when it just hung off my brainstem like a whipped mule.
When my hands only wrote. When my teeth only ate.
When my ass sat, my eyes read, when my reflexes
were answers to questions we all already knew.
Remember how it was then that you slid your hand
into me, a fork in the electric toaster of my body. Jesus,
where did all these sparks come from? Where was all
this heat? Remember what this mouth did last night?
And still, this morning I answer the phone like normal,
still I drink an hour’s worth of strong coffee. And now
I file. And now I send an email. And remember how
my lungs filled with all that everything? Remember
how my heart was an animal you released from its cage?
Remember how we unhinged? Remember all the names
our bodies called each other? Remember how afterwards,
the steam rose from us like a pair of smiling ghosts? Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, ”December,” from The Year of No Mistakes (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013) (via apoetreflects)
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
you are the solution and I am the problem.
On both of my hands I can count all of
the things I have done wrong. The people
I have left. The phone calls that went
unanswered. Maybe I have a problem
owning up to things. Being an adult,
no one tells you how complicated it can
be. How people expect you to stock your
bathrooms full of fancy almond hand soap.
That your refrigerator must be full and
smell like clementines. That you will
want to stay in bed more times than you
will want to leave it. That the sun is not
here for us but that we can’t escape it.
That no one owes us anything. I lose
periods of time—days, weeks, sometimes
full months—the way my dad loses his
glasses, peppermints, this week’s grocery
list. I have this habit of going into Barnes
and Noble and pressing my nose flush up
against the blank pages of notebooks.
I think I just want a stranger to smell me
on their hands all day and not know why. Kristina Haynes, “Do Not Anticipate That I Will Show Up” (via fleurishes)
My brain is in love with your brain,
and my body is just nuts about your body.
My brain thinks your body is the ne plus ultra
of sinewy perfection. My body goes in awe
of your brain, a dim sibling, loping behind.
And my heart? My heart is a bloodhound
with two masters. It tracks you through
the deep woods, first this way, then that.
The body whistles; the mind blows its silver horn.
Soon we will find you, treed and waiting.
The mind will stand poised with its camera;
the body, raise its barreled scope. The heart
will run around and around in circles as they argue
about the future, and birds scatter like buckshot,
piercing the dawn with their little cries.
When I was nine,
all I knew of religion were the insides
of a classroom, reciting words to hymns
drug up from the depths of inside me
All I knew were the dusty pews,
the rosary beads knotted on my grandmother’s fingers,
twisted around her hands like bicycle chains,
locked together in a prayer
I placed a Bible on my chest, tried breathing
with the weight pressing
on my lungs
Only then did I realize how heavy words can be.
I was told I would find God
in the words of the gospel, in acts of faith,
and in the pillars of a church
but I found mine on the shoulders
of my best friend as he cried
fearing he would be rejected.
I found mine in the freedom of saying no
to a trip that would take me in and out of every church
across Northern Spain
I found mine in the eyes of a boy
who turns away and prays
to a God I don’t believe in.
I am a cathedral of deadbolts
and I’d rather burn myself down
than change the locks. Rachel McKibbens, ”Letter from My Heart to My Brain” (via andrewgibby)
I went to Paris,
ate the crêpes,
dined where Hemingway once sat,
stood in front of the Notre Dame,
hated, quite passionately, the lot of it.
Had to bite back on my boredom.
The Eiffel Tower is nothing but
a metal monster with an empty belly.
Its visitors smile their jaws sore,
finger cameras hung about their necks
the way a nun might do her rosary.
In the bookshop where it is rumoured
Ezra Pound played James Joyce at chess,
and often lost, I scatter little notes
on the backs of receipts:
“It’s all smoke and mirrors, stranger.”
The River Seine is ugly
in the way everything is ugly
once you have anticipated it too long.
I did not find my faith in the Sacré Coeur,
but I did find my reason for its absence:
how God has been turned into
a tourist attraction,
no better than the rest of it.
How we will buy into anything
we are told might save us.
How we reach out blindly
often pushing others aside as we go.
There is only so long I can stand
to look in silence at a series of buildings,
all made of more or less the same thing:
brick, marble, alabaster.
I am not interested in this kind
of architecture, find more beauty
in a lover’s skeleton,
built meticulously bone by bone,
plastered with flesh,
held together with blood.