Year 2: Day 167 – Technique

For a man,
an empty bear trap
must feel awful.
All that work
and no head
on the mantel.

A hook coming up
back out of the water
without a worm and
without a fish,
twice a loss, I guess
that must feel
twice as bad.

You and your offensive metaphors.

I’m not a lotto ball printed
just one number off,
but I’ll admit I’m a
wasted sushi dinner
if you think that’s an investment
in your hopes.
I’m a waste of time,
I’m tryna tell ya,
if you’re hiding some kind of net
behind your back.
I see you shaking a bag of leaves
over a ditch
but I won’t fall.

Me and my offensive metaphors.

You’re not Elmer Fudd hunting wabbits-
if what we do is really science
you just don’t know the right math
’cause I’m not a solution,
and you don’t have a problem.

All these offensive metaphors.

We’re people and
you have a technique.
It was nice to meet you.


Year 2: Day 166 – We’ll Always Be Dancing

If my head is a snow globe
and figures frozen in time
are all I can keep,
are all that will last in the end,
then when you and I fade away
we’ll always be dancing.

Like museum scenes we’ll stand,
other eras surrounding,
all those who turned into wax,
all the ones who turned into
somebodies I don’t know.

The man who was young
when he bought me a ring,
before he knew we couldn’t
grow up ’til we said goodbye-
he and I, in our underwear,
will always be playing Nintendo.

The man who was lost
when I found his heart,
when we’d hide from the truth
of an ugly world behind dumpsters,
there he and I will stay,
shooting milk cartons
with our slingshots.

The man who understood
what my pen tried to say,
tucked into a cabin
with the snow falling down,
so calmly I’ll always be
writing him
and he’ll always be painting me.

And you, the man who
I hardly knew, took my hand and
brought a reckless, lively joy
in your temporary wake-
you who were a gamble
that bloomed for me
under colored, flashing lights-
though others come
take their place in my snow globe head,
you and I will remain,
always dancing.

Year 2: Day 165 – The Truth About Magic

Saw this kid at the shop last night,
must’ve been around eighteen,
played Dylan better than Dylan ever did.
The crowd inside was breathless,
little old ladies, hippie folk singers, and me
scribblin’ like mad to get it under my thumb:
that feelin’ like magic, like the universe stopped,
like this world earned a moment of peace,
and that slipping unease
that afterward comes with the silent question,
“Now what about you?”

What I am at twenty-five
is not as much as I want to be,
stifled by the things I’ve learned are unsafe to do:
you don’t follow the artist outside,
you just relax.
Blow a kiss to the stars in thanks
for a night well spent.

But back at the lab you muse about it,
toss in your restless bed about it,
roll that diamond memory around in your mouth
and believe there are more to be found.

What I am at twenty-five
is a silent fan, a secret collector of spark
inhaled and mixed with my blood and dust
and engine grease and spit
and not yet full enough
but getting close.

At eighteen I would’ve followed him outside,
but tonight I am rooted in the truth about magic,
the secret I’m pretty sure he knows:
we never own it, never get it under our thumbs.
We are secret collectors of spark.
We are glowworms radiating out
the light we let in
that we cannot keep.

And we can’t do more than breathe,
in and back out.

Year 2: Day 164 – Last Thursday

Last Thursday I spoke all my normal concerns
once again to the air surrounding my ribs,
to the walls surrounding my bed in time,
to the styrofoam packing lodged in my throat,
and it’s always the same hot result,
blooming out of my ears:

“I think I don’t know about this love business,
I think there’s something they’re not telling us.
I think in the world of statistics it doesn’t make sense.”
I smash it between two hands
and I refuse to play.

I said to the dust,”What’s gonna happen to all of my friends
when they figure out their actual options-”
and God himself came down and said,
“Why you gotta be so negative?”

I said, “You know as well as I that hearts aren’t bags
we put our crayons in,
people aren’t safes we put our gold watches in,
but our wisdom memory is a certain amount of gigs
that revolves out the stuff we don’t need anymore
and I know that I’ve never loved.
No, sir.”

And he put his fingers on his temples
and did his best Billy Crystal and said,
“So what? So what? So what if you’re right,
if I told you that no one’s destined to love
and you can’t because you’ll never be perfect?
I made you an omelet and caterpillars,
you got strong ankles and you like some songs
and children are still gonna die no matter what you do,
but I guarantee not one will survive by your efforts
to eat pizza while having sex.”

And I said, “Whoa, calm down, I get it, jeez,
but I feel like the only one,
and it’s tough when you don’t ever see it
on the cover of a magazine,
you don’t ever see it in the corners
of your friends’ lonely eyes,
you don’t ever hear it in church
when there’s people in the front row kissing,
people onstage getting married,
people in single ladies’ youth groups
braiding their hair ’til they meet “the one.”

And he said, “You don’t have to worry about that.
You’re never gonna find it.”
And then he left.
And today I am the Queen.

Year 2: Day 163 – The Ways She Tells Me She Knows She’s In Love Over Thai Food

I’ve been watching her twirl her pad thai noodles
around on her fork since the day I was born,
since we walked in the door,
since yesterday when I answered her
autocorrect “ketchup” text.
I know she can’t use chopsticks.

There is a dialogue running beneath our feet,
deep in the crevices with my diamond one-liners,
unspoken but merry in their pressurized madness.

She knows, she says, she’s in love.
“I know it because she’s not eating,
not even those sweet little pea-pod things that I love,
that I’m burning to sneak off her plate
when she looks away.”

But she knows it because she never has felt
so strongly. “I once had a kidney stone…”
She knows it because they’re so comfortable.
“I’m having a vision of Nazis playing Jenga-
I’d invite her to this delusion but I see
she’s a little preoccupied.”
She knows it just because. “The Earth is flat,
are you going to eat that yet?”

She gets a take-out box. Don’t the worst
of our rotten best friends fall in love
and get take-out boxes?
Can’t they learn to spell “catch up”
and use their chopsticks properly?

Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do (And Some News To Share!)

I think it’s time I explain to my no doubt perplexed readers my somewhat erratic behavior of late: skipping poetry days, not writing any more short stories, suddenly developing an interest in rapping… I’ve been at a plateau for a while and this is my wonky way of squirming out of it, that’s all.

It’s been a weird, frustrating couple of weeks as I’ve been dealing with writer’s burnout as well as tenseness at work and some challenging new relationships. With regard to writing, I’ve been caught up in a cycle of trying to keep myself motivated and wondering why that’s so important in the first place. The one-poem-a-day disciplinary system I put myself on back in 2013 is just not working for me anymore, I don’t think. I’ve been reluctant to pull myself away from it because I don’t want to get lazy and end up not writing at all. But at some point I have to ask myself, “Is this goal serving me or am I serving it?”

Lately I’ve been dreading the sludge to the computer to write, and it’s more than just a matter of buckling down to eat my vegetables. It’s unnecessary torment because by now I know when I’m cranking out a mediocre product for the sake of getting it done and out of my hair. And I’m tired of doing that. I seldom have time to work on lengthier projects I truly care about because I’m stuck on this never-ending conveyor belt of what amounts to little more than pleasant writing exercises. I want to be in love with my writing again.

So I’ve been diddling around with this sortof laissez-faire attitude, just letting it come when it comes and only writing when and what I want to. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that my productivity hasn’t decreased too drastically, and I’m generally more satisfied with the things with which I’ve allowed myself to experiment. (Raps? Who would’ve thought, right?) Even better, it’s cleared room in my schedule to focus more on work, friendships, and general “chill-the-eff-out-Char” time. Turns out I’m a happier ladybug when not strapped to a desk chair ^_^

But what does this mean for you, dear readers? Only that we’re gonna have to make a swap deal: higher quality for lower quantity. I won’t be posting daily anymore, but know that it’s because I’m giving things time to breathe in a way that I haven’t so far. There are so many projects I want to tackle and life’s too short to sit around wishing I had the time, y’know?

Speaking of projects, I’m pretty excited about my newest co-author gig! Author Paul Morabito invited me to be a part of the Mirrored Voices: Best New Poets anthology which was released today, and I’m proud to be included in such a great compilation of talents. I’m ordering my copy today, can’t wait to read over 100 poems by today’s emerging poets (5 of which are mine!) Check it out!

mirrored voices


Blessings and happy reading,
Char 🙂

Year 2: Day 162 – Potatoes

“I’ve had so many fathers that leave
and you’ll be another one, wait and see-”
something about a sack of potatoes,
she says.

She’s right that her wounds aren’t exposed for me to clean,
that her tears don’t fall for somebody to dry,
and that I’ll never see the way she saves herself
each and every day.

But she’ll never understand how
she might be wrong about me;
that helping a smile to bloom
is sometimes enough
to kick-start mine back up,
and that’s really all it is.

But she’s hardly ever wrong
and she just keeps talking
about potatoes.