June poem


If June had a flavor, it would be strawberry:
bright, sweet, juicy
If June had a color, it would be green
spreading everywhere its florid promises
If June had a sound, it would be
the irreverent laughter of children
over a jangle of dog collars,
a delicate chorus of insects
If June had a smell, it would be peony and cut grass,
the smoky waft from a charcoal grill
If June had a feeling, it would be
rich chocolate melting on the tongue–
exquisite and temporary
a place I wouldn’t mind staying forever

written 6.20.16
Over a year old but I wanted to share.


I’m sorry/I can’t/don’t hate me

In “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice,” Carrie gets dumped by her boyfriend, fellow writer Jack Berger, via Post-It note. “I’m sorry/I can’t/don’t hate me” was scrawled on said Post-It. Leading up to the breakup, we see Berger’s recurrent insecurities about Carrie’s even more successful career, and how it makes him feel inadequate. Carrie received a huge check from her publisher; Berger’s second book option (at the same publisher) gets dropped. He feels like a “big fat failure” and is finding it increasingly difficult to be supportive in Carrie’s shadow, even though he cognitively knows and admits that she is “magnificent” and has earned her success.

True to form, I can relate almost any life situation to Sex and the City, and this is where I am right now. Only instead of being Carrie, I’m Berger. I just found out that my boyfriend (whom I love, adore and now live with) got his first real English teaching job, at the same school where he is currently the writing lab instructor. This will mean a big pay increase of course, and it’s what he’s always wanted to do, what he went to school for. A good girlfriend would be happy for her man when he gets the job he wants. Right? Somehow I can’t be. And it makes me sound like a bad person, but I’m trying to work out the reasons why I’m not happy, and can’t seem to shake the feelings that I have.

I’m jealous and resentful. I think that sums it up the best. I had toyed with the idea of being an English teacher on and off in my younger years. Instead of going to college out of high school, I dropped out, moved in with my boyfriend and got married at 19 (divorced at 20). During the last 7 years, I’ve worked my butt off to keep a roof over my head. I finally started school about three months ago. I’ve essentially ruled out becoming a teacher, mainly because I can’t take the required day program while working full time. Then again, I’m not even sure what I would be good at. Writing freelance? Editing? Who knows. I’m feeling all kinds of insecure and inadequate, even though I have a 4.0 and glowing feedback from the one English course I’ve taken thus far. I’ve only just begun. The job market is bleak. I know I should think positively and be happy I’m working towards my goals now, but I don’t feel that way. At all.

In the past few weeks as I’ve known bf’s interview was impending, I provided false words of encouragement. I thought if I resented him and hoped he didn’t get the job, I should (wisely, no?) keep my mouth shut and be supportive. I secretly hoped he didn’t get chosen. Not necessarily because I don’t want him to be happy, because I do, but simply because my own inadequacies are THAT crippling. I know how juvenile and hateful that sounds, believe me. I have my own issues (borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety) and it’s really hard to balance them with a healthy relationship. Believe it or not, we do have a good relationship. This issue of resentment regarding career has come up before. The only thing I’ve done is keep plugging away at school and trying to put on a happy face when it comes to his successes. But it’s not working.

Today I confessed my resentment, probably shouldn’t have. And things have gone downhill from there. I said some terrible things which I hate to say, I actually meant. I’m talking to my good friends, and I know what I “should” do (apologize and work things out) but it isn’t that easy or that simple. My friends do understand why I feel the way I do, and so does he. Sometimes it helps to have a little understanding…but it doesn’t change how I feel.

Have you ever been envious or resentful of a partner’s success? How did you (or do you) cope with those feelings?

wait, for now.

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

by Galway Kinnell.

I read somewhere once that this poem was inspired by one of Kinnell’s students who was contemplating suicide. There are certain poems and words that I always go back to, that I have imprinted in my mind. This poem does so much for me.

“The need for new love is faithfulness to the old.” Beautiful. It makes me think of losing a long time love – a spouse, a partner of many years – and having the courage to love again. Nothing that I can personally relate to, but I think of my lovely 87 year-old grandmother, whose first husband passed away when I was only 6 years old. She began dating in her sixties (can you imagine!) and met a wonderful man she’s been with for at least fifteen years now. While we know it’s never the same, it’s comforting to see that love is always possible, no matter what.

“Trust the hours.” Together, three favorite words.

rainy heart.

I was talking with a friend who said that his best days, with euphoric highs, are met with rather grim and lonely days the day after. I believe this to be true. There was (is?) a certain man, with whom I spent an amazing 13 straight hours with on Saturday until 4:00 am on Sunday. In the monsoon, bunkered up, then out, then in. Reminiscing, reconnecting, rediscovering, and talking talking talking… The soul-bending kind you never want to end. Never boring. Never wanted to break the spell. Maybe he didn’t either. Was this beautiful man I’ve known for almost five years a kindred spirit who I’d somehow overlooked and relegated to friend territory? Or just another pal who happens to be fun to make out with? I’m terrified to think of anything else. After flirting coyly for ten hours he asked permission. He’s polite. One word only: ELECTRIC.

You know, when Rolfe gives Leisl her first kiss. In the rain. Of course. I fucking love that feeling. Anything is possible.

Today’s the antidote to that day. I discovered that my big-time ex has a new girlfriend or something similar, and also that my ex-best friend has unfriended me on Facebook (don’t know when she did). It’s also still raining – funny how the rain can be romantic and beautiful and somber the next day. My heart is full of gloom. I’m sentimental and embarrassed. That’s me – always breaking and mending. And I’m still waiting…

borrowed love

A quick little poem I wrote last night about library books. Or men. Or both? You decide.

Men are like library books.
I’ll find one that glows from beyond a pretty cover,
full of promises on the inside flap.
Hold it in my hands to feel its weight,
then put it in my sack.
I take my time
Breathe in that old book smell
that makes you wonder where it’s been before.
I’ll marvel at its contents
as gorgeous words unfurl –
vivid prose upon my tongue
just like a gleaming pearl.
I don’t treat it well,
as if it were my own.
A spill, a tear, a careless fold
these are the liabilities – I’m told.
I like the crinkle that the cover makes,
lands beyond, the gliding hours of my time
I’ll beg it to romance me
to thrill me with its twists,
to turn about my world
for just a bit of bliss.
I’m almost sad it’s over,
you know it’s got to end
And as I slip it back upon its shelf,
my heart will slowly mend.
I only came to borrow, dear…
I didn’t come to buy.

milk sky

I prefer the sky when it’s the color of milk
with a drop of ink mixed in. I admit:
I am lonely.
Giving up seems like the easiest way
when my heart breaks and mends in a
thousand ways every day.
My troubles are lost on you
like the brightest balloons drifting
upward, and away. diminishing
You never cared
Or really paid much attention
And again I relish in the exquisite pain of
your perpetual rejection.

I play “Foolish Games,”
Jewel has a Swiss face and likes the color of
wine, probably writes songs on napkins like
you used to draw on at restaurants
back when we belonged together.
this isn’t what it should feel like.
I wait constantly and patiently
for the smallest reward, faithful as
your dog.

I’m muted by the gradual loss of
Sunlight and the pointed lack of caring in
your words of afterthought or distraction
but it doesn’t stop my tears.
Ever persistent, I fucking want you still.
I will forever be your last choice,
and you will forever be my first.

VF, 07.05.11

I want to write, but I can’t.

It seems never-ending. The cycle continues, over and over again. I am lost without my art. A creative person is always creative, but without a connection to his or her art, one will become slowly unhinged, and so I have.  I keep finding myself trapped in the same loop, like a record skipping. Caught in between desires and shameful lack of motivation, I find myself here, at my keyboard, berating myself again for not doing what my teachers always told me to do. Write, write, write. Nurture your passion, nurture your love, the thing you are good at, the one damn thing that everyone told you that you were the best at your entire life. What have I traded it for? A decent job that I don’t hate and a half-inflated social life consisting of shallow first dates and beers out with friends once, maybe twice a week. Why is it so impossible for me to do what I’m the most passionate about? What’s stopping me from bridging the gap between a wannabe writer and a legitimate one?

An empty document and blinking cursor are insurmountably daunting, as any writer can attest. During the day when I can’t channel them, my thoughts are at their most potent, and creative. They are fireflies on a hot June night. Later, I’m the eager child, struck by their elusive beauty, running clumsy and barefoot on the dewy grass, mason jar in hand – trying in vain to capture them, to make them last, to preserve the spontaneous magic of a brilliant thought. Only when they are finally in my jar, captured, they somehow don’t shine as brightly. They are only simple creatures, not magic at all.

There are a thousand things that move me. Yesterday on the way to my hike I thought of them all. What inspires me? Endless blue skies, polaroids, heart shaped lenses, the impossible white of my cat’s paws, to name a few. What infuriates me? Deception, when someone belittles me, hold queues, traffic, bad hair days. Inspiration is so fleeting though, and it’s so easy to get caught up in the trappings of ordinary life. An unpaid bill, a broken heart, the fact that it’s simply easier not to.

I miss the quiet of my life before the internet, before life sprang boldly through the ether, before the images of socialites and global tragedies struck the screen. I want the blank document back, the distraction-free zone sitting on the ergonomic chair, tapping gloriously away at a story of my own making. It didn’t matter if it was juvenile and it didn’t have to change the world. All that mattered was that it was my own story, a bud that I had allowed to blossom on its own. I miss it miss it miss it. Give me back my late night keyboard taps. Give me back my inspiration. I’m calling on you now, writer-soul. I want you to make a comeback as a grown up. You’ve learned twenty five years of life lessons. You’ve steeped in the chaos and heartache of existence for long enough. It’s time to catch some fireflies – and watch them actually glow.