There’s a portrait of a girl that I know well.
She has hundreds of followers under her spell.
She’s buffed and she’s waxed and she’s dressed up to sell.
Enough makeup and hairspray to dress up hell.
Her freckles are faded and her lips are red.
Not a trace of feeling in her perfect head.
She exists just so you can compare and contrast.
Your body to hers and surely come last.
Don’t listen, don’t look, don’t edit your eyes.
Be real, and feel, be someone who cries.
Over books, over music and never disguise
your age, your birth marks, your beautiful skin,
and if you forget, I’ll tell you again.
I see you. I love you. I’m a part of you too.
Namaste. Go in peace. Be real. Be true.
This all consuming love
Is an honor
To experience childhood and motherhood in tandem
Is the singular thing in life
Greater than childhood itself
And yet I am more
I was a child once
And then a girl
And then a woman
On only two feet
Until I became a mother, and suddenly
My identity divided
Moving now in three different directions
On six feet
All at once
But my daughters are not divided
Despite carrying my DNA and my voice inside them
They are wholly themselves
The way I once was and am now but for the way I am reflected
I am more than a mother
There are thoughts,
That crash into me
With such precise timing that it’s as if
I sent them myself.
Like somehow, years ago,
I knew exactly where I would be standing now.
Was determined to keep this fire burning,
To maintain enough agitation in my core,
That I would forever seek new forms of
And therefore grow.
And I do.
I receive these thoughts and visions and sensations and
Let them take up space inside me until
It burns too hot.
Have fueled this wild conflagration that now demands
I turn inwards,
Face to the flames,
For whatever I’m supposed to find.
I let the fire transform me
And try not to be afraid
Of emerging somehow
I will, of course,
And maybe no one will know I was on fire.
Maybe my fate is to be alone with myself
And to discover peace there.
In a space unwitnessed,
By anyone, but me.
Her skeletal spine bows like a crescent
A single violin, thin and hollow
Bends her farther still
Tiny ivory steps across the palette of her back
A waning waxen figure enslaved by sound
Starved so that she can not exist as a
She is only music
Her heart beats fast against her translucent chest
Her hunger screams from behind emaciated ribs
Possessed by drums and strings not belonging to her fragile anatomy
Compelled forward in measured movements
She is a weightless apparition en pointe
She devours the darkness around her
Chasing the music in spotlighted circles until she has illuminated the floor
And she seems human
For a moment
With quivering muscles and bleeding toes and breath behind her painted lips
But then the music stops and she falls
As a petal to the floor
Folding into herself and
becoming the silence
We built a fire next to horse creek reservoir
The frozen water bubbling with dormant life and summer secrets
And we stared into growing flames and apologized
For letting the fire ever go out
Both of us wishing we had burned alive
Instead of drowning on the periphery
By morning I was alone trying to light the ashes
Trying to reanimate even a spark on the cold mountain sand
But the time had passed for such forgiveness
And I wept
For twice as long as I burned
Until my memory of you sank deep in the water
Dormant for as long as this
I remember the moon from before I knew who I was becoming
Waning slivers of hope
Hiding the worst of me in shadows
And waxing halos of forgiveness
Shining gentle light on my sins
Giving me time to repent before the full moon
And I waited on my knees
Until the maddening blue light crept into every chamber and illuminated
God how many times I let it drive me insane
Unable or unwilling to hide
Because I knew the darkness always returned
A new moon for an old soul
A cycle of crippling fear
A woman living for a couple days of darkness
And now the same truth seeking sphere of light
Welcomes home her naked daughter
All her sins and secrets dissolve into darkness
And her soul is illuminated
A woman living for light in the darkness
My fingers tear across the hard brass strings.
They ache to find the right note
the right chord
to trigger my memory.
I found you once in a diminished B 7
but you vanished and moved on
and I’ve been playing ever since.
And what if you’re a melody,
Lost in a pattern in these goddamned frets.
Then I’ll learn to write songs
like I learned to play guitar.
I’ll find you, I swear,
and I’ll play you until I fall asleep.
I’ll play you until I bleed.
I’ll play you until I remember
or hallucinate the feeling
of your beautiful, calloused fingers on my face.