Open letter

Your presence is not required.
I am not the same girl, face down
on the cold floor for relief
not the same needy sycophant
begging for crumbs

Your presence is not requested
at the birthday party for this
newly born woman- not so penurious
as to give nothing back, but not
your problem anymore. My friend

of the east, of the wind and the meadows
showing up out of nowhere with your
five piece one-man-band, and I
with just a knack for getting to the
heart of things, driving you down

Your presence is not required, on your knees.
I won’t demand and deflate
the ego of your youth.
I have my own-and when someone has
got their own, they don’t steal anymore

I have this new path I’m on
mottled with the unknown, and
no map to speak of. Your presence
is not required. But if you would like to join me-
the path stretches far ahead

Ticking

 

Every day I open another door
watching an old one close
turning my head for that moment
hearing the click of the lock
my soul in chains and it is He
who unlocks them-one by one
reminding me I am here
for a greater purpose
everyone hurting – everyone needing
and I have something still to give away

Getting to know my own heart
hiding it even from myself
I get surprised – appalled – scared-
by what oozes out of this organ
the hate and bitterness
the color of death
leaving me now
and I do not look away
at the horror of the decay to my heart
once pulsing and new

So many doors – I get
so easily twisted ’round –
a face from the past
darkening a threshold
confounding me –
what do I really want-
which to choose
and which to board up-
pain when the cells reweave themselves
new life where once was merely debris

It is safe to come out now
as the thunder is less
and the ticking is behind me –
the further I travel down this path
the more I have to learn yet
and I find myself astonished
as I become reacquainted with myself-
loins girded – helmet fastened tight
that others should know me better now
yet you know me less

Shearing season

My heart has not dissolved
in the way you seemed to have planned it
a bicarbonate tablet in a glass of water
the effervescence rising from the top of the glass

My heart is not in tatters or torn
simply vaporized
turned to bubbles
that pop when you speak

Each word every word
biting and relentless
every cruelty
piling up like sheepskins

Shear me again
there is still some left
maybe you’ll cut flesh
this time, mister

I am part of the air now
until I am solvent
buoyant
I am not defeated

Sum of my parts

(2015)


I was composed by
Dickinson and Poe
Ingalls and Alcott
Cummings and Keats;
A pen with the ink of
Matthew, Mark, Luke
John, Ringo, George
And Paul, the apostle;

Shaped by the lashes
of a leather belt
and overcooked vegetables
with Sunday roast, and
endless vats of gravy
poured into cups

put food on the pain
eat until you’re stuffed;

Composed by Rock of Ages
What a friend we have in Jesus
sung by saints and the
pure-of-heart-
wife-beaters-closet bigots
friends and adulterers;

Unexpected kindnesses
wrapped in Jean Naté
and Chanel No. 5
a soft, wrinkled hand
with hard candy
wrappers that crinkled
during the prayer;

Constructed by long rainy walks
endless nights without sleep
teachers that saw through me
a welcome friend
in the middle of the heat;

Each cell, every organ complete
I won’t deny any of them
for to remove the painful limbs
would cause the others
to fall apart;

So I walk on
head up-chin out
this is me
take me or leave me
this is who I am
a sum of my life

Until I am done
I’m coming Grandma
some day-to sit next to you
and hear the rest of the stories

Of how we were all
written-prodded
stewed, and shoveled
into what we are





silence (kills)

pigtails
dresses
sworn to silence
months that felt like years
years to get over months

is it unbearable
to not be cherished
then try to join the world
tentative
aloof
scared of shadows

staying mean
to keep the walls standing
middle of the crowd I screamed
my anguish

one on one
I was sworn to silence

My friends need dusting

 

You said
you pictured me in a great library
in a great house with a huge kitchen
where I cook amazing meals
and sumptuous desserts

I  never told you
how I gave away my life-twice-
donated and left behind every book
I had collected-except
what I could run with under my arms

Now I have begun
to replace them-to purchase again
these dusty old books
that bring such joy and peace
and also a great, big dictionary

But I panic
at the thought of running again
with that in tow
for he and I are friends now
and no man will be left behind

when the wind turns a certain way
I can hear the train
my lips curling up at the corners
eyes bright
wait! where are you going?
I want to go too-
I have been too long slumbering
too many days weeks months years
without being myself
I want to go
and see everything
that I used to see
wondering if everything
has been missing me