2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry · Unanchored

Unknown Employee

I saw a girl at Target, she was
me at twenty-one years old.
She had my blond hair and

simple black-lined eyes,
a red vest and black band
shirt from Joy Division’s

Unknown Pleasures.
Iconic jagged white
mountain lines I once

plastered to my purse.
The image is a badge, I know
immediately, she is cool

in the way I was cool
working at Target at twenty-one.
I want to tell her we got

bigger plans, even if you can’t
see it now, and that boy,
who torments your soul,

is just passing by. I want
to tell her we end up alright,
and all that confusion might

not get clear, but it settles.
And all that sadness, the
endless sadness fades away,

but I give her a slight grin
and muster, “I like your shirt.”
I don’t know how else to say it,

so I pay and leave for home.

4-9-13
Originally published in East Jasmine Review, 8-1-13

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2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

Present Affirmations

I am almost ready
to be over this
I am almost ready
to see you clear
that you were never really
good enough for me
I am almost ready
to pick up the pieces
I set aside
connect those dots
to pull the curtains open
to rip off the bed sheets
flip all the light switches
call you on your bullshit
see you small
and entirely pathetic
this lost puppy
is finding a new home
so you can keep that
old bitch who returned
I will not be laying
outside your door
I am almost ready
to tell you I’m too busy
I don’t have time for
this fucked up game
and I’m tossing out
all the possible scenarios
of your apology
of your seduction
of your returning
I’m done with it
I’m almost ready
I am.

3-17-13
Originally published in Napalm and Novocain, 9-12-13

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

I Buried You

I buried you
When you left
It was supposed to be for good
I dug your grave
I mourned you for two years
Your death was crushing
But I had your funeral
I said my goodbyes
And I moved on
Fourteen years passed
Scars healed
Memories faded
It was final
Or so I thought until the mail came
Your name on the envelope
It gripped my breath
To see your grave broken
You were shiny at my door
All flesh and bone
Not decayed
You watered the dust
And grew
Flowers of apologies and regret
Dead hopes, dead dreams
All singing sun bright
Who wouldn’t be sprung
Who wouldn’t feel
Miraculous intervention
And long for faith
In redemption
In divinity
I buried you
I dug your grave
You were never supposed
To rise again
You were never supposed
To be here
At my door

2-5-12
Originally published at The Camel Saloon, 9-19-13

2000s · Poetry · Unanchored

Earth Colored Hair

You were there in my dream
An angel with earth colored hair
Limbs like rushing rivers
As dark and wild as a forest full of fairies
You were tied up like a fault line
Aching to tremor
To crush the stone walls of your mother
Built like dungeons above the ground
You were an aftershock before the fact
Ancient earth rising
Tearing land from history
Your feet tangled deep
In the roots of your mother
She could no longer bear your enormity
An angel bent on destruction
Destroy the landscape
Destroy your inheritance
You fractured through your tragedy
Like a summoned winter avalanche
I had no sanctuary
From your earthen massacre
I waited to be consumed
By branch and bone and soil
But I woke from my dream
With saddened breath
You, an angel with earth colored hair

4-4-02
Originally published in Chaparral, Summer 2013

1990s · Healing the Heart of Ophelia · Poetry · Unanchored

Last and Final Poem to N.L.

I loved you
I admit it two years
Since we last spoke
Your potato chip voice
And bony hands
The way you grouped your fingers
At your mouth
And your big off-center teeth
I loved the way you got into your car
Like a grown up with limbs too long
The way you walked into the grocery store
As awkward as a Muppet’s legs
You and your rail thin body
And old man’s clothes
I loved your shoes
The blue One Stars
And green Vans
I loved the way you couldn’t look me in the eye
The way you never took your hat off in three years
And wore glassed on your tiny head
We were children in our grown up bodies
So we went to parks at midnight
And climbed fences in schoolyards
I loved that you still skated at twenty-two
That you liked stickers and sugary Kool-Aid
I loved that you cut my hair
And painted pictures
I only saw once
That you watched G-Force
And lent me taped episodes
Even more, I loved your music
The ones you loved
You gave me Dinosaur Jr.
And the Wedding Present
You read James Joyce and
Introduced me to Holden Caulfield
(Your secret alias)
Your random letters
And indirect thoughts
I overlooked your snobbery
Your cruel remarks
I hoped to be as good as I saw you
Exclusive and without remorse
I loved the way you resisted me
I loved that you spoke to me for hours
On the telephone
I loved you then
For leaving me without apology
For digging this pit in my heart
For watching with me
The train pass deafening loud
And fingers clenched on the chain fence
You said it made you feel empty
I loved you for those words
For hating my poetry
And ridiculing my insecurities
I loved you
I know you did not understand
You thought me unimaginative
I thought you good and hateful and real
I loved you for the tiny things
Like smelly car fresheners
And emails about diluting ice
But you gave the most unkind cut
Words of detest and spite
You, who loved cartoons and butter tortillas
You did not love me
You repulsed at my weakness
Without remorse or hesitation
You broke clean of me
And I was left with your letters
And musical taste
Left with the emptiness of passing trains
Bootleg copies of foreign films
A heart gouged and affected
Left with these descriptive words
And useless opinions
This is to be your last poem
The last time I love you this way
The last of you haunting me
The last conclusion in these memories
But you knew then what my honesty was
A moment’s passing thought
You thought my sentiment cheap
I know now, you were so wrong

8-25-99
Originally published in The Long Beach Union (CSULB), 3-20-00
Also appeared in Healing the Heart of Ophelia, 2001