because / despite


the faulty premise of our love I find myself a part of you.
I feel your heartbeat without touching you.

in love I find you somewhere below my collarbone, 
because the colloquial term for your name is a synonym for mine
but when I call out it resonates in my throat, 
resonates without any reverb because
you never echo.

If I loved you despite everything, would that be enough? 
would you ever trust me if I 
conditioned my heart’s longing with a series
of security questions like

what was the name of your first pet
what was the street you grew up on
how many cracks show up in an x-ray of your heart


I don’t know the answers to those questions
my first pet didn’t have a name
because, despite the paradox it only answered to your call
because, despite the oxy-platonic love song you knew how to
get my attention even before I knew your name.

I don’t want to love you despite anything
despite the times that I lie next to you and can’t
feel your heart without touching you
despite the nights when the moon pulls tides in your eyes
despite the days when you don’t know where you are, 
or who you are
despite your faults or mine, despite the timing and
the leaving, despite the pain of feeling…

I want to love you because of your faults, and mine
because  it is hard and there’s nothing simple about it
even when I lie next to you and I can feel your
heart without touching you
I’ll just reach down and press my palm
to the rising tide 
because the ocean is the greatest healer in the world,
and I’d be a fool if I let the moon get in its way.

all rise (spoken word)

gold is a transition, it dies before our eyes like the creak that rolls off a tree’s shoulder in the morning,

all rise.

I long for the rough root kiss that
will follow an oaken breeze
leave my cheeks raw, red,
bloody like oxygen, full of life
I will rise.

Long to forage kisses with tenderness
that only the deer and her cousins show
remember, dirt is the most holy taste, 
Earth is the most sacred smell,
all rise.

when you feed yourself tomorrow

remember that you did not prepare 
your meal today, nor yesterday
so eat, I say
but eat humbly.

slow to a crawl, your eyes cannot
pick out the trickle-down movements of the sun’s
rays because 
patience is a statue
a national monument to the God we trust in
the God we live in but the shrine is burning.

my temple is a different one
its pews wooded, its floor
five-finger-needled and soft
don’t you dare touch my church with your
metal claws and your booted feet
only foragers welcome here

my church is a new one
yet it was born long before Christ
its first breath balloons still outward
it is the greatest breath man has ever seen
ever-expanding warmth like the sun, 
all rise.

my church has been good to me
her sacred body provides shelter under trees,
she loves me unconditionally

Go, quench the fire your own lust has lit

Go, feel the heat peel your original sin,
swathed and decadent no longer 
it brings a voice to your bitter lip 
you bite
taste the sweet wine

when your children long for what is golden
when they dream of nature’s decadence upon their 
naked skin

they will cry out with tongues that

never foraged alongside deer

never sang hymns in God’s garden,
your garden.

Then will you know what it means to long for gold
Then will you know what 
has been lost today.

the sky i was born under

the sky I was born under was not blue

shining nirvana to a black horizon, expansive and open
no, it was closer than that.

nor was it highway grey, curving along
slow blues lanes or piano key clouds
my sky was not like that.

when I was born, the earth had not yet woken
not yet shaken off new england winter
like I learned to do every year after

the sky I was born under bled white snow
that fell on anomaly towns along a wide, 
slow river. april came soon after and I 
fell in love with the first warm breeze,

the sky I was born under is lost
in the folds of Time’s summer dress
but when I fall at her feet at the very end
and she presses her palm to my face
it will return.

letter to mother earth (spoken word)

dear mom,

20 years ago today I lay in your arms, sanctified
my tiny veins pumped open-heart prayers through the new world around me, 
your love was unconditional
it was simplified, wild-eyed, full-up-with-truth love
because, we were innocent beautiful and together we were infinite.

back then all I needed was a hand to hold.
make-believe played out years before lunchtime placed a songbook in my hands.
At night I would lay my head in the folds of Time’s summer dress but, I can’t do that anymore.

today I turned twenty, left the dregs of childhood
behind because I wanted new thoughts but I didn’t know how many
let go of the hands behind me and reached forward but I nearly fell.

today I saw you kneeling, vision blurring while people burned your Sacred Body. 
to numb the pain they gave you courtroom medicine 
but told you “come inside and apply it yourself, we have better things to do”
you just waited outside the courtroom on your knees and smiled

my generation left childhood today, or yesterday
but either way we need to start something new because turning twenty felt like 
trading in my imagination for a tape recorder, my intuition for a 
degree in test-taking or a tiny trophy that reads


I could tell you that I didn’t look back but I did, I look back every day.

I look back on afternoons spent lost in a corn maze while 
the Sunday bells blazed a hole in the dusk shouting 
slurs at the master craftsman
shouting “cheater!” a tiny dissent more powerful than any pen
because to us, cheater meant everything

I still look back every time I feel myself floating
every time I want to knock down the walls around me
the wall that wedges a sheet of blue-cold-steel 
between two chambers
of the One heart
I look back.

I used to look up to you, but your sky was not the blue-eyed shine
that you promised me that morning when I left,
that morning when I saw my childhood in the rear-view
you told me I could always come back, but I know you.

K-N-O-W means to experience truth
and also, to deny it
that word holds more in four black letters than
any school can teach in four years. 

If I had one more chance to go back
one more sunday to be corn-maze lost yelling cheater at the top of my lungs,
I would never look back again.
but right now, I can’t accept what I see so mom, please tell me what I can do.

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