burdens of a long-standing crush

i have heard this tale before:
the fantasy is more piquant,
it’s better to be tempted and resist
than to be disappointed and lose.
i am resilient in this resistance.

i can forget about you when you’re not there.
i can put the hands, the smile, the consequences
behind me most of the week, the time, the weak.
but i think about a night like tonight.
i could be less fucking clumsy but too late.

i got stuck in your car, and you laughed,
“looks like you’re not leaving at all.”
and i wished it was true, i couldn’t believe
fishing hook caught onto the seatbelt.
it was like you caught me, the fish.
the bird, the wolf, whoever i am.

i wished your hands were even closer
when i looked down on them, i was hot,
you don’t ever seem to know this,
but it’s my best kept secret, most of the
time i can keep it under control, the wanting.

but tonight i can’t deny i denied a fox,
i wanted to play a game, to flirt boldly,
but my smaller hands don’t work as well
whenever i’m caught in moments like this
and i’m hiding smiles behind your back…
and it was the first time, after you freed me,
that i was both guilty and appreciative.

and for a moment, i wished something was real,
i wished that somehow you knew the truth.
but the better part of me knew i wouldn’t say it.
being brave in the past has costed me,
it’s like jumping and diving at the last second,
and hoping it turns out for the best even if it won’t.

i know there are people who think i am a person
who could have anyone i wanted to, but it’s just
not true, it never has been, i never defined beauty,
i am the champion of making the first move,
and it never happens the other way around,
i take what i want when i want to, but you are
the slow ache i haven’t had in a long time,
just like i haven’t had anybody in a longer time.

so i will have to wait. for you to speak,
for you to touch me, for you to ask me.
i am compelled to wait because this is
a spell that i don’t want to undo or ruin,
a fantasy that i am too afraid to lose.

i don’t know the real you and i don’t know
what you really think about me, and you
always joke that it’s me and the other guy, and
i don’t know if you’re looking close enough,
and i don’t ever talk about it, it would be
a plea to my naiveté, guilty, as always,
a plea to seduction, guilty as always.

it doesn’t matter, at night i will lie in bed
and think about you, maybe you’re
teaching me how to fish or hunt,
and maybe in imagination there is
not a sign of repercussions or heartbreak,
you remain, as always, the man of my dreams.


lone sun

this is the lonely.
i have a small list of people,
and distance binds with silence.
i couldn’t fear death, couldn’t attempt it.
so i chose to be compelled by it,
i chose to live by some unknown timeline,
to be who i want to for no one else,
for no shining, enlightening thought.
happiness is self-defined, not chosen,
i had to change my point of view,
i had to reexamine the roots of my rage,
return to traumatic pasts that i wouldn’t talk about,
remember people who said they’d be there but weren’t.
think it all horribly through and what i could do with it,
what i could prove with all this self-doubt,
tell the other one in your head to fuck off,
tell the other one in your head that
“you’ve always been good enough,
you may be a spectacle, but you
could be a surprise.”

and what do i know about it?
i’ve always believed i could be quiet,
but i don’t want to anymore,
and i’ve always believed i couldn’t do it,
lead a life where i can taste it, where it’s shiny and real,
the life i’ve always dreamed of, and i will make my name
matter, because who said i couldn’t do it?
me? oh why did i ever listen to her at all?

but this bravery shows up incomplete.
it’s the way the older man at the bar
told me about his cars, his own business,
and i thought i can’t stand this but i told him
he wasn’t bothering me anyways, because
it was nice to talk to someone, even condescendingly,
this is the lonely, don’t forget, it’s not always pretty,
i’m not always afraid to be a little desperate,
to want something for a night even if it’s meaningless.
and it felt so much better to walk away
and leave a man knowing he couldn’t get to me,
and i know i’m bitter, that it’s not always rational,
but it’s part of who i am, i can be arrogant of love,
i can be needy and push people away at the same time,
i can be really good at pretending he doesn’t come up,
but accept when he does because first loves always hurt
…even when no one said a single damn thing about it.
but sometimes it’s just the lonely speaking loudly,
it’s thinking that something is better than nothing,
and not being touched sincerely by a man or a woman
for a long time can be secretly stinging, unloved
can make me think twice about that old voice.

i’m tired of this baggage on my shoulders,
and how i am going through this journey alone,
even when alone is my best understanding,
this winter chills and i miss having some warmth
and talking to the people i love with a phone call.
i have some fire in my belly, more gentle
than the last one, i can soar up the hills,
so quickly a feather would drop with the wind,
and i could see all these things that we care about,
and i could save myself with love for those things,
i could swoop in, cause a spectacle and be a surprise.


i see the eclipse coming around

blind bird soaring, cows cower under tree arches,
the world dimmed, filtered with darkness,
a sliver of brightness as moon meets the sun
and butterflies flying over sunflowers and corn,
cicadas in their steady hum and faraway storms,
I am like a rabbit, timid and terrified for what’s to come,
and a wolf, hardened and loyal and always craving,
or perhaps Missouri gravel roads and littered stars,
not the dread of a Great Lake, but sunnier days.

when I awake, I am alone,
when I sing in my room, I am alone.
when I walk to work, I am inside myself.
when I dream my strangeness, I am inside myself.
when I go to sleep, I am still alone,
and when I watch tv, I am usually alone.
and the sadness is greatest when I am alone,
and when the thoughts come around,
I can become a lost believer if I never
be what I thought I could be,
but sometimes, there is so much
I believe I could be, so much left to say,
and when I think this, I am inside myself,
I am alone and belief comes from within.

if I have not gone far yet, I have still gone places,
I explore the trees, I saw a dead yellow bird on the sidewalk,
I take the meanings, a coyote stood in front of my headlights
and stared me down and I did not flinch, strong is easy.
being weak isn’t, I am overwhelmed with heartache,
it’s a self responsibility, to understand the cause
and move forward, I am trying daily to adjust temper dials,
to live with less frustration and anxiousness, blindness,
maybe I stared at the sun too long, maybe I’m rushing,
but maybe there isn’t ever enough time if you forget yourself.

but life is peaches, I can make cobbler, pie, and plainness,
I can be oolong failure, I moped around for a guy on a mo-ped,
nobody wants to move or drown, and I’m trying not to expire,
when time drags like this, I’m otherly and planet-less,
I roam before a landing and haunt a living room;
if we’re not weeping with Etta, what’s the point?

promised land

i am mother’s bones, calcium,
i am seeker of profound wisdom,
i am Death’s never-child,
a face of West, of moon-married,
of luckless admiration, stayed
in the mire, boots and bloody ankles,
prosperity in the ash-garden,
choosing sides from top of the skies,
choosing ideals from an empty handbook,
i am your blisters, a closed hand,
i have already been determined,
this life, no next, plenty before,
i am Rage’s pre-storm, merciful,
guidance stems from a psycho’s examples,
but i am no example, unwritten,
i am bliss is truth, an opposite,
i know what is easy to follow
and hard to resist, to change,
i know we clamber for new beginnings,
and beat a fast drum to awaken;
i am unsolved and undeterred,
i am living legend and pain with love,
and one day, a daughter has my bones.

run back

i’m going to write you a love letter –
so read closely, put your eyes to the paper,
this is that moment in the video game
where they scream at you to level up.
i’m not screaming, but other things happen,
other things like how much my heart aches,
i think if i told you what i missed, you’d know,
but if i told you what i wanted, you’d be amazed.
i should’ve astonished you with truth,
stopped the typical circus game of emotion,
i wanted to explain it all, i thought i had a grip,
but now i just have nothing.
but i had you, didn’t i? didn’t i bite bullets just
to stay with your silence, our unintended discretion?
it started to hurt me, being wounded and unnoticed,
i am just barely a woman, but proudly too much,
it is something to stand for, but nothing to prove.
look again, i don’t have to prove it, no desire to,
what i have is what i am, but what i feel is –
something different entirely.
my voice doesn’t know how to match thoughts,
inside i am terrified, i am a shaking pistol on the loose,
maybe that’s the story, i bit the bullets i shot myself,
and i never shouted at all, i’m embodied to quiet,
but given there was time and chances to level up,
i wondered why you were so quiet too.
i’m the one who stood a volcano, hardened and
bitter, in a self-made ward, then grown to wisdom,
i am constantly burning or melting or breathing ash,
and here’s the thing, baby, i thought you were the
other volcano paired right next to me, a cosmic miracle?
are you telling me you didn’t feel that fucking spark,
how i was melting, you humming before we crash,
and yes, yes, baby, it was beautiful every single time.
i never had a love like you — i never had a love,
and now i know i should’ve told you, what it is
that means ‘love’, i wanted my skin to bleed under yours,
i wanted you to cover me in sweetness and promises,
and then i wanted you to mean them, but here i am,
and the tables turned and the water’s darker,
the sun’s setting, i’m still drinking my sorrows
tonight until i feel numb enough to not miss you,
and i turned back on my words, that handcrafted safety,
“let me love you when it’s good and run when it hurts.”
but this wrecks and i still fucking love you, so i must be
missing a clue and maybe i already lost,
baby,  i don’t think i know anything yet.
i was afraid the whole time, this is how i feel,
i was worried you already wanted to leave,
i thought you pulled away on purpose,
i think you did, i think you were afraid too.
i thought you didn’t love me, i thought
it wouldn’t be worth saying on my side.
if i’m wrong, it’s fine, it’s a letter,
it’s a god damn poem about you,
another in my list and i counted but
i’m not done yet, what’s the point?
i have an eternal regret to pang my soul,
i have no more words but i’m trying to see
the colors, i’m trying to live without you
and i feel impossibly fooled by logic,
by what was said instead of what wasn’t.
i wish i could kiss you again,
and tell you i want everything that’s possible,
because i don’t give up, because i am
proudly too much, proudly all or nothing,
and in emptiness, i am certainly screaming.


today i gave every raindrop a follow-up,
i ask myself so many questions,
so many reasons why my heart crackles,
baby, i think that i’m scared of you,
i think that you control me as i let you,
that i’m always bending over for time,
and i’m always waiting for us to open up,
you move like a hurricane, and i don’t know where to go,
you move like a hurry, and you don’t let me catch up to you,
and you think that i don’t notice you bleeding,
or see choices taken away and hard ones made,
and you think that i don’t notice you hiding,
when the conversation moves under the sleight of your hand,
and you drift along your own pleasures, through truth,
through an open heart and open mind, i can feel
you giving up and it hurts i can’t find you
when i need you, i feel too small and too big for this world,
and my guilty complexity is having high tides,
i feel in the right, but am locked in empathy,
and i’m backed up in fantasies;
i never ask for too much, but i soak up daydreams.
still, i think if i had just one night
with you, i could say all that i want to,
and you could let me in, and i wouldn’t
have to be so wary to love and your promises.

the only question i can’t answer reels in.
if love is real, would i do anything?
sometimes it falls back to the beginning,
and sometimes i love you most in the mornings,
or a future there with you in waking moments,
but other times, i feel like nothing has started,
i don’t know if i can wait and sometimes have you.
it’s the same slow torture that bloomed when i met you,
how it’s taking longer for me to be in your life,
and i wonder if you’ve been hurt, or more afraid
than you’ve let on, or if it’s just a spider’s careful nature.
but i want to be here for you, and not care
how long it might take for you to love me too,
so if it’s about the wait –
and not you pulling away to deal with it alone,
then i can wait two lifetimes and circle
around through time to call you beautiful,
i guess i could wait and sometimes have you,
but would i do anything? would i burn
two thousand cities to black ash to save you?
would i cut my own heart out and bowtie wrap it?
should i stay quiet or plead out this young love?
would you even believe me? would you
laugh and say i’m blinded? i can’t hear it,
but it’s the only thing i couldn’t do for you,
baby, i’m not sure i could ever stop loving you.

when the heat comes

baker, my bones are rotting in vacancy,
i’m cornered to the shade and subdued.
it’s hot out here, sticky and hellish,
i want to jump in, submerged and deep,
i should escape this nothingness wide empty,
this distance and game that i’ve placed
between steps of evolution, you have to crawl,
you have to hurt my knees and play harder,
but i love you and my skin is peeling,
i’m trying to shed this final layer,
i’m trying to show you how disgusting
i want to be with you, sin has our names
booked up eight times in some faraway future.
oh lovely bold one, you’ve been so silent.
i’m flying over doubt straight to truth,
and whether we have it, blossom trust,
i should open up my fucking mouth and
say what i want to, i should feel
out the fire as i go but i love
to kick the sand, chase over sticks
and make my own dreams happen
and ignore how passion could hurt me,
but i am breaking in this space,
in these days between elation only
because you wouldn’t ever bleed for me,
only because i couldn’t possibly ask you to,
even when loneliness suffocates on top,
and i want to run for my life,
run to other freedoms i haven’t found,
run to find out where it is that my
heart has been hiding, which hole’s sinking,
i can’t be a beggar, blinded by mirrors;
and i want to strip until i feel true,
and look on like you’re better than a sunset,
but it’s all in my head, i can’t seem
to get close without burning to the touch,
you never let me in, and things turn to dust,
i become ashes and time never forgotten,
i forget how to move without invisibility,
i tumble over what words make you stay.
oh baker, where is this bread that
i’ve been asked to share? at
the bottom of the oven, the heart at
the bottom of the ocean? have i
drowned it and soaked it with blood?
is love spoiled for the first time?

i don’t see a building, i see a standstill,
i see two forks in the road, and hear no answer,
and my sadness has made me selfish, dreamy,
i always thought love should be a competition,
fight someone for me, because who’s to say
he can’t give me a better love than you can?
you walk away with the torch,
you leave me untouched and i just
want to see you bleed red to make
him lose, i don’t care, feel it;
am i supposed to swallow, to sway,
to swindle at your sweet nothings,
to believe in what i hear like i am new,
like no one has ever lied to me before?
i don’t think you’ve ever crumbled,
or tasted the nightmares i caught,
so let me be the one to jump the gun,
let me because i’ll blow it up first,
i’ll give in to nature as naturally
as i imagine it to out-exist me,
this is that power, this is
as sad as it gets in the love story,
when i lose you and we lose
sight of what should matter,
and all i want us to do
is show the mishaps and beatings,
how i bled first too and i cannot
seem to speak as i mean to,
all i want us to do is live tonight.
this is a time-old tale but
i need you to try and be
something solid and sure of summer’s
mystification and improvisation,
letting me explode this to softening,
just to finally see you,
to beat like a drum of the
same breath, same kiss,
same old sane song of tendency,
of tenderly touches and time stilled,
it’s a miracle to wish some exposure,
i need you to try to be here,
to want me to bloom and spread wings,
and you have to know i am never cruel,
i’m only pained by promises of the past,
sweat stains under the warm evening rain,
i walk through this wondering where you are.