Anger

I wear my anger as armor,

I slowly sharpen it into a knife,

and you won’t see it coming,

the way, the wrecked,

leave the worst wreckage,

cunning, stunning,

justified by the worst times,

until all that is left,

is an apology,

and me.

2022 NaPoWriMo – Day 10 (Love)

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is: Write a love poem.

The stories of embarrassments and awkwardness,
like the time my gum fell out of my mouth during a show,
and hit the head of the person sitting below,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to laugh at.

My childhood memories,
like playing hockey in the streets,
trying to cook eggs in the summer heat,
and my wild dreams, and fears,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to hear. 

My favorite guilty pleasures and adventures,
seasons and regions,
foods and views,
prose and shows.
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to know.

The mistakes and heartbreaks,
like the time I found a love note for someone else,
and all the pain I felt,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to help. 

The people I love, and are in awe of,
who help make me complete,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to meet.

My quirks, 
like the way I don't screw bottle caps on tight,
or say some words quite right,
or the way I exaggerate,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to appreciate. 

My lip glaze,
scents and wines,
I've applied over time,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to taste.

The lines of my life,
outlining my body,
the parts of me I love and hate,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to trace.

The things that make me happy,
a crowded table, full of food and people,
who are always able,
to bring laughter and chatter,
and kids,
I didn't know then, but they've always been, for you to give.

The lessons learned and bridges burned,
the softening and hardening,
the depths and tests,
the swirls and twirls of my becoming,
I didn't know then, but I've always been, getting shaped for you.

2022 NaPoWriMo – Day 1 (Prose Poetry)

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is: Write your own prose poem that is a story about the body. 

You animate your body awkwardly, like you are using the wrong muscles for the wrong movements. I watch you untangle yourself from your desk, lumbering limbs you loosen out, angled arms you arrange around—unwrinkling yourself up. I want to readjust you like my trainer does my own body: “Pull back the shoulders, straighten the back, use the core,” she repeats like a mantra. You lean to the left when you walk. It’s quirky, or maybe an injury. I want to nudge you to the right, hold you in place. One day, we are finally formally introduced. “Nice to meet you,” you say with the biggest grin that’s ever been. I feel everything escape my body. All that is left is a desire to see you smile again, to be the one that makes you smile. I jerk my hand forward awkwardly, almost punching you in the gut. “Nice to meet you too.”

Drop

I

drop

hints and eloquence.

I

drop

bad habits, old friends,

all the make pretends.

I

drop

my heart anxiously,

my stomach constantly, in knots.

I drop what I forgot.

I

drop

masks and too hard tasks.

I

drop

to my knees, praying, begging please.

I drop what is heavy, what I don’t need.

I

drop

conditions and expectations,

pretenses and messes.

I

drop

tears that linger

at the cusp of my chin.

I drop fights I cannot win.

I

drop shows and stories before their

endings so I can go on pretending.

I

drop

words of comfort, love notes and hope.

I drop it for you. For the you that will maybe, someday, pick it all up and offer it back to me, an understanding, of all I have lost and all that I still am.

Your Soul Swirling

It all seemed possible then,

laying outside watching the stars, when,

the rest of the campus slept,

sharing our deepest secrets and scars–reworking them from impediments to impetuses–

teasing us out.

We were still so young, and we didn’t know as much as we thought,

but we had so many thoughts …

Thoughts about how the world should be,

and how we would be in it.

(You, a politician fighting the good fight, and I, writing your biography.)

We analyzed everything, from conversations with crushes to the constancy of change,

making sense of the little of life we knew.

We repeatedly played the song Gardens and Graves during our nightly charades,

so adeptly describing the urgency of our lives,

the eagerness to matter,

the restlessness of becoming.

How wild we thought it was,

to just be with the stars, and the music, in the middle of the night,

to experience such a life.

Life! Opening up right in front of us,

trying to live it because we could,

far removed from our contained childhoods.

One night, we detoured to a tattoo parlor,

just for the hell of it (to say we lived!).

You got a panther, of all things, on your ankle.

It excited us, to be more than who we seemed to be,

You, a tatted man, of all things!

The sheer thrill of it.

I think we got it wrong though, my dear friend,

we didn’t know then, what I see so clearly now:

You never had to be more than who you already were.

You were always amazing,

your life always rippling,

simply by existing.

I choose to suspend you here, in the shadows, looking up at the stars, your soul swirling.

Still possible. Still dreaming. Still alive.

Bursting

I wish you knew me,

in my braless, hairy-legged body,

bursting, laughing, like a banshee,

in the streets, playing roller hockey,

knotted hair, face bare,

wearing hanging hand-me-downs and the sun on my shoulders,

before being molded, scolded and unfolded,

to be loved by anyone else.

Before I felt,

not good enough.

Tell me, would you still want this girl?

Would she still deserve the world?

How We Become

We, battered, molested and assaulted,

abused and silenced.

We, with the secrets we keep,

passed down to our daughters as whispered warnings.

We, with our apologies we make in so many ways,

we create a new language.

We, with our bleeding bodies, aching cheeks, and sacrilegious skin,

forced into glass castles,

with fairytales,

short ceilings,

and narrow halls.

We, with our inconvenient emotions and loud voices,

told to abandon the angry, crazy woman,

Oh, but the beautiful boldness of her honesty.

Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, we become.

There is a fierceness in the way we transform the abuse,

as background noise to our lives.

The nature of being women.

We, the unshakeable trees bearing witness to generations of women who power through to find happiness in all the grossness and unjustness.

We, the daises growing in the cracks of sidewalks.

We, the waterfalls pouring our hearts out in all we do.

We, the rumbling on the rocks, with our weary shoulders and bulging bellies, always marching forward in the hopes one day we will understand our power in the way men already do.

The very things that make us look weak, are evidence of our strength.

As much as we are beaten, we rise up with life. We grow it, we become it.

Take up your power. You are Earth itself.

You see, there is a day we will take these wrongs, and birth something beautiful.