REBEL YELL

I do not want a love that settles.

You can keep your whispered
flimsy promises for another day,
another lover, someone who accepts
a dream that collects dust,
but not me.

I do not want sweet silence,
muted devotion–
I want to burn it.
I want a love fueled by fire.

One where our skin glows fluorescent orange,
where the touch of our lips
sets the midnight sky aflame.
And I want to dance with you on rooftops
stepping lightly to avoid falling through the ceiling
but not caring if we did anyway, if we ended up
mangled and bruised on the hardwood floor
below our feet, limbs hanging from the chandeliers
and crashing down with all of the crystals–
we can be an explosion, a freak accident,
two broken casualties of blood and glory
but I wouldn’t care if we were, at least
we would be making music.

I want a love to scream at the top of my lungs!
Desecrate your perfect altars,
torch the confidential journal entries
and mumbled prayers.
Because I want to turn you into a rock song–
blast it with windows down
knowing all of the bad words by heart
like a teenager running away from home,
like a rebel yell, like an unforgivable sin,
I want to sing you until my lungs burst.

I want to play that stupid song, that
electric rooftop music, twirling with you
like our lives depend on it.

Because maybe they do.

I want a love that sings
but only if you
are the one I am singing for.

I AM STILL

a Sunday morning kind of girl,
making chocolate chip pancakes
and blasting ABBA through open windows,
spinning in circles as the morning saturates.

I am still the dancing queen,
a year and some over seventeen,
but young and sweet nevertheless–
semi-sweet morsels sinking softly
into smooth batter.

Maybe life after this won’t always be
sickly sweet, licking the spatula
for the sugar– maybe it will have to be
leaving the kitchen, turning off the radio,
shutting the windows, learning to stand still.

But I will keep singing
the dizzy dream of my 18th summer
and this will be my song
playing over and over,
even past sunset.

MAP

I would redesign the sky for you,
pluck each glimmering vessel by hand,
rearrange the stars to spell your name
forwards and backwards,
just so you never forget the order of letters
or how much light you give off—
it is precision,
the art of writing yourself into existence.

I never want you to forget
the pale blue universe
which exists inside of your eyes
as you exist in my arms.

Maybe you cannot see it,
blinded by all of your cosmic magic,
but I do— I see it so clearly,

You, my star map, my supernova—
even the ocean is jealous of your power.
Even the stars tremble
hanging in the sky
knowing full well
you outshine them.
Even the sun flickers
on and off, on and off
just for you.

I miss myself more than I’ve ever missed anyone

I took for granted the days
where every ounce of my being
belonged to me only, each detail
copyrighted as my own, cradling
each parcel of myself in cupped hands
like colored mosaic tiles
waiting to be assembled.

It was innocence, those days–
the only lover I needed
was that of my own company,
never stopping to measure approval
or ponder the permanence
of someone else’s devotion.
No, you could find me
smiling in secret, the muted
conversation between small child
and infinite universe.

And I was my own soulmate.

It was happiness, those days–
the simplicity of still being
brave enough to stand alone,
brave enough to keep some things
for myself, to not give away the answers
so easily, to hold myself back
from assembling my pieces
for undeserving eyes.

I took for granted the days
I could still set my own heart on fire,
igniting its chambers with a match
and a steady hand.

I forget now what it is like
to have one of those.
These days I cannot help
but watch both of them tremble.

Innocence, a dead language–
a forged warmth, an unfaithful love.

the keyboard and I

sit like old friends
wounded by time.

Is friends the appropriate term?
Or are we just acquaintances now
that we have lost track of touch?
We are silence stiff without security
holding breath underwater
until lips turn purple.

I am afraid to speak.
I do not know how
she will take it.

Will I break our ice with words
or let the minutes render us strangers?
Will she welcome my syllables
or suffocate them, denying my efforts
to resurrect our past lives?

We were in love back then.
I wonder if she remembers
how to write our story,
line by line, backwards
to the day it all began.

I was so young
and she gave me a space bar to catch my breath,
a language I learned to speak
without searching for mistakes in the air.
I knew she would find them first
because she knew me
first.

Can we write again?
Can we start over?
If I touch you,
will you remember me?