“Our very life depends on continuous acts of beginning. But these beginnings are out of our hands; they decide themselves.
Beginning precedes us, creates us. There is nothing to fear in the act of beginning.
More often than not it knows the journey ahead better than we ever could."
John O’Donohue

15 May 2014

Every Other Weekend

I expect to her it felt like failure,
eight steps down to the basement,
fifty precious dollars less a month
than the first floor with a balcony rail
and a partially obstructed view to the future.

This is why they call it garden level,
I always thought,
brushing by her irrepressible hanging plants,
craving the cool surrender of descent
over the sweat and elbows of climb.

I remember myself reflected infinitely
in the six paneled mirror
around the clawfoot tub,
three steps up on carpet, with stage lighting—
an extravagant queen’s welcome
for not yet breasts and misdirected teeth.

The 2am freight train
rattled hollow doors and the electric stove,
barely moved the wood block picture frame
wedged between the Big Book
and a Christmas cactus.

She worried I could not sleep through it.
I tried not to.
The predictable, dream-riddled earthquake
was assurance,
that the world can shake mightily
and not crumble.

9 May 2014

Housing the Multitudes

Curious how a first talk over tea, 
strangers becoming acquaintances,
makes me think
of inchworms. 

Especially that spring
when they rained down
from the trees in the backyard
by the hundreds.

The first few that appeared
on the windshield
inspired my daughter to action
building private homes out of quahog shells
with leaf beds and leaf dinners
and little flowerheads
for atmosphere.

On the second day,
construction couldn’t keep pace,
and materials were in short supply.
Our heaven sent friends
had to bunk up.

By day three,
the car as iridescent green
as it was its native blue,
she was inconsolable.
Every departure down the driveway
was a genocide.

Now you are telling stories
of couch surfing
through distant cities,
held by the kindness of strangers.

Something an inchworm would do—
base jumper, intrepid adventurer—
if only it didn’t take a lifetime
to cross those fifteen cement blocks
marking off the patio. 

On a given day, you arrive,
vibrant and sincere,
and all the beds are already taken.
Construction underway,
but God knows
it will be generations of inchworms
to see it done.

8 May 2014

The Proposition

Something about the way you ask—
“How can I see you again?”—
makes me want to put on different robes.

Because nothing fits, anything can be worn
for a while.

And I’ll let you, of course, see me—
because earnest desire pleases me,
and because I am unsure if we are here at all
outside of being noticed.

But the how is just the question, isn’t it?

I think maybe I’ll show up as someone simple
this time.

Just imagine—
No old, weeping wounds still being nursed.
No visions of treacherous strangers
taking my bed as their own.
No grand work to accomplish. 

Just some stories about picking blueberries
on hot hills in distant summers,
amusing misunderstandings and fender benders,
and a European backpacking trip
that changed my life when I was 22. 

And now a well-worn reading nook in my apartment
that catches some sunlight,
an impish resistance to gossip,
enough work to buy tangerines and freesia
every week at the market where we meet,
and soundless pictures of making love in new places
in the afternoon, no urgency.

I could try it on.
Months could go by before
what’s been written and said
finds its way to you.