Poems

All the Letters I Won’t Send


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The sky has been frozen blue today
And it reminded me
To leave my yellowing prison behind
To feel the life around me awhile

I consciously bared my skin today
It breathes in the last of November
As the seasons, in their rotation
Remind me of the life I’ve lived on paper

For the pale white orb of the sun today
Seems caught in a death grasp, but I sense
A peacefulness growing within me, as I
Think of all the letters that I won’t send

Often written in moments of passion
Some lie rotting inside me, others I sold cheaply to the void
But most of them were silent songs
And I often wonder why they came to be

So the world keeps moving, rotating every day
But for now, in this white stillness
I am grateful for all the now-lost words that I
Once dreamed up in my head
Into all the letters I won’t send

 

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Poems

Home.


I wish I could put in words
What the wind whispered to me
As I left the place I called home
Wanting to leave and yet not wanting to go
My hands balled up into tense fists
And my eyes glazing over with a film of dust
Of every missed opportunity
In the place I called home

And from the catatonic drone
Of the airplane that carried me
I decoded a special message for that journey:
The days will grow long and then short again
And your limbs will untangle after life’s wrath
Is done with you, is through with you
You’ll see that where the shore leads
Is a beautiful and special space of warmth
A place you can call home too

But it wasn’t too clear then
When all I could see were strangers on an airplane
How my sense of home could grow
From beyond being held by my mother
I was misty-eyed with pain and that lack of special hope
That washed me away from people I had once known

And it isn’t always clear now
Why the smoke of hatred and the stench of fear
Has never been enough to extinguish me
Because sometimes I see that the world has become smaller
Scarier, yes, but more loving too
Indeed, my sense of home is growing
Like the links of a chain over strange shapes and objects
Into something warm and fuzzy and familiar.

What is home, I wonder? A place where we are comfortable and safe? A place where we are content and ourselves? For me, home has also been a place where I could hide, become invisible to everything that scares me (and there is so much that does!). But this poem was triggered for me by a dinner I went to last night; a send-off to the Conference of Parties 23, where I will soon be going. In the lukewarm October air of a beautifully lit garden, I met a group of people who were open and welcoming and accepting of who I am and what I stand for in this foreign country. Listening to stories and telling a few of my own, I came home with a belly full of earthy food and a heart overwhelmed with love. The skeptic in me took a step back last night and embraced the spirituality of the people I was surrounded by. The feeling was different and new to my melancholic heart. I just felt accepted and…in one of those rare surprises that life sometimes throws at you, I was even happy. That feeling burst forth into this poem today- does it mean that my sense of home has expanded for all eternity? Probably not, but it is growing. I am forever thankful to this space that I have found on the other end of the world where I feel like I can belong and fit in and be someone worthwhile. Despite all the self-doubt, self-hatred and agony that still haunts me, the present is washing over my past, those colors etched on my heart are fading, and I am becoming more than I was. And it is a strange experience for me to not be as scared of the little things anymore- to be letting go of complaints, of accusations, of scrutiny, of hatred. A part of me is slowly embracing a sense of peace, after all these years. And to me, in certain ways, that feels like coming home.

Poems · writing

Learning to Live (Outside My Head)


It isn’t easy- my years of lazy experience
Has made me an outcast who lives inside her head
The thoughts like little mice scurrying
Through the alleyways of my skull
Project as potent, looming shadows; and thicken
Into a cloud above my eyes

All my childhood I was told
To learn to live outside my head
Look at all these men and their flashy toys,
And beg questions off the wind!
Don’t spin strange, lovelorn tales from your bed
That is just what sad little girls do

I was bitter, fighting war on two fronts
On the inside: starved for words, colors, sounds
On the outside: longing for the romance of the woods
And to discover dampened leaf patterns upon its floor
I thought I knew better than to live outside my head

Today I am still learning, wondering:
What is it like to live outside my head?
Is it worth giving up on the kaleidoscope of nightmares
Inside; to feed perhaps my ego on miles of human concrete
And drinking games, and flashy lights, and the smoke from angelic lips

Hello fellow bloggers, followers and anybody else who might chance upon this poem! How have you been? I’ve been gone for a while now! But I always return somehow. That’s the deal. Sometimes I do wonder if one of these days all the little voices dictating stories inside my head will disappear on their own and I will have nothing else to say to blank pieces of paper- or, in most cases nowadays, to the pristine white computer screen. If experience were to be my guide, I would dismiss this thought outright. But my creative wheels do stop spinning, especially when I live in the outside world. It is a challenge- a delicate balance. Would I be willing to risk my sanity for the Great Writing Cause? I wouldn’t say no to that question because a lot of great writing does come from a healthy dose of insanity. But the remaining comes from discipline.

I’ve begun to think a little bit about drafts lately. Everything you see here on this blog is a “first draft” that is produced in one sitting, barely ever corrected for grammatical or spelling errors, let alone revised for flow. That’s what makes the blogging experience so breezy for me: I don’t let my perfectionist tendencies interfere with it because I see it as something limited- a “hobby” I pursue without rhyme or reason. If I were to promise myself a little more ambition in terms of my blog (and believe me, I have tried and always failed), the little voice dictating errors will take over and paralyze me. Anyway, I just started reading a book called Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamon. It got me thinking about the potential of using the 90% weak writing that I put out into the world courtesy of this blog, to mine for the 10% of gold which I assume is hiding within it. That’s where the drafts come in.

Anne talks about short assignments and shitty first drafts that may make absolutely no sense and be so disgustingly repulsive that you might want to throw your laptop right out the window. But she sees benefit and bravery in your attempts to just sit down every day anyway, to push these shitty drafts out of you (almost like you are giving birth to them, which you are) because that’s where the good stuff is going to come from. I think if that is true, then there lies that balance between living inside your head and living outside it that is so essential for creativity.

Sure, I can lock myself up Marquez-style. It would probably drive me insane but perhaps if I am clever enough, it might get me published posthumously. Or I could simply look for a balance between pulling crazy demons out of my hat(rack) and actually polishing them until they shine in the dark and you can see them stand out, maybe even like them just a little bit. Enough to share with friends and family?

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. But hey, this might just be a shitty first draft with the potential for greatness, right?

Poems

Dichotomy


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You have burdened me, oh brain!
With the task of finding out whether
I am big or small

I am who I am
The sum total of this body is
A consciousness
Not weighty, perhaps
In determining how this world came to be
Or how far it will travel

But I am somewhat important to me
Yes, with arrogance and impudence and pride
I must put my bronzed, fading, falling skin
On the highest pedestal
Right next to the sun worshiper’s sun
To do anything less is an unworthy risk
But to do this with the lesson that-
I am not Atlas but I must choose
To be him every day-
Ah! That is indeed the real challenge

Poems

Vitriol


The lights flashed, the camera shone
Pink lips and cheeks of gold

On the edge of a reasonable shriek
My women’s parts were examined, weaved
Into a thickly plait of cheek

I was the carbon on your palm
From the bills you paid to keep me warm
Your fingers itched and blisters formed
And then there came the storm

You thought the grass was overgrown
I was the acres full of worms
Your muddied arms arched my spreading form
And left the broken roots unborn

I was pretty on my own; you thought
I needed to be thrown
I was a harpy playing traunt; you made
Me hungry for the thorns

I was the christening of the dying leaves
That rustled by the pond
I was the keeper by the creek
Guarding promises long gone

I was the sinking of your teeth into
A vial of dark vitriol
I cried my tears of acid
As night melted into dawn

Poems

My Eyes Are So Open


My eyes are so open now
I put the midnight blues to shame
And blowing in the wind I turn
Out that fiery flame

My eyes are so open now
I twist rotten lies around
Until in the books I read it seems
Are the only conflicts I found

My eyes are so open now
I can look right at the sun
And tell it to find another skin
For mine is hard to burn

My eyes are so open now
I feel emotions fly by
And I don’t question their existence
Just snap away at the ties

My eyes are so open
And yet I forget
Amidst the rising waves of dust
That twilight turns to night
I’m still whispering at the cosmos
Hoping vibrations in the dusk
Will carry through the expansive space
And make the stars twinkle bright.

Poems

Someplace New


Take me to someplace new
Where the roaring ocean mixes
White and grey within itself
And the sky is silent like the poem
I’ll write under it’s sullen gaze

Take me to someplace new
Where my tame heart can breathe out
Wild fumes of flaming smoke
And I can watch the world raise itself
To the edge of a promise

Take me to someplace new
Where cotton flower turns gently
Into the whispers of the wind
And ever so often the country breaks
Into a melody freshly churned

Take me to someplace new
Fuse darkness into something magical
Let our sorrows enchant the gods themselves
Until tears of madness rain down
And drench us we’re clean again.

A

Poems

Unfrozen


The first time I opened my eyes
And  you were standing there
I saw a mirror whisper back
A face of scarlet fear

I didn’t know that one hello
Would strike me like a sword
And strings of silvery emotions
Would stir a lovely chord

And I knew I would forget you
In the haze of buzzing life
As the world was flaming, tearing through
My stomach like a knife

The men I saw, songs I sang
Echoed on the brink of night
Like twinkling stars, the stories I heard
Just lent a little warm light

The taste of coppery blood in my mouth
And I forgot why I was stranded here
A wave of pulsating memories gone
And it was hard to shed a single tear

On the crest of a new day
I met you in a dream
There was a vague anticipation emptying from the sky
And like a winter river I froze, prepared to say goodbye

The summer sun shines down upon
This flat and long city again
And somehow as my skin turns brown
I simply stock away the pain

Poems

Create


I want to grow cities and birds
And art and music
And rumbling thunder
And tumbling boulders

I want to raise citadels on mountaintops
And topsy-turvy rattling windows
On tiny walls
Where ivy and centipedes crawl across

I want to build towers
Watch sunrises from their isolated heights
I want to make the world
Like putty for a child

I want to make something
Out of nothing
And watch possibilities yawn open

Life · Love · Poems

Spring Confessions


We crossed our lonely hearts
Pulled lilies out of graves
And tore up letters into mulch
Turned old lovers into paste

I heard your drunk confessions
On a forbidden, dark porch
With little drops of blackened vodka
To lighten our glowing wounds

I taught you coffee highs
And fought wars through our single wall
You chaperoned me up the alien road
And warded men’s glares off with your charm

Over months of warm smiles, you pulled
Me out of endless steep reveries
When the sun would shine but I was caught
In webs of my own misery

You were high, I was low
We were aliens on a bed of snow
How unwanted and scantily-clad
From the elements of that long-drawn cold!

Sometimes I still dream about
What miracles the phone can do
But then I see the glacial pace
At which we seem to drift away

Now I’m simmering on a log of wood
And the riptide drafts different calls for us
And I know sometimes chapters begin again
But this is how they must all end.

This poem was not supposed to come out right now and it’s about someone who is far from my mind at this hour. Yet, it seems to have had a slightly uplifting effect on me. It swam to the surface of my brain upon a host of memories that were hurting and so I felt grateful to one of the few people who had anchored me (and been anchored by me at the same time), for those two years. We had our ups and downs, like everyone, and yet these are some of my recollections.