09 November 2013
and the waves roll in, past my pen.
Thank God for these bones.
Because of them, I can stand
between the clouds and finish working.
She had a Mennonite name,
and it rang in my brain.
I almost mistook her name
for my own, but then my pen
was out of ink,
and my passions ran dry.
Will no one read these letters?
When we use words like "natural,"
we wish our bones
would soak-up the excess,
the fog above the water.
10 October 2013
It started with a fever and ended with a random drug search.
The start: Evidently, being exhausted can lead to other misfortunes, such as having a fever and a headache for the better part of a week, but there's nothing "better" about it, aside from the hot toddies, recommended highly by a new friend. Through a haze, I orchestrated a small presentation, involving a female-shaped portal and some sort of rodeo. I don't remember much. There was macaroni and cheese and delicious cake for dessert. My brain buzzed with activity and DayQuil.
On a separate day, let's call it the Thursday following, I wised-up and asked a silly question: "How am I doing?" That's when the collar tightened just a little bit. The answer was terrifying. I snarled, but only for a moment, and then I whimpered and understood. Shapes and figures, numbers and codes were as much a part of my programing as words. The template is rough, but that's what grad school is for. Weaknesses -- even if they are clinical and sterile, blossoming from the certainty of diagnoses -- are just challenges, invisible little steps. I don't need procedure and law to protect me when I have these bootstraps, which come in handy for pullin' myself up. Obviously. And when I scampered to my vehicle, which I had parked ten minutes before it was permitted, I was surprised to discover that, lo and behold, it was time to receive my first parking ticket. 3:50 PM is nowhere near 4:00 PM. I should've known better, but then again, numbers allude me.
Finally, I reached my destination. My emotions were threadbare, but I knew I'd be OK. Friends helped. Samuel Adams helped. And three short hours later, I was on my merry way. I didn't hear the sirens behind me, because I'm slightly hard of hearing, and also because, as the children proclaim, the jams were cranked. It had been seven years or thereabouts since a policeman had pulled me over. At that time, I was a sprightly college miss in a 1993 Ford Taurus. Tonight, I was a puffy 28-year-old in a 1996 Chevy Beretta, that was missing a front license plate. That was why he pulled me over, this gentleman who resembled a blond Matthew Broderick, only younger and, dare I say it, shorter. When I rolled my window down, however, he saw that I needed more anxiety in my life, so he told me that he would like to perform a random drug check, during which he asked me thrice if I possessed any weed. I have never touched weed, because I'm milquetoast, a stiff shirt, a square, and Matthew Broderick did not know it. He searched my vehicle. He did not find anything. He complimented me on how friendly and cooperative I was. It was because, as the children sometimes say, I am a dork.
And those are the reasons why I booked a hotel room for the weekend. No metaphorical collars, no numbers, no coppers -- just me, and maybe Samuel Adams.
03 October 2013
1.) I am running a fever, so I canceled my morning class. I apologized profusely in my various e-mails to relevant parties.
2.) In a class of mostly women, our male instructor and a male classmate proceeded to make the case that, despite our reading articles employing feminist rhetoric/methodology, there really isn't feminist theory, only feminist "stance." I lost my train of thought while trying to protest this claim and was interrupted by the instructor when the train of thought finally returned. Instead of trying to get the floor back, I apologized.
3.) My bedroom window faces the patio. The landlord/downstairs neighbor and his guy friend were hanging out on said patio, talking loudly. It's almost 3AM. I stepped out and asked them to quiet down. They just looked at me at first. I apologized and said I wanted to sleep.
4.) I need to stop apologizing. It's a delicate, gradual conditioning. I apologize when I'm hurt. I apologize when I'm angry. I apologize because "as a woman," I'm supposed to. My frail self can't handle the weight of awkwardness, but that needs to end, because I can actually handle a lot, like making it most of the week in a fog of cold medicine and residual grief and near car accidents and hundreds of pages to read.
5.) I wish some folks would apologize to me when they do something effed-up to put a wrinkle in things. I don't know. I can't be the only one who's sorry.
12 August 2013
at the foot of your bed,
the springs around my heart
giving way, creaking.
My blood betrays me,
and I swear you can hear me.
Time makes things tidy, but memories
serve a different purpose.
Memories are less convenient,
less precious. The ribbons that hold them
are frayed at the ends.
As for me and my swollen organs,
the springs are a little rusted.
But I know that one day,
we'll be married.
The broken clock gives me a way.
29 July 2013
In Ohio, I trespass, dancing on the perforation between rows of corn. My head is elsewhere, next to the ocean, and my heart is somewhere in Oregon. I never did return your phone call.
Floating on my back, my face is exposed, tickled by the sun. Fish trace my back, follow me, like usual. Somewhere, you found a song to dance to. Somewhere, my dream reached the shore.
17 July 2013
Those were the days, when the tide knew, when the water smelled of chances. There was a time when my feet were sure, when smiling faces greeted me from the shore. It's from the shore I came, my eyes new and unable to focus, the sun warming my newly-formed face. I was lead to the water by that warmth, and I felt my way toward home.
12 July 2013
Dreams dash like deer, sudden and frightened. It's a Saturday night, and the sheets are wrinkled. Half awake, you still sense the wild, its tail up over the horizon. Ideas burst, little flashes of light, and the wrinkles in the land resemble roads on a map. But deer do not follow: the truth is obnoxious. Somewhere underneath all these blankets is a fact or two. You smooth the sheets with your palms. You realize the only thing to trust is sleep.
09 July 2013
your other friends, the ones
tucked away in the corners
of my brain, their faces
a blur of sand and clouds.
For a brief time,
you and your stories were home
to me. We still wash
each other's feet
in my memories, our toes
stretched far enough
24 June 2013
like knowing that the left side of the bed
is mine, and the right side stays cool and wrinkle-free.
These are hidden terms,
buried in a contract,
in the hamper, in the planter
on the windowsill.
If you feel discouraged,
there will always be
the miscellaneous items
that cause structures to quake
and ink to run:
old candles, their wax bubbled dry;
cherry trees, ripened slowly;
the symmetry of wonder,
your eyes matching
the level of your interest.
And then there's a pause
instead of a goodnight, a fragile placeholder
for when the time comes.
Fortunately, I am fashionably late,
and my soldiers have already
tucked themselves in.
12 June 2013
Arranged neatly, in short columns of black, brown, green, and gray, are his socks. The drawer contains only about ten pairs, each having its own story: The gray pair came from his father, whose feet were wider, rougher. The brown were a gift, dress socks worn thin from too many job interviews.
"Maybe, he'll remember that he didn't pack these," she thinks to herself, but after five years, they still line the drawer, soft and stubborn, like the single wrinkle between her brows.
In the cedar drawer, they're protected, like warm little secrets. "This gray pair, this is important," she recalls, holding up a folded bundle. "He wore these when we went to dinner." The subtle little argyle pattern stretched taut over his ankles, covering an odd mole over his left talus bone. She feels like the talus: muscleless, needing to be surrounded by those like herself in order to function.
"Yeah, yeah. He'll remember," she says finally, and closes the drawer again. She used to open the drawer more often, not long after he left. Then, she only opened it twice a year, sometimes forgetting they were in there, sometimes being afraid. This last time, she opens the drawer and leaves it open, waiting for the moth who'll never come.