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.

hello, heart

hello, big bowl

of purple plums,

 

rising up and

bursting forth

 

in cool sweetness

and simplicity;

 

hello, exigent

machine: pulsing,

 

pulsing to its

emery end;

 

hello, beautiful

redundancy:

 

our intrinsic need

to hear it again

 

and again; that which

keeps us human.

 

hello, heart.

 

 

forgive me, father

forgive me, father

for i have sinned;

 

it’s been fifteen days

since my last poem.

 

these first baby steps

are weird and wonder-

 

ful; i wonder where

they are taking me.

 

maybe to you—to the

brightest thing in my life.

 

let me know where

your heart is;

 

let me know your

words so i can

 

steal them away:

the purest relation-

 

ship, you say, preserved

in this crystalline distance.

 

can you see them? the pink

clouds rowing through the sky?

 

humming right along-

side? we’re almost there.

love to you and

the way you hold a

pencil,     the way you bend and tilt

 

toward what is important, toward

what moves you     and yet holds

 

you in stilled animation,

wonder,     desire;

 

the way your face      opens

to the widest smile, the

 

bluest

laugh,          like music

 

giving in.     love to you and

the granular tender-

 

ness in your eyes, on your

finger   tips, between the     universe

 

of your lips,     the tension of your sighs. this

kind of     love     has no name; it is just a

 

grate   ful   ness to be in the

same world with      you.

i want to read you

i want to read you;

i want to feel your words

slip over me, pull me into

their tide, strip me down with

their waves without trying.

 

i want to listen to the music

of your thought, follow it

into the forest, happen upon

a leprechaun and wood spryte

making gold, making love.

 

i want the letting of all this

matter into energy; these

disguises to fall away, the

memories of mountain-tops

to sway in their return.

 

i want to deep-dive into a

painting of a thousand sun-

sets, moments spent think-

ing of you; of our writing, of

our meeting: one and the same.

tiny home

Josie looked around at the giant house one last time: the vast emptiness, the sloping walls meeting the sprawling floors, the cathedral tiled tub scrubbed as shiny as ever, the multiple pockets of closets where things had crouched hidden for years—now flung open, naked and wanting. She was ready: to say goodbye, to close the multiple doors, to run as fast as she could from this wide domestic spread and its wider clutches.

She had a ticket. She felt it in her pocket. Its bulky presence reminded her that she had somewhere to be, something important to do. She couldn’t miss her train. She couldn’t let the people on the train down. They were counting on her. The whole world was counting on her.

In one hand she carried an argyle suitcase, and in the other a worn leather briefcase. On her back was the remainder of her belongings, stuffed into the Jansport backpack she had carried all through high school. Everything else she had ever owned was gone—sold, thrown away, given away, left behind, scattered to the wind.

She felt lighter as she walked away from the cab toward the platform. She felt so light she imagined dropping her remaining possessions to the ground, lifting up off the concrete slab—toes pointed, arms outstretched, face tilted toward the sun as she rose above the crowds watching her ascent.

The train whistle cut through her thoughts as people scurried around her. She felt her feet touch down, and she told them to move forward toward the open door. It was a narrow door, and she turned sideways as she struggled to squeeze her bags through. Where was the conductor to take her ticket? To help her with her bags? To give her a gaze of quiet assurance? Was this even the right train?

She followed the line of travelers down the aisle. They seemed to move with confidence. They seemed to believe. Really, they were just competing for an empty window seat. She finally found one near the rear of the car. She laid her luggage on the aisle seat for a moment, catching her breath before lifting the heavy suitcase up onto the shelf above.

She had not been able to part with her favorite books. They were more important than clothes. She had kept only three changes of clothes, two pairs of shoes (one of which she was wearing—her trusty hiking boots), a blanket, a small pillow, her father’s checkered necktie, a few worn undergarments, and her grandmother’s pink silk scarf. It was the only pink thing she owned. The rest of the trunk was filled with Jane Austen, Pablo Neruda, Margaret Atwood, Paulo Coelho. There were many more, but it had been difficult to choose. She would have rather gone with just the clothes on her back and carried only books. But she noticed that the fewer belongings she had, the more attention she was able to give each one—like dear children important in their own eternal way. While packing she had talked to each one, tucking it in tightly to its tiny assigned space: Don’t worry, you are safe, you are not alone. It was important to say these things out loud.

At the next platform she would board a larger train with a small compartment all her own. Here she would live for the next few months, transverse the states while writing, watching out the wide windows, waiting for a sign. Inside, within the four small stationary walls, she would find and welcome home all the selves that had wandered away over time and become lost within a fractured body, a fragmented memory, a starving marriage, an immoveable mansion. Josie closed her eyes and let the lull of the train put her into a deep sleep.

pick just one thing

what do you do when the

world seems to be coming

 

apart? how do you embody

the bravery that you know you

 

will need, that you know your

children and your children’s

 

children will seek for their very

survival? when the system has

 

turned cold and impervious—

the governing body stripped

 

of its head and its heart, and in

its place: angry fistfuls of gold—

 

how do you continue to break

in, break through, without

 

breaking down? pick just

one thing. pick one thing you

 

can learn, one thing you can

research, one person you can

 

help, one word you can say, one

way to hold on to that bravery

 

and hope; pick just one thing.

no one else can pick it for you:

 

find the thing that speaks to

you—above the roar of bullshit,

 

the one thing you can do today,

right now, every day, as small as it

 

seems. each person doing just one

thing with love and intention will build

 

back a breathing, beating body:

whole and full, with head and heart

 

and arms and hands open

and ready to receive again.