Monthly Archives: February 2010

tremor

Neon and jewel toned
fingers reached
and as I blinked they blurred and
faded
while it all went down in flames. As you
put on a heavy coat to ward off the
smiles and tears, I
watched blue pieces of sky
set sail on a black ocean.

They
tied a clove hitch around your throat
while the sun burned
through your eyes, and all I saw
was a monster
on the other side of the door.

Lean out and drink melting clouds
filled with dust-
stars slide down the curve of your neck
to your shoulders,
(just where my face fits perfectly)
spill all the way to your hands
(I’ve had them memorized for months)
and off your smooth fingertips like a
waterfall
of diamonds,
and I catch a last ray of moonlight and
give it to you.

How does it taste, I sing in a
whisper,
but you only shrug and walk away
while the cold bites harder and deeper
and the paintings rub off on my fingers.

When I grabbed your arms,
I left ten streaks of my soul-
parallel lines falling sideways-
on your skin.

(Thank you Q, for editing advice :) )

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dear you…

Dear you,

I love you so much. The question is, who are “you” and when did we stop understanding each other when we’ve always been so good at that?

Dear you,

I hope you know how much effort I’ve put into keeping us “all right.” I don’t talk to you about how hurt I felt that night anymore, and I even manage to forget about it most days. You’re one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and you prove your quality every day. Just remember, the more we trust the other to know what the problem is, the more it hurts when one of us doesn’t.


Dear you,

I hate how I am always the first to hug you, and you are always the first to let go.


Dear you,

Is it impossible to let someone else win once in a while? Giving in and losing don’t have to be the same thing.

Dear you,

I’m sorry. I don’t know if you even know I have something to apologize for, but I am, nonetheless. You’ve always been one of the sweetest people I know, and you don’t deserve to be thought of otherwise by someone this selfish who is incapable of that kind of sweetness.


Dear you,

Who’s left to hit when everybody’s down?


Dear you,

Just as I think everything is getting better, it turns bad.  I didn’t call you because I had a question, I called because I had to make sure you were safe. I know it only annoyed you, but it kept me from going crazy with worry.


Dear you,

I’m confused.

Dear you,

On the way home today, I did nothing but smile, because it felt good and because you make me happy more than anyone else.

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linger

For days on end
the scent of paper and cinnamon followed me.
I tried to try to wash the smell away,
told myself I hated it,
but now I only wish that your touch could linger a while longer.

I’m tired of mechanical virtue.

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“your struggle never changes me”

Well I know your life has been hard
I see it in your eyes and I feel it in your heart
When your eyes move down to the floor
And your mouth changes shape, and your voice sounds sore
I can hold you close in my arms
And tell you that you’re special
And that you treasure such great charms
And that you always keep my heart full
But I’m hardly speaking a word
I’m hardly speaking a word

And I know these things should be heard
But I’m hardly speaking a word
And your struggle never changes me
I’ll never be able to see the things you see
They say that you see things differently
Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it can’t be free
But I’m hardly speaking a word
I’m hardly speaking a word

So I wonder, what do they know
Maybe the problem is me not letting go
Of a little boy who’s smarter than me
Who can’t sit still and sees things differently
And I’m yelling when I should be whispering
I’m pushing when I should be carrying
And I don’t understand anything I’ve heard
I should be yelling I love you
But I’m hardly speaking a word

So I wonder, what do I know
Maybe the problem is me not letting go
Of a little boy who’s smarter than me
Who can’t sit still and sees things differently
And I’m yelling when I should be whispering
And I’m pushing when I should be carrying
And I don’t understand anything I’ve heard

I should be yelling I love you
I should be yelling I love you
I should be yelling I love you
But I’m hardly speaking a word

I don’t know why I love this song by Lori McKenna (Hardly Speaking A Word) so much, but I do. The lyrics make me tear up every time- they’re just so honest, in an almost brutal way. Her voice does take some getting used to, but after I did I found I liked it a lot and it just seems right for this song.

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a brief rant about myself

I realized today that I really love overdoing things. I came to this realization while editing pictures from our hike last weekend. The picture would look great, but I always wanted to push it further and further, and see HOW great it could be. The good part of this is I have a vision, something to work towards. I’m motivated.

But then it’s not really doable, and I end up totally ruining the picture and making myself mad because I couldn’t do what I wanted to. And I’m left with a load of crap. And then I have to start over and this time just deal with good. I dislike making something good. Either it’s memorable and it was right, or it isn’t.

I guess I’m just human. But I annoy myself a lot. I overthink, I overdo, and I overfail.

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sun

newspaper lips bled until they froze together
a soft pink envelope
sealing your words shut

(i’m just keeping them safe, you said.
what kind of safety is splattered with blood?)

in your absence others are disappointed
but i have to fight unjust
smiles, and intertwined with the shame
is none of the desire that i want to feel
for you to be here.

burning on my neck is a reminder
that this year of mistakes is coming to a close
and a summer
of yellows and greens
is approaching fast.

i know i should hate these prickles of pain,
but instead i can only laugh- i’ve
never loved anything as much
as this not-so-subtle kiss,
letting the sun cool me
in ways i don’t understand.

just let it go, i decide,
if the door won’t open, you
kick it down.
i won’t let you hide from this anymore-
it’s silly to even try.
thread each story on a string
to hang from my throat,
cold metal on flushed skin,
truth hanging from lies,
lies that love knowing they’re wrong
because the expectations are so low
and they still managed
to defy them

because you told them to.

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if I can

Remember the change chair? I don’t mean change as in, nothing stays the same, I mean change like the kind that has Abraham Lincoln’s face on the front, the color of sun on the Grand Canyon. Grandad moved that olive green, ugly recliner that up until that point no one liked, to find something one Friday night, when you found that penny. You oohed and ahhed over it and felt like you were the richest five-year-old on earth, admired it and showed it to Mom and Great-grandmother. You and your sister fought over it and neither one of you now remembers who won. The next week, you wanted to look under the chair again, and this time there were two coins. Each week afterward you told him to pull aside the chair to hunt for change, and it astounded you how much was under there. He remarked on how curious it was that all of his change fell out of his pocket, down through the side of the chair and underneath the wood and thick fabric and padding.

I don’t remember when you started calling it the “change chair”, but that’s what you all call it today. You spent hours looking for every shining coin, counted and divided it out, sorted dimes from quarters and pennies. You could barely read the tiny words on each one, and when his vision was bad enough he couldn’t read it for you, you asked Mom. You’d stuff your pockets, but as soon as you were home and could show Daddy what you had found in the chair that night, you lost it all.
I wonder now how much money over the years got lost by little hands wandering all over the house. It wasn’t until years later that you stopped to think about it, and realized that all of that change couldn’t have just slipped out of his deep pockets and found its way down to the carpet beneath. After he died, Mom imagined him stuffing all those coins down behind the cushions, and it made us all smile the best we could. It seemed funny then, that you were so gullible when you were little. But at the time, it was the most wonderful thing on earth- a chair that leaked change every week, and always seemed to produce an equal amount so that you and your sister didn’t have to complain about unequal shares in the treasure. Oh, once in a while there were scuffles, but once you were old enough to understand that a dime was worth more than three pennies, you felt a little smug as you held your ten coins and laughed at her as she prized each penny, delighting in the fact that she had more than you did. You knew what you had could buy you more if you were to feel inclined to spent it, (you never did- when it came to actually parting with the money, you couldn’t quite do it) and she was equally sure that having more in her hands meant she was the lucky one.
Why did it have to take you so long to realize that you were all the lucky ones, that you both had the money, but you had him, too? The money itself was never the magic. It was the person that loved you enough to want to hear your squeals of delight every week, enough to pour a small fortune into an old, uncomfortable, olive green chair, enough to let you climb on him and demand that he try and read “In God We Trust” on every single quarter you found, every single Friday evening.
I don’t even know what happened to those chairs, after he died and Great-grandmother moved to their daughter’s house. They were replaced with large, soft brown recliners that you could sink into, and the carpet was torn up and replaced with new, shorter stuff. It looked far better than the hard old chairs and tan shag carpet, but if you were to look under the new ones, all you would find would be a little patch of slightly brighter carpet. He doesn’t sit in the comfortable seat, and the magic is completely gone in their living room now. No one lives there, only an antique lamp that he never liked with a bulb that is continually burning until it fizzles out and must be replaced to make the house look a little less abandoned.
I always say it’s a game I’d like to play with my grandkids someday, add that element of magic to their lives, and see them be surprised over and over again by the same delights. But I know I never will- it’s a game that should be, and only will be, played with him. The easily pleased five-year-old is now fourteen, and it takes far too much to impress her.
I know we can’t really know what heaven will be like, and that things that seemed important here on earth won’t matter anymore. But when I see him again, if I can, I’d like to tell him thank you. I wouldn’t say that I know it was all just a game that I’ve figured it out now, that it was really just a silly form of make-believe all along. Sometimes you have to play along with a childish game if you really want magic.

(Sadly, I only have one picture of my Grandad in his house. No, I am not five years old in this picture ((I am five days old, actually)) and they aren’t sitting on the chair, nor is there any change present in this picture as far as I can tell, but it still makes me smile and felt kind of right for this memory.)

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