Somewhere in Los Angeles
A tabloid described yoga pants as "classy".
And yesterday I made a graveyard
for children I've never met.
And yet my heart still longs to hug
the dogs people
keep tethered on their front porches.
I found a cat wandering through
looking for mice
that have long gone to sleep
and I wonder if I'll ever
have time enough to speak Latin
to my coat closet.
Their smiles here say "Welcome Home"
but their closed doors say "prison".
I stand at a rickety table in the fog
selling cookies that no one will buy.
We drive through back country roads
to stand on a bridge in the dark
and try to understand
why this makes us so fearful.
We counted stars on the roof
of a convent.
And I blamed a passing train
for all of my misery.
I miss root-beer in frosted glass mugs.
I miss wind-bent wheat and a pool
that they dug up and let run dry
three summers ago.
I miss a man with glasses and crooked teeth
who is sort of like my older brother
and sort of life a friend.
I miss the train that whistles
as it goes by my house
and only shakes the kitchen floor
when it is going particularly fast.
I miss a girl with a birthmark
below her left eye
who is closer to me,
than I am to her.
I drive three hundred miles one way
just to catch a whiff of incense
and throw rocks at stained glass windows
(not to break them)
but to awaken the sleeping saints inside.
Yet, I can't help but feel
even after all of this time
that I've been a little lied to.
Yesterday, we told the squirrels here
that they had a lot of reading
in their future.
And we wrote poems
on donut boxes.
How dare you pass
your qualifiers and memories
and expect me to be able
to taste them
as you did.
And expect me to hold them
in the same reverence.
How dare you give them to me
like a flimsy paper umbrella
and hope this will help me
survive the hurricane.
We fell asleep
on picnic tables
near the shore
of a lake
that reminded me vaguely
of F. Scott Fitzgerald
and I made snow-angels
on the pool table downstairs
and called it an existential crisis.
And maybe this is all too personal
and I should be more like a window
with the blinds half closed
so as to only give the illusion
of being able to see in.
But how dare you say
that I need to wait.
John and James
cast aside their nets
but you tell me
to stay in the boat.
You spent a whole gas tank
to tell me I'm wrong.
And that you think
I should have kept the cat.
I hope you know that toasted ravioli
will always taste like melancholy
and a football game
neither of us really watched.
A man I've never met told me to
Step out of Myself
and I told him I would
if I could only find
where the mask ended
and my skin began.
The ghost of my theatre teacher
reminds me how to paint doorframes
every Tuesday afternoon and
The comment you told me in the hallway
makes me not want to fly to Boston.
But I still wake up an hour early
to wait for a phone call that never comes.
And one day last week, the way the light came in through
the library windows
helped me not to hate myself so much.
And I still pray for a single red rose
to make all of this worth it.
The whole world is before you,
there is no time
to be afraid.
But I feel that perhaps
if we closed one of the doors,
or even a window.
Then I would finally feel like I have
room enough to breathe.