Sunday, April 23, 2017

North Collinwood, 4/23/17

on tuesdays, fridays, and saturdays
i hear gunshots in bed.
only at night
do they catch my breath
when they wake me from sleep.
volume defines proximity.

every day, around the corner
artists gather to make music, sculptures, coffee, and Neapolitan pizza.
we drink mugs made in her studio,
wear scarves made in her workshop,
wear dresses designed in her store.
it's a living, eating, breathing-it-all-in community.

last easter weekend,
1.9 miles away,
a triple murder took place
leaving three children without their parents and family dog.
the street is numb.
the street is nauseous.

(shock drop and roll
while the media fails
the police force ails
and the councilman weeps for the nest he's trying to keep.)

every June
.4 miles away
the main street bustles with black, white, brown, pink
kids, grandmas, teenagers, stray cats and pit bulls.
west to east and east to west
food trucks dress the air with aromas,
music tickles feet with beats in the sidewalk
and everyone sweats beneath the summer sun.

every century,
the earth spins
and duality unfolds itself randomly
in the country, in the suburbs, in the city.

now,
balance.

Friday, April 21, 2017

the shape of my sleep, 4/21/17

At 4:56am I realize I sleep like my mother.

Turning to my side
I feel my knees bend and fold on each other
I feel my left arm cross over my neck
I feel my left hand land upon my pillow
and with bullet speed 
memories of my mother 
burst. 

Her arms were painted with freckles, 
shoulders to wrists, 
a pointillism tan.

Veins like mountain ranges 
rode the surface of her hands.
I followed them with my fingertips as a child
and turned her palm open
to find infinite life lines. 

Do I rest my elbow over my eyes
because it fits so
or
because she did?

It's been four years
I know
I don't miss you enough.
I reduce grief to fit in my pocket
  to function.

Here I am
awake and aware
in morning darkness.
I counted your breaths on the last day.

You were just here
are here
shaping how I sleep.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

the h word, 4/12/17

in third grade i was itching to age
and put my breasts in a training bra.

my mother and aunt joanie understood 
and carefully catered to my bumps.

who would i be without this female foundation?

no family man ever told me to follow my dreams
or fed faith in self.
there was little space for my voice in a room of brothers
  most used volume like a sword.  

my mother never shouted and i heard every word she spoke.

the idea of losing her sister
after losing her,
  annihilates me 
again.

at 95, there is not a wiser woman who knows my face
  yet it's been a year since I held her hand.

she is my mother's sister,
and i have forgotten to be my mother's daughter.
  
my own modern world fails.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

key west, 4/10/17

I am a passenger on the 7 Mile bridge 
where the midnight moon is full
and the ocean reflects like a poet.

I am a two hearted thing
and it will be this way indefinitely.
without a choice 
I am anchored to a double truth
land and sea
city and suburb
man and woman
living and dying.
I am led with a conscience,
  aware of duality.

Hemingway's bedroom smells like a distant grandfather
and cats sprawl across his mattress.
I touch the walls knowing my sentences are short
and I prefer dogs.

what if we woke up every day before the sun rose
and wrote the virgin thoughts of morning?
I imagine this 
  and collecting ceramic tiles for a floor I do not own.

today, I dabbed holy water on my forehead
showing my Protestant sister 
the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
there is a difference
between a cross and a crucifix 
between our skin, its response to light
between the shape of our breasts,
but we still share smiles with our eyes.
the codes in our blood are magic and human,
despite all the bits and pieces that will never match.

I am drawn to people eager to sweat
who cherish the body, the shell, and romance
who know there is no warranty
who understand maintenance is required.

Away from winter and monotony 
my body whispers 'i am but once'
and the ocean reminds me to write this down.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

your kind whispers

You are not the Joe who frequents strip clubs
or the George naked beneath a trench coat

You don't offer candy to first graders on sidewalks
or dabble in online chats with curious preteens

You aren't an uncle in pursuit of his young kin
or the president who grabs women by their pussies

You are your own kind.

You play Jesus on stage
and draw in the fragile seeking affirmation.

You earn parental trust
then pour wine down virgin throats.

You whisper words you're gonna be a star
on staircases that lead to bedrooms.

You puzzle piece a cult together
and publicly appear perfect.

I'm forty now, not fourteen.
I don't know where you are
  but I know who are you.

I wonder how many stars have heard your whispers.
I wonder how many carry the weight of silence.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine 2017

you are the morning skin to touch first
and midnight warmth beneath the moon,
  radiating.

you are purposeful kisses, slow and delicate
afternoon dances beside the kitchen sink.

you began as walking along water
and now you breathe beside me in bed.

you are my courage in doubt
my saltiest sweat
my first note sung in solid tune
my abdomen trembling in release.

you are the sweetest creme brulee.

you are the silence when the windows are down
  and the wind is speaking.
you are bread crumbs left on the path
  reminding me of home.
you are a gentle visionary,
  and i believe in everything you see.

you are the always, in all chaos and calm.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

hug your hurt

walking into a wake
the smell of mixed florals
reminds me of stomach acid that stirred
seeing my grandmother
stiff and sewn.
i was six
and afraid to step near the casket.

i'm no longer six
but i still don't care for coffins.

loss is brutal, painful, numbing.
it's a wasp stinging your heart
and 
novocain for every living layer within you.
it destroys digestion
and the desire to desire.
it's for worms and only worms.

when i lost my parents,
i lost all empathy for liars.
when you encounter good grief,
the truth surfaces and glows neon
and everything else is a vivid waste of time.

orphaned at 36 isn't a disaster,
but it still makes me sad.
the sadness swells when i see a new orphan
and recall how disgusting it is to understand that level of alone.

i want to hug your hurt so hard,
and maybe need you to hug my hurt too.