To spend Christmas with you

is to pretend we’re catching snowflakes on our tongue even though it’s 72° outside on a cloudless southern night. It’s swinging our arms & legs to make the silhouette of angels in red clay. It’s goosebumps on my arm, the sweet scent of chocolate & pine, blue & green lights twinkling in your eyes.

To find poinsettias boasting blooms of white & burgundy, the fruit that fills the bowl on the table bursting with bright colors & scents–and explain to someone all that bowl once held when the season has passed.

To shout with excitement in the early morning, listen for rain, let tall silver candles light your way back home.

Merry Christmas

The Heart of Life – John Mayer

I wrote a novel about napping in an empty room. Rain falling gently on a cold Sunday afternoon. Hot soup & trying to decide what movie to watch next on Netflix. You call and tell me what the weather’s like where you are. It’s about the same. No surprise there. You promise to come watch movies with me on rainy Sundays in the future. I know my heart will take a break from beating before you do. But I say how glad I am you called anyway & keep the radio on softly after you go.

We’ve been friends for 6 years and all you get is this stupid poem.

will write for hot soup for spare change
for bread from scratch for pounds & pennance
sense silence shelter singles lettuce & tickets
six times three bucks twenty minutes a day
for the rest of my ever lovin’ life
will write mountain tops
will dress nice
will call during dinner just to talk
will carry your smile with me
will write for you
will write poems for you &
more poems for you because
we’re all here
will test time
will get on your nerves
will test patience
will hug you back
will hug you back  x7
will tell you how proud
i am of everything you’ve done
will probably fall asleep
before the party’s over
will write you a sunset
to make up for it
will watch bad movies
will mix bad drinks
will take bad pictures
will make you laugh
will watch you grow
will watch you succeed
will watch you plant love
into every innocent life
you touch
will cry but never admit it
will thank God every night
that you’re around
will cover it up with a smug grin
will step back & let you show
us all how it’s done

The quite things that no one ever knows.

in the anxiety box  we place cigarette butts & old gum wrappers. we place dust, ice chips, and approximately 731 cups of coffee. we place test papers, airplane wings & nervous laughter & sometimes the silence between us. we place distance, crowds, the wisps of air that cause feathers to float & arc. we place skipped meals & checking that the door is locked over & over again. we place the need to have everything perfectly aligned. always. we place overanalyzing conversations, next week’s schedule & next month’s rent. we place the not knowing, the consistent feeling & the best way & the right way & the my way. we place sleepless night after sleepless night after every last damn sleepless night in the anxiety box.

& tonight, even if it’s just for tonight, we burn it.

“I and love and you.”

white lies & i go way back,
we’ve been hanging out for years:

since before i told my uncle his card was in the mail
since before i bit that kid in first grade who really pissed me off

but white lies & i started really getting serious when i started to feel the feelings of the people around me like boulders on my back.

don’t freak out; we all know everybody tells white lies from time to time
but what’s scarier is when someone sits you down to tell you the truth.

i’ve been pacing back & forth wondering if i should write this poem.
i went out and bought your favorite poptarts, they’re in my pantry, you’re approximately 82.3 miles away

& i don’t know what to do next; you never imagine
things like this happening

but they do, without warning & suddenly i am sitting on a concrete slab wrapped in a scarf & christmas lights waiting for the time to be right & wondering if that means waiting forever.

i am afraid that if i tell you the truth it will not set you free & it’s difficult to imagine how few of us would forgive ourselves for the things we did not say.

but here it is:

i keep picturing you on the swingset in the backyard —
i don’t give a crap how many likes this gets on facebook.

how can something be there & then not be there & how do we forgive ourselves for all the things we do not become?

i don’t have the answer for you but if you call me
i will not tell you a white lie. instead

i will write you a new sky, one full
of cotton candy clouds you can actually taste

i will write you letters, notes on paper airplanes, napkins
& lemon rinds to fill the distance between here & there

i will write you mountain tops & waves that crash on the west coast &
your toes on whatever beach you want & parakeets & songs;

i will write you songs & sing them badly because i can write words
but the good Lord knows i can’t sing them

& then i’ll pray that you’ll sing with me & pray
that you’ll dance with me. we can do that badly together too.

i will write you a body bursting with life because it’s easier to find balloons filled with hot air than doctor’s who aren’t but if you call me
we will find one of those too.

i will write you soft skin & sweet sleep & a hand to hold tight to when the floor slips out from under your feet

because you are on the brink of something beautiful
& i am so sorry if you can’t see it yet

i am so sorry if you don’t believe it
& i am so sorry i am so sorry

i am so sorry there’s no way to white lie our way around this so you need to know that when i say i love you i am not just saying it to fill the silence

i am saying it in hopes that there is none; even if you don’t say it back this time or the next time or the time after that

because eventually we will fill the space between your ribs
with enough love you will start to believe you’re worth it

& that’s the truth

The tide that left and never came back.

i was asked
are you like one of those language-y poets?

yes, i speak it

i think everyone talks poetry all the time. most of them don’t know it. but they do. earlier tonight i heard someone utter the words

green lights illuminate us

& it reminded me there’s no reason to disguise our conversations with blatant body language:

too weak to work a can opener and the milk
just goes spilling– out slips

the real meaning of what we are speaking here which is: you & i need each other like boats need lighthouses

we know the other more & where one plunders
the sky above where the water cuts & plunges in

& so we watch droplets bead on the wings
of a dark bird

against a dark cloud-backed sky

unblinking, ribbon blades through memories
& watch the seafoam cast its soft spell on the shore

“I am a collection of dismantled almosts.”

i am going to write you the best poem ever.
i am going to give you everything i can —

sprinkles of praise, a shoulder to lean on,
a cup of hot chocolate & a genuine smile.

i am going to put down the pen
i so often hide behind &

give you a chance to know me:

sometimes i am a faucet, flooding
a room with words & sometimes

i am a faucet, rusted shut &
you have to fight for a single drop of emotion.

tonight, i am like a house with no door; everything
i feel walks right out into the yard.

the world is trapped in my fingertips &
i’m eager to set it loose.

i have the universe in my head &
i want to live life in my bare feet.

i want to puddle jump, grape stomp
& tightrope walk through life.

& sometimes i don’t know what i’ve written
until i turn the light on in the morning:

together we find nothing less than infinite or
a half eaten bag of twizzlers;

there is no in between & one day
i hope we wake up to find the sea

along with every lost message in a bottle
buried there.

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