Like A Joke

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You make a joke

You throw a joke

I am the joke

Can’t I take a joke

They laugh, they look

You smile, I within

I am the joke

What’s wrong, but

They know, I just

Can’t take a joke

I am the joke

It is me

And they laugh

At your jokes

They laugh at me

You grow like

A giant fed by

Their laughter, and

I shrink – tiny, tiny

Me, and that makes

An even better joke

So you say that, too

The laughs swallow

Me up, tiny me

disappears

Like

a

joke

Erosion

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She used to face the wind, steady

strength worn in straight lines and

sound steps. But harsh nights

and bitter words weathered her

core, washed away resolve,

beat down seasoned worth,

pieces fall away, she lets

them go, it’s all broken

anyway, layers of fall

lean and snap of

her, cruel words

grab, she’s only

a fragment of

what she was,

the rest of

her is

gone

let him pick no more

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don’t blossom here, flower,

close up, go back inside. don’t reach,

for your sun, don’t open your petals

wide.  don’t smile, or believe, or

speak your fuschia dreams.

he’ll pick you if you bloom just right,

grip you, rip you, wilt your hue,

until a lovelier one blooms, and he will

drop you. pick her. pick her. pick her.

you’ll be lying on the ground, with no

way to grow. wither. hold your blooms,

dear flower, let him pick no more.

Questions

How did she taste, when I was writing poems for you?

Was her bed warm, did you sing to her, too, while I waited

in silence for you?  Did you look behind or ahead or only

in her eyes?  Was the press of her flesh all you needed

to feel alive?  Were my words tossed aside like last weeks

trash, while you cherished her body, and I walked alone

outside? Did you wonder what it meant as you sighed in

release, the waves of torment you set on the seas?  Or do

you owe nothing to no one and your body is free?  Do you

realize that your body will never claim me?

The Butterfly and the Hail Storm

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In the morning, while the sun knew
and I was time, she drifted to me.  Blue,
floating blue cascade shimmer, she came
to me with whispers of summer still.
Quieted by her dance, I stayed as she
settled upon me, smiled with her indigo
wings, round eyes and watched me
wonder her blue deep through me.
 
And then later, on the mountain, darkness
dropped, as it does with time, sky turning,
mirroring granite below. Rain pelted, soaked,
willed itself to hail. Morning forgotten,
I drew myself closed within the gray, startled
by bolts of lightning on nearby pines.  Hunched
down, arms around knees, head bowed, hurting.
I felt the wings on my back lose their flight.
 

after all

(today I decided to walk out deep into the woods until I came up with answers to the questions I have been pondering. after walking more than 7 miles in the heat, I found myself lying face down in a grove of trees, with no recollection of what had happened. i took this photo then. i was injured, dizzy, and in no shape to walk the remaining 5 miles back to my car, but i realized that, not only did i have no phone reception, but i had no one to call to come help me. somehow i made it out.  i was in the woods for almost 5 hours.  after i got home, i found this poem on my phone. i wrote it today, but i have no recollection at all of writing it. i think that says a lot.)

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eight miles out i fall

black out, wake up

stones edge tree lean

ask. no reception here

no one to call. leaks

from knees, red, and eyes,

clear drops of alone

air crush with know. no

breath. out of focus all.

lost. alone. maybe here

home after all. 

ones that walk away

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ones that walk away without saying good-bye (good-bye)

leave me shiver the rain (looking for shadows)

reasons like questions wrap me still (you left)

empty trains ride the know (without me)

the bench of the station, cold iron feel (alone)

blankness of silence, fog of your go (I wait)

no words you left, no solace or explain (mined hollow)

just gone, only gone, words secured with you (I fall)

disappeared and all, away, and spared nothing (not me)

Liability

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Doctor:  I saw how you tossed my file

across the desk, and all of the papers

spilled out onto the floor. Symbolic.

But you, you were annoyed, that you

had to pick up my pieces and jam them

back in the file, weren’t you? I know.

I heard your annoyed sigh as I walked

away, and you reminded me, again,

that I could find another doctor.

 

And all I was trying to do was make it

out the door without letting slip

the torrent of tears that began to build

back in your office, when you said,

“You make my job difficult.”  I lost

my words then, so you continued:

“And how I am supposed to work

around this eating disorder thing,

or whatever it is?”  My eyes were

on the floor, but I still saw your look

of disgust at my 100 pound body.

 

And did I even care how hard it was

on you that I didn’t want to take more pills,

but for God’s sake did I realize I have

a brain tumor, a divorce, no family here,

I am not sleeping or eating….and, you, doctor,

said five prescriptions are what I need.

When I said I just needed time and support,

you said I was difficult and uncooperative.

 

And I stopped speaking because,

what could I say?  And you called me

noncompliant, that I was tying your hands

behind your back in attempt to gain power,

and my mind whispered……no, i am trying

to survive.  But you didn’t hear, because

you were drawing up a document for me

to sign that said if I kill myself, you are not

legally liable.  I signed it.

 

so I could leave.  you never looked

at my face. or you might

have known

 

the damage

 

you

 

did

 

to

 

me

 

 

house of cards

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standing on the beach

as the tsunami of your resentments

overtakes me, leaves me gasping for breath,

but all I breathe in are words that seethe.

i remember, once, you called me a house of cards,

the cruelest thing you ever said

before

but now i am that, as you slam each card

with bitter brown water, swirling it,

pulling it down with years of angry.

there’s no house any more,

just a bunch of lost cards

you are trying to drown.

 

These Tears Belong to You

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I never expected winter to carry in a friend,

one who said, “I want to know your mind,”

who listened when I spoke softly,

and heard the colors, too. I was cold,

and you showed me warm, built me

a safe place to release – my alone,

my how it feels to be chased by death,

my real.  You said, “I get you.”

And you did.  Did you get the pieces

you scattered behind when you left?

 

These tears belong to you.

Just Because

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Just because I walk when wind blows strong,
doesn’t mean your words won’t knock me
to the frozen ground. And just because I let
the rain fall over me, through me, soak me
like a thirsty tree, doesn’t mean the looks
that fall upon me go unnoticed; their bitter
wetness seeps in every pore and flows deep.
Just because I hear claps of angry thunder and
don’t flinch, that doesn’t mean that cruelty isn’t
slicing through me, gashing at my peace. And
just because I watch the tide come in, the stars
appear, the sun rise, doesn’t mean you are here.
Just because I am alone and my eyes are dry

doesn’t mean that I don’t weep.

 

no words left for me

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Remember how I waited

for all the words you didn’t say,

like the gasp the sun makes

just before she dives into the sea,

and yellows and oranges turn deep,

into blue foghorn songs in the dusk.

Now I walk dark streets in silence,

to see if your words hang there,

waiting, a song to be collected,

but block after block is empty,

quiet, no words left for me. 

When You Doubt a Friend

When you doubt a friend, it’s like

putting a flame to the handrail

of a well-worn footbridge, smooth

and trusting, and waiting for fire to appear.

 

Soon the handrail is useless for holding

you steady; the flame of doubt spreads.

Travel the bridge only down the middle, as doubt

grows hotter and meaner, swallowing more bridge.

 

Behind you, your tiny flame has grown

to devour where you once walked safely.

Remembered footsteps are consumed by your doubt.

No turning back, the bridge crumbles to ash.

 

Quicken your steps to safety, off the footbridge,

thoughts of days of peaceful passing there.

But you put the flame to the bridge.  Look back.

Ash and burned boards float past like old friends.

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