Jul 20
poem challenge: Watermelon

lavender and rosemary

long forgotten childhoods 
buried in cricket-chirping nights
come out in my dreams. 
beneath the rose and strawberry bushes
lie the rinds of half-eaten watermelon slices. 
foggy windows follow summer thunderstorms,
and i pretend that i can taste the cold drops
from within these wooden walls. 
leather-bound fairy tale books
and yellow fairy lights
flutter around my feather-drowned bedroom. 
for a moment i’m lost in the woods,
aspen trees dancing around.
taunting. 
i scream and it’s gone. 
then i fall into a gurgling river,
and while i’m under
i can see a child skipping stones
above me. 
they sink into my hands
and so i
skip them 
underwater. 
(they don’t go very far, 
although they leave a trail of bubbles behind)
after i float back to the shore,
i dry myself by walking along the river. 
i return home
with dirt and tears splattering my face. 
Jul 18
poem challenge: Freedom

a mountain town

the creaking of the car 
reminds me of snow-trodden
highways
and wind that burns your face.
log cabins 
and grey lakes
are too bittersweet 
for my taste.
towering pine trees
and crackling fires
grow from my empty thoughts

though i don't want them to.

dusty valleys 
and jagged mountains. 
there can never be enough
shallow lakes 
circled by green reeds,
which dogs can trample
in an instant. 

the sky can be clear and blue

but then the first wave 
of black clouds rolls over,
only sprinkling a few drops. 

and then they’re gone. 

did you know that towns can be filled with
stories?
there's the man who plays piano
at the old italian restaurant,
who always wears brown suits 
and a bowler hat. 
there's the war veteran 
who has a small dog
and takes it with him 
to the town square.
Jul 02

a tired man, a dreaming man, a broken man

burnt toast wakes him up in the morning,
cold cups of coffee
and a yelping dog. 
half-smoked cigarettes
litter his tables,
flannel shirts and dirty socks
covering the wood floor. 

he doesn’t mind. 

he’s a tired man,
a dreaming man,
a broken man. 

spiderwebs are his only company—
even his dog scratches the door
to get away. 

he doesn’t mind. 

he shaves his beard 
because he likes the feel of stubble
and the smell of the cream. 
his mugs are all chipped
and his shoes are rat-bitten.

he doesn’t mind. 

his eyes are always bloodshot
and swollen.

he’s a tired man;
sleepless nights crowd his thoughts,
memories crowd his mind. 
and he lets them. 

he’s a dreaming man; 
he watches the squirrels
as they race up tree trunks. 
he watches sunrises and sunsets.

he’s a broken man;
Jun 30

Yellow

i’ve never written sidewalk poetry,
but i want bouquets to arrive on my doorstep
and wonder who it’s from. 

i want to meet my first love in an old bookstore
that’s being driven into the ground
by its owners. 

i want my heart to be broken,
and i want to build myself back up from it. 

i want to live in a house by a lake,
with a flower garden that is surrounded
by rickety metal fences—
because that’s just so poetic, 
isn’t it?

(and what about life isn’t poetic?)

the house will have a bright yellow door,
because yellow isn’t appreciated enough. 

i want all my journals to have tattered, water-stained
yellowing 
pages (like my papery skin),
to be filled with scrawled writing
for my grandchildren and children
to sort through 
after i’m gone.  

sunsets remind me of death,
so i should board up all my windows
Jun 25

Another (Broken) Dreamer

He drowns his plants
when he's bored,
but regrets it
when they die.
His house is like a
museum—
statues and sewn tapestries
all over. 
He imagines he's 
in the British countryside,
with his cottage of a house
and brick fireplace. 
He misses his past, 
when he would wear
bright yellow shorts
and buy candy
for 20 cents apiece. 
And so he plants daisies 
underneath all his windows,
he borrows copies of old books
that he’ll never return. 
The lamp shades in his house
look like stained glass. 
His dreams haunt him
and he can’t find it in him
to open his boxes 
filled with dust bunnies. 
He’s afraid they’ll all hop away. 
He shoves empty photo albums
underneath his bed
because he wants to see 
all the memories
in his sleep. 
The carpets in his house
climb up the walls,
hidden behind furniture. 
Jun 15

Honey Skies

Honey skies
drown vineyards,
wine-red walls and Italian cupboards.

I sit and am stuck behind
the blank page. 
Grey clouds crackle with lightning,
but I don't feel the wind. 
I don't see the light. 

I've seen dozens of sunrises,
but stars forever blind me. 

I've never seen tadpoles in a creek,
I've never caught fireflies in a jar.
I've made daisy chains in Irish meadows,
I've made lunches of hotel crackers and cheese.

Honey skies
can only last for so long. 
Jun 12

teenage nighttime thoughts.

my simple little life is
gone
and i love him again.

i don't want to go,
but my feet are already outside 
the doorframe. 
i say good night to a past
and force my swollen eyes open.
i don't want my tears 
to dry up on my face,
but who am i to stop them?

summer never felt this cold. 

i might let my teeth rot in my mouth
just because i pity myself. 
i cry alone 
in the backseat of the truck.
night threatens to drown me
and i let it.
May 15

olive trees and screaming skies.

Note: I'm sorry this poem is so sad...I guess this is what happens when I listen to Phoebe Bridgers and write after it (she has beautiful lyrics, but her songs are incredibly sad). 

i don’t understand how she can sing
with her mouth stitched and dry. 
her hands are clasped in a prayer
and i can see the veins in her hands.

they’re like spiderwebs.

she twirls in the midst
of numb nights,
balmy olive trees 
and screaming skies.
old countryside houses
are alive at night with shadows,
rattling windows
and flickering 
kerosene lamps.  

i hate the rising sun
and i hate mornings. 

used records hum
in stacks,
crying beneath the dusty
floorboards of my basement. 
i go about my day 
and stuff my bleeding ears
with paper. 
i grind my teeth 
on blocks of jagged ice
and mop stained floors. 
May 06

Scratched Records

If you stay up late tonight
I will lay next to you
and cradle the stars
inside your head. 
But I can’t promise that
my heart won’t bleed and die. 

Your eyes are like broken cloudy nights,
each one more fractured than the last. 

And I have a million different reasons 
to believe that you’re lying,
but every single one
makes my mind crack into pieces 
because I feel
sorry
for 
you. 

I once asked if you saw me,
but please don’t answer that now. 
I’m scared of the answer
and I’m scared for the living. 

No, I don’t forgive you
and please don’t ask twice. 

I still don’t know if your eyes are either
black or brown,
but maybe it should stay
that way. 

The world doesn’t revolve around you
but still
somehow 
the world revolves around you. 

I listen to scratched 
records
Apr 23

Little Forest Girl

She sits on a white-spotted toadstool 
in the middle of a basil-green forest,
waiting for someone 
she does not know
to come. 

She opens letters while she waits,
peeling off the red wax seals
with patience and practice.

Circles of pollen dot the edges of the envelopes,  
smudging as she runs a hand over them. 

Glowing bugs drown the clear air, 
and she sings as she reads. 

She watches as birds fly from their nests,
as squirrels race up trees,
as flowers lean towards the rising sun. 

She sits in her quiet bubble of peace,
alone in the forest,
but busy in her mind.

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