The tomorrow that has come and gone
and it has not gotten better.
When you are half finished writing that letter
to your mother that says “I swear to God I tried,
but when I thought I’d hit bottom, it started hitting back.”
There is no bruise like the bruise
loneliness kicks into your spine
so let me tell you I know there are days
it looks like the whole world is dancing in the streets
while you break down like the doors of their looted buildings.
You are not alone
in wondering who will be convicted of the crime
of insisting you keep loading your grief
into the chamber of your shame.
You are not weak
just because your heart feels so heavy.
I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth
with a red cape inside.
Some people will never understand
the kind of superpower it takes for some people
to just walk outside.
Some days I know my smile can look like the gutter of a falling house
but my hands are always holding tight to the rip cord of believing
a life can be rich like the soil,
can make food of decay,
turn wound into highway.
Pick me up in a truck with that bumper sticker that says,
“It is no measure of good health
to be well adjusted to a sick society.”
I have never trusted anyone
with the pulled back bow of my spine
the way I trusted ones who come undone at the throat
screaming for their pulses to find the fight to pound.
Four nights before Tyler Clementi
jumped from the George Washington bridge
I was sitting in a hotel room in my own town
calculating exactly what I had to swallow
to keep a bottle of sleeping pills down.
What I know about living
is the pain is never just ours.
Every time I hurt I know the wound is an echo,
so I keep listening for the moment the grief becomes a window,
when I can see what I couldn’t see before
through the glass of my most battered dream
I watched a dandelion lose its mind in the wind
and when it did, it scattered a thousand seeds.
So the next time I tell you how easily I come out of my skin
don’t try to put me back in.
Just say here we are together at the window
aching for it to all get better
but knowing there is a chance
our hearts may have only just skinned their knees,
knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming
let me say right now for the record,
I’m still gonna be here
asking this world to dance,
even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet.
i’m gonna let myself
be a no show
at the hold it together parade.”
The sun said, ‘It hurts to become.’
I carry that hurt on the tip of my tongue, and whisper ‘Bless your heart’ every chance I get.
So my family tree can be sure I have not left
You do not have to leave to arrive, I am learning this slowly.
So sometimes, I look in the mirror and my eyes look like the holes in the shoes of the shoe-shine man.
Some days, my hands are busy on the wrong things.
Some days, I call my arms wings.
Well my head is in the clouds, it will take me a few more years to learn that flying is not pushing away the ground, but safety isn’t always safe.
You can find one in every gun. I am aiming to do better.
This, is my body.
My exhaustion pipe will never pass inspection.
and still my lungs know how to breathe like a burning map every time I get lost behind the curtain of her hair.
Find me by the window, following my path to that trail of blood in the snow
The day I opened my veins the doctor who stitched me up asked me if I did it for attention.
For the record, if you have ever done anything for attention, this poem is attention, title it with your name.
It will scour the city bridge every time you stand staring at the river.
It never wants to find your body doing anything but loving what it loves.
Love what you love.
Say ‘This is my body, it is no one’s but mine.’
This is my nervous system, my wanting blood, my tongue, tied up like a ball of Christmas lights.
If you put a star on the top of my tree, make sure it’s a star that fell. Make sure it hit bottom like a tambourine. Because all these words are stories to the staircase to the top of my lungs where I sing what hurts. And the echo comes back
‘Bless your heart. bless your holy knee-caps.’
They are so smart.
You are so full of rain.
There is so much that is growing.
Hallelujah to your weather vanes.
Hallelujah to the ache, to the pull, to the fall, to the pain.
Hallelujah to the grace, and the body, and every cell of us all.”