2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Rejoice in My Anger and My Apathy

Tiny creatures are living in my stomach
They are living off the lining, gnawing holes
They returned or were dormant for years
They remind me that I’ve held back too long
That I need to let more of it go
Pack that box, donate to charity
They burrow deep, clenching tight
They love my body in ways I never will
They are singing choruses in unison
They know my diet, my lack of vegetables
They know how many times I’ve cried
When coffee cannot cure the ache
They love that, it feeds them
When I hold it in, when I stay awake
They rejoice in my anger and my apathy
They love not when I love and laugh
It dissolves them, it starves them
I do battle with them every single day
I count in to breathe and slow release
I lay my hands and rebuke them
I pray to their gods for forgiveness
Soon they must migrate or move on

Originally published in Carnival: Black, White, and Coffee.

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2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

Sharon as Segue

We had a talk after our first real date
I used Sharon Olds’s Gold Cell as segue
poems of damage and fracture
told like a spy from war.
I needed you to know
enough to understand
enough to get why.
Before I shed my clothes
I had to untie those secrets
to lay them out across our laps.
Feet up on the coffee table
I had to look away as I always do
and tell you
how damaged I was
how broken my heart had been
before I ever saw it coming.
How it wouldn’t be personal
how it wouldn’t be about you
how I carried this weight all my life
how I didn’t know if I could rest it.
You sat stone quiet
arm across my shoulders
you kissed my hair
locking your knees under mine.

Originally published in Carnival: Black, White, and Coffee and also part of All the Tiny Anchors.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

The Silence of Trains

“You fall in love
with someone who knows
the same silence as you”
Daniel McGinn

I fell in love with the man
who knew the same silence—
the silence of trains up close
in roaring motion, the strength
is deafening, a lulling voice
Its constancy feels like comfort

I loved the man who knew
the silence of city lights
from hill tops at midnight
The stars blushing down
at Los Angeles sprawled out
limbs open wide

The silence of public spaces
after dark, after closing,
after all other souls
are empty from it

I fell in love with the man
whose tongue filled
with paper and sand,
whose throat I saw dancing,
telling secrets, whose hands—
those hands said things
out loud for the first time

I’d been listening for years
Hear it? The silence, it swallows me

Originally appeared on Cadence Collective.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings · Unanchored

Summer Drunk

Another track from my recording, Anchors, available on Soundcloud.

Summer Drunk

It’s the heat, it reeks of his smell
reminds me of the place under his collar
and edges of his long sleeves.

How the air was too thick for sleeping
how I was constantly intoxicated
with the hum of his voice.

I lay in the green sun reading
his books, breathing his fingerprints
heart beats between text replies

The blue sky kissed my shoulders
and thighs, grass ceilings always
bracing my body from ascension.

How I existed in the space
before you with me and without was
sleepwalking and summer drunk.

The heat hung like a red cloud
on my back and on my heels.
Here, the earth comes back

to this place around the sun
to break my sobriety
again and again.

Originally published in Lummox II: Place Anthology

1990s · Poetry · Things Mean A Lot At The Time · Unanchored

Excuses

I just called to tell you
Sue’s transferring soon
To tell you she’ll be gone
I just called because I was hoping
You’d want me to come over
I just called to tell you
I made you a tape of songs
Because I don’t like you
And I am so moving on
I just called because
There is a movie I thought you’d like
It’s playing Friday night
“Sick and Twisted”- just your type
If you’re not busy, of course
I just called to tell you
I got better things to do
Because my hormones are going crazy
And my body is this mass of sweaty tension
I just called because I’m still alone
My best friend’s still not speaking to me
And I don’t know why
I just called because
You make me forget myself
Your one-sided conversations consume
the air so I no longer have to breath
I just called to tell you
I hate this war
I think we’re wrong
To tell you about the irony
I saw on the internet
“Make a pact against violence”
As we drop bombs on Kosovo
No double standard there
I just called to tell you
How drunk I wish I was
I watched Futurama again
Did you laugh at all the things
I imagine you’d be laughing at?
I just called- I know what you must think
Desperate girl- I must confess-
I was wrong about you & I being so right
I know you cannot be all the things I need
And that’s okay
I just called because I think
This friend thing is a joke
To tell you I don’t want you
Don’t want to touch your hands
Or your arms or your neck
I don’t want to kiss a man with facial hair
To feel your tongue behind those teeth- I don’t
I just called to say hi or hello
Or whatever excuse we use
To tell you about this new band
I heard his voice- makes me horny
To tell you I lied about how much I like yours
It’s only an eight-eight and a half at best
I just called because I was hoping
We’d really stay friends
And the time you need is finite
Enough to hang around for
To tell you how I prefer my space
Much better than change
Or laughing all the time or fucking
I prefer not to share or take any unnecessary risks
On a guy who can’t ever be serious
Or passionate or vulnerable
I just called to tell you
The checks in the mail
And how I wish I lived in New York
Where people run into people on the street
But we stay in out cars and shop
In grocery stores the size of malls
I just called to ask if you were bored
And wanted some company
I hate your answering machine

5-11-99
Originally published in Things Mean A Lot at the Time, 1999
Also appeared in Eunoia Review, 11-2-13

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

Hostage

At work he says to me, “How are you?
The last time we saw you, you ran out on
dinner. We all wondered where you went,
so we held your mom hostage.” He jokes,
all smiling up a storm like I’d have an
explanation for him like I forgot my oven
was on or left my wallet at home. But
I know I’ve seen him since that night
at a work meeting somewhere. That was
almost exactly five months ago and
I don’t bring those memories to work
with me. I don’t put the train-wreck
feeling on the player at school while
I got my authoritative hands on my hips.
So I change the subject. He doesn’t
know what an ass he’s being. Sometimes
they just don’t know.

4-19-13
Originally published in Eunoia Review, 11-4-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Night Birds

At night, late past
twelve, I hear them.

Loud chirping birds
clear like night sounds

unmuddied by day
droning. They are

unapologetic. Sharp-
shouting, “I am heard!”

No contest for their
platform, no shove-

pushing, first-in-line
claim-staking. They

are joyous bastards.

4-5-13
Originally published in Eunoia Review, 11-3-13

2000s · Healing the Heart of Ophelia · Poetry · Unanchored

Pale Yellow

This is the one, I decide
The one I will speak to
I must be four years old
stamp says “Aug 78”
I am squatting low in a pool
of dirty water near dark green masses
maybe algae or fungi or moss
it’s all gross to me now
the background is thick brush
low hanging wall of green leaves
I am smiling
swishing the inches of water
below me- I am in the shade
lucky me
blonde haired child- little girl
nothing on, save pale yellow shorts
my knees pressing on my bare chest
flat thighs and calves
the kind of smile is
one I had on before the camera
centered my image
I was pleased to be there
fingers on the surface of
the unclean water
my rear hanging above the sandy bottom

It’s not going to happen now. I refuse to take
her from this moment. I will not speak to this
one. She is perfect and unsuspecting. She
trusts me as I am looking down at her from
my living room couch. She believes I will allow her
to stay there out of the August heat. With her pale
yellow hair past her shoulders, she has no cavities.
She has not yet lost her baby teeth. She is free in
the stream bed alone in nineteen seventy-eight. I
am not going to be the one to take her away from
her perfect moment in the shade out of summer
heat.

7-29-00
Originally published in Healing the Heart of Ophelia, 2001
Also appeared in poeticdiversity, 11-1-13

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