phone a friend

I was asked to read some poetry at the local bookstore
opening for a pretty well known writer
and I responded as quick as I could to the email
because I didn’t want to lose that chance
but as the reading came closer I started to question everything I had ever written
not sure why it had even been allowed to touch paper
and leave the vacuum of brain space
it suddenly got so loud
where it had been so
the days before the reading
I started getting shorter
every part of me
my words
my reactions
my eye contact
because I wasn’t an expert
there were no citations at the bottom of my word docs
no founding for my statements or form
just some thoughts
pulled from my brain space
that vacuum
where I was the only thing I could hear
but now I was supposed to tell other people
what I heard
and it’s hard to know if any of it was worth telling

I walked in holding the pizzas you asked me to pick up
for everyone to eat before the show
and at the slightest pressure of
“how’s it goin’?”
it all fell out

I have no idea what poetry is

and you said
“if you’re lucky, it’ll always feel that way”

free stuff

you can’t own poems
you can pen them and send them
but you better let them go
being misunderstood
is no longer a fear
it’s a given
and you’ve given your words
to anyone and everyone
so that gift isn’t yours to hold
anymore you’ve put fabric in their hands
and they’ll make whatever they want
so stop yelling about curtains
as they drape it around their necks
a cape of new ideas
that you didn’t intend
but in the end
that’s not your poem anymore
so watch it blow in the wind
and know
that you might be a small piece
in their feats
but then again
maybe not

getting back up

I think the secret thing I learned about love
is that I will always piss you off
and you will always push my buttons
but again and again
I will hit the reset switch
to get the circuit back on track
because that current
when it’s running
is the best thing I’ve ever felt
and maybe we overpowered the system for a minute
maybe we tried to run the blender
and the toaster
and our careers
and our insecurities
all at the same time
and we blew the breaker

so we sat in the dark for a bit
feeling around for the glass we dropped
trying not to cut each other
on the words we said
but it’s just glass
it’s just skin
so we just stood up
and walked to the box
leaving cuts on our feet
and blood on the floor
to flip the breaker

the blood wipes up
and the cuts heal in time
but I don’t know what I’d do
if I hadn’t found you again
somewhere in the dark
if the glass had been enough to stop us
from getting up again

it’s just glass
it’s just skin

let me in

staying alive is a full time job
because being an adult isn’t what we thought
all of the glamour you imagined as a kid
has revealed itself
to be the sheen
off dirty dishes
building in the sink
between preparing food and cleaning up after it
we’re lucky to find time to sleep enough
to get us to our paycheck payer
on time and in line
and if we’re really, really lucky
we’ve found some people along the way
who accept our half-cleaned kitchen
and half-slept brains
who love our half-formed hearts

so when you casually tell the world
you can’t stay alive anymore
I want to come clean your kitchen
or wash your sheets
cause I really hope that’s what you meant
I can push aside my grocery run
push back my bedtime
every time
to make your life more livable
ask me for anything
to fill that soul gap
and I’ll ask off work to go searching
for a bridge
so you can cross that void
and come back to me

it’s weird how love and vampires can follow the same rules sometimes
I mean
I can show off my heart in the sun
it’s not confined to the night sky
but for me to love you
really love you
you have to invite me in
I can’t keep waiting on your porch
I’m getting cold
and hungry
and at some point
a heart can’t feed a stomach
and this war of attrition is going to end
in me saving myself
instead of saving you

I spend so many hours I should be sleeping
that you’re sleeping
and not only do you not know that
I know you won’t believe me
all I can do is tell you this
my truth
because I can’t save you
and I can’t love you
until you let me

turning 28 with a bottle of wine in utah

who used to live in the collapsed cities
beneath mexican mountain?
some folks say
the garden of eden was in massachusetts
so I can see the nephilim settling down in central Utah
where else would the bastards of angels and men find suitable?
the outcasts too great for man
but too man for greatness

no where holy enough on earth to house these half bloods
aside from the red and yellow striped monoliths
that reign over the san rafael river

so they built their cities from the rocks that fell
from that space between
and heaven
the kayenta and wingate
that fell from grace
or by grace
the nephilim couldn’t tell the difference
a life stuck between worlds
always felt like falling and flying

they took the halved and broken stones
and built homes
and sacred places
for worshiping the mountain
the one that sits between
and heaven

just like them

standing strong
needing neither
to be complete

officiating a wedding

tell me of one thing on this planet
that doesn’t need another
to thrive
and I did not say survive
mind you
I mean flourish
tell me what stands alone
that is greater
than the sum of our parts
our hearts
added together
we have become more than we knew
we could ever be
a number so high
we didn’t know it existed
we fell in love

marriage (definition): a combination or mixture of two elements
element (definition): a part or aspect of something that is essential
essential (definition): something that is absolutely necessary
a marriage is a mixture of two things that are essential
two parts
of two wholes
that when combined
form something else altogether
something elemental
something essential
the marriage of hydrogen and oxygen
is the only reason you and I are standing here today
so when I look at these two
full of marriages already
hydrogen and oxygen
flesh and blood
hope and joy
it only makes sense
for me to join them
in one more

F = G*((m sub 1*m sub 2)/r^2)

I have a bachelors degree in arts management
and maybe you have a masters in archaeology
or maybe someone has a Ph.D in linguistics
we go to school
because we do not come into this world
kicking and screaming
knowing the phonemes
and the morphemes
that we are crying out
that’s why we get a Ph.D
in linguistics

so when I talk about my therapist
and your eyes leave mine
to maybe take a peek at the floor
I don’t feel like the one that’s crazy in this moment

gravity has been on acting on you
since before you knew
that you were even
holding you down to the face of this earth
you didn’t have to understand
what gravity was for it to do its job
so I can see why when you feel the pull
of those emotions you can’t name
you let them take you
like gravity
it’s only natural

but like gravity
if you learn the formula
you can circumnavigate the rules
and find yourself
in the open air
breathing easily
and flying above
what used to hold you

I don’t know how to help

love is saying no
love is standing up for someone
especially if that someone is yourself
love is knowing when to act
and when to skirt around the edges
love is saving yourself
and giving yourself
love is sucking the poison out from another’s flesh
but only if they agree to show you the snakebite
love is never
killing the snake
love is giving that snake a place
where it finds it doesn’t need to lash out anymore
where it can wind through the grass
without fear
and know that the hands that enter its sight
will not cause pain

love is giving homes to snakes
and beasts
who felt their only way out
was through hurt

mob mentality works both ways
so save your mind for yourself
love is reading the fine print
because the headlines were never meant to inform
only to enrage
is not picking rage
anger is not a deep emotion
it lives on the surface
bubbling up from deeper
truer feelings
that don’t know how to exist in this world
like actual sadness
like actual fear
so when hate looks you in the eye
and your temperature rises
look inside for that sadness
that fear
the ones that just wishes the world would fucking learn already
the ones that has watched too many beautiful flames be put out
the ones that cannot begin to understand this hate

and then
reach out anyway

getting off instagram

why do we all need proof that we are living
photographs and instagram
show that we are thriving
but those minutes spent finding the camera
weren’t used finding the view

I know photos don’t last forever
but I want an even less permanent home for my life
I want to wax and wane in your memories
where you’ll be the only one to know
what shirt I was wearing that night
and you never remember those things
so you’ll tell them polka dots
when I only wear stripes

build me a home
on your forgetful altar to the past
so I can sleep soundly
in places I’ve never been

let’s lose the frames around these moments
let’s give them to your neural pathways
your hyperfocused/multitasking/where’d I put it/why’re you asking
so full of latin names
species order genera
that my own name could be switched
with castalea
when you think back to my birthday
in the san rafael swell

your brain
brimming with colors and wildlife
when you think of me
drinking wine on the roof
the night I began to love you
you only see black
and red wine
beneath my eye shine

your mind
so forgiving and graceful
that you release all of the sting
from my words
that night I slept across the hall
your memories
just like you want them
will keep me safe from the dark alleys
of the past
you’ll keep me sweet and bright

my tears turn to meadows
in the back of your mind
they don’t look like the floods I recall
the ones that washed out roads
you remember them as creeks
that brought water to fields
keep me among your wildflowers
and meadowlarks
you don’t need to take a picture
this is where I’ll always be

desert dweller

I’m sitting in the grass of a square-block park in Denver
it has no other features aside from the grass
and it’s the only time I’ve felt even slightly at ease
since leaving the highway
sometimes mountains can feel like buildings to me
and buildings can make me claustrophobic
but the desert fills me with relief
stark lines and big sky
openness as far as I need to see

I grew up outside Chicago
so I know how skylines and smog
can really take out a view
Chicago always made me queasy
and now Denver is making me nauseous
why would anyone want to live in a maze
they can’t see out of
walls made of chain stores and smoke shops
all designed to assure you that
you’ve come this way before
so stop trying to leave
it’s all the same anyway
cities feel like a machine
and all of the pieces are always moving
but what does the machine actually do

I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to see the beauty of a city
because my eyes have always been drawn to the sky
and all buildings do is block her out
to make room for more moving pieces
mountains cramp her, too
they crowd my love
but mountains aren’t selfish like skyscrapers
they’re in love with the sky
though their relationship is tumultuous
they yell and she thunders
they whisper and she cries
but whenever they sleep
she always brings the pillows

my eyes have spent too much time
focused on the self-righteous
the proclaimed towers to the heavens
like they’re trying to reach
something better
but hurt is in their name: scrapers
trying to pull layers from my love
to take space she has always occupied

I’ll say sorry to the mountains someday
for confusing them with buildings
they are after all a friend of a friend
though I don’t get the dynamic
but my desert knows how to treat a girl
my sky
as much space as she needs
as much room as she wants
notice how rarely
she cries