April 7th, Urban Poetry

Find rhythm in the sway of her hips
and beauty
in the sun’s outstretched fingertips
that drip this sweat
this swelter, this heat
this pitter-patter in the streets,
Listen close enough
and it sounds like the murmur of
hummingbird’s wings but you
won’t find no hummingbirds here,
just the low rattle of these streetcars rush–
–rushing past,
Hiss so loud you swear
you hear the beast of this city rumbling
below you
Hear Miss Etta sing so sweet
on 47th street,
the faint tinkling of coins at her feet,
those feet
who keep walking past and
never stop–
this stomp stomp stomp
is the the beast’s steady heartbeat
don’t you know this city never sleep?

Grocery List #17

Winter’s setting in and I found
crumpled
in my old coat pocket
grapes
cheese
table crackers
sparkling cider
dixie cups
chico sticks

in your awful hand,
and I wonder
if you still have things like these,
this detritus from relation-shipwreck’s past
washed upon the shores of your new life,
and why I haven’t yet found the strength
to let these things lie buried
at sea.

The Matter of Us

What is the matter of us

but a smattering

of sweet nothings,

exchanged as love notes

tucked between pillows

to open again at morning’s hellos

sent spilling

into our windows

like a fine white wine.

What are we made of

if not infinities,

the hourglass bind of dust and bone,

the impossible time between dusk and dawn.

Icarus

You are heat seeker

boy

with snuffing lips moth-drawn to flames,

Soot eater,

Try to bury yourself in warmth but succeed only

in swallowing all heat

and light.

You want the sun in this skin,

this unbearable light to bend to breath,

your extinguished breath

absorbing all

You forget

the sea is lined with ash,

this bright that crumbles bone

to dust.

Your parched throat mistook me for kindling

But what good is flame to a hearth

filled only

with ashes.

Poetry Stash

There is a jar in my bedroom.

It sits well-sunned beneath a window, rests next to an empty wire birdcage. It is filled to the brim with receipts, pastry bags, sticky notes, old homework assignments, napkins. Each spare piece of paper scribbled on in my clumsy hand, folded up and tucked away like love notes from suitors past.

I’ve been stashing poetry in this jar for a little over a year. Cracking it open I’ve found some gems, some laughable lines, some warm moments, and some painful memories. It’s like opening a time capsule and seeing an older draft of myself preserved there. So much has happened in that time. I moved, started a new job, started a relationship, saw that relationship run its course, and dealt with the unpredictable nature of my illness and all its ups and downs. Reading over the poetry I wrote in that time was a strange, yet cathartic experience I haven’t found the right words to describe.

I suppose it’s an exercise I’ll continue. In some ways it’s the equivalent to keeping a journal or diary (although less frequent), which I’ve never managed to devote the time to. (I do have some uncompleted journals I started as a teenager which are beyond cringe-worthy, so maybe that’s for the best.)

So now I have an empty jar by the window. Who knows what sweet nothings will fill it yet and what another year has in store for me. I look forward to it.

-M