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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Eyes Open

I keep my eyes open

when we kiss
because I don’t want your lips
to become someone else’s teeth
don’t want your sweet breath
to reek of the trust sucked from me
want to taste your wine and my whiskey
not venom
numbing my reason
as the poisons leach into my heart
I keep my eyes open
in defiance
of every voice that threatened
that no one else would ever love me
every curse hidden within an apology
my eyes and arms
as open as my heart
so you know
when I sigh it is in joy and peace
not fear
that in holding you
I release
every weight of my heavy world
rising to the tips of my toes
to let you consume the parts of me that please you
your voice reverend and grateful
as you make an offering of yourself
and I imbibe you
like the first breath of life
deep and sacred
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Skin

is this what they see when they look at me?

have they always?
and when they discovered this shit was hereditary
did they think
it would just keep quiet
if they turned a blind eye to the disease
that was my inheritance
the child who was not supposed to be born
from the woman who was not supposed to survive
a ghost haunting my own skin
trapped in a shell of the me I could never be
so I’ve spent all my lifetimes trying to create my own peace
and once in a while I step from the skin I’m bound by
and into one less untouchable and torn
less stretched and way-worn
unfettered by the gravity of time
unbruised by the bluntness of mere existence
this skin is strong
this skin is unafraid
this skin is sought after
praised as a sensual soul, instead of used like a whore
a skin that cares less
while the one I live in feels everything
like hooks through skin and sinew
each one tagged with a name, a smell, a date, a sound, a face, a touch, a place
a collection of barbs that catch and tug as I pull through my day
pain
they say the skin you have today will completely regenerate in 7 years
but each new casting is another broken mirror
each one more shattered than the last
and for almost a year there’s been a truce between
the darkest parts of me and the monsters that lurk within them
but it returns to me now
a plague of old terrors on new skin
and I scream and scratch
as it crawls and constructs from within
a serpentine whisper slithers through me
did you really think you could get rid of me so easily?
the air around me catches fire
I forget how to breathe
my blood alive and seething, weeping from crooked seams
how many times have I sewn myself back together
because I believed I could get the razors deep enough
to scrape away the hell I saw
carved on the inside of my skull every time i dared close my eyes
definitions I learned as they latched on
parasites feeding on secrets and lies
this is what love means
this is why she left you
let me prove to you I’m not every other human you’ve ever trusted
this is why she left you
this is why they all leave
and in the darkness the wolves feast
on everything I’ve flayed away
trying to not be so weighed down by myself
the same claws and teeth that give me the strength I need to keep fighting
will just as soon turn on me
because you cannot tame these beasts
they must be free to give their obedience
and everyone has moods…some days
so smile
Jenn?  Did you hear me?
I said everyone has bad days
the histrionics are unnecessary
find a distraction, get more sleep, lose some weight
quit embarrassing me
stop overthinking, stop being so needy, irrational
crazy.
this talk makes me sad
can’t we just be happy?
what a shame
what a waste of potential
what a relief she can’t see you this way
this is why she left you
this is why they all leave

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Floating

I’d forgotten how suddenly it happens

that the ground beneath my feet
is pulled away
and before I can exhale
I am free, but lost in the abyss of silence
both falling and floating
thrown out of orbit into the stillness of too much space
dark
cold
wasting precious borrowed breaths
on screams no one can hear
how quickly the path vanishes
the moment I find the North Star
how completely I run out of time
in the vastness of the sky
the gravity of the situation lost in translation
Houston, we have a fucking problem!
Please!
Don’t leave me out here
to be just one more star
dead and faded away before the world takes notice
the weight of desperate supplications I cannot possibly carry
an anchor I cannot drop
an albatross still alive and trying to carry me
just adding to the list of failures
that will haunt me far beyond my last spark
I’d forgotten how suddenly it happens
that the heavens go dark
the blind faith I’ve been rationing for the journey
choked out by reality
how pathetically I will continue to pray
even after it’s obvious
there is no god here
just empty dreams with nowhere to land
just satellites bantering manufactured life
just me
space

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Rebirth

I died that night

in the mud and the darkness
that seemed to suck me in
entombing me in night
as fire danced and music spun around me
in abandoned revelries and intoxicated spurts
as if it too were gasping for breath
as if it too were willing mouth to just follow brain’s last wishes
as if it too were tired of struggling for control of something intangible
flickers of faces, echoes of voices
my heart breaking from behind a window I could not break
don’t you see?  I don’t want to go, but I’m tired of drowning in myself
and all I can do is purge everything inside me and start the fuck over
hands pulling me into a place where the night never fades
and there is no sleep but death
yeah, I died that night
once, twice, three times over
as pleading eyes locked with mine
as they rolled like waves back into my head
I looked for another way out of the mud
even as a voice reminded me
that it was not the day, not the way, not the place
not the goddamned life
I was meant to leave
as the very earth on which I tried to stand
gave up on me
and I awoke to silence
wet, cold, covered in my own vomit
as alone as death
still scraping away the layer of mud that held me together
my tears cutting rivers through the dirt on my face
a reminder of where I came from
because I died that night
and I would replay the sounds
and the fire
and the music
and the darkness
and the fear
and I would mourn for whatever had been left buried there
whatever abridged part of my story had just been rewritten
in naked truth
and I would mourn for whatever I had dragged with me into death
and I would mourn for myself and try to move on
hoping that the day I’ve earned my rest
there is fire
and music
and revelry
that there is peace and light
that there are eyes and voices
that I am not alone
mud

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A Year Ago

a year ago you smiled at me

and you were everything I thought I needed
this new me
a lesson
in the difference between
true practice and proselytizing
kind, safe, sweet
but when the timer hit zero
in your heart you had already left me
only your pride remained
the one tie that bound you to me
you would not be the one to leave
so a new waltz began, and I let you lead
unable to keep up with broken feet
the song irrelevant
because your mouth was incapable of the words “I’m sorry”
so all the reasons you fell in love with me
suddenly made me an aberration to be tolerated
so we’d never speak of things like love again
unless it was a negotiation
a bribe to sate me
a tithing to pay off our indulgences
to placate me so I’d leave you to drink in peace
you see, a year ago learned a lesson
about the pain in healing and the strength in vulnerability
about refusing to silence my needs just to quell your demons
about believing in me no matter how low you dimmed my lights
about not picking up baggage that does not belong to me
just because my shoulders were suddenly unburdened
because eventually you stopped trying to carry it yourself
because eventually you tried to swap the nametags when I wasn’t looking
because eventually you dropped them off in a hotel lobby
while I, fast asleep, still fought to have some faith in you
and now I have new baggage bursting at the seams with someone else’s shit
a year ago I found myself behind a stranger’s walls
because it was what I needed to see
a year later I grieve
for the love that stranger was when he wasn’t trying not to be
and not a day goes by that I don’t miss that
but don’t think for a moment that means I can’t go on
you were a piece of my life
because I wanted you
not because I needed you to make me whole
and every tear that rolls down my face comes
from a deep well of laughs, smiles, and whispers
that speak to my spirit
and when I release them it’s a celebration of what you’ll always mean to me
that you who was not a stranger
because falling in love is not a fixed moment
but countless points on our timeline
so when I say I miss you
it’s not desperation, but a keening
for everything I meant when I said I loved you
everything I was in your arms
not because you held me together
but because my heart is better for having held you in it

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I never thought there would be things I couldn’t tell you
But here we are
Strangers who sometimes remember we’re in love
That all the lifting up to see the sunrise over my own fog
Would lead to another wall
Each brick a cop-out for weakness you want to believe you possess
That you would come to embody
Every wound you promised not to inflict
I never thought
“You make me want to be better”
Would be a lie
To distract me from the implosion
Of every strong thing that we are
That all my love and vulnerability
Would be reshaped into weapons
Thrown in my face to make me a monster
Who only ever did as you asked
I never thought
The man who was so madly in love
That he believed in me when I could barely breathe
Could so quickly turn his back
That the things that once made me beautiful
Would suddenly just make me broken
I never thought
Someone who would make me feel so safe in his arms
Could hear I wanted to die
And say nothing
That the heat of passion would turn cold
Mocking me to my face
Hunting down my darkest demons
My deepest weaknesses
Then accuse me of raping his insecurities
Nailing my every fear to the door to his heart
I never thought
There were words I could not speak
Never imagined ugly shame
At hands that touched so tenderly
Never imagined anything from you but acceptance
Never thought this love could be skin deep
But here we are
Because there are things I can’t show you

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Our History

I have had the time to write these words
ruminating and revising
editing my truth
the very evidence of my privilege written in ink
the pigment of my skin securing me an extra word
but everyday
I read about a life i will never understand
damaged permanently
erased and forgotten
and I am speechless
but I can no longer hide on this page
this pen insufficient
for the rage I feel at the core
of a body that was regulated
raped the moment it began
to grow in my mother’s womb
forced to give birth
to blame and subjugation
because I should have fucking known better
than to open my legs and expect it all to be ok
these legs that carry us through
these legs that march
these legs that kick through every wall you build around us
and if I should be on one list I will be on them all
let my name be my oath
that we have not forgotten history
that you cannot eradicate
the Rosa Parks, the Harvey Milk, the Mahatma Gandhi, the Judith Heumann
and every other warrior running through our veins
yelling our declaration
you cannot outlaw our existence
and we are bigger
than the hands you use to sign us into a corner
we hold these truths to be self evident
and we will burn your house to the ground
and throw ourselves into the flames
so our children will know what it is to breathe without fear
so go ahead
smirk, sign, talk
celebrate your victories over a divided country
as we come together to write a new story
not of Muslims, queers, women, people of colour, or people with disabilities
but a culture of people
who are done letting someone else
edit our history

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