Monthly Archives: March 2012

When I Waited There Wasn’t Only the Soundless

The water rolls out and out like everything going away from me. We watched those films spooled backwards and in them she leaps into the swing again backwards and that fall never happened and years later you never turned away and the glass unspills and I am never counting to 107 while I hold my breath I am counting back to one instead.

My foot taps, taps like knocking and the dock is a door. It was a door. I am running through doors in my head. Is there a statistic for how many doors the average person walks through in their lives? And does this statistic tell us whether they are coming in or going out? And that tap, tap, sends shivers through the wood like a heartbeat sent shivers through my skin when I felt yours against mine.

And the time is time. It comes and goes. The time. Me. It. I loved the ticking for clocks and the turning of numbers and the sound of a house at night where only the clock stays awake for all hours.

I loved you most falling asleep. I loved her most when her chest rose and fell and the clock ticked and I was awake just to watch everyone I love keep breathing. And the clock goes


and my foot goes


and my hand goes


on the door, on the door and it’s not there. The dock is a door.

The water rolls in and in and in and in and in until I am waiting again.


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This Was Not Built For Anyone But Us

There is a tunnel under my city:

it is filled up with ache and bodies and stones and

dark. I go there sometimes, when I’m feeling

at a loss for anything, to watch

the graveyard men digging amongst the piles

of flesh (and, yes, the body still bruises even

after death) and looking for some small sign of

who these lost once were: the way the buttons

on a shirt are loose from so many times they were

absentmindedly twisted or the tooth just a

little chipped from a piece of rock candy

crunched too hard. Sometimes

I’m drinking a paper cup of coffee, the liquid

cooling faster than I realize, and the graveyard

men will nod at me in recognition (and,

no, I’m not the only one who makes a

habit of watching them dig) and I will blink

back and try to smile. I don’t want

them to know, though of course I’m sure they do, that

I sometimes think about

trying to beat the tunnel.

I wonder how it would feel to run

across the bones of those who tried

before me; if they would break to dust beneath

my feet. I’ve heard it doesn’t end, though,

that the tunnel just keeps going

as if it had been built to never open

up into something else. But, if I had built

it, I would have spread a

rumor like that, too. I wouldn’t want

people to completely believe so that if

they ever made it to the other side

they would stare up at the sky and

the blank light of the sun and

after all that they would be blinking

in surprise and if I were the

builder maybe I’d be waiting for

them with arms held out to catch

those who might fall with exhaustion,

and I would get to be the one to say, just once, “Don’t


don’t worry, everything is alright.”

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(Okay, so I was playing around with voice. No idea if any of these work. This is really truly just a practice run free write)

My boyfriend used to cut me. Not all the time and only when I was sleeping. Shallow cuts like scratches and I would wake up with lines of blood inked into my sheets. I used to imagine that there were patterns, codes, and that if I could just figure them out then he would stop. But I never did and he never did. Only years later, when I noticed my body in a mirror, did I understand the shape of the scars and that the pattern hadn’t been in the blood. I was the code that I couldn’t break.

I was in love with this girl for awhile. She was a kick boxer and the muscles in her legs were so fucking incredible. A friend of mine tells me that I only liked her because she could have broken me. And she could have, but that wasn’t the reason. I liked waking up next to her in the mornings as she stretched her legs out. She would lift one straight up into the air above her and slowly bend and un-bend her knee. The she would do the other leg. It was the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen.

He sometimes woke up screaming. The first time that it happened I remember thinking that the world had ended. Guys don’t scream, right? So, there must be some serious shit going down. But there was nothing. It was always nothing. It wasn’t every night but it happened enough that I had to break up with him.

Don’t date guys in emo bands. Rule to live by because it is never fucking worth it. Hair product and mascara on your pillows, which is hell to get out by the by. Then there is the whole “Woe is me, I’m cast in shadows and darkness” vibe. I’m not into that Twilight vampire shit. So guys it is just not a turn-on. And mascara over night? Really?! Seriously, you could get an eye infection.

We met over coffee. Both of us were ordering triple shots of espresso, which is what makes it so weird that we both never wanted to get out of bed. I’m not talking sex either, I’m saying like just sleeping together. Our body parts entwined. We would lie in bed for hours, just breathing in and out at the same time, our chests rising and falling to some strange rhythm that only ever existed in those moments when we together. It’s funny; she used a pomegranate shampoo and now whenever I smell pomegranates I get sleepy.

He brought me breakfast in bed and breakfast in bed freaks me out. Food plus bed equals a major no-no. Like bugs and bacteria and ew. Crumbs in your sheets? That’s disgusting and perverse and I really don’t think that anyone should live that way. Like ever.

After she died, I couldn’t sleep. It was if the shape of my body didn’t fit into the bed right if she wasn’t there to complete me. It struck me in a way that was deeper than just missing the tone of her voice or the sound of her feet as she walked across the floor. I told this to someone once and they looked at me as if I were saying something selfish. As if what I meant was that I was inconvenienced by being unable to sleep. But, what I meant, what I missed wasn’t the sleeping, wasn’t just this necessary function to live. What I missed was waking up and turning to look at her as she opened her eyes and I watched her face bloom into the day.

 I think I loved him. I hate saying that. I feel like loving someone should be definite, should be absolute and powerfully concrete. But, that’s all it is: I think I loved him. I remember waking up next to him that first time and imagining the rest of my life as a series of mornings waking up next to him and I was suddenly ridiculously happy. Then one day I stopped noticing waking up and started to notices the ways in which he wasn’t someone else. Then it was over and now I sleep alone.

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Some Kind of Salvation

Sometimes I wake up wondering if I love you too much. It’s usually after nightmares where I’m lost in mazes and I always think you’re going to be around the next corner. You are never around the next corner in my nightmares.

I read stories in the newspaper occasionally about people who do good things for others. These small acts of kindness, and sometimes they end with the people saying, “Well, of course, I did this, this is what we do for each other.”  Most times the stories in the newspaper though are about the things we do to each other.

I like the way that the pines look after strong winds, the way they bend almost to the ground. The curves of their trunks as if the wind was almost enough to break them. Almost.

I try to imagine worlds where stars grant wishes, where there are ghosts that need only to be forgiven or discovered to find some kind of salvation, where we all do for each other as much as we can.

Sometimes I wake up wondering if I love you enough.

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I’ll Pick that Up Anyway

The guitar strap, snapped
and left on the bedroom floor,
looking like a bra discarded,
halfway to the bed as we
stumbled backwards, hands fumbling
for only each other.

The egg shell, dropped
just short of the trash,
milk chocolate brown,
it had looked good enough
to swallow whole, like a snake
with little fat mice.

The unlucky penny, flipped
onto tails and smudged by years,

the shine gone off,

but still enough for

cheap gumball machines.


The perfect scars, scattered

across my skin,

like seeing the stars, like

snow marred by ice,

like everything ever come back to me.

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You as Twice-Told Tale

I tried to dream this cave

would open into sea;

starfish sacrifice

themselves to rocks and are

reborn each time they are cut apart.

I’d breathe water, a

rushing cool like those

peppermint sticks I used

to stir my tea with.


I tried to dream the sky

wouldn’t smother us;

silver kissed clouds dissipate

until the blue overwhelms

floods the horizon.

I’d float

and my body would sing shivers across my skin,

a simple trick like those games

of light as a feather and stiff

as a board.


I tried to dream this

would make me someone else;

my mouth could tell you stories

again and I’d be reborn

each time you listened.

I’d find you

and my feet would finally rest,

I wish I had paced a thousand miles like

a lover who wears out

pair after pair of iron shoes

as she writes her footsteps across the snow.

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What the River Divides

You always find me on the shortest day of the year. I’m almost always wearing a dress made from rose petals and dust. My skin is fragile now and if you touch me I’ll break

down into ash or sand or something else as inconsequential and as important. Remember the time we stayed inside for three days in a row because we didn’t want to stop touching? And remember the time I gave you cups of hot lemon-honey to drink because you were sick? And I got sick too and we stayed under one blanket, our fevers burning into each other.

I used to roll down hills when I was a child, wrap my arms around myself and tumble. I liked to give into the falling. I always closed my eyes, though, because I was afraid to see the way the world spun around me. The sky the ground the sky.

I liked the taste of your skin on my tongue, my lips. I liked the sound of your voice in the morning, always slightly deeper and

I liked the way you said my name. Now you just say it and it seems like you’re trying hard not to say it. Do you hate the way it’s becoming common? You might, over a lifetime, meet at least a dozen people who share my name. The trouble with common names is that someone is always calling out for you somewhere.

If I could tell you how it was does it make it easier? I saw the world around me blink in and out like those Christmas lights set to patterns. The colors were brilliant. I thought I saw a city devoured by a lake. I tasted salt and ash and dirt and the sea and the stars and and and and and and and———————–

———–it sounded like trains going backwards and waves not crashing.

You will always find me on the shortest day of the year. I will wear a dress made of rose petals and dust so that you will know me even from years away. I promise. Just touch me and I will break

break br

eak bre

ak brea


into you.

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