Disclaimer: Literally nothing about this poem has anything to do with me or anyone I know, so I honestly don’t know where it came from. But I like it!
The heat of
the brick oven in our local pizza place
the hand warmers we stuffed in our mittens and socks and hats and jackets in the winter of ’08
the beach bonfire where our lungs filled and sputtered with smoke and empty beer cans made the night sky blurry
rubbing two hands together on those precipice nights when summer became fall and the frost froze outlines of dead leaves and wove its way into our blood
our exchanged looks in the corners of confined spaces
the habaneros in our tomato soup
the watery salt-trails along your cheek mapped like the Oregon Trail
the burning flushing stinging heat of the words you left on that crisp, flattened note
I meant to throw in the fire
but I hung it up on the clothesline in winter
and let the cold do the work instead.
The curves like burgeoning mountains struggling to grasp new heights,
like a saddle swung sideways,
pouches fighting in awkward lumps against fabric meant
to lay smooth and flat.
Like even savannahs interrupted by
the clamoring of fleshy hills
that ruin the view from baobab to horizon
with round, bulbous objects
that shatter the sharpness of a geometric plane.
There is nothing beautiful about mountains.
My religion is hands steepled,
fingertip to fingertip
and our bones are their congregation
and touch is their prayer,
speechless yet forceful as a blow
or an embrace.
We can carve our ten commandments
on our palms like parchment
and match our scars each time
our hands clasp one another
like an unspoken promise
and a ridged reminder,
an oath that cannot be erased
until our skin has outgrown
and shed words we once found sacred.
Don’t tell me to appreciate another goddamn sunset.
I’ve watched the sun fall
and I know how it looks
as it sinks below the horizon
like fruit falling out of sight
don’t teach me the meaning of beauty
as if I am blind to it,
as if it can only be found in your cliché statements
on snowflakes or rivers or churches.
I know what beauty is
and I know how to find it without your direction.
I can see it in the sunset if it damn well pleases me
or in the taste of butter melting on toast
or the warmth of my blankets when I crank the AC
for no reason but to feel warm when its cold
and sometimes, even,
in my own reflection
where I can catch it in fleeting glimpses,
although I must try very hard to find it
in the rolls and the spots
and that dark pit I know rests sourly
beneath sober glances
and half-hearted smiles
don’t lecture me
don’t tell me
I need to stop and wish on dandelion stalks.
I saw the beauty of autumn
before you ever waved an orange leaf in my face
I don’t need your ocean waves
or your soft rainfalls
or your mountain tops
or your indie music
or your ruins.
You can keep your beauty to yourself
because I have my own now.