The underside of night
and I am throwing away boxes
that held pieces of my old life
and there you are,
as I’m tiptoeing back from the dumpster
careful to hop over the puddles that gather
to the terra cotta steps that lead me to new.
You are straddling the rooftops
bringing to me a punchy light
watching me as I stare up into your vulnerability.
Now you are the action hero
sandwiched between two buildings
risking your life to save the victim
Now you are the kitchen maiden
holding up her skirts as she walks to the privy
squatting over dignity
Now you are the normal
the everyday warrior
toppled from your pedestal stamp on the sky
shoehorned into the sliver I can see.
Now you are again my Orion
a constant backdrop to my altars
a wink to the fathers of my youth
peeking in to check on me
and watching as I stare into my vulnerability.
It seems only fitting
that the rug where you kick off the dust
from your shoes
is the same rug where I sit
The question isn’t whether or not I like the filth
but if you would do it again
once you saw that I sat here.
It wasn’t pretty, parts of my days
burnt my skin and scratched my veins
blew quite literally from my mouth
pinched my heart and ripped like cloth
the vision I had to sustain
the colors I clutched at desperately to see
were pointed at to me by you
your fingers found that they could bleed.
The tearing of our flesh and sound
our metaphysical seams
was necessary to find this light
that I can finally see.
I wonder where I’d actually be
if you hadn’t helped me along
if you hadn’t shown me the truth of pain
Would I be lost?
Would I be gone?
Your truth I can gladly see
is knotted at my ankle
it knocks me down when I am dumb
and flies me higher than I expect
it never drops me on my head
but shows me the ground I’ll find instead
it tugs and holds me in the comfort way
the swaddling warmth I need
it reaches for me when I’m down
and hands me air I need to breathe.
The fingers bleed and the truth tightens
the flesh still red and raw
But my flesh is mine and your blood is yours
it’s malleable and strong
The world is bigger than it seemed
and chances are scattered ahead
No longer buried beneath my burden
I am set free
and I am here.
For so long I was lamenting
resenting what I wasn’t getting
I cleared that away
and saw that you stayed.
Can you feel how my heart is fermenting?
the feathered edges of my voice
my fingers trickle and watch
the light syrups around your smile
the stilted words I now pronounce
the quake in my stomach grounds
my toes tension-bent at the knuckle
the wrongs that gave my brow furrow
the tiny pieces that un-grow
the pages where I wrote you into being
different than who you are
marking boxes every day
building life and loving stay
reaping more than what I’ve sown
but sowing the true
not standing on either side of the coin,
the dark or the light,
the metal or the soft
not beckoning it to turn
preparing for the dizzy spin
the revolving circus jumps it makes.
the truth is the coin has one face
and we stand together
as we love the cents
Today I stepped on a land mine
my breath knocked out of me into the street
the blast blowing out the fillings in my teeth.
I tumbled over backwards before breaking down,
the pieces melting off my bones
coagulating into a squishy sludgy me.
When you walked over, I expected you to step
over me and onto your next task
or to scatter me like a smashed spider beneath your feet.
Instead you fished into the pile of splatter
and pulled out the raw pink underneath
wrapped it in a blanket
and sang a song of your unfailing belief.
People don’t exist to validate me,
my perceptions or fears,
they exist to have the same shot at life
as I do.
The one thing I can watch them show
is the acceptance that they made the right decision
when they chose me.
Today, I stepped on a land mine
and it was about time I blew away
the perfect show I thought I was
for the imperfect better of me.
Now I know
I see the jerk
I see the contrasts of capable and
the honesty of quirk
But I don’t back away.
I see the scramble to concede
the carelessness of boast
the candor of your most
But I don’t back away.
I see the awful in your mist
the pain grasping you in its fist
the terror of losing
all too fumbled and controlled
But I don’t back away.
I won’t walk from your arrogance
Or gloat in your cringe
I want pain over disrespect
I want tough conversations.
I remain in your presence
to watch what you do next.
I shake with the surety of unsure
but quake with my faith
it’s not about me.
If it were, there would be drama
in this boat of three.
I am glad
because I can adjust my settings
and set to rowing us out to sea
where the air is misty and smells like sunlight
the mountains stretched like hands lifting skyward
where we are in agreement that this water is choppy
worth the paperwork, the angry bureaucracy
worth the sacrificing of souls we once knew
worth the row
the sinking manifest
we once thought we’d have.
I row this boat until I am tired
and pickup again when I can
because we are
worth the row.