london

 We arrive sleepy and bent -  
a crumpled wad of desire
for something new.
These wet hot streets -
a vistors reckoning -
grief.
But that is what you carried here
my dear -
packed neatly in your bags -
folded, creased, alert.

I tried to find the thing
that made London her own.
But, belonging to everyone
and spread so densely
through street upon alley upon court
with flesh,
she's a union of nations at once -
scurrying about in search.

The homeless prefer, it seems,
to sleep in broad daylight
beside a riot of words.
There are no shoes,
a tired beard,
an altar of water bottles
left at his feet.

I thought about quitting marriage
when I couldn't summon joy - 
as if London should ring that old bell
back into awakening.
But it was dinner time again - 
and every other door
an open mouth for feeding.
So we dine
so we sleep
so we rise once more

and when you say good-bye
i love you at last.

					

#69

sometimes staying in bed or just disappearing
feels like a better option
than one more pull on the bootstrap 
or half-hearted acknowledgement
of just how silver the lining really is. 
we are tired.

it does not seem fair that while children are starving
simply because they are not our own
and people around us are ailing and dying
simply because its "part of being alive" -
that we should have to also put up 
with some hack job politic or crumby job
or even a hurt of our own.
we are really that tired.

i'm hoping it will be okay someday
for you to tell me how broken you are
and for me to just hold you
without trying to fix you
or telling you how fortunate you really are. 

and i am hoping that once we have all admitted
we are worn to the bone
by all this busy-ness of being alive
we can go back to feeding people
simply because they are hungry
and caring for people
simply because they are ill. 

i'm not sure there is much more to figure out than that.
maybe feeding and caring
would be enough to change the world.





 


					

#68

<>they gave me a little pill
so they could rip from my mouth
a word hoarder –
a shell of stories –
my having tossed caution to the wind tooth –
my ouch.

that taking made me think of giving
and how much there is to give still –
today, this very minute –
even as each of us hold our wounds,
ice our breaks, disguise our weaknesses.

i like that the lady who drove me home
gave me a one armed hug and said
no you are not fine
because she recognized there were bombs falling
and lights flashing and sirens blaring
behind my swollen crooked smile. Behind my face.

PTSD lingers around like an easy lover you cant quite forget.
You know how to handle her. You’re friends now. You can almost love her for having left. Then BAM! your sweating tears and lips are trembling. the heart – like an upside down fishing lure that has lodged itself in your throat. you’re fucking eyes all crying like a baby you don’t even know. Bitch.
Im trying to pacify her with a heating pad, sad coffee, slippers. no looking at mirrors. no noises. check. no sudden noises.

I tell you what; if I could get high without giving up 22 years of sobriety, I’d be all over it. As if something outside of me could make what’s inside of me right. Nah. But i can still see my brothers and sisters downtown, holding on to their treasure chest of traumas. and its cold out. PTSD is cold. maybe i can find a way to share these blankets under which i am finally starting to sweat.</>

#67

what would you do, heart 
without a cell phone ringing 
or me texting and snapping and retrieving
one hundred and fifty times a day?

what would you say, heart 
without me having to answer
every forty emails, deleting forty more
and bothering so much with Siri?

what would happen to you, heart -
in all your soft glory -
if you could just beat and love
and beat some more?
intuiting the vastness of stars
before night even falls.
catching his breath
before she walks into the room.
embracing my child before he walks
    away.

i remember when.
there was a feeling.
so much to feel       really.
    so much
more.

 

#66 Grief

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.


 

#64

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
or breaking
or resting
i could no longer move you?
and what if not doing means not being?
and what if the climber leaps?

#57

i wanted to bring you flowers - 
lift the scent of jasmine out of the air
or carry the wind with me -
to where you were hiding,
under the sleep-strained sheets
and the empty bottles - 
to before pills and drink and men
could destroy you.
but you won't answer the phone
or the door
or the possibility of things being different -
because, you say,
there is no hope -
inside these dark hours - 
these endless moments of grief - 
this constant feeling of loss. 
i say i have been there - 
have run full bore into the darkness myself -
trying to get there 
before it could come get me. 
how i have buried myself also - 
under the impenetrable longing and the shame -
and the elusive promise of forgetting.
you still think i couldn't possibly understand,
that no one can possibly understand. 
but we do. So many of us truly do.
i once held the hand of a beautiful woman
while she pushed a baby out of her body
into the world.
Two years later, I held that baby 
while we buried her beautiful mother
into the earth.
She'd been found dead - 
   kicked to death 
in a crack house 
just outside of town.
She was one of us -
someone with dreams and fears and love and concern -
a lifetime of new beginnings and loss.
And it started with just one little pill.
When i call you - 
which i will do - 
again and again and again
until you answer,
because i recognize that you are ill
and not just a pain in the ass - 
i will say
come outside and smell the wind,
watch the morning unfurl with me -
she how it just opens up quietly
into the darkness instead of against it - 
until all signs of night are simply gone.
and look how we are standing here alone - 
just you and me -
and also a million other people
inside their houses and their cars
under their bridges and in alleys and parks.
All of us watching the light open up -
wondering how we will do it.
what we will choose -
while there is still a choice to be made.