• I am a puddle

    I am ash

    I am remnants of none

    You are the sky, You are the flame, You are the One.

  • you kind of assume as you get older

    it becomes easier to grow up. 

  • It is strange

    to feel a certain feeling

    that you’ve never had to feel

    alone 

    before. 

  • Dear Body

    Dear body

    sometimes I feel like you’re a picture taken by a blind photographer

    like the framing’s just not right

    All this colour doesn’t fit inside the lines.

    I’m no stranger to the feeling of being a visitor in an empty house with all the lights on

    not sure how to get comfortable

    not sure how long I’m staying

    It might be the biggest lie in the world that tom boys and tough girls don’t struggle with body image.

    These scars are amnesia

    the same amnesia that leads to anorexia and boulemia

    Forgetting what this body is for

    fooled into thinking it is a word in a sentence

    as one dimensional as an ad in a magazine

    A Big fat old lie embarassing beautiful

    tricked into thinking the only function of these miraculous machines

    is a three second impression

    that’s how long they say it takes for you to decide if you’re attracted to someone

    A Big fat old lie embarassing beautiful

    which of those words have you used to describe your body?

    I’m scared

    when thoughts of masking cuts as stretch marks cross my mind.

    See they photoshopped love to fit on a billboard

    cropped out your friends, your travels, your family, your home

    airbrushed out your scars, your freckles

    your stories

    things that light you up and make you who you are

    are the understatements of our century

    these are the things that have survived the trends in what is desirable

    melting like mascara funnelled into a cookie cutter of food I should stay away from

    that is not what this body is for

    Dear body,

    you are meant to be cherished

    you are to be challenged and enjoyed

    stretched

    you are a complex menagerie of pieces and palates, tastes, touches, feelings

    your feet are not only for catwalks

    they are not meant to be static

    freeze framed sporting high heels, mocassins, cleats, kicks, sandals, nail polish

    your feet are meant to run

    to dance

    to explore

    to compete

    to travel

    there are times where you must put your foot down

    where you must kick your feet up

    where you must stand for something

    your hair is a forest

    meant to be braided by friends

    to feel fingers

    to be strummed by the wind

    your hands to hold, to give, to pick others up when they’re down

    to conduct symphonies

    to mould

    to create

    to slap knees

    to count

    to pray

    to point others in the right direction

    your hips are there to welcome life into the world

    to shake more or less awkwardly than I do

    your lips to speak truth

    to smile

    to quiver

    Ears to be pierced by words

    to recognize a song on the radio

    or the sound of familiar voice

    to ring from loud nights

    and be tickled by whispers

    what an exciting thing it is to be blessed with a body that functions as it is supposed to,

    and yet I cower

    embarassed by my blessing

    my mind a graveyard of funhouse mirrors

    incapable of accepting myself for the way I actually am

    if you want to tell if a woman is happy with her body

    look at her hands.

    rings show a sense that she is willing to invest in the size she is today

    my hands are bare

    and my greatest fear

    is that when I finally meet a man who wishes to slip a ring onto my finger

    that when we clasp hands my fingers will not fit between his.

    I’m sorry, body

    I know it hasn’t always been this way

    when I was a spunky twelve year old with a ratty braid bouncing off my back

    riding bikes til the streetlights bled like solar flares in our hair

    but I promise I will teach these scars to spell beautiful

    to love you til you’re golden

    but I’m going to need you to be patient.

    see, the world’s got its fingers down my throat

    and right now,

    this poem’s the only way I know

    how to spit it out.

    Sincerely,

    the rest of you.

  • She might be in love with the Rain

    the cracks of thunder

    shout 

    and echo around her

    the rain pelting down on her skin

    the darkness

    the rush of the clouds

    her heart

    finally finding an outward expression

    the catharsis of nature

    storyboarded on windows

    streaming with raindrops

    that bring light out of focus

    she feels understood

    when her skin is slick and her hair soaks tangles and tree-root spiderwebs

    like the tumult has a home outside her

    that pain echoes in the thunder

    like a welcome

    like doors might slam in heaven

    like she is not the only one dying to unleash tears and scream

    to let anger flash in her eyes 

    striking those closest to her

    this storm

    is exactly the monologue

    she needed 

    to keep her company.

  • The Inexplicables

    my eyes

    are clouded by the crowded hallways of your conscience

    residents of your mind, too many faces extinct.

    way too many.

    it hits my heart like a Richter scale

    it drives splintering cracks down my aorta like roaring roots in dry soil 

    planted in this garden,

    you are adam and eve

    and your children try to kill themselves instead of each other.

    In my eyes 

    you are canvasses of white

    you are boulders of goodness

    smiles, flexed like muscles

    it is natural for you to have joy.

    and I can’t wrap my mind around it

    I strangle it

    I squeeze it between my fingers

    i feel it pulse between my knuckles

    i scream

    I heave it as far as I can throw

    this joy

    makes me angry.

    it makes me uncomfortable.

    how can two people with such mangled pasts possibly

    conceivably

    live lives of such freedom

    brows unfurrowed

    shoulders 

    at ease

    eyes

    sparks

    happiness 

    does not deserve you.

    The grace you have shown to us

    broken kids

    when we lunged at you

    hands for your throats with cutting words

    ignored you

    were ashamed of you

    disgusted with you

    we have turned up our noses at your gifts and refused your closeness

    you have offered love

    at every opportunity 

    and we didn’t know

    we didn’t care

    that your stories were more scalding than our own

    that misery had grabbed at your feet

    that death

    had washed off your hands in the sink 

    that psychosis ambled amidst your loved ones

    disability 

    drunkenness

    addiction 

    murder

    death

    were all debris in the whirlwind that surrounded your past

    you had been surrounded by pain inflicted by those you loved long before us 

    and it makes me feel like this joy of yours is slanderous

    a downright impossibility

    that you drop crumbs of your past only when asked

    mentioning catastrophe in passing 

    crisis in a beat

    letting it slip from your lips

    as if each shock had been extirpated of its electricity,

    and still kiss 

    doing ordinary things like

    going on walks in the valley and

    watching Jeopardy

    as if you are not champions of a disease

    this world is scratching its skin raw over

    sadness

    has no hand on you,

    even though you are two who have truly earned it

     I don’t deserve to be your child.

    to be the summation of your love

    the bearer of every gift you could muster

    the recipient of your affectionate gaze

    If I started now

    i could not give you enough

    safety 

    hope

    adventure 

    wisdom

    or unadulterated love to repay you

    not ever.

    If I started now

    i couldn’t explain to you the gravity of your presence

    together

     a rarity overlooked 

    that your rings are like tree trunks that simply count your years together 

    I couldn’t adequately articulate the value of your patience

    of your steadfastness

    If I started now

    I would end up

    chewing you out.   

    because I can’t, in the humanity of my heart,  rationalize your hope any other way.

    Mom and Dad, 

     the fact

    that you are scarred

    but not marred

    by the tumult of these tidal waves,

    the fact

    that you bite your lip and go out of your way to see good

    the fact

    that there is not an inch of anger in you 

    the fact 

    that you are still standing today 

    with hands clasped and eyes to heaven

    makes me believe in God. 

  • PUBLICAN

    He stands behind the bar

    blank stare

    white knuckles

    he waits for someone to walk in

    rush in

    like they’re in a hurry

    raindrops streaming down the window pane

    he can’t see his breath

    is he real?

    Some things are unsure

    he wishes he could see his breath.

    the door is silent

    no jingle or crash as the door swings shut behind a dubious seeker of liquid truth

    journeyers who wish to find some sort of answers

    he is the top of the mountain

    he is the last resort

    but today he stands behind the bar

    with no one to keep him company

    dark mahogany

    a dripping tap

    Will he ever belong?

    A rag polishing the bar

    his face like kerosene

    burns in his eyes

    am I here?

    He will not spill his sorrows

    not without someone to clean them up.

    he is the one who cleans them up.

    his heart is like a well

    his heart beat the echo of pennies falling from the hands of hopelessness

    his brows are dark

    he is tired

    and he waits

    he waits for something to happen to him

    and it does

    little by little

    then all at once

    with a footstep through a door

    a pale face

    a sorry gesture

    a strange moment

    where he cannot bear to sour her with poison

    hands expectant on the bar

    scratched off nailpolish

    streetlights flicker

    few words

    green eyes

    he wants to tell her she is beautiful

    but his voice is lost

    like a man stuck in a well somewhere

    yells for help muffled on the journey out of the dampness

    bouncing and fading

    sounding like whispers

    from a copper tongue

    but a whisper would be odd

    he cannot whisper or yell at scratched off nailpolish

    hands expectant

    pale face

    green eyes

    he turns his back

    hoping this moment hasn’t smudged into ignorance

    or disdain

    polishing glasses

    ducking slightly to his right in hopes of getting a reflection of her delicate frame

    scratched nailpolish fingers playing a ghost piano

    downcast and shy

    glued to the glassy sight of herself

    she is waiting

    after walking for too long in the near darkness

    feeling herself become enveloped in the day’s heavy eyelids

    drawn into a place with a door

    fogged up windows with strict lines of raintracks

    more sympathetic than ominous

    the room felt like fog

    and this figure was taking his time

    and she was not too worried about cadence

    not anymore

    and this scuffmark of a man could do nothing to surprise her

    but as this thought scuttled across her mind

    he turned and inched a glass of water

    in her direction.

  • LANCET

    I’m not feeling very sharp

    My eyesight is blurry

    blunt like my granny’s sense of humour

    I wish I was more like a surgeon and less like a patient

    waiting for something to happen

    finding little scratches on my skin I can’t find the origin for

    I wish

    from the bottom of my heart

    that I didn’t feel like a basement.

    like the lowest rung

    like a place I don’t belong

    like my lungs don’t ache enough

    like in another lifetime, I’d be sticking my head out the window of a roaring train blazing through the countryside with colours so bright my corneas burned and everywhere I looked for the next few days would be coloured by tie-dyed-lens-flares of adventures I’m glad I’d had the guts and the cash to go on

    Every time I consider the hills I wonder if there are people who look forward to the climb

    I want to learn to find content in the scale

    in the uptake

    in the parts people fast forward, gloss over or romanticize

    I think it is hard to say

    if it really is good to live with glitter in your veins

    to be so metallic and golden it hurts

    to flash smiles everywhere you go.

    I wonder if there is such thing as backalley-on-purpose

    like throwing yourself into monotony to save it

    or to relish it

    to soak it in and smile.

    I think that the only way to live is to be brilliantly amazed by everything.

    The simple things have a way of hiding their secrets and the search is what makes anything interesting

    The older I grow the more I learn that my imagination is more fancifully mundane than years ago and that I find more joy imagining things that already exist,

    but the deeper I fall the more that makes sense.

    I guess I’m just happy to be here

    in a snowglobe of swamp water

    in a web of subway trains, street lights and a lot of amazing stories

    orchestrated like the music in the hearty laugh of a tired Father who waters us like weeds that spurt out of the concrete

    colouring the ground in sidewalk chalk and apologies

    He doesn’t mind the spelling mistakes

    each step we miss he replaces with a friend or a feeling,

    the artist with rough hands

    creating like I could never imagine.

    so Father, invade my thoughts

    like highway robbery

    Clean me out of the dirty thoughts and false teaching

    set off bombs of blessing and beauty in their place

    spray paint in my mind so I don’t ever forget it

    "baby girl, I’d die for you again"

  • (again)

    and I think in your life you not only consider the good things you hope will come to pass but also kind of expect certain trials or losses to plague, ones that match you, almost fit you- ones that almost make sense in a way. It’s as if our problems are visitors, and there are some you simply expect.

    It is this almost expectant familiarity that helps us process and deal with the hardships we are dealt, and I think that is why the most crippling pains are not the most severe, but the ones which come to us strangers unannounced.

  • STOP distracting yourself

    stop looking for short-cuts through suffering

    healing doesn’t happen ‘til you look it in the face

    and say, “I’m broken”.