although open to the possibility
on those days when the placid salty waters,
call me to explore beneath
the warm emerald blankets,
coaxing my faith in you. It’s there
and I’m glad you’re with me
discovering what lies beneath
the sun sets its honey hues across the horizon
as it drips over the earth’s greens and blues
a few ripples splash against our boat
barely noticeable. The world seems kind-
But then, if I’m honest
there are those fitful days,
the angry seas and selfish wind contend
and everything evil surrounds us
pushing at our ship, drowning in watery doubt
and there isn’t room for both of us
on this untrustworthy vessel
tossed violently between each sullen wave
holding on for dear life, hoping–
I’m inclined to wonder who will escape,
you or me; it can’t be both.
The terrifying truth is I’m ok if it’s not me
as certain I am
you are not worth that
you said you were leaving
but you persist
a ghost offering nothing
only the haunting proof you once were
here but no longer wanted me
tonight I sat down to eat a meal alone
and I found numbers and names
etched in the cheap maple table
a translucent glare in the wood
I had to focus a long time to see
your hard lines and erratic curves
I lightly traced each indent
a’s and j’s
and 7’s and 5’s
barely there under my pale fingertip
I pushed down hard to feel the movement of you
carefully searching for each groove
as questions pressed into my mind
why couldn’t I engrave myself into you
as easily as you etched yourself into my table
but here you are
outlined throughout my home
you said you were taking everything
but you left your soul behind
dreaming in color
wide purple days
silver skies cover
our jaded mistakes
all is good here
only one blue
calling my sun tanned toes
sunk in white sand
watch the waves rolling in
only to sweep the lies
back to the salty sea again
cover the silent tides
between you and me
within my humble body
remnants of heart ink
leaving bright red dye
something once solid
bloody liquid confusion
and watered down words
I need to speak
but can only weep
the water and blood
sweat and tears
broken life and limbs
trying to carry her
as anger scrapes through my body
I left my heart on Cottonwood Creek
the pieces you left with me anyway
I buried them under several feet of snow
by the side of the bank
where the water gently flows
giving over and letting go
to the growing rifts in the placid ice
I left all of it there in the reverent wild
knowing under all of those cold layers
the land would love me better
holding me through the winter night
carrying me along every adventure
never leaving anything behind
and maybe with it gone
I wont feel as broken and wrong
hopefully in the spring
the land will beckon me back
to the place my heart was swept away
and you will have defrosted from my soul
in the runoff.
What can you do
with a broken heart?
Walk through a blizzard.
I’m not kidding. Get up
bundle in your best snow clothes
and walk and walk,
And take your dog if you can.
Something about the snow
makes them bound and leap
It’s so contagious in this event
you can’t help but smile,
if even just for a moment.
Walk until the cold reaches your lungs,
filling every last chasm
where you hid the words
you wanted to say to that bastard
or should have said,
because you weren’t given the chance.
Let the icy air break those words free
from hiding and float through the frosted wind.
Trudge and push forward.
With every heavy step
frigid bursts slap at your skin
and clear your soul.
Eventually you will feel bold for such an act.
Let yourself sweat away the layers
of unhappiness you carry
from the years of effort when you
pushed through the cover of the heavy earth
Then, when you return home,
appreciate the warmth of the walls that embrace you and hold you.
The rooms won’t feel quite so empty,
they will welcome you and wrap you up.
And it is difficult
with such a warm welcome,
not to feel gratitude for both the
storm and hearth
and whatever else fell between.
Because you walked through the storm.
I was your addiction,
which left me feeling whole.
The center of your universe,
you– my places unexplored.
We drove each other crazy,
but kept each other sane;
all the while, a steady warning
pushing through me ‘gain and again;
Never love an addict
the thought droned on and on,
Your subconscious lyrics humming
the black notes of my song,
so while I listened, I didn’t hear;
too many reasons to feel alive
You covered all my insecurity,
while my soul gave way and died
You’re my beautiful girl
Those blue heroine words
shooting through my long gone ego
pushing all intelligence aside
until that suffocating muggy day
his evaporated truth slapped me hard
with the force of Ruth Brown’s Blues,
that time she belted out, So Long
your the world to me ya know,
you’ve been mine for oh so long
In verse–each note crystalline,
as I watched you fade and slip away
Christmas tunes float over
and through the little house
the smell of buttery Chex mix
rises from the dirty stove;
every child playing with some
techy mouse, or stealing
another cookie from the shelf.
I look around and see
all of the ones I love
near me and with me,
except for you…
Your ghostly presence,
a choice, I have to say,
I never saw coming.
It struck me like the bells in
a Bing Crosby Christmas song
or the second ghost in
Dickens’s Christmas Carol.
I really thought in my
delusional holiday optimism
you would always be here.
Surely you understand
I can never allow myself
to feel this way, ever again.
So in case you were wondering
about the present I chose
to give myself at the end
of this miserable year:
A little dose of self respect,
and to be present
with those who are here.
she braided the word
into her severed heart
long before he left,
knowing full well
his watery presence
would never evaporate
from her existence;
somehow it would always
leak into everything she did.
The weight of knowing
she must carry him around,
like that, for the rest of her life
trying not to splash his memory
all over her murky thoughts,
but walk with it cautiously
in her boxed up soul;
the heaviness that burden
put on her bones nearly
cleared the liquid muddle
of her made-up mind.
My land wilted and mourned
in the eclipse of the December sun.
Bones scattered about, where
most parts and pieces died
as all things do,
And though the morning continued,
the rains eventually fell
washing away those acrid memories,
soothing the callused hard ground,
seeping through the angry cracks–
I listened as the lingering mist
tangled around my barren heart
and the dry palate of my soul
drank with a violent thirst.
And as all things do,
new life set its roots.
I listened to the silent groans
slipping through the muddy night
unnoticed and blight
as the bitterroot bloomed
there, on the harsh dessert floor;
the bright pink flower settled
in this unforgiving land.
with sour stems and poisoned marrow
the flush rose buds unfolded
their brilliant hues.