With the quick snapping back of a wobbly neck
My foundation cracks, tears flow
I can’t keep you safe in their arms
And has your spine curved your neck too much today anyway?
Did I not do enough to stop it?
You didn’t eat much this morning
And we meet with the feeding team on Wednesday
They don’t see what we see
A happy healthy baby
They say you’re not on the right curve
So many curves you have thrown us already
My legs are exhausted from all the tension
Grounding myself firmly so that you have a steady nap
Or so I can rock away your uneasiness
You always cry when we leave
but I never know why
Singing sincerely with breath as faint
As your hold on this world
Letting the song pull you into one more day
Urine on the bathroom floor
Driver, chef, roof shoveler
Will I ever know you
Will you ever know you
Holding pain close in clumps
A forever response to the environment
Dancing with a partner with a thousand arms
Ignoring or acting on our myriad desires
The need to sleep, eat, exercise, communicate, regulate
Breaking and forming habits
That sustain us through the winds of compulsion
Taking a bicycle out into the dark, cool night
Safety lights mounted
Blasting Ariana Grande from an iPhone
And racing around a quiet neighborhood in a stiff gear
Waving and smiling at peering residents to reassure them you are just living your best life
Feeling like an apocalypse rebel
So free to breathe and be happy in public
Wanting to be seen
Precisely in the best way we see ourselves
While hoping to be seen for more than our worst
Saying ridiculous things or singing stupid songs to free our minds from stress
The need to be rid of stress so strong
We are willing to annoy people around us
To express emotion
To scream in primal terror of grief unprocessed
Alone in a big room after a teleconference
To experience emotion
A sudden urgency
A push of pain, fear, elation, disgust, darkness
Or to repress emotion
And integrate when we are safe
To allow our feeling back into our bodies
Tapping them in, breathing them out, softening them through
As if they were no longer dangerous, or wishful
As if through feeling we give birth to something beautiful
Something that loved us unconditionally
And wanted the best for us
And when we are ready
The touch of another human
Without which our minds question our safety
The comfort of a warm hand on our back
Together being human.
Leaping into the unknown
Am I non-essential?
Wasn’t that the plan all along?
That if the world needed me,
I would be in a field somewhere
Twirling and learning how to gather up strength
For precise release at the right moment,
And let those who dream an American Dream
Run up the ladders to the treetops
That never stop fruiting
Stuffing apples into their overalls
And churning sauce for their young,
I dump a little water at the roots
And say thank you when an apple is tossed down.
“You’re just not needed right now.”
And that’s okay
Because while you were busy not needing me
I found ways to be myself
Deep and pure
Present and available
To nurture a seed
Tender and fragile
The most beautiful thing in the world.
Exploring all my options
Need some time off the grid
Too much of what you are saying
Can’t hear the voice inside my head
Too many years of listening
Gotta make art now
One foot in front of the other, slowly
The walking escalator moves me past
So many faces
Hair colors, lengths
One or two make eye contact
So many don’t need me
Another late night over the Grapevine
Returning low-eyed from Bakersfield
Wondering if the country
Will stop corruption
Or just give in to the man of action
The coffee from Chili’s was just not good
But we all left satisfied
Feeling full yet gnaws the hunger
Of dreams just out of reach
Lana Del Rey crooning sweetly
Still loving men who disappoint us
Imagine being rooted in art
Generations of support for the craft and sacrifices
Imagine being grounded in anything
Does the grounding feel like a steadyness?
Like a destiny?
Does it smell like life and feed your hunger?
Is it a heavy anchor?
Or is it shackles and chains on all limbs,
Restricting all movement?
She was rooted in religious control. He was rooted in cruelty.
I flew away, tearing my roots. Feeling my uprootedness.
Finding new ground, wherever my heart lands.
Slowed way down
Agreed to stop standing in bathrooms
Running toward parked cars
Happy to sit
Happy to work
Happy to take a backseat
What am I learning?
Turns out I’m not dropping my gifts
Just disappointing the large audience
Or learning not to
Not willing to be parted from my babies
They deserve at least that
In this world of busyness
All the disdainful distractions from what matters
Why bother breathing if you can’t share all the love in your heart?
No more laboring to feed the rich
My soul cries for more
A dark and wintry melody
Sung alone with a guitar
Cracked my heart open tonight
The shimmering of fresh snow
From golden street lamps between shadows
Underneath a black empty sky
I am small, sprinting barefoot across campus
Holding my stilettos
Drunk and foolish
Running with a new friend I’ll never see again
to catch a midnight movie in time
How vast the night skies, all of them
How fruitless her hills, I went hungry sometimes
The nagging feeling there was going to be nothing here for me.
I cannot stay.
How far away from that time I feel now.
Novels have been written.
I cry for the trials I would face.
How much life would change me
Remembering the hunger that looked like drive
To those near enough to witness.
Many have traveled much farther
Crossing dark oceans with hope in their heart.
How strange and beautiful is this life?
How grateful am I to finally have a companion.
But tonight I feel her loneliness
I feel her emptiness, her placelessness
I feel the cold snow stinging and numbing my feet
And the alcohol warming my heart
For the long and difficult road ahead.