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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On healing the tender places that long to be held, and heard

Let my heart be tender, open and free. Let me forgive
where forgiveness is called for.
Let me hold my tender heart in my own hands,
and wrap it up in a blue fuzzy blanket
and tenderly tuck it into bed.
Let me allow myself to hurt when I am hurting, and to cry out 
when I need to be heard.
Let the one who is hurting be held,
Let the one who is able to comfort
hold the little hurting one in 
strong arms, wrapped in a careful hug,
gently so as not to crush her, 
just tight enough to let her know that she is loved. 
Let the one who is able provide comfort
to the one who is hurting.
Let the one who is hurting cry as much as she needs to cry. 
Let her be angry
Let her yell about the ones who did not do all they could to protect her.
But let the one who is now grown
see that they were probably doing their best.
Let the one who is hurting forgive, as she is able.
Let that forgiveness set me free.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


The first time I laid eyes on you
I knew that fucking you would be poetry
The first time I brought you home
I knew I’d write you so many love poems
you’d run out of shoe boxes to put them in.
The first time you placed your lips on mine
I said “More.”
The first time my fingers found the soft hollow of you
I knew I’d found home.
The first time you let me into your heart
I wanted to let go of everything else so I could move in.
And I did.
You unfolded your welcome mat and said “I have a place for you here."
The first time you wrote me a haiku I was hooked.
The first time you tried to tell me you weren’t good enough for me
I called you a liar.
The first time you cried in my bed I licked your tears and held you gently.
The first time you let me see your vulnerability I was scared
but I did not back down,
I dove into the deep waters of you instead.

The time I left my marriage for you,
my hands were shaking as much as my heart.
My head said, “What the hell are you thinking?”
But my heart knew if I didn’t grab on and let you take me with you
I’d stay small and shrivel up
And I wanted to grow huge with you.
I knew that we’d grow like giants together.
Like the oversized vine that insists on growing in our backyard
I knew that I could not stop this.
I knew if I tried to rip it out of the ground
it would have left a gaping hole where my soul was supposed to be.
The first time I saw a scene from one of our past lives,
I thought I was going mad;
But you held onto me and you believed me.
The first time I dove into the pool of you I didn’t even make a splash.
It was like you’d been waiting for me,
like you knew I’d be coming if you just made a space for me.
The first time I put my whole fist in you, you heard God.
The first time our souls swam together I felt like I was breathing for the first time.
The first time you held my hand it was magic.
The first time I couldn’t not touch you I knew I wanted to double-negative with you

Monday, July 7, 2014


You don't have to carry
That heavy load
It's okay to let go.
It's really okay to surrender
To fly the white flag
To raise it up over your head
And say I don't have any more
Fight let in me.
It's okay to become the white
Dove of peace flying with the olive branch
It's okay to stop being the restorer
The mother
(but really you can't ever stop being the mother, that's part of the job)
It's okay to stop mothering everyone that isn't your child.
Boundaries are good and healthy.
It's okay to say ”I can't help you with that right now.”
And it's okay to have a creaky voice when you are tired
Of holding your self up
Along with everyone else.
And it's okay to want to run away sometimes
When you can not hold up the whole
sky any more. It's quite alright.
You tried your best.
And that is good
You can't be mother to three
You can only be what you are
And you can say enough is enough
When it is.
And you can hold out a hand of peace
And love
Even when someone is throwing shit at you.
You can offer a hand
But still rest your aching heart.
Let the bees do their work
Let the soft white bed be full of only you
And your big, open, sacredheart.
And be thankful for the one who
Let it break open. 

Love Wholly

Love wholly
even when it feels like too much.
Love wholly.
Even when you think that you can't give anymore--
accept the gift.

Even when you feel like
maybe you're not sure
of this love that has found you, through time and chance and place
Love wholly.
If this person loves you with all of their heart,
be adored.
Let that love wash over you and create a feeling of complete
Love wholly.

Love whole.
Even if it's too much.
Let love bathe you in her essential light
Like a purple waterfall coming down off an icy mountain.
Let it wash through you
and let it cleanse your fears and your lack and your unworthiness.
Be the love
Be loved more than you have ever known in this life.
Let love be your essence and your guide
Be breathed. Let your breath match your lover's as you are embraced.
Love wholly.
When you wake at 3:00 in the morning gripped by fear,
Remember love.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Breakup kit

Our breakup kits contained hammers and glitter
hammers so we can rebuild our feelings of security
and knock down the walls we've built around our hearts--
Glitter so we can return the sparkle to our eyes when
we're done crying it all away.
Was it a bad sign that we had breakup kits ready to go?
How long did we stay together after we knew it wasn't
going to last?

Every couple has to break up in their own way and this
is how we're doing it.
We call each other for support every night
But we finally stopped fucking for old time's
We are doing this in our own time.
You sleep in a room with a skylight for a ceiling but
you've blocked out all the windows with heavy paper
so the light can't seep through
and I think it is a shame to waste all of that natural light.

I've been dreaming of elimination
Elimination is a euphemism for
piss and shit
I wonder what it is I am letting go of--
It's too obvious if I say I'm letting go of you.
But there it is.
Every night I dream of taking a shit.

Sometimes I dream I'm shitting in my own bed
How long, out of our three years
was I shitting in my own bed?
(I'm talking figuratively here, I don't literally
shit in my own bed.)
Everyone lets go in their own time.

I dream I am in NY City, in an apartment
with ten other people living there--
It's a large apartment but we all share one small
bathroom and it's always damp because it has no
window, what is it with all the windowless metaphors--
is it because I spent so many months not seeing the light?
Because you still can't see the light?
I wake up disappointed to find myself still in the desert,
sleeping in the bed where we once share so many long nights
Maybe I should move to NY City,
There's more queers there
and maybe I could use my hammer to rebuild
faster and break down the walls of my heart
by fucking hot butches.
Everyone rebuilds in their own time.

I am pregnant
with possibility.
Positively bursting
with it
Every dream a poem
in the making.
In the mornings I wake
and try to unscramble
some of the words
on my tongue
from dream to page
daylight dissolves
them into oblivion
like so many cobwebs
brushed away
by a careless hand. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The injustice of a bare cupboard and a 40-hour workweek

I thought I'd never be
broke and angry again.
After divorcing my children's daddy
the man who could not hold a job for
longer than six months
in the last years of our relationship
the man who wanted to be "freelance"
but during the months between clients
when the cupboards were bare,
refused to let me apply for food stamps
"No family of mine will live off welfare."

And so I'd scrounge together
five dollars in quarters
buried in the couch cushions
and scraped off the floor of
my car
to go buy the fixings for
dinner for four.
Cupboards all bare,
I'd walk through the aisles
looking at expensive food
I could not afford to feed my children
and I'd pick up $1 box of spaghetti
$1.50 store-brand sauce
99 cent head of iceberg lettuce
I'd call "salad"
and $1 loaf of bread.
Can't afford butter so
I'll sprinkle it with garlic powder
and call it "garlic bread."

Going home I will put this food on the table
and I will wonder how I will pull this off
and what the kids will eat for breakfast now that
the cornflakes I bought on Monday
are gone
and the half gallon of milk was all
used up two days ago. Remember childhood
of powdered milk & refuse that
think this must be why my husband
refuses to let me get food stamps.
He grew up eating orange blocks of government
cheese, peanut butter in large cardboard
containers, black and white block letters
denoting what free food was inside
and that memory is too painful
for him to relive.

I hope that my children will not
understand that we are struggling
will not notice the empty space
on the shelves where there used to be
individual cups of apple sauce
and juice boxes
and endless varieties of Goldfish brand crackers
(Flavor Blast, Xtra Cheddar, Xplosive Pizza)
all within their easy reach. No more.
I try to distract them with puzzles and
videos- Finding Nemo on the TV
and just when I think I've pulled off
this illusion,
we'll go visit my sister
in Tucson.

When my oldest (who's seven) looks in her pantry
the first morning we are there,
he will stop in his tracks,
shout in awe, "WOAH."
"Where did you get all of this cereal??"

And I will turn my face away from him
so that he and my sister will not see
that I am crying.
Deep breath.
We will eat well for the weekend
and then we will go home to our empty cupboards
(I am too ashamed or proud to tell my sister we are struggling.)
And the father with no job and
I, forbidden from foodstamps,
"No family of mine will be on welfare,"
will try to fashion dinner out of
corn meal
and tofu
and oil.
I will cut them into finger-sized strips and I will
place them on the plate before my children
with a big, painted-on smile
and I will call them "vegan fish sticks"
(dinner for four, $3.00) and I will
go to bed hungry.

One afternoon I will go outside to
have a good cry where the kids can't hear me
and I will pick an orange absent-mindedly
from our tree
and pull it apart with my fingers, bring
sticky flesh to my lips, juice running down my chin
and it will be the sweetest, juiciest taste
I have ever had upon my tongue.
Because I stopped buying soda a month ago
and any juice we can afford to buy
is watered down for the kids to make it last longer
and I haven't had a piece of fruit in my mouth since Tucson--
Deep Breath.
I thought I'd never be this angry
or this broke, again.

Now it is eleven years later.
I've worked my way up from temp
jobs to a good, steady job
to support my family on my own-
won't rely on any man or woman to support me again.
My pride will not let me
my self-preservation will not let me
my Mama-bear-Do-Not-Fuck-with-my-children
will not let me.

My hours have been cut.
Paychecks no longer stretching like rubberbands
from week to week.
Cupboards are bare again
and I am broke and I am angry.
DES says I still make too much to qualify
for food stamps.
My empty fridge would beg to differ
my bank account would beg to differ
Can't make the rent and also afford to buy food
would beg to differ.
Cashed in all my jars of change for thirty-seven dollars
would beg to differ.
I am broke
and I am angry.
Worked too hard, for too long, to put up with this shit