Rhyme

Magnetic Midnight

I submitted this poem earlier in the week as part of my portfolio, and I wasn’t going to share it here because it’s a bit too silly and sweet to be considered significant. But I decided to share it with you guys anyways because it was relatively well-received in workshop and I kind of love it.

I wrote this poem as an imagined (and highly improbable) modern love story between the two gods Aurora and Boreas who inspired the technical name for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Aurora was the Roman goddess of dawn and Boreas was the Greek god of the North Wind. The fact that one was Roman and the other Greek should immediately tell you that the poem was only inspired by fact. I used what I learned about them as individuals and my awe-inspiring fascination with the Northern Lights as a natural phenomenon, and pieced together a story about them. The lines that seem odd and random are based on actual stories of the two gods, and the clichéd and predictable ideas are my own.

That should do it.
I hope you all are well. I hope to be around more now. Thanks for sticking with me!

Magnetic Midnight

Aurora and Boreas met at a bar.

When he extended his hand to her there was a shock between their palms.

They laughed.

Boreas bought Aurora a tequila sunrise to match her copper eyelids.

He told her about growing up in the Milky Way and how his dad always missed his conch solos at his winter recitals.

Aurora told Boreas about her sister, with equal parts tenderness and disdain, but signed her letters “to the moon and back” because she always knew just how far she was from La Luna.

They fell in love.

Aurora left before he woke each morning and Boreas learned to love the moment just before the night was over.

She didn’t mind his frosty fingertips or scratchy beard or the way he would lose his temper when the Tennessee Titans lost.

They had a January wedding.

Each night, she held his hand and they flew above the mountains.

When they danced, brilliant ribbons of green and red illuminated the sky.

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Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica

She read the dictionary
cover to cover
seeking words with meaning,
to understand
what she couldn’t.

She looked for a word
for love when it fails,
for Honey,
your father and I
still—
and for love when
she speaks of the
Northern Lights.

E-reader
Bromance
F-bomb
but not a single word
for the inside spaces
that hurt most
when she misses him.

She looked for a distinction
in written symbols,
between tear
and tear,
between ripping
and what comes after.

She looked for a word
for home
when it no longer is,
for god
when she doesn’t believe,
for good dreams,
not nightmares,
for time
as it counts forward,
for time
as it runs out,
and loneliness
when she chooses it.

And when she couldn’t
find words
for important things,
she became
a poet.

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More lines, but no more clarity

Stages of Object Permanence

You flew over the peaks of la Cordillera Blanca,
A copper sunset, a statue of a woman in a long skirt
Crossing her legs, the church in a plaza of a city
you never got to tell us about. The magician placed
a white sheet over your eyelids and you disappeared.
My vision blurred. I didn’t know to look for you.

I opened the mini-blinds and ate a bowl of cereal
Without milk. I waited for you to come around
The corner. I waited for you to say “I’m sorry
you thought I was” and I drove past your house,
or what was your house, just in case your old blue car
was there, just in case you were in it. It never was.

I looked for you in better places because that’s where
They said you were. I looked for you six plots
From the tree with the wind chimes and found
Your name next to a vase with artificial flowers.
I found your pair of red Converse that had faded
since you wore them last. But I didn’t find you there.

I turned the pages of my calendar hanging on the wall
In my kitchen eleven times. You missed your
Twenty-first birthday but we drank to you anyway.
In Spanish class I learned how to conjugate
In the past tense, but didn’t understand
How someone could have been, but no longer is.

I reread your letters and framed a picture of us
From a summer when we were teenagers
And you smoked on back porch steps.
I looked for you in that summer, in secret cigarettes,
in careful handwriting, and the floral section
Of the grocery store. I didn’t find you there.

I remember the way your hair around your face used to
Curl in the humidity. I listen to songs that remind me of you
in the silence before sleep, confronting all I know.
You taught me to never leave important words unsaid.
I learned not to look for you in familiar spaces,
But in ones marked with uncertainty.

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Still swimming

I Can’t Remember Your Middle Name

We shook our fists
when our pens ran out.
And I wrote you letters
From, not Love,
but pretense of what was.

And I kept the flowers
you bought me
for my birthday, or I’m sorry, or happy
something I don’t remember anymore
but insisted on preserving
in a clear vase on my bedside table.

We went to dinner, the waitress forgot to light the candles,
and you checked your watch for the time.
I made a tourniquet and wrapped it around our wrists pressed together,
but we bled through the bandage.

Is the hourglass half full
or half empty?

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Back In the Game

Okay, I admit that it’s actually really cool that I get to spend my time reading and writing and talking about reading and talking about writing. I don’t care if being an English major seems frivolous and useless. It’s neither frivolous nor useless to learn to communicate effectively, think critically and creatively, and interact with the world around me in a way that helps me understand this living and dying thing even a little bit more (steps off soap box).
Anyway, I share with you all my first poem of the semester. I feel a little rusty, but I’m super stoked (yes, stoked) to be back in the game. The poem assignment was to write a self portrait. Life is grand, no?

Pink-N-Ink

Use the pink side for the easy parts,
Like dyed hair, chapped lips, and
callused fingertips.

Erase the story carefully written
in smudged graphite. Erase the scar on her
Right knee, the imaginary,

The forgettable. Use the blue side for
The stubborn bits, the ones
Tattooed in permanent myth.

Erase thy kingdom come,
And hands she swore to hold until
Deliver us from evil. Erase

Amen, and while you’re at it,
Erase certainty and chewed nails that
Promised relief, but collected in

Stained carpet fibers instead. Find the
Heart she dropped in a parking lot
Three weeks ago, and erase that too.

Erase Lilies and Truth and towers
that once stood, but were
Buried under soles and supermarkets.

Erase the word for the pieces your
Eraser left behind, of what once was,
and never was at all.

That may be her in the
Leftover traces, in the unrecognizable
Scraps you brush to the floor.

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Mahler’s Fifth

Mahler’s Fifth

“May I have this dance?” you say, extending your hand.
I smile and tuck my violin under my chin.
Unable to resist your love poem in F major,
I begin to fly across the score.

“Sehr Langsam,” you insist.
“Molto Adagio,” you repeat.
“Very slowly, dear,” so you’re certain I know
That fast tempos end movements too soon.

You and I spin in the tight embrace of contradiction.
We are a perfect blend of harmony and dissonance.
“I’m no good for you,” our fingers interlace.
Young love yearns to both grow and last.

I close my eyes and move with inhales held
A little too long. Cello melody interrupts suspension
And crawls across the floor to toes silently counting rests.
Exhales cover the sound of our heartbeats.

Your Adagietto is enveloped in resolution.
My vibrato slows, sound scatters, and stillness cues
Symphony number five to melt in the fleeting silence,
For the finale movement still rests on the stand.

While poets conduct words moving pens in three-four time,
Composers write poems of crescendos and decrescendos.
“Crumple up the score with clichés in lines.”
You whisper, “Life, my dear, is a symphony.”

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Poetry Mondays “Ode to the Ukulele”

Ode to the Ukulele

Your name
a song in syllables
paints,
with watercolor hues,
the sand and trees,
warmth
and comfort.
Hold a seashell
to your ear.
Hear a ukulele
sing
the ocean
to sleep.
Close your eyes,
hear the sweet
lullaby
of quiet strums
and fading
shorelines.

Your tiny frame seeks
gentle hands
and
more gentle
hearts,
but your body
vibrates
and your
spirit resonates
with confident
charm.

Criss-crossed legs
brush
worn carpet floors.
A paper,
scribbled lyrics and chords,
shuffles on the coffee table.
Both
delicate
and sturdy,
a ukulele rests
against
a restless
trunk.
The musical alphabet
recites a
love poem
to butterflies within.
They fly away.

What would the world
look like
if fighters fought
not with
fists,
but with
exchange of sounds
of the ukulele?
The ukulele
dares you
to hold your
stubborn frown,
your furrowed brow.
You lose.

Fingertips
dance across
nylon strings
in sets
of two or three or four.
Quickly,
the room changes
from major
to minor,
like a summertime storm.
Clouds swallow
air and sky.
Mr. Weatherman performs
for a busy crowd
on the five o’clock news.
The storm clears,
clouds linger.
Minor kisses Major’s forehead;
resolution.

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