Poem Every Day in July 9: At the Shoreline


“Oh, I’ll just call a taxi; I gotta get up early tomorrow again.”

-Dodie Clark, “6/10”

To think that the ocean came all this way
for a chance to lap at your toes

is foolish, but you can’t help remembering
the puppy from your childhood home––

his drooping brown belly, his tail wagging
along the carpet, never happier

than when you came back from school
and he could ride the surf of your arrival.

Although it shot aches through his aging frame,
your tiny grandpa never failed

to greet you. These days,
the people you love are more apt

to push you away from their warmer pillow,
sending you a little closer to the carpet

than the ever-thinning blanket.
You wish nothing more than to feel

the sweet sea wind of your love’s breathing,
soft as the eyes of a puppy grown old,

and to know that the tide rises for you,
that at least the water is happy you’re home.

Entangled Particles: A Poem


Einstein couldn’t fathom an inborn connection
existing between two hydrogen atoms.
Certainly, he postulated, they may spiral away
from their shared origination at some calcium speck,
but there is simply no way for them
to maintain their choreography of synchronized spins
at distances even the speed of light cannot surmount.
A connection, then, can be bred, he said,
but it cannot be sustained
when particulars become separated.
There is nothing spiritual inherent
in a history of physical touch.

Even lacking a background in physics, I, for one,
believe old Albert had the right idea.
Last July, for example, I mattered to you,
and you held me on the sidewalk
with fierce and swirling love.
This afternoon, however, you drove past
and, unsmiling, you averted your eyes.
The wheels on your car were spinning like atoms;
we had lost what once felt quantum. You and I
were local entities, disparate and directionless,
despite the touches we’d once shared—touches so elemental
that they could have been built into our bones.

I thought about your nose, how it once felt
pressed to my skull, and about how atoms grow distracted
and fall away. What Einstein once posited
I know to be true: bodies cannot stay in touch
in the unforgiving chasm of space.

The Magenta Stoplight: A Poem


highway

A strand of cotton candy cloud
lingers on the sunset
like caramel on ice cream
or an ex-lover’s kiss on my cheek.
I’m in your car, on the way back from the party,
thinking I’ve done everything wrong;
the streetlamps are carpet-bombing us with yellow light
and dizzying uniformity.
When we come to the magenta stoplight,
which buzzes like one of the mosquitoes it’s ensnared,
I notice that the end-of-day wink is casting dim lavender
on the city’s bricks.
Midnight blue is encroaching from the East,
and the black spray-painted letters on the overpass
are as incoherent as radio static.
You turn to me, your hair orange and pink lit from behind—
your face grey.
You pull your hand from the steering wheel and reach it
towards my knuckles—which have been tight this whole time
like the braces I had removed in high school or an embrace
that you don’t realize until later will be your last—
and you’re soft with me, your skin like a butterfly
imploring a flower for permission to land.
For a moment, I want to give in—
stretch my petals out to you, offer you
my every inner sweetness—
but a glint of glassy green strikes your eye.
The whole world, it seems, is a candy box
and I can’t trust any of it.

The Light Festival: A Poem


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas was a blade that year
but, unimpeded, you took me to the Light Festival
in the park. From every tree
tiny moons were lynched in rows,black cords
like the shadowy arms
of spider monkeys at night, bright white lights
and multicolored bulbs swinging from the highest branches
to the ground beside our feet.

As I walked along the weather-cracked sidewalk
with you, who would someday cease to love me,
the promise of neatly-wrapped gifts swung overhead
like a corpse. You rapped me repeatedly
with what-would-you-like, your jaw
dropping with the dead weight of your voice
in the frozen air. Your limp tongue lolled
on the other side of eggnog teeth, and pink overran
my cheeks, though only because of the cold.

While, with a hungry merriment, the first hints of winter
bit through my peppermint-colored sneakers, the trees
infuriated themselves with orange. They faded
to pallid yellow. A child in a red hat poured hot cocoa
on their roots, and everything turned brown.

I wore my earmuffs as a shield against
what-would-you-like. I swore to you my ears
were cold. Then I tripped.
My sneakered toe was inhibited by a skinny rip
in the pavement; my chin collided
with cement, my white wool gloves completely useless
when I needed to make a pillow of the blow.
You kept plodding along, not noticing my absence at first
because you didn’t like holding hands.
I suppose for you, I was a dead weight.

When we saw Star Wars in the theatre,
I was stunned by the ships that soared
into the streaking stars, full hyperdrive
into the fathomlessness, the bottomless expanse, blasting away.
You looked just like a starship then,
walking away from me at the Light Festival.
My chin throbbed while a tiny LED moon
glared beside my dying tremble
in the frozen air. From the ever-furthering distance trolled
the angels’ chorus: what-would-you-like, what-
do-you-want.

A promise that you’d stay,
I decided,
in crisp silver paper and green ribbon
under the tree.

Convenience Store: More Lyrics


We walk to the convenience store
We buy iced tea and nothing more
You’re shopping for a bit of fun
That’s not what you tell anyone

You press your nose against my cheek
You look at me, eyes round and meek
But you feel shameless in your crime
I don’t know you’re just killing time

10 p.m., we’re on your quilt
and I don’t see the flowers wilt
I feel your weight across my chest
Of all my friends, you are the best

The petals fall into the dirt
I don’t yet know that I should hurt
We walk to the convenience store
But you don’t love me anymore

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Almost: A Poem (or, rather, Lyrics for which I May Never Write Music)


Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 5.31.17 PM

Crooked-tooth beauty, your wide smile curved
I saw you were everything I almost deserved
Head on your collarbone, I didn’t feel so alone
Affectionate words, unreserved

Your eyes, crinkled pastries all happy like that
Your toes, autumn-awkward on the welcome mat
You shone perfect pink, let your long lashes blink
Then lifted me up, swift, strong acrobat

Crooked-tooth beauty, you spun me around
Like a hot-air balloon peeled up from the ground
My giggles went pealing; swear I touched the ceiling
And back in your arms, warm and safe, I was found

What bright stroke of luck had granted me you?
What guardian angel did I have? Or who
Would read my bent mind and then be so kind
As to hand me the best thing the heavens can do?

Tumultuous beauty, I held you to me
Light met your green eyes like sunsets on the sea
Sweet fragile foam, you became my home
Now my boat is lost and I am so alone.

Breakups


They suck, apparently.

It’s been over a month since I split with my ex-boyfriend and I’m still not really over it. At all.

0a134f738216560debdc0e5e71764726In that time, he’s done cool stuff with his friends and he has even obtained a new girlfriend. I’ve just kind of cried a lot. I miss the sense of security I had when I was in his arms, or cooking with him, or even when he would stop by my house on his runs and bike rides. It felt so nice to be wanted, loved, to feel special and important to someone.

I could sense when he stopped loving me. Those were a lot of nights spent staying up in bed, pretending to be asleep, with my heart rate at a million beats per second and a small puddle in each eye. I’d tried to break up with him a few times in the month before that–for his sake, believe it or not (that’s another story). But I still can’t shake how terrifying, how unexpected it was that he would stop loving me. I never stopped loving him during our relationship. I still haven’t.

I’ve been trying to fight so many of my negative thoughts that have appeared as a result of the breakup. A main one is reconciling the idea that someone could fall out of love with me  with my constant battle for self-love. Another is the loss of one of the best friends I’ve ever had–someone I felt so comfortable with that I never felt the need to hide any aspect of who I am from him. I don’t know how to feel about being discarded. I still want to be special to him–even if I can’t be his girlfriend, I want to be his best friend again. I know it’s impossible, but it doesn’t change how I feel.

Even with all of these things in mind, the absolute worst part is trying to get him out of my system. I think about him when I’m trying to sleep, when I wake up, when I get cold, when I need someone to talk to (ironically, the breakup has been the main reason for this as of late), when I see a joke that I want to share, and when I just need to see a face outside my family. I have to consciously remind myself that we won’t ever be the same, that some of the things I had looked forward to in our relationship will never come to pass. I can’t rely on him anymore. And although my feelings work to the contrary, I have no right to be jealous anymore.

Screen shot 2016-02-04 at 4.41.18 PMI’ve had to adopt a new mantra. Whereas pre-split I used to tell myself, “You are loved,” I have since found that that particular sentence can be very hard to believe (after all, he told me he loved me after he stopped meaning it, so how can I trust that anyone loves me?). The new one is also a challenge, but it’s a necessary challenge, because without it I can’t ever move on.

I am not his failure to love me.

I am worth so much more than his love. He is, after all, the one who failed. The one who wasn’t willing to work things out. The one who didn’t care enough about me to fight his cowardice and tell me he was done. He’s the one who lied, who kept giving me an empty “I love you.”

I tried to keep him. I tried so hard. But in the end, he wasn’t worth the effort. And that isn’t my fault. Nothing I could have done would have made him stay. And that isn’t my fault. It’s his fault. He is the one with the problem. He is the one who threw me away. He is the one who loses.

He was the best boyfriend in the whole world until he stopped loving me.  He was sweet, patient, cuddly, soft, honest, open-minded, kind, gentle, and maybe even a little indulging. In short, he did everything right. But it’s difficult–impossible, even–to forgive this one misstep. And maybe I don’t have to.

I will be loved again. I will find another friend like him.

I am not his failure to love me.

He is his failure to love me.

And that is not my fault.

Ciao for now,
Mikki (who, despite the odds, is in one piece)