Jul 23
poem challenge: Freedom
Yellow Sweater's picture

Above the Dirt

I’ve left the round earth behind. 
Above her curved back, I wait 

to feel my feet again,  

to be more than a giant who holds
the sun in his cracked palms. 

to be more than a subversive symphony
of fists and unborn moths, 

fighting gravity’s flame. 

Jul 22
Yellow Sweater's picture

To Lorca's Missing Grave, To Franco, To Those Who've Left the American Flag a Bloodless/Bloody Blue and Black

Okay, so I am a bit embarrassed because this is like the fifth ode to Lorca I have posted on here. But sometimes you need obsessions. They are something through which you can channel your passion. 

True patriots always die because it is dangerous to love something so easily set on fire.

(Love is something easily set on fire.)  

Oh, Lorca, you loved your country, but your country gored you on the horns of its bulls, 
of its sacred beasts of cruel geometry, who knew nothing of the ritual that created them.    

Can’t you love yourself and love your country and love the country that exists inside yourself? 
Can’t you love the dirt and love the water and love the wind that leaves new pollen in the streets? 
Can’t you love a man and love the church and love the candles that turn into burning pillars? 

Passion is more than its fiery culmination. Lorca’s Spain was more than its murder.
Jul 22
poem challenge: Freedom
Yellow Sweater's picture


There are boulders under my feet, songs with so much shape they can only be felt like they are the curved backs of our galaxy's multitude of suns. 

The sun is inside the earth, the earth is inside my stomach. But the mountains, they break the horizon, shattering it like a flock of birds shatters our notion of what is whole. 

I rise to my feet, to the window beside my bed, to the ocean beside my street, to the sky beside my ground, and I sing because the globe is too big for me to see.

Jul 16
poem challenge: Freedom
Yellow Sweater's picture

Nothing but Blue

Is it strange that Mary Oliver reminds me of Hafiz, 

especially in the irresponsible dawn hours when I feel 

like I could swallow God even before I swallow

my dreams, when the ghosts of swallows still dance

in the light of an echoing sunset, when there is 

nothing but blue inside, between these white pages?

Jul 15
poem challenge: Freedom
Yellow Sweater's picture

Open Veins

I sit cross-legged in the raucous silence of the moment, 
contorted into a preschool nightmare of tangled thoughts and tangled feet.  

There is no freedom in meditation. It’s just a window you can't fit through. 

When I was little, I was told to watch for broken glass as I ran barefoot along the beach. 
No one warns me to be careful now, because It would be a grace 
to cut myself on the sharp edges of the world, to open my lungs and scream.  

I’m scared, you know?

I’m scared I’m going to sit in this bed forever until I run out of words, 
until I run out of air, until my blood grows tired of the same old racetrack. 
my belly is full of things I have filled it with, not God, as I like to pretend. 

It’s full of stale springs and half-heard hymns and the vestiges of virginity. 
It’s full of artichokes and quesadillas and black rice pudding and pasta. 
Jul 13
Yellow Sweater's picture

People Who Read Too Much Have Opinions on Henry Kissinger

people who read too much have opinions on Henry Kissenger

my friends tease me for my long rants on Ceaușescu and Communism and how if it wasn’t for Climate Change Norway’s management of its oil reserves would be Close to Commendable.

I pretend to know right from wrong and the xy shape of history.  

but people who read enough/ and enough is often way more than too much/ don’t have opinions on Henry Kissinger/ because the more numbers you know the harder math gets/ and Henry Kissinger is just a math problem/ an undefined ratio/ with genocide on the top/ and the Cold War on the bottom/ but is there really any way to know what American bombs destroyed in Cambodia/ or whether a theoretical armageddon helped to deter an actual one?
Jun 29
poem, essay challenge: Heat
Yellow Sweater's picture

The Earth and the Sun

I fall asleep reading about duende, reading, radiating duende. That’s what Lorca’s poetry does: it causes my grandmother’s pitched voice to tremble with a terrible softness, like the moon liquified and stored in a jar. God, I’ve used the word duende, the second most sacred name, so many times lately. I’ve used it to explain everything that can’t be explained. I hope I haven't cheapened it with desire.

The begonias are burning, I’m imagining them burning. They are pinker than my sun singed skin, so pink they are almost red. For a moment I trick myself into believing that the Spanish street names are more than an echo, that the baked brown hills of Santa Barbara are the Andalusian mountains Lorca rhapsodies over. As I trot down to the dust strangled creek, I feel a piercing, euphoric scream rising in my chest: Seville to wound! Cordoba to die in! 
Jun 26
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Soft Clay

she wakes like soft clay, 
a notion pressed onto her face 

the morning is as blue 
as a low-timbered evening. 

low enough to sway to, 
vibrations etched into cracked lips 

but a sip of water 
would cause collapse.

Jun 18
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Before you jump

Last night, I went down to the water just before it got dark. I sat on the seawall with my knees close to my chest and smelled the salt. The water was grey, but it reflected the burnished purple of the sky. How many times have I skinned my knees on those rocks? How many times have I broken myself open and gotten sand in my wounds? I feel rugged and ripe. I suppose that is what comes from living in a beautiful town situated on a crumbling cliffside.

I bruised the seagrass until it smelled alive.
Jun 02
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In the Morning

In the Morning, I listened to Classical Music. 

I was a Child, the piano an escalator. we danced, the stairs and I, shackled to heaven’s baroque architecture, to the Music’s swollen joints. our Knees creaked, lamenting: we’re as old as Mozart, and he only lasted a couple of decades before he expired into History.  

I was Scared of being a Child. 

the Sun hurt my eyes. the dew took too long to evaporate. I hated the fact that I had never tasted coffee. I told my mother that I wanted granola instead of Peanut Butter Puffin Puffs. 

the Day was a Cathedral. 

us Children built a society, a city in the Rose bushes. we bent the brambles into arches that could support the weight of our Symmetry. we made our world into something delicate. and our Bones were stretched, de-calcified. 

In the evening, I read High Fantasy. 
May 30
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Dying Daisies

what are we but dying daisies? 

oh, holy one, one who is whole,
leave me without petals. I'm only
a yellow center ripe with pollen 
that has not yet become honey. 

May 18
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Propped Up Sky

Cycling along the flat cement at sunset, we hear the frog song. It swells, candid and all-consuming. It’s like drinking plain mint tea on a bitter evening. But winter is gone now, we must find our sharpness elsewhere. 

Even the Douglas firs have become dry in this new heat. Even after a rainstorm, I see them struggling to breathe. My home is supposed to become a utopia before it dies. How many years do we have again? How many years do I have to live with unnaturally ripe strawberries and swans that have decided to stay for winter? 

May 06
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In a found place, a sheltered place, a jealous place, I eat my heart. 
It tastes like fresh strawberries and rotten secrets. 

You, open ground, open sky, cloistered in my stomach, 
sit still until I call our name, until our thoughts are as sweet/sour as wine. 

Apr 29
poem challenge: Six Words
Yellow Sweater's picture


A warm morning, 
touch the corpse.  
Apr 29
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A Photograph, a Stranger's Face

A stranger's face, a mild wonder of afternoon light. 

the treadmill rolls on, hot cement, jogging sweats, 
I’ll see you again in my memories of tomorrow, my dreams, 
after we’ve sprinted around the block, emptied our lungs of old air

and stopped breathing. your dark curly hair and freckled nose remain.