Thursday, April 26, 2012

quick as it came

everything was still
except for trepidation on lips and breath.
a sort of unsettling, thorough dormancy.
the broken ground and its
blanket of hostility
screamed reality.
a pair of witnesses
had sealed their fate
the year before
and agreed to encounter this milestone
to the chagrin of the surroundings.
they captured their only chance amid a glance
and when the storm erupted
it shattered the hourglass they'd so often studied,
claiming them for its own.
the sand had shifted
into overdrive,
indicating the final toleration
of all this.
it was done,
as quick as it came
with two more lives to its name.
soon it would conquer.
oh yes, it was going to conquer.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

last in line


it is not a crime
to be last in line
in someone's mind.

it is a shame
to be last in line
in yours.


to be last in line,
a meaning
altered over time.
children are told
where they should go
and the last is forgotten,
subjected to ridicule.

at fifteen
the last grows mad,
paints her fingernails black,
makes love to a razor
and never looks back
at the world
that didn't look back for her.

into adulthood
and it's the hell with you,
on no one's wait list
and confined to solitary musing,
slowly falling back
to last in your own mind.


in someone's mind
is the wish;
better yet,
in the heart
and stuck there,
adhesive affections.


it is a shame,
the connotations
of last place
that have become standard.

last is nobody's
favorite number,
yet it's never least?
an unfair juxtaposition.

sometimes last
wins the race
but it never feels like victory.


to be last in line,
every time;
it's draining
to remain there
in the mind.


in yours
i have always been last
in mine
you have always been first.

it is not a crime but
it is a shame.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

shouldn't still

i'm angry at my heart.

it still beats fastest
for you
after all these years
when i'm well aware
i shouldn't still love you.

you've given me reason enough
to have gotten over it:
misinterpreting playful words for offensive ones,
calling me out on things you were ashamed of,
never berating your unruly ego
for trying to compete with mine.
it's clear your self-worth
relies on how many people
have downloaded your songs on iTunes.

i have never denied your talent.
in fact, most days i envy it.
but if all those soul-searchers had seen
your darker side like i have,
they wouldn't revere you half as much.

your darker side
seems to be the part of you
that you never reign in
when it comes to me;
have you discovered my game
or do you simply think me idiotic?

either way i suppose
i ought to stop telling strangers
that you're my best friend from high school
so they don't get the wrong idea.

...and even if i did
it still wouldn't be any less true
that all of the love poetry i've written
now or long ago
has been for you,
you moron.


Friday, April 20, 2012

a new girl now like always

i nearly forgot that i have to write
a poem today, and then i remembered

that there are only two pages left
in this poetry journal here and it

made me want to go write
right away because i love i love

the finality that comes with completion
of eight months' worth of thought

put deliberately on so many different days,
in so many different states of mind. i'm

on the very last page now and it feels
fucking fantastic to be here; what

a journey it has been and i am of course
a new girl now like always

when i reach the end and it's
bitter and it's sweet and it's

time. a mirror to my own life --
it's time for something new for me,

too, an adventure i can ride through
beaming from the rush.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

word bath

put me on another poetry diet,
some days i can't get enough.
it's good for me to bathe in words
trying to find some i haven't yet used;
i depend too much on others to inspire me
when i can't make sense of what i've
been given. but without seeing what others are
creating i'll never be able to create
something better. we all have philosophies
and i try hard to follow mine.

when i'm done pulling out hairs still
attached to my head i'll make something up
and hope it matters. if not i'm slinking back
to the word bath hoping it will throw me a strong enough line
before i drown in recycled filth.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


fortresses crumble;
souls are pawned;
proud men will stumble;
still i press on.


Monday, April 16, 2012

neat little charms

and in the next few moments we
might find our little pleasantries
if you could only
graduate to me.

what has she that i haven't?
she's pretty.
i have a beautiful soul.
it's not perfect, but it's beautiful.

she laughs at your jokes
but you never really did
put much stock in them;
are you putting on a front for her
or am i made naive among your untruths?

from the way she looks at you
and the ease with which her tolerance falters
after a few mimosas
i'm lead to believe she'll give you everything
without you asking --
everything except her self-respect, that is,
if she can even find any.
i'd never be so brazen
with you
just like i'd never be so easily intoxicated
on anything in life
but whiskey or you.

she's affording you her flesh
and limited affections
to make herself feel better,
not to please you.
throw away.
i'd be there
through even your ugliest days
and i'd make you happy
because i wanted to,
nothing in it for me but the satisfaction
that you're content
on my efforts and company --
not disposable.

her charms are merely meant
to conceal how she's been used
by so many before you in the past
because she lets them use her.
i almost feel pity,
but her chances of extracting such pure emotion from me
might be better
were she not using
as her latest pawn
in some sick chess game
you've already lost.

the fact that it's
makes everything not OK
this time.

but as usual
i'm unarmed and not briefed to take action.
all i can do
is watch her move through you
destroying all the genuineness you were born with
and turning you slowly to stone.

i'll wait,
a fool at court
only required for sideline entertainment,
and when she's left you
open-hearted and overheated
you'll wonder where you went wrong
and i'll assure you again
that you went wrong
when you chose her
over me,
her with her neat little charms.

and you'll grin at such thought,
mistaking my disdain for friendly banter
like always
thinking me a good companion
but not a lover.
never more than that
as a rule
(more on your part
than mine).

and so it goes,
and by now i'm well-learned in the subject
of you
and those neat little charms
that had me hooked when you first said,
'hey, i like your style.'

notice how i know you better
than any of the bittersweet tarts
who bargain for your time.
i know you better.

i know that you like to hear yourself talk
and that you'd die a slow, painful death
if you were forbidden to play guitar.
i know what your parents do for a living
and who you were named after
and why.
i know you prefer chunky peanut butter
like me
and i know we can harmonize like no other
when we want to
(like when we sang White Christmas at the senior center
that one time
with pride).

you're occupied
with the newest plaything
who will suck your soul dry
but who am i to prevent you?
until you grow up and
graduate to me,
you'll forever be lost in familiar neat little charms
and so
i'll go.


[this is one of the first honest pieces i ever allowed myself to write to the man who once was the muse for most of my love poetry. it's clear i had jaded views on love then, and it's interesting to see how i write about love now. this sort of evolved into more of a ranty letter to him than a poem. x]

Friday, April 13, 2012

redesign (once yours)

baby's on the phone again
producin' a seducin' scheme.
if you could see how he treats me,
how his boldness beats me down,
it's some poor soul's unfortunate dream
(but none of mine).

you can't make substance out of air:
(it's obvious when there's nothing there).

you can't make substance out of air
and he can't take back his words.
baby's gone home.
he's grey when he's alone --
i throw away all i've heard.

it is a feeling so absurd
(to feel as if you're never heard).

and then i'd be so much less inspired
after the fight, the fake-out and the fall.
i suggest to his heart
as my own stops with a start --
what if i mean nothing at all?

to mean nothing in the world at all
to the one person in the world who means something --
(what, if i gave to the game,
would i expect your heart to deliver?).

baby's on the phone again
and i'm all out of sense.
this makes me want to know
if i should stay or i should go
repaint the white picket fence.

a dream's redesign,
once yours, now only


Tuesday, April 10, 2012


i take my coffee always with cream
mostly because it tastes good
and removes some of the bitterness
because life, it can be bitter
but also because i like the way
the cream
in my coffee cup,
the meeting of worlds,
cosmic collisions
right beneath my fingertips
and i just want to watch it all settle,
filling space and changing color,
but usually i mix it up myself
life tastes better that way


Friday, April 6, 2012

beauty, the sea

the sea has its own ways of
showing its affection,
always changing with the tide,
seducing stars at its will
and swallowing up sailors for breakfast.

it sounds harsh but when you think about it,
it's a thing of beauty, the sea.


Thursday, April 5, 2012


the words went away and
she wanted to cry at the loss but
instead she let her heart carry the
things she wanted to say and
a stringy stream of thoughts became
the core of all her muddled misgivings that
had enjoyed floating around, unused in
the negative space in bedridden head, and
she breathed when at last she saw those
words she'd subconsciously conjured in
tandem opposition to her need to write and
she marveled at such results from a
frantic girl, not keen to surrender her tongue just


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


only faded frame and sepia tones
could keep Evelyn at bay;
she was vivacious:
her spirit needed to soar
over all the petty people
in their pretentious poses.

in her own,
she should appear to her descendants as
nothing less than

they will so cleverly discern that
this is the woman
whose voyage to the States
from Lausanne
she'd documented fervently
in the galloping French of her homeland;
each day she wrote,
no matter how distasteful, rude
the 'dirty' Italians were
or how poorly the beer
matched that of Europe --
the curse of a cruise ship's offering.

the stateliness of set shoulders,
the beadiness of darkened eyes
would speak of her will to live
while others fell to plagues
they were doomed to contract,
unable to dispel contaminated blood
even for their lifelines:
Evelyn's story had not yet been told.
she would not depart
until she was sure
she would be remembered,
and most accurately at that.

her portrait could not betray her
a century and a half later:
severe features in face had been softened
by love's unassuming touch;
the journey from Switzerland
had been more than stake for opportunity --
it had been her fortuitous fate.
hair gathered neatly under full-brimmed hat,
hands folded and positioned squarely
on her lap, pressed to perfection,
she was clearly faithful
not only as eager wife
but also as ardent mother
and most importantly
as a lady who'd created this life
for herself.

she would be thought admirable.
she would be thought persistent.
and should the muted tones of her dress,
the impenetrable high-collared blouses
or the sheer absence of force-fed grin
prove otherwise,
then you have not taken measure
to properly know her
at all.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

i have more me's to become

my goodbye shoes have been on
for days and now that i've scratched parting words

into all my exotic stones here my
heart tells me to look back.

it's forgotten something.
i don't like the way that feels

but i also have no zest left to fight it.
i made that bargain long ago so that

i'd stay sane in this little fraying head.
but there's always a reason to stay.

four days on i might have changed my mind
but some bridges i prefer to burn

before the crossing -- making my
own exit that much harder and then

i will ask myself why i do this
over and over and never really wait around

for the answer. i have more me's
to become; i pull the laces a bit

tighter and keep going, it's better
that i don't set them down in one place

for too long lest i forget
where i am and where i put them.


Monday, April 2, 2012

fooling even me

i can't go home
and nothing fits.
the world surrounding me now
forces me to listen,
to share,
to conform,
and i'm not ready.
i long for a smile
other than my own,
one that will radiate love
and be genuine.
i try to be myself
and wind up fooling even me.
there is no reason to be unhappy --
but there is no reason to be happy.
i am not allowed to escape.
i am not allowed to sing.
tears go unanswered
as they hope for a lonely puddle
to contribute to.
unity is respect,
and respect is undefined,
like this portrait of myself
whose frame i've been trying to fill
for far too long.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

generation's tragedy

i remember where i was
when the planes hit.
it was 11am, 4th period,
United States History
and i was fifteen.
the closest thing i'd known
to death
had been the loss of a classmate
at the mercy of four squealing, bloody wheels
two years prior.
i didn't understand it then
and that new September
was no different,
as i was green and just cracking the surface
of coming-of-age and coming alive
in a school full of know-it-alls and small-town heroes
on the brinks of their dreams.

i wish i had been older,
who i am now
(a bit more confident and wise,
a little less jaded and intimidated)
in order to have truly comprehended
the magnitude
of the history i was witnessing.
because at fifteen
the only concerns for a girl
spinning in the world
are writing love notes never meant to be read
and trying to skirt the plasticity of stereotypes
that become so easy to fall into.

i don't believe at such a desperate age
thoughts of the world as we know it
being rocked and shaken down
like Jenga tiles
are present.

yet there i sat, my peers sat,
in sophomoric seats
as teacher put on a grave face
and said,
'our nation is currently under attack.'
we hung on the statement,
prepared to dive into another flashback lesson
heralding the country's pages and years.

teacher stood steadfast in place
but the towers did not.
and then we knew this day
wouldn't be like any other.
a kind of smooth pandemonium
evolving through locker-lined hallways
through linoleum footfalls and up into physical soles
and eventually,
into less-tangible souls.

it was soon apparent
that history books would require rewrites.

i didn't really begin to comprehend
it all
until the old algebra teacher --
the curmudgeony one
who took no prisoners if you were a smart aleck
and whom students avoided like the plague
when it came time to schedule classes --
ran from the recluse of her room
wings sprouting from her heels,
tears escaping her eyes for her son in the city.
it wasn't until then
that i truly understood
what this was going to do to me,
to us, to the country and maybe even
the world.

and the coursework ceased
while televisions blared, one after another,
messengers of terror unfolding.
to this day i'm not sure which was worse:
watching firefighters forging ahead into
flame and fury
hoping to find someone alive
or watching toy soldier bodies
momentarily animated, flailing,
plunging out of windows,
hoping to die on the way down
before the ground could have its say.
i couldn't really blame them;
i'd much prefer to be in control of my fate
than to perish at some unknown time
at the hand of all-consuming hatred.

still it is the most gruesome thing
to think of bones and blood splayed on cement,
the sound of the impact,
the crushing of life,
and the sheer pain of it all
even though there was nothing left for them to feel
by then.

the days wore on
and the more the media beat things to death
and the more the weight of it all
washed over me
the more i wanted to throw up
and bawl for days
at the horror.

i was fifteen then.
i'm twenty-three now.

it's still as chilling

other disasters since,
while devastating in their own right,
could never make me feel
this way,
this shattered
for i will never be fifteen again
and i will never be in that state of mind again.
i will never be in 10th grade
wondering if i know anyone who works in New York City
i will never again be stuck at school until 3:30
when all i want to do is run home
and cry.
i will never again feel so insignificant
among so many people who are
feeling the same thing.

i'll never forget where i was.
my father still says that
about the day John F. Kennedy was shot.

i suppose
this is my generation's
Kennedy assassination.
and the generation before?
probably something to do
with Pearl Harbor or D-Day
or something.

maybe each generation's tragedy
is meant to make us think
maybe we're supposed to tell our children
about it
in hopes that they'll be prepared
when another one goes down
and shocks the world.

or maybe they keep it to themselves
you can never actually ready yourself
for something
as horrific as this.