February 15

in this deep month of winter
when the mornings are getting bright earlier
coinciding with weighty snowfall that comes in quick feet but melts in a day
to quickly be replaced with the next

I hear the icicles falling from the eaves of my roof
from the top of my house where my desk and my cats and my plants all stay warm
enough
where my bed is pushed against one of the outside walls
(they’re all outside walls)
and we hear the ice as it shifts and breaks and falls

I remember calling those widowmakers
those, and loose boughs of old trees,
the ones the size of my torso
the ones that could pierce a body

and this cold fog is the sort of precipitation
that’s always on my list of favorites
densely rising up from the melted ice
thick enough to be parted by the wave of a hand

and the frozen water that birthed it
still wasting on the ground,
thick and wet and ready
to go back to something that can flow,
something that won’t be walked on

February’s grip on me now
is loose and fleeting in the air, little more than an itch
as it brushes my eyes with water while I walk
but its arms take hold in other ways, stronger ones
holding my feet down and soaking through my clothes

but it is never as bad as August’s stagnation
when I wait for the storms if only for the wind
I’ve never wanted any season to drag out
but winter has never made me miserable in the same way
as a heat without respite
as a stillness without chill

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superior

beaches aren’t always soft
I stepped on jagged hills,
wrapped in rust,
my sandals left back at the car
miles through a pine-ridged wood
the ground alternates between
sand so cold in shade that never saw sun
and being too hot to just walk through,
when we would sprint from one tree shadow to another
and water here is never warm
I’m ankle-deep and the stones are smooth
but it almost wouldn’t matter if they echoed the ones
that I gingerly stepped from one foot to another
lifting each limb so that my feet were parallel to the ground
setting them down so that my weight was as spread out as it could be
all the way across the strange scrubland at the edge of the risen forest,
leading down through the rocky valley to this vast, inland sea
lapping up to a land so bathed in light that it couldn’t be lonely
but where I have seen no one but me

ideas crept

passions we had crept over
when it comes to our interests
and I still miss what it was like sometimes
to feel close to you

while I adjusted some sort of sound equipment
or a structure on a vehicle
or an image on a computer
or words on a page

I think that at this point neither of us will discuss it much
with anyone
there were things I had that were mine
and there were things you had that were yours
and they crept closer and closer
until they met and they merged

into some tangled lump
years old and years past

and I never knew how much effort it would take to sort out

and there is a bike in my basement I should have gotten rid of
you’ve had my furniture for long enough that I know I won’t get it back
and there is a box somewhere buried
that still has things you wrote me in it
still has things you gave me before we hated each other

and I keep track of things so badly that I don’t even know where to find it
and I remember certain things so strongly that I don’t know if I want to
and I remember other things not at all and I worry about the gaps in my memory
and I leave myself so confused

trying to reconcile the ideas of me and of you
trying to remember how we’re not those ideas now

and we were not those ideas then

dyeing

my hands in a vat of strong tea
manipulating fabric in a yard
where the grass died in the sun
and the dust moved in

where the liquid around my hands is too murky to see through
where even my calloused feet get cut if I’m barefoot

there’s that lingering disenchantment
that appears after an infatuation

I noticed it that moment when I wanted to write something heartbreaking and true
and I looked down at the page and all I could read was
you,
you,
you

heavy water

and there’s a heavy water feeling settling in so much
it feels cold and like it started by being dropped at the crown of my head
it coats my skull and drips down my neck
fills my ears and covers my eyes
the moment that I realize
all that confidence and motivation isn’t because of me getting better
and the moment that darkness descends is like getting hit by a door
it moves its way through my whole body,
pulls me under and sends back
a wave through my ribs
so hard their imprints should be bruised onto my back
and it’s confusing to feel it and it’s embarrassing to recall
that what I was excited about wasn’t worthwhile at all
and it’s gone and I should have known
better than to be swept into that thing that takes me
a few times
every other fortnight

untitled

and you were a tree in some way
you held on to the ground and you shaded my steps
guided my way and stayed
our roots tangled
and you held true to
everything I knew about you
you built our foundations without me
and I had some kind of wide meaning
some kind of drive
that I’d lost
and I waited and tried and I remembered and cried
and you were a light and I was a moth
or a mirror
except you felt the opposite and you saw
everything about me
that I wished I could be
I still don’t know what made you like me
when I appeared one day and I was friends with your friends
and I only knew you as someone very quiet
only acting when there was purpose
and I was not someone to admire
and I remember you telling me
I had everything in me
I remember your friend telling me
that we glowed when we were near
and I can’t describe how I feel around you
it is something more than safe
more than loved
more than sad
more than complete
and I remember you
whenever life seems as bad as can be
and I remember you
and I’m more than complete

insects

when you see that thing that you call a silverfish
flash across a basement floor
into cracks, beneath carpet,
I watch you sort of shudder
examine the joints,
many and small
and quick
and compared to my wrists
my knuckles, my knees,
more delicate and graceful
somehow
their skeletons aren’t inside them
I remember you comparing me to an insect
in form
and there was an imagined shell atop my skin
and what would it be like if my teeth were not teeth
if my mouth were sharp
if my organs weren’t suspended
within the bars of the ribs
and if I were a chrysalis
would that I could eat through my insides
not like a parasite
would that I could turn this body to liquid
within a carapace of my own making
would that I could digest the past and somehow get through it
would that I could be made new by it
but they say a caterpillar does not have an idea about its metamorphosis
and I can imagine the hunger
the powerful desire
the urges that make it spin itself into darkness
what I have trouble with is the interim
does it remember?

might [not] be true for all of them

“I don’t understand why they say it.
do they not know what friends are?”

and I don’t know if I have the heart to tell her
but that might be it

and I know we’ve all gone through it

and the last one I knew still really stings
and I remember asking
every one of them
every time
at some point

and they all said yes
except for one

They all said we’d be friends

the exception said he couldn’t see me
unless he could marry me
and that I should get my things and get out of his house
if I wouldn’t

and it was around then that I learned
they only can be intimate with their lovers
they can only feel close if there is some vagueness of romance
they feel betrayed by a lack of sex
they can’t separate it from other closeness

They don’t know how to be close with friends

and for me, my friends are closer
than my lovers
and they can overlap
and I try to think about all the would-be partners,

and I tell her she’s right,

They don’t know what friends are.

compartmentalize

so many times when I thought I was losing my mind
I tried asking for help
I was told I was fine
that I was doing everything right

and I think of people who don’t talk to me any more
and I look at the times when they stopped
at decisions I made, things I said, soft and blurred and so sore
and all that is clear is the clothes that we wore
all I remember  with detail are fabrics and floors
I can’t seem to recall words or looks, steps or lures
just that dim thing that waits brightly, clean in my core

but it comes when I am complacent
it takes what makes sense and displaces it

and I know now what I need to prepare for
what I need to prepare – or protect? – for
might be me when I don’t feel that worried way
might be me when I don’t think I need help

might be me when that brightness consumes
when I don’t have the lingering sense in the back of my head
of trying to sew up a wound

dream attempts

this deep pressure at my chest
and it isn’t unworthy of me and I’m not unworthy of it
and I laid me down in a pool of sleep
and I tried to find what it was

and I found myself walking through a city I know
and I was late and I was hurriedly trying to figure out
why I left a job that I liked without telling them
and then I was home again and lamenting the lack of a bathtub
and I opened the shower door and there one was
and I needed to leave and I hate all these dreams

but what is the pressing and the pulsing and the pushing
it spreads to my limbs when I am standing still
and I miss that sense I had once
of it not being there
but I know I never felt that

and I remember learning when I was young that other people had it

and I tried