Let It Bleed

A wise woman once told me that there’s an acceptable amount of time after you’ve been seriously hurt where you are allowed to concentrate on understanding the pain.  The source, the depth, the intensity. Analyze it, explore it, cry and get pissed, write it out, wallow.

Let it bleed, she said, but not for too long.

And then you gotta cauterize it.


self preservation

like a thumb flayed
on a jagged tin lid
the metallic
ache of betrayal
sears every fold
of my mind
and singes
every fiber
of my
plain-woven
soul

you ask
what i want
now that my vanity
has been thoroughly severed

well, i want the nerves
to grow back,
eyes free from tears,
and to plan my next step
more carefully

IMG_7533

somewhere on the russian taiga of human emotion

each syllable freezes
in the subzero dawn
i cry across
the tundra:
meet me half-way!

an icily formed
gesture of
good intent
evaporates

you never even
considered one step
to mete the distance
and instead
make a cool
retreat

img_0852.jpg

fiction

you can’t have me
beyond the memory
of who you mistook me to be

keep me there –
part of your own
false narrative

while i strike out
on a path of my
own dictation

past claims
carry no weight

we are free, now
from any weak promises
or aborted sense of duty

i am not something
to be shelved
and taken out
at your leisure

you can’t have me to peruse

Untitled1 (2)

Resilient Blooms

An old love poem inspired by the same flowers I always have known.  A new adventure rooted on a Cleveland street corner.   I have never loved this city proper until this summer.


chicory

i find you everywhere I go –
amongst the sidewalks
along the roads
in the fields
thriving
in the hottest days of summer
and the bitter winds of fall-
we are there.

so similar,
you, chicory, and me
reminders that beauty is adaptive
and just when you think our time is up
you’ll find us unfurling
up and up

delicately colored
but rooted deep and strong
tangling complexity
meets simple symmetry,
everlasting determined.

chicory lets me know that
something this natural
can never be wrong.

maybe we’re old souls
a love that keeps giving
maybe we’re remnants
of the meaning of living.

IMG_0355

The Endless Summer

impostor syndrome

that summer
seemed to last forever

stalled

in that hot decline
where only the feistiest flowers
thrived in ditches
and blackberry bushes
steeped
in humid air

i woke
from the sweet ether
of denial
only to be
broken
by self-doubt

love
is a tough thing,
very often

you
were the
closest
to home
i had felt
for years

IMG_2343.jpeg

A Sweet Thing

magnolia

you stir me
to the very core
with your touch

gentle thumbs
caressing the scars
of my hands

highway’s hum
stilled by two heartbeats

a slow kiss

your soft lips
don’t apologize

we earned this

a late bud
anticipated
blooms sweetest

40798B8B-E459-4BD7-885D-EADE485187FC

Semi-Spectral Scribblings

A handful of spooky poems.


letter to a werewolf

the deep, blue-robed sky
is lazily tied at the hips
with a sash of clouds
shifting in the breeze

tree frogs sing
owls call out
the moon unveils
that
i am just
a wild thing
among them

my bare footfalls sound
soft against the asphalt

the wind and then
your patient breath
graze my pale skin

you were always near
keeping pace beside me

you saw me glow in the dark


the slender vampire

i want to lie in bed
while you gently read
me to sleep

drawn on by warmth
we can twine real close
and taste electric energy

your whispering lips
against my neck

softer
than
the
pallor
of a
blue-gray
dawn

do you sleep at all,
or just bide your time

until
you
evade
the
morning?


the jumper

i cannot promise anything
except that i will break
open my mind
to you

running warm
and viscous
like the bright yoke
of a poached egg

spilling my brains
from a balcony
falling heavy
into your
pleading
hands

i wish it were better news
that we had hope
to hold onto

we said
things in
the golden
light slanting
through gnats
that can’t be taken back

Vancouver

vancouver

silver mists lift from
dove gray blades
of the lions gate

slivered skyscrapers
unfurl against
pine-dark mountains

bergamot seaplanes
bloom in the river
on hemlock wings

we never
drank
another
city

IMG_9338

 

Art Theory

I went to the Art Museum with my photographer friend. It was my second time seeing the Gordon Parks exhibit.

The first time I got so excited that I cried. I wanted to feel that spark with somebody who knew the underlying mechanics of the artistic medium.

He asked if I had noticed how Gordon’s self portrait was fading at the top. This type of print only lasts around 100 years or so, on average. I hadn’t.

But he really got me thinking!

The best things in life are experiences that fade even faster. Carbs, wildflowers, the electric connection of making new friends.

Humanity invented art as a way to capture and evoke the immense spirituality of fleeting things. To cherish moments in the lovely flow of existence.

In that way, a poet is no different from a photographer. An artist is the same as any local dreamer.

We just use various forms to barter parts of our soul.


the photographer (for louis)

humid
first of june

all the daisies
are in bloom
so i show them to you

bright white bursts
diffuse in the
overcast
evening

reflecting
in your
steady
lens

i like your smile
and the way
you know
how light
falls

i think about you, later
when the rain comes through
i climb the three-trunked maple

wet bark
and teardrops
against warm skin

i grieve to leave my home
where i know
the land’s
nuances

how could
these flowers
belong
to anyone
else?

you found a way
to give them
back to me

Almost Heaven

I wake before the Carolina dawn and leave my sleeping family. I start the car with a fear in my heart: I do not belong here. The same feeling waits in Cleveland.

I focus on the long drive ahead. The lie that peace waits for me, speeding somewhere along the twilit highway.

I grieve to leave all the love behind in the moonlit Blue Ridge Mountains. I could not reach it, though I tried.

Deadset, fast North, I will not give in to this feeling of isolation. I make good time through North Carolina and Virginia, but lose momentum near Parkersburg.

I cannot bring myself to leave the beauty of a West Virginia morning.  I pull off 77 and park at a Wildlife Refuge along the Ohio River.

Railroad tracks wind close against the water. I step a measured cadence along the creosote-anointed ties.  Butterflies lead me to a shaded path, past purple weeds and white dogwoods. I slip down the silt bank and sit on a flat river stone.

I dip my fingertips in the cold, muddy water.  It’s part of my weird superstitions, a ritual. To delicately place my hands into bodies of water as I pass. A sacred reminder that I exist, that I am part of something.

The riverflow breaks my heart in a gentler way than mountains in the rearview.  A profound current of loneliness takes me and I do not fight it.

I cry until I find hopeful tears.

I can’t recall how many times I’ve crossed this river.

I say a prayer of thanks.

And then I cross myself.


superstition

never cross a river twice
without paying your respects

go down soft
along the riverbank
and reverently touch her
with grateful fingertips
as bowed maples
know to skim
the slipstreams

the butterflies flash
among dogwood blooms
– white tears on soft silt

rivers make you wonder
why we hide from simple love
why we stay away so long

when gentle hearts repent
the river’s existence
is forgiveness enough

Saturday Night Lie

You can get glammed up and go to the bar, or you can read poetry in the bathtub.

I trust you’ll make the right call.


sheath

tonight
i wore
hot
pink
lipstick
and slid
into a
dress
that fits
like perfection

i step into
heels
then
slip it
all off again

shed free
of lies
like snakeskin
lain still in the
late-day sun

reckoning
my neon
mouth
and pale
skin

i
find
these
simple
words

i have
nothing
but my
body
to offer
the crowd

i have
nothing
but my
word
to tether
me to man

they
can’t
have it
both
ways

and
none
of them
can
touch me