I don’t need poetry anymore.
I folded it up and left it behind on the A train, wedged between seats. I left it hanging outside Central Park, wavering uncertainly in the wind as I rushed underground, in a big hurry to catch my ride.
It wasn’t appropriate anymore to dig through my heart for noise that will let me make music. For screams that can be leashed out to words and tied to meaning. Who will be around to explain that things change? The world becomes unrecognizable and it drifts.
We are grown now. Unless it is ‘eggs’ to the grocery list, there is no need to scribble anything urgently anywhere anymore. Much less in parks, or the inside of a church or waiting next to the bodega, sniffing the sharpness in the air. There is no poetry in trains anymore.
Time has lost its wisdom. It’s become distracted and hurried. And cluttered in a way that poetry can no longer sweep clean. There’s no order here, no rhymes and clicks that make sense.
Something gets snagged, caught. Not clear what it is yet. A piece that you can only taste, that doesn’t have words yet, not even a story or people. All you remember is feeling afraid and unhappy. It made you wake up and pay attention to the ceiling. I negotiate wisps of my dreams back. It solidifies reluctantly as if it were giving away a secret. There are cracks in my dream, and bits have slipped through, escaped my lazy scrutiny.
A midst groping for the words that will help carry my heaviness, I stop.
I tire of my verse. I grow impatient with my rusty handling of language and so I let my sadness remain inside me. I wait for my belly to shatter. I fling my words loose and let it unravel with the frivolous grace of toothpicks.
I tire of my breakable heart. The world shrugs through the telling of my sad tale —the city pierces with its jewel-cold lights — everyone has troubles, ya’ know.
The storm has pulled the unhurried winter with it. Note the world’s unhappy surprise, a large white cloud has smeared itself across the sky in protest.
I stumble upon remembering,
the last time —
the first time. dappled terrace, grilled and over-loved.
the middle times. airport traditions.
Cars stuffed with limbs, shoulders, your music and my longing.
Too much noise, not enough tears.
(I always come to leave you behind, didya’ notice?)
there’s a before and an after now — time is broken now
it spills into my skin — these moments, of breath
like a bird trapped, that I swallowed by mistake.
Pigeons, we are — lost in the subway tunnel.
Seeking fellow birds to help us climb stairs with our heavy wings.
Unimpressed new yorkers step daintily aside;
No use gasping for breath here.
We all have to hop our way out the labyrinth
or risk being seduced
by electrocuted bread crumbs.
I pull a bit of thread and unravel my broken days. My nights aching with fear
and an anguish that has no place to go.
When I leave the windows ajar,
A soft, quiet shimmer — vaporous and lazy.
a lost moth on edge
whispers and flutters inside.
Not light enough to fight the darkness that has collected all the shadows inside me.
But bright enough to let me know shine is here.
Filing through the books stacked neatly at the roadside bookstall, I am startled by a familiar butterfly. It hovers near me once — saying hello — before flying off, sniffing pages on its way.
It left behind a soft bloom of joy. Butterfly joy is easily bruised, though. I don’t let myself warm to it too earnestly in that way that the heart grabs hold of all accidental happy. I make room for it — silently breathless — the way that one does when someone you love sits next to you unexpectedly and you wish they never get up again.