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Natalie Jane Jul 2013
A LETTER FOR YOU (AND, OF COURSE, FOR ME, TOO):
It smells like my grandmother's house in here.
Like lazy Saturdays, of dripping sweat, of climbing trees, of building Lincoln Log houses for ants or Deathstars of Legos but I spread my legs and that smell of--regret is not the word, nor is shame--I feel neither--but of came, of stale, cold air and stiff comforters on top a bed at the Best Western--A living proof of how you've changed. After you finish and inhale and burst your exhausted, satisfied breath, I sweetly kiss you--your neck, your jawline, your cheeks, your forehead, your eyelids. You hold us in and sleep as if a few drinks are enough to forgive. I tell you to slow down because you owe me about 5 years to make up for lost time. You slip your tongue down as if I had not broken your heart. But a man learns, and that's our biggest difference--man and woman, you and I--you've grown cold and moved on to content loneliness and betterness than to give a girl who's hurt you a second chance.
Me--I've grown to let the warmth run over you, like a hot glass of water from a motel room sink after an ******. Past content, loneliness and betterness than to obsess about a boy grown sour from a girl too hurt to not want to take back the past.
We check in for the night to "make up for lost time."
We check out.
What's a girl to do?
Other than watch you sleep so still like you used to next to me, even with still blankets, it's cold. Hold me?
We walk out to our cars on a hot, departing Fourth of July.
I coax you into closing your lips over mine before you leave, but the key is already turned in. We already ate our free breakfast, ******, scratched, bruised.
You've already checked out, so
what's a girl to do now?
What's a girl to do?
AND
I cannot forget Whitman's words: "We were together, I forget the rest."
AND
Vonnegut's epitaph: "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."
AND
"Every time I kiss you
After a long separation
I feel
I am putting a hurried love letter
In a red mailbox"

AND
I feel like a one night stanza written by you who is more beautiful and unforgiving than words on a page
AND*
I am not drinking quickly enough--or enough, despite the speed
AND
Bukowski's poem:
year-worn
weary to the bone,
dancing in the dark with the
dark,
the Suicide Kid gone
gray.
Ah! the swift summers
over and gone
forever!
Is that death
stalking me
now?
No, it's only my cat,
this
time
AND I DIGRESS BECAUSE
my dear sweet Ambien Walrus has abandoned me in reality among the living. So blissful breaks, only a stomach churning in the minutes passing of a long night.
No worries, Mr. Walrus. I'd abandon me too. Only drinking, imagined aliens, crying and words here--words to document your blessed coming and mournful going into the wee hours of the unforgiving days. There is no glory in the mornings. I watch for you as I watch the hours pass. No bliss in the minutes stretched over the midnight break. Only words, no blessing, no grace, to pass the heavy nagging of the night. Will I see you again?
"We were together, I forget the rest."
What's a girl to do?
AND
oh yeah, drink more. Fingers crossed.
What more can a girl do, really?
OH
take another drink before the liquor runs out.
AND DRAW UPON MISTAKES PAST
I know this letter is getting out of hand
BUT
hear me out for all the words you never had to hear. I promise I'll throw in a joke somewhere.
AND
I sneak outside for a cigarette and watch an armadillo rummage closer to me while I search for another poem to make me feel better, another poem for this letter to you I will never send but maybe, if the situation's right, to read to you on some drunken night. I promised you a joke, but now, I giggle at my own feelings. Maybe you will too. I hope you laugh too--At my hands so aching, at my torn apart ******, at my silly feelings and words to help me forget a reminiscing night of you pushing my hair from my face so you can see my eyes when I purse my lips down below.
SO
here's your joke, I suppose.
This one's on me.
IN CONCLUSION
"At 23, the best of my life is over and its bitters double...I am sick at heart...I have outlived all my appetites and most of my vanities."
Byron knew the futility of joy in little things. In my quest to overcome a trivial ache, I have re-imagined a familiar road to uncertainty, instability, and insanity.
How great thou art!
Give me sleep and less slipping into this place of comfortable communion with the illnesses of my mind.
Of the body of Christ.
Amen.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the words and I shall be* sane.
Like Lazarus from the grave:
"This is not what I meant, at all."
"That is not it, at all."

God bless the blue.
What else is a girl to do?
BECAUSE
From the wards, I smell the mourned words of a place that I called home--this imaginary place that we must reinvent ourselves. Maybe mine is on Corporate Woods Drive, and all this--this is just a yellow brick road with little munchkins sweetly singing, follow it back home. I'll skip in a pretty dress with my friends and my babies to smell the grey walls and be asked of safety. I get lost every once in awhile but the Cheshire Cat asks, "where do you want to go?"
"I want to go home," I answer.
"Then," says the cat, "it doesn't matter."
IN OTHER WORDS
"I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?"
"I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, 'Who in the world am I?' Ah! that's the great puzzle!"
SINCERELY YOURS (AND MINE, TOO)
Natalie
Jun 2013 · 1.3k
Your poetic socks
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
When you said you didn't like my poem you added,
"Now you know how I feel when I show someone my socks."

But do your wear your socks like I wear my soul?

Wool,
threaded and
worn,
much like cliches and silly love poems.

I can't buy a new one at Wal Mart.
I can only live with one pair
until one stops pumping
on to the last thread,
frayed
with more conviction than the rushed mornings, the warming by the fireplace, the ode by Neruda, the searching for
mismatched heart and soul,
cheaper and uglier than a tie.

It's not like I could just put on a pair of white ankle highs and call it awesome.
Jun 2013 · 707
Sleep in heavenly peace
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
For Dr. Harry Braeuer

The day is mercifully warm when we come to visit you on Christmas.
All is calm o’er the city by the gulf; the salt in the air is sweetly gleaming.
All is bright with glowing hearts by his cradle we stand.

I play with a kitten that looks like Lily because I cower from the realities of your dying mind:
Of silent and holy nights;
Of sins and errors pining;
Of falling on your knees;
Of demanding to know what you’ve done to deserve the larghissimo dying from a disease that makes you forget the intricacies of Chopin’s Nocturnes or your daughters’ names.

You hold your face in your hand and study the eggshell white tile while Michael plays Clair De Lune.
Oh, hear the angel voices!
As if every flowing wave of moonlight of Debussy would cease the decrescendo of life or bring the lucid dawn of redeeming grace.

And after the final note pianissimo, you try so hard to rise from your wheelchair to give your grandson a loving ovation.
You clap your wrinkled and meticulous hands that cannot forget what it is like to cut open the mortal
—to bury the dead.

But please don’t get up, Dr. Braeuer.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.
Stay warm in your bed.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Bravo, my sweet grandfather!
Oh, night divine!
Lay down your sweet head.
Oh, night! Oh, holy night!*
Enjoy the tender music instead.
Jun 2013 · 584
Kerouac's cat
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
I am no Jack Kerouac, but I do share his reincarnated cat. I wish to be on the road, but I do not have it in me to leave her alone. And she’s such a ***** during long car rides. But, I can watch her on catnip instead and see her colorful journey along those alleyways and back stages and watch her meet those saturated characters so she’ll come back down to write a book about how those American roads changed her life. And until she dies, snuggled up in my arms, fur on my pajamas, she’ll say, Oh **** yeah, that was the life!
Or rather,
meow.
Jun 2013 · 2.2k
What it feels like in words
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
I miss you so much.

I miss the way the skin of your back felt when I scratched it.
I miss the way you made me feel,
The way you make me feel when I think about you twitching before falling asleep.
I giggle,
swallow
the simplicity of the yearning weight on my chest. Like I'm fighting for every second of the breath that I hold,
Like I am about to fall off the flat pre-humanistic Earth of a world that
never existed like it used to with
faith.

But now I can't feel anything.

So I play game after game solitaire just to fill the days without you.
It really is a losing game.
The odds are against me.
And so I reset my record
because the probability of winning is smaller with every hand,
because I'm smart enough to know, that's the way statistics work.

But I have to ask,

Does your back itch like a phantom limb?

My fingernails still crawl for your skin.
And for the crunch and cringe of sand
in my mouth after you've played too many hours of volleyball and it is soaked in your hair.
I want to feel the blisters of your sunburned back
and still believe with my whole heart that it is
perfect and peeling
under my nails.

I will take your flaws, I said.

Your ****** salsa is delicious, I said.

I hope you feel that burn
of jalapeños when you forget to
wash your hands.

I want you to know that I am pulling the painfully heavy yoke of the sweaty memories on my bed sheets.
Of ice melting in the grass.

I want you to know that I made a list of things that I absolutely hate about you,
but I still feel the warmth of that perfect week when you were fevered and deliriously content with me.

When I sit on the porch, I think I can hear your long board on the sharp asphalt. Like you're rounding the corner,
the cacophony
of your snoring over the
unbound bonding.

I remember how you liked that word. See?

I want you to know that when I miss you this badly,
I imagine you sleeping on that park bench in France and that pain turns bittersweet under the syntax of stars in a distant country.

And I will probably still send you this poem because I want you
to tell me that I am a good poet, because you never told me enough.

And then I want you to read it
again and again.

I want to keep THIS connection
because I believe in words
more than I ever believed in us.

I want that sentence to leave you scratching your head.
Like I just called your bluff.

I still laugh at your jokes.
And then tell myself that I never met you.
I reset my statistics until I have the upper-hand.

Because I know that this too shall pass,
but you need to know that I still look out my window when a car passes and hope that you may suddenly awaken to a knock knock at your front door.

I said that I was falling.
But I have not built enough callous on my heels from our walks to the hot tub in Spring's early light.

I want you to feel this scar
you failed to talk me out of inflicting.
What it's like to feel guilty.
What it's like to feel its tickling weight.

I don't want your callous.
I want to feel
my feet on the ground of an earth that's round
and realistic.
But most of all, I want to thank you for showing me that I still got this.
That I still have words, even if
I don't have you.

But what I wanted to say
most is
Jun 2013 · 900
Hurricane Ike
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
“What of ‘The Bullet’?”
I ask my mother,
“is it underwater
falling apart,
wood unhinged nail by nail?”

It rots underwater,
more terrified than I of the crashing waves upon the boardwalk.
Jun 2013 · 534
Elegy for patient justice
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
For America
For Bin Laden
and for Jonathan C. Franco...you’re welcome.*

"As ye deal with my contemners,
so with you my grace shall
Deal;
Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”
-Genesis 3:15

Thro’ the perilous fight
How we forget flesh and bone
that rot in history’s unmarked grave
in oceans white with foam.

A woman weeps over his body
so undeserving of the dead.
But evil is not snuffed out
by a bullet to the head.

An eye for an eye is blind
Oh say can you see?
As He died to make men holy,
let us die to make men free.

May God bless America.
Justice has been done.
Glory, glory hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
Jun 2013 · 747
Daily exercises
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
My grandmother sits.
She stares out at nothing
the way she did on the day my grandpa died.
She is the widow.
Old.
Watching
the clock.
the bird feeder.
the nothing.

I visit her.
I stare out at nothing
not wanting to sleep in the same bed my grandpa died.
I am the granddaughter.
Young.
Watching
the clock.
the tv.
the nothing.

She makes my bed on the couch by a night light.

I am not afraid of the ghosts.
I am afraid of the silence.
I am afraid of the nothing.
Jun 2013 · 1.0k
Cremation
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
In my lifetime,
I’ve loved so many pages.

But I love this page.

I love this page with my whole heart
--the way the pen moves as it pumps blood to my fingers--
how the ink stains this once blank page.
--how with one staple,
my summer becomes an insert,
an attachment
that can be ripped out and forgotten

Maybe even
burned.
Like any one of the stained pages from my **** stain of a year.
Rip.
           Flick.
                       Ashes.
It can be gone.
I’m ready.
                       Let it burn.
Jun 2013 · 389
The horror of fools
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
I left the glass you drank out of
right where you set it down.
I don't want to touch it
it reminds me that you were here,
in my bed,
in this intimate place.

So when
you don't call,
or I haven't seen you in weeks,
or I hear that you ****** somebody else,
I'll remember how you studied my blushing face
told me how cute I was,
smiling at me

as shrieking, unsuspecting teens are slaughtered in the background.
Jun 2013 · 1.4k
Voicemail
Natalie Jane Jun 2013
A single pane of glass and half-drawn shades separated me from my maker tonight.
I know I should have called sooner but it's late and I knew you’d be asleep.
I was upset because you ate all the bread and I was left with the two end pieces that are really only saved to crumble and throw at the ducks in the pond.
It’s a little past two and I was just in the kitchen making grilled cheese.

I don’t even look up when
The shouts rise and settle in the dark, foolish night.
This has become commonplace for insomniacs like us.
We bear these yawning horrors,
the exploding blunderbuss, to spare your sweet, dreaming slumber.

This can't be different from a movie scene, but I can barely hear the first gunshot
(much less the second) above the sizzle and snarl of the butter in the pan.
Between two cars, I watch the paramedic
pound the barrier between flesh and what lay beneath,
what simply refuses to answer that forceful beckoning of breath.

Lord, please just let his heart beat.

I hope that helicopters are lifting this kid on the gurney
Up into the unforgiving night that sits heavy above us all.
The scoop and swirl and tuck and twirl of the fleeting, unnoticed smoke fills the kitchen.
I’m still clutching these cold slices of cheese in my hand.
I take a few bites but seemingly misplace my appetite for ****** cooking.

I can only think of the “Horses of Achilles” by Cavafy as I let the cheese drizzle and smear over my chin and cheeks,
I think of their tears for young Patroclus.
I think of their mourning of the woebegone of humanity
In spite of their immortality.

I’m not really sure why I’m telling you all of this.
I guess I just realized that I have never really known Fear.
Never felt It pound at the barrier between flesh and fate.
Despite that beckoning of breath,
I watch the never ending calamity of death and cower behind youth’s half-drawn shades.

Oh God, it's been 20 minutes. Let his heart beat just once!
Just twice?
Just until the morning light?
Because what else is youth for if not to have and to hold,
Right?


I’ll feel foolish when you find that nothing about this message makes any real sense.
Thankfully, it's about that time for the sun to rise,
But there is a cruel fog settling between what has passed and the dawn.
It leaves a thin layer of moisture on the glistening DO NOT ENTER tape that tangles between the trees, on the grass, and on the roofs of the houses that sit heavy above us all.

But above all,
I wanted to tell you that the birds are chirping already.
So I’ll just talk to you later in the morning, maybe?
I guess my point is,
I guess what I really called to say is,

I’m glad you’re still breathing.
And,
I’m glad I am too.
But,
when the inevitable arrives and we must really know Fear,

I hope we pound against the beckoning of beat and breath,
until the paramedic announces our time of death.
I hope the immortal horses shed their tears for fleeting youth and for burnt bread,
I hope they mourn the return from Life to the great Nothing night that awakens to the chirping birds of another sunrise.

I hope it didn’t wake you.
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
This life is not a Disney movie.
The beast will never turn into a charming prince.
This is not a romance movie (you know I despise them so).
There are no grand gestures of love,
of running through the gates of the airport
or flying through the doors of the church at that perfect
movie moment.

The plane always takes off.
The bride is kissed,
prepared for a life of playing house
and pretend.

In this life, things don't work out how they should have,
could have,
would have,
were promised to do so.

Things do not happen for a reason,
real or imagined.
If only,
if only life should have,
could have,
would have,
were to be so kind.
If only it would be so kind.

Turn it off now.
This movie is making me sick.
I can already guess what happens
in the end.
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
He is the kind of guy that makes you go crazy.
Like a glimpse through the looking glass into a strangle world
with a Chesire Cat.
You might even question if he slipped something into your drink.

If only you had that effect on someone.
You spray your perfume on his clothes so that maybe,
oh maybe
he'll think of you next time he's taking off his shirt.

But when you wake up from the hangover,
the *******,
the euphoria,
he is just a man.
And maybe,
(is it that you weren't pretty enough?)
(could you have done something differently?)
you were too good for him anyway.
Apr 2011 · 319
Untitled
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
When I see the fog, I think of your brother
on the overpass, car flipped over,
cigarette still burning in his left hand.

Remember when we laid in your bed that morning?
You were asleep on my chest.
I cried.
You asked me what was wrong.
I said I just wanted to take away the pain.
Apr 2011 · 1.0k
Red Rover, Red Rover
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
I am dreaming of time,
of simplicity and nursery rhymes.
Time is my storybook
like Peter Pan or Cinderella,
where innocence lives forever
and love and life are of happily ever after.

I talk to time,
a story not long too tell.
It sits at my bedside and holds my hand,
not as a lover,
but as a parent helping me cross the street to play on the monkey bars.
Time holds my hand like a playmate,
like a friend in Red Rover.
We are the children,
asking time to come over.
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
God is the stuffed animal that sits on my bed.
He does nothing,
says nothing.
If a man broke into my house, he wouldn't protect me.
He would do nothing,
say nothing,
watching all the while,
fluffy and silent.
Apr 2011 · 653
Madeleine
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
Madeleine,
you are just a child.
You don't know your father's first name or your mother's sins.
You know the flowers and the syrup on your pancakes.
I see bliss in your brown eyes that blossom in the Springtime.
They should name a flower after you,
after your purple dress,
Madeleine.

You're so scared of the dark,
of all the things that don't exist in your closet.
Your shoes your dolls your fear.
You climb out of your bed and seek comfort in your parents' arms.
Your tiptoe doesn't even echo in the hallway.
Will their door be locked?

Knock knock.
Apr 2011 · 620
The Visitation
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
I think of my grandma,
almost ninety-five,
watching the news in her house alone.
It's silly
to hope that another man might sweep Viola off her feet
like Clarence did when she was just eighteen.
When he died, she stayed
praying her rosary so that it might rain down on her flowers
and her garden that she tended to her entire life,
just like her children, and their children, and their children.

I visit her,
hoping she might live for another twenty years,
praying that life will go on, and if that fails,
that it might be buried
with flowers;
That it might rain.
Apr 2011 · 622
The Bullet
Natalie Jane Apr 2011
We rode the bullet,
the sun and wind in our faces,
the Saturday afternoon
chasing behind us.
Strapped in for the ride,
my face in your shoulder,
it felt like only two seconds
before the thrill was over.

We watched together as it brought us up high,
overlooking the gulf
and the boats sailing by.
Murky water below us,
asking us to take a swim,
or maybe just long enough to dip our toes in.

And I didn't plan to talk about love
or the future
or marriage
or the kids we will never have.
I want to hold you at the boardwalk in Kemah
for the last moments of the bullet,
the second they take our picture.
Laughing.
*Terrified.

— The End —