Color Palette

I see you in earth tones:
green when you round the corner on the trail in front of me,
brown when you pick me up again clean and fresh from a day in the sun,
gray when you move in close and shine your hungry eyes into mine.

and I know that I am the deep purple of twilight
shining with stars yet murky with shadows.

but I think the day and the night,
like the sun and the moon,
are better when they blend together
as dusk and dawn.




once, i remember, and will not soon forget
the filthy car he had to start with a spoon

driving me home to the cabin one night,
i am throwing up all over the car floor,
all over my feet

and when she said,
“to love someone is to feed their spirit”
i think i understood
that i have been loving wrong
all these years

in my bones lately,
i ache for green, wet earth
that stains the bottoms of my feet
that lives under my fingernails
that offers light in the form of

once, singing on the concrete steps,
people pass by
and we gather our stray dollars and nickels
for a 6-pack of pbr

years later, you tell me one morning
that you have a problem to name
in the bottle of wine and
eight beers you drank last night

and once, singing in a quiet pizza place
she steadies my hands before we sing, together
“i’m so lonesome i could cry”

scattered, i find myself in the desert
but pieces of me float around
stretching from the potomac river
to the rolling green hills
and all the way to the high valley
surrounded by rocky peaks

and all the places in between

so as i walk back and forth to and from
the mailbox each day
in my loneliness i remind myself what
she once told me

“to love someone is to feed their spirit”


Waxing Crescent

The weekend after the eclipse
there is a crescent moon above your head
that sinks behind the roof of the bar
as you talk with wild eyes about
how a full moon on the ocean
lights up the sea like day
even erasing the stars.

Like that flood of light you describe,
you are new to me
and you are shining into places
that have been in shadow for a while.



sometimes, gratitude is a blanket
wrapped around my body
in the form of letters, these treasures
from my roadmap of life

but if i don’t consider from where i’ve come,
how can I move forward?
direction is only relative to a starting point

i think of the snowmelt
the freeze and thaw;
the process that leads to

and i can hear the wailing, always
as much in my own gut as the
graveyard nearby

but the strength of water suggests that
freezing and thawing are
a necessary part of life

that resilience is not weight,
but water,



written a while ago, but (sadly) still relevant

I want to refuse to let the terror take me over,
but that is so hard to do
when every day on my morning commute I feel a tightness in my chest as the train starts moving,
and every weekend when I pass the White House I step a little faster to shorten the exposure.
I know I have to go on living like everything is normal,
but have you read the description of a nail bomb?
Have you thought about how intentional that is?
How those are meticulously created to inflict pain?
And maybe even kill?
I will never forget what it felt like when I woke up
with the dual knowledge that there was an attack in Brussels in the morning
and that my friend was flying out of Brussels that morning.
I eventually heard that she was okay,
but in those few hours I think I had a glimpse into the lives of
New Yorkers after 9/11,
the lives of my friends in Europe,
the lives of my fellow humans in some Middle Eastern
and Latin American
and African
and Asian
countries every damn day.
I still want to believe that it is love, not fear, that unites us,
but when I see presidential candidates portray their rivals’ wives as ugly,
and I hear world leaders say refugees need to go back to where they came from,
back to the violence
and the madness
and the fear,
I think:
maybe it is actually terror that unites us all now.