If There Were Parts Like This (June 2000) [from the archives]

I’m reposting a very old poem. I’ve reworked this so many times over. I want this piece to be illustrated. And printed in children’s book format, with a paragraph on each page, rich with visuals. I’m hoping that Sandy and I can one day do that together.

I

Recently, the sky has fallen
and there have been cold flowers at dawn.

She slipped out the front door
one evening,
sat on wooden steps
in her summer dress
and said,
“I’ve been watching the stars fall.”

II

It had been a warm summer.
The landscape hummed when it was dark,
allowing silence a chance to be heard.
And it was in those moments
that she would think hard about the dawn,
the cold blue flowers
and why they might have stolen her wings.

She thought hard about other things
she may have said that would cause
such things to be taking place.
“I have been careless with my wings before”,
she said,
“but there have never been cold flowers at dawn”.
Not here.

III

A few summers ago, she watched a piece of the sky fall,
but thought that it had only been an accident.
And besides, she had her wings, so it helped;
she was always able to catch the stars before they hit
the humming landscape.
It was a busy night.

She hadn’t been getting much sleep.
When evening began
she would slip out the front door
and say to herself “I guess I’ll just sit on these steps
and watch the stars fall, one by one.”
She was clumsy, so she didn’t try to help the recently falling sky,
she thought it might make things worse.
She would just wait, until dawn
and then walk over to where they had landed,
look down at the cold flowers that had replaced them
and ask in a very low voice “Do you know where they are?
My wings, they’re gone, and I don’t know why you are here”.
She cried a little bit.
And walked back to the steps,
thinking hard.
“Sky. Cold flowers. I don’t know.”
Her white shoes were dirty now, from these
walks out to the flowers.
By this time, the sun would be out and she would
feel hungry and lonely.

IV

The kitchen was bright
and full of dusty sun beams.
She ate a plum over the kitchen sink,
and wondered why no one was noticing
what was happening.

“Or, maybe they have noticed.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.”
She realized there was a chance
that none of this really mattered;
because it happened all the time,
and that makes it right.
Something right, and not wrong.
Things happen.

But she was sad.
She couldn’t help but be sad.
She could only whisper to herself,
over and over,
about the falling sky
(long breath—“..the sky. it’s falling.”),
her wings
(heavy—“..my wings.”)

She mostly kept quiet about the cold blue flowers.
She didn’t understand why flowers
could surprise people,
at a time like this.
She wanted to ignore their existence.
She didn’t have time to be thinking
about new (beautiful) events,
she was busy
staying up all night,
worrying about lost and broken things.

She sat down at the kitchen table.
It was quiet, sunlight was moving in waves.
“I don’t know how the story ends.
I know how it started;
I know every absence, I know I was making it go this way.
Now, it’s stopped. Flipped. And, flowers have come
here, they’ve stolen my wings.
Making me sit here and watch.”

V

She was right.
The sky really had been falling.
The ground was scorched,
but people would just walk by
on their way to work, stepping over the debris:
half lit super novae, spinning stars, even rings from planets.

It was so quiet, and she couldn’t stand it.
There was no laughter, there were no smells,
there was no saving anything.

She walked around outside,
passing over the same things,
and felt split in half.

The flowers
in her periphery
stayed cold and blue –
but she noticed
they were growing.

With the utter of curiosity
she was compelled
to ask the flowers a question,
and with this
the night unfolded into day
as it does,
and she woke with the morning sun
to find the answer.

Got My Hooks In Your Past With Your Teeth In My Now

my pull
with your tug
makes our push
into more
than this crinkled heart
thought likely.

i’ve got my hooks
in your past
with your teeth
in my now
i take samples
from your then
and make projections
on tomorrow.

I recoil and summate
giving a push
until it pulls
then you tug
and I’m back
to the heat
it all started in
like oil
acquainting itself
with a hot pan
I melt and simmer
with nothing but now
right back into your blue.

sick of caring
about the fossils
their significance weighs in;
I dream
I fear
and I hold firm
but it’s your love that I want
and the language that it lends
not my doubts cast by thoughts
dividing my now
with your then
hiding you in the shadows
of what I know I know
what I’ve felt from the moment
you leaned in close –
I just want you, infinite
unending, no past
just here, our now
all you.

Replay

maybe i can stretch out
and open up some wounds
things i wish that never took place
play it over and over to see
where the wrong turn happened
and beat myself up a little, again
just to do it all over
make sure i am right in feeling
how crap it is to lose yourself.

or maybe i can slow down
to fix this feeling
let a new arrangement arrange itself
watch things shift without a big push
wait until i feel the right moment
to slide into position
and face the life
i’ve made for myself.

and maybe i can dig deep
to find the kernel
that’s going to bring it all together
to make me know how to love
to never be outside myself
to always do the right thing.

or maybe there’s just nothing i can do.

because you’re right
it’s good to see how shitty i was
there is nothing interesting about it
you’re right
it was just a shitty thing to do
it all slid so quickly
like a glass falling
that you catch for a second,
thinking you’ve got it
then it slips again and you fumble to grab it
touching it lightly
before is smashes all around you.

i have no excuses, it’s all laid bare. i want this piece of writing to mark the end of an era of writing about this. it’s redundant and just plain old sad. so let it be known – a new era has begun.

What It Feels Like When I

i can be taken
by a stretching yellow meadow
a flickering shadow
a moon deep in the sky
over a farmer’s field
a fiddle and lap steel guitar
muggy nights
a flock of birds moving in unison
alongside a dirt road
as i fly by in my parent’s car
windows open,
thinking and feeling
heart exploding
into millions of little pieces.