March 8, 2011

*Per request, here’s an old spoken word poem that I have never gotten around to performing.  Enjoy :).*


Today, I can feel the distance between raindrops.
I can hear the science class rabble now. About how
if an atom were a stadium,
a proton would be the size of a pea and an electron would be
a grain of sand flitting around in the welfare seats.

Or how if Helium
were the size of the Earth,
the nucleus would be an apple
and electrons like clouds contracting before birth
and now,

I see raindrops as flecks of matter
humming with so much space in between that it’s hard to say
they exist at all, like pearls in an ocean or gold in a stream.

My hand reaches out, stretching
across atomic football fields, universes,
to grab yours, this rare collection of nothing,
and like a phantom I watch the sky as it spins wet
needles past your eyes.

I stare at you
while your skin oscillates with energy
vibrating so slowly it can be seen by the naked eye,
with particles coiling around strings of nuclei like light, buoyed
in your beautiful nothingness,
the antithesis of night.

I’m like a valence electron trying to jump
one shell closer by holding your hand, and
before I leave for distant lands, I want to tell you that you
are the stuff of stars, the electricity
that surges through wires; you—
are the undeniable touch of God.

And like two electrons dragged apart by miles,
we will change together in inexplicable coordination,
so when you pick up the phone you’ll hear my smile.

And there will be an invisible cord strung between us and it will have no form, no rhyme at all, nothing but fibers woven by an honest intent.


August 23, 2010

Remember when you wanted to name your cat “Help,”
so when you stuck your head
out of the screen door at night
and yelled: “Heeeeellppp… Heeeaaaallllp!”
You’d know which of your neighbors
really cared about you?

That was funny.

And I liked how for Arbor Day,
you bought me a sunflower, tall,
for my sunset window
because you said the head
was like a round compass
and the pink heart you drew
on the westernmost petal
pointed approximately
back to you.

That was one of my favorite
daylight moments of ours,
where for just a few rare hours
our connection wasn’t pressed
between bed sheets
where, admittedly, we made love
like poetic athletes,
flinging the windows wide open
so that even music teachers
coming back from lovers’ opera
would think to themselves:
“Now, that is really—
That is really something else.”

Or remember the day your dog died
and you asked me
to describe you in two words,
so I wrote “Nicole Kidman”
on a wallet-sized piece of paper?
Well, I lied.

you’re more like a stapler,
collecting ideals like
Gorgeous [click-click],
Intelligent [click-click],
Breathtakingly Exquisite (gasp).
And that thick volume of you, I’m sure,
is Heaven’s pre-requisite.

Hell, I’ve got a plane ticket’s worth
of confessions to digress to like:
Yes, I do like watching your old videos
from childhood.

Yes, it was me who planted hollyhock
outside by your mailbox
because you once said life could use
more hummingbirds.

And yes, maybe I’ve spent weeks
composing these petty words,
rotating moments of you
in lyrical stasis, thinking:

Ninety billion trillion miles—
that’s how big space is.
And I can’t find a single metaphor
to tell you just how pretty your face is.

Which is just as well,
because you are allergic to compliments
and you’re wary of drive-by relationships
that leave you sideswiped, I know.

Believe me, I know I’m not really your type.
And like the moon, I’m a lot less pretty up close.
So when you come twirling
through my yard,
I try so hard not to tell you how beautiful you are
how beautiful you are
how beautiful you are
as many times as I think it.

But the next time I call—maybe—
I’ll tell you that loving you
is like stealing honey
in a bear suit
in the middle of summer.
Except, maybe, I am you.
And instead of a bear suit, it’s nothing at all.
Maybe the honey is my boxer shorts.
And instead of summer, it’s midnight,
you’re fast asleep, and humming,
[humming] “How sweet it is to be loved by you,”
in your dreams
with the moon tangled in your ponytail.

But I’ll probably just get your voicemail and say:

“Hey, I know you’re used to small talk and horseplay,
but I’m tired of feeling lost and found, so:
Call me if you need a room full of flowers.
Call me if you miss seeing my toes in your shower.

Just call me if you want me around.”

O, Happy happy happy! (How happy am I to-day?)

May 25, 2010

I’m so happy!
The sun shines and the flowers bloom!
The Lord be praised for there’s nothing happier than
to-day’s happy day.

Press a gun to my temple and let petals
burst from the warm barrel and
penetrate me
with smiles and roasted marshmallows!

O, how I giggle at the men of the past:
Neanderthals, Victorians, Bohemians, and, too,
the muslims, buddhists, atheists, and
jews and blacks on this happiest of happy
Christian days!

My insides float in warm strawberry jam.
O, happy day! Is there no end to the good
that glides over the world like peach syrup?

Thailand is blooming!
Louisiana is singing!
Koreans are holding hands!
Ethiopia is laughing!

Who could tear through my impenetrable, faith-full
ballistic vest of happiness?
Who could wring the happy perspiration
from the bright underpants of life to-day?

Together, let’s walk unafraid
through the flowering minefields of happy.

Night, Fall

May 22, 2010

Fine grooves split down the shells of refulgent embers, carving outlines of Halloween teeth into blackened wood, and spheres of tangerine held in your eyes like dry planets while water stole up the sand to make negatives of our toes. Lying back, the smell of marshmallows and ash filled our noses and stars clumped and circled overhead like a halo stretched over Earth. I said something about not being able to see the leaves changing color and we laughed at our seriousness. With an exhale, we closed our eyes as freckles of red danced over us like fireflies.

Summer’s End: August 22nd, 1978

May 16, 2010

We sat between goalposts, picking grass until egg yolk broke across the sky and the whites clumped lazily together, sliding above us. Slowly, wooden castles, recycled tires, and rows of buttercups stepped out of hiding to see God’s flaxen hair swing gently over the soccer field. Our hands fit together like zippers with bits of green pressed in the heart of our palms like petals drying into memory between pages.


April 16, 2010

Slabs of heat rose from the BBQ across the yard.  Pentor had always liked staring at columns of tangled warmth and smoke, warping the trees behind it like funhouse mirrors, and he didn’t mind sacrificing conversation with Betty to look.  There wasn’t much to lose anyhow.

Betty bit her ice cream with her teeth, trying hard not to give the wrong impression.  “I don’t think we’re a very good match,” she said.  “Oh, you don’t think so?” he chuckled with a playful grin.  She smiled.  “But how about seeing a movie with me and forgetting about it?”