Jun 27

Sunken dime

I was fearless. Untouchable. Knew who I was. What I wanted.
“Life is hard”? Yeah, maybe for
some but
not for me.
I had it all figured out.

There wasn’t much I needed to wish for, but the act of it was fun.
My dime shone at the bottom of the mall fountain, bright against
All those rusty pennies from the kind of people who would
Sit at the edge of the water and
Sigh, all starry-eyed.
I wasn’t like them. I was business. I whispered my wish. Not breathy. Firm:

Make me a hero.

I hadn’t noticed she was watching. She maybe
Went to my school, but I didn’t remember.

A hero, huh? Almost accusatory.
You should take up people-watching.

I blinked. Glanced from the bustling makeup-store patrons to the
Five-year-old at the gumball machine. Their full bags. His gleaming quarter.

Not those people.
Jun 21
poem challenge: Writing 2022

you (don’t need to) apologize for the inconvenience

please don’t be afraid to paint your nails.

please don't teach yourself to shudder at
the time it takes to dry
because you've decided it's a crime
to be temporarily unavailable; please don't

cower at the notion
that someone might need you
to mop the floor or
do their hair and
just this once you’ll
have to ask them
to wait; please don't

let yourself think that
to be a good person you
have to be there every minute,
no breaks,
ready.

please don’t rob yourself
of those few giddy moments
the polish shiny
fresh
yours.
Apr 30

Underestimating

Partly inspired by my phone because that's where I started writing it and I copied a lot of the "line breaks" that came from the smaller screen.

I forgot the tree in my yard bloomed so beautifully,
never knew my friends were so much more
amazing than I thought
     (or liked this or
     were good at that);
failed to understand how complex people are, beyond the hours, the few spoken words,
during which our lives overlap

The world reminds me, peeling fruit I never sliced into
because they were too bruised for me to accept
but not all parts are "rotten"
and there's strength in the soft spots
that I didn't notice.

The world nudges me
in the shoulder,
trying to turn my eyes from the mirrors and journals
and pay attention for once, because more things matter than myself
and I'm blocking those around me with unneccessary thoughts
Apr 10
poem challenge: Dark

In the dark moments

Sometimes as I
wait for sleep to come,
I pack up my thoughts and drop them into
other people's bedrooms--
friends, family, the kid I sat behind in class

I try to picture them in bed
Curled up? Lying flat?
Reading by pearly light or
trying in vain to undo today?

The man at the grocery store,
the girl on the bike with the yellow streamers,
the voice on the radio--
I don't know them.
Not even the classmates I've
labeled in my brain--
I can barely see into them, no clearer than
the nighttime outline of my familiar furniture.

Yet all these people lie in darkness now;
what is it that keeps them up?
I want to know who they are in the dark moments.

When the daily happenings--
people, mealtimes, work--
when they all fade into what was,
what parts of them linger?
What do they worry about and
what one hope do they
Apr 04

tupperware poetry

The back of my mind is a freezer
you never know what you'll stumble upon--
cake left from the perfect birthday, frozen dumplings for nights when
cooking feels like drowning

it's fun, if you're in the mood
pluck out three things and
find their meaning,
try for a meal

I try for poems,
mix-and-match with moments and metaphors,
frozen peas and leftover fish,
taking inventory in spiral-bound notebooks

do words ever expire? do feelings grow stale?

poems have no ingredient lists
they come from everywhere
Feb 13
poem challenge: Tone

On empathy

Swallow your pride
(but don't let it scorch your tongue)
the best cook knows how to be tiny
curl up and trade secrets with a peppercorn

sometimes the key is
shrinking your judgment while
growing your heart

become a liquid
take the shape of someone else's container
learn to love the nooks and crannies
of their soul

as for icebreakers:
rapping small talk against the surface
makes a nice-sounding crackle
but sometimes you have to
dive deep into freezing water
and shiver through another's worries

polar bears have feelings too

and pass notes
(when no one's looking)
(and also when the whole world stares)
be proud about it
fold love into
paper cranes and
love into fortune tellers

open your mind so you can
open every flap:

you will make
a friend.
Dec 15

invisible

Click the mute button
and your voice is no longer heard.

Click stop video and you are no longer seen.

You are invisible.
Yes, really.
Wasn't that easy?

Two clicks, and you've created a wall that no one can see through.
Two clicks, and anything could happen to you and no one would know.
Two clicks, and you're nothing more than a name in sans-serif font.

You are far too far away.

I can't reach you, can't find you

and you're somewhere, in your own little world
a world I've never heard of
a world I'm not welcome in.

I want to x-ray my way through your little square
and discover what happens behind it
but you're gone now

like, really gone

like, I-have-no-idea-if-you're-listening-or-getting-a-glass-of-water-or-rocketing-off-into-space gone

and I wish I knew, but I don't:

where are you?
Dec 05

Leggings

Black leggings are never really black.
I watch you roll off the lint and pick off the dog fur,
trying to swipe away their past like you're
plucking the stars from your own galaxy.

You are meticulous in everything,
trying to gain something out of reach,
promising yourself that if you can just achieve
an imposing solid black,
something will click in your world,
something you didn't have before.

To you, the dust is a disgrace,
a barrier to a world of perfection
that maybe, one day, you can break down.

Because for you, your world isn't enough.
You tell yourself that with lint on your leggings
you're failing yourself, keeping yourself down,
you tell yourself you will never be beautiful,
that you'll never be able to fly.

But you're beautiful when you stand with those you love
and you laugh and you don't worry about whether or not
your smile looks crooked.
Nov 09

Elections, over the years

In kindergarten, I was oblivious. I think I knew what a president was, and, well, that was it. I asked my parents who they'd voted for, and they told me Barack Obama – a name that signaled nothing in my five-year-old mind as I announced, "Then I vote for him, too!" I imagine my parents laughed at me, or maybe just smiled – perhaps with amusement at my declaration, but perhaps with knowing that for another four years, America would be okay.

In fourth grade, I knew more. I listened when my parents told me about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I stuck nine-year-old labels of "good" and "bad" on them just like the I voted sticker my mom let me wear after I went with her to fill out bubbles on a piece of paper. That Wednesday morning, she entered my room and, when I eagerly asked from my bed, she told me, It looks like Donald Trump won. Why I remember the exact words she used to tell me the news, I don't know, but ... I think I do.
Nov 02
poem challenge: Relocation

farewells and selfishness

I want to be alone.

I want the few birds left on the bare trees to sing just for me.
But the reason there are so few is because I didn't do anything to stop that.

I want the trickling streams, in their nearly inaudible gurgling, to whisper to me that I'm different, special.
But I'm only another consumer, another person snatching every resource for myself, unknowing.

I want the trees to promise that they'll miss me.
But I never knew them as anything other than the trim on my windows.

I want to walk in circles around my planet, tracing my name in the sands of what were once oceans, slipping bits of brittle grass in my pocket, stroking the petals of the wilting flowers, lying on dirt and what's left of the fallen leaves, staring up at the wounded sky.

I want to cry.

But how can I?
How can I have enough water left in me to cry when

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