VERBALLISTICS:

A Terrible Way to Approach Dating

how does it feel
when we kiss
well
the first time
still
and it made me mad
when we were
outside
of his house, on the sidewalk
and everything glittered
and then
the next time,
I cried
couldn't keep from welling up
with all the sadness
and then
quiet again
afterwards
happy,
then so ~ and
so
I guess
speaking
statistically
I'll have to try
a thousand times,
or so
then
divide
by ten
to know the answer.

Insecurity

Insecurity lives two doors down from Love - wants to adopt a pet, so she won’t feel so lonely - so she can feel someone’s loyal devotion. Insecurity does not like open spaces; is good at taking up less space - diminishes herself to make others more comfortable. Insecurity spends too many nights dressed to expectation - can’t meet her own eyes in the mirror. Spends too much time in front of it, anyway. She is always becoming something other. Molding herself to fit into the moment - into the desires of the present. Into the waiting hands of entitlement. She is not the kind of girl who walks home alone after the party. She does not believe in her own strength in the face of darkness - in the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

She is slow to smile - often awkward. Covers her mouth when she laughs hard. Holds her breath more than is healthy. Doesn't believe she is lovely. She needs to compete - needs to win - will still not feel worthy of the prize. She will still flinch at the flicker of their eyes as she walks by - never believing her stance is inspiring. Insecurity is not the type to ask for what she wants - only questions the sound of her own voice - echoing, reflective. She is all swagger and high heels and hip sway - only stumbles when Love is near. Insecurity grapples with pale fear, and her own sharp teeth.

Love wants to rest quietly in bed - still hears Insecurity’s heels clicking, a slow stroll down a nightmarish hallway. Love prays for the white noise camouflage of the heater - for endless compassion, and patience. For a generous slice of kindness, and clear communication - but Insecurity wields a sharp knife, hands shaking; waiting to slide it between Love’s soft ribs -

still, Love is not a victim. Love is no sleeping fool. Love is a five-alarm house fire, flashing a winning smile. All sirens ringing, blazing the way with no fire escapes - razing the walls to lick at her insides, resolved to burn them both down to the ground… only Love will rise, whole - from all of this ash.

m(V)k



Always the groomsmaid

He sends me photos
from the other side of the world
and wants me to be happy for him

Asks me if I can see
how beautiful his new girlfriend is
Tells me he chased her across an ocean

And, isn't that love? He asks
Isn't it some kind of wonderful
the way the world works out?

And I am distancing myself from his words
by anthropomorphizing the globe,
fantasizing that pumping iron will help him attract the moon

When he says I knew better
than to make the same mistakes
I made with you

And I am imagining dear Atlas,
bending his knee beneath the weight of my heart,
muscles straining

And I try not to laugh and cry
at the same time, as a general rule, so
I just say I'm happy for you

Hoping the green salve of gratitude
draws the sting from the wound; renews
my thick skin in time.


изгубени в космоса

Аз говоря,
но вие не можете да ме чуете.
Ние викаме през една празнота -
гласове
отекващи и изоставени
никога не прекосявайки пропастта между нас
за да стигнем до другата страна.
И двамата викаме
и двамата викаме
но звукът отскача от бариерите на природата
се скита самотен и изгубен.

Аз работя за нещо златно.
Счупвам камъка от сърцето си
издълбавам твърдостта
опитвайки се да отрежа фасети
които оставят нещо
остър и блестящ зад себе си.
Всичко това изкопани ни оставя да се взираме в космоса.
Не знам
как продължава да се разширява

San Francisco

Oh, you
City of Concrete
of bumstink
of bad traffic
and no parking
barking with laughter
the whole way home
from the bar,
City of Linking Arms
and hollering after midnight.

You
of constant wind
and cold summers -
late-harvest Autumn which wraps us
all in sweaters and slanted light -
falls on the golden glow
of a comfortable front stoop
ringing fate's doorbell
only to bail at the first chance.

Someone called
you
The City of Love
once,
but never again -
still, all the hopefuls
come back
to

You -

Goldrush of the West
your jasmine perpetually in bloom,
though its soft scent seems lost on
the hard-soled parade of your sidewalks -
all VC fanfare and ticker tape -
City of Step-on-your-Mother's-Back,
City of Slip Through the Cracks
City of Soup Kitchen
and Instantaneous Drone Delivery

City of Bright Bridge and
privilege and real money
conjured from thin air
you
no longer
wear flowers in your hair.

You
no longer
seem to care
for such trivial things
as this.


San Bernardino

The hills were on fire then
and they are burning again
all bluster and smoke
updrafting breeze which crumples
giants to knees, tumbles
mountains to foothills

And maybe it was all just timing -
a tidal wind broken on rocky cliffside
at just the right moment to carry a spark
from safety to circumstance,
chance blaze of one little cinder
fated to bring all this old growth to ash

But maybe it's better to ask
what might come of all this?
What fervent splendor might birth itself
from all these broken bows, resprout
from this newly fertilized path
on the route towards civilization?

Predictions

In one to five years
you will marry a woman
who is my photocopy -

a little less colorful, maybe
a little softer around the edges
a little less defined.

In one to five years,
the two of you will have a baby
who looks like me -
except printed on a finer piece of paper.

Your wife will love you
in a very ordinary way.
It will all be black and white
and you will like it, alright

It will be all right.

Everything will be fine.

Sonata to Solitude in Isolation Minor

1. I am sitting in a breakfast cafe, alone, as I am always alone, when sitting in cafes. The sun is shining on my back, etching the beach on my shoulders and you'd think that this is the setting to the perfect morning, but it's already one pm, and I am feeling ungrateful. My cup holds the slight taste of dirt, or salt, or something more sinister in it's brown depths, and I can't get over it - still keep on sipping. Chewing over and over on the fact that there is no apple pie today, that it is the anniversary of something dark, suffering immensely over my own minor indecisions, or moments that could be let go easily if I would only loosen my breath. Like the second when someone simply pauses, draws in, hesitates over whether to blow the fluff from a dandelion - to be loved, or loved not.

2. All of the best poems happen in the shower. Maybe I'm singing along to some old blues song, or getting high on the iridescent foam, but something strange spreads, like steam over my own obscured reflection, something in my stoppered ears triggers a waterfall of words, and I am repeating the title phrases, pressing the names of poetic zygotes into my palms, trying to capture their features until I can press pencil to forehead, and draw them to paper… An open reply to the wrong lover's letter. A missive from all the spurned suitors of Oedipus. I'll remember the first line, or last - never the whole thing. The phone always rings when I'm wrapped in a towel, scribbling with a finger in the mirror’s steam.

3. The last act is always the hardest. Curtain call on a lover's affections. She can always feel it coming - he is merely the harbinger of stories, chapter book of her own sorrows read out loud and backwards. He will help her sound out all her most egregious mispronunciations, but it will always be too late - the sentence now altered by the context, and she knows that honesty is always a soft heart's undoing. With all this bruise inside, she is still too slow to pull the punches back - she’s just a fraction of a second off, these days - but what an impact a well-aimed word can make, still...

4. All the best ideas are stillborn. They merely sail on the seas of romantic summer notions - brush by our world, never touching the shore with both feet; their toes always bare. The sand always sucked from beneath them at the last second, all contact ephemeral, dwindling to sea again. Backsliding into the fear of becoming, they submerge in primordial oceans, rejoining the subconscious mind. Here, they shed tears for our faults. They dissolve into salt.


just bleeding ink

I write when I have no one to talk to. When it’s late at night, and the wheeze of my own bones is keeping me awake. When there seems to be a lot at stake, but it’s really just my own insecurity tearing me down, crumbling my aspirations, mud-sliding my countryside into the wide plains of non-existence. There was never a fence around our circumstances. There was always that crushing weight of the lightness of being. There was always a fault in our stars, and while you’re in the bars and I am at home, I am lost in a book. Or at least, in a story. My grandma would say “only boring people are bored" and I pride myself on proving her right - but sometimes forget which one I am. I write at night. And whether its the soft shush of pages or just dribbling ink, I write when I need to think outloud to myself, because I am probably the only one who’ll get all the inside jokes, all the repeating thesis statements of my own emergency - you know, the urgency in my own voice still surprises me sometimes. It is the clanging bell of evacuation, breaking the vow of silence I make every time I cross my heart - hope to die - just not tonight, dear - just not tonight.

noble lies

PART ONE

Charles says
When you’re single beyond thirty,
all of the rules change.

Dating is no longer
about finding forever.
You have already met your soulmate
and lost them;
stared down the road to forever
and chosen
a different path -

realized that all paths,
eventually
lead back to your own heart,
in which lies the small dream
of a comfortable death.

Truly,
we are all alone,
says Alan.
And, every person we meet
simply exists
as a reflection of our inner selves -
so it’s best just to improve
your own insides, first.

So, I’ve spent the better half
of a decade
chasing my own flighty truth, dowsing
the watery sky for stars
while swallowing
feathery platitudes, when


Sofia says,
Once you’ve reached a certain age,
you realize that real love
is always enduring.

What she leaves out
is, eternity shifts
just as we do.

Forever’s face ages
alongside our own dubious features,
evolving to greet the undivinable
climate of human nature,
as if it had always
intended to do so.

So when he asks me
How do you love?

I tell him
Momentously.
Wholly.
With all that I am -
always.

Which is to say, truly -
Without ever needing
to believe
you will stay.

But I leave that part spare
to preserve his smile -
hoping
that I will have left him
in fairer weather
for holding him kindly,
because a wise meteorologist
once said,
We never know what might happen
next.