Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I close my book sheepishly, careful
not to harm the black print words
clanging noisely against each other as
the cover descends gently and

my mother scolds with her eyes,
you're too old to be reading books
in the back of the church, nestled
in the corner of the pew.

Poem book inside hymn book,
Billy Collins gospel and Margaret Atwood
scripture, novels
by Vonnegut resting next to my bible

amongst all the breathless churchgoers
eyes peeled towards the stand
with a dull shine like copper, glinting
like a penny on the sidewalk
in the sparkling wake of religion
under the down-turned face of God.

And my book
now hidden amongst the folds of my skirt
and pressed against the brick wall which
runs its patterns up the walls, across
the vaulted ceiling and to the great organ
clattering its montone notes just over
our unprotected heads.

Friday, December 23, 2011

In my defense, I've been reading Billy Collins and doing cool things with my kick ass friends.

The First Dream

The Wind is ghosting around the house tonight
and as I lean against the door of sleep
I begin to think about the first person to dream,
how quiet he must have seemed the next morning

as the others stood around the fire
draped in the skins of animals
talking to each other only in vowels,
for this was long before the invention of consonants.

He might have gone off by himself to sit
on a rock and look into the mist of a lake
as he tried to tell himself what had happened,
how he had gone somewhere without going,

how he had put his arms around the neck
of a beast that the others could touch
only after they had killed it with stones,
how he felt its breath on his bare neck.

Then again, the first dream could have come
to a woman, though she would behave,
I suppose, much the same way,
moving off by herself to be alone near water,

except that the curve of her young shoulders
and the tilt of her downcast head
would make her appear to be terribly alone,
and if you were there to notice this,

you might have gone down as the first person
to ever fall in love with the sadness of another.

You have to read his poems and take a big deep breath and shake your head like a dog.

I did it because I had to.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An english assignment:

The day shod its clothes bashfully; its soft pinks and shame-faced oranges falling in piles on the desert floor. The sun slipped carefully from his place in the sky and seemed to rest on the ground, a running distance away, before sighing and sinking under the horizon. As the sky dimmed, the moon loomed and revealed the glowing nakedness of night.

There were miles in every direction. My uncovered feet finally able to bear the heat, I eased down from the truck bed onto the earth. The reddish dirt was still aching with warmth from the daytime, and it pulled at my bare soles as I began to walk. The terrain was as inconsistent as it was uniform. There was a cactus here, a pile of earth there, nothing animate enough to stand out on the flat horizontal.

I stopped and turned, a slow semi-circle. The land seemed to rush away from me. I imagined it may be what outer space feels like, so much emptiness seeming to pull back on itself ceaselessly in its Sisyphean task of creating more space out of space. I fancied Neil Armstrong sidling onto the tired sponge of the moon. He must have turned to see the vast amounts of space, like an audience with their eager faces turned upward, pious and expectant. Perhaps he viewed space with a force like thunderous applause or with the quiet soul-straining of waking from sleep.

I lied down on my back. My father used to coax me to sleep when I had childhood bouts of insomnia. Imagine a big magic eraser. It’s erasing your body, and it can erase things completely gone. Now it’s starting at your feet, up to your legs, now your waist, stomach, chest. It’s at your neck, your face, your head. And try as I might I could still feel the weight of my body against the sheets and my head on the pillow. I still saw myself there, filling up my rumpled bed.

Under the desert’s blue-black boundless sky I simply let myself spread. I stretched with the never-ending landscape and then stretched beyond it. I was deep in all the space I now occupied, and my soul thinned. The hum of the ground was beneath me and the desert all around me. I pulled myself in, and curled up on my side.

My dad would say, Look, now your mind is gone. Now you’re completely erased and gone and you can fall sleep. And he would kiss me on the forehead and leave me with goodnight.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My past self sprawled on the couch in front of the TV set, trying to warn my future self. But future self would hear none of it, being as thoughtless and aloof as she usually is, busy about her mindless activities. And present self brushed her teeth dutifully, looking in the mirror. And she envied future self, tucked neatly in to bed. But laughed in the face of future-future self who was shaking off sleep like a barking dog about her ankles, preparing for another long day. And the parting between future self and future-future self struck present self as strangely sentimental, as waking from sleep often is. And there she remembered past self and the waking she had gone through just this morning, the trudging from present self to future self. And past self waving her white kerchief goodbye on the distant shore. And the whole horde of past self's lazing about on their various couches, slowly standing and forming themselves in a misshapen row.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm afraid I've lost track

Almost as if he's the philosopher inside of the scientist ready to say, "It's gravity that's been getting us down."
- Shane Koyczan

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It was almost summer, late May. The stars were scattered across the blue-black sky. Smoke from our little fire billowed and stretched its way into the infinity right above the trees. We were in the back of the truck bed, on up-ended trees, on the ground. Soft country music rolled from the opened windows of the truck and lost itself quickly into the vastness of the night. Molecules always move from an area of high concentration to low concentration, filling the empty spaces.

I'd chosen a fallen tree seat and he'd chosen a seat next to me. A shallow pooling was right behind us, and we could hear the river rambling and murmuring as it stumbled over itself in a mindless rush. He held my hand and led me away from the gathering of teenagers, all talking casually, their voices mingling with the hum of the summer ground. We went up a subtle incline towards the train tracks cutting horizontally through the clearing. Then we followed the railroad and soon the ground ahead of us fell away, leaving only the tracks as a bridge with the river running under it. He stepped onto the slats, Are you sure no trains will be coming? We laughed. What would a train be doing at this time of night?

We made our way to the middle, slat by slat. I looked downward at all the water through the spaces. We sat. Our legs dangled over the sides and touched from hip to knee, our feet parallel to the water as if we were standing on air. He tousled his hair and I ran my hands through mine. We talked and laughed and the river rushed on beneath us.

Lights of cars on the canyon highway would come round the corner and cast an allusion of nearness. I kept starting-- thinking the lights were coming around the bend of the tracks themselves. He held my hand tighter and I moved in closer. We huddled for warmth and proximity amongst all the pressing space around us. A white-ish light, wider than the rest, lit up the side of the canyon wall and we both watched for the car to appear on the highway. The light loomed larger, Shit. He scrambled up and pulled me with him. We ran and I looked down to follow my feet, careful to land on one wooden board and then the next. I was afraid to trip. His feet and my feet, step step step. Finally we met solid ground and I ran into him. He hugged me, laughing. Hayley, I'm so sorry. I thought... a train...I'm sorry. The tracks were still and empty. The light, belonging to a semi-truck, now blundering it's way along the highway.

My heart was pounding and his face was flushed. We both let out our relief in laughter and I pushed him lightly on the chest, ...putting me in danger. We walked on shaky legs back towards the fire. Our breath sporadic and in time with eachother.


I imagined there really was a train. I saw it tearing around the bend, roaring and blind. It's big white light illuminating us, two deer in headlights. We would have held hands and jumped, with the unsaid understanding that we could never run fast enough. We would hit the water one after the other and the startling chill would shatter our bones as we floundered to the surface gasping for air. We would make our way to the shore. And there we'd be standing, dripping wet and cold, watching the train barrel on into the far reaches of the night.