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atlast Dec 2018
I wish I could say your words bounced right off
My back as I walked past

That the fear and humiliation
Barely even lasts

I wish I could say I wasn’t fazed at all.

And that my own pride made me tall

But alas, I was small

When you whistled, I froze.
When you threatened to grab me,
My heart raced

My stride did not deepen
My steps were fast-paced

I pulled my jacket across my chest
Ducked into a store and hoped for the best

And when I got home I could not rest.

Because your words did not bounce back
They sunk into my skin
They filled my ears and blurred my sight
And made my whole world spin

I didn’t say anything.
But not because I felt strong.

I didn’t say anything
Because I was scared of you being strong

Grabbing me like you said.
Becoming Hurt, Traumatized, Dead.

And I may not have bruises but I feel it in my head
A lingering sense of dread
Keeping me awake in bed

I feel it when I dress in the morning
And am careful about what I wear
Where I go
Wearing me down slowly

Your words are not the first.
But they hit me the worst.

I could feel your eyes ******* me
As you leaned against the wall
Sexualizing a little girl
Who was barely 5 feet tall

Your words mean nothing to them
and everything to me.
atlast Dec 2018
Stubborn rays --
the sunlight stays
on the bridge of your nose,
and the apples of your cheeks.
I could count them for days
but I’d rather stay, in the morning, lay
beside you and look up at them
like they’re constellations.
atlast Dec 2017
We change and we fall,
We change when it’s fall, brown, red
Crumpled and stepped on.
atlast Jan 2018
The music man had
Sung the same tune
Strummed the same guitar
Since he was eleven years old.

The hurried shoes changed
The rusted coins clanged
Still day after day, he played

He was once young and bright
Radiating musical light
But still, no one stopped to listen

Through the seasons and years
He played for deaf ears
And wondered if he was a ghost

He got old and gray
His clothes starting to fray
Age had darkened his glisten

Like an aging tree he bent
As the people came and went
And still, no one stopped to listen

His heart stopped beating in his sleep
As he was lying on the cold, dark street

And still, no one stopped to listen

When the music man arrived
Tears fell from the skies
As a room full of people
Sang his song.
atlast Jan 2018
My mother is a piano
A little out of tune
Dusty keys
That play with ease
Ivory as the moon

Sometimes I’ll touch the wood
And admire its antiquity
Think of all the things that it
Ever dreamed to be

Sometimes when my fingers
Fly through a song
I wonder how this piano
Ever got so strong.

My mother is a piano,
She makes music out of air,
She answers each finger
With an embrace, with care

Her legs planted firmly
in the ground
How much I love to hear
her deep, rich sound.
atlast Dec 2018
fill your pockets with warmth
and take a deep breath of air

I’ll be waiting with my nose pressed ‘gainst the window
trying to feel all I can through the thick glass.
Wiping the smudges with my frayed, worn sleeve
And thinking myself outside

When you come home, I’ll open the lock from the inside
and jump up and down, up and down

Embracing you to feel the sunshine
And feeling wind as you kiss my cheek.

- outside
atlast Jan 2018
Giggles. Does this count?
Slide, mix, arrange each neatly
Double-letter word.
atlast Dec 2018
How can I love mine
The curves, the lines,
The rolls, the wrinkles,

When she and her and them
Can never love theirs?
atlast Dec 2017
Tree roots and brown boots,
Gum stamped onto the cement…
The view from below.
atlast Dec 2018

Started as a baby who watched killing on TV.
Whose childhood was Uncle Sam and the ROTC.

Took turns being cowboy and Indian, finger guns
Hunting with dad, rifles and handguns
But nothing could prepare him for the way that blood runs
From the lips of a friend

He left at 18
Couldn’t seem to grow a beard.
Didn’t matter when he was covered in jungle mud from ear to ear.

Kool Aid and biscuits
It sounded like a dream
Living indoors.
Working on machines.

But what the cargo brought back
Demanded to be seen

Bags upon bags hoisted on backs
Swung around like jump ropes
Among the soldier’s jumping jacks

Every beating moment a guilt-filled flashback

The blood from the lips of an enemy or friend
Reddening the mud, trickled to no end
A gun on his side
Who was fighting who?
The roles were unclear
Muddied and hazy, orange and dark blue

No need for TV. The war’s in his mind.
Engraved in his eyelids.
Pace, panic, grind

Is he a man? Can he ever grow old?
If his life is just one story that keeps getting told



- Vietnam

— The End —