Baby, when we have a good
conversation it fills up
my chest with sky.
I’m not talking about
light and fluffy cloud talk
all blue skies with easy breeze,
I mean the kind that might
start out howling wind
at first maybe even sheets
of rain that follow hitting
the pavement so hard
we have to raise our voices
above their drops or lean
in close to whisper and be heard.
We are standing beneath
a shelter see, huddled close,
like waiting at the bus stop
or for our favorite breakfast joint
to open we are hungry, stomachs growling
places to go and the overcast gray
makes it hard to tell the time. Hurry.
Still I can taste when your breath is almost
the silvering sky that will break open
and when mine keeps us warm like cups
of tea. You take me in sips. We change
color. You bloom fuchsia and I blush purple.
We don’t see it coming and neither does
the sky when it tries to catch up.
Monthly Archives: April 2011
Baby, when we have a good
Each time you open
the door after looking
through the peephole
I leap across the threshold
into your steady arms.
My love if this apartment
is too small we can break
the lease and find a home
with more room for your
You and I are
in the kitchen
I have a sweet tooth
when you are craving salt.
Sometimes we are missing
an ingredient (and if you cannot
beg me to the store in my pajamas)
then we improvise to make it
tasty. But whoever cooks
does not have to clean
and we never go to bed hungry.
of your neck
is hiding precious
jewels. Rubies, diamonds,
emeralds, mother of pearl.
Don’t bother trying to cash
them in. I made a deal with
the crook of your neck
to stash them there just for me.
Don’t worry, you will forget
they are there once I bury
my face in them.
I recently wrote a bus story about a teenage girl who gets with a middle-aged bus driver. It is what you think. And it isn’t. At one point the main character Renee says, “Sometimes anger is a girl’s best friend.” It’s been swirling in my head lately, that line. Anger is the hardest emotion for me to feel. It usually turns into sadness before it even has a chance to touch air. I let it feed on me from the inside. I’ve made progress. I don’t get sad nearly as much as I used to. I’ve learned to let feelings rise and then move through me because I know they need to travel to the other side. Growing up I never learned how to express my anger so I think much of my adult life has been spent coaxing it out, making it safe. An entirely different thing from growing up surrounded by anger and learning it as the default reaction for anything disagreeable, but still along the same spectrum of self-destruction. Just maybe on opposite ends. It’s a trip, but when I can allow myself to feel angry at someone, it’s usually a sign that I trust them. It’s a sign of possibility. Watch out.
(The anger I’m speaking of is not anger at social injustices, which I don’t have a problem tapping into.)
Years ago when I hadn’t figured any of this out yet, an ex-boyfriend of mine did something precious. I was angry one night. I can’t even remember what it was about. But I didn’t know what to do. I thought I might explode. I thought I might try to drink myself numb.
That night you went through the recycling
pulled out all the glass bottles and grabbed
my hand. You wouldn’t say where we were
going, just drove towards the train yard
in the dark. We stood out on the tracks
metal vibrating beneath our soles.You handed
me the first bottle from the crate and turned
to face the red brick wall. Throw it.
Throw it so hard it shatters.
I hurled the bottle by its neck
watched it fly towards
the wall by the force
of my own motion.
Better than careful words
Better than merciful prayers
Better than song
itching to throw another.
I am already
enjoying my sore
shoulder in the morning.
passing the next bottle
until I empty
Romayne Rubinas Dorsey posted this poem by Adrienne Rich today in memory of Don Belton and I don’t think I’ve laid my eyes on words that capture my mess of feelings better. I don’t know how to write about him yet, I can barely even lay eyes on his image. But finding solace in what others have written is part of how I will get there.
from The Dream of a Common Language, an excerpt from “Twenty-One Love Poems”
Your silence today is a pond where drowned things live
I want to see raised dripping and brought into the sun.
It’s not my own face I see there, but other faces,
even your face at another age.
Whatever’s lost there is needed by both of us–
a watch of old gold, a water-blurred fever chart,
a key…Even the silt and pebbles of the bottom
deserve their glint of recognition. I fear this silence,
this inarticulate life. I’m waiting
for a wind that will gently open this sheeted water
for once, and show me what I can do
for you, who have often made the unnameable
nameable for others, even for me.