Monday, September 4, 2017

Luke

I stayed home
To keep myself from crying
For a man
I'd only known as a boy
With dancing eyes
And a face that smiled
Without stimulus.

I stayed home
To keep myself from seeing
His mother
A woman of faith and music
Laughter and compassion
Suddenly gray and sullen
Mired and muted
Leaden.

I stayed home
Was not in the line
Blocks long
And hours deep
I had already made that walk
To badly comfort a mother
Who suddenly had one fewer son
Than that with which she had started the week.

I stayed home
Because I was depleted
And tired of death.

I was tired
And could do nothing.

I stayed home.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Queen/Church

I met a boy the other day
he had your son's name
and was turning ten
as your son would have
should have
could have
but for bullets.

And I have thought about you
ever since that day
and I wonder
if I really did pass you in traffic
miss you by seconds
at the coffee shop.
Do you even still come here?
Or it is too painful now?

Do you know I wrote you?
Does it matter?
I should resign myself
just admit that I won't see you again
but for pictures
a lifetime of close calls
and missed connections.
It's what so many of us have to do now.

Isn't it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Wheel

I've never been entirely sure
why certain things bother me more than others
on certain days
when the air is just right
and the sun comes in the window
and paints shadows on the floor,
why lonely is so easy to know
but impossible to describe
or understand
and escape.

I can't explain why
her face is still so present in my mind
as if she was ever more than an acquaintance
a friend
a co-worker for a summer
then off doing whatever she was doing
that widened the divide
between us
and I sound like a school girl
with a crush
and that's not what this is
not at all
and no, I'm not trying to convince myself
because I have long since learned the difference
between infatuation and admiration
admiration and love
one can lead to another
and another
but the same thing, they are not.

I just wanted ...

I can't really know for sure.

But not what you're thinking.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gravitas

17 years
and 1 day ago,
it was warm that day,
and then breeze was cool
it pushed us forward
guided us on
to the place
most of us had never been
and I have only seen once since,
up the hill
where the grass was lush and green
and my toes slid forward in my shoes
pinched together,
and the skirt my mother picked for me
made me look 16
and 60
simultaneously
and I stood with the others
red-nosed, puffy eyed
strangers
Uncle so and so
Aunt what's her name
Vicky, the bitch
and we waited for him to stop speaking
his words barely registering
white, holy noise.
Then he was silent
and we were silent
and all was silent except for the birds.
And we left you there.

Natasha

She lives there
with everyone else
too close to touch
the girl who's name means
Christmas,
who's husband conquered Kings,
and she lives there,
in the story
rewritten, and edited for time
and content
and conceivability.
She lives there,
where I cannot reach her,
and her blonde hair
is always perfect
and hides the scar
she never got
in the better version-
the lie
where she lives there,
and not there,
with everyone else
too close to touch.
My head is full of them
and her.
She lives there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

99

it simply isn't possible
for me
to be two places at once
so when I sit quietly
waiting for the minutes to pass
so I can go home
where I will fix work problems
before I head to work
where I will fix home problems

problems are not convenient.

problems come with friends
and wreck the furniture
tell you they'll only be here a day
maybe two
and a week later
they won't pick up
the less than subtle clues
that they are no longer welcome
were never really welcome
but you let them in
because you're a decent fucking person
and that's what decent fucking people
fucking do

fuck.

problems can be fixed.

problems refuse fixing without a fight
I've never had a problem
I could fix in a minute
anything you can fix in a minute
isn't a problem
it's a task.

tasks are easy.

problems are cunty bitches.

fuck them.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

21

because I can't

it's too much to admit
to know
to understand

that it might have been forced
and not just a mutually really bad idea
after a really bad day

it may have been something
actually horrible
not laughable
as I made it

and does that count?
Is going with the flow
because it doesn't occur to you to stand against it
make it rape?

and I wonder how long i will debate with myself
if I told him I didn't want to
but then didn't enforce it
and convinced myself to enjoy the brief moment
before the self-loathing boiled in my throat
then could I really complain?
Did he really do anything wrong?
And could it have just been
the ingrained shame
from too many years
of denying the truth
that after a while,
the slightest touch from a male
was enough to make me gag
my skin itch
and sting.

Because I can't
claim that pain as my own
claim that experience
admit
join the ranks
proudly calling themselves survivors
until they go home
to not sleep
again.

that's not my fight
not my life
not my history.

I don't think.

It can't  be.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Systemic

It is not lost on me.

The privilege
To be born
middle class
destined for an education
I learned to read
and write
and think.

That privilege is not lost on me.

That I am one of the lucky many
born white
in a country that denies
it ever had a problem.
Never had a problem.
"It's not a problem"
is a problem.

Lucky.
One of the many.
Lucky that I went to college.
Made it through the long nights
the seminars
the lectures
the awful food.
Made it through the fear of failure
and came out the other side
smarter,
wiser,
un-raped.
That I know what happened to me
was not assault.
misguided
and mutual
and regrettable
but not assault.

That luck is not lost on me.

I should not be so lucky.

It should not be luck
that determines how
and if we survive.

It should not be lucky
White
Safe
Surviving.

It should not be luck.

That it is, is not lost on me.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

that's it?

i'm sorry.
i just don't have it in me
to be happy for you.

L

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

a wash

Today
the day I woke up tired
and fell back asleep to the sound of your hair dryer
and the tortoise-shell cat
the attention-whore
who chirped
and hopped onto my bedside table
to dip her head into my water glass
and i watched her
half-asleep
eyes half open
too tired to give a shit
that she licks her ass with that tongue
and you shooed her away
because the thought of kissing me
after I took a swig of that
was too much for you to bear
or you were just protecting me
from some ridiculous disease
that people die of
in their kitchens
before their cats finally eat their faces
and you brought me fresh water
but I didn't drink it
because it wasn't coffee
and I wasn't awake
when I kissed you good morning
and goodbye, have a good day
I love you
I'm not sure if the water was still fresh
when I finally drank it
I didn't think about it
until the glass was half-empty
or half-full
and then it was too late
and now it's nearly time
for the long drive home
to sit with you
and talk about all the things
that made today
a triumph
and a failure
and just another day
until you fall asleep on the couch
just as your book is getting good
and we'll crawl into bed
to do it all again tomorrow
because it's all there is
and it's good enough for now.