Week 19 – Stumble

Stumble

I am too good at beginnings.
They last so short, bursts of adrenaline sparking my heart when I see your name.

I feel wise beyond 23 years when I let things begin at the end,
Hope the way I leave you is better than a cold night in Hoboken, coat held to my chest, wondering when I got so lost.

It is so easy to smile at your butterflies.

Let me stumble into your arms.

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Week 17 – I Could Write About the Rain

I Could Write About the Rain

I could write about the rain.

I could write about wet umbrellas,
About the keys in my coat pocket,
The puddles around the bean boots on my feet.

I could write about how for the first time in a long time, I am learning to trust my muscles.

I could write how I am learning, again, to swim.

Week 16 – These Mixed-Up Pieces, Part II

These Mixed-Up Pieces, Part II

The flames don’t last forever,
I tell myself, stitch the sinews and put each piece of china back in place.
I am a mosaic of mixed up pieces,
Of scars and lines and my life,
Tattooed to my heart like the sun across the sky, my story smoothed by time and a thousand eyes reading, reading.

I am a painting, built from layers, scrubbed over and made clean to be built again.

I am a survivor.

Week 15 – Please, Stop Calling Me Beautiful

I don’t often preface my poems. This week, the hashtag, and really, movement, of #metoo came alive on Twitter and Facebook. It is very hard for me to speak about my experiences, that these things have happened to me. So I do what I do best, and I wrote about them.

I wrote this poem a week after I attended the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium with my dad. I love baseball, I love baseball with my father, and I was so excited to take him to see Aaron Judge hit a home run. This poem is the story of my trip home from Penn Station in the New York City subway system, after my dad and I had split, so he could go home to New Jersey, and I could go home to Brooklyn.

Please, enjoy. This one is so near and dear to my heart.

Please, Stop Calling Me Beautiful

Please, stop calling me beautiful.

It is 12:30am and I’ve just dropped my father off at NJ Transit,
My sweater still smells a little bit like ballpark and the chants of the Wild Card game still echo in my head.
I am ready to go home, anticipating work tomorrow,
I walk all the way back through the A train corridors to arrive at the local track.

You walk behind me, call me beautiful and I take my headphones out, you call me beautiful again and I smile, you follow me as I walk to the stairs and I wonder if I will ever find a corner I can hide in, but the subway is empty and again you call me beautiful.

You ask me why, you ask me, you say beautiful, why can’t we be friends.

I smile because now you give me no voice.

We can’t be friends because you act like it’s a favor as you tell me you’ll leave me alone, act like it’s a favor that I walk down the platform to a different car, sit still and straight for the trip home but also can’t sit still, knowing that going home from a baseball game can’t ever be as simple as it is for my father, for my brother, for my friend.

I can be told to get home safe, to text when I unlock my door,
I can be told to watch my purse and be aware of my surroundings,
Keep my headphones in and let the men slip around me like the taxis on the street.
I can be told to take trains early, to stick with crowds, to call an Uber, to do any of the many things women know from childhood,
A subway ride home from the Yankees game at midnight is a bad idea, a game of chance, a lottery.

I wonder when it will be the time you show me and don’t tell me that you think I’m beautiful, when you don’t give me a choice to run away.

I know I am beautiful.
But.

Please, stop calling me beautiful.