Monday, June 27, 2011

Garage Sale

They start out small, nervous with detail,
labeling with a felt tip marker
the price on each little china plate.
The ink bleeds and floats like a plant root
digging through so much soil paper,
like a seashell
a sensation.
What a memory,
this life,

What agony,
what history laid out on the cheap
plastic tables.
No one wants this, he says,
lowball offers on someone else’s
memories. Save your money,
he yells to the woman with the felt tip.
This is overconsumption.

A breath between

the things that we want
and the things that we fear we need.

A breath we think might save our lives.

I lift the doll from the table.
Trace a finger over her pursed lips
her plastic needles form eyelashes,
half missing,
lost somewhere in the backyard,
her chipped finger
un-stichable body tufts of grey wiry cotton loose.
What desperation
what soft hands,
Tilted her back,
so often
cheap plastic pursed lips,
one eye closes
one stays open
staring right up into the sun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inside the Waiting House

Somewhere inside me there is a house,
with the windows thrown open.
The floorboards are split where the roots
have come through.
And both the sunlight
and the moonlight
make their home here together.
They do not argue
or vie for attention.
They bow and wend up the stairs,
with bent heads
and gentle words.

There is music playing
something on violin
and it wavers in the air
like a memory
just about to surface.
There are also mice
and bent blades of grass,
there are flowers,
dew to drink.

But also
and most importantly,
inside this house
there is you and I,
by everything that is happening
where I am lost miles from you
and you are thirsty
with the straw bent in the water,
too slowly

Inside this house
is the night that I made up,
the day that I pretend,
the you I didn’t know,
and the me I should have been.
I remember the day you almost died but didn’t
and the feeling that came with that.
I thought it would last longer.
Longer than this night, at least.

Inside me there is a house,
and we wait.
We touch, lightly
and we wait.
We do not speak
and we wait.
And I want this house
to be real,
the way the song is real
the way your voice
used to be real, higher than mine, thicker.
The way
I am still painfully real.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I am collecting memories
like souvenirs from a recently dead man’s room.
I will take the chair, the lamp,
the baseball t-shirt
and the trip to Madrid.

You can have the sweater,
the shoes, and our time in Paris.

I take the ballpoint pen,
the one that doesn’t scratch the paper
because I believe in the tools.
I will take the memories of the funeral
You will take the pencil
and the birthday cards
your mother’s letters to your father.

We are scavengers now, crawling
through the landscape of a life,
crawling over our own history,
trying to keep what we can.

You pile things on your back.
I reach for the tickets to our first play.

Leave it,
you say. You pull at my hand
Leave it. We’ll come back.

Here is the story:
Your life is a molecule,
stretched over a vast space
and time
the way the river runs down to bigger water
always bigger.
You need to know this.
There is so much the body cannot contain,
so much it cannot carry.

That is the life inside you. That is the real you.