Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Wish I Were Athena

When I was made, they used little dashes of dissatisfaction and mistrust
just a smidgeon of sarcasm and dollops of anger and resentment.
They folded me together with spoons made of compassion
which melted off into the mixture, eventually cracking under the pressure.

When they ripped me apart, they found half-naked barbie dolls,
and ice cream scoops melting on the grass strewn ground,
bee stings that had inflamed my limbs and splinters
which had sunk into my skin to rest next to the bones.

Now when I create, I drip into my creations, leaving behind
spilled water glasses and drops of jealousy and half-forgotten lyrics
of summer time classics that stick in your head like burrs on
a new red felt winter coat.

When I die, I'll leave behind impressions of my head in my pillow
and an unwashed cereal bowl in the sink, and a piles of ashes in my wake.
I'll forget mornings and afternoons spent telling time by the bouncing sun.
I hope I leave tears.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When You Can't Scream You Cry

If I were a snake I would shed my skin
peeling off layers and layers to start over again
slithering to bask in the sun fresh and new
But since I'm not a snake, I'll bear my scars
that piles on top of each other like worms in a bucket
creating hopscotch patterns on my knees and arms.

For some of my friends, when you look at the underbelly
of their arms you can see the eggplant veins shining through,
translucent as an eggshell. At times I feel like that all over-
as if my insides have been hollowed out to leave behind
the fragile shell of a person, bobbing down a stream
with an ever increasing current.

If I were an ostrich, I'd hide my face in the sand,
let rivulets of tears run off into the soil and sustain
forests. Imagine grass and trees and flowers growing
in the world above my head. I would close my eyes
and relish in the self same darkness that would be present
when they opened.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcome to the Quarter Life Crisis

When I was five, my teachers taught me to use my fingers to count
and to name the colors on each part of the wheel
so that now that I'm twenty three, I can tally the number of times
I've watched my mother fall down and the colors of the bruises
that appear like a sunrise on her face.

When I was ten, I was taught of the history of our nation
to understand and memorize lines of trade and industry

so that now that I'm twenty three, I can sit outside the routes of production
and gather food-stamps and fill out unemployment notices
that pile like fallen leaves on my kitchen table.

I'm not sure when I realized that they had lied when they told me

that I could be anything, do anything; that really those
big dreams left me lying on my bed, to myself
about the limits of a sky, whose ceiling falls lower
each time the stock market drops.

When I was thirteen, I filled out my family tree and
imagined the branches that would eventually grow from me
limbs and roots that would ground me in an identity I hadn't defined as of yet;
that never seemed to grow and now has left me rootless,
watching the break down of the 50s family.

I'm holding out for what they promised me.
I'm holding nothing but a piece of paper in my hands.
I'm waiting to cross a finish line that I can't see.
I'm so tired.

Someday is a Dangerous Word

The way that you dip pretzels into chocolate
trying to cover the swirls the bumps
eventually achieving a smooth coating
that still leaves wreckage underneath

I am the proof that words can be bulldozers
and broken promises can be wrecking balls
and that sometimes what you see on the outside
is just a cherry red veneer that coats whats within

Lips stretched into a dentist office worthy grin
cheek muscles that spasm from the strain
I'd count out pennies for change if I thought
it would do any good for you or me

But honey "I don't know" is "No" and
it's taken me 23 years to learn to walk
with my head up and my eyes open and my hands
my own, past the picket fence white shuttered dreams

of what I wanted someday