Dear Teen MeDear Teen Me,
Too often, we lean toward writing to the general audience. I've rewritten this very letter at least three times, and had to scrap it each time because it did not accomplish what it needs to accomplish. It needs to be a letter to you, not to every teenage girl in America. It needs to speak to your heart, your dreams, and your faults. It needs to be about you.
Since we were able to comprehend compassion, we've used it as a shield to avoid ourselves. We've sympathized with the plights of the starving in Asia, the trafficked in India, the raped and tortured in Sudan and Burma. We've given to the Red Cross on behalf of hurricane and earthquake victims. We've spent hours coaxing the mentally ill out of suicide, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. We've given everything we have trying to help others. And it is noble and just and right and selfless to the point of being unhealthy.
You are a person, too. You need time and attention and care and space just as much as the
Accidentat the corner of boone trails and owenAccident2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
she learned the brevity of flight:
glinting bumper for launch pad
trajectory approximately 5 feet
across the median.
as proud, as swift
as any prima ballerina
but the landing
this I keep for her -
the listless weight of limbs
defying gravity, the beastly beauty
of a body bouyant before
Birth of PoetryI tangled my fingers in the curls of the universe,Birth of Poetry3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
pulled. The earth fell out: round, warm, spinning.
Awkward and shy, she wondered how she got here; how
a rock that got wet and grew moss could be significant.
So I scooped her up in my fingers, breathed her scent:
(lilies and oceans and ozone and forests and fish and birds
and whales and rain and the empty elegance in wolf howls)
death and life. I found chaos
and knew beauty.
Hand and foot, Hip and breastHear the ever-wonderful TwilightPoetess read this aloud here!Hand and foot, Hip and breast2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And now I understand the depths
to which a woman must sink, must
dig herself into, must push past with hand
and foot, hip and breast. It is not light I seek
but solidness. Not spring air soft against
my cheek, but the scalding touch of lava
forced for so long to be silent and still
now worming through a cracked
and weeping crust. It seeks explosions
because affection must be dramatic.
But the sky will not love it
as thoroughly as I do.
And now I understand the impossible
permanence of night-lit words.
They linger in the valley between my wrist
and fingers; stow themselves in my freckles.
I cannot erase their presence, ignore
their weight -- only hope for a lover
who will burn away your shape.
But I understand hope to be a fickle
and most unfortuna
cyclic motioni. every sad story starts with love.cyclic motion4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
ii. there is you sprawled across the bed
with your ankles tangled in cotton covers
and the golden waves of sunlight
breaking themselves through fissured glass
to drip into your hair like bright honey,
your hands reaching upward
as if they were young birds waiting on wings.
you wept for those flightless, wet-beaked children
anchored helplessly to your wrists
but their hearts were not as weak
as the foreign fist beating in your chest. they collapsed
and only left behind
the impressions of dying constellations
they had scratched beneath your eyelids.
iii. at dusk i watched the night take you in waves, glowing,
and said you were the most beautiful thing
i had ever known.
it was a lie. the want of a thing
is always more beautiful than the thing itself.
these are the quiet things we do not tell--
the secrets touched only in the dark
when hearts are laid open
and everything else forgets to exist.
iv. i whispered that to myself when the last shadow
Intimacyhere, a quake, so I nameIntimacy2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
your fourth abdominal after
Venezuela - that land
of tectonic plates
that slide so subtle below
the ocean floor, and just now,
with my fingers feathering
your hip bone and your mouth
adjusting the tempo of red rivers
under the surface, I feel
like a new mountain birthed
by the shattering of old growth:
bold, eager, desperate to possess
that soft blue sky.
Before You HowledI had forgotten for so long why I sang,Before You Howled2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
so many, my song turned into tumbled
bedsheets, bodies strewn,
nectar of a kiss overdone.
The lonely hoot low and languished,
I loved, My Love, I loved strong
and solid, the hollow notes,
the lonesome bones.
Crow, she came and whispered in my ear,
said your song is lovely dear,
take a feather from my wing, we beat
somewhat the same.
But the song, it was the same,
beneath the shadow of the bat, as
the love of a man
I nearly slew.
When she would call, month's later
the chiming at my ear, o' my heart
my little heart,
I heard her and she was me,
and I, without us, her little
black wings, my greedy perch, months
I'd call back, filter through the poems
I hear your notes in me.
Some nights she whispered love stories
of a girl, small-handed
across the mountains, a candid song
of love and loss
and loving loss, that which learns
to rumble after. She wrote of you,
far across, the distance
a somber color.
O, I listened to her song an
carameli feel you in my pores.caramel2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i am blind in time to uncork
your ghost from
so many shores
where hours trickled
into tears and fears
stretched into years
of silence. i still
forget you, still you
beget a whiff of regret
that i remember how
i love you. you bleed
for another and i
am here, cupping
your dreams to quench
an endless question,
rocking to sleep
a hapless destination
the only child
of our stranded conviction
astronomerswhen we're togetherastronomers2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
dusk is containable; the moon in my palms
and the stars on your ceiling.
we lull the city to sleep
with our theories of life; my tongue curling
do you remember,
when Jupiter was a silver wick, lighting its countless moons?
you balanced a cigarette off your lips,
and I watched the vermillion flame burn life
as a newborn sun;
planets moulding and constellations snaked
above our eyes.
what it would be like to be curled
inside the embers creator and destroyer
so close to your lips.
Of Random Thoughts and ThingsLast night, I thought of my first catOf Random Thoughts and Things2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when I was a child,
a jet black kitten with six toes on each paw,
and the lemon tree that grew
in the rear of my parents' backyard-
I couldn't climb that tree,
full of wicked thorns that tore my flesh.
So why did I think of the cat and the tree
on this particular night?
They came to me in a fog which
should have made me sad. After all-
five years later, I found my cat by the side
of the house in a pile of dried leaves.
I carried her to the back and sat vigil
under the lemon tree until she died.
It made me wonder, is it always this way
with all things, to romanticize years later?
I started to plan in my head, a new place,
a retreat where my love and I could live:
I scoured through catalogs of furnishings
hand-picked by the hour,
in a virtual tour, setting up and
arranging, mulling over and re-doing,
from page to mind's eye,
the goblets and plates, the linens and drapes
'round tables and chairs,
a bed with down pillows, lamps on their stands-
The big feelingWhen you realize you are feelingThe big feeling9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
a moment fading into all the moments
that preceded it,
and you must try, impossibly, to describe
the big feeling,
a thing apart from your self,
as close to it as humanly possible:
like when looking through a microscope
and realizing that each magnification shows
we only know so much of anything,
The big feeling that is life's disappearing,
into the many echoes
of each moment, somehow touching
across the vast expanse,
the one that lead you here,
Where you stop to witness
the minute spectacle of time's expression;
the familiar creaking of wind against wood panels,
branches whipping in those gusts
casting wild shadows on your wall,
The big feeling coaxing the world towards
a surreal stillness, tentative and aware,
flooding through all the chances, that through the guarantees
of your quantum existence
the marvelous truth rises:
that this is all so beautiful you will die
if you do not try and express it,
but if you try and express this moment
LeviosaThere once was a witch named KatLeviosa2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
who wished for the pointiest hat
that any witch had ever worn
as straight and sharp as a thorn
so she could place it where the teacher sat.
Then our Kat would giggle with glee
as into the air like a rocket shot he!
Ah, the irony his criticisms would carry
as the class watched him flutter like a fairy.
Maybe it'd be enough to set Kat free
from the levitation lessons
that felt like torture sessions.
If only Kat could make the wand work
so that droopy tip would perk
upward, like a prayer to the heavens.
untitled from the lost weeks - version III'm not that girl anymore,untitled from the lost weeks - version II2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
lost in the cornfields,
waiting to be hurt.
You live the only way you know how
until one day, maybe,
you wake up.
See there are people who will love you
or conditions. You learn
a new way to love yourself,
the way your life flutters out behind you
like an unraveled scarf -
you stop believing you don't deserve
happiness. Take a risk.
Wake up one morning aching with the knowing:
now it's okay to start expecting
to be safe,
to practice saying no.
Maybe catch a glimpse
of your white face -
the ghost in the mirror
I won't let you get hurt.
Standing With YouI am deathly afraid of how I feel when you brush your hand along my arm,Standing With You2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Leaning beside my ear while your breath warms every bit more than my skin.
And with every breath my heart would tremble a need between fear and wanting,
So slowly that I began wondering if this could lead to something a little more..
I always enjoyed kissing your frowns away,
Knowing that my hands could soothe the pains from your back.
The things you do that makes it hard to stay mad at you,
The things I happily give you knowing you are mine.
I long for you even when you are silly or frustrating,
But especially when you are sweet and loving.
I wonder if you could feel this at night,
Even when we are together, the aching of my heart longing for more.