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CEFord Jul 2019
you're heavy today.

like the ropes you'd ask me
to pull up onto the bow of the boat.

that was last summer
when my knees knocked together
and my ac didn't work right.

the sweat still sticks to me.
the smell is strong.

like your scotch and
your tobacco and
your scent.

the warm one
with the sweet undertones.

the one you wore to every dinner
under your jacket.

the one in the half-bottle
that was the only thing
on the whole of your bathroom counter.

the one i think of now in this weird place
between remembering
the searing heat of your voice
and waxing poetic
over the veins in your arms.

and since i'm being honest,
i've always been jealous
of every glass
you put to your lips.

where they found
the soft of your flesh
i found the grit of teeth
and the sharpness of your tongue.

and for a second,
i almost miss that iron taste,
that tangle of ropes
and the hard spots on the pads of my fingers.

down on my palms,
the callouses have faded.

my hands are soft now,
but tough.

strengthened from the burns
of braided rope
and pie pans
and you.

made hot by the grip of july.
Last bit of nostalgia for the last bit of July. This is an old one I've been working on for a while and finally got around to finishing. It feels good to be finished and to let this go.
CEFord Dec 2018
This winter, I find myself raw,
chapped and tender like the skin
of my over-chewed bottom lip.

My mouth is always the one
that takes the most damage.
I catch myself on my front two teeth,
both with cracks on the side
from where my face kissed
the floors of roller skating rinks
and the frame of my grandparents' bed.

The help me bite my tongue
in moments of assurance
and bite my lip
when I falter under the weight
of my own name.

I am not a carnivore, nor someone
who wants to take you in,
and scrape the meat from your bones.

I'm a woman, with pink gums
and a sharp tongue that stabs me
in the roof of my mouth
and hurts me more than any of the hands
that have ever struck my face.

It's not because I'm weak or submissive,
I'm callow still,
constantly falling in love with
every person I touch,
not yet cultivated enough
to give them the words
I once promised.
Winters are always about peeling skin from your mouth and writing poetry.
CEFord Sep 2018
And even now,
I can feel the sticky
sweetness
of last September
run down my fingers.

It trickles dark red and wild,
like the vine-ripened
grapes,
hanging from the white
picket fence,
I see from my window.

It flows down my arms
and abdomen
slowly, slowly, slowly
sinking into every inch
of my skin.

It colors me,
tan shades
from the summer sun,
and white-hot highlights,
from toothy smiles
and squinted eyes.

But summers were never
my season.

They were yours,
warm and shining,
always pushing
for more light,
longer days,
and just a little more time
than originally bargained for.

I can still see that fence,
proud, weathered,
criss-crossing with
vines and
birds’ nests
and the remnants
of a season since past.

And as the
harvest comes to
an end,
and the placid
cool of night
chills my bones,
I’ll learn
to be content
with the time
that’s gone by,
and the autumn
that is yet to come.
My heart hurts, but my fingers can still write.

And so they shall.
CEFord Jul 2018
Your eyes are covered in smoke,
skin ashen
with the four dollar packs
You buy at the store
On the corner of Drayton
And Hall,

But my god,
You still glow and flicker
Like the first lit candle
Of the night
Warm, wild, wonderful
before 10 PM even starts.

Your lovers are glass bottles,
some full,
some empty,
some curvy.

And some broken
Shattered in your palms
And the brick wall of your apartment.

But you take pride in
the scars on your fingertips
And the nicks
From glass shards,

Because even though they’ve toughened you
to the worlds outside
your window,
they’ve made you
all the more beautiful.
I’m yearning for Savannah’s sleepy streets and a best friend to walk them.
CEFord Jul 2018
My knees always
get the brunt of it all.
Between bed corners,
light poles,
and the even sometimes
the gum-y underside of tables,
there’s a passport
of popped blood vessels
sitting on my skin.

And while the pre-chewed
peppermint smell and
sticky residue fade,
the bruises linger
like a supermarket peach.

Soft with warm skin,
darkened from
tumbles of truck beds
and clumsy stockers alike.

Still sweet, but
visibly damaged
from hands too unkind
to put me back on the shelf.

Maybe I’ll get chosen anyway.
Or maybe I’ll rot
in this ******* Georgia heat.
But I guess
I have to be patient.
After all,
the season
is just getting started.
Rusty, but writing. And isn’t that what matters anyway?
CEFord Mar 2018
Look,
one day,
it’s all
going to happen
to you.

You’ll wake up one morning
and skin your knee
for the
very first time.

You’ll jump
into your best friend’s
pool
in the middle
of winter
just to feel the
cold.

You’ll fall asleep
drunk
in someone’s
backyard
on cheap *****
that sticks
to your fingers
like pancake syrup,
and burns
like the hell
you’ll feel
the first time
you realize
he doesn’t love you
back.

Your life
will be full
of
laughter
and
heartache
and
temper tantrums
from not getting your way
at 5
and age 25.

But baby girl,
if you’re lucky,
and since you’re
your mother’s daughter,
you will be,
your life will be bursting
at the seams
with all the stars
shores
and peanut butter cups
your little body
can hold.

Maybe you’ll
grow up
and save
the world.

Maybe
you’ll slam
your car door
when you leave
and break my
heart.

Or maybe you’ll be
like me,
awake at all hours
writing down words
for someone
who doesn’t yet
exist.

But no matter
which path
you choose,
know that
I’ll always
be at the end of it
waiting for you
with sweets
and bandaids
in hand.
I’m not sure if I particularly want kids.

But if I’m lucky enough to be chosen as a momma, this one is for you, my love.
CEFord Jan 2018
"You look like love,"
she said one night,
cold with the
whispers of winds
on old cobblestone
and hushed
footsteps
of snow-covered
boots.

He stopped
in his tracks,
the cherry of
his cigarette
pulsing
like the colors
of a spinning
satellite
lightyears away
from their newly-found
lives.

"What does love
look like?"
he asked,
syllables hanging
close to his face,
blue eyes
darting
from her lips
to her hands
and back again.

But he knew.
He knew from the first
time he shook her hand
and saw the
sweat glisten off her
brow,
and listened to her
listless stories
of how summer
never truly loved her,
that one day
he truly would.

She smiled,
lips cracking
from the dry air,

"It looks like an
overflowing sink,
fresh with bubbles
from soapy dishwater
left unattended
to waltz in the kitchen.

It looks like ice
cracking
to the sweet smoke
of scotch
and the divot
on the couch that
sinks our thighs
and the thought
of any afternoon plans
deep
in crevasses
we're both too sleepy
to crawl out of.

It looks like all
the things
the world
took from me
and promised
it would never give back,
but instead packaged
in a
candle
bright enough
to illuminate
all the dark places
and remind me
that even though
others have treated me
like a
flicker,
I'm truly a
flame."
Love poetry is hard, but this came out easy.
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