ocean that I am


You say you must have a heart of stone,
and you’re empty,
anchored here, on the sandy shore
And I am dry eyed but full of salt and deep currents
I am an ocean
that you could never dive into
the depth scared you, your ears popped just thinking about it
You stay on dry land with stone feet and a faraway look in your eye
the horizon looks promising you say
as I lap your feet,
try to entice you with tales of fish that can see in the dark
the deep is not so scary with a flashlight stuck to your head
and some of these fish are badass, have xray vision and electricity in their scales
I know, you say, I’ve heard
You see a ship on the horizon and think it’s yours
but i know that the horizon is bent and nothing comes straight at us
not even heartbreak
and I am having a hard time leaving when the tide keeps returning me to your feet
The rhythm of return beats the sand into the shape of waves
You leave footprints in them as you walk the shoreline
You say you can’t breathe if you can’t see the ocean
but you say too much
and you never learned to swim.  


Stream of Conciousness/Love Poem


Sometimes, I sit down and just write.  Steam of consciousness, no thought, just words pouring out, until a theme starts to emerge. 

Often my poetry is of the grab-you-by-the-throat variety, the lets-talk-about-my-addictions variety, the bad relationships, the rage against the world, the Damn the Man variety.  But tonight, I am home in upstate NY for Christmas.  I am listening to soft holiday jazz and I am drinking in warm, multicolored lights and the scent of pine needles and I am thinking tonight is more of a gentle poem kind of night.  So.  Please read this poem out loud, to yourself or someone you love, in a hushed and rushed and fervent whisper.

Don’t worry.  The grab-you-by-the-throat poetry will resume.

Against the natural dark of my back porch, my computer screen is a false glow in the night, cold somehow, and I sit inviting bug bites, avoiding reading for school, sipping on twinkly lights hung like golden rain drops from the railing, sipping on citronella candle perfume, thinking of soft lips shaped like candy hearts and eyes like especially inviting mud puddles, reflecting green moss and rain dampened rubber boots, and o, I want to splash in you!  I want to trample you with unbridled joy!  I want to wear you like armor and take you off like lingerie! The only thing between us is my fear, my doubt and an hour and a half of driving, you said you wanted to see my writing, did you want to be a part of it?

Don’t answer that.

 I already know the answer and it terrifies me.

I told you not to back away from things that hurt, but I still duck the punches the world throws, I still avoid eye contact when breaking off a little piece of my own heart.  I see you and I think of the ocean, wild and strong, thumping the sand like love is sometimes meant to be reckless, love is sometimes meant to be wild, love is sometimes meant to be overwhelming – but it must be constant.  Like the tide, you always return to me.  Like the tide, I will recede a million times can you be my moon and call me home, can you be my gravitational pull.

I look at you and I wonder what my parents will think.  The derelicts I have brought to their door amuses and saddens me and you’re not one of them, you don’t fall into the category, but I worry that others will assume that you do.  I worry too much, I know, we talked about anxiety and panic attacks and you said you have told yourself “I’m not dying,” and known that to be true but when the panic swept like a wave over you, all you felt was drowning and both your arms went numb and you got in your car, somehow made it to your parents house and they reminded you that you are still alive.  They reminded you that you learned how to swim years ago.  I know you get it.  I’m not worried about that.  I’m worried about me getting it, do I get it?

Cicadas and crickets drown out the sound of rushing traffic that wounds the night with the rumbles and groans of civilization.  On our second date you brought me not roses, but two plants, an oregano and a basil, and told me I was a hippie and I laughed at you.  I’ve been more a girl of manicures than of half moons of dirt under my nails, arm pit hair like a political statement – but yeah, sometimes I just want to be comfortable with sitting around a campfire with someone, unshowered and bedraggled, in a hooded sweatshirt and covered in bug bites and still feeling beautiful, less because of your gaze than because of the world we’ve created together, with our minds and our bodies, we are equals.  I don’t need you, that’s not what love is, but I want you.

The back room of my mind has always been the one quiet spot in my head, filled with the sound of waves, the feel of sand under my toes and cool night air and walks along the beach and the sky studded with stars.  I can smell the salt on your breath from the ocean spray when you kiss me, I pick seashells from your clothes and you shake sand from my eyelashes and I stop worrying, stop fighting, stop doubting, stop the oh so repellent struggling that so many of us human animals seem to relish in I just stop.  Breathe.  I want a love like my parents have.  I look for nothing more than a strong swimmer and a lover who can navigate the way by the design of the stars in the sky when the lights go out.