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 isTuesday6 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,
Confession OneRecently I've been wishingConfession One6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I could explain the
love you and
I Love You
the love affairlife slides under the door andthe love affair6 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
the living and the deadI lie on the floor, I cannot bearthe living and the dead7 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.
Confession ThreeOne day I'm going to sit downConfession Three6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and learn that my bones
are made of calcium
not candy canes,
that smoking isn't poetic
and that bitten nails
aren't a sign of intelligence.
the artistthere is a colour in my brain, I write the word colour,the artist6 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
that's what I'm waiting forI still want to kiss you.that's what I'm waiting for6 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
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
A Love Poem For LegsYou are an Amazon,A Love Poem For Legs4 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
Strawberries, A guitar and YouYesterday I hung upside downStrawberries, A guitar and You7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
by my knees in a pine tree.
And as I clung to the
curve of the branch.
I remembered the
curves of your hips.
I remember the day
I realised your hips
weren't curved any more.
They were pointed bone.
You played my old guitar
in the summer.
with out removing the stem.
I painted in the
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,
white trash weekendscasual sex on Fridays,white trash weekends4 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
call and answerMy need is huge and grasping,call and answer4 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.
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.
if you loved me you would callWe could talk about bad TV andif you loved me you would call5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
how I came home to a swarm of flies,
attacked them with hairspray and a shoe,
the book I read last night or a song that
reminded me of who you used to be -
if you loved me you would call and
the sound of your laughter would
make the world seem a bit smaller and maybe
I would sleep wrapped up in different dreams.
Instead of writing someone else love letters
and the quiet of my nights telling me what I knew
from the start. Maybe you never did
feel the way you wanted to.
unchartedif I had all the time in the world Iuncharted6 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
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
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.
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
pelicansIpelicans6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you imagine the woman you love in your bed,
the creases and hollows of her skin ending and the blankets
beginning, imagine falling asleep to the rhythm of her life
you tell me to write a poem about it, as if I had the words,
as if I had not cut my tongue from my body
you imagine love on an airplane, a song you will write some day
with a girl you call Delilah because you were always Samson and
some day in the not-so-distant future
everyone will forget how
you call to make me smile
as if a specific set of numbers had weight, as if
you knew I was comparing you to a pelican in flight and
the rush of their wings was our laughter saying, I love you,
I love you, goodbye
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
LazarusI came out of the darkness talking, talking, spilling words to cover the sharp edge of panic, speaking so I didn’t howl at the chaos, at the fingers grasping at the corners of my shivering mind, so I didn’t weep or beg or have to listen to the barrage of voices harshly shouting me down, muzzling me into silence,Lazarus3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the high, trembling voice of a wide-eyed nurse – it’s not English. You’re not speaking English!
echoing silence and all my swallowed words tasting like copper pennies in the back of my throat, and a scream shattering the silence, an endless violence I could not crawl away from, the despairing sound, turning liquid from my bloody throat, and when I swallow hard I know that foreign sound is mine, I cannot recognize my own voice but when the darkness comes I fall keenly into its grasp.
The second time I surface the tubes are back down my throat, I have swallowed my screams so completely I swallow my breath and swallowed down the dark with sheer
daughtersmy 5 year old daughter only wants to rundaughters3 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
thief in the nightAnd it broke my heart so I fell asleep holding my own hand,thief in the night5 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.