Wanderlust

[written in 2011]
I suffer from wanderlust. I want to see the same constellation during a cloudless night in at least two hundred different locations. I want to have a sleeping bag and a thermos of coffee and a package of Oreos wherever I go for the rest of my life. I want to see a comet, I want to believe in fortune cookies, I want to close my eyes at 11:11, and wish on shooting stars. I want a hard-cover notebook filled with quotes and poems and anything else I find inspirational. I want thick-rimmed glasses, a warm beanie with earflaps, and as if it couldn’t get any better, I want to ask you to join me.

I suffer from non-denomination. I don’t believe in soulmates and I don’t believe people can be possessions, but I think if anyone gave me you, it was probably Orion- that’s who I pray to on nights when I can’t find God in the sky. I think Orion is more disciplined, he’s got a bigger belt and if there’s anything I learned growing up, it’s that you don’t mess with someone who’s got a big belt.

I suffer from stimulation. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m handed a hand and lips press against my ear. I keep your secrets whispering in my subconscious. They speak in my dreams alongside my own secrets which I cautiously share with you from time to time. I’ve never been comfortable holding someone’s hand or sitting in the front seat. I’ve never been easy to trust someone. I won’t say that it’s different… I won’t say it.

I suffer from friendship. After spending months being that wrong person everyone sends text messages to, I’ve learned to write your name in pen instead of pencil with intentions of keeping you permanent. I feel like you are me in a different costume. Even white out would only cover you up until someone scratches it off to reveal what I’ve been looking for, what I am, and what I have been for a long time. In fear, I can paint over you all I want, but you will still be there.

I suffer from you. I’ve found ways to find who you are in extreme detail dancing in my tired mind. Engraved in my sore heart that beats to push blood through the veins only you see. Filling my right lung with warmth and my left lung with happiness. Bringing thickness to my skin and helping me feel invincible. This reflects in my eyes, reflects in my aura.

I suffer from wanderlust. But with you, staring up at the sky, I don’t suffer at all.

History Class

[written in 2009]

I am gonna scream loud enough to scare you. To make you cry, losing your breath, so maybe you’ll be in half the pain you put me through. And during that scream? You’ll listen. Tears bleeding from your widened eyes. You’re going to hear me.

I want to grab your frizzy burnt hair and use your face to flatten out the sand on the beaches along all of the Pacific Northwest where my ancestors fished before your people showed up. I want to take the knowledge you’ve tried to shove down my throat and pound it into my fist and use it to punch you in your throat. I want to build a fire. A giant bonfire. And dance around it like a savage shouting indistinguishables from the depths of my diaphragm.

I want you to call me uncivilized so I can snatch that word and throw it into your broken home with pictures of children who never come home where you do absolutely no work for no love and no life. I want your fake tan to turn to cancer while mine stays intact for years after one summer of sunlight without having to listen to you.

I want you to continue with your monthly hair dyes and thick black eyeliner- trying to mask yourself with something you ridicule. Something you will never be and only secretly wish you could be. Something I am. I want to rip out your tongue and dip it in a simmering pan of frybread oil so you can taste the sweet outcome of your people only giving my people four elements of corn, yeast, flour, and powdered milk. I want you to drown in the bottle of whiskey my people put in your hand every Friday night. I want you to choke the evaporations from the cigar you bought from my smoke shop.

I want to take a needle to your inflatable nose, since you say you can see Injun in mine. I want my blood to spill on your Abercrombie shirt and jeans and flip flops because you’ll never like me if part of me isn’t a stereotypical white girl.

I want your Marine husband to meet a beautiful Indian woman and not rape her for your satisfaction, but leave you for her Pocahontas lifestyle- but she’s not a real Disney Princess, according to you.

I want all of your freshmen students to see right through you. I want their hearts slashed alongside mine. I want the past to start all over and I want to be there to rob your great great grandfather of his pistol and use it to shoot him so you never existed. Actually, I want to use a bow and arrow.

I want there to be a reason for you to call me hostile, so let me give you one. And I want one more reason not to show up to history class today.

Bullet

[written in 2009]

Bang bang. He’s a bullet. Sharp and smart, not like a lot of guys you’ll find these days. He tries to keep the lies loaded and tell only truths to your face, but it’d be a lie if he thought he could do it. The kind of guy that ends only the dirtiest of fights and kisses only vulnerable girls. But what a sweet kiss it can be. Then he walks away smiling the fakest of smiles just to help pass the day while no one visible sticks a foot out to break a common ritual. Telling jokes to get laughs that proves he hasn’t lost it yet- and it hasn’t lost him, while the most important people in his life might have.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and he doesn’t know it. He plays the big shot, pushing everyone aside. Never settling to ride shotgun. He’s got a grin like a Cheshire cat when he’s feeling devious right before he jumps the gun, going off half-cocked and trying to keep a stiff upper lip as she attempts to bite down on his shell. Holding it in her teeth like a trophy. She spits him out on the pavement like a bitter aftertaste while a scared little one pulls the wool over his eyes in a game of war.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and he loves it. He can’t break your heart but he’ll run right through it. Make you lose your breath. And when he’s gone all you have left is a hole where he cut for a split second. The worst part is, there’s no retrieval policy to get him back. She had to learn the hard way that it’s a one-shot kind of deal, so maybe she should stop yelling at him and step off ‘cause anywhere he goes is a hazard and he knows it. She can only bring him closer just to send him off again.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and he’ll wipe the smile off your face just as quickly as he put it there. But he’s intoxicating and addicting and he’s absolutely beautiful. And that may be the one thing about himself that he’s still not so sure of. And he’s always there to catch you when you trip and fall. He’s got your back so well he’s almost in your back even when you don’t have his nearly as well. And he’s always got a word to speak to make you think when the tears are falling and there’s nothing to say. He’ll put you in the situation where you can’t feel as guilty as you want to for having him when he can’t even find himself. But you know you’d jump in front of him to save him from himself when his mind is racing and out of control. He says it’s always an accident.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and nothing more than a bullet in a world of loaded guns.

Someday

Someday you will wake up to the light peaking through your blinds

striping the walls and her face golden, cradled on your chest

and you will kiss her

and you will feel it

and she won’t tell you that you are the only person who has ever kissed her first thing in the morning

and she will feel it, too.

Glovebox

Prompt: write about the contents of the box you will leave behind when you die.

[written in 2012]

 

unlabeled

carelessly attached to the remnants

of my first car, totaled

never to be driven

handle hanging off to display

things you’ve seen, distant

as if through glass walls

windows

and if you ever get the nerve to touch them

they will speak in softest tones and

life I couldn’t finish and in

my first car, totaled

never to be driven

a glove.

crumpled behind proof of insurance and

crusted with dried tears and granola bars

because I was sad and hungry and ironic and

gloves kept the space between my knuckles warm

when you weren’t sitting in my passenger seat

clutching onto the coat hook every time I turned down unfamiliar streets

for the sake of getting lost

a map.

for when those times getting lost and adventurous

turned into sticky turmoil

and we stopped recognizing the sidewalks and yellow lines and

tomtoms are too mainstream

we craved our front door opening

my favorite cd.

shattered like mirror sprinkles

on the dirtiest cupcake

reflecting the dustiest cobwebs and

your sweetest eyes

music never to be played

in the radio of

my first car, totaled

never to be driven

a love note.

eighty pages long- a love notebook.

each line written to somebody different

apologizing for my sudden absence

apologizing for being unable to accept replies

I’d been writing this for years should something tragic happen

and it must have

a blue traffic bump.

indicator of fire hydrants

helper of steady extinguishment

picked loose from the friction of heavy truck tires

thieved from communal safety by my envious hands

to sit in the cracked compartment of my glove box

I wish I’d ever been able to assist like that pathetic reflective blue square

stickers.

from the lady at the bank

in case you wanted to re-live our childhood together

and stick them on the windows

just to watch mom scrub them off

so we could smell the sweet orange of a chemical cleaner

used for things like removing stickers from windows and

taking the blood out of the fabric used to make the car seats of

my only car, totaled

never to be driven.

Puppeteer

[written in 2013]

My marionette.

His lips and cheeks painted pink to make him lifelike but inside he’s hollow.

He tastes like bubblegum and is good for a game of footsies-

a reminder that cold feet is more than a physical condition.

You can’t trust what he says is genuine since he’ll say anything I tell him to.

Do anything I tell him to.

And I can’t keep this up anymore.

I’ve told him I’m not good at this heartbreaking business, but he says this is love.

This is what love is.

He says he feels free.

He says since he’s met me, he’s got no strings to hold him down.

But I’m just playing with the ones that hold him up.

What I am

I am poetry scribbled on post-it notes littering your desktop.

I am campfire smoke soaked into curls tickling your chin

I am sprained backbone, stuttering at the microphone, forgetting my lines quite often.

And piles of books pushed into the shelf all summer

I am untuned piano keys that make beautiful music

I am the raging fire of a candle wick

I am a great story with a terrible ending

And I will always be too much for you.