Tuesday, December 5, 2017

God in Parentheses

Every morning I pass the bank display window on 17th street and
staring at my own wind-blown reflection I always think I see someone staring back
and (every time) I realize it’s just a tall, wooden lighthouse painted red and white,
used for marketing or decoration or who knows what.
Maybe that is what we are to one another:
decorative wooden lighthouses in display windows, guiding one another
through black waters, and misty mornings, and sidewalks filled with strangers moving in differing directions and discordant speeds.
Further down the man selling falafel and fried eggs from his food truck hands
people their change through the steel window and I stare at the Tropicana orange juice bottles on shaved ice pebbles.
(I don’t know why this matters
But somehow it does)
They smile as they walk away, clutching breakfast sandwiches in brown paper bags
Inside they are wrapped in foil
The way my dad used to do for my brother on Sunday mornings
He left the sandwich in the warm toaster oven
To stay heated until my brother woke up
(I don’t why this matters
But somehow it does)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Aplomb

There is not much to say about plums
that William Carlos Williams did not already cover
but I can say that they (and blackberries too) have a sweet
so startling deep that it hits you between your eyeballs
tingling in your brain and back jawbone.
The flavor emerges slowly, like blood clusters in a bruise
or the way it falls in water like backwards smoke.
Is it too biblical to associate fruit with death?
And sex? 
But Adam ate it too. The serpent spoke to them both.
What is forbidden always has flesh.
What is allowed always has breath.
What has teeth always fights back.
She ate it because he cared to ask.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Opposites

When a union of opposites makes a ceremonious entrance
I stand at the doorway, flinching
I have asked a million times for a map of this place
Where is the crevice wheremy voice will echo? When I whisper in between the beams?
Staring at gilded gold cherubs and overflowed toilets in the basement, crusted in sediment
The children singing in the choir
His blue eyes crying in between weak chains of laughter
He just buried his best friend, his mom makes a dry joke
Pulling back the heavy maroon velvet curtain, peering into the penance box
Dust shifts and I feel a thousand people crying. Their guilt as palpable as the cool, oily holy water I dip my finger into
scratching the bottom of the stone basin at the exit. I feel it like a sigh on my neck.
Do I belong here?
Looking up, crosses, pain, paint stains and light filtering through the diamond slices of windows
I do
I do?
This is my favorite part: the pews. The hard wood against my back and sits bones. You have to sit a certain way.
You have to remember we will all be pinned to a tree someday.
Outside, the sun is hazy behind clouds though you have to squint to see the green gingko tree leaves turning yellow at the edges. “There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground,” Rumi said
There are a hundred, thousand ways for your ego to die. Look up, look up. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gravity

What I Never Told You:

I haven’t been able to sleep in 5 years since we stopped talking. I wake up in the middle of a dreamless wandering, in a panic like I forgot something, like I dropped something and am only just remembering. I stumble into the kitchen and look for something to fill me. Chips, popcorn, chocolate. I retire back to bed with an aching full stomach, and a gnawing hunger in my heart. Which sometimes looks to me like some shriveled wasted thing, a deflated red balloon, the withered husk of a dandelion. I haven’t dreamed in 5 years. To put myself back to sleep I turn the “running shower” sound on my White Noise app because it reminds me of the morning in Ithaca when I woke up in your bed. Tangled in your clean, navy jersey sheets and light grey comforter. You woke up early to take a shower and I woke up with you, and then fell back asleep, lulled by the sound of the water. When you came back, you smelled like Men’s Dove soap and something else. Something I can’t name or remember. Something slightly vanilla’ed and sweet that lingered on your purple-blue eyelids and in the soft crook of your elbow. I think about you every day. How I trusted you more than anyone or anything, more than myself, more than my mother, more than the ground holding objects in place. I think about another time when we met at a park near your house after not having seen each other in a long time. It was late spring time and the sun was warm and the breeze was cool and everything was the brightest green. We laid on some rolling hill overlooking the sloping valleys of grass and I laid my head on your legs. For the first time in so long, everything was still again. Gravity returned, my body felt suddenly supported again by the entire Universe. As if you held the whole thing in place with just your existence. As if the ground could only be there if you were too. With you not here, everything floats. I am always flying, dizzy and sick. It is always moving and I am alone. 

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.”