for this in any language,L'appel du vide.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
but there should be:
the opposite of shipwrecked.
the moment amidst the waves when you know, finally,
that you have lost the shore. that is--
the resolute heart. the weight in your stomach
with the first and last heave of hull against sand
before you're drifting.
the compulsion to drown all
of your horizons, to lose yourself
somewhere that no one will ever find you.
the giving in. the stark moment of honesty
between you and water and sky and water and sky and
the god, maybe, that you were never sure of before now.
the need that drove you to lose every shoreline
insatiable.Insatiable will never mean insatiable again. This is howinsatiable.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I know I've been in love: I am losing
the words to describe it. Insatiable was a word
the heat of your body begged from my hands. Describe
the feeling of being lost in you: insatiable, and every
syllable tastes of sweat, the shape
of every vowel sounds like breathing. Three months later
and I still remember. The night
was so heavy and long and the air
so full of wanting.
Pauses where.The pausePauses where.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
between the casual
recounting of my day and
doesn't sound like
I love you.
But you don't hear
I've stopped missing you, either,
last day on earth, take one.the night they outlawed God we lovedlast day on earth, take one.6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
each other like bandits under
the cover of night, stole all
the beautiful things back from them. they
came for us by morning
but we were loved by then,
thoroughly loved. they took our bodies
possessed by light, they took in
of us, shamelessly declaring ourselves
untouchable as we touched
each other like we were surfacing
from the darkness.
we were people kissing until we forgot
that we were people, kissing each other until
we forgot that we weren't shooting stars
in a universe they tried to claim wasn't ours,
but they were lying.
Shattering.A woman says take me home and you are struckShattering.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
by the fear that you will not know how to touch her right, that you
have unwittingly made it this far without her knowing that
this was not supposed to be your life, a life your father
does not speak of and your mother doesn't understand, her eyes
heavy and sad. This is the kind of life that the dishes
will be the undoing of, a glass handled carelessly one day will
break in your hands and that will be the thing you finally
can't handle, your body crumpling against the sink, the weight
of your mother's sadness, the bitter emptiness of your father's
goodbye on the phone, your last trace of him, sterile and distant,
the endless ringing of every attempt after, the acrid taste of
the day you stopped calling, the despair, this life was never
what you wanted.
A woman says take me home and you say yes,
because how could you not?
the night...---the night...6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of all the nights, I keep this one for myself -
the night there was nothing but
streetlights in the rain and the soft sound
of footsteps under the cover of dark. even
when there were no safe places,
I was always making my way to you.
and you -
you, after the storm had passed,
making your way to me, that night,
hands shaking, knee on the ground,
and asking me
and asking me -
and that night there was nothing but rain
in the air and rain in our eyes
and rain washing us clean until
the only thing left was love.
Touch her lovingly, ruthlesslyIt scares me that I scares you.Touch her lovingly, ruthlessly4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I could say something poetic. I could say, don't worry
for the day you'll break my heart, my body
pulling itself inwards to stay warm, my chest
rehearsing concave hollows. You make it so hard
to be lonely that I have
to practice when you're not around, my fingers
tracing the indents of my joints, pushing into
their weakness. If you ever want
to dismantle a woman, start here.
If you ever want to dismantle a woman,
say she's your biggest fear. Let her fall in love with you. Then pull her apart,
gently. The hard part is done. Her pieces
are yours for the taking.
when we know...---when we know...6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
before everything is over, I would like
you to lick morning from my fingers and take
your time with it. I would
make for myself a blanket of the heat from your
limbs, take in your scent from all the places
it lingers strongest, the curve
of your neck and the crook of your elbows and
your knees. for one more night, my love,
I would like to call you my love and for you
to turn your face my way at the sound of it and
for you to just for one more night
be mine. before this night is over,
I would like to touch you in all the secret
places that you and I know and quiet all
your thoughts into whispers. into oh,
and oh, and oh.
dust to dust.august, your air is thickdust to dust.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and heavy on my skin; I could cup
my hands and carry it. the mosquitos
are looking for lungs to pierce,
not blood but oxygen, something breathable,
something light enough to fly
through. they are sinking. I
am sinking. I am lying
on the grass talking
to the earth, imagining
that I know for sure
how God created life
from dirt. around me, bees
are full & clumsy with
final weight of their lives. the leaves
will fall soon, the whole world
burying the dead,
& I am grateful for this:
our beginning. the perfect circle,
the warm, still embrace
to which we return.
when it is midnight,remember:when it is midnight,5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i love you.
remember i will hold
your folded body as if it were a paper boat.
remember you can always
write me a letter. address it
to anonymous. put your whole
heart in it, struggling yet
above all, remember
life is transient,
but we are not. if we bury our toes
into damp soil along with the people
who leave us behind,
you and i
become no more than trees.
September 1st, 2009.it was September &September 1st, 2009.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
this time you were dying for real
& I couldn't stay. I spent
my whole life learning to say
goodbye to you,
folding paper cranes
out of waiting room brochures about
& antibacterial soap. you remembered
the songs we used to sing, but not
my name, whispering goodbye,
don't leave me, goodbye until I did,
& then you screamed. screamed. &
it followed me, stayed with me
for all this time, along with the one
gentle hand on my shoulder, a woman
I'd never met, squeezing once.
I love that hand. the one
that still helps me carry you, even
after all these years.
it's only the truth.it's only the truth5 years ago in Letters More Like This
You never left home without your face on. He came to think that the mascara and the smoky liner were all a natural part of you, as inseparable as your bleach hair and your dripping smile. The artificial colours and the thick black lines, they were all a part of your charm.
And maybe you had a personality, but he couldn't see it beneath all your foundation. You pouted and you laughed and you tongued just like the glittery glamour girls on TV, and no one really cared what was underneath. When the wrapping is gorgeous enough, who cares what the gift is?
You fucked him at his house on a Friday night and the both of you fell asleep on his couch. When you woke up the next morning and picked your clothes off the floor, the sky was grey and his walls were grey and the crunch of cereal in your mouth was drowned out by his snoring.
He woke up and asked for coffee and maybe called you by another girl's name. You put your six inch fuck-me heels on and left, in the hope that the promise of mo
what's left when...i.what's left when...6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it ends without a single shot, all our weapons long retired
and bitter words saved for later. we're in bed together
for the last time with nothing left to fight and nothing
left to fight for, nothing left to do but love
each other quietly for just a minute longer.
our hearts are one of many things we lost along the way.
it ends quietly, the latch on the door catching
like it always does and you slipping on the hardwood
floor with your shoes in hand. that was me
spilt sloppily on the floor, love leaking out of the
wounds in my chest where you reach into
and took what was left of me.
it's graphic, love. it's hot and it's sweaty and it's graphic and
it's cold and it's lonely and it's graphic and it's
bloody in the end when you're dying of it.
it ends the way it's supposed to,
I guess, with you letting yourself out
after one last kiss. no,
there's nothing unfamiliar here but a whole lot unrequited.
it started with a fanfare and
ends with a whisper, like these things do.
Dear SantaDear Santa –Dear Santa8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
I think you must be God with blue eyes. Do cookies make up for my sins?
And Santa, I think that it must snow in heaven, and that's why clouds are white: because we're underneath the snow piles. And that's why, when we lay in snow, we call ourselves angels.
And I'd just like to say that we've never fought a war over whether your name is Santa or St. Nicolas. In all the years, we've never marched a crusade to claim the North Pole. And Santa, no one leaves bombs wrapped in homemade paper with bows and ribbons curled with the edge of scissors, and little tags that say, "I love you enough to wrap this and worry that the corners aren't quite neat enough and I used too much tape, even though you love me enough not to care about the wrapping or the tape or the bow or even the present," though they really just say, "to you, from me".
Nobody hates his neighbour in your name, Santa. Nobody follows me through airports and takes away my toothpaste because I said that I believed in you,
SlowlySlow(ly) (ASL): a gentle caress of the forearm,Slowly3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
palm down, drag your fingertips from the top
of your wrist to the bend of your elbow.
I was nine when taught myself sign language,
already desperate and awkward with all
the things I wasn't doing with my hands.
Boy and girl, go, store, thank you,
the alphabet. Drive. Sister.
I remember a man and his companion
on the beach, hands flashing,
my mother's curiousity, my own fierce desire
rubbing my arm raw until they understood how badly
I wanted to hear them, tell them
in my hesitant, broken way how
I was losing myself already,
how even my dreams were silent now.
Years later, it's the only word I remember,
the one I held on to, practiced.
I drag my fingers gently. I tell myself:
this is how you ease yourself back into the world.
to map sunrises...one day I will tell my daughter to touch herselfto map sunrises...6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
before she ever lets a man do it for her, to learn
her body-secrets and the shape of pleasure. I will
tell her that San Francisco always keeps your heart.
that her skin is a blank canvas, that hair grows,
the value of the right kind of disrespect. that the older
we get, the more we need the people who knew us
when we were young. I will tell my daughter
to give away the secrets that keep her up at night,
and that there is never a wrong time to love someone,
but sometimes a wrong way. I will teach my daughter
to travel without makeup; that sometimes forever means
morning and sometimes the ends of the earth means
Africa or one city over. that it's okay to be afraid of
I will tell my daughter that life is teetering across
the bridge, that the panic building in her chest is okay;
that good love is waiting on the other side; that better
love is holding her hand; and that the best love is her own
voice in the back of her mind, saying "
supermodels and other liesshesupermodels and other lies6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
doesn't think much about anything, because it's hard to worry about how the state of your fingernails when you're six feetunder.
and he --
well, he was the boy who sat on chairs backwards and ate tictacs and told her, you know one day i think you could be a supermodel, like Heidi Klum or Elle Macpherson. only better . he was a good liar.
["thanks," she told him, easy, quick slapslap like it meant nothing to her. he grinned.]
was an idiot because she believed him. she thought she was in love with him, but really she was in love with [the idea of being] the glossy model on the cover of Vogue magazine.
just wanted to make out with her behind the bleachers. it was a bet and he needed that fifty bucks for a new pair of runners: trials were coming up and he wanted to get a sports scholarship.
[sticks and stones will break your bones, but words:]
and the rest
knew what would happen next.
she became sticks and bones. he was already in some I
CJE: ReflectionsDear Deviants (since it has been pointed out I use "mortals" too often) :CJE: Reflections6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
When the Author walks home from work, she and I talk. Some might think it funny that the Devil is her escort home, but she and I have a kind of easy comfort with each other. Perhaps it is because I have never threatened her, or because she thinks I am a metaphorical Devil rather than an actual one, but she doesn't fear me. I don't fear her, of course, because there is nothing she can do to me besides stop writing my stories, and I know her well enough to know she will never stop. There's nothing particularly elegant about the way she writes for me, but the fact that she believes so wholeheartedly in her own words makes them endearing, and I suppose that's why others can believe in her stories; she believes so strongly in her magic and fantasy that she can make others see it as reality.
But I digress, and for that I apologize.
There are stars over Rohnert Park, same as there are everywhere, but somehow they seem c
PackingWe are not going with the birds and ohPacking3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I will miss your songs in the north
but my heart beats better up here,
louder, echoes off the mountains
and the permafrost,
into the open and always snowing sky.
chem.mystery.i'm lost on the way home from a memory,chem.mystery.6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
flipping through blank pages and trying to come up with a plan
for tomorrow, when everything all falls apart and i fall with it,
down into an abyss.
for now my head is filled with tossing words.
death dying world wars pain plagues shakespeare you you you.
there's nothing a little water can't clear,
but maybe my tears will stain
the sea black with bitterness.
for now i'm flipping through valency tables,
solubility charts (how fast will the salt in my rain dissolve?)
and wondering why i didn't memorise this twofrickingyearsago,
how oxygen changes everything and
the bonds that tie a metalboy and a nonmetalgirl together are rigid
and shatter far too easily.
a word equation for us: you+me=>anger+water vapour
(as hot air and steam)
for now i'm running from history books,
telling me about world war one and women's rights
and ethnic peace and disunity. just as we learnt it, threeyearsago.
but now it's a new test and a new thing
and we're st
falling away.---falling away.6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
tonight you are building a man out
of blankets and pressing your face where
his neck would be. you close
your eyes and pretend your pulse
is his and bite your lip and try
so hard not to cry.
tonight you are looking for a man
who sees the shadows in the way
you hold your wrists. he could.
he could, so you know it's possible.
tonight you are not beautiful but you
are so broken.
tonight you slam your fists against the
wall and wonder what it is about you
that is so easy to walk away from.
what it is about you that is
so easy to leave behind.
tonight the man with a pillow face
is softer than the body you used to climb
but it's all you have.
you'll take it. it's better than being alone.
tonight you press yourself
closer to a memory until you can
feel it digging into your skin.
it hurts, you think,
but it's something real.
heartbeats like thunder.If you understand lonelinessheartbeats like thunder.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you remember the night you could have crawled
into his chest, made a bed for yourself like an animal
beside his heart. You remember the heat of the word inside,
and the sudden unfairness that he could be inside of you
when you were the one who needed to be that close,
when you were the one who needed that relief.
If you understand hunger
you remember the way you touched his body carefully, this home
you built for yourself with unsteady hands, counted
the spaces between his ribs, pressed your cheek
against them, listened for his breathing like a storm
outside your window. You remember the fierce violence
of your want, the impossibility.
If you understand need
you remember the night you thought you'd die
wishful,our silhouettes settle over the water likewishful,6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
splayed fingers; tonight is a quiet word,
soft music in your ear played only
for you. we walk
until our legs don't work anymore, draw
circles with our tongues around each
other's shoulderblades. pretend
the trails of saliva we leave are really
ropes that can keep us together.