And after all is said and done
It’s okay that things didn’t work out
I see now what I couldn’t see then
And with that I am free
Free to be
And it is beautiful
Because everything will be okay
My sister's shirt lifts up
A five year old belly as testimony
The melting pot
Stuck between your lips
Brown is too in the middle to die
Pianos bought and sold
Played in silence
Black keys, white keys hold.
Brown wood, Brown hands
A home for earthworms
Skin cut with blue
Blue nightlights show me you
Brown, angry, laughing
Little to do
I tell you I study photosynthesis when I am weak,
in wildflowers, sea slugs, unpronounceable algae,
oh, how beautiful life must be to live with
no need for everyone else but still sustain yourself,
& here I am, decades old, rambling to you
who refuses to care for me, who I want to be,
are you listening, I envy robots, how they can process anything
without crying, feed them your worst sadness,
they won’t grieve, & don’t you want that, to live
a life without ache, or is the ache what makes us
not human but faithful, because we must believe
the ache breaks us for good reason, do you hear me, or else
there is no point in living, or there is a point,
but the point is sharp & ungodly, do you hear me,
Beth threw the flowers on the grave in the rain that sang like needles on her skin and she did not feel a thing
rewind and it was a date, a stupid date, and Mark was here now, below, like a dimmed light angel that she lost
New York was where people reinvented themselves, and Beths guess was Mark had not always been a stockbroker
dinner, talk, laughs and smiles, walking along a street, and then the circuit cut in a dark piece of urban grave
this...thing....emerged from a sallow indent and confronted them, pointing a knife at Beth, and she stepped back
give me your money bitch, this animal said in a snarl that formed words, and Mark had simply said to this attacker, in his tailored suit, and tailored shoes
you want to dance?, pulling a blade, and holding the knife down like in the movies Beth had seen and
Mark, lovely Mark waved the knife back and forth like someone practiced, my God Beth had thought
the attacker grinned and came at Mark in a sweep with his knife, and Mark stepped back but not fast enough
and like a razor the knife sliced his shirt open, and a deep red bloomed on the cotton and Mark looked down in shock
before with an upward sweep Mark had swept back and caught the throat of this thing that attacked them
before falling to the concrete, saying to Beth im sorry, while the freak out of the dark died choking
and Beth had asked Marks Mom, many times, where he had learnt to fight with a knife, at the funeral, and other times
but Marks mom would just look confused at the question, so Beth gave up eventually and tried to move on
though his grave called on Valentines Day, because the man had saved her life.
I know what I am
until they don’t, and
the dessicate thing
can only clasp the bark
Wind separates the stem;
leaf falls to earth atop
a dozen more.
A hundred will follow
on every block
in every forest
and will again next year
from the same dimple on
where no one sees.
beautiful and vital
will ever touch your palm.
A thing is but
How it is received.
Composure can quell
The whole world’s fire.
Take care of how
You are perceived.
To be calm is not
To be a liar.
This man used to control two draught horses walking behind a plough, one in each arm in a summer drought
This man fought like hell and cried at the drop of a hat the same, could sing like an Irish angel, and dance like the devil
This man asked me to roll smokes for him when i was a kid, and got his quarter, such as it was
This man was so small in the coffin, and when we carried him, he was so light, and i couldnt touch him,he was beyond what i knew
This man, i loved this man, my grandfather, he was a man and perhaps that is enough.
There are things, most things worth learning, that you have to figure out for yourself. I've learned, maybe it takes a village - but if you're not living your life for who you really are, there is no point in anyone having any part of you at all.
People pulled me aside. You look like you're on speed. I ate bowls of ice cream, cake, you get it, to appease them. But inside, I was losing important neuron connections. It wasn't just about appearance anymore. Cortisol pumped through me, which I later learned changes your brain. I couldn't, and wouldn't take their advice. I had to be pure.
And I still suffer for it.
My brain on good days is still wired badly. I have spent a decade putting the pieces back together. You must understand that rehab, constant, grueling rehab, takes away a part of yourself you had taken for granted; you lose touch with definitions that you had previously used freely. Definitions of being.
If you're reading this far, please understand that hating yourself changes you. Not just psychologically - chemically. Even if you're not really taking speed.
I look at fashion models now and know the value of a good slice of cake.
Know that your body is whole as it is.
This is the last time she said, as we parked by shadowed trees in night by brick cemetery wall
and why does it have to be the last time, when i would walk barefoot on icy tundra for you
or walk hot coals the same and oh this is a gift she says, then lets go and over wall so easy in the dark
and looming marble angels over graves, with urns holding dead flowers then this one she says
and we are together like so many lovers here in the place of the dead for this last time she says
and i would have followed her anywhere, even here.
I will not deny it - I knew it was love when she finished her fries, licked her fingers, and said, “My safe word is Miracle Whip - are you getting the check, or am I?”
Twenty years later, we snuggle and laugh as the outtakes of Melissa McCarthy and her husband roll during the credits of “Bridesmaids.” I’m not saying I’m into food sex all that much, but when I say, “Make me a sandwhich, please.” my wife sternly, gleefully, takes my hand - and she leads me to the bedroom, not the kitchen.