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haley Jul 2022
is it dangerous to wish
for those goods of which
are not I, are not me,
are not the breath that we breathe
upon the gentlest and free summer morning?
or the gleam of the beaks
perched humbly in the cradle
of the cuckoo's nest still adorning?
before their wings bare vulnerable
to the light of the wind and to
man and to bringing
their unsuspecting redeeming
to the order of clinging to the now;
or the we, or the me, and
the I, and the us, and
the beat
of the heart that keeps borning?
This is the first poem I've written in 2 years.
haley Sep 2020
the windsongs speak
their tales of change.
lean in close, they tell you, come
listen. to the robin's nest
and the fire's glow and
the baby's breath.
lean close, they whisper, don't
miss them. don't
parry. don't boast. don't
brood in the light of mourning.
they summon, they taunt you. come
kiss them.

and the foxtrot leaves a trail of haste.
is it honest?
is it spiteful? does
the lamb's ear sing its
hymn of sorrow? does
the boy cry wolf in the dead of night?

lean toward fear, they tell you.
you listen.
big changes soon.
haley Jul 2018
i take my mood stabilizer with my 3 pm coffee and ask her, politely, to be quiet for the remainder of the day. usually, she does not listen. i hear the pester of hums while i am trying to tie my shoelaces, or while i am trying to wash the sleep out of my hair, or while i am trying to listen to my voicemails. i feel a tap on my shoulder that caresses me in a way that tells me i need to run. i hide beneath the covers. i feel the twinge of guilt in the pit of my stomach. if i cannot see her, she cannot see me. i send her up in smoke, i hug myself soundly so that my heartbeat doesn't fall out of my skin. she makes her way into my conversations. she threatens the way my lips part when i kiss. she pries my fingers from his and sends me to my room without dinner. i wake up in a cold sweat and reach for the growing empty space beside me. i am desperate. she tells me i am playing make-believe with my worry. i am desperate. i take my mood stabilizer with my 4 pm coffee and ask her, politely, to be quiet and she does not listen and she does not listen and she does not listen
bipolar blues
haley Jul 2018
at eight
i stood at open closed caskets and planted plastic flowers
upon silent graves;
in the backseat on the way to my grandfather's wake
mom and dad played a song about angels over the stereo. they
had to turn it off when i burst into tears.
i did not understand the twenty one gun salute
but i left a piece of myself in the folding of the flag,
left it with forty nine stars in the wrinkled hands of the widow.
vulnerable, kissing the loss of the dewy cemetery, the fresh dirt and

at thirteen
she was stolen at the hands of another,
just after her forty-second trip around the sun;
i cradled my always strong father as he cursed god on the kitchen floor.
the night my sister cried into my shoulder i read ten different articles,
each one with a headline reading "manslaughter", while
the soles of my feet knew it meant "******".
the pool of blood flashed to my vision and
i've spent seven years trying to bleach the stain out
from behind my eyelids -
lighting a memorial candle at my future wedding, graduation, childbirth
my mother did not deserve generic music at her remembrance.

at sixteen
i squeezed into a pew as
the church sanctuary was too small for her service.
widely loved and widely known, she
had been sick for fourteen years with no rest; fought
collapsed lungs and bared organs and
her eyes were as soft as the words she would leave you with.
her breath marooned the thirteenth of february and
on valentine's day, my best friend received a rose at her doorstep
with a note that read, "i love you more than chocolate.
love, mom".

at nineteen
we did not have class for one week. his daughter was five years old
and he was two semesters away from
getting his bachelor's degree in a helping profession;
he sat two rows ahead of me, one seat over
next to a boy named aaron and an empty chair.
the pastor spoke of a freedom from pain,
joy joy, hallelujah, a man who loved god;
they did not disclose the cause of death the morning the dean
entered our classroom,
spoke three words and
the silence fell -
sometimes, sometimes, we will never know why.
i was thinking about funeral songs the other morning. i realized that, at my mother's funeral, they only played songs she probably would have hated; and then i got angry at how unfair that is. here's a poem.
haley Apr 2018
it's snowing in april and
the bluejays have abandoned their nest to
welcome the newcoming of spring;
we have no furniture, sweetheart,
but we do have time. last night i
held your cheek in my tiny palm and
asked if you wanted me to rest
in your arms forever -
"of course", you soothed,
and i brewed cherry coffee in the morningtime
to remind myself
that this life is good.
we have no money, sweetheart,
but we do have time. we do have time.
just a short one.
haley Mar 2018
after his lips
brazed mine, i understood what
churches meant to saints;
death and rebirth and homecoming and
ease. the artistry of our
flesh meeting flesh,
gentle grassroot heartbeats finding
heaven in the moles on our shoulders, our
inner thighs. he hums a hymn of becoming and i
join the chorus: a
kingdom of quiet wednesdays and
leaving forget-me-nots on my pillowcase to bloom.
murmurous, he sweetens my melancholy; our
naked bodies left bare to the seasons,
over and over again, unafraid. i
part my gracious fingers and
quilt for him a makeshift
rosebush beneath blue eyes and
summery glances. our
testimony is this:
underneath july starlight,
victory is found in the
warmth of our
xanthic chapel; a
yearlong love story left
zen in our delicate rapture
my first a to z poem about my sweet love. enjoy
haley Feb 2018
i. the curly, green-haired
leo with the cry-baby tattoo
on her left calf; fish net stockings and
loud guitar playing and
menthol cigarettes. driving through
the park at 9 pm, ***** shots,
the white house with the a-frame roof,
hugs that made your heart feel as warm
as she did

crying as i left my room again to be
intertwined with a girl who did not love me, but i wanted to;
months pass, lonely car rides with
one-sided conversations and
seven years gone,
quiet disconnection
that made you feel as cold
as i did

ii. brown eyes, brown skin,
round glasses and chicago streetlights.
holding each other close on the subway
lakehouse parties in the beginning of spring and
pisces season and tarot readings and
soft kisses on the train.
holding hands at the aquarium,
sweet poetry and calm and
a sense of oneness that made you feel

hurt for the third time
a panic, a loss
i held their heart in my hands and
let it fall
i still carry the guilt on my fingertips

iii. short hair. freckled cheeks, i
fell in love with the way the skin
crinkled around her eyes when she smiled.
an apartment, a home built
around our lips touching
wrapped in blankets on the couch,
dense smoke and her hand on my leg while she
drove. chinese food and
waking up against her chest and
laughing so hard
my ribs hurt

crashing. her anger withering away my
heartstrings; pain and
crying alone in the bathtub
moving away
drunk tears on the interstate
punching my thighs
in place of the way her
words made
me hurt
feeling extra lonely these days. they come and go.
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