Shirley Temple (revised)

Months since I’ve seen you, on an entirely flat day,

a waitress sets a Shirley Temple in front of me,

with that plump stemmed ruby on the top,

and my thoughts automatically bob back

to your glinting tongue, a Maraschino cherry,

and your sugar laugh that had stirred me

pink, bubbly, and

ecstatic.

My cheek clanking against my palm,

I had sipped every ounce of you in

savoring your effervescence,

my flouncing heartbeat, our warming cheeks,

until the waitress’s eyes had plead for a picture.

We had reached across the wooden chaperone,

frozen our grenadine grins and

waited.

Both of us paralyzed

by the first swallow of a sweet

that could hardly last the night.

drown again

remind me again

 

of that look in your eye

that panic from asphyxiation

then the joy

of inhaling epiphany instead,

 

show me how

your hands outstretch, and

how you gesture at the sky

for clarity

 

let me watch you struggle

and when you bob back up

don’t hide the gasp in your eye,

the greed for more

 

drown again

let it happen

 

but this time pull me under too

grab my hand,

steal my air

and I’ll search with you

 

for the only thing that

trumps these uncertain depths,

is being      without you

at the surface

A Mother’s Eulogy (A Persona Poem)

Straps sliding down my slender arms

unveil collarbones like kindling,

revealing me like the bare neckline of a Duchess.

I touch my hair, hard and oily like wax

and then put the pen to paper,

thinking of Peter, and the incomplete circles

he drew for wings on his Sunday school angels.

I smirk at the uncanny likeness between

Peter and these celestials,

bright beacons, arriving unpredictably,

Couriers with notes of love and gentleness,

just for my eyes.

My thoughts wander from the page to the window,

remembering the embers of hope that burned

when Peter was in my belly,

and how he emerged like a candlewick,

searing a hole in me that never healed,

and was never meant to.

Today the sidewalks bleed rain,

and hooded people pass in droves,

their dark shadows sending me searching.

Looking for light.

Looking for you, Peter.

Chance (a rhyming poem–what’s getting into me!?)

Your glance, magnetic, drew in mine,

not askance, no, but open, kind,

and I, entranced, betrayed my way

to watch this gaze that mirrored the day.

Life’s needle, shocked, shook left and right,

lost as if the black of night,

but then it halted on your face

and I could see no other place.

Before this fork, I thought about,

a long and predetermined route,

But this new path, it sings of chance,

I see it in your marked glance.

Ignore the Poetry Nazis

As a creative writing major I get to study what I love, and take TONS of writing classes. Fun, right? Well, you’d sure think so. But the fun keeps getting sucked out of my current poetry class because of the presence of a certain Poetry Nazi. Okay, so this might be an insensitive name for her, but my goodness, I’ve never met a person so intolerant and close-minded about writing!

On the first day of this class, she told me that my poem, “wasn’t a poem” and that “if I wasn’t going to adhere to official poetic forms–why am I in a poetry class?” And today, she made me feel terrible about a haiku I had written because it wasn’t conventional. Sheesh! I’m not a perfect writer, I know, but her comments are more mean than helpful. What’s worse, is she does this to everyone. So it’s time for me to passive-aggressively blog about it.

I’m not trying to slander this girl for the sake of slander, but rather because I want to say this: create whatever the hell you want to create. Be you. Art was never meant to go in a neatly labeled box but rather, it is designed to challenge arbitrary rules and to make us think beyond them. Sure, tradition is important and necessary when learning your art, but being true to who yourself and to what you have to say is what’s most important. That is what resonates with people and inspires them.

One of the biggest mistakes an artist can commit is making their art inaccessible and elitist. Art is for everyone and if you get wrapped up in “supposed tos” you are going to alienate people. I mean, when you look at a painting, do you count how many brush strokes are used or critique the color palette chosen? No, where’s the fun in that? Most of us consider the feelings the painting evokes, and what it makes us visualize.

So maybe I’m just a liberal-minded, accepting, supportive, hippy artist, but I absolutely ABHOR when people belittle art because it isn’t technically perfect. Being an artist isn’t about becoming one of the master race with perfect technique and flawless adherence to tradition.

So, you, yeah, YOU! Ignore the poetry nazis! Create in a way that represents you and don’t conform to notions of “perfection.” They’re relative anyway.

Still

I still think about you

still–it’s the stupidest word

As I think on this constant miss

I am nothing but still

I’m jittery, restless, questioning

I keep following everyone’s lead

in blind obedience

“Move on, he doesn’t deserve you”

Who knows?

But I don’t move on easily

Because the more I look forward

the more I look back and see

how small we are growing from the distance

And I hate being without you

Acting like I’m fine with never

Hearing your voice

At one point you sat next to me, singing

The hardest thing is still

thinking, ‘without you’ and knowing

how your mind rests

still

without me

Checkered Past (a sonnet)

To understand for what a person aims
We often try to read them like a book
We turn each page or play these vexing games
For something else to help us move our rook

With you it’s been an endless game of chess
In which we switch between both black and white
If asked about your heart I couldn’t guess
You’ll act the horse’s ass and then the knight

Into our checkered past I often stray
To try and understand our future fate
We seem to always occupy the gray
In agony, so close to that checkmate

Where you see columns, I see rows and rows
What we should be, a genius wouldn’t know