Thursday, May 8, 2014


"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?" she asked.

Plenty, I thought.

But all the excuses and explanations, the reasons and realities, remained caged in the fists clenched at my sides rather than offered up in the palms of my hands like the pearls they were.

She raised an impatient eyebrow.

Just because I find it hard to express myself doesn't mean I have nothing to say!

How I longed to speak those words, to shout, to scream them at her... but, alas, the breath I needed to push them out would not come. I could not decide which had betrayed me, my mouth or my lungs.

"Nothing." I said.

Everything, I thought.

The words were stuck like popcorn kernels in my teeth that stayed put no matter how hard I dug at them with my tongue.

I watched hers flick across her lips, heard the sigh, waited for the eye roll I knew would come.

"You never cease to amaze me." she said.

Right back at you, I thought.  I found her amazing, how she could use words to say their exact opposite. Where had THAT gene wandered off to, I wondered. She wielded words like scalpels in the hands of a surgeon. I dropped them like the broken toys of a clumsy child.

She left the room and I pulled the emptiness tight around me. I pretended that I had bound the words within myself, that I had prevented them from escaping because I knew they would bring certain ruin. But it was a lie. Those words would have been my salvation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I wrote this a long, long, long time ago. I eventually included it in a journal for my high school poetry teacher. Her comment was: "This entry is special! Publish it - somewhere!" So, here we go:

One day,
the first day of school to be precise,
while I was stalling,
trying to drown my Cheerios,
my mother (trying to give me courage I guess)
said: "Just remember, sticks and stones can break your bones,
but words can never hurt you."
I didn't understand,
so stayed confused and scared,
but I took her hand and let her walk me to the bus stop.
It was my first time being on a bus,
and it was so big,
but seeing the support in my mother's eyes
I let myself be swallowed by the yellow machine
with the big sideways mouth.
As I did over and over and over,
the days running together into months.
After a while I thought I understood my mother's words
and even used them
to the kids' amazement.
And they started using them,
to my amazement.
I thought about how smart my mother must be,
and how she must know everything,
just like the kids seemed to think I did.
So I started believing in her words,
But it's hard to keep up the illusion
of knowing everything 
when you're learning things for the first time
just like everyone else.
I mean, you can only say: "Oh, I knew that."
so many times before kids become tired of it
and angry at you.
So after a few more years
of being swallowed, shipped and deposited
I began to play with my Cheerios again,
and to dread the big yellow bus
For the kids had learned to USE words
and had turned teasing into an art form.
Disappointed, I realized that my mother didn't know everything.
And I vowed to tell my children,
when they were staring into their cereal bowls,
to beware, because...
Sticks and stones may break your bones,
but well thrown words can kill you.

The Leap

There is always the possibility
that you were just pretending
when we sat talking over a beer.
It keeps getting harder to deny
that I would let you decide what's real
and that I would accept anything you tell me.
But you can't hide the truth
that your body is something I understand
and your heart something that I know better 
than you yourself.
You were the one who taught me that jumping is easy,
and I showed you that falling is fun.
I am living proof that you can survive a broken heart,
and I'm willing to try again,
so why don't we give this a chance?
I'll hold out my hand,
and all you have to do is...

Circles within circles within.

Why is it that life's journey always seems to run in circles?
And in my life they always seem to circle back to you...
Why is that, do you think?
You did say once that you would always be there,
that you weren't going anywhere.
Why is it that neither of us really seem able
to go anywhere, or at least nowhere too far from the other.
But I digress, for the point 
is that we always return to each other -
to do the same things, to say the same things,
occasionally going but one step further than before.
Can this be mere coincidence - 
this slow march towards a point unseen
where maybe these spiraling circles will come to an end
and we will be able to move forward together?
I know not,
for this is a question for philosophers,
for those with greater insight than mine.
For every time I think I've got my life's path figured out,
here I am again.
And there you are again.
And although I feel these happenings hold great meaning,
it could all still be wishful thinking on my part.
And yet I do know
with a great certainty
that it will all come 'round again.
This time, though, I foresee a great wait.
Perhaps longer than all those before,
mayhap one without end.
And yet there was a time when I thought to never reach this point,
a time when the pattern of our lives 
was not as clear to me,
'though long do we have 'till we can see the whole of it.
Does the pattern end? Come to some eventual fulfillment?
Or is it that we merely have this great inexplicable need for each other,
and thus we force the paths of our lives to fall into synch?
Again I say that I am no studied philosopher,
able to suss out the answers.
I do seem to be quite good at asking questions,
some more well-placed than others.
And this wait that I speak of - 
is it because as our steps become bigger,
the path traveled must become longer?
Or could it be what I dread most:
that as we each tread in our own circles and follow our own paths,
our need for each other becomes less,
and thus the circles I deem are forever intwined 
are instead moving out and away from each other?
And instead of reaching a confluence,
there comes a time where our paths
can not or will not cross again?
On nights like this I pray whole-heartedly
that this is not the truth.
For my need for you is still great,
even as yours may be lessening.
And my life does seem to come ever spiraling back to you,
whether or not we consciously make it so,
and whether or not we like it
seem to have naught to do with it.
And as for those who may walk along with us for a time,
only to be left by the wayside,
I can only say this:
that I try to walk down each path as it presents itself,
and that I try, to the best of my reckoning, 
to stick to the right one.
For what else can any of us do?
Robert Frost, a far better philosopher than I,
advises us to: 
"... take the one less traveled by...",
and yet he has nothing to say about
what's to be done when it leads you back to where you started.
And as I come full circle in these thoughts,
come back to where I started,
I guess it can all be summed up with an innocent statement
that I made, and that you gave new meaning to:
You can never know what's going to happen.


I know that you heard what I said.
I can tell by the tilt of your head
and the twitch of an eyebrow.
I know you understood what I meant
when I said even though we're a team,
it's your decision this time.
I know you didn't believe me
as I glanced at you over my tea
and said: "I can stand on my own."
I know I'm not getting through 
with these things that I'm saying to you
'cause that look is still in your eye.
So all I can do is shrug,
stand up to give you a hug
and comfort myself with the thought:
well hell, I gave it a try.


Came from nowhere - 
the sun in my face.
The streets came alive
with the burning,
my yearning
for the places I've been.
I ride my own waves out - 
it seemed like a good idea at the time,
to leave it all behind.
Tried so hard
to justify my jilted pride.
Tried so hard to understand
why nothing's scared anymore.
I lived with your bad behavior,
swallowed down your twisted lies
and this is where it brought me -
standing on this street corner,
living, breathing, burning,
tired of the run.
I'm somewhere in my own world now.
So, maybe it's time
to peel you from my skin
and shed my clinging guilt.
And maybe it's time
to live my life today.
Maybe it's time
you looked me in the face
so your eyes can be blinded by the sun.

Prison of Perception

How incomprehensible it is that I'm here right now.
You're here... but you're one of them.
One of those people.
One of those people with a perfect face and an I'm-made-to-pleasure-you body,
and an endless vocabulary of laughable quips.
One of those people who can enter a room and get noticed without effort, 
who can belong without trying.
At the same time you seem to meet new people,
and yet to already know everyone.
But tonight, you're here with me... 
one of those other people.
I'm the person in the corner,
quietly sipping my boring drink
as my head bounces to the music.
My face is far from perfect, my body has pleasured few,
and my quips are slightly amusing... sometimes.
I meet new people when I'm lucky, and usually through someone like you.
Someone with the perfect haircut,
an adorable (disarming) smile,
and the right pheromones.
I watch you move through the crowd like you move through life,
people making room for you. 
Stopping only if, when and where you please. 
Making conversation. Doing whatever you want.
Glancing at the person in the corner and giving them the thrill of the month.
Thanks for giving me my thrill,
thanks for letting me watch from this corner of my life.
Thanks for showing me what I could have, what I could be doing...
how bad my timing is, how awkwardly I handle situations.
Thanks for letting me taste the freedom I still long for, and yet
am terrified by.
For it seems that in my case,
complete freedom seems to come with a certain loneliness.
As much as I yearn to walk along side you through your world,
I know it would mean losing mine,
it would mean leaving behind something comfortable,
and I like being comfortable.
We all do, right?
Or is it just scared little corner people like me?
You seem to do just fine. 
Or, maybe that's why we're here together tonight.
Maybe that's why people like you glance at people like me
safe and snug in our corners.
Maybe you crave what I have. How ironic would that be...
if the prison I long to escape seems the exit out of yours.
Maybe we could save each other...
Here, take my hand...
I'll come out of my corner if
you come out of yours.
Together, we'll have the best of both worlds.