A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: music

20/30: IS IT TOMORROW OR JUST THE END OF TIME?

Teenage me walks across an empty field on a summer day.
Nothing but God’s green, stickers, mosquitoes
and Texas heat. My shadow is a guitar solo
covered in sweat. Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. My feet travel
a rambunctious soundscape. My feet are tired
time machines. My father showed me Purple Haze.
I’m walking backwards. Is it tomorrow
or just the end of time? Either way,
I’m pressing play.
Muscle memories tied up in my hamstrings,
the chorus of the past,
a rift in space and time.
You’ve heard it before,
how the body keeps the score.
I won’t lie. I keep everything
I find important. The meaning
usually shows up when I stop
trying to find it.

 

 

6/30: YOUR HAND ON A COUNTRY ROAD IN A LIGHTNING SHOW

On the darkest country road, I touch your hand in the dark
to remind my wandering mind
of what it feels like to be held while lightning
surrounds the sky the same way my arms do
around you when we sleep together and my breathing
slows down the same way storm clouds move in the sky
Something inside of me is forming
The sky’s bright siren is a warning signal
And where we are going, I have nothing left to fear
It is April and all the flowers laugh in the distance
as my car speeds past rolling hills of bluebonnets
I’m reaching through every reason I have to stay
And your hand anchors me to the Earth like a law
I will always follow. I only know
it took years to see
the possibility of not being alone

Whenever the clouds swallow the lightning,
I know you are my waiting horizon
I know you are the light that stays
I know you are the hand that reaches back

On the darkest country road, I interrogate the fate of my heart
Is this the place we start anew?

I look over to you in awe as lightning circles your face
Songs fill the space between us, music rolls in the clouds

And we listen
as the car carries us forward
together

12/30: WITH THE UNIVERSE AS MY WITNESS

After Anis Mojgani

I am invincible
Look at my eyes on no sleep.
My eyes on no sleep still look
you in the eyes 
My eyes on no sleep are so perfect
I’m actually never going to sleep again.
I am invincible. 

Today while walking through the hall,
me and my no sleep eyes
are seen by a pair of kind eyes. 
I am told I am always so smiley. 
I think on it: true. 
Before walking away, 
I say back: It is my gift. 
When I think of my gift, 
I no longer feel cursed.
With the universe as my witness,
I am invincible. 

When I make sweet tea, nothing goes wrong.
One morning, I woke before being told. 
When I am too tired to move
I lay my heavy legs against the floor like
a crested wave reaching the shore
after a long-traveled journey. 
I am invincible. 

Have you ever seen my butt?
It’s organic, makes all my pants panic.
It shoots for the moon and reaches for the stars
because my butt is basically a sky.
Your sky.
I am invincible.

I can make my no sleep eyes cry
if the moment means enough.
I can make any moment mean
enough, just give me the wind, 
or a line in a song, like this one:
your love belongs to everyone 
(Jose Gonzales, Open Book)
or I can look at pictures of my niece
whose cheeks look like Fredericksburg
peaches I would eat with her daddy 
both our sticky hands steady 
through the summers of our childhood
when the two of us would chase 
each other around til our sweat boiled
in the backyard of grandma’s garden
and grandpa’s shed. 
I am invincible. 
Even if my no sleep eyes are small
almonds missing their shot to blossom,
I choose this act, this scene, this line
I thought of without even thinking 
keeps my fingers moving, if I were a bird
you’d call this flying. 

I am invincible.
But I am not invulnerable
Look at the armor around my heart
Look at how many pathways a knife
like guilt could take to prove
I am not invulnerable. When I heal,
I move much too fast. Doctors don’t know
what to do, on account of, I hide the truth.

And the truth is, sometime ago,
I began to preface what I say with 
it’s okay, before the sentence could 
even begin. I reach conclusions in
which I give acceptance I did not ask
for but with reasons I now must defend.
I want to sing, I’ll do anything to be happy
(Noah and the Whales- Blue Skies)
But anything is lazy and I cannot know
the sum of my strength unless I weigh
my weaknesses. 

When I look at who I am in the mirror, I smile
before sorrow can say hello.
This is my gift. With the universe as my witness, 
I am invincible. 

23/30

VALENTINES DAY

It is 5 AM, and I am holding a woman without fear of what may come
when the morning does, and this is the first time, since the last time which
no longer matters, except to say I have become an expert at holding on, which
is to say I am terrible at letting things go, and this is nothing new, but oh
the way she cracks my body open like allergy season is, and that ain’t nothing.

I should rewind.

You are on your bed and this is my first time in your room and
I don’t want to do anything to mess it up so I just lie on my back and listen
and watch you sing your favorite songs to me and oh now you are bright-
eyed, now you are a lighthouse, and I never even had to tell you about the
shipwreck.

I should rewind.

I loved a girl before you who never listened to my favorite songs because
they were too sad. Then she stopped loving me back and oh, nothing prepares
you for that. Except the sad songs, and there is never enough ice to break
the irony.

I should rewind.

Depression is an ocean and I thought since my father was a sailor this might
save me but it only made me more dissolve faster and that did not solve anything,
so I lifted my body from the bottom of my bed, and tried to make myself happen,
like how anything happens to anyone in the course of a day, but no one noticed
so I went back to bed and buried myself dead.

I should fast-forward.

We spent Valentine’s day getting drunk and eating tacos from a truck outside
next to a jukebox that played nothing but love songs. Just My Imagination
by the Temptations became the soundtrack at 2 AM for stumbling lovers and
I held your hand ‘cause sometimes my worst fault is falling too soon, and
oh darling, I didn’t want to ruin the music.

It is 5 AM yesterday now, and like I said before, you are gone, and I am terrible
at letting things go, but oh that ain’t nothing new.

Oh, I think
It was just my imagination,
running away with you.

20/30

FOR BOYS WITH GRANDFATHERS WHO FORGET THEIR NAMES
BUT NOW HOW TO SMILE

Yesterday, my best friend Alexander told me his grandpa has forgotten his name
but not how to smile, and I crumble at the replay. He tells me,
his grandpa can’t help but use the words wonderful and thrilled,
how for him, it is just nice to meet everyone, again, for the first time,
for the last time, for whatever time is left and it feels good to
love the man that made the love you learn from, how kindness
filled his bones his whole life, so even as his body begins to break
the only thing to escape is music.
And I want to tell him,
Alex, we are boys who come from men who spent their whole life loving.
We are men who saw the boy in us burn down as soon as we
loved for the sake of it, as soon as we saw the music in everything.
Oh brother, we are sons still remembering, even as our grandpas
forget their favorite fruit, even as our names disintegrate in their throats,
at least they know how to laugh and smile in the face of forgetting.
Alex, we come from men made of music, and don’t we both
love to sing? Let me tell you.
The first time I had to tell my grandpa my name,
I don’t remember what his face looked like or what he said
but it was probably in Spanish and he probably laughed
afterwards. I remember my grandfather being so funny,
even if he didn’t.
When my brothers and I would visit
him and my grandmother at the house my dad
spent his whole life learning to love
My Grandpa would ask us “How’s ya ugly daddy?”
then roll his own cigarette and laugh
until it was lit.
My Grandpa would sit in the front room
the walls punched by tobacco and a man forgetting
himself, and he would play his guitar. I don’t
remember the songs, only the singing.
I come from a man who forgot he was a father
I come from a man who forgot his family
but not how to sing, and doesn’t that mean
everything? Even as I write this, I am not singing,
merely weeping at the thought of it. Merely sinking
back into the smoke he became, when the fire
ate his brain and I felt too unbrave to spell
my name out in the ash.

I am twelve when my grandfather finally
becomes a memory
for good.
My mother wakes my brothers and I up
in the middle of the night to tell us.
I thought it was a dream, something I woke up
in the middle of, only I couldn’t fall back asleep
or maybe I did but nothing comes to mind right now.
Only that,
when my grandpa was placed in a home without his wife
to make him breakfast, he would flirt with the woman
by smiling, or singing, or simply forgetting fear
and merely feeling. He would smile, like I do now,
like my dad does, and learned to, and now I know
my mouth has never been mine, merely a memory
replaying over and over again.

I like to think when he went,
the only thing he remembered was the way
my grandmother’s lips left him an eternal song,
something he’d never forget.