Passing Through Ridgewood

The night air touches my cheek
With affection
Whispering sweetly, sincere
Calming an uneasy head haunted lately by bad dreams
The street is quiet and I’m alone
Feet echoing on the pavement like a single heartbeat
The hum of window ac units
And distant mariachi music
Remind me of families huddled together now on worn couches
As I pass
Pink cheeks peacefully pressed against mother’s chest
Lives mushrooming from the quiet that once was the emptiness of a lonely room
Love blasts from the stoop
A tornado that sweeps me off my feet and sets me down again, stunned
I don’t have anyone to call my own
But the scent of trees in bloom tonight
Brings me to tears
The volume of my soul is turned up
My spine is a totem pole and my legs swing in revolutions
That time I stitched my own tattered tongue and reassembled my fractured ribs did not scar me
My freedom is tangible
I carry it in my pocket and it courses through my headphones
I whistle the tune
While my love waits its turn
My dreams are bright and painful
These days
They light the street in front of me
And I don’t have anyone
But I have this.

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Relearning Thought/Being

I asked you how to live
w/ the shadow of death
cast over a heart
massive as a mountain
morning on the fairy tale
west coast
but you’ve never been there,
or even dreamed of it.

Do you swallow death like a pill each morning with breakfast?

Does it sit next to you on the train and nod off, bumping your shoulder with its head, reminding you it’s still by your side, even here?

Does it call, panicked, in tears at night devoid of hope or even reason?

Do you try to love it away?

Or fall to the ground consumed with

[fear for the living]

[pale ghost, terrified to look back at what once was, the sharp glass shards of abandonment ground into bare feet]

How to bring a ghost to life

love can’t

it has no mouth
or hands
it can’t reveal you as one of the living as you stare into the mirror, filled with anger.

It only sits in my heart and
spills from my lips
and it is
and it heals me
and I am one, small part
of this whole.

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Silence

You are the croaking of frogs on a muggy night

The sound of summer

In that one specific place and time
A yellow house with brown shutters
Hot air heavy on our heads
Breathing into cotton pillowcases
Sleeping bags damp with sweat
We didn’t have beds but sleep came easy as the frogs trilled
Anger-filled voices from the next room gave way to silence and
silence
was the sound
of croaking.