Tag Archives: Love

Laundry

You have ruined me, he says to you,
after he tosses your sweater onto the bed,
unfolded. You can see its wrinkles
from where you stand across the room.
I will never love anyone like
I loved you.

And you do not move to kiss him
or etch your nails into his face
or give him what he deserves.

Instead, you go down to the basement
and do laundry, watch your sweater spin around and around
the way these things do.

Then you carry it back in a wicker basket
to tuck into the dresser where
it best fits

and move throughout the rest of your day
lighter somehow. People notice the vague smell of detergent
on your fingers as you pass, as you tidy
and fix what you can

all while wondering if, in your whole long life,
you have cleaned more than
you have dirtied.

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Starwoman

When I die, remember me like this:
a starwoman walking upside-down across the sky,
boots sunk deep in the muds of heaven.

And should you ever tire of the ground,
those barren streets and bone-white sidewalks,
resentful of the magnetic earth
that grips your ankles tight

look up, then. I will be overhead
near the Northern Star
winking as if to beckon,
come closer…

There will be a bird in my hair
and windsong on my lips,
I’ll be wearing the clouds like a skirt
around my hips

that swishes and dissipates
on my way across the sky
to Bowie.

Birdseed

A stream of consciousness piece

I leave my heart open like a birdcage.
I am not trying to trap anything inside,
I am just tired of living in a world where
people who love each other don’t say
they love each other.

What is it like to not have a body? I want to ask the wind.
Does it hurt being everywhere at once?

My empathy is a drop of honey on the tongue –
it is sweet, but not enough to soothe a throat.
This world is so busy screaming its voice has gone hoarse
and I spend most of my time reading its lips

searching for the pain that is more than verbal.

My thoughts don’t fit neatly into my mind tonight,
or any night. If I take them and scatter them
like birdseed, will it lead you back to my door

which is open, by the way, swinging
and sighing on its hinges?

I don’t have the strength anymore to close it,
or to turn my back to those who knock.
I only want to hold each new face in my hands
and kiss its blushing cheeks, pink and soft
as a newborn child’s skin.

None of us asks to be born.
I imagine my not-yet hands pressing against the walls
of my mother’s womb
and falling through a trap-door into a world that is
not as warm as the human body.

I want to fall in love with someone with a heart like mine.
I want our hearts to speak through our ribcages to each other
and say, “My door is open. I will not close it as long as I live,”
because closing up is painful and wrong.

Ask the flower that, once open, can never retreat back into itself.
Ask the tree that can never take its roots back from the soil.

Like a pact, like a promise, give your heart away
and accept that it will not come back the same.

My fingers, once tangled in your hair,
will never be the same.

Tell yourself this is good, this is natural

and when you offer birdseed, open your palms
because you understand nothing can eat
from a clenched fist.

Why are you hesitant by the door
when it’s ajar

and why does a firefly in a jar
stay when there is no lid?

I have no answers, only this

door, open for the sake of
being open.

Twitch

It felt like a tire stuck in the mud,
like a furious, roaring struggle
to get nowhere.

It felt like a pair of quivering lips,
like the mindless bouncing of a foot,
or a finger twisting a telephone cord
like a stray curl of hair.

You were movement without meaning.
You were a twitch – instinctive
and involuntary.

Like a knee-jerk,
like pure impulsive reflex

our love was all the quiet chaos
of a spastic muscle.

The Truth About Bittersweetness

You say the word “bittersweet” and I can only think of how

it seems like a bird plucked of its feathers sitting there on your mouth

squawking for a flight that won’t come.

You are coffee tasted for the first time,

and my ten-year-old caffeine-curious lips were not prepared for

how dark and grossly plain of a liquid you would be.

You say the word “bittersweet” and it makes me want to pull out a dictionary

and inform you that, no, bittersweet cannot be an eye color,

Merriam-Webster calls it “pleasure alloyed with pain” so

it can’t be the way you look at me when you say

we are cartons of milk left in room temperature

but how you still let me convince you

people don’t have expiration dates.

You say the word “bittersweet” and I want to wipe my thumb

across your mouth like windshield wipers, smearing away

the sun-baked, splattered insects and flecks of dirt,

I want to delve into your vocabulary with surgical scissors

and rip away the part of you that believes in bittersweetness

because this world is not a gumball that loses

its taste the longer you chew on it –

you have just forgotten how to enjoy the heart of it,

the body, the shell that cracks under your teeth.

You say the word “bittersweet” and I want to snatch

it off your tongue and say you can have this back

when you learn to use it correctly

because don’t you dare call this bittersweet

don’t you go calling grapes raisins

just because they gave their skin to the sun

don’t you go calling me a hopeless romantic

just because I blew my kisses to the sky.

Your teeth let slip the word “bittersweet” but

your hands say something else –

you put them over mine and I feel

nothing but warm honey.

The Life We Got

I’m sorry this isn’t the one

we end up together in.

I felt that reality slip through my fingers

like kite string –

the wind might have caught it

had we run just a little bit faster.

Now the sky’s left without us

and we’re racing in separate directions

to catch it.

You Fell in Love with The Girl in your English Class

You fell in love with the girl in your English class

and the way she read Shakespeare

and wore floral dresses even

when it wasn’t warm outside.

You were young and intellectual

so you fucked to classical music

in the backseat of a broken down car –

you touched her like a cello

and she moved like strings under your hands

and you finally understood Brahms

and all that music in his head.

You read poetry to each other

in the heat and after-sweat,

your arm draped over her thigh,

using words to touch her

in places your hands couldn’t

and as you both stumbled drunk

and groping out in the dark,

she turned to you and

said with her eyes what

Dickinson said in her letters:

that she was out with lanterns

looking for herself, and you said

that was fine, you could look together.

You fell in love with the girl in your English class

and the way her eyes told every story

and you could read novels just by

looking at her, how you could drink in

classics with your tongue on hers

how you could reach through her to

Austen and Bukowski and Wilde

and have conversations

with them through her skin.

You fell in love with the girl in your English class

and how she cried over finished stories

and how you resurrected them

by reading from the beginning

and together felt like God

and how you once made love to her

against her desk

as books rained down on your heads

attacked by an avalanche of fiction

and she screamed and

didn’t stop screaming

you fell in love with verse

and eating food raw,

leaving nothing but

bones on the plate

you fell in love with haiku

and seven-syllable lines lurking

behind eyelashes to fall at your touch

you fell in love with the girl in your English class

and you never stopped falling in love with her

and she scribbled your life down

like a sonnet onto a napkin

stained with her last meal

and you never grew tired hearing yourself told

through her 2 AM diner words.

A Thirteen Line Poem on Not Being in Love

1. Everyone is obsessed with each other

2. If a hand is not being held, is it really a hand?

3. I prefer violin strings to human lips

4. I found my soul-mate at age fifteen

5. I’ve got love poetry addressed to no one and

6. I’m very close to them

7. There’s a ring on my right hand I bought myself

8. The truth is your soul mate’s not always the one you end up with

9. I’ve hung a ‘for sale’ sign over my heart

10. The moon comes down from the sky and sleeps beside me every night and

11. I’ve never known loneliness

12. Sometimes you’re someone’s soul mate

13. And you just have to say no, sorry, you’ve mistaken me for someone else.

Art Kills

They’ve got it all wrong.

Love is not the paint,

it’s not even the canvas.

Love is me working on it –

trying to figure out

the color of the sunset

and you coming up

from behind; punch

a hole through my chest,

hand me a betrayal that

tastes like glitter and dye.

Love is me looking down

at the red like it’s

a newly invented color –

holding out my brush

to dab at blood

saying:

Thank you.

This is exactly the shade

I was looking for.

Him

I tell myself over and over again,

There is more to life than finding someone to love you.

I sit down with my mom, who says

“You deserve better.”

I sit down with my friends, who say

“He’s a piece of shit.”

I sit down alone and repeat it.

They’re just words.

Because then I sit down with him.

And his eyes have a thousand things to say.

He smiles and I forget the word alone.

He walks out and the room is too empty

and there’s a pile of silence on my floor

like dirty laundry I can’t bring myself to pick up.

Say the words until they’re true.

I deserve better.

He’s a piece of shit.

I smile without someone on the receiving end.

But then he’s back, and he’s laughing

and I’m the only person alive in the world.

And I do. I laugh back.

Yes, I hate him.

But sometimes

I hate myself

more.