(Old poem) / Write More?

I found a very rambling version of this poem while reading through my journal from February/March-ish. I think I never really edited it and put it up because I ended up stealing from it for a bunch of different poems – there were several parts that I like, which I ended up recycling into other things. So I never put up the original. But when I found it today I thought I might as well!

Also – I have been not great at writing poetry for the past few months. I just haven’t been focusing on it as much as I want to be. I was thinking of starting up the “poem every day” thing again – especially since I’m going to be a camp counselor for two weeks starting Saturday, which should give me plenty of observational material to work with, if nothing else.

*ahem* okay, here’s the poem:

he moved in beneath my eyelids 8 days ago –
i could have picked any part of me to use for this metaphor.
his residency beneath my fingernails (a weak
explanation for the lack of chewing – I am growing
him room to set up his bed frame),
a nest in the pocket of my cheek (count his parts
like watermelon seeds, taste him before i wake up).

i could explain the terms of tenancy – see the lease
in the bones of my back.
i could have said he inhabits the hourglass between breasts,
how he hesitates to touch me but doesn’t wait
to make a home out of a woman.

when do you ask an overstayed guest
to start paying rent?

Asphalt and Peaches (Old Poetry)

She let her first kiss tumble
from the windows of her father’s jeep
as the car hurtled over the tennessee line
the fissures in her face were smooth
as she watched the kiss pummeled by oncoming traffic
swept under angry semis and bearded motorcycle men

her kiss became trash, tucked away
inside a splintered McDonalds cup
wishing it were rough like teeth and asphalt
soft like peaches, dirt and throats.

Budgeting

Your voice is a therapy
the phone static crackle of bad
service-northern-woods
parts to let you pour through the
pinpoint speakers,
reminding me that the medical credit card is mounting and
$150 for 30 minutes of professional listening
might be a bit steep.

So I listen to
our faults our unfixable flaws
breathing in the antidepressants
hidden in your syntax
the southern lilt of your tone draping over
my shoulders like a shawl
forgetting that you
swipe a credit card for this while I get what can only
be called
speech therapy –
your speech is therapeutic;
I cave in on myself as you say I am
missed this is 750 mg of hydrocodone
I feel moderated
(highs too low, lows too high)
when you tell me all the times you remembered me – a
clinical overdose of cymbalta;

the caffeine plummeting
straight for an overloaded aorta
– a line of cocaine –
because self medication seems the
only alternative,
I tell you I think I might
need some Real Help this time
and you remind me
that they’ll catch up to you one day and
$150 for 30 minutes of
professional life-saving

Just isn’t in the budget this month.

Cookies in the Oven

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be my grandfather.”
We all want to be our grandparents. When we knew them, they were old, wrinkled, and smelled of sharp tobacco – whether it was forced snugly into their bottom lip or packed into a gentlemanly cigar. Their clothes were soft when we were young, and their collarbones made perfect chinrests to watch the early stages of life dwindle past us. Their eyes, hidden by sagging eyelids, searched out lies with unforgiving depth, and we’re all glad their lids were closed at the funeral. No one wants to hear the secrets that have surfaced in their absence.

You get weaker when your grandparents are gone. Parents are harsh, unfair, self-centered and demanding. They smell like leather belts and never understanding, even when we only want a nod and a smile. The rocking chairs are empty. The porch misses its inhabitants. The rooms echo. The whole damn house is for sale, and parents don’t listen when I tell them, you can’t sell Grandma’s home. This is her oven. She was going to make me cookies next weekend.

We all think we want to be young. We can run faster, jump higher, live.
And so we frolic.

We waste our sanctified seconds thinking we’re too young and too immature. But we’re only as young as our immaturity allows us to wish we were older…that is, until our reasoning starts to fray, and we decide we’ve become antique in our impatience. So when were we supposed to do all the living that we saved “until we were old enough?”

There’s too little joy to ask the bartender for another drink, or to hide in the backroom of a party that was bad to begin with.
What would Grandfather think?

You’re too big to sit on his knee, and he’s far too deep in the ground.

While we’re waiting for Grandma to finish the checkered hat she was knitting, and Grandpa to fix the fishing rod, our children have children.
And the checkered hat is yours to finish.
“Grandma, Grandma, will you make me cookies next weekend?” Down the kitchen sink with a rusted class ring and a few undelivered love letters that never would have made a difference, because the only people that could have loved each other forever are buried in separate coffins with their eyes closed – everyone can cry when nobody is watching. Your house has a For Sale sign on the curb.

He’s too tired to fix the fishing rod, and you’re far too deep in the ground.

Long Weekend As a College Boy

Day one. I’ve fit the clouds into the cracks of my fists. Compressing water vapor into solid Friday night misfortunes, the ceiling fan blows it off like sand. Sweaty palms and the neighbors bang on the door. The walls are thin. Pizza goes in the oven and an hour later the fire alarm calls a time-out. Cereal and wine stain classy glasses – college crystal. She could make anything taste like heaven.

Day two. The headboard bangs the wall a little less frequently – the neighbors shake their heads and mutter “college kids” and threatened cop calls dissolve to late night revenge. Chinese takeout is pushed under the couch in a hasty buzz of necessity – the bed goes unmade. Bathtub chats and beer with no mugs, intertwined legs say less for the future. She’s cute when she’s quiet.

Day three. The tv promises more rain: a puddle-jump to the liquor store. Another attempt at a pizza and it isn’t glued to the oven – devoured. Pizza crusts thrown at the trashcan leave a trail begging a vacuum. I’ll take a whiskey – three fingers – and the lady’ll have a vodka with lemon. She says it’ll soften the blow.

Day four. Made a pot of coffee for two. Half still untouched.

Sustainable After All

Week One I wrote about going down in flames. You said that we couldn’t go on like this, that peeling away my lies like skins that had hardened around my body was condemned and we were doomed to be finite. I wanted to feed the flame and burn you into morning – we could light up at dawn and fill the lake with our acrid smoke. I threw a middle finger to the environment and guzzled fossil fuels to keep us combusting because I figured if the space got just hot enough between us I could go nuclear with you.

Last night I started looking into renewable resources. I dug through the earth with my fingers in search of oil, waiting for it to blacken my fingertips so that I could sleep without worrying about our sustainability and I came up heavy with dirt, but out of luck. And so we flickered.

Tonight I tried not to shiver as our embers shuddered – I warmed my hands on the last of us and tried to remember what it felt like to be unlit. I had forgotten that the northern nights are cold.

Tomorrow I will dam our rivers. I will erect windmills on the plateaus of our conversation and set them spinning. I will prove to you that we don’t have to light up the late nights – you will learn to take me in like the sunrise.