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time

17 May

 

i am what i am where i am today

because of who i was when i was what i was

back then.

but today –

today, i am different just the same way

tomorrow will be different

because of today.

 

Lionel-Smit-Merge5-300x300.jpg

artwork by lionel smith.

untitled. #63

4 Jun
today i just realized
that you can’t actually touch the sky,
that it is at least one part illusion.
and i want my heart back.
i want to separate myself,
detach.
unknot.
unfriend.
unlove.
i want my heart back.
it’s just air.
and what is that?
i want my heart back.

love, in the key of “human”

15 May

the moon and venus dance.

the moon
slowly sprinting – still
on his knees.

and venus,
stretching
but safe – still
sitting close to the sun.

it is gravity who remembers
the human has a heart
that beats
love, sometimes
almost to death,
almost to pain
tolerated,
endured, anticipated.
eager, erratic temperatures,
that scare seeds into silence
afraid of their own words,
of feeling.
the sort of evils that strangle
wings.

everyday, more,
flight defies her.

the moon abandons
his gravity,
venus leaves
her feet.
they smile spinning
into their crashes,
eyes touch familiar faces
mouths meet trusted tastes of fresh breaths
welcomed
from a past life’s prayer.

their stars acknowledge them –
and know.

they are not of the universe
the universe is of them.

unicorns, mermaids and me…

14 May


i must have been 4.  he was probably 13 – the son of my parents’ friends.  i had a crush on him.  i went upstairs while our parents were in the kitchen, and passed the room he was sitting in as i headed for my bedroom.  but then he called me in.  i got butterflies.  i sat down across from him – he was lying on his side, leaning on his elbows, legs stretched out.  i was wearing a mini skirt, sitting indian style – i didn’t know that this meant that he could see up my skirt.  i didn’t expect him to begin reaching his foot between my legs.  “you like that?”  i didn’t, not particularly.  not that i remember.  but i liked the attention.  or, i liked the fact that he was paying attention to me.

in elementary school, i remember doing my own thing.  going on adventures, and singing songs i wrote to the unicorns that visited me in my back yard.  i remember being in the first grade and telling everyone a story about the bubble fish and the mermaid who used to live in the river that sat behind our school.  the kids didn’t want to believe me, but i swear it – the more i told the story, the more they started to.  and so i kept telling it.  whenever i could get someone over there, i would tell it.  and i started to believe it, and dream about her.  and the fish – it was so real.  running through the fields, trying to get to her, falling – the dream always ended right before the pain.
mermaids are odd, and beautiful.  genuine, and special.  that’s why the bubble fish are mean the way they are, so quick to use their fangs.  they aren’t hateful, really – it’s just that they care so much for the mermaid.  love comes out all wrong sometimes, when you try to protect it.  and so the bubble fish sit underneath the ground and surround the river where the mermaid lives.  if you walk near the river, you’ll feel the bubble fish like mini hills all over the ground.  if you’re not careful, and you walk too close to the river’s edge and step on a bubble, you’ll pop it.  the fish will jump out and bite you.  
 
piranhas protecting the mermaid who lives in the river, and sings.  they do not belong to her, i’m not even sure she knows they are there.  but she never asks them to leave, and its almost like her songs are for them.  
i used to hop from one small area of flat land to the next, and scare myself when i fell onto a fish’s bubble.
 
that’s the kind of kid i was.  i lived in my head.  dreamed all day.  i painted the world in black and white rainbows.  i held onto my summer evenings thinking they literally carried promises. and i believed that every single star belonged to someone.   everyone was special.  including me.  
i think i woke up the next day with tears in my eyes.  

cacoon

6 Feb

i imagine that if a caterpillar
spent her life watching her brothers and sisters
grow up,
and leave home
to crawl into shells
that look like clouds wrapping wings around their bodies
so exciting, so awesome
and that if she saw them a time after
different – better, wiser, as butterflies
and then one day  she finally found herself
in one of those longed for shells that look like clouds,
and realized that after a time
she was
still there,
that it feels like this.

i’m sure that she would ask,
just like me,
how long does it take
for one to be?

on love. and the walls that fear it.

19 Nov

there aren’t air bubbles in concrete,
but i can sho nuff stuff love in between my walls –
couture, made to fit.
shit.
i got walls tall enough for clouds to stand on,
strong enough to hold all of my dead weight.
and they really do hold
all
of my
dead weight.
but they remember i’m living,
at least
just enough
so i can pretend
i’m living.
these damn walls,
like saran wrap for my dreams.
like my down coat with the fur around the hood,
it ain’t the prettiest
but i never get wet.  

i swear i love this man.  god knows i love this man.  my heart understands, but she thinks she is smarter than god.  she thinks she can control it, manage it.  but it is bigger than her entire life, than all the air she will ever breathe.  she don’t know what love is.  cause, damn.  if she knew…

if she knew that love could make her clean, and make her whole, and all her ugly and all her pretty and all her crazy and all her poetry and her intellectual dances, everything she knows, and everything she wish she did, it’s all the same to him – if she knew what love was, more than what she felt, more than what she saw, well then… i suppose she wouldn’t cry so much about loneliness that never existed.  and distance.

if she could see what love knows, and what faith trusts… well then.  i believe she would probably float.  or whatever non-heavy things do.

if she could see what love sees, she would know god.  and life would be different, all of it.

love colors your eyes so that even when it rains, the sun is always standing next to you, holding your hand.  probably dancing, if that’s what you’re into.  and you really get lucky if love makes you laugh.  and you are truly blessed if he can move your spirit with his smile, and you let him.

i sat up in my bed, and thought to call him.  but instead, i let myself meditate on my mountaintop, so that when i came down, i could take him with me.

 

buzzkill (re: april, 2008)

13 Sep

unintentional intense intimacy
amidst fake affection we imitated initially…
but
we couldn’t fake the fuckin
while i was fakin and frontin on the feelings i was duckin
i think maybe i felt what i wasn’t supposed to
i think its cuz it wasn’t love makin, and i loved you
(or wanted to)
for the record:  it was me –  not you
tried to keep what i was feelin inside
but it was like my heart refused to hide
and it was its most vulnerable at the worst time
you know? those moments while we’re trying to get ‘high’
emotions can be the worst buzz kill

let me be here (a haiku)

22 Aug

now let me be here
alone in this room.  indeed,
wherever i end,

there is you.
i want to see you,

  • love.

perspective

8 May

love colors your eyes so that even when it rains, the sun is always standing next to you, holding your hand.  probably dancing, if that’s what you’re into…  

number 3.

29 Feb

(written to “number 3” by ben harper)

0:13

the first one,
he couldn’t hold me
we had too big eyes.
the second one,
he couldn’t trust me
his love was in his smile.
and number 3,
well she,
was the one
the one who
who helped me
find you.
it was she,
me loving me.

it was she,
me loving me.

conversations with god.

28 Feb

you speak to me,
but i don’t listen.
i mean,
i go through the motions –
i hear you, and
i understand, and
my chest swells with tears
and they promise something new,
but my feet –

they never take me there
my heart has yet to move me there.
we

are unwilling
to do the work.
too attached
to too weak substitutes
strong enough
to distract me.
and i am like an addict.
i poke at my skin
fill up
with what is passing,
and never raise an eye
up.
i know you see me,
but i won’t look.
i am running.
no.
i am boldly avoiding you.
truth.

Protected: i dare you. (a work in progress…)

28 Dec

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nina

14 Dec

i could nina simone this page all over itself.

i mean,

i could write your gospel better than your heart could spell your name.

(artwork by paul goodnight)

your hand in mine.

20 Jun

(inspired, while listening to explosions in the sky’s, “your hand in mine.”  started when the song did, stopped writing when it ended.)

i swear i heard the moon cry
i swear the air started to twist and turn.
and i swear i saw the pacific
float across the sky
and the street lights cave in on us.
and though the cars around us were sprinting,
we kept time.
and i swear,
i swear
i saw one moment worth
of everything.
my heart traveled the world
and met the deepest part of it.
like where gravity rests
and hides for peace of mind
holding us up,
and letting the world fall.
i swear i moved somewhere else
like, everywhere.

i want to fall in love forever.

(artwork by paul goodnight.)

summertime reminds me of home.

9 May

this morning, i could smell summertime in the air.  and immediately, i felt love.  

i remember my elementary school summers, and waking up to sounds that hugged me like long, grandmother squeezes. familiar, comforting, but maddening interruptions to my deep-sleep, sweet dreams.  the sound of you pulling our past from our cabinets, and closets, and throwing what we had forgotten in big trash bags, sitting on the kitchen floor.  saturday morning funerals for the memories you called junk.   you always called this cleaning, but it was always one big mess to me.

i remember our summer afternoons spent in libraries.  my adventures in the corners between book shelves and pages, hiding in my head for hours  everyday.  i remember your “stone soup” and “three billy goats gruff” storybook voices, and how you took us on long walks down your childhood, up southern dirt roads, past tennessee farms and wild white horses, all the way to the honeysuckle you helped us find in our own backyard.

i have been carrying gifts, traveling my entire life with butterfly cocoons in my pockets full of tomorrow and collections of you.  thank you for your stories.  for your guitar playing and piano pounding, and the church ballads you wrote, and made me sing.  for the fake summer, schoolwork assignments i begged for, and the paperdolls you made us.  i thank you for your love.  and your selflessness.  i wear your sacrifices like award medals around my neck, and i am proud to know you as mother.  i am blessed to have you as friend.

(artwork by keith mallett)

 

rewind a lil: “if i knew i couldn’t fail”

11 Apr

https://pdotberry.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/if-i-knew-i-couldnt-fail-2/

i’m love. (a haiku)

7 Apr

sometimes he forgets,
he doesn’t have to prove a
thing to me. i’m love.

(artwork by chidi okoye)

wishing wells

15 Mar

you called her
naive.
but it had always been
love
to her.

and now you get it.

but without relief.
for what you had not seen
weakened what was
trust
to her.

yet,
remarkably
she still prays.
but mostly
that time
can align
eyes,
as well
as it heals
hearts.

love.

21 Feb

they implore us,
“teach for change.”

i wonder if
they have considered
that they hurt us
when they do not first,
know how to love.

you know (a haiku).

21 Feb

look in the mirror.
and name her. never let them
tell you who you are.

sister.

8 Feb

if she knew me/as well as i can see her,/we would both know love. /instead
we fight each other for the same air,/as if we didn’t need each other/to breathe.

also see: https://pdotberry.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/i-have-a-confession/

if this were ordinary…

7 Feb

if this
were ordinary,

i would’ve spent
the last six months
writing about it.

but once again,
words are just words.

and we
were never that.

(artwork by chidi okoye)

if i knew i couldn’t fail…

14 Jan

if i knew i couldn’t fail
i would live deep inside myself
where the people chant in dances
and in wails,
loud with bass and drum.
where tears scream though scats
and the people speak in tongues.
where love pours through guitar scales
and loss becomes flat notes
in the perfect pitch.
my heart would be
a legitimate instrument
and i would skip notes and miss beats
and not care.
my arched-back would
move with hip circles and
flailed arms
and wouldn’t care how they looked.
i would move sideways,
and every other way,
forget balance,
and realize that i am rhythm
my body would own itself.
i would live deep inside myself
so close to God
my voice would sound like His.
if i knew i couldn’t fail
i would lose “myself,”
rediscover her,
and claim a new name.
maybe something like,
“free.”

(artwork by monica stewart)

from, i paint you.

14 Jan

you have always been
too big
for words,
that’s why i paint you.
how do i color
with form
not strong enough
to carry you?

the moon and venus dance.

2 Dec

the moon abandons
his gravity,
venus leaves
her feet.

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