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.
We arrive sleepy and bent -
a crumpled wad of desire
for something new.
These wet hot streets -
a vistors reckoning -
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
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.
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.
i jumped off the bridge last night
in my heart
and now some twelve hours later
i still haven't hit the bottom -
the immeasurable depth of being,
to slam up against
with something so simple
so i wait.
think about the crawling out -
the accent -
the way back up
to where things are indeed
even inside the darkness.
even with it.
the frailty of being human -
i know the clouds are grey for a reason -
that there will be more rain
but also i know, from it
will come new growth
and this is where i rest
against the walls of a weary heart -
pull myself back out
and up -
where i can dare again
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.
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 don't like mean people
as well as i like the nice ones.
kinda like it's better to be healthy
than barfing in a bush.
some things are simple like that.
still, life makes you suffer a bully or two
before you get your free slurpee.
eventually, if you don't let the bad stuff get you down,
you'll own the whole 7-11.
start with a few good friends.
sometimes i think about what it was like
when i was three.
you were four and a half
my brother -
showing me the ropes.
when you taught me how to ride a bike
you put me on it
and just let go -
i was pointed down hill.
i rode as fast as lightning
until i hit the curb
and flipped over the bars
into the bushes.
you hoorayed and clapped so hard
i felt certain i was a hero
and didn't dare to cry.
so much of how i came to believe
the world was good and safe
was because you were always there -
pulling me in and out of danger -
keeping me steady on my tiny feet,
yelling pedal! pedal!
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.
i am trying to find a way
to say i love you
that sounds like i am saying something different.
because you are my special forever friends
and there should have been some words reserved
from before you were even born.
i love you because sunlight
and acorns and messy green trees
and the call of the wild and dangerous men
and sugar and heartache and pink.
i love you because old old memories
and new beginnings and broken dreams
i love you because you read and laugh
and argue and worship and regret and cry
and demand so much from life
that even life gets tired -
drops a leaf or two,
trembles when you roar.
i love you because you are kind and silly,
ridiculous and mad,
compassionate, cuddly, and soft.
you make me soup
and vegetables and cake.
you bring flowers and worry and trust.
you peel back decades of things that hurt
to let the sunshine back in
day after day
and you weep
beside me when i am hurt
as if there were no other place on the earth to be.
and you let me do the same for you.
i love you because there so many things happening
all the time, everywhere -
but when we are together
to be together
for real and forever
even if it only lasts a minute.
i love you because you care
about people who have less than you
and people who have more
and you share your beautiful inside hearts of hearts
with people who do not always deserve it.
i love you because when we met
we did not have to court each other
like lovers who would date -
but instead we were married
the moment we first laid eyes...
like the best of friends...
because you can
because it is possible
because it is okay even
to love someone the moment you meet.
i love you because you have made me full
of so much beauty and depth and good
that i am having to teach myself to bow -
so i look less crazy bent over -
dragging around this bulging heart
entirely filled with you.
for my birthday i got
a belt of cellulite
a bag of popcorn
and tickets to hear the stone foxes.
nobody told me my ass would drop
or the fine lines on leaves
would fail me
or that it would be my choice.
if it werent for the way you danced
i might have blamed it all on age.
tonight i am listening to a cello concerto
on a vintage garage sale turntable
i scored for twenty bucks.
last night - a law and order re-run.
tomorrow - maybe cake.
it's easier not to be perfect.
people think if you are happy all the time
there must be some lack of depth -
as if only misery or worry or grief
could be measured against the truth.
i think happy is an unmeditated reprieve.
a joy for something not forgot.
a joy for escaping the narrows.
i see how we wear our hearts on our faces.
"mine is broken" or "love me"
and then how we do all these other things
to pretend they are saying something else.
the best part of friendship
is the friend part -
how every single other thing in life
for a minute or a day or even a week -
but then one real talk
with one good friend
makes the blue meanies go away.
when there is just enough good again
to make the creepy stuff a blur,
i feel like dancing.
I cannot tell if everything is sailing
or sinking -
whether what feels like rain
is food for the plants
or floods in the making.
there is so much half and half
about this living -
how i'm certain good will win over
then terribly worried
others won't get the memo.
i try to take a few deep breaths a day,
pausing to remember how we are loved.
most of the time it is quietly -
in ways we cannot know.
i took a break today
from caring too much.
ate grilled cheese and onion rings at the same meal -
mixed the colors and whites in the washing machine -
turned off the ringer on a work day.
i asked once, when the sun hit my cheek -
as if it were July and not November -
how to be useful,
even in the midst of trying not to care.
there was never a time when i did not feel lucky.
i like to watch people come and go
in a certain hurry -
as if they too could forget
the things that really matter.
it's impossible though,
to take your heart outside of something.
it just stands there beating
"i see you"
"i see you"
"i see you."
there was a time
when all i could think of
was how to be more in love with you.
then all that loving
made others things to love -
so many in fact,
that all i could think of
was how to be more of myself somehow.
now i am just thinking about
how to be enough -
and also how it is possible
to want something so bad,
with everything that you are,
and not get it.
and still know that somehow
it is enough
to just be enough
today is the end of something.
we all know that, holding our breaths,
hoping we win.
and i am thinking about the other people,
who aren't thinking
about elections and polls and emails and pussy.
the ones who are looking for an empty doorway
or a couple hits left on a butt in a gutter
or something warm.
i am not thinking about them because i am good
but because i am sorry.
i am so very sorry.