I can’t speak today

Hey. I’m a fucking leaf.
I’m bright as hell. I catch the air.
I clothe the forest. I bear the heat.
I’m crisp, I’m scarred, and I’m made
of the sun—the same sun
that warms your sweet face—of the water
—the same water that gave you
your names—I’m the crinoline waves
that your children dive into. I’m eyes
that don’t close, are always close
and change colors and sing soft alone
and weave words and learn verbs
and crave skin and let me in

God knows I can’t come in.
I fall in autumn. I scatter like
feelings. you know.

but you never do come around
when sun illuminates my veins.

An Elucidation of Your Soul’s Restlessness

Hear me this: I want to read books
about things that matter things that splinter shatter and crack things that make this earthly life
rich and terrible. I want to write poems
that fearful tearful girls whisper to themselves over and over again between breaths waiting out
the familiar panic attack. I want to sing songs

that bring old men to tears that remind them of home 87 years gone and the feeling of loving
when love was young. I want to speak words
that keep broken promises that save fragile lives that renew a little boy’s belief
in human beings as kind. I want to see signs
that make mountains small that make rivers irrelevant that make sensation an epiphany
a candle in the rain. I want to build stories

about contradictory truths about colors unnamed about textures in time about heroes
unrolled and unraveled. I want to believe crimes
are just human anguish just compulsory strokes just chrysalis shards falling away
before the new wings. I want to know loves
that crumple diamonds that collapse death that hammer anomalies in until breath
says enough. I want to cry flowers

to hone powers to smile sunsets to feel psithurisms and walk vagaries through forests
unafraid. Hear me this:
I want to mean something

How the Universe Works

the sun’s light takes 8 minutes
to reach our earth, which really means
that when we’re watching the sunset
on our horizon, it’s already been gone
for 480 seconds.

TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD: the sun
is 1,391,684 kilometres wide
and every particle born in its heart
spends its lifetime trying to get to the edge, where
it’s cooler. if you’re thinking that we
are a damned lot like the plasma particles inside of our sun,
I should probably also tell you
that each photon bumps up against hundreds of others as
it’s racing through a labyrinth of fatalities
before it is finally old enough
to touch the shoreline of its own star.
(so yeah, I’d say we are.)

whenever photons crash into their sisters, they send out a ripple
that the other sisters can ride towards the shoreline. whenever a ripple is made, it rocks in waves
all the way to the core, so much so
that the whole of the sun cries out
with a heartbeat too deep for a human being’s ears.

think of water boiling: those bubbles that form
and rise, and float and
fall—those exist in the sun too—
only instead of being pockets
of trapped of air stuck beneath
a few inches of water, they’re basically pockets
of trapped plasma radiation
stuck 10,000 miles deep in a ball of vibrating gas
in the middle of nothing.
so yeah, it’s practically the same thing.

(and hey,
if you think
that’s poetic, imagine this)
a true truth: we can still see the dying light
of stars that died 1 million years before we were born,
and that’s particularly astonishing when you know that scientists believe a particle of light is
the fastest thing to ever exist. so maybe why we feel fast—like we never stop running, running, running—
is because we’re moving so fast that even the fastest, lightest thing in the universe can’t seem to catch up with
us

what happens if they never do call you back

people spend lifetimes
searching the world for
“their place.”
if you find it?
“you go.”
how could you turn
away from such
a utopia hidden
in marble mountains
where every face remembers
your small wet face and every smile
remembers your plain, bright name:
how? “this is
how. when your place stops
calling out on the breeze
for your name.”

Some Difficult Questions

Where can I find the essence of sorrow?

Read the veins in the marble, the lace in the trees. 

Where is the fountain of youth?

In the garden through the gates, on the reservation behind forests of cloud.

How should we pray?

                        A promise is a promise, isn’t it?

How real are dreams, and how surreal beliefs?

I couldn’t tell you, but it’s a damn good fight all the same. 

What are we living for?

For God so loved the world. 

What do clocks measure?

Human inefficacy. 

Is this as good as it gets?

Perhaps, one day, you could sing to me?

walking on whipped cream

there’s nothing slicker than skin in the rain. there’s nothing truer than a laugh
to simplify things. there’s nothing greater
than the bursting into blossom that happens inside. there’s nothing
sweeter than the crease of a thigh, than the waters
of an eye, than the play of a spine.

Mr. E

Though it has been said before, you’re in every poem I write:

you whisper true wise ‘-isms,’ your yellowing laughter slides.

Half-smile singing at your lips, you can spin sweet milk from ice,

aphorisms like perfect chords; decades pass, and you abide.

 

Come the wild, wild weather and the hateful parsing of hearts,

It’s your arms I still follow, through the rise and soar and swell.

Before I could speak my truth, you deciphered it in parts

Listening to you, I knew: life is hell in an eggshell.

 

When I was weeping lilacs, you thought me an evening rose,

and because you trusted me, finally I learned to trust.

With your warm, tremulous voice and vision beyond rainbows;

think how many lives you’ve saved, threading music from our dust.

 

All the hearts you have directed sing a canon, even now:

may the road rise up to meet you, til you take your final bow.

The View From What Comes After

It isn’t funny, really, except that it almost is.

They’re all down there, doing the same things and saying the same words and running from the same fears, but they think they’re so alone. It’s sort of sad, really, I suppose. No one is alone, but next to no one knows that.

They all look down at their physical selves and pick and prod away, wishing they weren’t what they are. They all smile up at the sky when something far away reminds them of home. They all do things they know are wrong, they all do things they know are right, they all say things they know aren’t true, they all say things they know are too true to be heard for their genuine truth. They were all children who asked what sex was, and they were all young ones feeling out their bodies in the hopes of some revelatory sensation. They all weep like babies. They all sleep like kittens. They all make promises they can’t keep, and they all believe in something.

They make silly faces at themselves in the mirror. They step carefully so as to crunch the crispy leaves. They dip their fingers into the fountain. They delete their search histories. They dream of being old and happy and finished someday.

I wish I could tell them that there is no finishing, no endpoint, no line in the sand. All you can do is keep going, and hope that someday you’ll feel closer to complete than you do today. All you can do is keep living, and never stop doing the precious absurd private things that human beings do. All you can do is keep breathing, and try to know that one day, you will join me here in paradise.

Today, I was Invisible {and I Don’t Mean Just Like Most Shy Girls are; Actually Literally Invisible}

First, I took down all the ads and put inspirational quotes in their place.

I closed a busy mother’s purse when her wallet was about to fall out.

I held the elevator open just long enough for a man with a hump on his back and a slight limp in his step to get on.

I watered the plants outside a woman’s house, because she’d lost her daughter a whole year ago now, but the casseroles and visitors had stopped,

and it was still hard to remember to do things like eat meals and take showers and water the flowers.

I took all the pennies from my junk drawer and I placed them all over the concrete of the city, always heads up.

I left notes in every bathroom at the high school,

promising them that they were beautiful in ways they couldn’t possibly fathom, that good love would find them someday.

I swept walks, moved newspapers from the curb to the front stoop, fixed leaky hoses, wiped down dusty cars.

I found some decent-sized money just lying around—okay,

technically it was in a guy’s safe, but he was sitting there with it open and had about 100x more cash money than I’d ever seen before—

and I slipped a hundred under the door of every room in the homeless motel down the street.

I held the door for an exhausted young teacher carrying a stack of binders that probably weighed more than all the clothing he owned.

I sat in the rafters of a mosque, then a church, then a synagogue, and a temple and a warehouse where an AA group was meeting and a treehouse where a little girl was hiding from the family war, and I whispered three words: you are loved.

I went home, and I fell into bed, and I cried and thanked whatever God{s} may be for the hope to be found in invisible days.