Mar 09

17

At 17 years old,

We danced the night away to an electronic beat surrounded
By a swirl of adolescent bodies,

Spun on our heels, floated away on a melody.

Teenage bodies move like the wind, soar higher than the clouds,
And have so far to fall.

When he came for 17 of their bodies,

Emptied his magazine into their swirling vortex,
I imagine I heard them fall like the branches of an aged

Maple deep in the forest, felt their ancient stone

Crumble; they’ve been here before,
We have been here before, our bodies loose currency

Jingling in pockets of those who should protect us, bleached bone

Trading cards scattered across legislative floors;
Maybe I’m tired of writing about this perverse dance,

Tired of treading on this floor, taking care not to soak

My shoes in their blood, collecting their scattered teeth, a roadmap
Feb 15

I Am The One

I am the one you picked apart in grade school because my skin held too much sunshine,
my name twisting around your tongue until you chopped it off at the ends, slashed

at it until it fell in with the the others, slipped on denim and pink converse, toed the line
that you drew on the playground, what are you, where

are you from, no where are you really from, awkward silence filled with the hum of cultural
dissonance, we champion diversity until it sits next to us in fifth grade Spanish class,

tries to join our lunch table, is too hairy, too loud, doesn’t check the right minority boxes,
in third grade I drew a self-portrait with the lightest crayon in the box as if I could repurpose

my skin, draw out one thousand years of royal lineage, sun on snow-capped peaks
of the Shatrunjaya mountains, light wrapped in the folds of the Ganges river, carried to foothills
Feb 03

To the Girls

to the tall girls, the graceful willows who bend in the wind and reach towards the sun, bowing heads and curving spines to shrink into proper proportions, the girls who are afraid to wear heels and hold their heads high above the clouds, they told you should never make a man feel small, a man will never love you if you overshadow his ego, they tried to bury you but they forgot that you were seeds.

to the loud girls, the girls who refuse to be trapped inside Barbie’s silent plastic sphere looking out on the world with blank and pleading eyes, who cannot be laced into demure pouting lips, painted china-doll smiles, who will not look down, blush, giggle while stuffing screams away, girls who shout, sing, scream, swear, let their torrent of words flow free, the girls who fight for their place at the table, on the finish line, refuse to let this world steal their voice and and replace it with a tinkling music box that’s meant only to be pleasing to those who care to listen.
Jan 04

What They Left Behind

George Left “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo” A 3.0 GPA And his widowed mother, too Tommy Left his half-mastered square dance Dreams of New York City And a half-written postcard from France James Left a sweetheart named Billie A bedroom half clean And a one-eyed cat called Willie Charlie Left St. Elizabeth Innocent games of war And many an unspoken syllable Jack Left fears of lightning and thunder His auburn curls And a weeping baby brother Uriah Left a dozen lowing cows Psalm twenty three And unwritten wedding vows Teddy Left cold rootbeer floats on summer days Pacifist morals And an unfinished Shakespeare play They left themselves, too Cold and buried Unsung notes Suspended in time They left pieces of themselves, Photographs and sheet music Shepherd dogs and basset hounds Creaky front steps and warped windows Lines on the page Dog ears in the books Cold, bare granite They left themselves, and they left me too Holding their shards of memory Melting ice
Nov 11

The Child of My Imagination

I fed her a rainbow of fruits and Starbursts and Lucky Charms in the hope she would take those bountiful colors and weave me a new tapestry of life - I bathed her in rosewater and lilac perfume and pink bubble bath wishing her to grow up sweet and strong - I handed her crayons and markers and buckets of fingerpaint dreaming of maps she would draw me to places unknown - I took her to the park where she climbed over swingsets and slides and merri-go-rounds seeing her run free and unburdened by my pains - I tucked her in under rose-patterned sheets, encased her in teddy bear pajamas, reading mountains of fairytales, imagining the tales she could create in her dreams - Too much time did pass and I'm still waiting for her to take flight #cow2017
Nov 05

11:34

The clock stopped at 11:34
In stillness and smoke and the faint wail of sirens 
The clock is stopped at 11:34
Amid shattered glass and twisted metal
Shell casings and shrapnel 
And a scrap of flowered fabric 
The clock survives 
Wood chipped and glass face cracked, but it remains 
Among bricks and fiberglass and plastic molding
The guts spilling to the outside 
Blood and hair and a severed arm
A child's burned socks and broken plates and a blood spattered teddy bear 
Accompanied by a singular wail of grief that grows and grows in volume 
Time marches on
The world ended at 11:34