Year 2: Day 163 – The Ways She Tells Me She Knows She’s In Love Over Thai Food

I’ve been watching her twirl her pad thai noodles
around on her fork since the day I was born,
since we walked in the door,
since yesterday when I answered her
autocorrect “ketchup” text.
I know she can’t use chopsticks.

There is a dialogue running beneath our feet,
deep in the crevices with my diamond one-liners,
unspoken but merry in their pressurized madness.

She knows, she says, she’s in love.
“I know it because she’s not eating,
not even those sweet little pea-pod things that I love,
that I’m burning to sneak off her plate
when she looks away.”

But she knows it because she never has felt
so strongly. “I once had a kidney stone…”
She knows it because they’re so comfortable.
“I’m having a vision of Nazis playing Jenga-
I’d invite her to this delusion but I see
she’s a little preoccupied.”
She knows it just because. “The Earth is flat,
are you going to eat that yet?”

She gets a take-out box. Don’t the worst
of our rotten best friends fall in love
and get take-out boxes?
Can’t they learn to spell “catch up”
and use their chopsticks properly?

Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do (And Some News To Share!)

I think it’s time I explain to my no doubt perplexed readers my somewhat erratic behavior of late: skipping poetry days, not writing any more short stories, suddenly developing an interest in rapping… I’ve been at a plateau for a while and this is my wonky way of squirming out of it, that’s all.

It’s been a weird, frustrating couple of weeks as I’ve been dealing with writer’s burnout as well as tenseness at work and some challenging new relationships. With regard to writing, I’ve been caught up in a cycle of trying to keep myself motivated and wondering why that’s so important in the first place. The one-poem-a-day disciplinary system I put myself on back in 2013 is just not working for me anymore, I don’t think. I’ve been reluctant to pull myself away from it because I don’t want to get lazy and end up not writing at all. But at some point I have to ask myself, “Is this goal serving me or am I serving it?”

Lately I’ve been dreading the sludge to the computer to write, and it’s more than just a matter of buckling down to eat my vegetables. It’s unnecessary torment because by now I know when I’m cranking out a mediocre product for the sake of getting it done and out of my hair. And I’m tired of doing that. I seldom have time to work on lengthier projects I truly care about because I’m stuck on this never-ending conveyor belt of what amounts to little more than pleasant writing exercises. I want to be in love with my writing again.

So I’ve been diddling around with this sortof laissez-faire attitude, just letting it come when it comes and only writing when and what I want to. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that my productivity hasn’t decreased too drastically, and I’m generally more satisfied with the things with which I’ve allowed myself to experiment. (Raps? Who would’ve thought, right?) Even better, it’s cleared room in my schedule to focus more on work, friendships, and general “chill-the-eff-out-Char” time. Turns out I’m a happier ladybug when not strapped to a desk chair ^_^

But what does this mean for you, dear readers? Only that we’re gonna have to make a swap deal: higher quality for lower quantity. I won’t be posting daily anymore, but know that it’s because I’m giving things time to breathe in a way that I haven’t so far. There are so many projects I want to tackle and life’s too short to sit around wishing I had the time, y’know?

Speaking of projects, I’m pretty excited about my newest co-author gig! Author Paul Morabito invited me to be a part of the Mirrored Voices: Best New Poets anthology which was released today, and I’m proud to be included in such a great compilation of talents. I’m ordering my copy today, can’t wait to read over 100 poems by today’s emerging poets (5 of which are mine!) Check it out!

mirrored voices

 

Blessings and happy reading,
Char :)

Year 2: Day 162 – Potatoes

“I’ve had so many fathers that leave
and you’ll be another one, wait and see-”
something about a sack of potatoes,
she says.

She’s right that her wounds aren’t exposed for me to clean,
that her tears don’t fall for somebody to dry,
and that I’ll never see the way she saves herself
each and every day.

But she’ll never understand how
she might be wrong about me;
that helping a smile to bloom
is sometimes enough
to kick-start mine back up,
and that’s really all it is.

But she’s hardly ever wrong
and she just keeps talking
about potatoes.

Day 161 – The Poetry Rap

 

I’ve had this thing brewing
in my thinking cap;
I think it’s time to bust out
the poetry rap!
I can’t freestyle-
that’s really hard-
I labor over words
like they’re all tiny shards
of a great glass window
that I am making.
I know I’m not a rapper,
there’s no mistaking,
but I like a good flow
to communicate
that poetry is music-
let’s get that straight.
If you can’t hear the beat
in a poem, it’s bland;
the rhythm is what helps
the people understand
that you’re not just
reciting pages out of your diary.
The pace can take your point
and make it poignant and fiery-
that’s how you know when it’s a
work of art,
when something you wrote
touches somebody’s heart,
not by lecturing or telling them
how it should be
but by gently inviting them
to see what you see
and to feel what you feel-
of course they must be open-
but you must first be willing to show
how you’re broken.
‘Cuz nobody wants to hear an
arrogant poet,
it closes up your heart and your ears
and you know it
so an artist must strive to be
humble and honest;
you’ve got something to say
but you’re not here to flaunt it.
You’re here to show we’re all
fundamentally the same-
deep down we’re playing
the exact same game-
a game which requires us
to struggle and fight
but we don’t do it alone,
that’s why some of us write.
We’re leavin’ trails of breadcrumbs
to say we were here,
we found love and lost it,
we conquered fear
and maybe somebody somewhere
in the same boat
will find a little bit of comfort
from something we wrote.
And you could give a whole
crowd of people chills
if you take the time to
polish up your poetry skills
but you can still make a difference
a little at a time
as long as you’re honest
even if it doesn’t rhyme
‘cuz we can’t all bust out
with a flow like me
but we can all have a part
in writing poetry.

Year 2: Day 160 – A Glorious Reign Of Terror

If the dream must die
I’d rather kill it myself
in a glorious reign of terror.

If there is no reward after all
for patience and virtue
I might as well laugh
while I rip down the sky.

I might as well give the crowd
the show they’ve been aching for,
if there is no reason
to be demure anymore.

If they want a bag of meat
they’re gonna get it;
bloodhounds snarling in a language
that needs no interpretation,
whose currency is fire in the eyes,
is mirrors and skin,
is hunger and thirst.

I’ve lived for decades in this form
and don’t I know its charms,
every prize it were capable to snatch?
Haven’t I known it were possible
to stun the wolves before now?

But the secret dance, my best colors
behind my eyelids which shutter
a world unbreached, unquiet,
unwilling to bare itself out,
had a dream that they were enough,
a silly dream,

an innocent dream from softer pastures
from younger planets without wisdom,
before being lifted by its neck scruff
and set down in a ghastlier truth
and stoked to fever.

If the dream must die
I’d rather kill it myself
than watch it rust to dust;

I’d rather stand beloved
by a pack of dogs, frenzied
by the dripping knife in my hand,
beautiful at last
in a glorious reign of terror.

Year 2: Day 159 – 49% Of Me

49% of me is eaten up-
it’s crawling with frost,
it’s bristling with ice,
it’s bracing itself to let loose the destruction
because the fortress I had
was doing its job just fine
’til it started to melt.

I didn’t care if anyone held my hand
because all it was made for
was wielding a pen
and now
that’s a ruined lie
and I want my purpose back.

I’d killed that girl who made brownies,
who measured Tylenol,
who cared about lipstick or heels,
who had any time to want,
who blew kisses through car windows.

49% of me is eaten up
that she somehow managed to survive under ice
and that some punk kid had the nerve
to warm her to life.

And 49% of me
is crawling with frost,
is bristling with ice
and ready to unleash the devastation
that 51% of me
traded for hope.

Year 2: Day 158 – You’re Gonna Be Fine

To the kitchen to make spaghetti,
to the cupboard to find the salt shaker,
to the bedroom to find that one cup
for the milk
for those girl scout cookies
you bought in October.

But you started gathering laundry
as soon as you walked in the room
and the quarters remind you
the credit card payment’s due.

You wonder what happened to poetry.
Why can’t you find that cup?
You taste the sauce
with a mouthful of dry cookie
and tears well.

What was it that ended your reign-
you’re so beautiful
and feel so crazed-
what blew in and took away
your neat control?

You walk down the laundry
in a baby buggy
while the stove is on
and you’re thinking of how
you could’ve signed the papers
when you were dead, when you
never wanted the divorce
at all.

But you don’t sit still
while the dryer runs,
you know enough to keep busy,
to make up for lost time,

and you’re gonna get back
to where you lost it,
you’re gonna be fine.