code blueI tell you there will be someone else,
sometime, in the unseen future, and
you say you don't want anyone but me,
so sweet my love,
but you cannot follow me,
not this time.
I know you can't say goodbye
neither can I.
I knew waking up to your voice this morning
I wouldn't be seeing you again,
or the shining life you painted for me last time
I trembled on the edge, but
you gave me two months
TuesdayYou write the words so no one will understand, it isTuesday5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Tuesday again, always Tuesday, even when it
is Friday and the school across the street shrieks with excitement, the
walls have ears and you say it is Tuesday and carefully write a list
of what you have and have not allowed yourself, because
it is always Tuesday and the walls shake their heads,
and trace the lines of your notes, shorter every week, but not
every day because it is not Tuesday and you can write what you
need, the walls do not have ears.
You do not use the phone because the words have slipped from your grasp,
the subtle difference between careful and controlled, the words on the paper
say I had an English degree as if it has fallen between the crack in the night
between yesterday and today. You say, fine, a word that says exactly what
you did not want it to, but you fold your shirt against your body, soft as tissue
until only your hands grasp themselves, twisted like birds,
the living and the deadI lie on the floor, I cannot bearthe living and the dead6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the bed, the sheets, so sweet smelling
soft. I lie on the floor like it is the deck of a ship
before a storm.
the things I used to tell you
no one knows,
the nightmares followed us home, but I like
to think you have learned the secret -
where to begin the forgetting. I
put you in a room like a moth
in a jar, listen for your last breath, open
the door, but you are gone
the scent of burning
hair, the animal fear, the way your
knees brush each other like leaves,
I lie on the floor, my hipbone falling
between beams, dirty laundry under my cheek,
I fall asleep watching the rise and fall
of my bed.
the love affairlife slides under the door andthe love affair5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I think about you not knowing how to love
and touching a person's sleeping eyelids
to change a dream, to lie here with you
under a silent oak tree, the sunlight
has begun to breathe and I am digging you a grave
for your past and your future, I am
holding you here, the trunk of my car open to let the sweet
sound of a song rise into the
air, it is rushing by
and I have premonitions or
I just got lucky or everything
nothing vanishes without a trace
I hold despair in the palm of my hand and cannot dance
without spilling it onto the floor, it
seeps into the carpet
but you are holding out a towel and the sound
of your laughter is like paper birds settling on the branches of
the tree growing from my ribs
a memoryI remembered the afternoon I called you,a memory3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
curled on my bed with someone's good book
in my palm, nestled softly in the waning light
and under my gently roaming fingers
the baby moved not to my hand-touch,
but inside, an insistent flutter,
not like the swiftly beating heart
on the doctor's monitor, not like the slow
appearance of a plus-sign on a drugstore test.
I called you, my gently rolling daughter's
mother's mother. I called you like the woman
standing at my back while I held the kite string
on a pushy spring day, the diagonal shape so
far above us I could only feel the jerk of the
cord around my fingers, holding us to earth.
that's what I'm waiting forI still want to kiss you.that's what I'm waiting for5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I am building a bridge to a road
I do not wish to travel, but the bricks keep
falling into place.
I want to reinvent the language
of a kiss, to use new words, to know
every breath I breathe out, you breathe in, and
the strings that cascade out of my body like a spiderweb,
they sometimes lead to you, so
I travel backwards, looking for the turnoff, looking for
the person who stands behind me, not holding a knife, but
reaching out for your hand.
like a wound scabbed over, but still
screaming, a measure of unspoken words,
just now waking up.
when does a man fail
when you touch one string does the world
shudder and fling you into the
in a hotel room with the sun thinking about rising,
reruns and the hum of a shower, already cold,
thinking about the distance between here and
there, is it the sharp sound of stepping on a fallen branch, the
soft sound of sheets sliding to the floor,
do you think about dressing or
step naked into the
the letter that never arrivedas if grief had never hollowed out my heart,the letter that never arrived2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
caverns echoing with the memory of a laugh,
as if despair had never stolen my voice
until love whispered in my ear
and I knew what mattered,
of knowing: there are things
you will decide to protect yourself from,
you must never relive,
and some you must live
and live again,
no matter the cost
call and answerMy need is huge and grasping,call and answer3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the wolf curled inside her locked cage
she had lain silent for years,
but your voice called to her,
a hunter's moon rising rich and secret.
There are shadows even in the dark.
She lifts her muzzle, the liquid rise and fall of her
singing patiently, endlessly.
I run my clever fingers through her thick pelt, her animal self
who does not understand shame or
that you cannot simply take
what isn't yours.
the noteI should like to hear that song again, throughthe note6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
speakers shuddering with cold, to
have it mean something,
or hold my hands to my face, to not have
forgotten the way your neck smells beneath your hair.
I would like tomorrow to be today, to have learned to
play better on the guitar, to have told you the
secret of life, which I knew once
before I woke up
I dreamed that you were taken from me and sometimes
my dreams come true, but never
I have changed everything, but nothing has changed, the
seasons swing precariously, the voices outside the window,
the bats clinging to the sill, where we once walked home
and all the things I have learned that I can never speak of,
I haven't the time to tell you the most important thing of all,
the artistthere is a colour in my brain, I write the word colour,the artist5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I ramble through a box of crayons from years ago, I touch robin's eggs, I
see a colour and name it peace or maybe war
I drop my pen and come up with a paintbrush, I think desire and watch the
wings of a pelican change colour in the sky, disappear, flash back, think of
a day, black and white,
I read about a flower that is yellow, but I
don't want yellow, I want the sun against my skin, the colour that
an exhale makes in the summer when everyone tells me you cannot see your
in the summer, there is a trembling in my yellow, there is a quickness
in my breath and you cannot paint quickness, you cannot write
A Love Poem For LegsYou are an Amazon,A Love Poem For Legs3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you have a walk, and meeting you
for a moment I am 15 again and trying
do I want you or just want to be you.
You wait for coffee like a queen,
so I sneak a thought of your long legs
around my waist, yes,
there's a momentary clench but you are
coming towards me, so I put that away
for when I know you
viragowhen i forget how anger tastes,virago7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i place a penny under my tongue,
caress my wounded car,
when we fought you screamed:
stop crying, stop crying!
Im the one who should be crying.
but you never did.
she has your eyes.
it might be the colour of love,
if you could have killed me,
you wouldnt have.
but you did not dream of flights of stairs,
me, eyes closed, listing at the top.
you do not rage, no,
too much energy, embarrassing how
the neighbours are whispering behind their
hands that i have enough anger for both
i smoked three cigarettes in the truck waiting for you.
to not meet their roving eyes, i chain-
smoked, lighting one cigarette from the other,
until my bones trembled
leave the keys
daughtersmy 5 year old daughter only wants to rundaughters2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
through the park, loping beside our wolf-puppy,
both lean & fierce, joyful
as she tosses her hair back
& suddenly I see my body
in hers, tireless & certain,
despite my pounding heart
& damaged limbs, I run&run&
then she gives for a moment,
tumbled full-length in the grass,
feeding the puppy from her cupped hands,
& demanding, scratch my back too!
then down her sides & over the ripples
of her ribcage, her leaping heart
& tummy, still baby-soft,
until the shadows reach us & I
must give her back, inch by inch,
a long, twirling hug
my mother will echo with sad arms,
murmuring, you look really good,
here, now, when we stand alone,
which never means,
you lost weight or
that’s a pretty dress
only us, watching her
& suddenly glad
things you don't tell in group therapyI open an artery in my arm.things you don't tell in group therapy4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Not where you would expect, but where the nurses,
tired and annoyed, finally find a place close to the surface of my arm,
where my heart beats, lightly, on the outside of the bend in my elbow.
I do not know what to expect or even that it will work, but
I am scrambling to grab a t-shirt as blood swells like a
rising tide, flooding the white pillowcases crimson,
slipping down the inside of my thighs like
I have only just become
I dive into my body.
If I can see it, I will understand. I will know
some secret of breaking and healing.
My arm heats like a furnace and I start to get shocks
to my shoulder and fingertips -
a living body looks nothing like a corpse and yet
they place a dead body in front of us,
white gloves and a clipboard and I spend the hour gently
tracing the winding roads of the brain.
Jasonon a TuesdayJason6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
where night bled into morning
your arms above me and nearly caught your branches in the
flame of the candle. slender limbs against my
i do not dream of you as a man, but as you are,
leaves growing dark, dark,
dark, from my chest to meet the sky,
sometimes our loving is fierce and sometimes
we are able to breach the
spaces between floor and
the ceiling has opened
to the light
white trash weekendscasual sex on Fridays,white trash weekends3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
slipping out the front while he fumbles
the lock at the back,
I wasn't meant to be your love,
one and only, white dreams,
yes I'm barefoot at the mini-mart again,
no, I didn't wear a bra and those shorts you thought
were only for you, but it was so hot out and
he let me lean on his SUV, my toes play with
his rims, the music pounding around us,
yeah, I bought a beer and sat on the porch and
didn't answer when he called,
but baby, for 5 minutes
he loved me more than you have in a
unchartedif I had all the time in the world Iuncharted5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
would pretend you are a new world,
map your skin stretched over bones,
fit your secrets deep beneath my mattress,
I would become a native, pluck
the ripe fruit from the trees,
tour your thighs like the rising of a white wave
on a white shore that
always returns to sea
they'll get it right this timeImpossible demands, like holdthey'll get it right this time3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
still and stop throwing up and
It can't be a hallucination when
the pretty doctor's hair in her eyes, the nurses'
finger-bruises laddering my skin,
the wet pillow.
How sometimes the only power
is crying, noisy-soft, the waves of blood
gurgling sickly from lips
until someone decides, stop,
The army retreats and a quiet woman
spends the next hour wiping blood
off my shaking body.
The next day in the ambulance
to the next hospital, bigger and better,
dried red flakes sift from my hair
and I am afraid.
the love poemI wanted to write a poem to you,the love poem6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
about the sound of your voice, of the
about the catch between one word
and the next
I wanted to write a poem about the way my hands were so cold
the cigarette burned down and I never felt it, the angry words
were my bones,
I wanted to tell you we are always silenced
like a first kiss, the tentative touch,
of the fumbling hands, the dark
and how if you lived a little closer I would
kiss you properly, the sweetness of words
the morning newspapers
the cigarette lost in the
ashtray, sending smoke signals up
to guide us home
blood poisoningOnce you've had a baby you don't care aboutblood poisoning4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
people contemplating your cervix. It's waiting
for the call. Or the letter because your new phone
doesn't have voicemail. Mostly normal.
It's as good as these things get.
There was a shift change when I had my daughter
so the night nurses leaned on the wall in the back of
the cheerful room and the day nurses touched my arm,
the inside of my knee, everyone laughing and cheering
and yelling PUSH
and then there was you.
And a lot of blood, I could feel it rushing away from
my body, my host of hosts, my living flesh, the
quick stitches, the pressure worse than the contractions,
my long, graceful daughter calling for my arms,
my open body, undone.
I thought about love and you and how I've relearned to
type quickly because I finally hit the jackpot, I finally
dove deep enough into my body to find the vein
and my heart beating like a tiny bird pulses blood
and you only think about repercussions later.
Buy a tattoo, a coyote wrapped around your ankle
Exhume and InhaleI have tasted God, he tasted of sweet wineExhume and Inhale3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and sandalwood, the deep forest you lay down
in the moss and twigs, scattered like finger-bones,
your spine ripped out, curved like a bow.
I couldn't find your heart, trembling
against the opened cage of your ribs,
under the gently speaking rustle,
leaves unfurling, the dance of sunlight
slinking between your vertebrae:
piccolo skims and birchskin shaves.
I fled. Your right shoulder blade beckoned still,
unfolding like the slow feathers of a wing,
your wrist flung out, palm
up, gasped my name,
but I could not stay, only
strained your skin with oleander tea,
drifted, drifted with the tumbleweed,
the blind breath of the wind,
and I had tasted God, birdsong on my tongue,
soaring, sweeping, sweet and free.
SchizophreniaI heard the meaning in that song,Schizophrenia5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
played the record backwards,
hid the poem I wrote, instead
I write Post-It notes:
1. Songs Have No Meaning
I capitalize a lot to keep on track,
hang number one over my desk,
2. Balance Your Checkbook: You Probably Overdrafted
Next to the keyboard in case I care to look,
3. I love you
On my headboard, I like to wake up
to that one, on a need-to-know basis,
4. Emergency Phone Numbers
By the quiet phone I leave a list of people I might
or might not call.
5. Death Is Not A New Beginning
Extreme Behaviour 101you dream of a tree on your back, a crowExtreme Behaviour 1014 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on your shoulder, whispering to you,
feathers floating free,
the wind covering your body like a
wild animal, you have no more rules
for this body.
you write a love poem
for the uninterested--
tuck it under the mattress for a
younger generation to find
or the man who comes to take your bed
after you move away into the hills,
never to be seen again.
there comes a time for phone calls to home
for phone service to extend into the universe
where you've hidden among the exploded supernovas
in an attempt to fix things that you didn't break.
mother's spasming hands that drop dishes to the cold tile,
reading has become a special occasion
only to be done while researching something unnamed.
you cannot name the forces at work
behind your eyes or learn how your bones hold together
without reading it over & over, reciting it in your head
until all you can think of is how pointless it is to be held together
when it's so easy to be taken apart.
adam's rib so e
a second opinionSuddenlya second opinion5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I begin to feel, I write poems
in the first person, I am
inhabiting my body,
I want to weep with joy,
am overcome -
reread books, listen to music that
rocks gently against my heart.
My heart, the timer that ticks away in the slow-waking
hours, time folding into a crease at 3 A.M.
dry-swallowing the pills and studying the currents of the
ceiling before sleep comes like a wave
to claim the body.
thief in the nightAnd it broke my heart so I fell asleep holding my own hand,thief in the night4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
vomit bucket in the corner, the empty dial tone of a phone
on the windowsill with dying flowers, it broke my heart so
I listened to my head speak in tongues without translation,
without a pharmaceutical miracle we are all just regular people, we are
all just accidents waiting to happen, we are all just poets without enough
alcohol or dreams or anyone close enough to hold their hand
in the night.