It’s Not About That

We take a hard swim in the river before meeting my family up on the hill for pork roast and blackberry cobbler. I try to make myself presentable with jeans and boots but my hair is so wild and windblown it makes me look like a clown with my pink lipstick on. That’s how I feel anyway. I want to be pretty for them all. For my boyfriend, and for my Grandpa John who we just found out has cancer. I want to be there early but it’s seven already by the time we finally arrive.

They’ve just finished eating and have to reheat the beans and meat. My new boyfriend is quieter than I would like. It’s clear to my family that no one is proposing anytime soon–as usual. Just a boyfriend? Is that all? I mumble-talk to my family wishing I were prettier like my girl cousin, and peppy-er too. In the morning I spend a full hour wrestling with my hair and smoothing my clothes hoping for the picture-perfect day with my boyfriend–the kind of day I’ve always imagined. We go for coffee and the barrista is so shining and beautiful she makes me sad when she smiles. But I smile back and I thank her SO MUCH and she coo’s at our black dog Honey. She’s as pretty as I want to be.

I beg myself STOP STOP STOP, it’s not about that. Nobody cares about this as much as you do. We pull out of the drive and the truck hits a bump spilling my milky caramel coffee onto the jeans and dress I had so carefully selected this morning.

I vow to give up on my face and my dress. I should be thinking about my grandfather with the cancer and the fact that just this morning my boyfriend said I Was Beautiful. I don’t feel fully better until I write this out in the passenger seat of the pickup, coffee between my thighs, sticky fingers, imperfect but perfectly feminine and passionate and alive.

Cleaning Up & Letting Go

Shine a bright light
into the black spaces
of our lives and we
find small, cowering
things starving and
losing life
We find secrets
trapped in stone
growing inside our
own cavernous minds
bad things taking form
that never shoulda
survived
I want to lead
the fears
hand in hand
from my cave
from my temple
and free them
one by one
to make my life
more simple

High Hopes

I’m hungry
but I won’t touch
my plate
all the delicacies
in the world
would not satisfy me
and so,
how can I be helped?
What I salivate for
is not of this world
maybe it is
my unborn child
maybe it is
his budding,
not yet bloomed
love for me
maybe it is
the love withheld
from me
maybe it is
love to gift to
myself
‘stead of waiting for
it from my mother,
my father,
my lover
maybe this thing is
fame not yet attained
maybe this thing is
Spirituality
Maybe, surely
it is that unsatisfied
vessel that we all know
so well
That itching space
that we all share—
an unfulfilled fantasy
so out-of-this-world
it will never be achieved
like how we imagine
our wedding days to be
so high on the shelf
it’s out-of-reach
better to just forget
it’s even there
ignorance is bliss
they say
but I deserve a knowledge
tried & true
I’m hungry
for love &
I beg it of you
So many dreams
tattered at their feet
I will not be like my parents,
I will not sell myself so cheap
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time
How do you stay sane
with a hunger like mine?

The Load

We all have our love woes
they come in their own unique
shapes and sizes
Often lopsided
Old married couples
have big love woes that
make for strong foundations
Things to fall back on like
joint accounts and children
Things that makes people say
“Oh what the hell” and stay
Young couples have little
love woes they pick at
til they bleed
and when they dry
they pick at them again
I’ll let you guess which
love woe I have
I’m walking with my
love woes today &
who put Valentine’s Day
in winter?
We bundle up against
the wind, our faces
sadder than ever &
everyone I see,
including me
walks alone

Billboard People

Instead of regurgitating facts
why not digest the knowledge
Instead of claiming ideas as your own
shoving them down my throat
like capsules of lead
let them collect around you
and carefully handle the wisdom
grow to understand it
before you accept it
Everything has a label now
most of all, our own persons
are we not all tagged as this
or that?
Who am I if I do not
promote myself to you?
Do I exist at all?
Have I no life if
I am not on display?
Have I got no education if
I don’t wear it like a badge?
Have I got no past if
I don’t carry my albums
in my mouth
spilling them out
on the floor at every change
waiting for you to stop
talking so that I might
do my dance
How old are we anyway?
Still young enough for
Show and Tell?
Are my bones
my breath
my eyes
my body
all lost on you?
Is my presence
not enough?
I forgot my billboard
at home
You forgot my
address
my phone number
You forgot I’m
a person
not a number
Not friend
number 362
but a soul
a spirit
a woman
begging
authenticity
from
you

This is The End

I started running out of things to write. I’ve told you about all the wild things, my wildcard parents, my over-bearing, artistic grandmother, my messy scramble for love, our dirty homes and apartments, all the mistakes we ALL made, and will continue to make…I told you and then I came to the end. I started running out of things to write.

Spring came–and with its newness and promise, I was able to recognize the closing of the first part of my life; my first twenty-eight years. Nothing spectacular happened, nothing dramatic, but it was a slow ease into my twenty-eight spring. And that stillness was something different, something new, there’s maybe even something dramatic about the way the waters calmed and stilled and pooled after years of gushing and cascading.

All the parts have closed in on themselves. The wild things have closed their wings. I think, finally, I am done. I am done telling this story. I was wondering when it was going to end, and how. People always ask me “Is your book finished yet? How do you even end a memoir, cause, like your life is still happening.” Exactly I always say, How do you?

At this stage of my manuscript it looks like this: I should maybe not even call it a manuscript but a project. Projects get messy, this is messy. This is not 303 typed crisp white pages binded and clipped with a title page and dedications. I do not know the title yet and I have a ton of typing to do!!! See, I am a writer, not a typer. I am a writer, not an editor! My project looks like this: something like twenty-four notebooks complied over the past six years filled with long, drawn out and angry dialogue during which I am both teaching myself to write and scribbling all the letters I never did, but apparently really wanted to write to my mother, lovers, and other people too. Oh I let them have it. I didn’t only say nice things about my father either. Didn’t only say nice things about anyone I wrote about except maybe Charles.

So its Spring now and I’m twenty-eight (and a half) and I’m standing out in my boyfriends lawn and he’s just mowed the grass, the air is perfect, the trees are like magic, and I’m not even high on anything. I look at the sky and it’s perfect too. There’s a wiry black dog running around at my feet. My feet are bare, I’m wearing nothing but a long white cotton halterdress with orange blooms, my hair is down and long now, my body is weightless as I realize that the moment is perfect, just me, in the woods, no book even, no coffee, no shoes, a man off in the distance, the promise of sex and comfort, my bareface, my dreams, the lightness I feel in. this. moment.

I notice something over my shoulder. I slowly turn and look, I see The End. I see the chaos that was my past, my history, tromping off like a brigade heading to who knows where, not any longer attached to me, but parting from me. I bid goodbye. I holler and smile. I prepare to let go.

Fiber

I am everywhere
I am sitting on your head
I am raining on your home
I don’t even try
I shower but I
smell
I keep mum but I
shout
I chipper ‘good morning’at your placemate
he mumbles inaudibly in return
I play my music
and I play it loud
the birds seem to
sing to me
a hummingbird stares
treading the air
a breath of hope
like a dragonfly
or a new moon
I sit on the porch and write
I am everywhere
but I wouldn’t dare
my hair clogs your drain
my saliva is yours
your coffee
is my coffee
I fear
I beg
behind my mask
I am an open slice in my flesh
I am addicted to love
and unsure of its meaning
I am attached to you
lecherous and brave
I sink into the corners
come in from under the door
give myself too much power
take myself too high
stare in the mirror
too much or not enough
think too much
think all over your house
spill my selfy-ness
on the counters and floors
Am I cleaning anything up
when I scrub?
Or am I pounding myself
into the fibers that were
just you