lies i tell myself

why is it so difficult
to let go
of my anger,
sadness, shame?

why insist on holding on
to the things that hurt
me?

wrapping myself up
in a blanket of my own
undoing
my own undoing
proves to be
the thing i value
most

perversity,
this soothing
self-abuse
the faster my heart beats
the closer
my wan embrace

until it seems
there’s nothing left
but this

but this

holding on because
there’s nothing else
to grasp

 

what is a poem

i want to write,
writing to find
something
like beauty
in these letters
held together
by the things
they say
and do not
say

i must be truthful
when i say
i want to write
to touch pain,
to find that space
between the letters
where pain and beauty
become
indistinguishable
exceeding everything
those words, entwined, might
signify

i want to make life
with poetry
life emerging
from the dust
of pencil shavings
from the confines
of this language
from this world where things
exist

but
herein lies the problem

some things cannot be poems
some pain tears at the insides,
lies in the dark at night,
refuses the call
to enter the world
i wish to make anew,
the desire to create
can be swallowed
by that pain,
close my eyes to beauty,
my body to joy

now searching for a way back
a way forward,
as Alice Walker writes,
with a broken heart

what is a mother

tell me

what is a mother for?

for loving
or leaving,
for existing
in
the way i move my
head, my
body,
in the timbre
of my voice
that cries out
for you
when i am alone
and afraid
of myself,
of what i see–you in me
when i close my eyes

i want something
you cannot give.

you are the only one,
the only vessel
on a bombed out ocean
and you are sinking

i can never reach you
fast enough,
can only grasp the
edge,
feel my fingertips
gliding
along your hull,
there’s nothing for me there

and yet
this
THIS
is everything,
the shape of my desire

what do i want?

only to be heard,
to be seen,
for you
to know
that i am
drowning,
calling out
for you

it’s not you;
it never was.

it never was

it was the thing
that you could not be–
the ocean floor
that spreads out luminous
below me

winter days

aimlessness
of my body
echoed
in the gray
of the sky,
white fields roll past
outside my window,
tree branches scraping
the edges
of the sun

i want something more
and yet to be
grateful
for what i have
who i am,
today

the space between
my heart and chest
is a hollowness
that echoes
with longing,
with fatigue,
with ambivalence,
gray sky,
gray sky-
scrapers,
gray skin
over the earth,
scar tissue healing,
moving us
towards
tomorrow

how to exist

how not to be scared
of bad things
happening,
yet still to know
bad things may
happen?

how to accept
what cannot be known
as that which
cannot be known?

how to exist
in the present
moment
when that moment
is so
fleeting?

how to trust you,
how to trust myself
how to open oneself
and risk being
hurt?

after you left

breathing,
after you left
and i could breathe again,
every muscle
in my body,
breathing,
sighing,
opening up,
filling with life,
as if i had been asleep.

a kind of sleep
that knows no
restfulness,
asleep underneath
the water,
holding my breath
and
waiting
for the light
to emerge
overhead,
to say
it’s safe
to break
the surface
now,
to breathe,

to learn
to breathe
again.