Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On a Raft In a Blue Blue Sea

Sitting alone at night on the brink of June
watching lightning and thinking about you
adding up all the heartache just two people could do

Are you somewhere, staring above
watching that lightning
I gotta wonder
were you looking for love?

they say sometimes you can't let it slide
it's not like oceans 
bringing it back on the tides

sometimes there's someone
then he's gone
sometimes there's someone
but he's gone

thinking alone at night while the summer comes
i gotta wonder
were you looking for love?

there's a house sits quiet
on the edge of a lane
where the heartache's calling
i catch it again

sometimes there's someone
then he's gone
sometimes there's someone
but he's gone


They laugh at me when I say I have no radio, but I never said I don't read and reared and read again, all those pretty words.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Loving Me Down

A thousand pieces falling down, she landed on the ground
telling a story about a heavy kiss that started in the rain
years ago, she was standing in a puddle and closing her eyes

later parked on a quiet street they wrote their first lines
but that was just once upon a time
do you want to fall in love, she asked
and he already knew


people change, i think
without fault or blame or anything, people change


I have written about heavy things before --

I need to set these heavy things down
love crushing, empty hearted heavy things
I am losing my grip
I gotta put these heavy things down
and I am afraid I am so afraid
without these heavy things loving me down


Monday, May 28, 2012

Just Sitting Here, Sinking In The Sad

I thought I ought to be alone awhile
let the noises settle in my head
make coffee in the morning in the kitchen alone
thinking of things we'd said

My gambler's heart is afraid this time
like stepping out of my favorite clothes
can i walk away from a life half done?
I'd be turning hearts to lead

doesn't anybody know?


Sunlight grabbed me by the neck and turned me red while we left the maps home and let the motorcycle roam.

A happy and sad day. 
Where one thing sharpens, another dulls.

Lily is home, barking her deep, happy sound, as the summer-like heat fades and wild white spirea blooms slip into shade.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Everyone Has An Emptiness To Fill

Grown-up living often has no stage lights or lofty daydreams keeping us high.

so I sift through the shadows -- were his words real or lies?
i already gave him the light in my eyes.

maybe he's a little too hot and too high

or maybe he's cooler, i'm not seeing things right
his lips could be poems
would his hands make me cry?


He sat with his beer and a faraway stare asking, why is she that way?

I thought of her angry cigarette smoke and powder-and-lipstick marbled beauty. She just does everything as hard as she can, I said. 

That's why I hate her, he said. It's why I love her too. Why do I love her?

Why do you like chocolate? I asked. Why do you like raging music with interludes like lullabies before the storm? You have to let her be. You love her rage. Let her rage.

He said, I can't.

Oil, I said, and water.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunlight burst through the curtains like pain. A shrill alarm-clock burned away dreams. I was 18. 

I wore torn jeans and rode my 10-speed to the florist where he picked at his overalls. He pointed to a dropped tailgate. I sat in back on that gray rusted perch, bumping across dirt ruts to a wide ragged maw of shadows and old trees. In the shade spread a pachysandra field -- soft plant leaves pliant after the night's tearing rain, then the morning's balm of pastels at dawn. We cut all afternoon. 

A spear of silence pierced my day. He pointed again. Another grove. Another sea of endless, indifferent, shiny leaves.

We shoved plugs into planters like 10 egg cartons glued, and rode back toward sunset.

I watered the plugs until he pulled his pick-up into traffic. He sailed beyond a green light and shrunk into nothing.

So many days silent in the farmer's company. Why had I never wondered about lips pushing against mine? A hard shoulder under my cheek? A blaze in my stomach that seared me? I was 18. Late summer nights in the sand near the lake and alone, we tried.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

he was languid, he was smooth
he was reaching for her soul


He was a grungy old guy. Liked women and booze and would stay at the bar long after his ride left him sitting with his elbows in sticky dried brandy, his mind on a woman he lost, and eyes on the dance floor.

Got a ride home? I asked him.

You're my ride home, he said.

Can't bring you tonight….

Well, I'll walk then.

Later as the neon faded and the limbo dimmed, he walked toward a few guys shuffling around in back.

Anyone headed toward Monroe? he asked.

I can take you home, M. said.

Bumping his arm I said, so you got your ride.

He whispered, I love to dance, and I didn't want to be home alone.


I took a deep breath as gentle mist turned to sudden rain, pounding down the iris petals and seeping through my hair. Then I cried. I mean, who would know.

I cupped my hands against my heart like a butterfly, and wished. And wished. I tried to sort it all out while I spun the mower blades over long grass, around spirea and forget-me-nots and budding hydrangea blooms. And before that I managed third gear on my own on the dirt bike while Jerry leaned against a stop sign like a dad watching his kid ride a Schwinn all alone.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The birds sang on a black night under a splash of stars and I cried, remembering the curves on his face. Was it crazy?


The trees at night hid a pitch sky and I felt urgent. I needed to pant and kiss and move. Red spots slung low in the night drew a strange shape. Lighted lanterns. They drifted above the banquet hall to celebrate or remember and from hopeful hands they wandered up and up and sat over the trees and I wondered if the big dipper had grown swollen and fallen.

Friday, May 18, 2012

the nerves are killing me here
can’t seem to swallow much
can’t seem to get enough air


On a perfect sky-blue and spring-green day I saw neon bursts of deep pink wild phlox growing in pockets and hollows between driveways and stonewalls…coming and going in the shadows every year and throwing off their candy scent for a few weeks before ending.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I held this bouquet like a poem of screaming reds and weeping blues clinging together and passing their agonies.

Screw it, we're all going out; we'll all melt away. Be blue, be red, and scream and weep and love like you're on fire. Grab it in your hands and crush it against you.

Love and kiss and cry and keep your bruises.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Words Fail Me, I Fail On My Own

I started with nothing
but honey lips and hands
laughing at the avalanche inside me


I've got this short love
it's on a leash and misbehaving
it likes fire and curves and song
but it's a short love
with its eyes on the crowd
never really thinking about me

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where Do The Words Go

Words, you stampeding whores jumping from anyone's dampened lips…
I need and crave their perfect, ripping, costly touch, but they're gone.


Rain soaked the soft, oaky earth where I jammed in a heel and heaved at the weeds. Daylight withered in the dusk while I tore at a sea of blooming garlic weed crowding the bloodroot and swelling peonies.


I don't want everything, just one thing
that steals my nerve and makes me gasp
that one embrace like gravity

Friday, May 11, 2012

If i were a wishing well I would know all the things that thank
and things that thinkn't. 

Kiss me. Kiss me again, just to see,
if you know the things i think
about we.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I wish I had more tonight but I am empty
all the air has rushed out
just crashing tumbling stumbling rain
a gentle pliant bed of earth drawing it in

Jesus, I am as sad as a burnt cake

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Living In The Downtime
i see him in dreams small talkin' at me
but the neon beer lights scream like highway signs
i hide
from everything starting with the sunrise
and even in dreams where i just can't seem
to give the small talkin' back

i sink in the downtime
remembering his hands
i've got this hole inside

his arms are gone
and his breath on my skin
every day everywhere
in my head i'm always talkin' to him

but i see him in dreams
still small talkin' and smilin'
and i sit there a silent girl 
i hate me
not even free in my dreams


I was 25. I had not showered for a week and wore the same summer dress -- black with tiny yellow flowers. Starting with myself, I hated them all. None of you shitheads need to say hello, you can't suck me in.

I kept the door closed, I wasn't going out there.
The voices and people, the scrambled eggs and burnt coffee on the counter that make up a life.
The sun came up again just as bright and warm and relentless as yesterday. I was a pile of filth topped with greasy hair. Then one day the doorbell rang. An old boyfriend stood there staring at the house.  I hid. I was an ugly charade.
Another day and another friend calling for me. Then someone knocked on the door again.

But I let life slide on without me. My car insurance ran out. None of my clothes fit. I was angry. I wanted to kill it all. But everything comes with a big red line. Aim for that, it's the threshold -- that saturation point where just a little more is too much and life spills back around as disgust washes away in an overdue tide.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Her dress pooled in whipped cream swirls. Sitting in her wedding dress in the spring with her friends -- they fixed her pearls and told her secrets.

Facing a rippling lake with a clutch of artificial flowers and holding his hand, she whispered, I do. Together on a warm day with smiles and a photographer flashing, they thought about love, their past, and beer in the cooler.

I would say more, but we all know about love. We've all seen it coming.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

If I had known I would miss you I would have come closer
years ago 
and slowly kissed you


He stood drunk in the rain on a dark city sidewalk. Soaking wet I turned to face him standing on slick concrete at night. Car lights threw a wild glare around us like fireflies. He kissed me. I tasted whiskey, or maybe vodka or rum, and something I had never tasted before.

How come it doesn't always feel that way -- a small spark in the storm?

Some people, you give them a vanilla-chocolate choice, and life's simple. Me, I am in a crisis before I get out of bed. 


He'll leave a stain 
keeping that piece of you
love is such a heavy thing

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day, And I Mean It

A sinking sun's sorbet glaze covered the forest floor where Lily and I ran for fun and for the beautiful lack of traffic sounds.


I remember the shoes I wore to the mental hospital. Black heavy heels with a drastic wide buckle on top. That night someone took my shoes and showed me my room without a door. I had a scratched polished steel mirror. You see the screen on the windows? the guy asked. You would need 400 pounds per square inch to puncture that, he said. 

But I saved my strength for the screaming. After a day of silence, stale bread, and vivid orange juice the next morning, I burst. A few weeks later and a little stranger, I left.


I've been doing it in trade. Shed a little blood and maybe somebody loves you in return. This isn't a compromise. This isn't a deal. This is real life lived deep down in the gut where the flesh is damaged. We're all shaky mosaics of childhood dreams and broken hearts, wishes made on Friday nights or in old slippers on a Sunday. 

It's not random. We don't answer the doorbell and let our lives walk in.  This is face-to-face trades we make, juggling singeing desires for a life that won't make our hearts burst. We either do what we can live with, or can't live without.