A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: gratitude

9/30: NEVER A CURSE

Cutting squash and zucchini
I’m talking to my mom on the phone
listening to her tell me about her day
at the end of the day. I called her
because today is my grandpa’ Fred’s birthday.
He turns 79.  I was not there to celebrate you,
grandpa, like the years before, surrounded by family,
where we ate BBQ, and cake made just for us,
both April babies, blowing out candles and
laughing forever. Today, my gratitude shines through.

And yet, on this same day, I cannot find the words.
It’s been a year since my grandma passed.
Her name was Theresa.
I was not there to say goodbye.
It’s been a year since one of my best friends passed.
His name was Keaton.
I am still grieving
Not yet ready to give a voice
to that quiet monster.
This is so new.
My grief and gratitude,
sitting in the same room.
Listening to my mom
laugh over the phone,
as I ask her who
all I’m supposed to invite
to the rehearsal dinner.
I’m getting married in December
to the woman I love. I will always
choose this life. Even when I don’t have
the right words. Yeah, it’s strange
to carry so many emotions at once
But I consider it a blessing.
Never a curse.

 

 

8/30: FOR HONEST JIMMY AT THE WAL-MART ON YALE

This is a poem for Jimmy
at the Wal-Mart on Yale
who delivered groceries to my car today
and taught me a lesson for free
No one tells you what to say after you
ask someone how their day is going
And they respond with
not so good.
That happened to me today
at the Wal-Mart on Yale.
As I put the frozen pizza in my backseat,
I asked Jimmy how he was doing
and he told me it was a not so good day
Shook his head and took a breath
Explaining that everyone called in sick today
and he was 1 of 3 people handling all the groceries
answering phones all day from strangers
asking him to do his job faster
He goes onto say,
When I get in a rush and try to speed up,
I make mistakes, and I hate making mistakes.
And I want to say anything to make him feel better
I imagine the strange anger he’s had to swallow today
in the name of customer service. But mostly,
I want to thank Jimmy for his honesty
for keeping it real and not burying how he feels
just because it was inconvenient.
I want to tell him how many mistakes I’ve made
in the course of a single day, just so he knows
he isn’t alone — not today or tomorrow.
I wish it were easier to leave a bad day behind
Wish it didn’t always take up so much space.
But of course, I didn’t say any of this to Jimmy.
Not sure if would’ve changed a thing. I will say,
when Jimmy walked away, the last thing he said to me was
I hope you have a good day.

18/30: COMO SIEMPRE

When
did I stop
paying attention to gravity

Who
untethered
my heart

Did anyone see
the sugar
in my chest melt

Early this morning
when a parade of little humans
read poems in the post-storm air

Who noticed
my body collapse, releasing joy like
a small door

Does anyone
know if love
ever has an accurate weather report

is it the opposite of humidity?

is it this scene in front of me?

9/30: THE LAST WORD IN THE ROOM

9/30:

You read a poem
And a woman says
Thank you.

You finish your set, covered in sweat,
and a man praises the rhythm
in your voice, says he could the hear
movement, feel the intention,
Says he could see
the craft behind all this
excavation,
assures you someone is always
paying attention.

A mother comes to you,
her voice is quiet but nurturing,
tells you about the sweet
sensitivity between each word you say,
how when you said how you felt,
beauty was all she could see
and you are buried by
The sincerity.

Before you, an audience
who has come here to hear
the stories you have to tell.

Someone asks to buy your poem
but none of this has ever been
about profit.

You were sixteen and sad
and a journal was all you had.

You were seventeen and sad
and a voice was all you had.

You were eighteen and sad
and the language had one purpose:
To Fix.
Then you step on a stage
and everyone knows your name.
You can’t keep your thoughts
to yourself, but everyone
still listens.

How lucky are you?

At this point,
You are twenty three and happy to announce
after the poems are read,
and the poets have left,
and all the audience believes
in poetry again,
you still have to stop and breathe it all in
you still have to hug every poet
because you could not be here without
them, because this is your community,
and when will your life ever be this meaningful?
this true?

Even when the poets have gone
love is the last word in the room.

24/30

She told me                           
No one is alone in their suffering
then looked at me as if to say                           
Yes, even you

and my eyes met her mouth like
honest truth or fresh fruit
either way, she spoke slow and
I saw all my favorite colors fall out
her bottom lip, saw them blur 
into a bridge, or a plank, or some other
distance one must make if he wants to
see the day again.

I tell her how I keep every beautiful thing I see
that way I can leave it behind when no one is looking
and how I call that positive pollution, and that I am
overwhelmed every day by what some might call
the breeze, but what is most obviously a river of what’s next,
a universal breath knocking against the stars
we have stuck in our chest,
and she is glowing
like she knows
like she knows what it means to collapse 
and come back
brighter than death.