it’s a sweet death

“you’re killing me here, [insert name].”
“well, you’re killing me too.”

somebody has a big mouth.
i wish i had imagined this,
but i couldn’t have.
it was too honest to be real.
even though you meant it in frustration,
i meant it with frustrating adoration.
it was bigger and simpler, a moment
of camaraderie among the consuming masses,
another game of you demanding perfection,
and i’m tired this time – i want to
lay down my guns and take a rest,
but your nights are short and weary –
keep your guns up to save you from the wreck.

i can’t be so much and so little.
you cast, you reel, you catch, and
then you let me go into hiding again.
so do you want the fish or not?

sometimes i think we’re just not prepared.
i may very well be that person that
can only offer love once in a lifetime,
maybe i’m too young to understand,
or what if i do and it’s terrifying?

you could call me in seven years,
or ten if you’d prefer, i don’t
know if i can measure time the
way i’m told or living in spite of it.

it is the utter quiet that i love as always,
the heavy weight among the silences,
if the world was burning alive and
everything was falling to pieces,
i’d want you to meet my eyes,
and hold them for an eternity
the truth becomes unspoken but known,
maybe you’d walk away, maybe not,
either way, the chaos would resume,
either way, here or later, yes or no,
you are killing me.


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.