see you in december, portland
even with all the other drivers
trying to warn me,
i make it halfway home
with the headlights off
i start wearing those dresses
that go all the way to the floor
i start wearing those dresses
that go all the way to the ceiling
i walk down the hall and
pretend not to hear
your bike tires whirring behind me
at night i turn into a pond
i grow algae
in the morning i clean out the car
i may never see you again
grandma & grandpa
i guess crater lake will have to wait
for next summer, a different man
although it’s you i wanted to see
with your face pressed against all that blue
the problem is
you can’t become a stranger to someone again
the first time you saw me i was endless
but then i had a name, and small hands
i laughed too loud in restaurants
and some days it got too hot to move
and some of the gravel roads
just ended in power lines
and then lupine
wilting on the dashboard
and now you’ll never have to see me like this:
burning the garlic
or crying in the car
listening to joni sing wanna make you feel free
i wanna make you feel free
early summer / late summer
By July, heat arrives in earnest:
syrup filling the room
where I allow myself one apple a day
and not much else. I am trying
to punish my body for being
a body. With parts that tear and parts
that soften. A thing
that could open for you
then want to keep you inside it.
A small room
that you could want to leave.
Even when your body betrays you
it is still beautiful.
I watch your muscles move
under your shirt now
like watching from the window
of a plane that is taking off.
I love this city
I tell the woman at the bakery,
but crawling back into bed at ten a.m.
I wonder what I meant.
My life in this city:
these same three windows
and me alone inside of them, listening
to the neighborhood bums,
their shopping carts full of bottles.
I’m tired of brick.
I can drive across a bridge now
and feel nothing.
Maybe I don’t care what happened
to us in this city.
What mattered was escape—
the windows rolled down,
yarrow and foxglove lining the highway.
To hear some wild water
laughing through the cedars. To reach
for your hand above cool, dark soil.
To open a map, any map,
and watch your face change.
But all that time, what did we share?
Not even the silences were ours.
I would sit beside yours, the dense fog of it,
and not understand
and in that way we could fill a room.
Driving to the coast
without you, everything
reminds me of you:
highway signs, wind, the sand
sidewinding in lacy tendrils.
I sprain my ankle
running into the waves
then retreat to the dune grass,
and clarity. All the way home,
bright fingers of fireweed
against the dusk.
Which parts of this will I keep, and
for how long? I want to stop
that afternoon in the mountains:
silver firs made skeletal by fire.
Your last real tenderness
in the snow.
In the picture that I look at
again and again,
you are walking away from me
across a long wooden bridge.
the truth is
sometimes he’d talk
to me without looking
at me and i’d think,
i could be anyone right now
he could’ve been anyone
but there he was
his hand always leaving my knee for the gearshift
you can spend all your time thinking
about someone who does not think about you
now that his desire is gone
i have to carry enough for both of us
replay the old images
over and over:
his shower, wild iris, paprika
weren’t we feeling
the same thing?
even just for a minute
THERE’S NOTHIN NOT TO LOVE ABOUT ME
what do you want from me that i can really give you?
i can’t always be laughing
i can’t make you any younger
i keep buying books just
to scatter them across the floor
i stand naked in front of the mirror
and rearrange my limbs
trying to appear thinner
i tell my friend you don’t want anything serious
and she says you’re just scared
which makes me feel better even if it’s not true
i go to the woods by myself:
columbine, balsam root, larkspur,
grass widow, lupine, lily, yarrow
i’m slowly shrinking and i don’t know how to tell you
i stop to touch every delphinium
doing a reading on saturday with three poets i really really dig
Doing a reading #poetry #reading #bonetaxreading #juliansmuggles #pdx #crystals #quartz
because of some composite
of everything that has happened
i am suspicious of this new man
who pushes me up against the brick
of some bank or something
exactly like i want him to
and kisses me exactly like i want him to
when downtown is neon in the rain
exactly like i want it to be
just — there was this way
the light hit his face
when we hiked up above the ocean
i spend all my time thinking about
tulips that open and open and open
everything scares me, especially this new joy
when trillium blooms it’s perfect
but ten months out of the year
and so often deer eat the flowers anyway
last night he didn’t really hold me
while we slept which is fine it’s fine it’s
just — at any given moment
whatever he sees in me
might begin to brown at the edges
might be blown to the sidewalk
by a gust of wind, an overeager hand
might be met with bicycle tires
and leather boots
i cried for three months straight,
bent over the sink
full of dishes at work,
driving east on division until
it wound into unlit forest,
sitting up in bed afternoons
watching videos of
stevie nicks in the seventies—
her arms flowing out
like silk ribbons under the stage
lights, the way lindsey
always looked at her
while she was looking straight ahead
i was a slit maple, all this
desperate love seeping out
on the surface of me
what do i have
to show for that, now?
hyacinths begin to unfurl
all through the neighborhood
today you liked a picture of me
from my birthday, i’m posing
with some wooden
penguin cutouts at the zoo
for a couple of minutes i got lost
trying to look at myself
the way i think you
always looked at me
like some pane of glass
that you can see yourself in
then in the morning
you can see straight through it
I tell my friend I haven’t been
as sad lately, that maybe
from now on it gets easier,
but when I fall asleep later
there you are—
the men behind the bar
are saying your name to each other,
you’re waiting for me at a back table,
you press your lips to my cheek
then just hold there, your stubble
tickling the corner of my mouth,
your hand on my hand on your knee.
When the alarm clock goes off
I have to lose you all over again.
Outside it’s suddenly springtime,
white flowers on the tree
below my window, the old
and the new jostling
under a sky as blue
as someone once told me blood is,
and I believed them.