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Just graduate me, for fucksake (a haiku)

I sell poetry.
If that doesn’t demonstrate
business skills, what does?


60 days of road
weary behind me, but
I am still
wide awake
only of your eyes

while you are lying
somewhere far away from here,
in another woman's bed
or ear
with your soft, rounded vowels
with your perfect enunciation

and I would love to curse
your name
your deceitful mouth
but this just makes me think
of your two pursed lips
and how it has been
too many days
since I slept well

how I've swallowed too much
lying down
and how
no one wants to lie
next to an insomniac

I am too restless
always restless, still
tossing and turning
it all over.

You said
always, and forever
and now I just think


Traffic jam (a haiku, for Susan)

Watch out when my beast
comes out - curled lip and curved teeth
matching traffic’s snarl.


What do you think of the word “recalcitrant"?

When you say

I think

I think
ancient caves, coated
in stalactites and stalagmites
to touch fingers
across the eons -
mineral-laden obstinance
in slow-motion

I think
unyielding arteries, stiff
and stubborn
a slow, mineral build
to death’s sudden

I think
the willful hypocrisy
of defiant


The things we do not say.

The morning after we do not have sex, we tiptoe around each other - me, in your borrowed pajamas, unbrushed teeth swished with swindled mouthwash; you, bustling awkward morning maintainance, before the quiet ride back to my parked car. We do not discuss the contents of your beside book - "How to Quit Drinking, Forever", or the way our slow, yeasted tongues fumbled in the dark, our untold stories brushing paths, briefly, before sleep's soft oblivion.

You say "I'll call you, Thursday," and I smile into the silence, staring out the misted window.

I call to ask if you’d like to grab breakfast, and you say, “You always call at the last minute, Meg - I need more time to plan than that." I do not tell you I wanted to ask you at 3am, when I woke with a napalm lobster clawing my chest. I do not tell you I waited, in the dark, breathing slowly and counting the seconds until 8am - when I hoped to catch you between your morning stretch and that first cup of too-strong coffee, always brewed too bitter for my taste. I do not tell you that I dump it down the drain, most days, when you aren’t looking - or that breakfast is really just an excuse to commit to bursting my bed’s chrysalis or break my solitude because most days, it is too easy to stay cocooned in silence.

At the cafe, there are five tables set for two - each housing one human. She sits one table away, facing me, with five feet of space between us, and I can tell that she is lonely by the tilt of her smile and the set of her shoulders, but I mind my own business.

In a different world, we push our tables close together - invite the white-haired gent in the corner to take a seat, and he calls the others over by name, and we all play a game of cards. We sip our morning coffee which is brewed just-right. We do not fight about the weather or whether the storm in one’s heart is greater, we just hold our cards close and shuffle. Everyone knows when Paul is bluffing, but we don’t say anything about it. We hold our tongues closer than our cards because his wife died last year and that kind of hurt doesn’t wear off quickly. It still scalds - and even when you could call the bluff, all fair game, silence is sometimes the kindest course of action - and we are all friends, here.

Goodbye haiku.

My heart understands

How something in you inspires

Others to break things


I do not want to be a lifeboat of a body
Too small to hold myself.

(Patrick Roche, #NPS2014)

Let's not start with the sadness.

Let's not start with the sadness in our history.
Mine is a song I've been playing for too long on repeat -
I am ready for a new harmony.

Let us speak of the flowers, instead -
my face, picked clean of petals
(he loves me, he loves me not)
stripped down to bare stem, just waiting to bloom again.

Let us speak of a love of the city,
the wet cement smell of mortar and moss
and the bustle and shuffle and chaos
of so many stories, so many subtle fictions
all layered on top of each other...

Let us speak first of the angle of light on a morning windowsill,
before we speak of the angle of time on one's mourning.

We share a love of ancient history,
but let's start with late-night wanderings, graffiti mysteries, or a shared affection
for the smell of crumbling loam -
I'll tell you why the scent of amber always makes me feel at home,

or how I feel at home when we're together.

We can always circle back to sadness, still
I'd prefer to begin with a slow smile
and the easy laugh of strangers
bumping shoulders on a busy street.

All excellent stories
must begin somewhere.


Nothing kills happiness faster than hope.