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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

The Nights I Remember

We lit up sparklers in your cul-de-sac,

our faces only seen in

flashes—

couldn’t look away

from our supernovas.

They hissed,

begging us to keep them there,

aware and eternal.

We united them, making it last

as long as we could

until it was time

to go back inside.

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The bank lady—I think her name was Betsy,

asked for my number,

as we sat in expensive blue chairs,

sinking in.

“What is the number

to reach you at work?”

 

Paperwork stuck together,

Dry hands,

Repeat the question,

Please.

“What is your work number?”

The rearranged words

felt heavier.

 

“Oh, I— I don’t have one.”

 

I wished it was

all laid out for her,

facts on her computer screen

in a doctor’s office.

“I was laid off.

The company downsized.”

The explanation was

necessary

to set up a bank account,

even though

it really wasn’t.

 

She gave me a sad smile,

as if she knew about

the empty space

I felt in my identity.

 

“If this was an interview,”

she said as I signed where

the x’s were,

“I would hire you.”

 

 

 

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Grad school and relationships

have the same process.

 

You fall in love, even though

you said you wouldn’t

 

when he left you on the stairs

Monday morning,

not even an apology text after.

He didn’t want to give you

a chance,

even after he paid for dinner

and listened to your life story—

 

He pretended he didn’t know

your name.

you became a statistic,

a Facebook friend,

a paper tucked underneath

all the others.

 

You hear about someone

just outside of town.

He is looking for someone—

but you know it can’t be you.

 

No one thinks you have

the right credentials.

You should just find a job

and stay home.

 

You decide to send him a letter

anyways,

 

Almost don’t include the return address.

When rejection is guaranteed

it takes the edge of

the deep-rooted

devastation.

 

He calls you.

Your face buzzes,

a moment packed with

so much—

happy.

Drunk

on the phone’s heat

 

After the first date,

he moves in.

The talk of children—

you lose your appetite

for the left over pizza

in the fridge.

 

You are too tired to make love,

but he doesn’t understand.

he wants to see more of you,

 

He gives you a ring,

and you stay up

flipping through the

wedding magazines,

writing down vendors,

asking your friends what they think.

Their opinions

Their ideas,

Their feedback.

 

You don’t know how you feel

about anything.

 

You don’t remember what it’s like

to have nothing to do,

to have a moment where

you aren’t falling behind.

The date is rolling towards you

like a runaway wheelbarrow.

You don’t know if you should

try to stop it

or run away.

 

But in the middle of the night,

the moon is between

the tree branches

and nothing needs to happen

right now,

 

And you feel him next to you,

stuck in a dream,

But he is suddenly

the most real part

of you.

 

When he turns over in bed—back to you

and you are wide awake,

You trace his spine

with your fingers

and feel his warmth.

It isn’t until then

you realize

you have never loved anything

quite this much.

 

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Paperback lives are packed tight
in boxes,
wrapped up in bubble wrap and
protective foam.
When I pull out the packing tape
my brother says it sounds like
I am blowing my nose
over and over.

I tape the middle and
the sides of each box—
Not because taping the middle
isn’t enough;
more tape makes it feel more
final.
More real.

My art supplies are heavier
than my literature books
even though writing holds more
weight with me.
I didn’t feel right
leaving my paint behind
even if I would
never find the time
or space again.

I cleared off my walls
before I was ready for them to be
plain.
But I needed to face
the holes that the tacks left behind.

My cat rubs against my face
with the side
of her mouth,
and purrs into my cheeks.
She is entranced by the
boxes piling up, the loose plastic
tumbling with the fan’s breeze,
and the empty bookshelves—
The empty bookshelves.

She jumps.

She sees emptiness
as an opportunity
to explore.

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Free Hands

When I hear “the lighthouse was blown up,”
I think of enlarging a photograph—
Blow it up on the screen.
Not explosions,
Technology.

When there was a bomb threat
at my high school,
we had to bring clear plastic bags
to school
instead of backpacks.
Stand in line at the door—
We thought about the
inconvenience
of the plastic bag’s zipper.
Always breaking on the spirals
of notebooks.

And we had no free hands.

Every year my friends and I stand
at the island around
the lagoon in Boston
on the 4th.
If it wasn’t for the marathon bombing,
there would have been a
4th of July bombing.

Fireworks sound like guns, explosions,
Danger—
They can set off car alarms
from the vibration of the sound.
But our necks are stiff from fascination.
Colors crackle
on the sky (we imagine.)
It’s the illusion and the shapes
we can’t get enough of.

We fold up our chairs,
and smell the sulfur.
We are safe.

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3AM lights up my corner of the room,
and I blame the coffee I had
too late,
but I know it’s the buzz of my mind—
My obsession
about grad school,
the programs that I could fit
my soul into,
like clowns cramming into
their car.
I close my eyes and
“MFA” on Google’s search
flashes across my blank slate.
I see a wall of red,
like I looked into the sun.
And I feel unreachable.

I am searching for
a better writer inside
myself.
But I am afraid
of what I want the most—
to show you that I am
more than words.

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You are someone that I’ll miss fast,
before the door shuts.
You have always made me feel like
I have something to say.

You are the inside of a typewriter–
has to be open
for the ink to be changed.
But after,
tucked away and private–
cat-like and half loner.

Your drawers and pockets are filled
with conversation starters
and you collect abandoned hammers
on the side of the road
like they are lost people,
or pieces of yourself.

To me you are not someone who
rides a bike or writes or paints,
teaches, loves life.
The reality of you is not that
obvious.

Fingers, keys, and ink make a deal
to find meaning.
Even with all the noise and mistakes
and quirks
you never stopped.

So I will never
stop.

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