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.

Pool of Flames

[written in 2013]

 

For anyone that’s ever met someone so handsome, you were too scared to touch him.

For the oil on your skin would surely ruin him. Already ink-stained collarbone to collarbone, bent to let your head rest.

And you touch his chest with the barrier of a sweat-soaked t-shirt: safe.

And you feel his heartbeat like it’s made of puppies: Labradors.

And you think this is wild, breathing like a creature hidden under his diaphragm, spreading his ribcage like open-heart surgeons might.

Like veterinarians might.

They baptized me in a pool of flames, igniting every nerve ending into letting me be my own person. And drowning me in the truth that one will never be as good as two.

While I see his body is a temple, he sees a city recovering from a harsh winter, peeling ice off the telephone wires where talons perch on their way south.

So when my coffee’s gone cold because I hesitated at its taste,

When tears reverberate down my jawline and my hair won’t get out of my eyes

When my toes break from dancing on the feelings of people around me and avoiding his contact

When I’ve sinned beyond all recognition of the little girl they once rocked to sleep

Because I know they baptized him in a pool of tea, too hot to swallow, too sweet to claim

But my fire burns hotter underneath his boiling figure with the fear of losing fuel- I need them to recognize my helper, my accelerant

So I will climb up the walls I was built in, char every room where I froze in bitter air during sleepless nights, wondering about the judgement of god

Craving arms to wrap around me like the ribbon on a gift

Tied to every love I faded out of, every guy that made fun of the way I pointed my hair dryer like pistol, every girl that tried to hang herself with her extensions and choked on acrylics, every daughter and every son that might inconveniently wake us up on a Saturday morning for breakfast.

It’s so romantic. But at times romanticism makes me feel like a cat stuffed into a hamster wheel. He’s like an eagle resting on a robin’s nest praying God bless you, undressed with the crest of a beating scarlet chest, pounding through every bound breast compressed to express that eagle confessed ownership of the beating scarlet chest of a robin. And you never woulda guessed by the way he speaks to me. So until I sprout wings, I’m wondering how far my feet can take me before I finally meet my soul mate.

And if he’s not comfortable with snuggling tonight, I’ll understand and then he’ll lend me an arm so I can rest my softened jawline against his bicep and watch him breathe. Staring at his mouth, soaked in his smirks, until I come to the conclusion that those are the curves that matter and he is the reason they call it a cupids bow. And the crease that parts his lips is shaped like wings. And I believe they’re gonna take me to heaven. They’ll save me. And I wonder if he’s thinking the same thing about me and I wonder if I have enough in me to save him and I wonder if he even needs saving.

So for anyone who’s ever questioned whether they start too many sentences with I. Or anyone who’s ever questioned if their pen ran out of ink or if the paper just stopped listening. Or anyone who’s ever questioned if they should go unspoken when they saw feathers poking through ace bandages yearning to stretch a beaten down wing. And every handhold with palm lines pressing until the creases all fit neatly together. For anyone who started believing that if god made anyone in his image- it’s this guy. Then maybe you’ve taken a risk. A chance. A flight… and found out it was worth it.

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.

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.

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.