i cannot let words settle,
would rather plunge my hands into the silt
and bring them to my mouth;
i like my tongue when it is *****,
the stories are easier to tell.
i only speak in mudslides,
in recklessly tumbling thought over thought
because there is so much to say about the rain
so much to say about the leak in your living room ceiling
so much that still slips through the crack.
you were of keys jangling unceremoniously in the hallway,
soft flicker of running lights reflecting nervous glances.
hands pressed against quiet spaces,
like my mother’s smile when i tell her.
fingers probing, insistent, curious,
like tendrils climbing the garden wall.
you were the soft pulse of synthesizer shower hymns,
breaking ourselves down into the strings of ancient instinct
sliding between my legs.
her lips moved as the tides
and i did not know what to do
for you to be fine;
you have her taste in music and my bad habits
and i hope you outgrow both.
this body is the imprint of an imaginary friend,
the remnants of plastic dinosaurs buried in the garden,
and i hope you find a home somewhere among them.
for my mother*
“...This morning I came, I saw, and I was conquered, as everyone would be who sees for the first time this great feat of mankind”.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt
her sides are bruised from holding back rough waters,
yet she still opens her arms to receive the floods;
my mother is stronger than the Hoover dam.
she built herself up from rubble to curl around my life,
bending and breaking herself to plug up the cracks.
the river of people thundering through my life see her as overbearing;
i see her as the guiding force pushing me towards open waters
that she could never empty herself into.
i describe my mother as a national monument;
she describes herself as a pile of rocks.
my mother wears humility like a nine-year-old raincoat
fraying at the sleeves,
because she spent the money on my brother and i instead.
i believe the softest smiles stand resolute
how do you apologize for something
as intrinsic as the mapped curves of your body,
of dips and valleys marked with double **’s
that stand straighter and taller than you ever have?
tell my mother that i take medicine to stop the tremors,
but my body is still a fault line,
still a “it’s her fault line” that cracks open every time that i walk down the street.
sometimes i think about what would have happened
if i had worn shorts under my skirt.
would an extra layer have slowed you down,
forced you to think about the territories your hands were invading
like the colonists we used to mock in history class -
other times i scrub myself with bleach when i realize i’m Turner-ing the corner.
we were told in our youth it isn’t safe to run with scissors
but i feel safer carrying blades between my teeth –
the taste of blood keeps his tongue out of my mouth.
saltwater eulogies for distant lands fester in my mouth;
the sores make it hard to talk sometimes.
for the sake of Penelope i will not weep over receding tides.
instead i kneel resolute, and lick the salt from my palms.
with barren hands i will wring handfuls of sand from my lank tresses,
and keep the fires burning.
loneliness ebbs and flows like the tide.
waves kiss the shore too exuberantly,
hurting themselves in their desperation to hold onto their grounding.
trails of white foam bleed across shifting sands,
the lingering touch of your palms against mine.
i am learning the language of driftwood -
of hermit ***** and burrowing,
in wearing the weight of empty rooms on my back.
my body is a haunted house.
i scrub myself with bleach to remove the stain of your touch -
how do i rid my house of ghosts?
the sweat has grown to mold in the heavy silence,
but there’s still a light blazing in the window.
shall i touch my lips to that torch to burn the remnants of your name from my mouth?
or simply resign to the legends and inhale the smoke?
exorcisms are hard when you fall in love with your demons.
i want to live as if i were a firework.
it is an absolute ownership of the self
to recognize that none escape life without burns,
and to charge forth recklessly.
screaming across the night sky,
fireworks cannot go unnoticed
with their gaudy colors and thick trails of smoke;
i wish to be myself as unapologetically.
brash and impatient,
i want my voice to reverberate across the masses,
whether i speak to one or a hundred thousand.
my words will echo the raucous thunder of fireworks,
in the ceaseless recognition that i am alive, that i am something;
be it nothing more than a camera flash against the smudge of time.
do we not delight in the glare and promise of a simple firework,
a chemical accident launched into being?
if a firework can be beautiful despite its brokenness,
then i too can rise from my own ashes,
cry into the void, and flourish.