STILLNESS

The day we fell in love, the world stood still for the first time.
No movement other than the midsummer air humming electric,
the warmth of our words rising up into dense clouds
and gray atmospheres of sticky potential.
I remember thinking, as our dewy skin melted into the grass,
how strange it was that the world kept turning constantly.
Cars speeding on hazy interstates, babies being born in porcelain bathtubs.
Screen doors slamming in distant houses, ivy crawling across
the windowpanes of writers who will never see their name sprawled
across musky paper spines. Houses torched, brakes cut, hair trimmed.
Somewhere, an arthritic old man sets his newspaper down. It is raining.
He dances, flood water cascading around his ankles. He only thinks of her.
City lights paint taxi exhaust bright green. It is nighttime in the city
and teenagers drive recklessly through underground tunnels,
hands raised through the sunroof of their father’s cars
as the yellow light bleeds into their corneas.
Everything is set in motion, the day’s suffocating inertia of color,
a spinning top cacophony of mindless rebirth.

 

It is different today. You kiss me softly, velvet-lipped and eager,
and the world stops turning. The streets of Mumbai are silent.
There are no babies screeching in the quiet rooms
of church services, no hearts in the midst of being shattered.
The old man stops dancing.
His eyes are closed, her face still sketched on the backs of his eyelids.

 

The sky sees nothing but us.

OMNIPRESENCE

It does not matter if you wake up one mile away,
or fifty hours,
or if the entire globe separates the soles of our feet.
My eyes have memorized the language of your love,
the glowing warmth of your arms that is able to be felt
through a static telephone call,
a letter sleeping patiently inside an envelope,
promises sent shooting through the indigo heavens.

I will always be with you–
the rises and runs of your heartbeat
pounding inside your head, the rush of wine-colored blood
through translucent blue veins,
I will be as close as skin meets soul,
as sweat mingles with tears.

The ridges of your hands are roadmaps I will follow
until my heels grow calloused and blistered,
and when the sky darkens, your brown eyes
will become a compass that will point
in the direction of our dreams.

We go,
but love cannot.
We change,
but love does not.
We hold,
and love holds with us.

I will love you all over again in the morning
and we will always be together–
distance breaking nothing,
our faces shining in the same light
of tomorrow’s sun.

I Am The Revolution

Fear.
For so long, I let it sink its tainted fangs into my neck, drawing blood that dripped to my ankles like something that could make angels tremble in the heavens.
It listened to me speak. I could see the hunched curvature of its spine in every corner of my imagination, watched it swallow the colors of my soul like leftover soup.
Consuming.
It surrounded me, an anchor tethering my heels to hollow ground.

 

But then I discovered poetry. I discovered the syllabic freedom of bleeding love into the spines of empty journals. I found out that poetry existed in glistening foreheads and moments spent trying to catch my breath again, in split ends and blotted lipstick stains.
I discovered that airplanes do not plummet into the Atlantic Ocean as often as I thought. I discovered that I can ride them without becoming another muted headline, a tragic statistic blaring into the white noise of late night television.
I discovered that my voice had meaning, that it deserved the embrace of a microphone, an eager audience, to be shouted and sung like lyrics to a revolution I had always been taught to silence.
I discovered that proving people wrong is fun.
To the boy who told me at age 13 that I would grow up and become someone’s biggest disappointment, this one is for you. To the despair that kept me wide awake until mornings I wished would be my last, this one is for you. To the same girl who doubted that she would make it, that her brain would ever stop screaming the same addictive chemicals that questioned her very fragile existence, this one is for you.

 

I made it.
I dyed my hair bright red because I am a fire that refuses to die out, my heartbeats fanning the flames of a life I have yet to conquer. I sing in the shower, with my car windows rolled down at fifty miles per hour, in my sleep. I have tasted tenderness in the form of a heart that beats for mine.  I am loved, I am young, and I am burning fearlessness with every breath.

The Awakening

This morning I was born, pink as a sunrise waiting patiently to melt into infinity.
I turned five in the afternoon, small hands tracing entire universes in the frost of a school bus window, wide eyes peeking out into a frigid February dream I have long since forgotten.
As dusk began to stretch its fragile skeleton along the walls, I was suddenly thirteen and searching for any trace of a ghost screaming relentlessly inside skin I could not recognize. Broken mirrors and madness tasted all too familiar as the sky began to blacken like something rotten kept secret for a little too long. Patience, young one. Minute hands will soon teach you how to taste sweetness all over again.
Faint stars collected far above my head, and all of a sudden I was one week away from seventeen. I knew that if I slept, she would greet me, after a day of sixteen beautiful stories waiting to be told.
A swaddled baby. A toddler scribbling backwards letters on blank pages buzzing in anticipation. An imperfect perfectionist, a paradox in process. A wanderer searching for fragments of salvation on an earth too broken for redemption. A rescued victim of her own absent self. A soul that has stretched its edges to form the revival of a buried smile. A renaissance blooming with every fleeting moment.

I have been all of these things. The thump in my chest understands this. Time paints with a hand that never tires of healing, never grows old, never loses hope.
In the morning I will rise, pink as a sunrise with blazing eyes that can already see the dance of infinity.

ON THE NIGHT TRAIN TO VIENNA

on the night train to Vienna I dreamt
as the soft tangerine light bled into the windows,
tumbling down infinities of Italian countryside
absorbing into my retinas in summer shades
of dusk-colored haze

 

entranced I was–
a nervous girl of sixteen years,
uncharted valleys sprawling ceaselessly
at the beds of my fingers,
love languages my tongue could not yet
stretch its fibers around
freedom forming its hunched silhouette
just outside of thin glass windows
cooled by the night’s apprehensive breeze

 

endless, it seemed
the rumbling blur of possibilities–
my hands sedated for the first time in years.
quietly existing in the jolt of a moving cab,
the subtle ricochet through the faint lamppost glow
of fragile Austrian dreams.

 

home– four thousand and forever miles away
and yet here was fine, just fine
a girl with stringy hair and a steaming cup
of midnight European tea
as her mother sighed to herself in the
peak of her American afternoon,
wondering whether her baby had found sleep
in someone else’s morning.

TO BE A POET

I remember the first time I discovered poetry,
bolts of electric affluenza coursing through soft fingertips
and into the skinny blue lines of fascination
meaning nothing at first, yet transforming into the spillage
of emotion, the invention of color,
the budding metamorphosis of the artist’s apprehension.

I remember telling everyone about the honey-tainted metaphors
that exhaled yellow pigment through our film noir madness
of ravaged years cementing over irises
and I remember the revelation, saucer eyes and trembling hands
after discovering the faultlessness of magic
that tore at heartstrings and furrowed brows,
the mumbled prayer of stitching entire blankets of words together
to keep our souls warm even as the frigid ice of Time
burned in desperation to freeze our heartbeats.

You are a poet
but to the world, you are wasted opportunity
you only know of words that slip through tied tongues like silk
and mending excuses to make up for heartbreak
You are a poet
but they never stop reminding you to keep your feet glued
To hollow ground, shaking
To find something that tastes of reality, the human flesh
sweat of long lost longing
You have to stop living in your head
In the spaces where you breathe life into promises
You are a poet
But that has never been enough.

The poet is used to this–
the knowledge of failure always shoved under the doormat
numbers that collect under crumpled paper,
the rotten look of misunderstanding as they wonder
where the science of living went missing
When did art decide to invade your insides,
Leaving no room to calculate meaning with mathematics?

Oh, but only the poets understand
That there is no formula to meaning
No theorem to calculate suffering,
Only words that get stuck and disintegrate into whispers
only all-consuming madness, write me a storm
That rages through afflictions
Write me an ending where
We are older, in the house we dreamed of, buried
Under blankets in the forgotten fog of Decembers
Write me an ending where my voice is steady
Instead of constantly wavering past the silence of goodbyes
hellos
heartaches

Love me
And I will love you
Lose me
And I will turn you into poetry
stretch your bones into feelings,
follow the lines in your palms into futures
Where we end up together
I will hold up your eyelids
so they will never feel heavy at the sight of destruction
I will shelter your heart to keep it beating
As we watch  as the words I could never say
flutter at your fingertips like moths
with broken wings

The world does not understand love

nor the poets that create it.