The Kitchen Sink

I left dishes in the kitchen sink the way some people leave Christmas lights up into January

Spent too little time in the kitchen.

He called me messy,

called me inconsistent,

said “you are not enough homemaker to hold me together.”

 

I left dishes in the kitchen sink the way he left my heart in the doorjamb when he slammed it shut behind him.

Spent too little time chasing after him.

He called me later,

called me every night

said “I only said those things to hurt you, I still want to be together.”

 

I left dishes in the kitchen sink the way I leave people to play extras in the movie that is my life.

Spent too little time deciding it was over.

He called me monster,

called me psychotic,

said “you will never find someone with enough patience to piece you together.”

 

I left dishes in the kitchen sink

So he left me.

And I…

I did not stop him.

Seattle Cliches

[written in 2011]

 

Let’s wish we could find a way to make coffee and fingernails sound poetic. I want to write about the paint on my clothes and the smell of smoke absorbed by my skin. The holes in the soles of my feet and the holes in my mind, but I can’t find a reason to write in the dark. It’s much scarier under beautiful stars when you realize you’re in a city, an alleyway of broken windows and broken hearts laid out neatly in the dust of dirty thoughts and suicides. There will come a day when Starbucks aprons are believed to be a sign that multiple gods exist in our atmosphere when Microsoft stops autocorrecting the I before E rule and “I” no longer needs to be capitalized like God does. I believe dead spirits that walk among us in the bodies of the depressed. Stumbling outside reality in a cloud of unhappy until they master a way to find artsiness in the darkness. They can hear themselves breathing, but can’t decide whether they should hold their breath in to retain life until it evaporates as nothing from their lungs or if it’s better to let white noises crawl under their skin until they’re crazy. The people here are crazy. Driven mad by stop signs and running through red lights until they’ve reached a destination of uneasiness. How he knows he never really loved her because the poetry he wrote when they were together was shit. We’re show-offs to cover insecurity. Cheering hard for losing baseball teams and avoiding ignorance. We never lose hope and that’s where our music comes from. The one thing we deserve to take pride in. That’s soul burning down our esophagus until it warms us in the depths of stomach acid. It took a lot of time on Google Images, searching for pictures of physical deformities to learn that not everyone is born with two eyes, not everyone is everyone else’s idea of human. Where we rip the seams in our rain jackets as an early weather forecast hoping the sun will peak through the clouds we’ve created with wrist pollution. Where we say “fuck” too much and “love” like it’s sacred. Where we believe pop cans and soda bottles and newspapers and microwave dinner boxes deserve a second life through recycling. We’re superstitious. We use eyes to see into souls and window reflections make us nervous with the anticipation of seeing someone we don’t want to look at, we don’t trust, so as a result some of us stop trusting in God. All we’ve known to have grasp of is the sidewalk in which we walk to reach places we’ve never been, but we never venture too far for that would mean chance of facing unacceptance and non-hipsters. We believe that wearing t-shirts with skulls on them makes us brave ‘cause it’s a scary thought that the only place you’ll ever feel safe is in the lap of your mother. So as Seattlites we search for Mother Nature in everything. We just want to be hopeful. We just want to be happy. We’re trying to find the light. Where social status is decided by how many rings are on your fingers and how clean your dreadlocks are. How much makeup can you go without and still be beautiful? Be organic. So we smile crooked-teeth and let our fingernails grow yellow between cigarettes as we say welcome to the city, welcome to Seattle. Here, we do art.

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.

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.