i am dancing

crashing waters

week of turbulence

i am dancing with a bad lower back

but i am dancing

after all the heartbreak, grief,

the endless hours of work,

the hung head, the doubt,

the failure, the betrayal,

the guilt and insecurities

the eating up of the insides,

after all this turmoil

so much loving

marked by loss

i am in a bar in highland park

i have friends who love me

some i know well

some i am getting to know

there is music playing

i am dancing

see this?

i am dancing.

unlocked box

i wish for so many things

but most of all

i wish to be free

if they unlocked the box

out of it

would come

me.

the only thing i ever did wrong

“The suburb is in silhouettes today,”

she begins our conversation,

“i can barely see past the flames.”

the fire, oh the fire, the fire

the lovely oaks are singed; golden crowns wreath their leafy heads

the gutters run dry but for crumbling pieces of sediment, pebbles

a picture window, inside tiny wooden chairs peeling red, dilapidated yellow

a miniature table, cracked tea cups, one-eyed doll with uncombed hair,

once a preschool, the children must have evacuated, holding hands,

running single file, some screaming, others crying, bandaged knees.

the sign on a print shop groans, unhooks its chains, drops a few feet

becomes apostrophe to the land, owning nothing, she does not bother

running, how quickly the seasons have escaped us, chasing birdsong

in the west, but dream, but dream, the ethos of the age trapped forever

an image of my father, younger than i am, his camera hangs from his neck

footprints in falling snow lead into the woods, no sound there

she’s crying now, kneeling before a gravestone, gathering lilies

watching the shimmering things in the pond, i breathe, oh breath.

we clasp hands, not bothering to look behind, barren hill, setting suns

between us, we have no sense of direction, i do not wonder if we are lost

i have never bothered to wonder how it is we came to be lost.

raising her hand to my lips, i kiss her cool palm, pressing salve to my cheek.

“the only i ever did wrong, my love.”

thinkin’ bout a revolution

begins with a many-fingered heart

slices of toast wrapped around salami

vegetable farts

armpit fluffers

headstanding infants grow on red vines

pulsating diamonds lie over picnic blankets

mirrors cry when you look at them

the key to romance:

unlock the wildness within

sink on your knees into the absurd lawn

lap up water from your shower

as if it’s your final taste of love.

fun for lunch

put your head down all day

shuffling notepads and paperclips

and work work work

don’t you want something more?

splendid sunset

carnival attractions

mysterious phantoms devilish books

whirlwinds and wingnuts

screams, giggles, hoarse with laughter

feet swept away by romance

today, bust open that office door!

grab that tasty tuna sandwich

filled with onions, carrots,

oregano, lemon, and garlic

loaded alfalfa sprouts, ripe tomatoes

eating it as if you’ve never eaten one before.

Center

There is a giant gorilla that lives in the center of the world named Sebastian, and right now he is coming between me and my peace of mind.  He’s got hairy hands.  That would seem obvious.  But in the clutch of his hands lies my whole fate, and I have mixed feelings about it.  I probably seem small to him, railing at his ankles, pounding at his big toe:  this myopic fuzzy-headed creature needing a haircut, with much smaller hands than him and a lack of patience for maps or anything that will help me know where I am or how to get to where I want to be.

Sebastian definitely came from somewhere besides the suburbs.  I know this because he looks rushed and impatient for me to make a decision about my life.  He taps his index finger against the crook of his elbow (just like me!)  He doesn’t seem interested in shopping at the mall.  He scratches his butt, and I can’t see if he has a tail.  I finally give up and start telling him the equivalent of a spoken word memoir.  I remember that this lovely woman did that in 1001 Arabian Nights, Schezerade or something like that — and since I don’t have the imagination to make up stories, I am going to tell white lies about my life — a lot of them — and I am going to tell Sebastian these stories to lull him into a sleepy state.  Then, I will escape with my fate.

I’m going to coin the term for what I am doing.  Right now.  Spoken word memoir.  Spomo!  Or, how about poem memoir?  Po-m0?  Uh, I know that’s been done… Yeah, I have this really itchy, unpleasant feeling when it comes to memoirs.  I’m afraid that if I start writing them I’ll just end up saying I have a lot of black holes in my memory.  Maybe I blocked out trauma.  Maybe it was just all too boring.   Really, I can’t remember that much.  And the things that stayed with me, do I really want to share them?  Unsurprisingly, Sebastian is starting to huff and puff and get a little cross-eyed at my delay.

A minute.

Sebastian is now eating a bamboo leaf.  Maybe I am confusing him with a panda bear, but I don’t think so.  I hope he is vegetarian; heck, I hope I grow up and become a vegetarian.  I also hope that Sebastian appreciates vampire novels and mind-numbing television.  How else is he going to chill with me and relax while I try not to think about the fact that there IS A GIANT FUCKING GORILLA NAMED SEBASTIAN THAT LIVES IN THE CENTER OF THE WORLD.

red

no such thing as writer’s block

the curtains in my room are red

yesterday it rained

they bled across the floor

flowed into my heart

no such thing as writer’s block

two rough hands glazed a clay pot

sea green swirled in pink

one bright romantic begonia left

bare branches kindling sticks

no such thing as writer’s block

red leather wallet by my ankle

stuffed full of receipts

not cash i’m afraid to admit

this writer spent everything she has

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