Poetry: Stolen Fire

I used to have a raging fire—

Crackling, dancing, bursting, writhing

Wouldn’t sit still, wouldn’t calm down

It devoured and it lived

 

But I ran out of logs

But at least I still had kindling—

But I ran out of that as well

But at least I still had embers—

To hold back the looming darkness

But the wind carried each off

One by one…

Silent theif.

 

Where did that spark go?

I wonder

Fumbling in the dark

Who stole my matches?

Do they want me to freeze tonight?

When did the night

Grow so dark

And cold?

How will I get my fire back

When it never occurred to me to wonder

How the first one started?

 

How did I never notice

The importance of my fire

To beat back the night inside of me?

Poetry: You Never Left

We have not talked

Since June

We have not had a conversation

Since May

I have not known you

Since last September

The last time we were best friends

It was this time, last year

 

And yet

You’re still all over my life

Your contact case still in my bathroom

Holes in my bookshelf

Still holding spots in line

For the books you borrowed

That post-it note

Still stuck to our fridge

Birthday cards on my desk

Still wishing for forever

Photos on my phone

That I can’t seem to delete

And all those stupid, perfect memories

Still in my head

 

You’re gone

But you never really left.

Poetry: Little Echoes

I know it was not

The places we went together

Or the things we did together

Or the late nights spent talking

Or the random days spent doing nothing

That broke us

And left us strangers

 

But I’m walking the same road

We walked

Now with someone else

And I tell myself,

“This one is forever.

Even you can’t mess this up.”

But I hear those little echoes

And the fear, it sets back in

Because I said the same thing

About you

And look how wrong I was.

Poetry: Single Player Chess

chess

I’ve never understood

Single-player chess

I don’t understand

How you keep yourself

From taking sides

Isn’t there something

That makes you choose:

Black or white?

And then you try to make them win.

We’re ruled by our

Love of underdogs

By the tiny voices

Pulling strings in our minds

 

Choosing sides

And watching the rest fall apart

From there

 

Unless

You love the game

Rather than the victory

Unless

Your love of the intricacies

Of playing so well

That you can’t beat yourself

 

It all depends what gives you

Satisfaction, I guess.

Poetry: All These Things I’ve Loved

I’ve loved all these things:

Friends, games, luxuries like

Cool morning hikes and play dates

Cannonballs into frigid pools

In spring

Afternoons spent curled up, reading

And long family dinners

Watching the sun set—

 

All these things I’ve loved

Dropped

Like superfluous luggage

 

“It’s the journey that matters,

Not the destination”

They promise

 

Well, goddamn

Because I think this journey is killing me

I don’t know where I’m going

(One foot in front of the other in front of the other)

But by the time I get there

I might be no one at all

Flash Fiction: The Spoiled Child

I wrote this for this week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge: write a story in 100 words. My story clocks in at 97 words. Hope you enjoy!

 

The child loves to play with bubbles.

She toddles after them, lunging and stumbling, popping them with inexact claps of pudgy hands. Giggling as a faint mist bursts across her skin, then a race to the next bubble.

Her parents pamper their daughter with the game. Relatives warn that the child is being spoiled, corrupted; the exercise in destruction should not continue.

But the parents are blinded by the light of their child’s smile. They will ignore eons of wisdom to hear her laugh.

Even though each bubble is a universe.

And gods really should know better.

Poetry: Others Talk of Love Affairs

I talk of our friendship

The way others talk of love affairs:

 

The subtle start—

“Hello” and “Oh you too?”

Then smiles in crowds

And phone numbers exchanged

Inside jokes about

Nothing

At all.

 

And a few glorious, burning

Summer months:

Late night phone calls

And café lunches

Secrets shared between the dark moments

Of midnight and 2 a.m.

 

And tragedy of course—

(Remember, this is a romance novel)

Just enough to keep us honest, on our toes

Left my phone’s volume on

At night

In case you called

In tears.

 

All of this story in past tense

“All good things,” they warned…

And they were right, as always

 

But I realize now

You closed the door

Cut yourself off

If the phone stops ringing, I’ll stop picking up

 

And no matter how long I stare at the door

Pace next to it

Pick the lock to pieces in my mind

Until I’ve gone insane with the realization:

I’m glad it’s closed

It doesn’t change the fact that

You ended things first

You closed the door

That I walk away from now

 

And I don’t know if I can

Ever forgive you.

Poetry: Scarred

She is in love with scars

That come with stories:

The fall when you were a kid

The bar fight you got into in college

The morning when you burned yourself cooking breakfast for the kids

Those never-healed blisters from dance shoes and hiking boots

 

She was never brave enough

To risk falling

To risk failing

She was never bold enough

To dance

Or fall in love

Always afraid of getting hurt

Afraid of getting close to anyone who would eventually slip away

 

And now, looking back,

She wishes she had scars.

Poetry: Ice Cream

Hey guys. I tried my hand at some poetry. School’s been crazy so I haven’t had much time to write, but this needed to be written.

Don’t read anything into my totally literal poem about ice cream.

Yeah, okay. Hope you like it.

ice cream blue edit
pic credit: Alexandra Penfold (then edited)

Ice Cream

I’ve already scooped myself

A full bowl of the ice cream

And eaten half of it in

Hungry

Desperate bites

Before the flavor hits my tongue

Flashing lights!

Sending a sprinting signal,

Neurons scrambling to tell me:

This doesn’t taste good anymore

 

Teeth and tongue painted blue

Aren’t cute anymore

And I drag my lips tight over them

Hiding them

 

Why does it have to turn my tongue blue?

(Has it always done that?)

Why is it so sickeningly sweet?

(Did I just never notice it?)

And why do the little bits

Have to get stuck in my teeth?

(Does anyone actually enjoy that?)

 

Smaller bites now

My tongue curls

Lips pucker

My brain shouts

I don’t like this

I don’t want this—

This isn’t fun anymore

 

But I can’t throw it away

Not after I filled a whole bowl

Not while I can still remember

What the flavor used to

Taste like

 

On summer days

Everything was simple

And a taste of that ice cream

Made the afternoon right

Our blue tongues to better rattle off the hours with

 

Why can’t I just fall in love

(With a flavor)

And stay that way?

Why do little things

Blue, sweet, sticky things—

Always crowd out

The way it used to make

me feel?

 

The ice cream melts

And I set the bowl down

Decisive

I’m done

But the slurry spills over

Onto my hand

Painted blue

That’s sticky now

 

What’s the point

Of going back to the shop

And tasting all the flavors

And finding a new favorite

And buying enough to fill my freezer

So I’ll never have to go without

(Because this time will be different)

When I know what will happen

Like it happened last time

Like it happened before that time

What will always happen

 

But it’s summer again

Hot afternoons

Unbearable

Without a new taste

To occupy my thoughts

 

Back to the counter then

I guess it’s a good thing

They have thirty-one

I’ll try that one

On the left

In a cone

I point

With my hand still sticky

From the last flavor I ate