Poetry Archives A-B

A  Capella

Bring back the orchestra
string and wind and velvet
drown me out
make this stage
something other
a place where I am not
standing so alone
crowd me
with props and lights
and distractions
turn your eyes elsewhere

I remember
there was music here yesterday

and now
in the glare of fluorescence
the kind that doesn’t
let anything hide
there is only silence
waiting to be broken
like everything else
and me
with no accompaniment

just me
and how much noise I can make
the words
so many different sounds
volume and wave
and the hope
that at least one
might carry

I saw your eyes today and wondered
how this world must look to you
giants with strained and sullen faces
they turn your way with smiles
and speak a language of softness
pink blanket tucked around
as you take us all in
free to laugh and cry as you will
while pretense and appearance
rule the heavy creatures
circling around your bed
fascinated by your cheeks
and toes
and simple happiness
For Antanya, on her birthday

Among the friends I’ve never met
is one who sometimes makes me feel
like I’m looking into a very old mirror
(she would argue the mirror isn’t very old
and that’s one of the things I like about her)
because her eyes are rarely the same color
from one day to the next and her hair is
the kind that will never be completely tamed
and her voice is the kind that sometimes
gets loud and says “fuck” a lot because
her spirit is the kind that bruises easily
and understands that sometimes the only way
to be bruised but not broken is to say
“fuck you” and “fuck off” and “fuck it all”
to the (many) things that would rather
an ocean-eyed crazy-haired loud-mouthed
strong-willed girl sit quietly in a corner
keeping her (many) thoughts to herself

And to this dear friend that I’ve never met
there are times (like now) when I wish I could
hug her and say “keep doing what you’re doing,
I’m pretty sure the world needs us.”
The Ballroom

Cobwebbed chandeliers
and rotting floors
the music only
a memory
faint as our footsteps
in the dust
moonlight comes through
a broken window
falls across your face
and I am reminded
this room
is not what it was
but take my hand
in the darkness
in the quiet
in the dust
to celebrate what is left
when the surface
falls to ruin
dance with me

Baxter likes to roll in poop
and Baxter’s mom will run
(“that’s what everybody
wants to see I’m sure
an old woman with asthma
and bad knees
to where the poop is
and Baxter is
yelling BAXTER NO
and she usually makes it in time
and when she doesn’t
there are doggie wipes and sighs
and Baxter wags his tail
through it all

(there was one day
that Baxter didn’t try
to roll in anybody’s poop
because he was staying close
and his mom said
he’s been very clingy lately
and later she said
my asthma’s been bad lately
and it was clear to me
from the outside
and to Baxter
who loves her
but I’m not sure she saw it)

and today at the park
Baxter checked out some poop
and peed next to it
and walked away
before his mom had say
and what she did say was
he’s been better
about not rolling in it
he hardly ever
does that anymore

and behind the relief
and unconditional love
was a bit of something
that sounded almost like sadness

and Baxter wagged his tail
through it all

I stood in the downpour
until it became me
in the wind
until it moved at my pace
until drenched and weightless
I could differentiate
environment and self
a tear and a raindrop
matter and what matters
what surrounds me
that my arms
are still my own
Beginning a second year of quarantine

Last night I heard a goose flying alone
and I cried at the wrongness of it
the sound of a single voice
separated from its flock
winging its way through the dark

and I cried with the echo that came
from absence
in place of the call and answer
I’d laughed with so many times before

and to stop myself crying I tried
to imagine that goose landing
safe and surrounded
at the pond they call home in the winter
its single voice joyously lost in

instead I lit a fourth cigarette
and cried just a little longer
for all the things
that should never be this alone
But Not Quite

I can almost smile
when you speak of her
let my heart fill
with an almost complete joy
at your contentment
swallow almost all
of my despair
and almost want to share
just a part
of your world
I am very close
to breaking through
to the other side of almost
and until then
I will love you
almost enough
to want to see you this happy
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