Month: March 2014

Physical Therapy

I am combative by nature.

My shoulders form a shield,

turtlelike in essence,

a hideaway hole in practice.

To fight is not to flee

and to flee can’t be counted

as a fight, yet,

there’s something to be said

for those who learn to

fight with the stroke of

a pen, in-between the flip-flapping

of pages turned in every

fossilized footprint in the sand —

permanently fading.

It’s quicksand and I’m

stuck, the only escape a

tensed tendon between

the beaten path

and a shielded muscle

of stressed hope.

 

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Domino

For every action there is an

equal and opposite

reaction to that which

hasn’t killed us and

made us stronger.

To build a home is to

nestle into someone’s heart,

to warm their fire

and watch it burn.

I blur between your lines,

a slurred separation

of potential

kinetic energy.

A closed circuit train

to nowhere –

and, god, I just

want you to be there

with me –

you’ll watch it all fall

downstream of the

eastern sea, north by northwest

of someone else’s

westernized village.

Because we’re forming a circle,

reddened with our toppling vertices,

staring at two blue eyes,

equal and opposite,

caught between a

thin, dark line.

Crickets

In a faded building, secluded beneath dust,
crickets in bricks
died. They sang
like an ending covers the notes
though accidental, broken dreams
dropped from them lazily
like an internal dialogue holds back.
Never again they said,
like they had always
imagined our tendency
towards waves we say farewell
with a hello; we look despite
ourselves but build again; so whence a stroked
brush in rust colors over us
we seem spotted
with a lighter cement to live.

from the tape to the mixer

this is a letter from the sticky tape holding up the poster on my wall to the mixer sitting on your kitchen counter.

sometimes, we don’t feel good enough; we aren’t strong enough to keep holding on, even through all the bumps in the road. those lumps in the flour just keep bringing us down, and once the poster i struggle to hold falls once, i’ll never look back.

it’s not a movie poster – that’s a few inches above and to the right of me, and it doesn’t even have an image, honestly. it’s a sentence. “my mother is a fish,” it says, and I remember fishing it out of the depths of your sugar jar, desperately trying to scrounge up enough sugar for this batch of cookies.

And oh how you hide in the nonsense. It doesn’t matter what the sentence it, what the word are, because to you, they don’t exist. There’s no chocolate in the twisty blue of the letter ‘y.’ But it’s blue and you told me you like blue, because there aren’t enough blue foods.

it’s a lack of tension in my shoulders when the poster falls because i can smell the cookies from ten hundred miles away, and sometimes i think it’s the feeling when they plug you in for the first time in weeks. the charge of electricity is like heroin and you’re soaring.

it’s a love letter from goosebumps to chalk dust, because i remember how our skin danced with laughter in the clouds when we clapped erasers after school, because our lives have always been a little too old school.

sometimes, we don’t feel good enough. sometimes, i don’t know if we can be good enough. but we’ll always have the rolling hills in the distance and the electric feel of a book in our hands. 

my eyes look strained in pictures, like they fail to hold up some semblance of happiness, and my teacher told me that happiness equals flowers. he said that and we looked at tulips, and i thought of the swing set where you told me you loved me for the first time and we held hands and ran to the twisty slide, blue like my ‘y’ and blue like your chocolate chip cookies, and it was crushing.

crushing in the break of the waves of future transmissions. dead air is terrifying because there’s nothing there. we don’t talk anymore; you’re in the kitchen and i’m falling somewhere else for someone else’s poster. yet, i can still smell the chalky dust and feel the sting bringing tears to my eyes.

The Bees

When the bees came, he knew that winter was ending and sunlight was coming. They’d flit about the playground, buzzing between the swings’ arcs, following him down the slide as he curved away from the melting snow and dripping icicles. They brought baby’s breath to his mother’s flowerbed and his cousin’s gurgling coo. Harbingers of warm summer nights, they were the stars sparkling on a stick he’d drag through the sand, creating the glass castle in which he’d come to reside.

Back before his parents moved him halfway around the world he knew to the dangerous elephant graveyard just beyond where the sunlight touches, there hadn’t been any bees. Or, if there were, they weren’t so brave. Back then, he told time based on the color of the leaves dancing in the wind. When spring came, he’d see scattered pink drops on the gray skyline. But here, he could hear the low hum of bees, mechanical like his new washing machine, and familiar like his old flashlight. In the old house, he’d read in the dark, stare at the pages of a new chapter book beyond twilight’s firefly smile.

Back home in the spring, he didn’t have to rely on his flashlight quite so much – there had been more light. The sun danced with him in the slush as he left a trail of tracks leading to his favorite playground. There was no gym class there, just traces of skinned knees and dripping ice cream cones. That didn’t stop someone from firing that gun, though. The jungle gym blossomed bright red, like the color of his favorite nighttime book. The grounds smelled of metal until their move, and he’d like to hope it smelled like something else now.

In this new place, there were no pretty pink trees, just hills of dandelions, muddy in the groundhog’s shadow, desperate for spring to come. So marched the bees.

And with the bees came the honeysuckle.

This wonderful flower had magic in its veins. It sparked the life everyone grows up to crave, that everyone wants to drink in with their surroundings. It tasted like the roses they told him to stop and smell, like the once-in-a-blue-moon chance that presented itself in the beginning swells of a wave a hundred miles from shore. He could ride the wave into something beautiful, something unmistakably his.

If he thought about it a little too hard, he might have easily said that the coming of the bees brought nothing but heartache for him. Spring’s light meant that the world melted away, freeing the boy from his icy prison, but forcing him under the watchful eye of the sun. Because come winter’s end, the gym coach would send the kids outdoors to run around the baseball diamond at the bottom of the hill, where the bees came from. They lived in between the cracked blue paint and the rotting boards of the abandoned dugout, overwrought with dust.

He hated running laps around the diamond. Everyone else ran with someone – not that what anyone was doing could be described as running, more like hobbling along the beaten path with a friend. He supposed, in retrospect, that what he had been missing was a friend, but it got hard to think clearly when he had to run laps, and the only thing keeping him company was the constant buzz-buzz-buzzing of the bees.

The boy ate his first honeysuckle sitting in the creaky dugout next to a nameless girl, while the world melted around him.

He couldn’t remember the exact circumstances of their meeting that day, there in the fading dugout, but he thought that the bees would, because these bees came every spring. They flitted about the same bushes every year after that first, nuzzling him a greeting in the hot corners of the jumbled world beyond his conscious. And even though the girl moved away, the bees would remember.

The honeysuckle next to the dugout were special, you see. They smelled more beautiful than anything this boy ever did and ever would smell. It was home: a creature comfort heretofore unknown to him. The nectar on his tongue fanned the flames of creation that ran wild in his mind, in his youth before youth, before they’d sent him off from the port into the unknown.

The taste wafted through his nostrils and comforted him; he had felt abandoned by the snow and persecuted by the bees. Honeysuckle was a love letter from the bees to the melting snow.

He’d heard tell of the kids finding this magical flower, but he hadn’t known what honeysuckle looked like. Not until this girl, this girl whose name he’ll remember before he remembers her face, and he’ll never remember her name. This girl, young and beautiful in the purity of her intentions – nothing mattered beyond showing this boy where the honeysuckle were and sharing in their magic – this girl brought him to the dugout during gym one day and made him sit there while she taught him how to eat a honeysuckle.

She taught him how to befriend the bees, to talk to them and to remember that without the bees, this delicate, delicious thing couldn’t exist.

It’s because of the bees that came every winter’s end that he could do what he did and see what he saw, which, unfortunately, also meant that gym class would be reduced to running around the baseball diamond at the bottom of the hill behind the school. That part wasn’t quite as enjoyable as the melting snow or how he didn’t have to wear marshmallow-puffy coats anymore, but now he was freer. With the light taste of something decidedly non-metallic, determinedly not frozen, of something from someone else, he would survive the trek around the diamond.