December 2, 2011
don’t tell me about the best way to capture the ocean in your mouth. don’t whisper to me late at night about the salt crescent moons behind the bend of your elbows or the way that the breeze is tangling my hair around your ears until you’re deaf from the wind. don’t, for you see it’s easy to whisper poetry when the starlit sky is a cliche over the slumbering world; it’s easy to be a poet when the ground is rising up to cradle your shoulder blades and the earth is whispering love notes to you in your sleep. this is when it’s easy.
so don’t write to me then.
instead, wait until the world is rejecting you from her breast and leaving you breathless and boneless on the carpeted floor. wait until your ribs are falling one by one like sand through your fingers and you’re struggling to catch them and struggling to keep your feet and struggling to remember why you started this fight at all. wait until the ocean has woken up angry and is throwing a tantrum across your jaw, knocking your teeth out just to feel the pull of gravity as the tombstones hit the spiraling wake. wait until then.
hold your tongue until you are biting through the base and the blood is beginning to flood your lungs and staining the floorboards of your stomach walls. keep the words stored into ancient cabinets until the doors rot and fall open – until age isn’t a far-fetched dream, but a creaking and arthritic reality. wait until you’ve properly matured the words and have let them simmer. until they are weathered and softened, hardened and grimy. wait, so that when the moon presses against the mountain’s crest, when the sun dips into the salty belly of the ocean, when the volcano blows kisses to the stars you can release them.
then, let them go like the hounds of hell. let them burst from your lungs straight through your breast, biting at the bit and gulping at the oxygen. let them be wild-eyed with restless legs and a leaping heart for they will have been tested and tried and will have watched the world drown in ash. they will be young and vibrant and more eager for having being held dormant. they will be somber veterans and wiser for the bloodshed. they will be more than empty promises and teenage cries; they will be more than life as it previously was.
they will be love. they will be time. they will be deserving of the flourish of your pen.
so wait until the world has ended, until your heart has been tested, until your tongue tried.
wait and write to me then.
November 15, 2011
if you put the wind against your ear, you won’t hear the ocean.
you might, however, hear the poem of a landlocked girl with wordless noise slipping from her fingertips. you might hear the way that my breath touches the edge of my lips. you might hear the old glories on my shoulder in the way that veterans talk about the old wars. if you listen hard enough, you might hear me talk about the scars and the way that they’ve faded, but how on cold winter nights, they still twinge. how they’re old but the still bite. you won’t be able to see me, but if you could, i would wink and tell you that i like the way that they pucker my skin, i like the reminder of where i’ve been – where the serrated edge was too quick for me to escape.
if you look straight into the ocean, you won’t see the sky.
you might, however, see a breathless girl singing a song she has long forgotten. you might see the way that my fingers grab at the edges of my cotton skirt and the way my hair curls poetically against my unpoetic jaw. it won’t matter the lyrics that i’m pushing from lung to tongue to lip, because it’s the way that i sing that matters. if you look, you’ll see that my skin is weathered, that my hands are calloused, that my lips are chapped. you might see that i have born the world upon my shoulders and that my knees have not buckled. you won’t see strength and you won’t see talent, but you will see passion. you’ll see a girl that has stared into the center of the sun and never blinked just because she wanted to feel the heat.
and if you place the sky inside your mouth, you won’t taste the wind.
you might, however, taste the last words that i whispered against your sleeping mouth right before i left. you might remember the soft curve of my shoulder and the way that my kisses always tasted like the sea. you might remember the day that i told you that i am not immortal, but my words will be – right before i carved them into the eroding sandbank. a contradiction, you had called me, and i had corrected you and told you that i was life. i was the running water falling down your limbs and the heated nails tearing up them. i was both sleeping lethargy and energized laughter – i pulled you from your bed and forced you to stare into the center of your dreams. so when you listen to the wind, stare at the ocean, taste the sky – remember that i am there even if you never saw it. even if you never felt it, believed it, knew it to be true. i was there in the roar of the ocean, in the blanket of the night sky, in the bitter freedom of the wind.
(i am there.)