Books · Conversations with Gravel

Conversations with Gravel

I’m really excited to announce my newest full-length collection of poetry, Conversations with Gravel, being released early in October 2018. This collection was 5 years in the making with poems based on love, heartbreak, and coping with loss. It’s 110-pages, perfect bound with cover and interior gorgeous art by Jennifer Takahashi. This book can be purchased on SadieGirlPress.com and soon at Made by Millworks in Long Beach. Preorder online with the discount code PresaleCWG.

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2010s · Poetry

Smiling At Strangers

This is where I stop biting my nails
This is where I kick off my shoes
This is where I wear a shorter skirt
This is where I put on all the jewelry

This is where I stop answering calls
or checking my email
or returning the texts

This is where I spend the money
and show up by myself
and leave way past my bedtime

This is where I stop holding back
or saying his name
or not smiling at strangers

This is where I get off the couch
and out of the deep end
and push my toes into the mud

First published in On the Grid Zine.

2010s · Poetry

Tracheotomy

I said it all. Slit a line down my throat and pried it open like a dissected frog. I bent over and shook my head upside down to dump all that shit out. I don’t have time for ulcers anymore so I cut a line through my esophagus, past my heart to my stomach. I used the sharpest knife I could find and scraped them out. Word after word corroding the stomach walls.   daddy, sick, penis, bedroom, underwear   My hands covered in black-tar memories. I scrape them all out.    father, protect, shhhhh, coarse hairs, vagina   I thrust the knife in deeper until I find the last of them.    child, baby, girl, dim light, daddy    I washed them all in the sink. I scrubbed, rinsed, and dried. Then set them in the full daylight sun. Some I kept, put them on the highest shelf. Others went one-by-one, slow and deliberate into a grinding disposal. The last of them rest safely between pages of poetry.

  First published in Then & Now: Conversations with Old Friends

2000s · Healing the Heart of Ophelia · Poetry

Throat

I remember more than I want to admit
More than I can say out loud.
So much of it has never passed
through my vocal chords.
I can recall a picture at will.
I went so far as to type it out.
I can hold the pages in hand,
but I am afraid to see them.
Afraid to hear them read aloud.
It remains in my stomach,
where I stuffed it.
Sometimes it surges up like vomit
and I catch it in my throat.
It’s like a rope pulled tighter.
My pain sits and I can not speak.
I am voiceless.
I find other things to talk about.
It settles back down.
I move on.
I have ulcers.

First published in Healing the Heart of Ophelia (2001).

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

What I Mean When I Say Ageless

When we met for the first time—
not as friends—the first time as possibility,
you were aging in reverse past twenty years,
some fresh-faced boy fumbling for admiration.
You brushed my arm. Shoulders press and retreat.
I secretly hoped we’d never find our way home.

But your father face returned—I met this man
many months before. We were friends
but so much older. Eyes heavy with marriage
and house and family and work responsibility.

When we met again for the first time—
past possibility, in the space of immediate now
where time is irrelevant and skin speaks
all our words, your face became child.
When I counted the spokes in your irises,
I looked down at the escaping years
dissolving through your teeth.

Let’s be children in some night parking lot
without the weight of older lives.
We’ll climb into ours beds as all time—
as delinquency—as heavy sage—
as eager limbs—as singing rosies round
and round, spinning into the music.

First published in Four Seasons Anthology.

2010s · Poetry

Some Haphazard Line Tied onto a Kitchen Table

Be here. Be centered. Be a girl on the verge of everything.
Be the wrong kind of naive. Be the wrong kind of experienced.
Be nestled in pine bench seats. Be as bright as fluorescent bulbs.
Be a mother cooking spaghetti. Be ducks in blue flower tiles.
Be a wall telephone, spiral cord stretched for miles. Be a
pimpled-faced teen. Be a former homeless child sleeping
in her own room. Be dancing on clean white sparkled
linoleum. Be a shy step-daughter. Be a visiting sister
towing another man behind. Be glass tabletop,
chipped edges for all night D&D. Be a pile of
endless dishes. Be cooking sherry snuck by
seventeen-year olds. Be cartoons. Be drawn
on the refrigerator door. Be gaping windows.
Be a kind of glue. Be her best memories.

First published in Like a Girl: Perspectives on Feminine Identity.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

How Quiet Kills

I speak you to the wind
and she carries the notes
of your name to the sky
I stand, hands empty
waiting for god
to speak you
back into my chest
but there is only
white
noise
blurred whispers
of everything
layer upon layer
of sound traffic
I speak again but find
no voice, no music
just cold
hands
open

First published in Spectrum: An Anthology of Southern California Poets.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

If Poetry Is Parked Car

My heart is bottom-pink
and raw, not knowing
how many beats to give
beats to exhale

All words crowd into the soft
spaces, roof of my mouth
cutting inside cheeks
rolling off lips

All quiets are questions
my voice too loud
my hands too clumsy

How do I protect you
when I’ve just been born?
When my spit edges
in the corners of your drink?

I’m dumb, backseat fumbling
legs over knees
arms over shoulders

If my skin in moonlight
is softest, how do your hands
melt into my scars?

First Published in Carnival Lit.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Good Friday Morning

You, cocked smile
and smirking eye
come down into my open
waiting like a teenaged sunbather
happy to risk the burn

You shadow me warm
with sentinel arms
my hands will not
rebel against you
both of us clinging
to this fragile ease

Tomorrow you return
to the gnawing thirst
lock me outside while
you fight those demons
eating at your skin

I return to the fullness
of poetry and fire-fed dreams
empty of your shadows
empty of skin-fueled
present tense

First published in Carnival Lit.