Monday, December 29, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: Use with Caution

To you,
they are sounds
you make
with your mouth.

They mean nothing.

To me,
they are pieces
of your soul
from your lips
with every breath.

They mean everything.

Is it no wonder,
you shattered
my heart
with one sentence?

The Anneslee Poems: TKO

You say
"I love you"
with your fists
like a boxer
in a prize fight.
You leave
colorful reminders
so I never forget
how much
you care.
This is my life
behind closed doors.
This is how much
you care.
I raise the white flag,
throw in the towel,
surrender my life,
give up.
My body can't handle
your kind
of love.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: Thunder and Lightning

Wherever you are,
there I am.
We cannot be
anything less
or more
than what we are
You are the charge
in the spark
of my fire.
I am the light
in the sky
of your morning.
We burn
down the world
like stars falling.
You are my thunder,
I am your lightning.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: Space Jump

I’ve jumped feet first
into a black hole
with you.

I hold your hand,
you hold my heart,
the world is ours.

We have no beginning
and there is no end.
We are together.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: Break

Jack Daniels permeates the air
as you stumble into the couch,
a chair,
the counter –
anything in your way.

You throw punches,
then words,
then look to see
the damage done.

Bone to bone,
I feel my face break
down to my toes
as the flesh of your flesh
splits and tears in two
like my heart.

You bury your fists
in me –
another version of you –
until the fuel burns out.

Two bodies on the floor,
but only one
will crawl out of here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: Mother

They cut the cord
when they pulled
me out,
but wrapped me
in chains
and handed me
to you,
a little doll
for you
to dress up
and keep

The chains
with every breath
as you held me
against your chest
and told
the world
I was everything
you’d ever wanted.

I grew
around the chains
and became distorted,
nothing like
the daughter
you wanted
when you
dreamed up
my name
and bought
pink party dresses
that don't fit
me now.

When did you know
I was
going to be
good enough
for your love?

Was it my first breath?
Was it my first cry?
Was it my first word?
Or was it the moment
the plus sign
said I was real?

Some women
should never
have children.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday Sorrow

I miss you, 
especially on Sundays - 
your favorite day of the week. 

I hope you're in a better place 
and proud of me. 

I carry your words every day, 
but sometimes 
it just isn't enough. 

I need more - 
a second helping of love - 
but there isn't any left. 

We just have this one life 
and today 
it isn't enough.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: War Badges

Our mothers
were best friends

There should have been
a warning:

Bridges Burned
After Crossing. 

But we crossed
after them anyway,
following their steps
and dropping lit matches
behind us,
never learning to stay
where the good is.

They're professionals
at leaving
wherever they go.

We never thought
the fire would touch us,
but here we stand,
holding burned hands
and watching
them run off
without us. 

We're lucky - 
not everyone
who touches
their fire

We wear our scars
 like war badges.
It's all we have.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: The Girl on the Page

I read the words
on the page
and I am the girl
living among
the syllables.

I am she,
she is me
but she is also you.

We are all the same

in print.

The Anneslee Poems: Savior Without a Saint

I’ll be the one
you can
hang your hat on,
throw under the bus
and blame.

I’m the perfect
scape goat –
I won’t go anywhere
so you can get away.

I’ll be your whipping boy,
I’ll carry your heavy load.
I’ll draw the shortest straw,
I’ll cover you and take the blows.

Give me your sentence
and I’ll serve it without a word.
I’ll forget everything I could’ve had,
let my life be lived deferred.

No one has to know
that it was really your fault.
I’ll shoulder all the blame,
I’ll be guilty by default.

But don’t think for a minute
that I will ever forget
this burden is yours I carry. 

The Anneslee Poems: Relativity

Your smile snakes
across your face,
eager to prove
there’s something more
that binds us
than blood.

But I know better.

I know your secrets –
the ones you only tell
hold close to the chest,
pray to Jesus
no one else
finds you out.

But I did.

I saw you
flat on your back
on my bed
like you owned the place,
smashing your face
and body against his –
a man too short
with hair too dark
to be the same man
who gave you that ring
on your finger.

These things
are hard to understand,
you say.
Adults make strange
choices under circumstances
I could never imagine,
you claim.
I hear you.
I’m listening.
But what you’re saying
is nothing new.
Your words cannot skew
the images burned in my mind.
I’ve seen you –
waiting to be ravaged
and this is what
I understand:
you are not innocent.

I know your secrets
and no amount of blood
between us
will make me forget it.

The Anneslee Poems: Free Speech

You part your lips
for the cigarette
and inhale all the words
you should’ve said.

The smoke comes out
bitter and stale
like all the feelings
you keep stuffed in.

If you’d had your wits
about you,
you’d said so much.
But you couldn’t think,
couldn’t speak,
couldn’t make the hate
come off your tongue,
so you brought it home
to stay
like a bad cold
that turns
into the bubonic plague –
killing everyone
with one single blow
of your nose.

Let the hate roll out
of your mouth
instead of down
your throat
and maybe,
just maybe
we’ll make it

until morning.

The Anneslee Poems: Who's Laughing Now?

Your words start to slur
as you take another sip
and tip-toe across
the kitchen, trying not to
trip over your own feet.

When will you see
you’re too old for this?

You pour another
and another
and another,
never once wondering
if one more
is one more too many.

First, it was only at dinners
and parties and lunches
with clients.
Then came the Happy Hours
with swerving drives home
avoiding ditches.

And last comes now, at home,
where you sit alone
trying to remember
the daughter you drowned
in neglect;
your hate-filled hand erected
like a stone statue at my face.
hits to the back of the head
where the hair hides
your hand print.

Genius… even when you drink.

You sway so close
I can smell the stink
of all your demons
on your breath
and I just want to disappear,
leave this place
full of hate and fear
until it doesn’t exist,
until I don’t exist
and my name cannot
pass through your sour lips
ever again.

Sleep finds you quick
as I sit and wonder
how I ended up
with a mother
like you.
All I can think of –
the only truth in this world –
is God must have
a sick sense of humor, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

You Are It For Me

Someday my prince will come.
He will be tall, dark
and devastatingly handsome.
He will be mischievous,
a little devious
and much too smart.
I will need a dictionary
to keep up with him
and he will play guitar.
He will sing me songs
like "Under the Bridge".
He will tell me I'm beautiful
and talented.
He will have a normal life
filled with warmth and love.
His family will embrace me
and make me feel
good enough.
He will encourage me
and tell me to go forward.
He will be there when I lose
hope and my mother.

Someday my prince
will come
and everything
will be as it should.
I will be happy
because he will be mine
and life will be
better than good.

But I catch my breath
when I look
at my list
because I know
that you are my prince.

My someday is you,
but you are my past.
How can my future
already be gone?

In Between the Beats of the Past

You once said
out loud
for all the world
to hear,
but words
only I heard,
that someone
said I was
the love of your life
and you agreed
like you were saying
yes to dessert
or more coffee.

Do you remember
these words
you said so easily?
Did you know
how long
they would haunt me?

How careless
of you to say
my heart's desire
out loud.
How dangerous
a spell you cast
that night,
binding me to you
with no
no end
to the madness
of what could've been...

in a moment
so fleeting,
my heart lives
in the beats
of our past
where you
gave me life
and hope
in a sentence.

I am yours
and always was
since the moment
you spoke
me into existence.
You cannot undo me
or free me -
I am yours
and always was.

Almost the Love of Your Life, Not Quite

How many copies
of me
will you go through
before you see
none of them are made
with carbon?

Twenty years gone
like sand
through your hands
and you still think
she's out there -
the girl of your dreams.

Don't you remember
sitting across
the table
at Burger King
and telling me
you'd found her?

Maybe it was
the fish sandwich
but I thought
you finally got it -
I am her,
she is me,
let your dreams
be answered.

But the next day
came and went
like you'd said
like I was nothing
and the someday
I thought
had finally come
was gone.

And we moved on
like always
and you're still looking
like always
for the girl
I could've been
(and was).

Maybe you'll get close
and the next one
will make you happier
than the last.
But I know
better than I know
my own name
I would've made
you happy best.

It Wasn't You

Talking all night
until the sun comes up,
laughing so hard
and for so long 
that we forget
what was funny
in the first place,
smiling until our faces
and our jaws lock,
never wanting this moment
to end - 

I miss all of this - 
not you

the way we were
is the way 
I could've been
with anyone.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hold On To Me

Like a merry-go-round
the world keeps turning,
but some of us need help
staying on. 

And when our arms
are too weak,
our will not as strong,
we need a little help
to keep holding on.

So grab my hand
when it starts to slip
and never let me go. 

I will do the same
for you
even if you're not someone
I know. 

Let's help each other
stay on this ride
and find joy where we can;

because who knows
what will happen next - 
it's all somebody else's plan. 

Be the Spark

I pull the darkness over me
like a warm blanket;
I don't have the energy
or tools to fight it. 

Daylight is too loud
and I don't want to move;
pain sets my bones on fire,
charring the muscles and sinew.

The words I want to say
never seem to come out.
They are loud and senseless,
so I leave them in my brain 
to roll around
like a bowling ball,
knocking all the good down. 

My scars are invisible to the naked eye,
but that doesn't make them hurt any less.
The bone cage around my heart keeps shrinking,
and only sadness is left. 

The blanket buries me in a hole
that I am not tall or strong enough to climb out,
and I don't know how to ask for help,
afraid to bring someone else down. 

There you are in the darkness,
offering me a hand and helping me up,
pulling the blanket from my shoulders
and telling me today I'm good enough. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Musician of My Heart's Song

You tuned the strings of my heart
like you were tuning your guitar.
You strummed your fingers
across my skin
and set my world on fire.

You played me like a Stratocaster,
made music where there was none.
Our song was the sweetest I'd ever heard,
and then in a moment you were gone.

My heart strings are broken,
I cannot find my song.
You have left me alone forever,
and the music is lost.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams 1951-2014

O captain, my captain
your toughest battle is done.
Our love and adoration
was just never enough.

How we will miss
all the smiles you gave us,
Your heart was everything -
your humor a plus.

You made us laugh,
you made us cry,
and here we sit silent
asking ourselves why.

You seemed to have it all,
but what did we know?
The sadness kept pulling you down
until you were lower than low.

How empty life must've seemed,
how alone you must've felt,
to think that this was your way out
and no one else could help.

I will think of your eyes like stars,
your laughter like the moon
and I will cherish your time here on earth
even if you were gone too soon.

I hope you are at peace
now that the war within is done,
O captain, my captain
63 years with you will never be enough.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Nobility of You

I would give
every breath
still to come
just to keep
you safe.

You would give
all the minutes
just to keep
the rest of us

To Our Military

You wear no cape,
you have no alter ego.
You might seem
like just a man,
but I know
you're a superhero.

You can't leap tall buildings
in a single bound,
and you're not faster
than a speeding bullet.
You aren't part arachnid
or wearing an invisible shroud,
or some breed of wolverine,
or a jedi-knight-in-training.

You don't have Kryptonite
and you aren't bullet-proof,
invincible, or someone
who will win every fight.

But none of that stops you.
You keep going.
You keep fighting.
You keep hoping
this will be the last time.

And hopefully,
one day you'll be right.

You may not look the part
or wear a costume
with a mask,
but you're a superhero
and I thank you
for every second
of this life
you have protected.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Anneslee Poems: Vision

You don’t see me.
You never have.

You can’t
because every time
you look at me
you can only see
what you’re not
what I’m not
what went wrong
when I was burst
into the world
two months early.

So stop looking.

The Anneslee Poems: Up in Smoke

You burned me
down to ash
and then begged me
to come back
as if there wouldn’t be any scars
or burn marks
where you lit the match.

But I just kept burning.

Nothing put me out.
I just kept burning
until the ground
absorbed the dust
that was left.

There’s not even space
for flowers
or a marker
or anything
but a shadow
of the life
you snatched
with one scratch
against the box.

There’s nothing
to show
the damage done,
and I’m not coming
no matter what.

I’ve had enough.

I’d just rather be a memory.

The Anneslee Poems: The Stories We Tell

She lies
every time
she opens
her mouth.

I lie
when I talk
about her.


just don’t speak – 

The Anneslee Poems: The Kiss

Eye to eye
I waited,
down to my bones
that my mouth
didn’t make a promise
I wasn’t ready to keep.

You lick your lips
and lean into mine,
but I hold firm.

I’m not ready
for the follow-through.

You smile
as if you’ve read my mind
and say you only want a kiss.

I let go and give in,
sinking into you,
lips covering lips
until we are one.

You cannot part
from me –
I no longer know
where I start and end.

I am yours.
I always have been.
And all I ever gave you

was just one kiss.

The Anneslee Poems: Right of Survival

Your lips upturn
as if on queue,
falling in line
with the rest of your face.

You do what you have to.

You keep the cadence going
as if the beat of your heart
depended on your feet.

Stop moving. Stop abiding.

Just stop.

The Anneslee Poems: Reflection

I see more than you think –
that look in your eyes
holds more words
than your mouth
could ever speak.

I know what you think of me.

I don’t need ESP
or psychic ability.
You give it all away
like a girl walking the streets –
undervalued, overused and needy.

Don’t bother
looking away now.
I’ve already seen
too much
to see you the way

I used to.

The Anneslee Poems: Past Present Future Past

I see her –
how she looks at you
and I know
it won’t be long.

You never could resist
pouty lips –
the way she turns them on you,
it just isn’t fair.
The way she smiles at you,
it changes the air in the room
like everything you ever wanted
is possible
because she’s by your side.

She is the sun and the moon,
the gravity holding you
down –
oppressing you –
and you don’t even know it.

Who could compete
with a girl like that?

I should know –

I used to be her. 

The Anneslee Poems: Masquerade

I see the cracks
in your mask
and they’re only getting

We both know
the face
that you hide
will not stay covered
much longer.

How many times
will you try
to staple and glue
and staple and glue
it back together?

What will you do
when everyone else

can see what I see?

The Anneslee Poems: Lost in Wonderland

Another weekend
down the rabbit hole,
but I found
no potions
to hide me
or keep me safe.

Just once
I’d like to run away
to a place
you can’t follow,
a Wonderland
you won’t go.

The fat grimacing cat says,
“We’re all mad here”
but I’m not
mad enough
lost long enough
or strong enough
to try to find
the right hole

to get lost in.

The Anneslee Poems: Lie To Me

I see it coming
like a freight train
a mile down the tracks
ready to roll over me
but not to stop
at a moment’s notice.

They say the truth
will set you free
but all the truth
does is set free
your need
to get out
as fast as you can
because I’ll never catch
you –
you’re just a boy
dressed like a man.

I see you running,
desperate to escape
an impossible situation
where you cannot save
or be saved.
You’re already out
the door
and your feet
haven’t even moved yet.

This is why
I lie –
nobody wins

being honest.

The Anneslee Poems: Let It Burn

I strike the match
and touch it
to my dress
until I burn up
in smoke
and ash –
a ghost
who can fly away
farther than the moon
away from you
away from this
and all the hate
that swallows you
when you crawl
into your bottle

every night.

The Anneslee Poems: Inheritance

There’s something vile
in me,
like rotten fish carcasses
baking in the hot July sun.

I can’t scrub it off
or cut it out.

Even burning it
leaves the smell behind.

It’s a part of me –
this stench.

It’s a part of the bone and sinew –
the flesh –
I cannot escape.

It’s you. 

The Anneslee Poems: Heart Scars

I remember
your hands –
how soft
they looked,
how hard
they felt
my skin
over and over
as they slammed
into me,
trying to mold me
into something
or someone
more like you.

No one ever knew
what those hands could do.
Not like I did.
Not like I do.
Because let’s not pretend
those hands
don’t still leave a mark.

Your handprint
isn’t just a memory to me,
but rather a scar

I’ll have long after you’re gone.