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salt the ice my wounds (a poem)

I didn’t come here alone

I came here alone

I came with a raccoon cat Koala

my one true love

I promise you this all is true

it’s not my fault

 

They warned me about the rain

Where I’m from snow is a season

snow is a crow

snow, heat melted, is everyday ready to quench my first thirst

What is rain but less?

I never learned to listen

 

You think bones are hard? bones are sponges

they soak

they freeze

they crack

 

New in town, grocery store’s a museum

dinner a can of Rainier

I can’t find the bus, I can’t find a quarter

but now I can climb

I can walk miles

 

In Madrona I lived in a room with pink walls

and words and stained glass and flies

till the owner sold it and kicked us out early

 

On First Hill I lived with bars on my windows

I tried to escape

I tried to burn but walls are tenacious

I tried to destroy but life is tenacious

I tried to escape but love is tenacious

help crept unannounced

they don’t use their sirens at night

 

On Bainbridge I lived in a log cabin mansion

I got my food for free

day-old pastries

overripe fruit

lettuce from lush Bainbridge gardens

I can say that I’m grateful

 

In Magnolia I watched cats

I watched railroads and cats and I cried

but I cry everywhere

 

Have you ever been mad?

Have you felt that clench in your chest and that heat

Do you know how to scream?

I can say I lit fires to show you

but I already promised the truth

 

They warned me about the ice

I just wish someone would fight

 

Have you ever felt

that anger so righteous

that needing to crush in your fist

that glass so sharp you almost forget

holding that feeling so tender

marking what’s yours with a bite on the neck

Ice the pain away

 

They warned me about the freeze

Have you ever felt nothing?

 

the freeze is not a cold shoulder

the freeze comes in for a hug

the freeze invites you to parties and then,

forgets to include the address

the freeze wants to be your best friend until,

you do something wrong

 

Back home freeze we salt and we chip and we crush

we skid and we crash and we brake and we laugh

but here freeze and ice are never not nice

at least I know how to feel

 

When I was young I learned not to trust

I never stopped learning

Forget

 

I’ve learned nothing yet

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