Poem to All of These Plants Here in the Room With Me

We sit in silence,
the plants and I,
and I am less lonely for them being here
and maybe they are less dead
for me keeping them alive.

I sent a message to a near stranger
that said please laugh,
please remember this one thing about
what we’re all doing here.

I sent him a nicely-wrapped distraction
that I hoped would ring three times
before connecting him to the hotline
where another stranger might say to him
please laugh,
please remember,
please don’t die.

And who am I
to disturb his death?

As if so keen to peace
and aware of
all of its strong-willed suggestions,

a peace
unfamiliar with a certain breed
of truth,

a truth
with a mouth brimming with sharp teeth
that we keep chained up
until the peace stops minding
its fences,

the barking
serving as a reminder
that there are many languages
in which to feel
alive.

What a shame, really,
that often it’s the ones who feel it most
that are so quick
to let it go,

to take the chain off of truth’s swollen neck
and let it sink every single one of its teeth
into all of the blood and all of the meat
of an animal that died
so we could feel
a little bit more
of all of this.


Day #30 of #nationalpoetrymonth: Cover image: Eduard Miliaru

Sequence

and
so
it was
like nature.
it came like some kind
of new imagination or
at least like some kind of lawless reawakening,
and i was left there for dead, understandably exhausted in the wake of it all,
but nothing is really written of death, not to me.
of pain—yes. loss—definitely.
but this was not that.
this was, well,
nature,
and
so


Day #29 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Jametlene Reskp

so big and so little at the same time

I hold a bug in my hand
standing at the edge of the ocean,
and hear the echo of her digital words,
so big and so little at the same time.

A man who made waves through
the shoreless heart of America
was killed by a single bullet,
so big and so little at the same time.

You take up way too much of the bed
and tell me you love me in the empty spaces
so big and so little at the same time.

He yodels queer love songs to an audience of mountains
then curls rollie pollie into the arms like womb of his lover
so big and so little at the same time.

My car goes sixty miles per hour down an American highway
and clips the side mirror of two eyes begging me mercy
so big and so little at the same time.

The wind of thirty-two years pushes me onward
into the arms of yes, and towards the cliff’s edge
that sings goodbye, goodbye
so big and so little at the same time.

And I sing goodbye, goodbye
each time I close a door,
in a room the size of the known universe
so big and so little at the same time.


Day #28 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Markus Spiske

SwingSong

Something there is to you
                                           in now
                             on a swing.

Some sort of
              unspeakable thing.

As if your feet only touch
                                           the Earth
to push you back
                             to space,
                                           they bring

you to a somewhere
                             where only you go

              and turn your head
                                           and tip the tip
of your pointed simple toe.

Could I maybe be
                             the swing?
                                           The Earth?
              The tree?

Perhaps I am none
                             and you, my love,
              have always been
                                           all three.

Perhaps I am here to see
              what no one else might
                                           ever see.

              An image of swinging you
like a portrait still drying, freshly anew,
              floating through,
                             yes, floating through,

and I am great
              to simply await,
                             your return
              against my chest,

where lovers do what they do best,
              in taking space
                             and moons and stars,
like a thousand deaths
              and a thousand births,
to come back down
                             with us
                                           to Earth.


Day #25 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Ricardo Silva

Dead Flowers in a Vase

To the room whose window faces a wall,
I hope to be the hour of light you find,
I wish to be the sound from down the hall,
the giant wave that breaks upon your mind.

To buildings with space but nothing within,
I hope you’ll see the absence as a gift.
When time goes wide and love pulls very thin,
I wish you grace to dance between the shifts.

To lives that aimed for moons and found the space,
I write your name each time I write my own.
I hold you like dead flowers in a vase,
and try to frame a truer frame for home.

In rooms where windows seem to be our best,
please hold this lonesome poem to your chest.


Day #24 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Simona Sergi

Koan of the Magic Egg

One day, a woman costumed in mystical red silks, sat behind a small table at a street corner in a city. On the table was a cloth and on top of the cloth, was a golden pedestal holding a single egg. The woman sat very still as a man approached her.

The man asked her “what is this?”

The woman said to him, “it is a magic egg.”

“What does it do?” he asked.

“Oh, many things,” she said, “if you’d like to hold the magic egg, you’re welcome to do so.”

The man hesitated, eventually deciding to hold the egg in his hand. He laughed uncomfortably, the egg fumbling into a coziness in his palm. He then closed his eyes.

His shoulders relaxed and his breathing shifted, growing a bit deeper. He breathed out and then he breathed in. After some time, tears began pouring down his face. He was overcome with joy, with a deep sense of release. He held the egg like something to be loved, gently and warmly in the grasp of his hand.

The man opened his eyes as if for the first time in his life.

“Thank you,” he said, handing the egg back to her.

“You can keep the magic egg if you wish,” she told him.

“I want you to know how much this means to me,” he told the woman, “what do I owe you?”

“Oh, nothing at all,” she said.

The man walked off, walking differently than he had when he had first approached.

The woman bent down to reach into the bag by her feet and pulled out a carton of eggs. She took one egg and set it on the golden pedestal before her.


Day #23 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Louis Hansel

San Diego Love Song

About an hour later the power went off.

An hour after that the floor caved in.

An hour after that the building caught on fire.

An hour after that the sinkhole sucked it all in.

An hour after that the flood came,
filling everything like the opposite of a baptism.

An hour after that the sharks came.

An hour after the sharks came,
the tsunami came, pulling them in.

And then, the tsunami crashed
and even the mountains themselves were flattened,
gnawed away at by the crash of a thousand sharks.

An hour after that the water went still,
slowly dripping off the edge
of this turtle island we live upon.

When the ground dried up
and the sun returned
like a long overdue Blockbuster videotape
I could see straight across the newly formed plains

to you,
my sweet San Diego,
and I walked hours and hours
just to light a candle beside you.


Day #22 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Thomas Vimare

Hunger

It seems
you’ve made
a grave
mistake,
dear witch,

for I’ve
eaten
the soup
you put
me in,

I’ve drank
down the
broth,

I’ve eaten
the walls
of your house,

and I’ve
grown strong
from it
all.

You see,
it is a lot more
difficult
to eat
someone
who was
born with
and who has
lived their life
with such a
strong
identity
of hunger.


Day #21 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Niklas Weiss

In Bloom

There is nothing
quite like witnessing
someone you love
in the unabashed summer
of their best life.

A human in bloom,
wearing their best dress,
dancing to their favorite song,
and singing every line
of their favorite song
like a door swinging open
revealing the secret key
they’ve carried inside
for too long.

This is what we want
to believe that Death
will stand down to,

and often Death does,
but too often Death
takes the song
along with the door
and the key.

There is no accounting
for a reckless wind
that blows in on the lift
of our collective pain,
and sweeps us away,

so thank you
for doing that bravest thing
of being exactly the human
that lives inside of your heart,
banging away
the shadows of any doubt.


day #20 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Birmingham Museums Trust