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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’


 
 My tears mingle with yours and the dry world is watered again.
            —Jude Janett
 
 
Parched and dusty,
the inner desert
forgets it was once a wetland.
Barren of confidence,
arid with self-disdain,
it forgets how to grow things
not covered in thorns
and spines.
 
Then you with your love
reach across the afternoon,
a brief shower of words,
and the whole inner world
remembers how it is to be lush,
to be nurturing, to be green.

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for Michelle


Today I feel too clean to play,
but oh there was that day
when you and I
walked past the mud puddle,
all slick and ooze, a miresome mess,
and we reached our fingers into the sludge
and smeared the muck
onto each other’s faces—
thick mud, gray mud, slippery
and unctuous mud,
wide swaths of heavy mud
that slashed our cheeks,
bedecked our foreheads, mocked
our love of spotlessness.
Not war paint, but joy paint,
cool liquid earth on our skin.
Besmudged and besmirched,
we baptized each other
in the dirtiest of water,
a murky blessing,
our laughter blossoming
between us in the air,
a many-petalled prayer,
a jubilant lotus
startlingly (how?) so pure.

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For Auld Lang Syne


 
 
We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet,
says the song, and I would give you
the cup, friend, would fill it
with whiskey or water or whatever
would best meet your thirst.
 
I fill it with the terrifying beauty
of tonight’s bonfire—giant licks
of red and swirls of blue that consume
what is dead and melt the ice
and give warmth to what is here.
 
I fill it with moonrise and snow crystal
and the silver river song beneath the ice.
With the boom of fireworks and with laughter
that persists through tears. With
Lilac Wine and Over the Rainbow and Fever.
 
I toast you with all the poems we’ve yet to write
and all the tears we’ve yet to weep,
I hold the cup to your lips,
this chalice of kindness, we’ll drink it yet,
though the days are cold, the nights so long.
 
 
 
 
 

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            for Jennifer and Jennifer


And once again I am twenty-four
and I walk out the door
of our master’s exam and meet
my classmates down by the lake
and the day is hot and we drink cold beer
until we think jumping off the end
of the pier is a great idea, so
we kick off our shoes and run fully dressed
to the edge and launch and splash
and swim until we arrive at a party barge
full of men who pull us dripping
and life-giddy into their midst
and we do shots of something
that blissfully burns before laughing we
return to the open lake and side stroke back
to the shore where nothing’s the same
as it was before, though it still looks the same—
metal chairs still orange, our hair still brown,
the humid sky hazy, loud cheers all around—
but our lives will soon hurl us
in different directions—
to lovers and children and unanswerable
questions where the real tests cannot
be studied for with friends, and life’s master’s
degree doesn’t end till life ends, but oh,
for those few moments on the terrace,
soaking and shivering and whooping in glee,
my god, we were free, we were free, we were free.

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One Devotion

these darkest days

teach me

the light of you

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There is treasure in you.

—Joi Sharp

If you were here

I would put my hand

on your heart

and hold it there

until our breaths

became a single tide,

hold it there until

I could feel the moment

when you remember

your infinite value.

It’s so easy to forget

we are treasure.

So easy to lose track

of our own immeasurable worth.

The chest rusts shut.

We think we are empty.

Amazing how easily

we are fooled into believing

we’re paupers.

Sometimes it takes another

to remind us

we have always been

not only the treasure

but also the key.

Though the hinges

are a metaphor,

the treasure is not.

We were made to open,

to share our priceless gift,

to press our hands

to each other’s hearts

and hold them there

until we all remember.

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Winter Evening

Though I sit alone

on my couch at home,

I’m somehow also sitting

with Rachel and Julie

and it’s summer and

we’re laughing, laughing

until we tumble

into each other’s laps,

laughing as we collapse

into a puppy pile of giggles,

laughing because it feels

so good to laugh—

even now I laugh aloud

with no memory of why

we were laughing then,

but many years later,

it’s still contagious.

Sometimes we tumble

so wholly into the grace

of a moment

that it opens in us forever,

continuously blooms

and spreads its perfume

like night-blooming jasmine,

christens everything

with its fragrance,

even this empty room,

even this tired woman

now so surprisingly awake.

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Learner

Just because I don’t see the edge

doesn’t mean the edge isn’t there.

Walking with Amy through the scrub oak woods,

I had no idea that just to my right

was a deep canyon. I could have walked on for miles

believing the world was flat

if she hadn’t suggested we walk off the trail

to see the gaping chasm.

It wasn’t that she was trying to teach me,

she was just doing what she does—

straying from the path to see what else is there.

Now I am looking everywhere for edges—

in every conversation, in every thought.

Now, I am looking at everyone as a teacher.

I have no idea what they see that I don’t.

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Conspiracy

Sometimes when walking

or driving or sitting in a chair,

I thrill to see some words of yours

float through the air—as if

a cartoon thought bubble

cut loose from your thoughts

filled with calibri sweetnesses

and times-new-roman puns—

and I pluck the words

from the sky and wrap them

around my wrist. They bob

above me like a helium balloon—

sometimes I almost believe

could carry me away.

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Just in Case

As a girl, I walked with twenty pennies

in my shoe. A penny in your shoe

was good luck, I’d heard,

and with each added penny

found on the sidewalk, I felt luckier.

The bottoms of my feet, of course, turned green.

And sometimes when I’d dangle my shoe from a toe,

it sounded like a child was shaking a piggy bank.

But dang, I was lucky. I believed it.

I don’t walk with pennies anymore,

and I don’t really believe in luck

but if I could give you some pennies tonight

to put in your boots, I would.

And an upturned horse shoe.

A kick-ass horoscope.

A candle to blow out and make a wish—

and the beautiful darkness after—

and a match to light the candle again

to make another wish. And another.

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