Friday, September 8, 2017

Rooms

We can talk about rooms and what happens in them.

We can talk about how in every one I walk into, I am always aware of the doors. The closets. The closed ones. The ones kept slightly ajar. The ones that open on their own, like some spirit just walked in or out. How the door closes behind me and how or when or why it opens. Being trapped and keeping it cool, like I didn't just watch every muscle on your face as you did that. Like I haven't been sizing up the safety of every room I’ve ever walked into from the moment I step in it since age 4. Wondering which person here would tell me to take my clothes off again. Which person here would tell me to touch him there, and there, and put my lips there. And would do that to me. As I silently wondered if anyone would finally find us in this hide and seek game we were playing. That I’m still playing. I'm always aware of the ones who are taller. The ones like him who stand above me, their height a constant reminder of my helplessness and my lack of control. The door handle always being there for me to open, but too far away, everything too high up. Everything - one leap, one doorway, one honest confession away - from freedom. But how can you measure the space
between breaths?
between

Monday, August 28, 2017

Looking Out, Looking In

“The moon was an orange!” the little girl said –
“like someone took a bite out of it while flying in the sky.”
Without glasses everything was grey and bright, low light
gleaming off of skyscrapers above us. Shadows falling in strange places.
With glasses, a marigold circle in and out of black clouds.
This is what we came to see. To watch one another look up at stars
mid-day
and wonder why we are all here. Carrying cereal boxes and cell phones
saying things like, “wow” and “did you see it?” and “we should get back to work.”
As if.
As if the work was never out here, with one another, gazing at each other,
gazing at the stars, knowing it was all the same.

Friday, August 11, 2017



We begin tapping our fingers at the same time to some esoteric beat
in tune with the music that hides behind the veil of the universe, the sound behind the sound,
silently and not so silently guiding the waves and tides, the migration patterns of humpback whales,
or the timing of a seagull’s white wing turning as the sunlight hits it above the bridge on the water.
It could be the thrum of the Iroquois water drum, crickets in the thick of summer,
the first solitary notes of Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2,
or the wind in the dogwood trees at the edge of the trail,
Maybe it is the sound of church bells, an organ at dawn,
a child crying in the subway,
the goat laughing.
Likely it is the flute,
and the way your voice lingers on vowels in “I love you.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2016




"‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘after…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘before…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘when…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘how…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘why…’ you answer.
‘because you are happening now. and your happening
is
beautiful.
the thing that both keeps me alive and brings me to my knees.
you don’t even know how exquisite you are.
as you are.’
says the universe through tears."

— as you are | you are the prayer, nayyirah waheed


Thursday, June 30, 2016

The End of the Pier


The End of the Pier
by Nicole Callihan

I walked to the end of the pier
and threw your name into the sea,
and when you flew back to me—
a silver fish—I devoured you,
cleaned you to the bone. I was through.
But then you came back again:
as sun on water. I reached for you,
skimmed my hands over the light of you.
And when the sky darkened,
again, I thought it was over, but then,
you became water. I closed my eyes
and lay on top of you, swallowed you,
let you swallow me too. And when
you carried my body back to shore—
as I trusted that you would do—
well, then, you became shore too,
and I knew, finally, I would never be through.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Vegas



Vegas
by me

To find it you'll have to walk West
60 feet beyond the remains of the semaphores
of the old P&W decorated in decaying ivy,
beyond the blown out boulders lining the trail
and the yellow forsythia that sticks out between the
squares of chicken wire in the neighbor's yard.
You'll have to walk further down the path with green gardener snakes,
past the boys throwing stones at the falcon on the tree branch, unblinking
past the biker playing Johnny Cash,
"I keep a close watch on this heart of mine,"
past the gurgling brook that bubbles against the grey rocks
"I keep my eyes wide open all the time,"
into the vegas nerve of the forest covered in patches of moss,
several hundred feet beyond the sloping meadow where the lark
stands majestic, puffing his breast and closing his eyes into the sun,
up the hill past the wooden bench where I once carved our names
and into the cul-de-sac of crumbling homes where the ravens - large as laptops - live.
When you think you've found it, turn around to
find the place with the tiniest flower, where the cardinals fly in double helixes
along invisible wavelengths  and the curved marble statue
offers itself to you like an outstretched hand.
Take it. Place your cheek to its surface.
Run your finger along the cracks on its side. And whisper to it,
"because you're mine."

The word "Vegas" means wandering in Latin, and it is an apropos title not only for the poem but for the time in my life when  I wrote it, which was back in March after a particularly strange and difficult time. To cope, I spent a lot of my free time walking on a trail behind my apartment, watching nature as it slipped through the grip of winter into one of the loveliest springs I can ever remember. Each day I watched as buds unfolded, as colors began to change from greys and browns to soft pinks and pale violets and as the natural, animal and human world began to open up to me like the outstretched hand I mention. Really, it is a love poem to myself and almost an internal map to places outside that mirrored places inside - an interior gesture of friendship and recognition that I was able to accept after many hours of being in nature as it returned to its yearly place of ease and undoing. I think there is nothing more powerful than to claim certain parts of yourself that you've either buried or kept hidden from yourself. Much like the transition from winter to spring, the act of shedding light on and removing the covering over our secret selves, is a kind of rebirth and renewal that has its own magic.