Sunday, September 23, 2012

Poem about Love

I never sought love from other men,
just from my mother,
and from my father to a lesser extent.
Love has always meant duty,
you see,
my mom was past thirty
and within a month she was married
and within a year I was born.
Love is sacrifice, I’m told.
But love is the sacrifice
of responsibility
as I’ve come to see.

is a strange tree
and mine was uprooted,
shipped overseas.
I was just a seedling, but
my mother never forgot
how broken branches hurt
like broken bones,
and never fully healed.
When the heart is in the motherland
it doesn’t make music for children.
But I still put my heart in my mother’s hands,
and the cold that seeped in has been hard to let go.
I grew on tears,
mine and hers,
withered inside, and didn’t care for the sky anymore.
Now that I’m older,
(still a child, always her child)
and my heart pumps more blue than warmth,
heartstrings stretched and frozen
to any melodies--
I have to learn sacrifice all over again.
Learn to take responsibility for my heart,
to dance closer to the flames
even if I risk getting burned.

Loving is learned.

There were lessons in vulnerability
that I avoided,
so that only I could hurt myself.
Scar tissue layered like bark around my heart,
climbed like vines up the inside of my arms.
My dad taught me that if I never expect anything from anyone,
I will never be disappointed.
But I always expected too much from myself
and made it hard to let go
of the barbed wire keeping the world out
and the hurt in.

I tend to ruin a good thing before I even begin,
too afraid to know love, to melt the ice away
and drown in the coming tide.

I could never let anyone in
past iron walls, rusted
to resemble warm blood from a distance.

Red isn’t always the color of love, and
actions don’t always translate
And why does it have to be either/or
when actions and words are the arteries and veins
of the same feelings?

There are definitions and there are realities,
and love is ever-shifting.

Its conditionality put a price
on something I didn’t think I could afford.
The indifference
to my tears dried them up and left
an empty well.
I could drop pennies
or diamonds
but still only hear the same hollow echo of
four chambers empty of a
four-letter word.

All I wanted
was for them to read the love between lines and dashes.
But our tongues always caught
the wrong syllables,
and we never learned the common language.

Parents model the roles we expect to see and be,

And when I say that men are incapable of loving,
I only speak from what I believe,
And when I say I will be lonely,
I speak from a deep-centered inadequacy.

Every now and then
I spiral in self-doubt,
am astonished when I feel a pulse
under thin skin.
Some feelings are still foreign
and fall apart in the absence of an interpreter.

I try to learn this language all over again,
start with a pen--
write a thousand ways
to know love.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

not quite a wallflower

sounds too pretty a word
for someone so plain.
i think i would look at a flower on the wall;
though small and faded
it still possesses more elegance than,
say, a leaf
and remains much more appealing than
a fly.

Tongue tied

Sounds try to outrun each other, hurtle over teeth and tumble out my mouth with no parting kiss, no time for my tongue to untangle itself. Deep breath. Try again.