Monday, June 29, 2009

Delayed Due to Weather II (poem)

There are certainly worse things
than sitting trapped in the second
to last row of an airplane, runway
bound, grounded, delayed due to weather.
I’ve experienced them – hands folded
on sterile laps while doctors smile
politely and say nothing directly –
cheeks blushed red with passion
and fury when love kicks my body,
already humbled, to the ground –
feet fidgeting on the edge
of my father’s grave –
But somehow this delay gives me
an additional pause, an internal hand
pressing me back, an inevitable
shouldaknownthat. Why should I expect
this trip to be any different? No journey
is easy; no flight is on time.

I Want to Hear You Tell the Story (poem)

There is a clever way to construct words,
to link them together, succinctly, to tell
the story of our lives. There are so many
ways, so many places to start, to stop,
to skip, to re-tell from different angles,
different voices, different clicks of verbal
cameras. I don’t always tell our story
well. Sometimes it’s too consuming, too vast,
to hard to iron out the complexities.
Where is the line? Verbal misdirection
points one way and slides another
especially on points of pride or love.
I have lost both only to rise back up,
new, refreshed, refined, still myself
but slightly scarred. Now my clever
construction of words requires a shift
in idioms – I don’t know what any of it means
anymore, no matter how I tell it.

Measure of Time (poem)

Flying across time zones
at night, losing the hour
I gained in reverse, I wonder
what I’ve sacrificed. Time is
a measure of what happened
when and I think I should start
keeping a minute by minute
mind-time journal of this moment’s
pastpresentfuture. Could I rig
a time zone filter so I could
continually lose and gain
increments of life, measured
by a machine, controlled by lines
of latitude? Would that be
a sanctioned method of living now?

So Many Fountains (poem)

There are more fountains
in Chicago than wind
and more revolving doors
than homeless people.
I love the speed of city,
the fast paced rush
of life in real time.
But every time I see
a bay of water majestically
filling the air with controlled
beauty, I pause. We all do.
Something stills the hurry
of humanity. It is important
to pause in the daily spin
of home, less than necessary,
but more than any sanity knows.

Morbidly Pre-cancerous on a Christmas Eve (poem)

“Love is having someone to watch you die.”
death cab for cutie

Some day I will get cancer and die from it
like every other member of my family.
I will shrink to nothing in hospice care
and hollow and whoever makes up
my friends and family will come and murmur
things about me out of earshot. I will choose
not to hear them, anyway, whoever they will be.
My loved ones change as predictably as the seasons
which is less cliché now that global warming
has jilted the ecological forces that spin
this planet. I don’t know who will bother
to hold my hand as I struggle to breathe,
struggle to set myself free from this
terrible earth. Even my best friends
abandon their posts with little notice
every once in awhile and I shrug
my pre-cancerous shoulders
and find new people to share in all
my outrageousness. I am too brash,
perhaps, too demanding, too demeaning, too quick
to turn cold and leave.

What if no one
longs to be near me when the cancer strikes?
What if they all
come back just to let me go again?

Someday when I am diagnosed
with cancer, I will tell no one
so I won’t find out which is true and I won’t
be defeated by another silent night.

Outside of the Obvious (poem)

There’s no reason
to answer, but I do.
This is what I want:
you, nestled chin, locked
on my shoulder. I have tried
to escape, move on, unlock
from you but it always comes
back to this: you call, I answer,
we join. There is no reason except,
lock busted wide open or not,
we’re never alone in this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On a Temperate Day (poem)

There are better ways
to do this, you know,
easy ways that involve
cliché phrases like
Shut up and kiss me.
We don’t give in to cliché.
Instead we spin and spin and spin
until I become a little tornado,
angry storm that destroys only
when I touch down, while you,
you are like a lightening bolt seen
far far away, rarely striking,
never twice. We are so close
to sharing this dark climate
but still so unable to face
into the wind and admit that we are
more than cliché, more than storm,
that we are what love could be
on a temperate day.

The Ocean (poem)

I keep finding new ways
to define love and I don’t
like any of them.
A friend says BE THE OCEAN,
let life happen as an act
of nature. But when I try,
THE OCEAN washes me up
on the same old shore. I’ve examined
this beach before, built a shelter,
scavenged for food, survived
for as long as I could.
As far as I can tell, this survival
is love and Poseidon is cruel.
He finds ways to reinvent me
on the same stretch of sand,
fool me into thinking I’m somewhere
new until the day I stumble
on my own artifacts from the last time
I was here.. It’s all the same mirage,
that’s what I’m getting at, it’s all
the same wave that brings me here.

Hello and Thank You (poem)

Instead of getting to know me,
put your lips on mine and press
with easy pressure, dance tongues
behind teeth, let them push through
to meet with pure satisfaction,
to touch tips and twine together, tongues,
pure sensation, deepening with twists
and spasms of neck and spine. Eyes closed,
you will see me for who I am
deep inside my kiss.

Certain Shade of Dark (poem)

There is a certain shade
of dark that signals night
to the mind. It’s 3:30
in the afternoon and I feel
like dusk. My mind has been wrapped
in lyrics for days now, well
before this recent bout of early
darkness. It is June and I am thirty
and there are so many places
I wish I could be, destinations for others,
a place for escape, reservations preferred
but walk-ins welcome. Saucy, sad,
and true. I am always in love
with at least two men who don’t want me.
I’m a place they’d like to visit someday, but,
like the Grand Canyon, will always be there,
no need to hurry, the erosion takes time
to show, and that kind of beauty only gets better.
They rush instead to artificial constructions
that demand immediate attention. Not like me,
patient, too patient, and part of the earth.
I stay where I am and hum a few bars
while I wait, songs that tell tales
of unrequited love, the purist form,
especially on a day drawn prematurely dark.

Rivalry (poem)

We are in the bleachers at Fenway,
Fenway a place that is ours, complete
with meeting points and staked out vantages,
and we are not having a good time.
It’s Red Sox versus Yankees and this
should mean something. But it means
less than anything and you spend
the evening locked in the story
of another woman. Why did you
bring me here? I stare you down
and you look uncomfortable.
Stop it, you say. I say, No.
You tell me no one you’ve ever dated
has liked The Dave Matthews Band
and I wonder what that has to do
with anything.

Friend of the Writer (poem)

I would imagine that it would be terrifying

to realize you’re a character in my verse,

no longer made of bones and muscle, heart

poundingly accurately alive. You’re my latest

creation. Welcome. I’m still learning

how to master your puppetry, re-create

your lines, pull your strings to determine

how it would feel to be you watching me birthing you

on this page. Don’t worry – I’m a professional

and you’re in good company. I won’t name you

and I won’t label you as anything other than how

I see you. You won’t like any of this

if you figure it out. Here’s the thing, though:

I don’t care. I’ve already put my thumbprint

on you and that will never change.

I will write a smile on your face and tell you

to relax into the paper. It’s easy and it's fun.