Childish Errors

When I look back at high school,

I realize I was lucky enough to embrace

The terms used when I was bullied-

Amazon woman. Band nerd. Art geek. 

Clumsy. Fat. Goody-two-shoes. Jesus-Freak.

I was lucky enough that most of those

Words were just words to me then, 

Many of which have changed these

10 years later.

But the one thing I will never forgive

Was the time I didn’t stop them

From teasing a boy in class.

He gave a speech, and cracked his voice,

The sweat dropped down,

His checks velvet wine-

I saw the hurt they caused 

And I did not stand and tell him

They were only using little words,

And ten years later they would mean

Far, far less than they do now…

I can forgive bullies their childish errors,

But I cannot forgive myself mine. 

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Being a Poet

Have you ever read a poem

And felt something claw up from inside 

Your rib bones? 

Pulse quickened, breath shortened?

As if you had pulled the left lung over 

Top of your beating, bloody muscle

Until your worried skin could not 

Hold it in any longer?

Poetry reminds me that I am an animal,

-Flesh and bone and blood-

But also that I am not animalistic.

It is no wonder animals show 

gratitude to people and other animals:

They seek and adore companionship,

Relish play time and a hearty meal-

They live for pleasure without pain or fear of suffering. 

But people are different-

They pull their own hearts out

For no sake but to give to another-

It is not enough to be or show  

what animals are in this world-

Loyal-compassionate-lusting-honest-

No.

People try to one-up the rest of specieskind

By creating poetry- 

By giving our love to one another

Without a hint of self-preservation, 

As any poet knows, writing 

Brings both delight and extreme pain

For the sake of emptying oneself,

and filling up others. 

There is nothing quite like being human-

And absolutely nothing like being a Poet.

Who else (like me)

How many sit in their apartment boxes

Weeping over lovers who have died?

I read a book recently, and the woman

Lost her British lover who far surpassed

Any kindness she thought deserved,

And when his letters stopped arriving

Some weeks after the funeral,

The silence became real, the salt tears

Tangible.

How many sit alone in apartment boxes

Weeping over lovers who have died?

Who else (like me) has not known this loss

 but through a poem or novel, and 

deeply weeps for those who are weeping? 

Wing Dreams

When I quit eating poultry I never knew 

I’d have dreams about hot wings. 

The spice left in my gullet when I woke,

Nose stuffy, mind still at the county fair,

Feeling both disgusting, and primal. 

We all have this idea of civility,

A moral compass that screams

“Thou shalt not kill!” 

But I taste the wings,

I know that I save 518 gallons

Of water per pound of chicken,

So why does my mind still desire

This tearing of flesh? 

Why only wings?

Humanity is not entirely civilized-

It is foolish of us to believe 

We can rescue our minds…

Yet, I saved 518 gallons of water today. 

Us 

I hear it coming,

The splitting of what was sewn

And lumped together for so long,

That they began to fuse.

With pus and skin cells clinging

When limb touched limb for too long

In the hospital bed not on the 

Window side of the world, 

The split was pain and tearing and blood

for the greater good of each leg,

Glaringly obvious and necessary, 

Ignored and denied until inevitable.