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

Misfortune

I.

My hungry hand scrapes the bottom
of the brown takeout bag
grasping the plastic wrapped
something
carrying

a fortune cookie.

II.

I pick up my phone to call you.

Punching your number in
from memory.

III.

I trash the plastic wrapper
cracking the cookie in half like a great ship
upon the rocks.

IV.

“I heard your bad news,”
I practice saying
between rings,
“I wanted to tell you, I’m thinking of you,”
and it rings back to me.

V.

There inside the cookie is a massive gathering
of nothing.

VI.

The phone goes to voicemail.

“Leave a message,” it says to me
in the ghost of a hungry voice.


Day #26 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Kelly Sikkema

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

Ghost Nonsense

A true story.

I’ve had ghosts come visit me while I’m sleeping my whole life. One night I was sleeping, with Shelsea in bed beside me. A ghost came to my side of the bed and said to me over and again, “Brice…psst, Brice…” I was dead fucking tired, and when I’m dead fucking tired, there’s nothing that is going to get between me and sleep. I hate these ghosts. They just keep me up when I’m trying to take care of myself and rest. I rolled away from the ghost and ignored its annoying ass.

The next morning, Shelsea sat up in bed, looked at me and said, “there was a ghost in the room last night. It kept bugging me, telling me that it needed your attention.” I told Shelsea “I know, I told it to leave me alone.” “Weren’t you curious what it had to say to you?” said Shelsea. “Not really,” I told her, “It’s always some ghost nonsense,” and that’s the truth.


day #17 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Safal Karki

If ever however a never came through

If ever however a never came through,
I’d sever that never so promptly in two,
then the two nevers would look at each other
and see not a never but acknowledge another.

Those nevers no longer could stand to be none
but something uncovered like love in the sun.
They’d go out and find out the something they are,
a butcher, a baker, a widow, a star.

That something would fill them from heads to their toes
and take them to somewheres they’ve yet to unknows.
There they’d discovered they’re more than a lonely,
but flames in the fire of the best ceremony.

And flames, you may know, do resist being counted
as they burst from the earth like a fiery fountain,
and spread where they can like a message of worth
and messages often are doulas to birth.

So never say never unless it’s a truth
that hangs on your tongue or the tip of your tooth.
Say yes, no or maybe or I think perhaps later,
for saying a something, there’s nothing much greater.

And this is a life, after all, after all,
and while you are rising another one falls,
and if they could speak as they fall through the hold
I’m certain they’d scream out, “be bold, yes, be bold.”


day #16 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: JR Korpa

Dear Maria,

Dear Maria,

              It’s been a long time.

Each year has felt
              longer the shorter it was.

I still don’t know you,
              but maybe I know you
              a little bit better
              than before.

There is undoubtedly
              a little hammock
              stretched out for you
              between two trees
              in my heart.

Dear Maria,
              on the other side
                             of everything.

Maybe sometimes
              you’re dancing.

That’s just me
              knowing that
                             I need to be dancing.

Maria,
have you grown?

              What shapes and colors
              have you grown into?

Maria,
there just honestly
is less to say now
and there’s so much
to do.

              Take this letter,
              fold it in halves
              and over itself again
              until the bends become a crane
              or anything else
              and let it fly off
              over whichever mountain
              you wish.

You have me.

              Feel free to write me
                             into whatever shape you need.

              I’ll be
                             here.


day #15 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: April Pethybridge