Day 15 – Kings

What do you do
when you are small
and the world is unfair?

What do you do
when you can’t stand up,
can’t prove it,
can’t speak out,

but can’t keep on
the same way anymore?

What do you do
when you’re right
but no one cares?

What do you do
when they’ll laugh if you quit
but keep spitting if you carry on?

Do you turn to stone?
Do you just go mad?

Do you write a poem
and call it a day?

Are we all going to die
like this
either way?

Or are some of us
born kings?


Year 2: Day 136 – The Monster

He and I gave birth to a monster,
a fire-breathing beast that we named when we were young,
a fruit which at once has poisoned and has healed.

I have tried to tame it
and I have tried to kill it;
I have prayed that it would be sated
to hibernate and leave me be
but it will not heed my efforts-
it remains.

Yet I have grown a hundred ways
trying to resist it,
it has added strength each time it knocked me down,
and would my heart have any grain at all
had it not been opened
and clawed apart
and sewn back up?

We made a monster
and I deserve its lashes.
I’ve no other way to live and be at peace.
If a monster we conceived was made immortal
then perhaps the monster made was meant to live.

Year 2: Day 135 – Tether

No man can tamper with a tether,
no weather can temper its rest.
You are my tether when the winds beset,
you are the strength I love best.

A tether in the tempests is a treasure
I’d no method to catch and possess,
but you are a measure of heaven,
the tether with which I’ve been blessed.

Year 2: Day 130 – Please Explain

Do you ever click your teeth with your fingernails,
feel how finite and fragile they are,
do you ever press your gums and think
how will they last?

“I spend a lot of time thinking about __________.”

You know if you look at a glass of water upside down
in your peripheral vision it seems like it’s filling,
from bottom to top,
but not if you look at it directly.

“Describe yourself.”

What do you do when you can’t sleep,
when your roommate has people over and it
doesn’t feel like your home,
where do you go,
or do you sleep in the car?

“List your strengths and weaknesses.”

My weakness is making lists,
is describing myself to others in the way they want,
is I’ve already told you but you cannot hear
that my weakness is my strength.

“Please explain.”

Year 2: Day 100 – Something Stronger Than Love

I have my teeth in this idea
that there is something stronger than love
but I don’t know what to call it
just yet.

It’s this kindredness that doesn’t need love,
doesn’t worry about the trappings of this world-
no breathless romance, no hand-holding highs,
no jealous fevers-
it’s a thing that is strong for being not love,
but which stands outside of love
and watches with a smile.

For it is not threatened by the work of the heart;
I think it’s a work of the mind,
but I’m not sure.

Because it’s not something you can think
into existence,
you sort of find it but never try to catch it,
it neither blooms nor fades with time
nor ever changes
but stands resolute in what it knows.

And it knows that love does not conquer all.
It knows that love is wonderful
but cannot erase the yearnings
of a restless mind
which still feels alone.

I have a feeling it’s not love
but understanding that we want,
but we don’t know it.
But I don’t know.

I think this thing that trumps love
is the thing you feel
when you hear your own heart
in someone else’s words.
I think it’s when you know you’re not crazy,
when you know you’re not alone.

That’s not love.
It’s much more important than that.
At least, that’s the way it feels.
But I don’t know.

Year 2: Day 99 – Some Burdens

Some burdens you carry
for such a long time
that it breaks your heart
when they’re lifted
because you don’t remember how
you found a way to forget,
how you managed to struggle
this far.

And you look back to where it started,
all that winding space
between there and now somehow here,
and you don’t understand why it had to be.
You’ll never understand.

And the air is cleaner
as your spine straightens out
and you don’t know why
it makes a difference
because everything’s been
your new normal.

And you hang that burden
on the mantelpiece
as a badge of honor
so you don’t forget
what a martyr you’ve grown to be,
how you prevailed when you had no choice.

And it makes you sad,
deep in your soul,
that that’s the way it works.

Day 194 – Everything I Got

“I saw your car out front last night,
but you must not have been home” she says.

I was asleep by seven.

“Are you alright?” she asks,
but how do I even explain
a hard day’s worth of fun?

I never complain,
but at six fifty-nine
when my head plunks down
just for a few minutes rest
I’m still trying to figure out
how it can be

that a day of dodgeball and friendship bracelets
chicken dances and cha-cha slides,
strong-arming sealed-tight thermoses
applying band-aids and tying shoes
rock-paper-scissors and hangman

standing as temporary mother
to a flock of twenty-four

can take everything I got.

And I’m still trying to figure out
at 1am, awakened,
propelled by unfulfilled duty
to write one more, one more poem

how everything I got is just enough
to prove I got more than that.