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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

my toenails, my america

if this were all equal
my toenails would be prettier.
or painted.

if we were all made equal,
there would be more women with thinner lips or fuller lips.
more short, bald men or more thick haired tall men.

if we were all equal,
my father would never have called gay men 'sodomites'
and he would have talked to me about finding the right man or woman.
because if we are all equal,
both are equally possible.
he would never have called ellen, ellen degenerate.

if we're all equal, all my sisters would have pursued their education
with the same vigor they pursued dating.
they wouldn't stay a day with an abusive husband.
in fact, they would never have given that guy a chance.

maybe abusive men wouldn't exist if we were all equal?

if there was real equality,
my neighbors wouldn't need to sell drugs
and wouldn't throw garbage in the street.
we wouldn't have to drive a half-hour to find a Whole Foods
and dollar stores wouldn't decorate every corner.

if things were really equal,
my niece would have had the same number of fans at her volleyball championship
that my nephew had at his soccer tournament.

if we were all equal,
there would have been a Jewish president,
a black president,
a woman president
way before 2008.
we started presidenting in 1788.
that's 220 years of white men leading.

if we are all equal,
i wouldn't be afraid to hold my partner's hand in public
and her father
and her father
and her father wouldn't worry about his little girl being judged or harmed for who she loves.

who am i kidding?

we are a nation built on a notion of equality for all
yet in 2016, we are invading the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,
again
(this time with an oil pipeline.)
we are shutting down planned parenthood
giving Brock Turner an early release
and letting a racist run for presidency.
we are killing black men and black boys and defending the right to do so.
we are serving our children sugar for lunch,
and calling ketchup a vegetable.

i am staring at my toenails painfully aware they will never be beautiful.
but i trim them.
i tend the cuticles,
and i clean them.

i take care of my toenails
and i vote.
somehow, it feels a bit the same.

Monday, August 8, 2016

ode to four, you and life.

dearest kidney in my right belly,

4 is the smallest squared prime,
and today you turn so inside my skin.

from the day you joined this flesh, these bones
you've made more difference than any gift i've known.

you haven't just cleaned my blood stream,
you've changed my spirit
redefined my understanding of love
and empowered leaps into the better.

you give, and give, and keep giving me time.

time with my mother
time to say goodbye
time to keep orchids blooming
time to hold my nieces and nephews, my sisters and brothers
time to create, to sing
time to fail, grow, and fail again
time to face my biggest fears
time to stand up for myself
time to do stand up comedy
time to live on my own
time to fall in love
time to recreate a future rooted in balance, transparency, and joy
time to forgive
time to read books and find new music
time to walk and hold hands and smell spring
time to bundle up in a new winter coat and find perfect waterproof boots
time to feel summer sunshine, sweat, and freckle
time to know myself healthy
time to feel connection and possibility, in every beautiful shape.

as far as kidneys go, doctors say you are the cream of the crop.

so when i place my hand upon you
i still gasp at what you are,
who you came from,
how everything could not be without you.

4 corners of the world.
4 points on a compass.
4 years of full living,
all with and because of,
you.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

your orchid

i am the orchid.

i am the withered, dry stem that most assume dead.

i lay dormant without demand and require the least of your attention.

i am still with observation of light and energy.

i am vulnerably exposed, with open roots and heart.

i am settled in wood chips and rocks.

i reach into the air around you while you dream.

i have smooth leaves, green buds, and silk petals to press upon you.

i am the orchid.

i am not dead.

i am here to surprise you, to remind you that what appears gone is not.


please, ice.

please, wait.

do not give up on me.


Monday, June 6, 2016

this knowing

i sleep beside a lamb 
no longer a lion 

i find myself alive 
without fear

trust lays like silk upon us in summer
and the warmth of wool waits for our winter

we pioneered the deserts
and finally found water within her wells 
never once sought salt in our wounds

we sail without sinking 
with will we honor 
where we've been and what we build

there will be seasons with storms 
tornadoes, quakes and weaker bodies 
but I hold this knowing in my teeth and in my bones

these roots are the deepest kind
our skin is layered for survival