The South Fork

Prima Materia
Providence
Nirvana
brooks and
creeks through
black bedrock,
blonde soil
the huckleberry
and tan oak are
licking caves and
netting boundaries

I’m noticing
when the sun
goes down in
the mountains
and how it happens
quicker here than
anywhere
else

I have
cold feet
hot feet
depending on the equinox
I see rain running down
the trunks of trees,
a man’s neck,
a vein

I chop wood
carry water

There are
raindrops
on the skylight
the smell of
propane and matches
an amplified drizzle
on the tin roof of my
cabin–it makes me feel
wetter than I actually am

Pacific Madrones mature outside
Those curly golden chopsticks
of irregular tang and lime
those pillars rising up and falling
out of dense coniferous forests
I was a child then
not now
–but I used
to climb them

I am on the inside
I am on the inside
with a log so good and
ready for the fire it’s
like bubble wrapping
when you put it on there
popping and cracking
and carrying on in
the cast iron stove
I am alone
yet I am not alone
–the forest,
it leans into me,
it breathes and
spits at the
windows

–the earth
not the world
keeps me company

But I Wouldn’t Wish It On Anyone

If I could
I would tornado
around this town

You’d be better off
inside the eye of me

It would be on a Monday
and I would hold no regard
for pleasantries
for once

My answer to all the trivial
questions I am asked on a typical
Monday over and over and over again
would be answered only by
teeth-shattering wind

and the loudest
goddamned silence
you have ever heard

that would be my wish,
with all due respect
to Mondays

In a rusty-visioned chaos
I would be unable to open my
mouth for fear of shattered
teeth and cinnamon lung
A perfect storm of sand and Zen
would overcome us all
and I would
selfishly be
grateful
for it

for Monday
would be quiet
for once

and no one would
be talking about
the weather

just stunned

To-Do

Fall apart, let loose into creation
Let my hair down, like a poet would do
Dance a sexy dance, for no one
Write off my obsessions and idols
Lower them until we see eye to eye
Kiss them
Open my mouth
and let love in

Get places on time
step by step, cover the basics
Clock in and clock out
with a smile
Allow myself to fall apart,
just enough behind the scenes that
I walk away with a notecard poem
safeguard–just barely–my reputation
my job title

Forgive others
as easily as I forgive myself
Let loose the reigns
and let em go wherever
the fuck they want

Seize the moment
(cross that out)
Avoid cliches

Fear blank pages
more than scribbles
For mistakes are a sign
of progress

Live in the knowledge
that things cannot be pretty
100% of the time
A concept not limited to
my face, my body
Understand that superficiality
is the sister to vanity
and to view yourself poorly
makes you just as vain as if
to  view yourself pretty
all of the time

So you
do the dishes
tidy up
Everything
Everywhere
All of the time

But most of all you
fall apart
into poetry
even if it means
scribbles and
ink on the fingers
or your face
even if it means
mussying up a
blank page
a blank page
that will roll around
in your purse
in your car
in your junk drawer
mussying up your life
like children or dirty jobs
in general

Fall apart for creation
for a full and happy life
Fall apart for a full heart
and just write

Day to Day

I bend a spoon
back into place
and tuck it in the drawer
I set the table
light a candle
I sweep cauliflower
blossoms from the floor

and hope it counts for
something,
anything

I drag a brown wooden
stool into the kitchen
so I can crouch at the
counter and write poetry
in-between life stuff:
washing tupperware,
filling the dog’s dish,
mulling

I add half a cup of warm water
to the pot and sit and watch it simmer
scratch scratch scratching on my notepad
The radio is too loud
but I need something, anything
I turn it down a notch and
music gives way to news
the state of Connecticut
bans the death penalty
a major fire was ignited this
morning due to a lawnmower
and the operator may be responsible
for the cost

Food aromas fill the kitchen as
my womb moves and aches
I bring my hand to my belly
and wonder if it’s a warning of
menstruation or pregnancy,
granted deep down I already
know the answer…and in
a few short days
I’ll be bleeding and
wearing pads

Out of habit (half-hope) I
squeeze my breasts to see
if they’re sore, and I look
down at them
Steve walks in
he gives me a funny look
as I drop my hand to my
lap in defeat
and turn back
to the pot

Have a Little Faith

These shortcuts don’t
work for me no more
I keep coming back around
to where I was before
The mind fucks me once,
fucks me twice, bends me
backwards, sends me shooting
through the sky
I get a scary high from
the things inside my mind
One foot in front of the other
is about all I can do
without my youth I can no
longer choose when and
where and who
there are no longer
options for sick days,
day-drinking, playing
power with my boobs
As I turned into a woman
–I became more substantial too
It’s more like: do what you have to
do to get you through
show up
listen up
battle else embrace the
thoughts inside your mind
whisper the things out loud–
to yourself and in private
inspect the things for faults
and stripped screws
think: Would you want
somebody to think or say
these things to you?
Talk yourself down
in a poem or in a song
Bring yourself down,
pinned to the ground
and whatever you do
DON”T THINK about
who’s going to PICK YOU UP
just lay there–squeegy wiping
the I’m so angry
I’m so hurt
I’m so lonely
so unloved–
erase all that shit
from your mind
there isn’t any time for it,
we haven’t got the time.
Stand strong in your own self
even if your shaking in your boots
even if your person is on fire and
your head is filled with tears and
you can’t seem to decipher
fact from fiction
real life from “intuition”
I’d say get real quiet, don’t
go crashing through the day to day
be honest, be real, and have
a little faith

Love is I Don’t Know

Love is you feeling me up under my shirt like you’re a school boy and it’s our second date but really we’re a year in and it’s a Tuesday night or a Monday night and we both have stew breath.

Love is me moving into your house alittle–okaymaybeway–toosoon. Love is me making a scrapbook of photos from your recent cheesy family cruise and pasting concert stubs in there too from the Dave Rawlings Machine and Gillian Welch and that time we saw The Wolf of Wallstreet and pasting in there the notes you’ve left me like “Squash in the oven for lunch” and “Be home around five, love you” and “Had to go to farm real quick, love you.”

Love is you saying I love you even though we both wonder What is Love? and Why can’t it be more like lust? and is he gonna get me off forever and is she gonna turn me on forever and those sad little thoughts like we’re losing red and we’re losing it fast and we’re going on and on, plummeting forward as our sex becomes less and our friendship and caretaking one another grows like a tumor. We think yeah we might have a thing that could last forever–if we live really short lives–and maybe I’m just speaking for myself here but I would maybe take a really short life so I could say yeah we loved each other forever. And it was easy, because then we died.

Next Best Move

They say you
can’t be helped if
you can’t help yourself

So I wet a rag and wipe
the dust from my long
wooden desk

I am alone

I wipe it with
a dry cloth too–
watermarks make
me nervous

I water the jade plant
and consider re-potting it
but the plant only makes it as far
as the foot of the screen door–
a low priority on my
list of things that
“help” my “self”

I pour a hot cup of coffee
but on a warm day it’s
somehow less satisfying

I glare a disgusted look
at my laptop, smeary
fingerprints on its
black hood

“Traitor”, I think..
I know your shtick and
you’re not as glamorous
as you think you are
you’re convoluted
too full, yet empty
will just make my
shoulders hunch over
and my jaw go slack
as I search search search
for spacenuggets of wisdom
and the sun struts across
the sky outside
and the moon prepares to
rise and all the while you’re
sputtering out slacktavism
and maybe a
good song
for me

I won’t waste my hours,
not today, too short
today I need more than
that so I choke you out,
shut you off,
think of how the Internet
has turned Art into a
popularity contest–
a snapping of the fingers
a dusting by with the eyes

Maybe I get sad cause I
never was too good at those
–popularity contests
too self-conscious, too bitter,
too insecure for contrived
showing-offs
not quite so carefree and
pretty as to be popular
But still

Do I try at becoming an
online sensation?
“Rub shoulders” with
the literary stars and musicians?
Start up an Instagram and
filter my life so pretty?
Arnt ya so pretty still?
Remind me.
Arnt ya still eating well?
Show me.
Shit, I aint got
time for that!

I think today I’ll just sit
at my kitchen table and
read the paper
write a book
blue ink and white sheets
you hold in your fingers
scribbles and all
visceral

Discoveries I find in
the quiet quilt of my
own mind
reflecting on the fact
that I am certainly not an image,
not my supposed doings
not my desperation
or just my smile
but feelings
and thoughts
and blood,
so much blood.
I am just white paper
and black or blue words,
and what is more mysterious
than that??

I’ve still got it
I’ve still got it
shit, I’ve still got it

Still bitter

Nobody likes to hear that shit

I believe I am
how I make
people
feel

Whether or not
I am saying
the exact
right
thing

Yeah.

I am responsible for
helping myself

You can’t be helped
if you can’t help
yourself

I am unattached to
your validation
(ahh! refreshing!)

Part II

On my drive to work
I turned down the
radio to say a prayer
it might have sounded
petty but it wasn’t,
it came strait from
my worn and hopeful
heart

“Lord…just be with me
…in general,” I sighed,
defeated

I sit at my kitchen table now
and work at shedding negative
energy from my shoulders to
my hip bones–always popping and distraught
to my bare feet and out through my toes
I sweep it all up from the floor
and I beg for solitude
for even when I am all alone
I sometimes feel crowded,
maybe it’s the internet thing
or the cohabiting thing or
the responsibility thing

Don’t let anyone preach to you,
including me
But ask yourself, what makes
you angry?
Now throw something at it.
Trash things you once thought
valuable
Hang onto things but
do not crowd them
If you smile too much, frown
you’re faking it
If you frown too much
take vitamin D and
think like Buddha

Don’t worry about stories
that go from a to b to c
Read a book that’s so good
you almost don’t get it
but don’ t think too hard
and you will get it
Make lists.
Make a meal for someone
then ask them to leave you
the shit alone
Instead of napping,
sleepwalk through your
house pondering your
father
your brothers
your boyfriend
your friends
and what they
really mean to you

Burn old bad poems
you wrote
smile at the flames
hands clasped in your
lap, eyes closed
release your short comings
and accept yourself

Don’t let anyone preach
to you
Including me
but turn off your computer
and do something awesome
Don’t tell anyone about it,
just make yourself proud