When I Talk to Trump Supporters

It is like setting down a water glass in the dark
missing the ledge
and watching it crash at your feet.
Like anticipating that extra step which does not exist
and hitting the floor.
Like opening Pandora’s box
but instead of pestilence and hatred
it is empty.
You reach in and scoop out
with clutched fingers
and find only riddled-out insides
like abandoned honeycombs or
teeth gorged with cavities.
Lifting the cover on your boiling water
to find it’s all become steam.
What have you fought for,
where is the real you thought you’d clung too,
where are the armies you thought were at your back
to turn the tide,
to patch the wound,
to rouse your spirits when it seemed you might
fade away to smoke on the battlefield.
When what you thought you were protecting was a beating heart
and you thought you knew the red of its flesh
and the folds of thin muscle
and the sound of it,
slow thuds, faint whispers,
but it revealed itself to you as nothing more than
ash, than blackened bones about to crack,
than rusted chains you cannot break,
than something dead which small insects have begun to worm their way inside of.
How can you stand for something when
there are creatures which eat the floor out from under you.
It is preaching to jackals,
it is the renunciation of god,
it’s the collapse of concrete walls
and kneeling in the rubble
and wondering where the worth
in your conviction was.

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My Mother

This is a poem about my mama who is beautiful and talented and smart and determined and totally ridiculous. ❤ Happy Mother’s Day!!

She is powerful.
She might not look it at first.
Like her daughters
she is many smiles
and fluttered laughter.
It is hidden,
saved for when it’s needed.

She is like the ark –
nice to have around,
undervalued til the flood hits.

Her daughters are
bundles of white-hot emotion
that leap out like
untamed sparks
and she weathers their tempest
till the sea calms,
often sheltering
a stranded sailor or two.

She is balance,
bridled creativity,
flighty logic,
softened truth
and sweetened fibs,
the first to crack a joke
and the first to crack at the task at hand.

She is assertiveness
she was not born to,
carefully-channeled authority
that had to be melted down
and hardened again
like steel in the blacksmith’s fire.

She is prepared with questions
but still often taken by surprise.

She is adventure
close to home,
journeys found in the backyard.

She is finding the beauty in something small,
she is sentimentality,
she is framed second-grade paintings on the mantel
but also knowing when it’s time to throw
an old sketch away.

She is holding on and letting go.

She is beautiful,
the sort of slow-blossoming beauty
like coal becoming diamond,
like a bird that never truly sees
the vibrancy of its own wings.

And she is laughter,
she is humor,
she is finding the smile in something so mundane
anyone else might have passed that pebble on the road
but she had to stop and kick it
and her daughters must now do the same.

Quick to feel and sometimes bubble over
but it’s tempered by
a wisdom
and that ever-elusive ability
to tell someone “I’m sorry.”

She is contradiction
and sliding scales,
she is rock and water,
she is Dao and academia,
she is kaleidoscope emotion

but always
unwavering love.

Anchorage

If my anchor had a face it would be yours.
There are so many stenciled anchors
in different shapes and sizes
found on wrists and necks
and the small of your back.
They are badges of some sunken safe haven
caught in stand-still.

But each thing has an opposite,
and for anchors these are feathers;
anchors are not conducive
to flying away.

Anchors have hooks and they
burrow like swollen ticks.
With heavy weight they lock
their ships at harbor,
though the vessels strain
with empty sails
for the stretch of blue beyond their ports
and the cold, shapeless freedom of the sea.

You are the anchor and the chain
as the wood of my ship
creaks and groans,
pulls against that ancient device
which holds it in place.
With each desperate tug the boards grow weaker,
the salt bites at the railings,
and the tide drags out while a shore creeps ever closer
with a smile that is
sharp rocks and jagged endings.

You are my anchor
and with red-rusted fingers
you cling to a wasteland
where the churning of sand reveals nothing but
the remnants of rocks long dashed to nothing.

You wrestle the winds
and the currents
both wicked and fair
as I struggle towards a sun
nestled close on the waves
of a shifting horizon.

You will choke me with your iron leash
unless I saw you away with the last of my strength,
leave you there in the tumbling dust
of an ocean floor,
so that I might fill my sails
and do what great ships were built for,
which is sail towards the cloud-covered sun
with its faint promise of light.

you are all doors

Wine-soaked lips
and peroxide heart strings.
Run your fingers down
a stranger’s spine
like a Grecian column.
Root out familiarity
like scraping clinging ivy
from the walls of your home.
You are all doors
and no chairs.
There is nothing solid
in your walk,
in your speech,
a bald-faced cliff edge
smoothed of all purchase
through careful sanding.
Tender moments take place
between the negative space
of two bodies arching
away from one another.
A glass left overflowing in the sink,
biting down on sour fruit,
March overstaying its welcome,
kissing you with the lights off.

and the last one for tonight…

stars seem untethered
but even they are bound by their own form of gravity
and we think north is up
but the universe has no such relativity.
we can walk on the planet’s underbelly
and never might it occur to us
we are hanging from the world in a different direction
than yesterday.
stars don’t know ‘up’.
stars don’t know Newton’s theories, falling apples, rotating satellites.
stars don’t know we draw lines with our fingers
between celestial bodies,
shaping sense from senselessness,
numbering infinity.
stars only spin
in their cosmic designations,
born,
burning,
and dying in a
flattened ring of light
as they were always meant to.

Nighttime

We crept out at night
clutching at fistfuls of damp grass
and cool soil.

As our fingers tore up ground
long undisturbed,
we crawled our way form the treeline,
leaving tracks like rivets;

bodies dragged through the mud
into the view of shapeless stars
that pulse and spit and spew
toxic star stuff
from which we are to form worlds
with bare, unwashed hands.