Monthly Archives: October 2009

Away

Planes are taking off and leaving,
nothing here is stagnant.
Alone between the noisy walls,
the announcements never end.
Silence comes in velvet boxes.

I don’t want white quiet
or grey voices overhead
I want the crimson of your soothing lines
but I’m sure you packed it with you.

Maybe time will whizz by without notice.
A couple of calendar pages
and you’ll be on the arrivals board.
I’ll have your flight number tattooed
on the palms of my eager hands.

That sounds nothing like how truth sounds.
My optimism is dripping off my cheeks.

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fault line

He’s drunk driving
swiveling on the streets
he sobers with the smash
blames it all on the ice
the black ice.
The other driver believes him
assures him
he slid on some ice earlier
it wasn’t anyone’s fault
no need to share information
he looks like a good kid.
so have a good night.
And get home safely,
there are drunk drivers all over
this late.
Back to his party
with shaky hands and
without more alcohol
people whine and inquire
what took so long?
He flies up the stairs
to his room
his guilt heavy in his chest.
He tells himself he shouldn’t have gone
with his head buried
under the covers.

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responses of your tick tock heart

1.
You tell yourself this is real.
This is real. This is real. This is real.
The stars are in your eyes and all you see is crimson and gold,
wherever you look.
Yes darling, that is the ocean you hear when you hold that shell
against your soft little ear.
Your life began with Once Upon a Time and can certainly
conclude with Happily Ever After.

2.
Crooked are the stairs that
lead to the musty basement
where the sun never lights the room
and the damp carpet
never dries.
The couch is sagging
with old regrets
that no longer make any sense.

3.
I want the spaces between your fingers to be mine. My slender fingers belong there, so close to yours. They need to be there. They look so awkward all by themselves and are just the right size to fit perfectly with yours. My hands are always much too cold and yours are always perfectly warm. Can’t you see? They’re a perfect pair. Let’s keep them together for always.

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in transit

I hated work. I hated school. I loved you. My favorite part of each day was riding the subway with you. Sometimes I’d find myself smiling just thinking about going home. We’d wrap ourselves around the same pole in the morning and whisper to each other about all the odd people. When the subway lurched, you’d catch me. When it was crowded, you’d hold me to you so we were tightly knit together. Some nights it would be entirely empty and we’d play games or dance in the aisle. If I was too tired we’d find two seats in the corner and forget about the rest of the world. We’d listen to your music on shared earphones and our stop would come too quickly.

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Poem for Sandra Simonds

This poem is written like Sandra Simond’s poem “Poem to David Schubert.”

Scrambled down the stairs and there was darkness scrambled down the stairs
light to the forest and saw the giant redwoods scrambled to the forest

why can’t you see what’s happening why can’t you see the inevitable?
Ran all the way to the clearing, ran to the cottage for advice.

May I seek your advice, wise cottage, may I seek my sister has ruined
me for the most valuable advice for the most valuable advice she why

can’t you sit with me on the bench on the bluff when the clouds are the clouds again?
Summer ended and she was no longer my sister why can’t you sit

Scrambled down the stairs to the crooked and warped stairs when the clouds were the clouds she says
the road of here will provide the wisest of advice and there’s nothing more to know.

Sister, will you give me your map or your watch, angel, will you let me hear
you sing? Scrambled down the stairs and it was light scrambled to the stairs of stone.

A scowling angel waited by the cottage and recited the most valuable advice.
Will you give me your silvery cloak or watch, angel, will you let me hear you sing?

Seek out the wisest advice and revel in the wisdom and see the inevitable, my angel,
Sit with me on the bench on the bluff sit with me by the cottage
for the clouds are the clouds again.

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here for you

Her heart is aching and she’s crying, she’s crying so hard. She’s curling up against you as if she believes this is going to help her and you don’t even know what to do. You don’t even know why she’s crying. She knocked on your door instead of the doors of her friends or her family and this seems like a significant decision now. When you opened the door she quickly clung to you and held onto the back of your shirt with her tiny hands. You couldn’t do anything but hug her back and close the door to the cold outside world. Your shirt was wet with her tears when you led her over to the kitchen to make her a cup of hot tea. Her eyes were bright pink and she could barely stop crying to drink from the mug in her hands. Now she’s quietly sobbing against you on your bed and you’re feeling so much more than confusion. You aren’t sure what she wants you to do or even why she is crying. You don’t want to make her more upset by asking her. It’s hurting you in an unusual way to see her cry like this. You wish you knew how you could fix whatever was making her so distraught. She must think you specifically can help her with her troubles. Or maybe she just wants to be with you so you can hold her in a way that no one else can.

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overhead views

She parked her little Chrysler on the side of the street next to the airport terminal so she could watch the planes come in and go out. She came here every single week. Sometimes she cried and other times she just watched. Many years ago airports held nothing but excitement for her for they usually promised vacation memories or family gatherings. Those happy connotations were forever replaced with a more negative one when her husband died in a plane crash. They’d been married for thirty-seven years. She had nightmares about crashes for the first year after he was gone and she would sometimes break down just watching the planes high in the sky on a clear day. So she forced herself to come here and deal with the pain, the grief, the memories. After a while it became an important part of her life. She needed to come here just to see and hear and feel it all. Sometimes she’d bring her daughter and her grandson here and they’d have picnic dinners but most of the time she just went alone. She was there to be with him in her memories.

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to make sense of the world

I want to bend over and flip my wet hair over my shoulders so it creates the sound of rain a lake behind me. I want to glide down a water slide with my arms crossed over my chest like a mummy and my mouth wide open in a scream of delight. I want to wear a sundress and skip through high grasses as I sing all the words to my favorite song. I want to do flips into the pool until I get that squirmy feeling in my stomach. I want to make dozens and dozens of cookies just to smell them coming out of the oven. I want to bounce on a trampoline until I feel entirely weightless. I want to ride a bike along the coast so the ocean breeze streams through my hair and the sun warms my skin. I want to fill my house with candles and watch the light dance. It all makes me feel so alive, it all makes me feel so happy but I need you to do it all with me. My happiness means nothing without yours.

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different. different. the same. the same.

I woke up on the grey couch in your apartment quite early. I can never sleep for very long when I drink. I went into your room to see if you were awake but you were sprawled out on your stomach drooling on your pillow. You were very drunk last night so I decided not to wake you. There were plastic cups and empty bottles all over the counters and floor in the living room. The lingering sour smell of alcohol made my insides shudder but I ignored it and cleaned everything up. What I really wanted was some coffee and toast but I didn’t have any idea where to go. I sat on the couch fiddling with my phone and drank tap water from a Disneyland mug. Your apartment is different than I thought it would be. You used to paint all the time but the walls are bare here. I thought I heard you getting up but it was just your roommate Meredith running into the bathroom to throw up. She was funny and clearly the drunkest she’d ever been last night. I couldn’t stand listening to her so I took the stairs to the roof. It was warm and there was a perfect breeze that reminded me of the summers we used to spend at home. I found a plastic lawn chair and dragged it over to the edge that overlooked the morning traffic. I leaned back and let my mind wander as the sun moved its way higher into the sky. I don’t know how long I had been sitting there when the sound of the door to the stairs slamming shut pulled me from my thoughts. You waved and grabbed another chair. You sat down next to me and took a cigarette from your pocket. “Do you want one?” you asked me. “No, I don’t smoke.” “Oh that’s right.” “How are you feeling? You were pretty gone last night.” “My liver’s used to it.” “I never go to parties like that at school.” “Did you hate it?” “No no, it was really fun. What are we doing today?” “I was thinking we could go get something greasy for breakfast then just relax in the park for a while. Sound okay?” “Yeah sure, it’s summer so I’m casual.” “I know, but this is your last day here so I want to squeeze in everything you want to do.” “Well I never get to see you anymore Sarah, so I just want to spend the day with you.” “Yeah I hate that. We used to practically live together in high school.” “Feels like forever ago now. Are you still going to live in the city after you’re done with school?” “Probably. I fit out here much better than I ever fit at home.” “Yeah. I guess I figured that.” “What about you?” “I don’t know. I can’t be so close to home anymore but I know this could never feel enough like home to me.” “You’re still the same,” you said, after a pause. “I guess so. Not entirely, but in a lot of ways that’s true. You’re not at all the same,” I said. “I know. I don’t even know when it happened.” “I guess it was in all the time we weren’t together.” You half-smiled and we let the sound of the city sounds replace our words. We were different now but we would grow comfortable with the difference over time.

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in between

We sat in the middle of the staircase
forcing everyone to walk around us
like water around a great stone.
We didn’t want to go up.
We didn’t want to go down.
We were tired of the transitory world.

What if we didn’t want change?
Where could we find certain constancy?
A lifetime of solidity is all we sought.
The results were less than encouraging.

We stayed on the stairs
until they crumbled beneath us
and we were forced to walk away.
Despite our best efforts
even the stable ground we sat on had changed.

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