Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Breaking Free

You were the last thread
in a frayed rope
I was clinging to
and you just cut me loose.

How do I continue
when there's nothing
left to hold on to?

How do I survive
the fall
when you
were never there
to catch me?

My bones shatter to dust
and this is left behind.

Maybe your life will be better,
no burden tethered to you,
no liability to claim.

At last, I am free of you.

Party Trick

I bound myself in chains
like Houdini
thinking I could escape
but the keys I hid up my sleeve
fell out,
and now I'm stuck -
and hoping you'll have a spare key,
but you just stare at the mess,
laugh and point,
wondering when the show's going to end.

The air bubble erupts
and I feel death
singeing my insides,
burning me to the ground.

Another magician up in smoke.

The Flood

Water runs down the walls
like tears on my face
with nothing to catch the grief
or keep it from seeing into our lives.

I left your note on the window sill
where I could find it
read it
touch something you touched
before you died.

The water found it
and washed you away.

Now you're just bleeding ink
all over the place.
Your CDs are dripping wet
and scratched from falling down
like my knees when I was a kid
and never listened
to you
when you said "slow down!".

I want to hit rewind,
go back to the beginning,
find you again
and start all over,
put your letter away
from the water
and dry the walls
of my memory
from your tears.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thirty-Two Minutes

Our footsteps crunch on the sand-covered cement
your callused fingers are shoved deep
into the folds of your pants, hiding in safety
from the chance of touching my side.

We walk straight to where the road
bends to the right.

You suck down the embers on your cigarette.
Only your teeth brim the velvet darkness
from a moonlit sky.

An unseen creature runs
in front of our footsteps.
We feel him for a moment
before he scampers off to the left.

The diamond sky winks and twinkles
at us with mischief
like there's something else going on
but we missed it
the same way you missed me
as I stole a peek at you
like a baseball player stealing home.
My winning streak just keep me going.

The crisp air clears my sinuses like a mint,
and you talk about what it means
to be my friend.

The metronome in my chest
beats about one-thirteen.

I feel warm even with the ocean breeze.

My watch tells me that thirty-two minutes
have gone by
since you told me
I was the one
you'd looked for all your life.
I ask myself why thirty-two minutes ago
was so different from all the thirty-two minutes
of the five years you've let go?

I keep waiting for the cocoons to hatch
in my stomach again
for the butterflies to emerge
and begin their flight.

I listen to see if the world is standing still
and wait on as you speak of "when"
and "until" as if I haven't said those words
so many times before,
losing battles to you,
but still fighting the war
to keep you in my life
as something,
hoping this winter
will lead to a spring,
and now you're waving
the white flag at me
telling me that you finally see
I am the one.

I am the woman of your dreams.

I hear you.
I'm listening,
but something
is terribly wrong
and I see that the moment
is gone
like all the years
before it went -


Finally, I get it-

Underneath this ebony sky
another day is going by
and I see that thirty-two minutes
have passed
since you became the fish
I need to throw back.

Moving On

How dangerous your honesty flaunts,
not ever knowing what you want.
You heart has a blackness
where deadly secrets come to haunt.

The wind whispers your name while the river laughs at me.
You inflict pain that makes my heart bleed,
and the rain of my tears
feels like I'm drowning in your cruel sea.

I remember your eyes like torches burning up the dark,
eager to steal the life from my heart,
you were ready to play to the end
no matter how much it ripped me apart.

You say you've never been cruel,
that your love is free, but I'm no fool.
You say to play is the only way to win
but this game is rigged and there are too many rules.

You stole my love like an expert thief
and refuse to give it back no matter how much I plead.
I am lost and left alone to grieve.
Forever without you, and incomplete.

Your love rages against me like a hurricane
You're like a drug from which I must abstain
or else I'll be left with nothing
but a soul shattered and in pain.

You think you're safe because you let no one in
You think the object here is to win
But soon you will see you're all alone
and you'll wish you had me in your life again.

I'll go on and where will you be
but all alone with your misery?
I'll patch up the holes and mend my heart,
the wounds will heal leaving only memories.

I'll always have the scars of your love
to remind me of what never was,
but I know you were wrong for me
and it is you that wasn't good enough.

I'll find a way to love someone new,
someone who loves me back without rules.

My Brother, the Captain

Every now and then
I open your closet
just to see your clothes.
Sometimes, I hold
one of your shirts
up close
and inhale deeply
as if it were my last breath.

They always smell like you:
clean and masculine
mixed with whatever
your favorite cologne
was the last time
you were here.

O Captain, my captain
I wonder where you are.
I wonder if you're safe.
I wonder if you're okay.
I hope I'll see you soon.

The moon was full tonight
and I wondered if you saw it too.
I hope the stars are watching over you,
shining on you with love.

They told me you were going away,
but no one could tell me where.
I konw you've gone to some far off land
I've only seen on maps and t.v. -
a place with a name
I cannot spell from memory,
where the desert heat is waiting
among our enemies.

But I'll be right here, My Captain,
smelling all your shirts
because I always know
where to go
when I want to see them again.

And I will keep you with me,
safe inside the folds of my heart,
for there you will be safe
and loved,

(Written for my brother when he was a Captain before a deployment)

Daddy's Girls

We lay flat on our tiny backs,
gazing up at the stars
with you as our tell-tale guide
on this constellation tour.

Your large, thick fingers
move slowly across the sky,
touching each twinkling
and winking dot
as our watchful eyes
wait for the Big Dipper
to pop out of the onyx night sky.

The soft green, tickling grass
engulfs our necks,
our heads,
our bodies,
as we look past the stars
to you -
our hero -
the smartest man
on Mt. Vernon Street.

You pulled the stars
in the great Texas sky
and handed them over so easily.
We knew then you could, would,
do anything for the three of us.

As we grew older,
the stars seemed to multiply
the farther away we were from you,
but we can still find
that great Big Dipper
in the sky
leading us home to you.

(dedicated to Jack Hayes)

Sunday Afternoon with Dad

82 degrees with a mild breeze
and you ask me to go for a ride.
I look outside and see why -
the sun is shining bright
and a Z3 sits in the driveway
with the top down.

It's just for the weekend, you say,
so I better take my chances
while I can.
I head out the door
as you slip on your CofC Dad hat
to hide your prettier-than-the-bluest-sky eyes
from the beaming sun.

We jump in the seats
because in a Z3 that is just what you do,
and you slide in the key,
check your mirrors,
adjust this and that,
and tell me to buckle up.
Hurry up! is all I can think
as you prepare to start the engine.

We swoosh around curves
like we're gliding on air,
and you take this road and that,
but all I see is sky above me
and a blur of colors as the worly goes by.

The wind is whipping my hair about
but I could care less,
and I look at you and smile.
You smile back
and I know
that even without a Z3
you are the coolest man I know.

Faded Glory

You built up my ego
until it exploded
the same way you ruined
my back bicycle tire
in the sixth grade.

Every word you spoke
filled me up with hot air,
stretching the seams in my skull
beyond compare.

You just kept pumping
and I couldn't make you stop.
You were all about riding high
even after you saw the sagging tire.

The heaving pump blew its breath,
and you just kept on telling me
every slick phrase you knew
I'd always wanted you to say.
I took it in
every breath of air you shoved
down my throat,
gagging for a chance to inhale something
that wasn't yours.

You just kept on beating your faded glory blue dreams
with every pump into my stubborn head
until I forgot my name
who I was
what I wanted
what I needed
because you wanted me to go places
and do things
and be someone
you will never be.

You didn't care
how I got there
as long as I made it
because then you'd know
you'd finally done
something right.

Cosmic Love

I thought it would be great
to live on the moon with you
except the moon is cold
and I'd never see the sun
unless there was an eclipse.

Maybe I could live on the sun
Try it out, something new
but it's too hot
and my skin would melt.

I'll probably just stay here on earth
live like everyone else does
talk when spoken to
laugh when others do
cry when I'm alone
because my home is you
and you are missing.

Pluto might be the best place
far away from all of you
no more choosing between
the sun star and the moon
just quiet solitude
where I can't see you
and you can't see me
though I want to
need to
love to
love you.

I'm like a black hole
sucking you toward me
needing to hold you
deep within me
never let you go
inside you'll be safe
the dark can't leave you
tell you you're ugly
or wish for someone new.

It just wraps around you
with gentle arms
until you are missing too.


I do not feel below my neck
like a quadriplegic
with nothing left.

My face
my smile
are fake
and immobile.

My heart feels still
in my chest
because I cannot feel
below my neck.

I cannot feel the ache
you left
when you decided
it wasn't me
you wanted to see
coming down the aisle
toward you
in the off-white
off-the-shoulder dress.

It was never me
though your eyes
said it could be
or I just wanted to believe
for once a happy ending
could be mine.

It wasn't meant for me.

My heart is paralyzed with fear.
No one can get close.
I'm a quadriplegic ghost
refusing to believe
you weren't the one for me.


I don't talk about it,
don't know what to say.
I think a lot about it
and what could've been

You stopped reaching out,
and I let you.
You stopped making an effort,
and I let you.
you stopped everything,
and I let you.

How do I start again
when you're not here
to show me how?

How do I make sense of it
when you can't tell me
what went wrong?

I have my theories.
I have my memories.

Pales comforts
next to your alabaster skin
that has grown cold with time.

You're an untouchable now -
a ghost in the midnight sky.

I see you still -
ruby red lips
pinching a cigarette,
lighting up the darkness
while everyone else slept,
and I drift into a dream
hoping someday you'll be here
when I wake up.


Your eyes are wide
and enveloping
like a zoom camera
with a panoramic view.
Your lens follows
my every movement,
looking for some resemblance
of you.

You want me to be
someone I am not
You want to see

I want to disappear
like Houdini -
only better,

I want to go places
you can't find,
places in my mind
where you can't criticize,
alienate or crush.

I want to be swallowed whole
like Jonah -
only longer and better,

Silence -
a seven letter word
for you.

You never wanted me,
not as I am.
You still don't.
You can't see
what or who I am.

I am not you.

Too fat.
No white stork will take me back.
No spell can whisk me away
to Never Never Land.

I want to forget,
to pull the memories out
like a stubborn tooth
that has taken root
deep down inside.

Your words
your hate
they constrict
my heart
my head
with shrink-wrap
and rubber bands


I need you to be here,
to sit in the dark with me
while I take it all in.

I don't want to be alone now
and I don't want to talk.

I just need you
to show up on my doorstep,
to ask me to go for a drive.
We could put the windows down,
turn the radio up,
let the night air fill our lungs,
drive until we run out of gas,
watch the black sky retreat from the dawn,
sit together in silence
until the numbness comes.


It is done -
my heart has exposed itself.
It is naked for the world to see.

You are blind.

I stand alone -
my heart is but the night.
It is as black and empty as the velvet sky.

You are the sun.

Time stops -
my heart is frozen.
Fear of love ices it over.

You are a flame.

I am without -
my heart stops.
The ache is too much.

You are lost.

Under Pressure

40 degrees is all the water gauge has to say to me
the day I decide to cannon-ball into the deep-end.

I take a deep breath,
a running start
and leapt
straight up into the air,
waiting for that suffocating splash.

Water that cold
leaves the mind numb -
no thoughts, just instincts.
Once you're under
only reflexes remain-
your arms and legs flail towards the sky,
and your chest burns from holding in the air
too long.

I rush towards the surface like a rocket
and my insides are about to burst with pressure.

My body is on fire
and panic surges through me.
I can hear myself whispering over and over
in my head

"just get there before the breath runs out".

I break free
and it's complete ecstasy -
fresh air, new life
like starting over -
but the jolt of the cold
steals my breath
like a thief in the night.
It doesn't matter how hard
I push myself up toward the light,
the surge of water into my lungs
threatens to trap me in the dark forever.

I hate the dark.
I push against the burn
and find my way to the top.

It's my turn to start over.

Hitch a Ride with a Lunatic

I feel like I'm in a padded room
where no sound can escape
even though I'm shouting
at the top of my lungs.

No one comes running
to see if I'm okay.

The words are coming out
and it's like you
are on the other side
of sound-proof glass.
You see my lips moving
but it's like I'm a mime
or star of some silent movie.

I feel my skin grow hot
and the frustration builds
because you can't hear me
and maybe you never could.

The louder I yell,
the worse I feel;
the anger grows inside
and I just want it to stop.

I just want the quiet -
the sweet solitude
that alludes me.

I want to run away
where no one knows me
where I can be anybody
where you can't be disappointed
in me anymore.

I want to get in my car
and drive until the gas runs out,
change my name,
hitch a ride with a lunatic
because crazy company
is better than a lonely road.

I want to escape this place,
the expectations,
the responsibility,
the world you've put on my shoulders.

Just get away, get lost, for good.


How many times can you forgive me?
I wish you could say, "repeatedly".

How much do you love me?
I wish you could say, "infinitely".

How long will you stay here with me?
I wish you could say, "eternally".

But you
and won't.


I do believe her
though I know she lies.

If she whom I love should love me...
Oh she makes me end where I begin
until I have no more.

Yet this is you.

Now I may wither into the truth
and claim the rank to die-
the grave's a find and private place
and cold as any icicle.

Parting is all we know of heaven;
both robbed of air, we lie in one ground
and doubly dying shall go down
to roll it toward some overwhelming question.

Well so I came -
to stay -
to seal the hushed casket of my soul
if her hands should drop white and empty.

How will I hide beneath the music
from a farther room?

The shadow of the night comes on or...
just some human sleep.


Quiet night
falls around me
like the blue
Egyptian cotton top sheet
on my bed.

The dark blinds me.
My breath deafens me.
I am still in the silence.

The world outside is spinning
but I wait in solitude.

I wait
with a beating heart
a relaxed mind
a body on fire
just for you to answer the phone.

Burning Up the Darkness

I wrote you a four-page letter the other night,
but when the chance came I didn't give it to you.

When I wrote it, I thought I said it all,
that I had it all figured out.
I thought there would be no gray area.

As I read it now, the letter is nothing
BUT gray area
coagulating in one spot,
spelling out confusion.

I pulled out the blue lighter
you left in my car;
blue is my favorite color
and you don't smoke now.

I let the flame dance a little within my view
until it turns the gray matter between us
into ashes.

New Habit

I pulled out the blue lighter
you left in my car last night.
It was between your seat and mine
just waiting to be found.

I've decided to start smoking;
just give it a try
and see what all the fuss is about.

I must be immune -
the smoke doesn't affect me.

Not like you do.

It swirls and twirls around me
the way you do when we talk about "us".
It fulfills a craving
I never had until I started smoking.

You didn't exist until I met you.

A spark ignites somewhere in the darkness.

You fill me up with carbon monoxide.
You singe my emotions with ambivalence,
burning me up into ash
until there is nothing left.

My mouth feels like a charred, burnt cotton field.

Just like my heart.


The red neon numbers blare at me
as I stare at four dirty peach walls.
The sheets are half-pulled off the bed
and I am wearing your blue Eddie Bauer tee shirt
for the fifth day in a row.
It still smells like your Armani cologne
I sprayed on the collar
before I left lipstick kisses
on your bathroom mirror.

I sink into my six pillows
I have piled behind me
and wait for the phone to ring.

I just keep waiting.

3000 Miles

Three thousand miles between us
and I have finally stopped thinking about you.

Five days of traveling,
according to Mapquest to get home
and no longer do I want to get in my car
and drive straight back
to the place I left you
sitting in your car
with your sunglasses on
so I couldn't see you cry.

I thought you would come after me
that it'd just be a matter of time
until you were knocking on my door.

It's quiet here.

I can here footsteps on the stairs
outside my window.
They never stop
and turn to walk towards my door.

I used to hold my breath
just a little
just a little
that you would
that you could
be that person
you never were.

Three thousand miles between us
and I don't hurt anymore.

Return to Me

I have lost you somewhere
along the way.
I cannot find you
and I am afraid.

Did you leave me?
Did you run away?
Did you simply want to escape?

You took my heart.
I want it back.

You thief, you fiend,
just please come back.