five points

i am soft in the center.

don’t tell. i dry out

and wave my angry arms around.

but even my spikes are soft once i come back to life.

you see this once you are close up; you make this happen.

 

my daughter’s tiny hand used to spread out

over the hill of my breast while feeding.

my chest would rise, and fall—and her plump hand,

her whole plump body—would fill up

like a happy balloon.

 

she lets herself get very empty these days;

she likes the feeling

of being light and airy,

of floating—playing with non-existence.

in dreams, she flies weightless over the sea from which she was fished.

 

i, in contrast,

am so full. full of worry; full of fear;

full of love and gratitude and joy.

full of food, wine, sadness, thoughts;

full, at times, of empty.

 

we are each the star in our own galaxy.

things revolve around our soft openings as they are commanded;

other things shrink, collapse, get sucked into a black hole;

and some things laugh as they expand—like a wide-open mouth—

glinting beyond our greatest imagining.

 

 

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meet hope

my heart is full.

 

coming back on a high note,

a wave, something that’s still moving.

 

“change is good for me, mom,”

she says.

 

i know what she means. it isn’t

easy; but it’s good.

 

we take the green for granted,

all around us, all the time.

 

it reminds us to keep growing.

 

we are going to keep going.

we are not backing, breaking down.

 

we put our feet in the rushing tide, in the sand.

she runs around like a little girl—under the night sky,

 

on the edge of the world.

 

there is no moon, but we keep looking for it—expecting it

to pop up right at our feet.

 

it’s that kind of night.

 

we go out to the place where we can feel,

and meet hope.

 

the queen of afterthoughts

i’m the only one

the puppy won’t love.

 

maybe it would have been me,

eventually, who cheated.

 

inside, i think i am safe;

but i just feel tiny.

 

i twist and turn, a mini-cube

trying to solve all my problems.

 

you started dying in utah.

 

the three of us were outsiders;

together, deep in thought.

 

now you are both gone.

 

she’s always there, now,

when i dream of you.

 

this means something.

 

meanwhile, my girl holds up the

walls; blocks the door, the windows.

 

her arms are exhausted.

 

and she is wading into the

deep water of adulthood.

close carry

i used to fall asleep in the car,

riding home at night after a

 

long outing. i remember the hum

of the road, the flashing head

 

lamps; i remember the sudden quiet

of the engine cutting off, daddy scooping

 

me up in his arms to carry me in. some

times a shoe would slip, a mumble, a word—

 

a hint that i wasn’t completely asleep;

but he would carry me up the stairs into

 

the house, up the stairs into my bed.

i don’t remember what was said: just

 

the strong arms around me, the

scent of man, of capability, of love.

 

later there would be times i would try

to recreate this safe feeling, this

 

extended touch, this close carry.

but it was never the same.

 

asylum

look behind you:

the orchard-lined hall-

way; all the things that have

grown up and pushed out fruit

 

in your wake; the worn door frames

and door knobs, the sleeked floors slipping

under committed feet, the living point of contact

keeping you both here, resolved—all in, so to speak.

 

not since those first nine months

have you ever been so

in love with a

lynchpin.

and the creeks don’t rise

in every dream, a house;

in every room, a hole: a

broken floor, an exposed pipe, a

gaping window wanting to be a door.

 

at the end of a life, last words

are overrated: i’m so confused;

i’m in trouble; get the hell away

from me. it’s not like the movies.

 

you better hope you made your

amends, exchanged embraces,

made your love known while there

was still clarity. the last gasping

 

moments are not made for love.

 

 

 

 

 

it’s about damn time

it starts to rain and i think:
it’s about damn time.

i don’t know where i’ll go from here, but
this wet space is a good place to start.

i can’t write a goddamn poem—and
i keep thinking about bukowksi and

how he said don’t try—but if some
thing doesn’t come out soon i may im-

plode. i keep walking around the house
saying: i don’t know what to do.

i keep walking room to room know-
ing what to do and not doing it.

procrastination is an act of
rebellion: against the

system, against
expectation, against self.

there’s a world inside my head—
and even i can’t access it.

every thing is happening in another
language—a non-language:

visions spinning in spirals, surrounding me, closing
in, cushioning at times, but mostly suffocating.

i don’t expect you to under-stand. i don’t
expect to be able to see into yours, to climb up

and into for comfort. what are we together?
what do we do in these moments?

push? pull? hold?
hibernate? run?

getting in the car and driving through the hills
while blasting tom petty seems enough for now.

i drive by every place i have lived—except that one:
tucked up too far into the mountains, into the memory.

some days we cannot love our neighbor
because we do not love our selves. we shut up

into our houses. we lock our doors and windows and hide.
we are trying to love our selves; but we are lost. we are

trying to love our gods; but we are tossed aside
again and again by our own minds.

how do we get so far out of alignment? why does it
feel so good to snap back in—like one of those car seat

buckles with four sides that you have to line up just right
to feel the click while the kid kicks and screams and fights?

sitting with my adult-in-training after an argument—in which
nothing is solved except for the yelling and the receiving—

and watching law & order and laughing occasionally and
continuing to exist side by side seems enough for now.

do we let ourselves drift further away
so we can feel the relief of return?

do we have any control over any of it?
should we? or are we just rolling

along on the wave, letting it carry us to
the next destination? who are we to try to

control the sea? perhaps the moon goddess within.
perhaps you are my muse. perhaps a muse is just a

long lost love—or one never fully realized—who
triggers us and prompts us and provokes us and

pushes us—painfully far and prosaically wide at times.
perhaps you are part of my cluster, following me through

these sacred lives as we teach and learn and grow from
each other. when i think about my love for you, i want

to bring you flowers; i want to plant my forever in you:
inside your head, inside your hands, inside your heart.