Aug 23
poem 5 comments challenge: Manual

and then she grew up

Mama, why do I feel so alone?
Sometimes, you are too big for the world. You are full, too full, full to the eyes.
Then why do I feel so empty?
Sometimes, you are too big for yourself, too.
I don’t know what to do.
Pick up your tears and your knees and make a mosaic out of your pieces.
Try again.
Again and again and again.

Keep one hand in a fist, but leave the other open
to the birds,
to the sky,
to someone you haven’t met.
Give and give and give,
but don’t be afraid to take.
You are the first, the only, the priority.
You are yours.

And always carry a needle and thread,
so when you break hearts, you can stitch them up as best you can.

I don’t want to break hearts, Mama.
I know. 
Believe me, my darling, I know.

But don’t give up.
Sing with the car windows down and
Aug 07

Temporary Air

When my lungs run out of oxygen, I breathe in hope instead.
My tongue knows the taste of sweet imagination,
of holding on with stubborn fists,
and I sit,
spewing what-if’s until they fold themselves into carbon dioxide
or force me to choke.

They say I keep my head in the clouds,
but I know the clouds are all in my head,
and I lose myself in their shifting shadows,
as they twist into the drifting shapes of a future.
You might call me a dreamer,
but have you seen my dreams?
Because a mind so lost in fantasy
sees a hundred ways of heartache,
but knows a thousand more that could go right.

So when the world turns dark, I’ll fall into the grass, eyes up.
They tell you the sky behind the stars is dark and empty,
but I looked for myself, it’s luminous beneath those brilliant specks.
And I can’t dictate the movements of those stars
but my god, can’t you see how they could align?
Aug 04

My mind writes apologies

I write apologies on the walls of my mind,
never eloquently,
never for you
because I am the one who should have to remember,
because you are the one who should be allowed to forget.

I don’t have the right words for this one
(or any of them)
so instead I’ll add another angle to my camera’s repertoire,
trying to see full circle with only two eyes.

I’ll walk with a different cadence in my step,
trying to keep your rhythm,
forgetting the grass trampled under my feet.

I’ll keep those two eyes wide,
so I can see the edges of the picture,
so no one gets pricked on the thorns I’d forgotten
grow in my silence and shadows,
in small smiles,
in holding my own hand instead of reaching for yours.
The thorns that tangle in the words I say, 
but also the words I collect and keep in my pocket.

None of the words in my pocket can change what is done,
Jul 30

Sometimes I need a little doubt

Don’t tell me I can fly.
Don’t tell me I can carry the sky on my small and trembling shoulders
because if it falls
it will only make that fallen weight more breaking.
Don’t tell me I can hold my head above the current and walk through the flames
when I know the current is stronger than my feet in the sand
and I don’t want to hide the burns on my palms.
Maybe I will be brave;
don’t expect it.
Maybe I will reach the stars and scatter them across my skin;
don’t count them before I’ve touched them.
Maybe you will be right, and I will 
hold the sky
hold my head above the current
hold fire in my palms,
maybe you will be right.
But maybe you won’t and
I don’t want to see the way your gaze shifts
if I have to tell you 
you were wrong.
Jul 29

The daughter of a weaver

    Sweya was the daughter of a weaver. Few people hold weavers in high regard; they are seen as a necessity, craftspeople like any other. They spin fibers into thread, thread into fabric, fabric into clothes, each step unremarkable, a task any person could perform. But Sweya knew better. She had watched with fascination as her mother’s dye-stained fingers danced, nimble and precise; she had seen the beauty in the rich colors, in the elaborate patterns. Each time her mother laid out a new piece of fabric, Sweya knew she had created something no one else could. They were more intricate than the spider webs that stretched across the dew-soaked grass, as striking as a sunset sky, as lush as the hillside carpeted with purple bellflowers. To Sweya, a child with a passion for knowledge and understanding, her mother’s craft seemed to surpass the logic of it. And so she regarded herself as, above all else, the daughter of a weaver.
Jul 27

An Artistic Contradiction

I was never one for poetry,
for hummingbirds and summer sweetness,
but when my mind began to write it’s own
I fell in love with cutting away the excess pieces.
I hadn’t realized the rhythm in these words,
the power they have
when shifted
when splintered from their usual phrases
and placed at the edges of their meanings.
The expanse of an adjective,
the possibilities when you arrange and rearrange,
and exchange one for another,
my eyes began to open
and I fell in love with
falling in love with my language.

I was never one for symphonies
for orchestras and string quartets,
but teach me the melodies
and I’ll find myself in Beethoven,
hand the me the music
and I’ll sink the ink into my fingertips,
stain my veins,
tattoo my shoulder blades with
allegretto, allegretto,
legato, legato,

I don’t speak Italian
but the language of sonatas
Jul 24

Challenge Idea - Song

Pick a song and create a poem, short story, or character inspired by it. Do the lyrics create scenes in your mind? Who do you imagine the song is about? How could the music style be represented in your writing? Alternatively, write a song based on a poem, story, or character. What are the most important pieces to express? Are there any lines that can be reused?
Jul 02

a note for the diminished

I am a writer until I am among poets,
an artist until I am surrounded by others with the same name,
and my colors fade,
my pride slipping as the lines I so carefully crafted unravel.
I am a musician
until the songs my fingers know can be counted in the spaces between them,
until my voice gets caught up in mediocrity,
until the sheet music has been waiting since January, and it’s running out of forgiveness.
I am a woman
until I am only sixteen
and growing up means cashing in all of the decisions I never made,
dancing across a dark stage,
cradling what I was and what I don’t know I want to be,
means falling and falling and falling and falling
and trusting that my body will find a net.

I am diminished until I am the poet,
the artist,
the musician,
the woman.
I am diminished until I wonder about you.
As I confine myself to your shadows, is anyone lost in mine?
Please know:
Jun 27

The 1947 Baldwin Acrosonic

I don’t play the piano.

Yes, I do have one.
It came with the house
and has sat,
gathering grime
next to the philodendron.
I adorned it with pictures,
fresh lilies,
a lamp - 
but I never bothered to open the lid.

I don’t play the piano;
I don’t have the talent.
I thought I might sell it,
but it seemed too worn to be worth much,
and it didn’t want to be moved.

I’ve never played the piano.
I know that I’ve told you,
but you must understand
how important this is.
I have fumbling fingers
and no sense of rhythm.
I’m not a musician
by any stretch of the word.

I don’t know why
I finally decided to sit at the bench.
I don’t know why
my fingers knew how to move like that
how to make it sound like that,
like I’d practiced a thousand times,
Jun 26

something you should know

Some suns are not meant to die
to drift apart
They cling, clutching to angry flesh
to feathers
to expired promises,
explode in supernova,
burning each other’s edges as they go.

The strongest bonds
tear the most
when pulled apart,
the deepest histories leave the deepest cuts.
Follow the red-speckled trail, 
woman, hunter, wounded animal,
your blood, mine,
you’ll find me.

...please find me.

After you left
she kept
every drawing you gave her.