Poem for November

I need to write a poem for November.
I need to pay my rent.
I need to quit my new job – who would’ve thought I’d be the one not cut out for the 9-5?
I need to drink more water and write more letters.
I need to say thanks for the postcard I received in the mail today.
I need to feed myself at regular intervals.
I need to start moving again – the studio and the trails have been calling to me.
I need to remember what’s important.
I need to find my way back to Rachel Corrie.

There’s no writing a love poem for you
  when I’d rather be smelling your neck,
  or rubbing your head,
  or listening to you read anything to me
  (the driest textbook – musical coming from your mouth).

There’s no writing a love poem for you
  while you stare
  with eyes that overflow with adoration
  too epic for a small-town girl like me.

There’s no writing a love poem for you
  by myself;
  you are always present from now on.

There’s no writing a love poem for you
  because our limited time should be spent
  as close as possible.
  How could I ever remove your hip from mine?
  How could I ever take your hand from my back?
  How could I ever disentangle our legs?
  How could I even imagine it?

There’s no writing a love poem for you
  if I don’t know your favorite book or how you take your coffee.
  Is it enough to be intimately familiar with
    the crinkle around your eyes when you smile?
    the sigh you sigh before you cradle my head against your chest?
    the temperature of your lips, the blue of your eyes in the morning and at     midnight?
    your voice affectionately chanting my name?

There is no writing a love poem for you,
  not on paper anyway.

I could run to your house from here.
Ten miles is not so far.

I could be Lloyd Dobler.
I could stand in front of your window, bring you your favorite beer and sushi from the place you love down the street,
get all gussied up to give a heartwarming speech
(or if I’m running short on time, “Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”),
Maybe camping gear instead to whisk you off to the mountains like we planned,
Or a poem stuck to your windshield. That always works.

But instead I light a candle and drink wine in bed and read Walt Whitman and listen to the thunder.
And if you were really supposed to be the one
you’d know,
and ten miles would be zero.

Sometimes when I am awake and alone in the night,
I travel to the hidden place inside me
       that stores all of the hurt I have seen and felt
       that clings to all the haunting what-ifs
       that tells me cruel things when I need compassion
       that aches and aches and aches

I also have a place inside me that whispers,
       What would mom say if she knew about the hurt?
       I’d take it all for you if I could.
       What would Mark Chmiel say if I told him about the what-ifs?
       What do we know about what’s going to happen?
       What would Jamie say if she heard me insulting myself?
       You’re beautiful and smart, and you don’t deserve to be treated this way.
       What would I say to myself if I didn’t have the aches?
       Just keep breathing in and out.

Gratitude for Monday

I have loved and loved and loved with no fear of loss.


All I want is to ramble to Kilgore Falls
alongside the Falling Branch of Deer Creek
and to stand in its icy plunge pool
and to feel the weight of the water on my head
even after I emerge and find my towel on the sunny bank
and to marvel


All I want is to hike down the Union Dam Trail
alongside the Patapsco River
and to stumble over its roots and rocky terrain
and to search for ripe wineberries to eat
while I sweat through my shirt and listen to the wrens overhead
and to marvel


All I want is to lie on Buzzard Rock
alongside its swimming hole
and to spread sunscreen on my legs
and to look through the clear water of Passage Creek
to the stony bottom and to watch the trout flit past
and to marvel


All I want is to stroll with wide eyes through the woods
alongside Little Gunpowder Falls
and to discover tiny mushrooms and tiny tendrils
and tiny footprints of a raccoon
that take me to the end of the trail
and to marvel


All I want is to sit on moss-covered rocks
alongside Mountain Run in the Shenandoah Mountains
and to smell the damp soil and to turn my face to the forest canopy
and to feel goosebumps climb my arms
when I lower my feet into the freezing pool
and to marvel

May 12:  Ups and downs are common. Energized by my students, torn down by bad timing, calmed by quiet time in the kitchen, shocked by unexpected tears when I read an old poem.
May 13:  At rehearsal, I feel fat, but at least I remember the choreography.
May 14:  I find actors so attractive, but I am unbelievably shy in their presence.
May 15:  I cried in front of students and coworkers today when we held a “Remembering Nicho” celebration for a 17-year-old student who died last summer.  This has been one of the hardest parts of my job.
May 16:  Fuck. Late for everything.
May 17:  Honestly, one of the best birthdays ever. I am so full of thanks.
May 18:  Am I always going to be unhappy in DC?  Would I be content in New York?  Will the highs ever last as long as the lows?
May 19:  Yeast infection.
May 20:  Still haven’t gotten a text from him. Ugh.
May 21:  My boss forwarded one of my emails to my coworkers before responding to me. What the fuck is his problem?
May 22:  Something feels wrong in my body. More than tired. Don’t know why.
May 23:  A year ago I was in the Dominican Republic for a friend’s wedding. Today I lost my job.
May 24:  Almost all day in bed. Cried. Ate too much sugar. Found out I got accepted into a conference in Tokyo. Guess I won’t be going.
May 25:  Couldn’t sleep anymore. Started applying for jobs. Anxiety either shuts me down or drives me to overwork. Today might be both.
May 26:  More job applications and stress.
May 27:  Closed my office door at work today because everyone knows I’m fired, and they haven’t said a word to me.
May 28:  It exhausts me to keep going back.
May 29: Dance is all that makes me happy. Thank god for the great artists I’m working with right now.
May 30: Didn’t go to work because what’s the point?
May 31: I’ve been daydreaming about meeting and falling in love with a celebrity so I won’t have to find a new job.
June 1:  Started a 30 day June ab challenge today. Embarrassed that 15 sit-ups was difficult.
June 2:  My new Diva Cup got stuck in my vagina.  It was a bit taxing.
June 3:  Conclusion – June sucks balls already.
June 4:  I might eat potatoes all the time now that I know my new stand mixer can mash them perfectly.
June 5:  Found I might be getting sued. Then I got paid $500 for my show. Wins and losses all the time.
June 6:  How does it feel to me be on a day like today? Miserable.
June 7:  I’m going through the motions, but no one is convinced.
June 8:  I had a dream that is one of my most stressful fears – that I will get lost and not be able to find my car after I’ve parked somewhere new. I guess this is my life now.
June 9:  Last day in this stupid school. If I’m so happy about this, why am I also so sad?
June 10: Running errands in the middle of the day and not after work when I’m tired? I could get used to this.
June 11:  Unemployment is: wearing pajamas all day, having time in the morning to make breakfast burritos, realizing no one misses you.
June 12:  I slept too much again today and only applied for 2 jobs. The rest of the time, I felt sorry for myself.


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