Once

I’ve heard sometimes

the only way out is through

when there are no safe places

but outside your head and

you wanna be brave

because you wanna be known

because you don’t wanna be scared

all the faces will never come off

 

Touch him

Tell him it’s not him

Name him

Silence wakes into a bass drum

slow and smooth and hard

he names you too

he touches you

transparent sets of hands

maybe that kind

reaches you finally-

dropping out with a voice this time

leave it up to me this time

 

let’s be beautiful once

 

a shared vacancy

is all I can ask for

and even then that’s not enough

 

is it

 

to keep away the sleep.

 

This is the damage you

have to swallow.

 

Weren’t we beautiful once

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ONCE

I’ve heard sometimes
the only way out is through
where there are no safe places
but outside your head and
you wanna be brave
because you wanna be known
because you don’t wanna be scared
that all the faces will never come off

Touch him
Tell him it’s not him
Name him
Silence wakes into a bass drum
slow and smooth and hard
He names you too
He touches you
Transparent sets of hands
maybe that kind
reaches you finally-
dropping out with a voice this time
leave it up to me this time

Let’s be beautiful once

a shared vacancy
is all I can ask for

and even then that’s not enough

Is it

to keep away the sleep

This is the damage you
have to swallow

Weren’t we beautiful once

Kinda Sounds Like Love

My notions of love-

I thought you had to do

something to get it,

borrow it and

give it back-swallow

it whole until

it finishes

and leaves you.

I named this hunger.

It sounds something kinda

like love;

I can see my reflection

in mirrors and rivers and

moving things–

for the first time.

I had to be my own

first witness

after and even during

the burning of becoming,

the burning of relaxing

my fists to palms,

giving away definitions

of self love.

Look at her

look at me

in the wings

and

on the stage,

giving away

old love notes

and hand grenades.

Something to Be Said

Before I began to heal,

I wasn’t angry–

no, I couldn’t touch that

because that required will

and a kind of passion

to move.

You gotta outsmart

your wounds

and that is where

I began burning.

Trauma doesn’t run

its course and

return you.

You don’t bloom from it.

You bloom in spite of it.

And there is something to be said about a body that keeps moving.

Healing

Before I began to heal,

I wasn’t angry

I couldn’t touch it

because that required will

and a kind of

passion to move.

You gotta outsmart

your wounds

and that’s where I started

burning.

Trauma doesn’t

run its course

and return you.

You don’t bloom from it.

You do inspite of it.

And there is something

to be said about a body

that keeps moving.

Are You Somewhere?

for Isaac

 

I’m sending
a homeless
man with a
shopping cart
poems about emptiness.

“Are you somewhere
warm?”

“On the outside.
I’m crying and you’re
sending me yellow faces.”

I am somewhere at odd hours
Listening to the furnace kick
And a coffee pot
gurgle and hiss.
Warm?
Isn’t that our difference-

I carry hope like a young
heart does heat.
And you dropped
yours in a gutter,  knowing better.

Drops

and it comes back down

to the same thing

every time I remember to look,

habit heavy in my chest,

searching for the left over words

of old familiar songs

but most things feel pretty foreign,

lovers and loves and friends long gone.

 

I’ll circle all around you,

give you what I got, that’s fine

but I let and let it’s suffocating

when I’m quiet all the time.

 

These bones feel like water.

I want that stone anchored in the sea.

I want to scoop it up and touch

its skin, my own burns

too much these days.

 

 

 

(artwork found on Pinterest…)

Let and Let and Let

 

It is just you. And a pulse. And breath.

 

-Jung said to be alone

to find what supports you

when you can no longer

support yourself

can give you an

indestructible foundation.-

 

Love doesn’t exist

when it cannot get in or out-

this much I know.

There are degrees of loss and a kind of

bottoming out

when you give too much

take from yourself too much

let too much

cowering from yet hovering over

your gutted pearl–your silence

a shell in the ocean

you try to fill. Read More

Apartment B around Back

Here’s a poem for Jody Kennedy’s photo for the Ekphrasis Challenge at Rattle :

(sharing with the Tuesday Platform at the fantastic and much missed by me Imaginary Garden with Real Toads poetry blog):

 

img_8011
Jody Kennedy Photography

Apartment B Around Back

 

 

On brighter blue Fall mornings

Agnes’s emptiness lays itself

out across the shitty sofa, inhales a Newport

with the bald sun coming in bloating the smoke

into still clouds striated by the blinds,

and tells her to go fuck herself.

There is laundry to do.

 

Always laundromats on stale, sexless mornings

leafless dead branches all thin and lonely

fencing in how small the world is

across the blue sky like gates;

always laundromats for these days-brown and shitty

7/11-salmon el Caminos parked on pale asphalt,

everything bleached out. The kind of day

where her emptiness usually gets up and

follows her in a stiff pea coat down the sidewalk

on the other side of the street, matching her steps,

never looking at her.
Agnes shifts out of her blue wool sweater

she scored at Vinny’s on the third of the month,

peels down the leggings with

the hole in the crotch

and can’t recall opening any condom hours before. Read More