Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm All Out of Ideas

what a terrible way to feel
overwhelmed and over it
like I don't want to write anymore
like maybe a word, this hour, or this minute
is spent
without a summit

my journal is a progression of poems
most as forgettable as the day that produced them
as vague as the answer of anywhere
but I study each of them carefully
and weigh them on a scale
of halfway or almost there

this is what god must feel like
overwhelmed and over it
like I don't want to be responsible for this
like maybe there is no truth
because you ignore the goodness
and you think it has nothing to do with you

my old journals sing songs
of young girls with old thoughts
and I remember that ol' girl and them young thoughts
and I want to be her, hold her
it will all be okay

Monday, June 27, 2011

quotation marks

You said
I think I left the keys

I said
They're in your pocket

You said
You're right, you can hear them can't you?

Right then the church bells began

And I remembered the word, again

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Said Free as The

this one
time I


I know
we are


and I
still think

the idea
of freedom
is meaningless
until we believe
that we are


the idea
of community
is pointless
until we all
agree to be

that speaks
and sings


one voice
for us


way it
should be

Monday, June 20, 2011

little satellites

we are all parents
fathers and mothers
we are teachers
mind readers and healers

when an infant cries
we hug them, we coo
we do not cry back
we do not insult their pain

children are parents too
they will come to you
in your time of need and say
I love you

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I feel broken down
composed of moving parts
that can sing perfectly
when every gear is in line

I'm out of line

but I saved a little wine
in the bottle I bought
to get me to midnight
and noon all over again

somewhere someone is playing music
and they probably invited us all
in a quick tempo tap
that sometimes mentions Arkansas

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

small reminders

love is a gesture
and i want to give it to you
because you deserve it
and i deserve to know
that you have it

Sunday, June 12, 2011

false alarm

may I have your attention please
a fire emergency has been reported in the building
upon receipt of being verified
please leave the building by the nearest exit
do not use the elevators

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kara Bibb

It is almost my birthday and I almost believe
so I sent out secret messages to everyone
including me

Oh Kara Bibb,
do you remember that time when you never felt guilty
and there were only two things


and because it could be more simple
you ecstatically agreed
that you were me

and because that was fair
you decided to believe
in remembering

Friday, June 10, 2011

June Tenth

i feel old in your arms
i feel small in your arms
i feel helpless and delicate and fragile
in your arms

in a few days
I will try to fall asleep
I will notice that my hands curl and rest themselves
on the chest that holds my broken heart
it will be my chest and i will want for you

Thursday, June 9, 2011

book ends

i wrote it all down once
on a piece of scrap paper

but you said it best

"what we need tonight
is something beautiful and bright"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

shrapnel art

sometimes I think I'm ridiculous
always so seemingly happy

I've got two hands
and they fold or they clap

or they're fists
but I am happy

look it up
just look up

there is nothing holding you
to the ground

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Wheels

I'll be damned

if it didn't work itself out

Monday, June 6, 2011

bring. your. own. mountain.

everyone is someone else's first glance
oh he's pretty
or she's plain
and that's the way we sound in a photo
or in our songs
to the ones who only see us once

you should look a different way

at the girl with crimson lips
and the boy whose words whisper timeless
on stages built of wires and W's and K's
on air and saying I am awkward and I love this
while ladies sing songs that sound like sparrows
and thank yous search the air for artists

you should bring your mountain

to the sleeping bed of jesters
where beauty juggles itself and comes to terms with
flesh stretched against the surface of bones
and delights and dismays in the catch and the fall
of lovers and disbelievers as one audience
who hold their breath and wait for the next spectacle

you should hold your breath
a spectator would

Sunday, June 5, 2011


When I moved away from home the first time
I never considered going back

the bedroom we tried to grow up in
the family traditions we never kept
the friends whose secrets I forget
I can't believe I went back

but I did once
and I paid the rent
watched a child and a mother in unrest
watched a day unfold and let it go again

and you judged me while I tried to keep myself
in a simple repose

maybe you can come visit me next New Year's Eve
I will kiss your cheek and play you songs
and your son can come and he can sing along
while we toast to the years that are to come

I'll forgive you now
in the home in my head
if you get a job and give yourself a good name
I will be your friend again

Saturday, June 4, 2011

nap time

a child is sleeping
it is summer

his arms are stretched above his head
his fingers twitch
his leg hangs off the bed
his knees are bent

a child is sleeping under a blanket
it is colorful

he is peaceful
he is worryless
he is natural
he is dreaming

a child is skating in his dream
it is Saturday

he counts his wheels
he tightens his straps
he stands on his heels
he bends his knees

a child is skating
it is Sunday

his mind goes round and round
his head is a roller rink
his dream takes him to a roller town
his sleep is a skate without a stopper

Friday, June 3, 2011

8 years old once

for lack of beds, I slept next to him
I listened to him whisper to himself

happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday
dear Jalen
happy birthday to me

I thought about summer camps, swimming pools, and superheroes
I thought about him and how he waited all day for a party and me

to show up with the presents my sister had promised her son
to show up with a rite of passage in the form of an orange bicycle

that was last spring, and then winter came
when I hid his presents under my small sink

Jolly old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way, don't you tell
a single soul
what I'm going to say

the next day he cried at my kitchen table while I tried to explain
why he should wait and make his gingerbread house with his mother

the next month someone pawned a present I had bought him
and I explained to myself the difference between money and love

and I felt sick, and I felt noble at once
a Romeo holding an empty vile and Juliet

ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes
we all fall down

as April ended this year my nephew turned eight
and I spent the day planning an escape for everyone

I thought about how he laughed at his own jokes
and how I cried when I first heard about him

and I prayed, please let him be a good man
over and over and over and over again

Thursday, June 2, 2011

free chairs

my favorite chairs

I found on the side of the road

the first one seemed too perfect

so I put it back on the porch

of whomever it was that left it

on the side of the road

with a little note that read

is this for me?

it took the better part of an hour

to get it into my car

I was so proud

of my new pink chair

but you hated it

I don't understand hate

The green chair
(oh be still my heart)
I may as well have stolen it

how quickly it became mine

in one swift motion

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Silk is Always Appropriate

One morning

after a flight

I woke up

on my friend's couch

She wanted

to take me

to brunch

I was

wearing the dress

from the night before

I was worried

I said outloud

I can't go

My friend wondered


I told her

I can't wear silk

to Saturday brunch

She laughed

and glanced

at her wall

There she was

Miss Holly Golightly

in Givenchy

I forgave everyone

on the spot