Love Like Fruit

all i ever saw was love like fruit
with a finite shelf-life, extended by two
if you wrap it in plastic and post it online
in the facebook fridge, on the instagram shrine
all i saw was everyone sucking at the rind
squeezing out the juice that would sour with time
frantically looking around just to see
whose love was ripening naturally
and whose was starting to rot and decay
can we put it in a smoothie to last another day?
can we cut it up in chunks and feed it to the baby?
should we wait a few weeks to tell everyone, maybe?
all i saw was a definite end
and a press-tour of covering it up until then
pretending it wasn’t just for sustenance,
biological laws that don’t make sense
like when we put barren cores deep in the soil
and we say that new trees make up for the toil
but why make a show of digestion if that’s true
all i saw was people eating each other like fruit


She picks at me in ways that lay me open,
shines a headlamp on my bones
she finds my fossilized remains
and lines them up–

She touches each raw nerve one at a time
just like a surgeon, gets me sobbing with relief
when she is done, when I’m let loose

She makes her money clean with me
though I don’t understand why I cannot
break through my own skin, why I cannot
heal myself

The Tide

The tide never stopped rolling in on me,
it is constant and true like they said
though I didn’t believe it–
oh I guess I thought they were casting big shadows
trying to scare the kids straight and up
and I’d find a way if there was one
to lay on the beach without getting wet

I’ve been soaked
for half of my life
darling, it doesn’t
kill you like that

it will dry you back out and in moments
of peaceful sun and blissful breeze
it just feels too good–
they weren’t warning you, just reassuring
that nothing exists that can last–
when you’re craving the tide again, you’ll see
it is constant and true like they said

Truth in Times of Peace

The truth that finds me in times of peace
when I’m trying to make a bed
with gentle hands,
trying to paint a daisy on
a dainty piece of china,
trying to love soft when
I want to run hard–
incensed that I can’t do it–
is that the things they took away,
that they replaced with steel and bricks
made me too large to play small games,
too massive to kneel, too hard to mold–
and I wasn’t a flaw when I stopped praying
when I stopped asking and stopped explaining
when I erected a world all on my own
it was quite correct.
I was never looking for love, in fact,
I was always scratching at freedom,
falling and following those who
looked like they had a key.
But the door that I kicked open
when I’d had enough was never locked
and the truth I find in times of peace,
despite trying hard to get love right,
is that I will be alright
if I find I can’t.

After All

I feel it rise in me
this hot retort
we’re gonna disagree
past the point of us
making sense anymore

I wonder if it’s fear
or just the tiredness of all
the fucking sadness–
eat or starve but
everybody feeds themselves

I’m not a savior but
I also ain’t nobody’s
trial drug, another dose
to see if a little more love
could help

There’s meaning where you make it–
if you find yours at the bar
I wish you well
‘cuz it ain’t me, babe
after all

This Garden

You dream of gardens and
wake with the daylight already
just looking for someday soon,
I find every reason to be disbelieving
that someone could be like you–
I tend to forget and disappear but
while you dream of watering flowers
I dream of keeping you like this
you’re already the sun in
this garden of ours

Words Fail

It was wrong for so long,
how can I say sorry
when all we did was try?

I’ve been silent so long,
how could I say thanks
for giving me part of your life?

There’s a letter buried somewhere–
I never sent it for fear
it’d sound like lies–
just so many conflicting things
and all of them true.

There was something I hoped
in time you’d see
when you found someone
much better suited than me–
how I couldn’t keep the faith
once I understood.

There was plenty I hoped
you’d forgive me for,
though once you saw it
there’d be no need,
and mostly now I just hope
you don’t think about me.

It was wrong for so long,
how can I convey thanks
for walking me all this way?

I’ve been silent too long
to send letters anymore
since words fail, anyway.


The things I forget in my 30’s are things
I just learned a couple of weeks ago–
would you believe nobody ever told me
how to keep myself?

I’m always waking up one day
to find me slipping, to find me gone
and a big mess of everyone else
standing in my place.

And the only way to get me back
is to stop and get very selfish,
to pluck and pull me back out of
the hands I put myself into

because I shrank to save my sanity
I kept doing it to keep the peace
and now the ground feels foreign
when the eggshells are swept away.

It’s late but I am learning how
to tidy up my floors–
it’s more like medicine now
to keep me alive without a war

but the things I forget in my 30’s are things
some people never know
so I’m composting all those eggshells
and watching my garden grow.


How many songs did Elliott write in the moment
knowing they’d be old news in the morning?

Did he wake up embarrassed about
the demons he was letting out?

And how many songs about pain will I write
knowing I can’t heal as fast as I’d like?

Do I disregard all prudent advice
each time I continue to roll the dice?

How many times can you listen to this story
covering the same familiar territory?

How long am I going to be this way,
longing for love and then pushing it away?

Am I what they warn young people of
when they caution against those who cannot love?

How can I write a poem and then take it back,
enjoying the sun ’til it all turns black?

And just who am I when the clouds descend?
What is it that controls when the storm will end?

How old was I when they threw me in
to a life-long war that I’ll never win?

Am I going to die like a falling star
or trapped like an ant inside the bell jar?

How many songs did Elliott write in the moment
knowing they wouldn’t hold up in the morning?

And how many poems about pain will I write
before I wake out of these fitful nights?


This reflex lives in me
it crowds me out when I try to speak–
brute words erupt
only they’re seldom what I mean

I promise thoughts are swimming,
always, always through my head
in a water tower without the ladder
so they sink to the bottom instead

up floats disgust, I get so embarrassed
I give up, I cannot kick,
I cannot breathe, I can’t make words
I can’t tell you,
I don’t know myself

’til it’s too late and the moment has passed
and I just said, “ew”
and hoped you could see
through my porthole eyes
this entire aquarium
complex and alive