2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Once we were angry youth…

Once we were angry youth
shaved heads and colored hair
When I saw you were tragic
I adhered to you
So many secrets to keep
so much truth to grasp
We made honest promises
and everything we felt
it was sacred
Velvet capes and monkey boots
it was The Cure and L.S.U.
Music sang so many things
we knew them all by heart
We sat against the stereo
volume up high
as if to absorb it
inhale its passion
the truth of it all
was in guitar strings
and piano keys
I was anchored to you
in the hurricane of our youth
We outlasted the storm
and the years became memories
and miles grew between us
You and I got regular haircuts
and wore practical shoes
Always and always
I swore to keep us tied
I’d be that solid girl
who cleaned up after
those natural disasters
But the tides have changed
and it’s you who set sail
you pulled up the anchor
and I am untethered
The current and our priorities
the list of things we hold as true
are no longer matched
Faithful wife of twenty years
I am still living alone
Mother of teenagers
I am the mother of none
Woman of the God
I no longer believe in
I know it was only loyalty
that tied us still
You hardly listen to music
and the song in my heart
is the saddest melody
I release you-though you’ve been gone
We are no longer angry youth
Will you return on another tide
Will time rise and fall
like the ocean waves
Will the anchors never sink
in the same deep waters
I am drifting out far
I know I can swim
But you were the only one
who knew the beginning and the end
long letters in pen and phone calls
salsa and bookstores at midnight
long drives to nowhere for the sake
of the songs on the stereo
and the promises and the secrets
we have none left to keep

3-3-13
Originally appeared on Jackie & Tanya’s Friendship Blog, 3-14-13

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Music

100+ Favorite Albums

I could and will add to this list as I go. This is not in order because that would be impossible to do.
1. Keith Green: Gold and Silver Albums (started my obsession with piano players)
2. The Cure: Staring At The Sea (beginning of the life long love affair)
3. Psychedelic Furs: All of This and Nothing
4. The Alarm: Strength
5. The 77’s: All Fall Down
6. Beck: One Foot in the Grave
7. Billie Holiday: Greatest Hits
8. The Sugar Cubes: Life’s Too Good
9. Buffalo Tom: Let Me Come Over
10. Toad the Wet Sprocket: Pale (emo has got nothing compared to this)
11. Carole King: Tapestry (damn feel good stuff)
12. Cat Stevens: Tea For the Tillerman
13. Bright Eyes: I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (new obsession)
14. Adam Again: Dig
15. Lifesavers Underground: This Is The Healing
16. XYMOX: Twist of Shadows
17. The Clash: The Clash
18. Scattered Few: Sin Disease (important for so many reasons)
19. Counting Crows: August & Everything After
20. Cranberries: No Need to Argue
21. Lost Dogs: Scenic Routes
22. The Cure: Head on The Door
23. David Bowie: Changes
24. Jawbreaker: Bivouac
25. The Decemberists: Her Majesty the Decemberists
26. Depeche Mode: Black Celebration
27. Ocean Blue: Ocean Blue
28. Mighty Lemon Drops: World Without End
29. The Crucified: The Crucified
30. Credence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (good moving music)
31. Beatles: White Album and Abbey Road
32. Dinosaur Jr.: Bug
33. Dramarama: Stuck In Wonderamaland
34. Echo & the Bunnymen: Ballyhoo (sexiest voice ever)
35. Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Best of…
36. Erasure: Pop!
37. Fiona Apple: When the Pawn Hits… (grrrl power)
38. A Flock of Seagulls: Best of…
39. Gene Loves Jezebel: Discover (guilty pleasure)
40. Oingo Boingo: Best ‘O Boingo
41. Pearl Jam: Vs.
42. Innocence Mission: Innocence Mission
43. The Cure: Wish
44. George Winston: December (only piano)
45. Indigo Girls: Indigo Girls (poets)
46. J. Mascis: Martin & Me
47. Yaz: Upstairs At Eric’s (great dance songs)
48. XTC: Waxworks
49. Jesus & Mary Chain: Automatic
50. Marvin Gaye: Anthology (seriously)
51. Moby: Animal Rights
52. Jewel: Pieces of You
53. Joe Jackson: Greatest Hits
54. Weezer: Pinkerton
55. The Replacements: Tim
56. Simon & Garfunkel: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
57. Red House Painters: Rollercoaster (sigh…)
58. Joy Division: Substance
59. New Order: Substance
60. No Laughing Matter: Monstor (for Bef)
61. Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark: Best of…
62. Natalie Merchant: Ophelia
63. Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes
64. U2: Unforgettable Fire (thanks to my sister)
65. Van Morrison: Bang Masters
66. Operation Ivy: Energy (hell yeah!)
67. Peter Gabriel: So
68. Postal Service: Give Up
69. Songs:Ohia: Magnolia Electric Co.
70. Mark Kozelek: White Christmas Live
71. The Smiths: Strangeways, Here We Come
72. Morrissey: Viva Hate
73. Pedro the Lion: It’s Hard to Find a Friend
74. Rilo Kiley: The Execution of All Things
75. Pet Shop Boys: Discography
76. Wedding Present: Tommy (you should know them)
77. The Pretenders: The Pretenders
78. The Cure: Disintegration
79. They Might Be Giants: Flood
80. Soft Cell: Say Hello To Soft Cell (happy music)
81. Randy Stonehill: Welcome To Paradise
82. R.E.M.: Eponymous
83. Public Image Ltd.: Greatest Hits, So Far
84. The Smithereens: Blown to Smithereens
85. Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking
86. Harry Nilsson: The Point
87. Ayssandra Nighswonger (and all her incarnations)
88. Lost in the Trees: All Alone In An Empty House (obsessed)
89. Bat For Lashes: Fur and Gold
90. Bauhaus: Swing the Heartache
91. Beastie Boys: (various stuff)
92. Joy Division: Permanent (remixes in the right way)
93. Thursday: Full Collapse
94. The Frames: The Cost (damn good)
95. Mountain Goats: The Coroner’s Gambit
96. Sun Kil Moon: Ghosts of the Great Highway
97. The Specials: Singles Collection (don’t care if “singles/best of” is cheating)
98. Spandau Ballet: Singles Collection
99. Damien Jurado: Maraqopa
100. The Editors: An End Has A Start
101. First Aid Kit: Big Black and the Blue (perfection)
102. Sade: Best of…
103. Moldy Peaches: The Moldy Peaches
104. Swell Season: Strict Joy
105. Group Love: Never Trust A Happy Song (so pop, but addicting)
106. Placebo: Black Market Music
107. New Order: Brotherhood
108. The National: Alligator
109. Lucero: That Much Further West (The Pogues of The South)
110. Lost in the Trees: Time Taunts Me (must have)
111. Arcade Fire: Arcade Fire
112. First Aid Kit: Lion’s Roar (yes)
113. Kimya Dawson: Remember That I Love You
114. Dead Man’s Bones: Dead Man’s Bones (right on so many levels)

2000s · Poetry · Unanchored

Disconnected

There will be no funeral.
No ritual ceremony to close this story.
I loved you. I did.
I swear it over sacred things.
It’s dying. Suffocated and left to starve.
This precious fragile entity is a waif of a memory.
It waits to leave this life,
Hardly holding breath.
I used to feed her. Bring her fruits.
Bring her grains and sustenance.
There will be no funeral.
No condolences. No sympathetic cards.
We will die quietly. You will not visit.
You will not see this as a God sent gift.
You will hold to principles and assumptions.
You will allow time to consume us.
Time will erode what we fail to nourish.
It will die of suffocation.
I am suffocating. I am wilting.
You will walk on by. You will go.
To your priorities. To your well planned life.
I weep and mourn for death.
There will be no funeral.
You pruned this off your burden.
This will not be certified. Just gone.
I don’t know what your love means.

5-29-05
Originally published in We All Bleed the Same, 10-3-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

How He Is Not My Child

I didn’t stay up at the hospital until three a.m. waiting for the
doctors to assess the situation. I didn’t have to be the one to
sign papers for the insurance company, for permission to treat,
for release of legal responsibility. I didn’t have to field the
calls, protect him from his mother, sit next to him for hours
under the cold florescent lights of anger. I did not bare the
weight of pen on paper to surrender my flesh and blood to the
intervention of complete strangers. I am not the parent
deciding always how much to force him to wake up early, get
up out of bed, and live his life, or how much to let him sleep,
let him fail classes, let him learn from his own mistakes like a
boy on the verge of adulthood. I didn’t watch the labor of
sixteen years calling out from rooftops for men in uniforms to
pull him down, dress his wounds, search for more weapons.

8-10-13
Originally published on Cadence Collective, 10-15-13

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

Lies To Tell My Body

My bones are steel-heavy
as I walk the days with it
Pores on my skin ache
weighted by an iron-core earth
pulling me towards her
Down, she says, lay with me

My eyes can’t see clear
turn skull-bound, sinking
pregnant with memory
The fibers in my muscles
weep at their loss of it
motion, forward, direction

The nuclei in my cells
pull and push against-toward
refusing to agree with you
Everyday, they keep forgetting
why I can’t just dial the number
or drive 23 miles northwest

My arms know the exit-curves
(like the length of your limbs)
my feet know how many steps
(like the edge of your sheets)
I don’t need my eyes to guide me
my hands, they know what else

But my heart knows to stay
in my honey-thick atmosphere
Lock the windows and doors
breath it in, long breaths
circulating it, the new oxygen
Lie to my body, if need be until
I don’t need to remember why

7-2-13
Originally published in Napalm and Novocain, 9-12-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Brown Eyed Boy (But Not a Boy)

You strode in with shoulders
of a man so much taller,
your eyes held back with the tilt
of your head and chin up.

I tried to see you coming from behind
but I was looking for the wrong boy.
There was this guy—not a boy—not a man
but same brown eyes, same brown curls
(and growing). It was you, undeniably.
Your brows were long and circles
under your eyes were set hard.

I know that posture so well,
I’ve seen it my mirrors past
and in my angry generation.
But you—not you—not your brown eyes,
I have your face memorized like song,
I have loved every inch of it.

I hoped you’d never be familiar
with clenching fists, scraping skin,
bracing the beat of your heart
to stop it from hemorrhaging,
it will callus thick like cartilage.
Grit your teeth and stare them down
without flinching and unbolt the windows.

I have only seen you as a child,
my hand-holding boy in the back seat.
But here you sit, defiant smile,
refusing to play nice—I’m listening.
You now at sixteen, elbows out
tired of rolling with the tide.

You see none that qualifies, all their
smoke and mirrors don’t fool us now.
We are all playing the part of the wizard,
but you’re far too old for fairy tales.
I want to sing you to sleep, but you
are not six, you need more than lullabies.

You mapped the exits, found the weak hinges
(eventually, you’ll see them everywhere).
I can’t offer you shit, except how I get it,
I’ll stop holding you to that promise
that you will invent that shrink-ray
and keep yourself a child for me.

5-5-13
Originally published on Cadence Collective, 9-29-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Ramble

it didn’t come today

all my thoughts are disconnected

how loud my cat is purring

I didn’t sleep well

I had a crappy day

I miss all my friends

for a hundred different reasons

how unclear my future is

how teaching can be exhausting

I have too much love inside

but I won’t give it easy

there are too many tightropes

of going too far

of not going far enough

how I know what I need to do

but can’t for the life of me

be the one who does it

I’m always questioning

my honesty

when should I fight

when should I let it all go

I can’t stop biting my nails

I can’t find a home

in someone else’s heart

we are all compartmentalized

like a bento box

all on the same plate

but always on separate sides

I pulled all my anchors

or cut them or dragged them

either way I’m drifting

even though I own my house

and I have a steady job

I’m so damn independent

I want some more dependence

or a place to rest my head

and hear a heartbeat

that knows what I know

that will anchor me

and I can be home.

4-12-13

Originally published in Pyrokinection, 9-16-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Viscosity

Viscosity is the
resistance of fluid to
eventual deformation by

shear or tensile stress.
Viscosity is due to
friction of opposing

parcels of fluid at
varied velocities.
Pressure is needed to

overcome the friction between
the layers and keep the
fluid moving.

Viscosity depends on
the size, shape, and
attraction between

particles. For example,
honey has a higher
viscosity than water.

A fluid with no
resistance to stress is
known as ideal or

inviscid fluid. This
explains so much about
my life. Am I honey or

am I inviscid?

4-30-13
Originally published in Pyrokinection, 9-14-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Pack Animals

Groups of teenage
boys laughing
like hyenas
still make me
grit my teeth and
tighten my grip
as the twelve
year old me
crosses her arms
across her chest,
pushes her eyes
down like a
criminal when
my only crime
was passing them
on the sidewalk.
Boys in packs
are hunters, not
friends and a twelve
year old girl can’t
fight back, so she
learns to walk fast
and smile like an
apology but not
like an offering.

4-17-13
Originally published in Atticus Review, 7-16-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Song Writer

It so often
starts with music
plucking my heart
strings like a harp

that emotional swell
up like a tide
like a current I can’t fight
or don’t want to

I just lay back
and surrender, float
along the story sung
by the conductor of my

waiting breath, because
it sinks so much deeper
from the top of my throat
through my inner workings

to my lower central
nervous system, down
to the extent of my toes
and back up my thighs

sound is a gift and song-
sung by voice or guitar
violin or piano keys
I devour it all like a greedy

beast, licking its plate
I have never been
satisfied once, so I
became a poet to sing

in the voice God
gave to all poets, song-
writers without notes
without melody, yes

rhythm still, but music
words-not voice-still
breathe on the page and
inhale deep before the next

line. I am singing.

4-15-13
Originally published in Cadence Collective, 8-12-13