Thursday, April 30, 2015

In Flight

My heart is a scratch-paper canvas with many layers of memories I’ve tried to cover
up before you. For me, being let go is something that I’ve grown quite accustomed to. Stroke by stroke, I struggle to paint a picture of a life without you in it. The colors
bleed beneath my teardrops. Repetition reminds me that you won’t be easy to hide,
but I am no longer afraid to make mistakes. They’re expected.

When I woke up this morning I wiped the sleep from my eyes and your smile
from my mind. It found me again by the time I reached the bus stop. I didn’t expect
it to hang around for very long; historically speaking, I’ve never been difficult to
walk away from. I can be a lot to handle at times, but you ought to know that by
now. After all, I’ve given you plenty of fair warnings.

Somewhere between gates 6 and 7, I find the deep breath that I have been searching for
since you said goodbye. “It’s not me. It’s you,” you told me sympathetically. “Your heart is too beautiful.” Apparently it’s possible to love too much. I never knew, but I’m also not surprised. This isn’t the first time that I’ve been here. Summer after summer of
bed sheets and broken hearts. Sometimes, I forget whose side that I am on.

“What do you love about me?” You asked.  I meant it when I told you, “Everything.”
I should have added, “Even the parts that leave me breathless and torn. Even the arguments and the panic attacks. Even the sound of your footsteps when you are leaving. It reminds me of the beat of your heart. I love how brave we once were and how close we almost came to everlasting.” You don’t believe anyone could love those parts. But I do.

Never before have I met someone who believed so strongly in fairies, but could not
fathom forever. Permanency has never been appealing to a heart like yours; full to the brim with unsettling wanderlust. Your soul wants freedom and your mind sees me as a cage that you could never fit comfortably inside. I press the pads of my fingertips
together. I wonder how your hands feel after all these years of holding on to someone

else’s. Four years ago, I would have flown across the country, caught a cab to your doorstep, and set your heartbeat into a frenzy as you unsuspectingly rounded the corner.
I would have only gotten through a few lines of poetry before breaking down. Through tears, I’d ask you to make promises that you could never keep. You would gently squeeze my arm - apologize as you sidestepped around me- already late to where you were going.  

Instead, I’m on a flight to Missouri writing poetry that’ll never change the outcome of your decision. It will only document the many times I’ve managed to get ahead of myself. My heart thinks it’s a pioneer blazing trails that lead to fairytale endings, and yours thinks that I am trying to burn down the mystical forest in your mind. I’ll never understand what makes you feel you cannot trust me. You will never try to explain.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chicago Never Loved Me

At three years of age, my mother moved us up to a tiny suburb outside of
Chicago so she could pursue a relationship with an undetected drug
addict. That’s all I remember about him. That and how it felt to come home
to coke on the counter and everything my mother had worked for, gone.

The best thing about him was his family; particularly his niece. She taught
me how to love. How to pronounce a few words in Spanish. How to say the
Lord’s prayer. How to build mounds of Autumn leaves tucked in the corner
of the yard against the fence for jumping into. She also taught me how to die.

She was five when the doctor diagnosed her. Stage four Cancer. Even
through the chemo, I remember how vibrant and full of life she was. When 
she left the city after her last treatment, a drunk driver ran a stop sign killing 
both she and her mother instantly. I knew then that Chicago didn't  love me.  

Years later, I found myself speeding down the highway well past midnight. We
met in college, and although you had to take a train from her house to get there, 
she swore she was from the city. Instead of bright lights and roaring street sounds, 
I found silence  on an air mattress in their rural guest room. I couldn’t help but notice 

how much she looked like her mom in those photos. I recall the steady sense of normalcy
that rested in the house the next morning. We ate eggs. Together. She curled her hair in an 
antique mirror, her mother read out on the deck, her brother was busy somewhere still being
a kid and I couldn’t for the life of me understand the fairytale I’d stepped into.

I think that she really did like showing me the city. It was tall. Bright. Beautiful. 
Something my sheltered self had never seen. My neck broke as I stared up at the cloud-laced skyscrapers. I couldn’t keep up with her brisk city gate. Maybe she didn’t like showing the 
city to anyone. Maybe the city was her secret. See, Chicago never loved me.

The heart plays games. When people say things, I listen. And when they ask me to 
love them, I do. I let myself get caught up in the poetry of it all, so close to sharing four 
letter words with a figment of my imagination. No matter how many mediocre lines I 
write for her, she will not forget how big the world is. I would never ask her to.

Sometimes, I give her everything I have. Even when she isn’t sure yet what she has to 
offer in return. She is not a vending machine. I cannot push things in to pull others out.
Instead, I take her as she comes, with split ends, snagged threads, dimples and half smiles.
Her beauty is not validated by whether or not she is loved by me. Maybe she is 

still learning to love herself. I know that I am not her greatest victory. That is what I love about her. I receive another picture. And another text. She fills my heart with lyrics and my mind with clouds. Then she stops. Because she has to wake up early, and Pacific time is not universal. Even time is against us, and I know Chicago will never love me.

Friday, April 17, 2015

We Talked Today

We talked today.

Not in the “let’s catch up.” Sort of way.
But the “this is your last chance.”

Standing next to the water. Toes dipping just above the edge.
I could fall in. But I can't swim.
I wonder how deep it is.

It wasn’t him this time. It was me. Maybe I feel guilty.
Maybe I know that he is right.
He is sorry.
It wasn’t his fault.

It wasn’t mine.
I fought.
He ran.
Maybe I resented him for that.
Not for leaving. But for going back to something just as bad.

Sometimes, I wonder how he’s doing.
What he will amount to. I run it over and over in my mind.
Is there something that I could do to help him?
Does he just need an opportunity?
Or does he need a miracle?
Because I’m a little short on those lately.


I went down to the lake the other day hoping that I’d find a dreamer.
There’s an empty space where your thoughts used to circulate, and my
reasons make less sense than before.

I’m still tough to love after all this time. Your heart says it’s time to try something
a little easier. So you've packed your bags, found an ocean wave, and planned a trip
into the setting sun.

It’s just like you to hesitate, and it’s like me to be in over my head. Of all the things
I've forgotten, you’d think I’d remember this feeling. We've been here before;
a step too close. For years you kept that door shut between us.

Your neck is strained from glancing between coast and home. Sometimes the things
we don’t say resonate the most. You ask for space, overwhelmed by the expectations we
let cultivate. They hang like fog in all the empty places. 

I steady my breath and speed my hand – there’s not much time to reach you. Because,
lightning never strikes the same place twice and I've heard love is the same. You’ll come
back around when it’s way too late, only questions unanswered could save us.

As you read this your blood runs cold, uncertain. Besieged by promises and broken pieces.
The reality is heavy, the past is dark, and I’m more than just someone’s distraction I once said 
that I’d beg, but I meant your pardon. I’m sorry you see the trees and not the forest. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Between You and I

It's not just the sound of your voice that I love. Your accent reminds me of  my best friend's, and sometimes when you speak I can hear her. Sometimes, I don't want to. 

I left home when I was eighteen. All of my possessions fit into a few small boxes, but not the chip on my shoulder or the baggage my parents left me with. I've struggled to carry them both around for years. I've had no success thus far. 

I am a professional pretender. I'll tell you that it didn't hurt when she left me, it doesn't matter that my parents never saw me play, she wouldn't have stayed if she had known, and it was ok... I didn't like that color anyway. When I do, don't believe me. 

If you continue to treat me this way I'll fall for you, guaranteed. Probably far too quickly. It's going to scare the shit out of me when I do, so I would appreciate it if you could refrain from running just long enough for me to learn to stand on knees made of jello.

I miss the way that your fingers feel when locked with my own. The deepest conversation I've ever had was between your eyes and mine, and I meant every word I wrote in that letter. I think. 

Never in my life have I believed that I was broken. Not even when they insisted I should, but at night I find myself searching through line ups and missing persons, praying that none of them will be there; those thirty something tiny faces I grew up with.

You are beautiful. Time is my most valued possession, and I can't wait to give it all to you. What we are doing terrifies me, but I like the way it makes my heart skip a beat. Honestly, you are everything I've ever wanted. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Confession

I will not turn my back on you, no matter how many shadows
you cast between the sunlight and me. Your hands shake
often, You promise me that it is just the cold air nipping at your 
fingertips. They tremble even when I shelter them in my own,

In that moment, I notice the crumb trail of lies you’ve left behind for me to follow.
I used to think you spoke slowly for the sake of clarity. I would elongate my syllables, 
emphasizing each letter, knowing you’d  "ah-pre-she-ate" the gesture. Not until 
I was running out of time, mouth full, did I realize that’s what you were buying.

It’s difficult to believe that all of this was for nothing. Pain can’t be quantified
and distrust comes with a strict no return policy. The old man at the gas station 
tells me for the thousandth time that I look just like you did when you were younger. 
So, I thank him politely like I’m supposed to, silently vowing never to return. I no longer 

wish to be like you. You swore that my grandfather would have loved me had he
ever met me, then told me with the same breath that he never would 
have understood “my preference.” As if sexuality was something that you chose
off the shelf between ignorance and happiness. I tell you that he would have

loved me anyway.  After all, I have his strong jaw line and his unwavering 
sense of justice.  You stare at me puzzled, for I’ve contradicted everything 
you’ve said. I stare out the window over the fields of waving grass wondering 
how many straws I’d have to pluck before I could leave this place.

My Love

She said “It’s ok to cry, love. It doesn’t mean you’re not whole.  
Tears are the heart’s way of cleansing the soul.”
And when these butterflies dance all over the room I know that she's near me.
Because she's the safe haven where everyone wants to be.

She's the light that keeps me lifted. She tells me I’m her everything.
I forgot what real love felt like when it came so easily.
“Baby please don’t go.” She whispers into the phone.
She’s been asleep for hours, but she swears she can’t sleep alone.

If she’s the calm, you can bet that I’m the storm.
Until her, a seven year curse never lifted with a happy ending before.
She’s my kind of crazy, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Because she’s all that I imagined, far more, and everything between.

In the mornings light she wraps her arms around my waist.
Her nose to mine, she leaves sweet kisses on my face.
And I would drown inside those eyes if she ever let me go.
But I know that she won’t…

She says I “make it difficult to not let that word fall out.
The one you can’t take back that tastes like iron in your mouth.
It’s only gets sweeter when you learn to say it back.”
Heaven knows, I love to love a woman like that. 

Heartbeat Bandit

Heartbeat Bandit, you stood on my chest plucking beat after beat

like wildflowers in the springtime. Never before had I known someone

with the ability to destroy and create simultaneously, but there I was short of breath;

in awe of the garden of emotions your nimble fingers were capable of producing. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Age of Honesty

The sun broke over the tree line as my eyelids fluttered open.
It was rare in a home of ten for one to spend the day alone;
but I learned early on that I had rather weather the forest
than the family. My fingers clumsily brushed teeth and tied laces

And I retreated to the trees; my living sanctuary. The crisp air
bit at my lungs as I crunched step by step into the darkness.
I ventured towards the places where sunlight never reached, and couldn’t
help but notice a resemblance to whatever was building inside of me.

Some things shouldn’t be carried by a twelve year old, but it was
a weight that everyone expected me to bare. Mother raised us to
smile through the pain, and they used to say mine could light up a room.
I’d stand there in the middle smiling, praying that someone might see me,

but no one ever did. Apparently, It’s difficult to see scars that are on the inside.
Quietly, I wrapped them in promises and dreams, and waited for them to heal.
I left town with everything I owned, searching the big city for the journey
of a lifetime. Instead, I found three more broken hearts and distrust

towards anyone expressing genuine kindness or concern for me.
The best-worst decision I ever made was confronting that asshole
who tried to slip me her therapists business card. She almost kicked
my ass, but today she’s my best friend. You know that love is real

when someone gives it to you when it's not required. It took me three years,
nine months, and twenty three days to accept it when you left. And even now
I’m not sure I could say no to you if you walked through that door. What I do
know is it was cold in the shadows, and I never want to die there again.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Her hand finds mine somewhere amidst the remote
and a cup of coffee. She intertwines her fingers
seamlessly into the space between mine, and despite the
growing distance between hands and mouths - my breath is lost.

I wake abruptly to find a cold, empty pillow
surrounded by darkness. She is not here.
She’s never been. I turn my face towards the wall
In an effort to forget that I am still alone.

But my thoughts are vivid, and my imagination wild.
In my mind, I create scenes that have yet to unfold
of mountain hikes and Sunday brunches, yoga in the sand
and fifth year anniversaries.

A woman like that is the reason books are left dog-eared
and half-read. The stories she writes with you are far more epic
than any classic with a spine. She is a unicorn. A rare breed made of
honesty combined with class and intrigue. She is permanent.
She is beautiful.

A chance encounter has left me spinning in reverse,
Grasping for every moment she gave me. I collect them
Like seashells and hang them from the ceiling of my mind;
A celestial anomaly, a masterpiece, a reflection of her captivating soul.

Monday, April 6, 2015


There‘s a certain kind of pain you feel like you can‘t overcome.
The kind that makes your chest tighten.
It causes your throat to close
and tears burn down your cheeks.

Feeling that kind of pain makes you think you
just. might. die.
And sometimes it makes you wish that you would.

I‘ve felt that pain before.

“You just have to push through.” Said the woman
standing in front of me
without ever asking what was wrong.
“You find it somewhere
deep inside of you, and you push through.“

I had no idea what it was.
Where does it hide?
How did you find it.

I felt like everything was crashing down around me.
And all I could do was curl into a ball and protect myself. 
Now this woman wanted me to push through?
Survive until I thrive?
What kind of group meeting bullshit…

I was skeptical, but I began looking.
It seemed more reasonable than sulking
and taking no action at all.
I had never felt this way before.
I didn‘t know how to let it go.

My heart was heavy.
I couldn‘t find my smile.
Even my friends began to shape shift into dark clouds of
Nagging and guilt.

But I was the one who had changed.
I had given up on myself.
I allowed myself to give up on being happy.
And I‘ll be damned if those aren‘t the two things
that are most important.
I didn‘t want to feel that way anymore…

The it that she spoke of was the will to survive.
It's the desire to make it for whatever reason
That thing that you can‘t live without,
And you can‘t leave alone.
It‘s what keeps you going when all you want to do is quit.

I searched in every crevice.
Every heart. Every lover.
I would build a home inside their chests
With my accomplishments and fears.
Gluing them together with promises and expectations…
Then I‘d fall in love with a tornado.
Or flee at the first sign of winter.

I was never going to find it inside of someone else.
Not until I found it in myself first.
And no one was ever going to save me

I started with a deep breath.
that turned into a long walk.
It became a lazy day,
And a weeklong vacation.

I had more dinners with friends,
And fewer drinks with acquaintances.
Hiking and running became a thing I did for fun.
I listened more closely during conversations
And experienced more in a few hours than I had in weeks.

I concentrated on the good;
processed the bad.
Appreciated the kind words of strangers,
And disregarded the rude comments made by assholes.
I did it with a group, I learned to do it alone,
And I did it all on purpose.

I learned to love myself again. 
Piece by piece,
I turned them until they fit inside comfortably,
And I shed the few that I no longer needed.
Because sometimes it makes sense to let go.

I found it.
It was everywhere.
Inside of me.
On the sidewalk.
In a book.
Beside the ocean.

 It was life and every bit of it was beautiful.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

To Tell Of Maine

Perhaps I was a bit naïve
For thinking that blanket of trees in Maine
Would hide us from reality.
Beneath their limbs, we forgot
That summer wouldn't last forever.

I stood out on the deck,
My head in the clouds, waiting
For a girl like you. And you stood there,
Not knowing the line of fire
would match your every move.

It wasn't without hesitation that your secrets
found my ears, and my fingers found your hands.
I wrapped myself inside of them,
Searching madly for a rip cord.
Something I could pull to bring you out.

For you were a mover, and myself, a shaker.
It was an intensity you hadn't felt before.
When it came to your heart, I took no prisoners.
And you took no chances when it came to mine.

With no intention, you divided my attention
between the past and the future,
Leaving the present to slip away like
the morning fog as it rolled off Echo lake.

I saw your reflection in the water,
Your eyes, the deepest un-sailed vessel.
You saw mine in the mirror and fled.
Sometimes, the truth can be overwhelming.
And I believe there are moments in life
When we’re not quite ready to be loved.

A month and a half felt like a lifetime,
Until seven years passed.
And now I find this novel idea,
So charming in its simplicity.

There isn't a single part of me that
Hasn't changed, and there’s not a thing
About you that I haven’t missed.

Some tales grow old with people,
And some people age without any to tell.
I’d rather be among the first few
With something beautiful to talk about
Beneath tree tops and blankets.