Apr 18
poem challenge: CJP-COVID19

Six feet is only space

Six feet is only space, but
I'm tired of holding the people that I love at an arm's length.
I’m giving them the oxygen that they need.
It’s so scarce right now in our crowded homes.
At least I have a home.
They're slipping away.

I've taken up running.
Today I wished that I was flying.
That I would go, and never stop.
My breathing was ragged, as I fought for air.
It reminded me of the people who have it 
so much worse than I do.
I pushed myself harder.

I keep looking for somewhere.
Anywhere to sink underwater and
But, this is running.
The pounding is not soothing, nor steady.
My ankles have been hurting.
I miss the pool.

I never thought of caged birds as safe before.

Airplanes are still flying, though nobody cares.
I find my fingers poised above the keys of my computer,
looking for tickets to glass half full half empty
Mar 12

The country bled red and blue

We stayed up late that night, later than we were normally allowed. Under any normal circumstance, this would have been thrilling: the freedom! But, as we stayed up later, I felt as if a heavy cloud was settling over my lungs and squeezing, a fish out of water. Powerless. I was only 11 years old and I had no idea what was at stake, but I still could not get enough air as I watched everything unfold.
Aug 17

Oh, the places we'll go

1.    The crash of waves on a hidden beach somewhere lost in France. The cliffs rising high around us, so much so they appear to touch the clouds. The sky clear, a mirror of the forever ocean in front of us. The waves taste of salt and possibility, and the air smells fresh and sweet. And fishy.

2.    A rocky scrabble. A final climb to the top of Africa. A pounding in my veins, of the altitude and the oxygen. A bead of sweat, stealthy climbing down your forehead. We stand straight, for the first time in hours. Still. Swaying like the grasses so far below, and the waves on a hidden beach. Our breathing slows. And the world goes on. And on.
Oct 04


Today I got lost in my head.

And while I was lost, I realized that not only was I lost

but I was trapped too.

In every direction all that I saw

were metal bars and infinite paths,

each more winding than the next.

Every step I took, just took me
one step backward from where I wanted to be.

And every turn I made had me dizzy

and soon disoriented.

With every move I made I heard a rushing

in my ears grows louder.

That rushing was the pound of feet,

the scrape of claws on stone,

the shrieks of wild beasts held dormant too long.

As I tried to run from these creatures--

those with many heads,

and staring eyes,

and jaws that glint with rows of teeth--

I found that my legs had been cut.

And the faster I tried to go,

the closer the beasts came,
Jul 31

Origami Wolf

I saw your eyes first.
You had a little bit of grey behind them.
Your eyebrows strung together,
And your forehead knit itself into a scarf.
I think it would be orange.

You said
“This is for me?”
As if you were surprised
That someone would take the
Time to make something for you.


I said “yes it’s for you (silly)”
Your scarf unraveled quite quickly.
You kinda bit your lip
Before you smiled.
It was a small smile.
It was only a tiny bit of light let
Through the blinds.
May 27


Apr 08

List (Simple Pleasures)

Those nights where there is no sound except for the silent tick of the clock whose hands point well past the time that you should have fallen asleep, and the steady swish of the pages of your book.

Coming down at ten on a Thursday to find that the world is not brown and gray and spotted here and there with bursts of fluorescent, but a solid white-- and the smell of something baking in the oven fills the room.

Smiling too big so that your mouth gets tight and cramps at a sunny cafeteria table with the greatest friends in the world and laughing over absolutely nothing that is not absolutely nothing to you and them.

Singing to yourself in the shower, because the water in your ears and the too-loud music drowns out your voice, and you feel absolutely alone with the music inside you.

Mar 30


How many half-finished pieces
I've written.
My pencil slipping across the paper,
my fingers staining the blue lines.
Words echoing into oblivion,
thoughts tumbling away.

How many half-finished pieces
I've written.
Forgetting what I've said,
remembering what I was trying to say.
Looking at other's bits and trying to see
where their's line up with mine--even a little.

How many half-finished pieces
I've written.
Later awake than I should be,
rubbing at my eyes, blinking away the light.
Watching a cursor move as squiggles
take shape.

How many half-finished pieces
I've written.
Enough to fill another
with maybe an ounce of meaning.
Feb 08

I Went To The Mountain

I went to the mountain
because it was calling me.
It thrust its voice out into
the air and said,
"Come see the world.
Feel the dirt between your toes.
Smell the river.
Hear the trees speak."

I went to the mountain
because it broke the clouds.
Damp air pulls at your hair
and the wind lazily floats around you,
until it screams.

I went to the mountain
because it seemed older than time.
Long ago--you can see it--
it was sharp
and jagged
and terrifying.
Now it's quiet. Steady.
As relentless as the rain.

I went to the mountain
to cleanse myself in the dirt
and the mud.
The rain and the snow.
The sun and the sweat.
To go back to the
proximity of our origins.

I went to the mountain 
to take a break from the world.
It is pure there.
No hate.
No judgment.
Just the steady, ragged,
Jan 09

That Kind Of Writing

i want
to write.
no, not like that,
not the little
that pass for
a grade.
the first
winter snow
out the window
kind of writing.
the sniff
of green
kind of writing.
the spray of
the waterfall
over the cliffs
kind of writing.
when you
speak words
those people
listen to,
just hear.
the kind
of writing
that leaves
a sprig
of imagination
to grow.
the kind that
bubbles up inside
and you're brimming
too full to the top
and it seeps out your skin
and your hands
and it gushes out of your fingers.
i want to
the future
and the present
and the past
and what matters.
i want to write
the colors of the rainbow
and the birds in a V on the
autumn wind
and the crackling
of a fire in the woods
Dec 31

A Hidden Place

together we sat in a
hidden place
discussing the
injustices of the world.

while the forest creaked
in the cold
our frosty breath bit the

and our eyes sparkled
in thought
while our cheeks

it was wonderful.

i felt the snow
(through my mitten)
and the ground
(at my fingertips)

and it was as if the
rest of it
had melted away

and the winter was
because we were alone
in a hidden place
Dec 07


the wind giggles
as it skips
between the trees.

it shakes the branches

snow twinkles down
from the skies above
onto the crystallized world.

and everything is
calm before
​the perfect storm
Nov 27

dancing on a white picket fence

I saw her
when she was
dancing on a white picket fence.

The sunlight dappled her
autumn hair and the freckles on her nose
as she twirled in the breeze.

Closed eyes
while the melody
played on her skin.

Her feet knew the way
like they had been dancing
for a thousand years.

A daisy
flipped behind her left ear
as she swayed, skipped, and jumped.

The world was far away
for her
frozen behind her in time.

But the moment ceased
as a car horn blew
and she was gone when I turned back.

I used to return looking for
the girl on
the white picket fence.

But now that fence is gray,
the paint is gone,
and it is lonely.

But, maybe someday
a girl will return to dance
on that white picket fence.