Appreciate your teeth.
I lose mine twice a week in my sleep.
Instinctual, like birds migrating south
They clamber, bloodied, out of my mouth
Their enamel feet leaving tracks in the street.
Gumming on food I long to eat,
I’m unable to stop their retreat.
Appreciate your teeth.
Recurring Dream 10/20/2014
Appreciate your teeth.
Summer of 2000 07/13/2015
A velvet beach dream in pastel:
Rainbow water slides and calypso music,
Inner tubes and tidal pools,
Screen doors, smoothies and
Soft, soft sand.
There There 06/24/2015
Is it crude to impersonate the deceased, in good faith?
Or does it keep them fresh past their expiration date?
A ghost of an old woman’s emphatic, “Hello?”
Answering her cordless phone in the dining room
For no reason, on this random Wednesday enters my head.
The ghosts in our heads transcend the dead.
One minute upon waking,
A text about a dream you had
Where Dream me said,
“I’m a different person now,
But with all new cells.”
We both know what the dream means.
That summer I discovered Steely Dan
On the Boltbus back from Portland,
Hauling Sauvie Island sand home in my hair.
When I got back, I ate the plum candy Joe gave me
Before I’d left, he blessed it with his love.
Holly tried to teach me the rules of the game.
A cruel competition, merit-based, laced with shame,
Like chess, where you must think three steps ahead
Is your opponent the goal, the person, or the chessboard instead?
You seem to play by your own set of rules.
Every time I make a move, I end up looking a fool
Are we playing a different game altogether?
I thought this was chess, but maybe it’s checkers,
Mancala, War, Clue, Guess Who? Possibly Risk
You’ve conquered me with an iron fist
What recourse is left for my foolish heart
But to transform my failures into art?
All art aside, I realize to my chagrin:
The rules are rigged and I will never win.
The Wall 04/16/2015
It was by chance that she discovered the wall.
She’d recently had a fall. After all her horses and all her men took great pains to rebuild her, she was careful about walls. The view from the apex wasn’t worth the risk of dismemberment and death. She charted a new path through the woods so she wouldn’t have to walk past the place where she’d taken a tumble.
Along this detour, she stumbled upon a modest wall not more than five and a half feet tall. It was ordinary enough. Yet she discovered soon that although the wall was not tall, it was impossible to scale.
What was it about the wall?
The wall was funny. The wall was a great listener. The wall was kind of cute.
She soon realized the wall was selectively permeable. Jokes were allowed to slip through its membranes. With practice, she found she could force compliments through. Heartfelt sentiments and sarcastic jabs alike penetrated the wall, but only the barbs were returned. Each volley escalated the play-fight, until she emerged waving the white flag. They drafted a treaty, and she came to accept the wall’s terms, even if she had to accept she’d lost this battle. But this was but one battle in the war.
The wall described her as determined, which was a polite way of saying she was stubborn.
Week after week she returned to the wall. Her hunch was that eventually the wall would let its guard down, and she’d learn its weakness. She didn’t realize how obsessed she’d become with the stupid wall. All she wanted was to be in its presence, admiring its fortitude and excellent work ethic. She was in awe of the wall. How could it persist in its consistency?
She wrote poems on the wall. She sang songs that floated above the bricks and found their way in. These messages were received but not acknowledged, like texts she’d sent that never got a response. Nothing she did made the wall budge even an inch.
The wall was stony. The wall was stoic. The wall loved no one.
But the wall was living, breathing. She pointed this out, to which the wall retorted that walls are emotionless.
She grew ever more determined to deconstruct the wall. She suspected that behind those bricks lived a complexity and depth the likes of which she could spend a lifetime exploring and never quite understand.
She came to accept that this might also mean a lifetime of toil for little reward.
Still she lost sleep over the wall. Consulting the cards yielded the same result each time: now is not the time for action.
So she killed time, continuing to ask the cards only to hear the same response over and over. Be patient. Once a week she’d visit to scribble a verse on its surface. She knew her transmissions were received because each Saturday when she returned, the words had vanished. They’d been absorbed into the brick.
What did it mean?
This question tore her apart. The cards chided her for inquiring so many times. Why don’t you just ask the wall yourself?
How could she have been so stupid? This whole time, she’d never thought to ask.
Every appendage in her body trembled with trepidation as she approached the wall. The question burned her esophagus, rising in her throat like bile.
Who are you?
It was like every cliché in every fairy tale the wall loved so much. Free of its cursed metaphoric state, the wall transformed into a door before her very eyes.
The door was modest, about five and a half feet tall. The door was kind-hearted and thoughtful, although it had a prickly exterior. The door was perfectly ordinary, but she cherished him regardless.
The door hasn’t opened yet, but it will soon.
Melissa’s wish made me cry Ghibli tears.
Quivering drops for Sol,
pomegranate seeds sown,
Droplets dotting the dirt.
Stackings stones on Gladys’ grave, I cave;
I light the candle every year on this day.
I wonder where Sol’s soul sprouts,
Contemplate placing a stone.
This candle stands in for him,
So I’m never alone. I’m carrying him on
With everyone I’ve ever known.