Bike, upside down. One finger, wheel Sent spinning Bike, upside down. Hand on rubber and it, too, Spinning One more Sent spinning. And here I stand, watching As my tires spin And the brakes do nothing And the wheels go nowhere But I like the whirr. Then back and forth I pace And as one wheel slows I push it back into motion. One hand one tire Just for a moment I like the whirr, I said it. As the clicking starts And accelerates And sings to me And the orchestra in my chest Is dizzy enough to forget.
To things you never thought you’d lose.
A continuation of True Life: I’m Turning Blueish-Green
We knew it would happen this way. You were uncomfortable—jittery, squirming, giggling— just the kind of night when things would go wrong. I was there, like I aways am, rolling around in the back of your mind, kissing the circumference of your third finger. On, off, on, off– You laughed and slipped me from one finger to the next. I was warm, the way you make me when your fingers start to blush and sweat. Crooked and familiar, I rode through the night with you.
You were chatting, not paying attention. You were fidgeting and I was sliding. You tugged me off your finger, and I kept flying.
At least you knew I was gone. At least you looked for me. If only you had been listening, you could have heard where I landed. You could have checked the back seat. You could have called to your friends, telling them to go ahead. You could have pulled the taxi apart, piece by piece, until my crooked copper rolled out onto the pavement. But you didn’t. You apologized to the driver, touched the spot where I used to be, and stepped away.
Today, I ride in circles around you. I hear unfamiliar voices as the chilling air makes me brittle and empty. I imagine your finger losing the green hue I used to leave on it. Your hand, naked, silently tapping without the percussion I provided.
Darling, don’t forget me: The ring that will always be shaped to hold you, living without you to hold onto.
From Weed to Smoker
So High When I first touched your lips I knew, man, I knew This whateveritis It’s the good stuff. Your deep breath Pulling me in Letting me dance in the air As I learned what happened under your skin And just the way your gentle breath feels When it’s late at night and breath Is all you can think of anyways Let me live in that breath Let me taste your lungs always Let me let you let go When I first touched your lips And I first started burning I was too high to notice You’ve got the eyes I usually sink into The jaw-dropped smile I usually seep under The appetite But yesterday I watched those eyes blink awake And squint at windowed sunshine And taste backpacks and day naps And float out the door To be with things I’d never seen before Though being the light in your head Is warmer, sweeter, softer than I’ve been I don’t know If I’ll ever tumble off your breath And drift with you Through loud, cold, uncomfortable day Or if I’m just the high you want At the end of the night When your lips have been everywhere else And your couch is your wonderland And you want to let go of everything, See what you find, And leave that, too, behind.
Blue painter’s tape used to wrap around my bars. Someone stuck it there to protect me, I think. To make me a little less beautiful, a little less tempting, and a little more average in the eyes of potential thieves. It worked all year long, you know. The only one who ever touched my rubber arms was my girl– my partner in crime. She, and only she, was there through everything. Even as my brakes failed, my tires lost air, and my gears jumped, she came to me every day, jingling her keys from a ways off— ready to slip the lock out from around my legs. For her, I’d run forever.
But the blue tape is gone now. That extra layer of skin that stifled my shining red was peeled off by your fingernails this spring. I liked watching it go, you know. When I heard the keys coming my way, I never expected those big hands to be so gentle and so understanding. Within minutes, you had me running better than I had in years. I’d forgotten what it was like to truly fly, unimpeded by my old rusty frictions and misalignments. You spun me around and around and made everything right. You replaced my broken pieces.
And when you were finished, you grabbed the edge of the tape and peeled. One piece after the next, you revealed my glaring red nudity. I was hardly ashamed, happy to impress you with the paint job that lay underneath. I didn’t care that the thieving men looked twice at me now, that they saw how fresh and smooth I really was. I didn’t care, as long as you kept tinkering with me.
But then you left me in the basement. And three months later, she retrieved me with her jingling key and small, awkward hands. She felt my bare structure and knew that things had changed. She took me out to the sun, where everyone could see the nicks and scratches on my paint that had been covered up. I was naked, and she couldn’t understand why.
You walked by the other day. I heard your steps and wondered if maybe you’d come and fix me again. Of course, a bike like me has a lot to do— I never wanted to just wait around for you and your wrenches. But when I heard your step, I’ll admit I held my breath. But you walked by, leaving me in my vulnerable, flagrant, damaged nothingness. You didn’t even slow your step. You didn’t even recognize the machine you created.
I didn’t ask for you. I’m not even asking for you now. I’m happy with my girl, even if she’s slow to pump my tires and quick to bounce me over curbs.
All I’m saying is that I wish you’d look a little closer at the bike who lost everything just to feel what it was like to fly.
I told you I needed you, and you seemed to understand. But the forecast said you’d be here yesterday, and I haven’t seen any dark on the horizon. I’m not sure where you are or what you’re doing, but I want you to know that I’m watching to sky for you. Every humid night, I breathe deep and hope that you’re at the end of the breeze, sailing the skies to fix everything. From way up there, maybe you can’t see that I’m parched. My petals are browning and the soil around my roots is blowing away. I want to keep spreading, creeping, growing, but I can’t keep living without thinking about you maybe on the way. I heard tell of floods in Beaverton last week. Was that you, then? Hasn’t anyone told you you’ve overstayed your welcome? Hasn’t anyone told you that I need you here now? I’m shrinking into nothing. Please send word.
I tasted you again last night. Just for a second. A freshest flash and, God, it filled me full. In that moment, I felt perfect again. Beautiful again. I had watched you flanking the horizon for hours, drifting in nonchalant meandering that made me feel sick. Just as I couldn’t watch any more, I closed my eyes and you kissed my cheek with gentlest reinvigoration. My roots and petal folds trembled with colorful animation, and the feeling put all hope in me that you really do care. You care about nothing at all but me and my leaves that have waited so long for you to restore their playful flexibility. But then you left. And even when I reached as deep as I could into the rocky earth, I couldn’t find traces of you anywhere. You evaporated away from me and I fear that I dispelled you. I had to feel, once again, the crispening of a parched life. It is not enough to caress me for this night and blow through. It only leaves me a memory of sweet satisfaction, the weight of which bends my stem.
And back to thirsty biding. My eyes to the east, I see the ravenous heat coming that tears me apart. I remember how you dappled that light. How you carried its gleam. How you painted color in magnificent joyousness, just for me. And now, dry, I am losing reality. Give it back to me, would you?
Leftover drip down won’t you
Fresh and down down won’t you
Underdone the won’t you drip
So stop to be disinterested and
Maybe near me gently won’t you
Pour once more before winter.
Fragile, I will break
Under weight of your heavensphere.
And gone the pain.
I apologize for my weak dialog yesterday. Rereading it, I noticed that I could be a relatively mediocre and stereotypical children’s writer.
I leave in 20 minutes to ride a horse on a field with a ball and some friends, so I will have to be fast.
A Poem from My Dog to the Thunder
WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME?
I’ve done nothing wrong.
In fact I have been on FANTASTIC behavior today.
I sat and watched SO MANY HUMANS eat bacon
And then YOU. There you are with your grumbling stomach.
Creeping up and whispering in my ears.
Pounding down upon ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD.
I’M HUNGRY TOO, you know.
A Poem from the Thunder to My Dog
I’m still here.
You thought you’d lost me,
But I’m still here.
You don’t have to run, you know.
I never wanted to scare you off.
You, man’s best friend,
Never to look into the face of the storm.
There have been some to dance in the rain
The few who made my existence
The littlest bit more than nuisance
But you remain,
Reminding me that everyone
Will always better love the sun.
A Poem from My Dog to the Thunder
I never knew.
You? I’ve hurt you?
If I could lick your face and make it better
But you’ve already cried the river streams full.
Here I am.
Play with me
A Poem from the Thunder to My Dog
A Poem from My Dog to the Thunder
I KNEW YOU WERE A TRICKY BASTARD.
I raised you here, you know. Your hands on my rungs, your feet on my dirt, your eyes on the highest swing. I watched as you let Mason kiss your hand under the slide in exchange for his Easter Candy. I listened as you told everyone you’d name your first daughter “Britney” because 1) “Hit Me Baby One More Time”* made up your entire music library and 2) There was no way you’d make someone else deal with a name like Robiny. I felt you grinding rocks and scraping knees and pushing Benjie against the fence and going to the Principal’s office.
I decided not to tell you about what was out there. Sometimes you’d peer through the chain link and see moms driving cars and nannies walking dogs and men doing yard work, and you believed life worked like a little cuckoo clock. For my little girl, I held life to your rhythm. I contained your heartbreaks and creative geniuses and your huge little mind.
And now you’re back.
I guess I knew you’d be here eventually. Even if your hands have lost their grabbing calluses, your mind still swings like I taught it to.
But darling— the bell rang. Didn’t you hear it? Here you are, still, on my monkey bars. Aren’t you tired? You can’t just hang here like you used to. You’re heavier now, unpracticed. You ignore everyone else carrying their suitcases inside tall buildings to learn Ff: Frog, Fish, Fly, Flag, Freedom, Follow, Follow, Follow. I am not your world anymore, sweetheart. I let you go a long time ago when you started wishing you didn’t have the safety of a lunch box.
But you stay, hanging with two hands on one monkey bar. Watching the next monkey bar. Afraid of the last monkey bar. Too scared to lose momentum, yet too tired to reach.
I’ve seen many like you, trying to bring the world to me. Hallucinating love in each progressive gymnastics ring, afraid to let go of the last before grabbing the next. Dreaming of going all the way around on the swing, but never trying. Wacing acwoss wope bwidges ovuh LAVA and kwocdiles and upsidown lightening.
Let go and stand in the lava. Lose your momentum. Shake out your hands.
This is not your place anymore.
*Because you know you want to: Britney, Bitch