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
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?
in the evenings, when even the bones are tired
and every bit of energy that could be conjured
has been -
there is still a young rapper in his room -
discovering the magic of words -
and another boy, taking a vacation
from the wonders of the cosmos
to play a video game with a friend.
the noises are absolute.
my dog curls up like a pinto bean -
his big ears on alert.
something inside me hungers.
so much of a day spent doing
until the heart has had her chance to rumble.
the fingers their chance to skip
across the black pavers -
at last awake.
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.
Forty is a magic number
like 7 and 11 and 13.
Forty is when you are closer to fifty
that you are to twenty
and you just cannot believe it.
It is also when mean people start to not matter
and your real friends show themselves
and your occupation is only part of who you are.
It matters who you love when you are forty -
because you realize you may be half way home
or on the back nine
or however you say
to old to screw around anymore.
It matters who loves you back now also -
more than it did before -
because who has time anymore
for half-assed love affairs
and broken promises
and the greatest insult of indifference?
Forty is great because you really start to care
about things that matter -
differently than you could
when you were thirty -
and you've lived enough life to simply reply
"because i said so"
when someone asks you why.
At 46, I'm thinking 'hells to the yeah'
just watch me put in some crest strips
and hit Facebook -
i'll write a poem all about the life.
sometimes people ask you a question
and then get mad at you
because they don't like the answer.
sometimes you give someone your trust
and they give you back
a knuckle sandwich.
sometimes you think every little thing
is a-okay in the world
and then you wake up.
sometimes it hurts to laugh
and feels good to cry
and you have to ask
am i little crazy?
someone who really loves you
will say "no."
they say all is fair in love and war
and i think that's a bunch of malarkey.
like how with love -
there are so many more catchers
than there are pitchers,
its nearly impossible
to get a game going.
from the bleacher i want to just yell
Throw the fucking ball! Hurl it!
because i think eventually someone will show up with a mitt.
i know it looks easy to say
from where i'm sitting -
sharing a bag of seeds with my prince -
but i'll be damned
if love won't break your fall
if you jump.
i have always known
that i am not afraid of heights.
what i am afraid of
my friend Louise is little and cute
and i call her loulou because of it.
also she is a quiet somewhat sneaky
sort of artist
who splashes you with her art
instead of drowning you in it.
i admire that about her -
how she treads lightly,
slinks into a room unassuming,
but with a smile
that changes how the light rests.
loulou is one of those people i think
who would never expect a poem
but who sees the poetry everywhere -
"you don't need to rhyme" she tells the moon,
"no iambic pentameter needed here" she assures
the daisies -
"just speak" she whispers
"all your secrets are worth sharing".
the rain is back
this time like a no nonsense bag lady
and their passing.
i wanted to say something important today
but there was turkey and cranberry mold
funeral potatoes and green beans
crispy onion, corn and cream -
plus cookies and cake and pie.
that shut me up
like a million lazy minutes
and all i could say was
when we decide to age together
and i mean really age -
without all the trying -
i hope you will remember that i am cute.
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.
sometimes grief comes out of left field
dressed like an angry bird.
steals your sack lunch -
makes a mess of things.
i try to hold your despair
like walls down an unlit hallway,
feeling my way through the dark
to your heart.
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
i wanted so much to be proud
of who we were becoming
but when things didn't go my way
i was furious.
angry at the world
irate at people i love
mad even at the sun
for shining its "haven't-a-care-in-the-world"
kind of shine - today
of all days.
then i remembered a promise i made myself
one time long ago -
when words really mattered.
always no matter what
i will look for the light.
always no matter what
i will find a way home.
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.
If i had another life
i would choose this one -
all messy and ridiculous
with the clutter of bones and bills and love.
i would walk head-on
into the magical mayhem
of my teenagers' angst
and the moods of marriage -
all the time watching my life unravel
in both anguish and awe.
No one would save me
and i would not dawn a cape
or make a brilliant name for myself
but i would have you
quietly snoring next to me,
and everything that our laying together made
would be brimming over
always seeming to bang at the door
at every door
of this mad and wonderful life.