poems from a monday night #2

two miles past the diner we broke down again,

that fall-apart car

and me.

for ashley rose

 

two miles past the diner we broke down again,

that fall-apart car

and me.

 

our smoke hid inside forestfire sky,

so we’d laughed

our way down

unseen swirls,

busted-radiator gray.

 

when we pulled over

and the truth spiraled out

i stared at the smoke,

and you stared

at me.

 

with jokes on your lips

you held me together

more mechanic than gas-station men

with sentences and cigarettes

and yesterdays.

 

in the end we only made it to the roadside casino,

stashed our things

left the car

and hitched home.

 

i had keys in my pocket

to leave the next day

but i slept in your bed that night

and the rest

waiting for my car

and

waiting

to

stay.

 

-h

 

poems from a monday night #1

hush, please
and youll hear the wind
blow away summers
hot.
heavy.
air.

shh

hush, please

and you’ll hear the wind

blow away summers

hot.

heavy.

air.

 

forget for a moment

the click of computers, the buzz of these lightbulbs, the unstoppable tick of that clock

listen please

to the sound

of the rain

on the sidewalk

 

to the plants drooping downwards,

to the drip of the dew on the dirt,

to the wetness of raindrops on summerdry concrete,

to the swish of the grass underfoot

 

set down your pencils and papers and planners

and let yourself breathe wild air

do you notice the leaves are all brown on that one branch

do you see that theyll soon be bare

 

hush, please

or join in the chorus

of birds crying out to the sky

 

of latenight bugs humming and little mice running and the rush of the clouds as they cry

 

as the winds rattle branches

and join grasses in dances

 

they breathe summer out

 

with a

 

sigh.

 

-h

slices, how to make this place our home

We had pie. All of us, I mean. Feeling vaguely reminiscent of a large family gathering, with all the windows and doors open to let in the newly August air, we gathered around the oven and shared large scoops of vanilla ice cream that melted almost immediately. In the background, everything hurt a little less, but in the way a computer updates without you even noticing. You used to have to tell your computer: yes, now is the time to move forward! But now, it all just happens automatically. 

We had pie. All of us, I mean. Feeling vaguely reminiscent of a large family gathering, with all the windows and doors open to let in the newly August air, we gathered around the oven and shared large scoops of vanilla ice cream that melted almost immediately. In the background, everything hurt a little less, but in the way a computer updates without you even noticing. You used to have to tell your computer: yes, now is the time to move forward! But now, it all just happens automatically.

“I’m going to drink my ice cream.” one of us declared, before immediately doing just that. We all validated the decision with heavy enthusiasm.

It was blueberry. The pie, I mean. I think this detail is important for you to know.

Perhaps, you’ve been here before. Swaddled by cigarette smoke and people. Everyone takes carefully constructed bites because the pie has become an event. Something we all want to acknowledge that we appreciate out loud.

‘We took it out too early.’

‘But, you know what, I like it that way! It’s better this way anyway. Our imperfect, perfect pie.’

How easy is suddenly felt to be alive. I recently read an article on nostalgia and how it relates to food (read it here) and I wondered if I’d spend my entire life trying to recreate this slice of pie. Would I be on my deathbed one day thinking, “Life peaked at blueberry pie.”

(Writing this now, I snap the elastic band on my wrist once against my flesh. A trick my therapist recommended. I’m unclear about the details of when you’re actually supposed to snap it, but the right moments seem to present themselves to me like they’re scheduled. Snap to life, snap to reality.

Like children, we hesitated going to bed that night, staying up well past our usual bed times for no reason at all. Long past the end of conversations. Occasionally someone might say, “I should go to bed” without getting up, without even the intention of getting up. There were eight of us, then, suddenly, seven, six, five.. (I like to think of Bowie counting down in Space Oddity)

Then, without our consent, the night became early morning and there was only two of us left. Warriors waging a one sided battle against time.  I concentrated on keeping every muscles in my body steady, thinking I could become stuck in time if I was careful enough. But even still, my heart pulsed, my nails grew, my lungs expanded and then contracted. A busy highway pretending to be still water.

I’ve eaten blueberry pie before. It’s tasted like familiar stains in old carpet, the heat of Illinois in the summer right before a big storm, pulling folding chairs out of the garage so everyone has a place to sit. It’s been many things. Frequently, it tastes like a beginning and an ending all in one slice. Like, “Why haven’t we done this before? We’re alive every single day, but we only eat blueberry pie on special occasions.” Like, “Let’s start having pie for breakfast!”

I’m going to eat pie again, though I can’t tell you exactly which flavor yet. But when I do, it’s going to taste brand new, and it’s going to taste like a home, and hopefully then I’ll turn to you and say:

‘We had pie. All of us.’

A

 

 

 

 

from coals back to fire

im remembering perfection doesnt exist and instead, we do.

yesterday the winds were blowing and the lake had waves and its like a season ending or times are turning or something, something dramatic about change

and i feel light, light like the eagle when he rides the breeze above the dock, light like singing so loud in the car with the windows down, light like laughter

and i feel almost silly for how heavy life has been

im remembering perfection doesnt exist and instead, we do.

my best efforts will only ever be that and thats what theyve been and everything thats been awkward or terrible or humiliating or embarrassing or a failure has no right to be judged, it just is, it just is.

and its fun to put labels on me and on things but sometimes a bad day is just a bad day or a bad mood is because im lonely or i stubbed my toe or i need a shower or its sticky hot in the house and i had to make small talk and im grumpy.

maybe im not broken and nothing is all that wrong

maybe im broken and put together in the way that we all are

and things have actually been so incredibly incredibly right.

(right, not 100%-and-A+ right, right as in sun on my skin and moving my body and laughter so frequent i cant imagine half a day without it – right as in seeing all my friends and dancing until dawn and brothers-again and taking-the-risks and a job that i care about, a job thats Important, and being so in love with the people in my life its ridiculous,  it should be a movie, it should be a lifetime, that kind of right)

so dont let the wind blow away summer yet, dont let the seasons change, i want this one, i take it all back, im not mad at the hardness of the sun anymore, its a miracle if i believed in those, its a gift, its perfection in its absurdity

and so before its over

let me speak

let me speak and not only about hard things

i have words to say about the wind on my face, my hair blowing in every direction and the waves hitting the shore like its a beach, like its the ocean, like its natural music, and i want you to see how far across the blue shimmer water the trees build up into hillsides. and the boats all rock side to side like little dancers and its everything i ever want, this moment, right now. the eagle rides the wind for the joy of it and so do the sailboats and i stand balancing in the whirl of all this, grounded, soaring, laughing

all we are is our stories and i want to tell mine with hope again.

and then i was gone all day, returning late late in the special star-view blackness of night. but when i opened up my car door, the wind was still there. and with the water slapping the shore, the feel of that air moving everything back into place, my sleepy-eyed brain recognized it all and felt

home.

‘this is the lake’ i told my also-arriving friend

as if that explained anything at all

‘this is the lake,

and thats the wind.’

and i breathed it all in, and then let the world breathe me out again

 

-h