Your death is an angry wasp –
a hungry bear –
desire turned on it’s side,
I always wanted to tell you
something meaningful like god.
As if words could summon a heart –
a tiny rainbow of hope –
taking its cue
from some other side.
You were a Diva who understood dying
well before you were sick.
I was a poet
who traded my name for numbers
and lost my death
in a life half-lived.
Both of us always running
to beat our own lovely fall.
Your falling was a quiet farewell –
no more talking our way out of this one.
I said good-bye like a broken drum
while you commanded that heart to stop.
It seems we are both still trying to speak –
Me – a mad pen, tired bones, an ache –
You, a deplorable sunrise
grief is a quiet color - gardenia who lost her scent - a reckoning. grief is without an hour - has no second hand - the face on a clock, gone. there is only space and a vacuous ledge to lean into. my fear - not of falling but that i will jump. when i am a whirling dervish of doing i can only be one way - productive. my heart sits on the sidelines cheering us both on but would never dare to interrupt. i come here to be reminded of the color: magenta fuscia aqua marine blue a light yellow blouse carrying bones. flesh and heart held up in the mix. i come here to celebrate even though i do not recall the occasion until I am here and sometimes not at all. i sit. i admit. i pull away from the ledge enough to breath but not so far as to pretend it isn't there. my grief is a yellow tricycle - empty basket - under a timber of sun. my grief is a magical final good-bye i was not there to make - with all the busyness of being busy. the doing of regret. they say that is a stage of grieving - as if recognizing its components could allow for some dismantling - but it is intact, i say. as certain as a two minute timer. this is how we are given a reprieve. maybe even forgiveness. the landmark for time.
at union square
i always carry tiny wads of cash
to give to men in doorways
for whom no doors are open.
they are always much too gracious
considering the cold
and the ridiculous wonder
that while i was enjoying the theatre
they were begging for heat.
i am embarrassed sometimes
for how much i have.
2 healthy boys a husband
my friends a job
there are not enough ones or fives or even twenties
to make the kind of difference
where you are no longer alone
or hungry or cold.
and i am no longer looking for someone to feed.
when i reached for the moon
and fell out of the crib
i was moved to lower ground.
when i fell out of the tree
and broke my ankle
i said who likes tree climbing anyway.
when i wrote a poem
and you said it moved you
i thought i could write forever.
then forever became a mighty long time
and somewhere i decided
it was maybe better not to reach.
or to climb
or to write.
because what if with falling
i could no longer move you?
and what if not doing means not being?
and what if the climber leaps?
people are dying -
and also there is cancer
like a maniac bully
breaking our hearts.
i wanted to feel something -
one time for itself -
without another something
to hold it up against
but what's so is the tragic beauty
of everything we love -
dissolving in front of us
as we become.
finally, i got so tired of words -
and the way they were being used
to destroy what we love
and who we love
and even how -
that i quit them.
just stopped writing.
like the fury of a hundred years
could be contained instead
but when the answers didn't line up
and my own silence
started to feel more like cowardice -
i quit that too.
had a run with rage. and ignorance.
i found it is terrible to hate,
even the haters.
so I'm picking up the words again -
like so many wild flower seeds -
and i am throwing them
into the wind.
into the abominable hatred -
even as it tries to oppress -
i am throwing the words and the seeds and the light
back in the face of the darkness
and i am hoping
that in the midst of all this dirt and manure -
our wild flowers will grow.
And they will take over
all this shameful, barren bullshit
with their outrageous color.
when they forgave me -
for words i had not spoken -
i hurried to use my voice again,
for forgiveness's sake itself.
before i changed for the better,
i broke things.
a stampede through time
unaware of the china -
a hurricane of doubt
in a trusting heart -
oblivion on top of indifference -
and the tiny riot of fear.
people said come back -
there is room here -
in-between the pictures you left,
are all these blank pages
upon which to show you care.
the rain is back -
this time like a drunk American
packing through France
with some embarrassed Canadians.
puddles are deep,
people can't drive.
only because of garage sales -
and some vintage couture i couldn't resist -
i donned my first umbrella today,
like a boss.
what a ridiculous improvement -
this whole keeping dry out in the rain -
it just never occurred...
i saw a pile of a person
under the freeway today -
covered in sleeping bags but still sitting up -
that and a small mound of cigarette butts.
no arms or legs or head.
just blankets and wet and butts.
with my stupid umbrella.
i am thinking about dads today
and how my own died way to young -
and how so much of who i have become
was because of this man -
that, in some ways, i barely knew.
but i knew him.
i know your dad died early too, and yours.
and how hard it is for all of us
to look at our boys, our sons, our nephews
and think -
they will never get to meet him, or -
god, my dad would love you.
i am proud.
to have had a dad. to have,
through marriage and love
helped make one. to understand
the delicate fabric
that holds our men together -
that shapes our boys.
I feel dangerously too close sometimes -
to the essence of things -
how i catch a glimpse of my child
walking passed in a man's body.
he carry's my father's death with him, you know
and lends him another life.
i don't know how i became a stranger here -
walking the worn aisles of the market -
recognizing no one.
i found myself -
where mount tam meets the pacific -
at a point in life up until which
i'd only ever tried to lose.
it was something.
being found -
instead of found out -
at the beach
in a quiet town with a loud heart.
i almost raised my hand as a visitor -
at the same meeting that had saved me -
when i had nothing to inherit
but undeserved grace.
instead i took a token -
a marker of sorts -
to remind me that i belong
here with the wind and the salt and the sea
where being recognized is trumped
by being known.
you can feel home in your bones,
like marrow carrying breath to the heart.
i dont drink but tonight
i wore a missile toe and mimosa t-shirt
with the arms cut off
to qualify for the ugly sweater party.
all of my friends are beautiful.
they donned their santa-riding-a-unicorn sweaters
and acrylic reindeer shells
and tried to neutralize their exquisiteness with Tacky -
but it is just impossible.
one friend showed me an app
where she could wipe her screen with her index finger
and she swore it was erasing our wrinkles.
i could not stop laughing.
not because i couldn't tell the difference
but because i thought it was so damn funny
that she would try to erase the wrinkles
on a photo
of something so imperfectly perfect already.
plus it was the way her finger rubbed back and forth
naive almost, the finger,
i could barely take it.
friendship cannot be measured in cocktails poured
or hors d'oeuvres served
or even sweaters worn.
but little fingers on screens
and white elephant re-gifts
and the magic of reading the bill
held out three feet in front of you...
one eye closed for squinting
the other shot full of love.
girlfriends are just the best.
there is no other way to say it.
tonight i left a piece of who i am
on the dance floor
because Stefani Keys was playing
and i thought
man, i wish i could sing like that -
like god was walking
down an empty road
and someone stopped
to give him a ride.
that's a particular sound you know -
two lanes. one car. and god.