A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: napowrimo

30/30: AFTER 16 YEARS OF WRITING POETRY, I’VE LEARNED

The poem can wait.
Living is the first draft to master.
Sitting down to write comes later.
A poem happens out of order,
When the door is ajar and the
Muse is asking what is for dinner.
Whether the stove is on depends
how much fire you can walk through.
Memories are sleeping, hungry giants.
You decide what stays, what goes.
The point is—
you have a purpose,
long after the poem is finished,
long before the poem began.

 

29/30: AGENTS OF CHAOS

The hum of the razor
next to my ear sounds
like an army of wasps
taking formation
at the front-lines
of my overdue edge up.
Each follicle of hair
turned Agents of Chaos.
But at least I am growing
in some small way,
silver linings
in the darkness.
My brother Brent
used to cut my hair
for every important
event of my teenage life.
We had the routine.
He’d cut.
I’d clean the hair
and help hold the mirror.
2 all around, then a 1 on the side,
sometimes a taper fade,
but always a fresh fade
to end the day. It was
a way of life. The lessons
I learned in standing still,
watching his hands move
with precision. How the light
had to be just right.

28/30: I’M GOING BACK IN TIME AND IT’S A SWEET DREAM

This is a love poem for my fiancé, Adela.

When I missed you, when we weren’t together,
I would write down song lyrics that made me
think of you. Each a different melody of longing,
a little soundtrack for my loneliness. That was
years ago. And just the other day,
I stare at you
from across the room
of our home
I watch you exhale on the front porch
Dusk before us, the faint
echo of the wind chime
bouncing off the trees
and into the sky. Another song
just for you and me, Adela—
never forget, you are the one
who keeps my heart beat dancing,
the reason I sing. My favorite song
is called Just Being With You.
The Things You Say, my favorite playlist
Your voice, my favorite instrument.

 

 

27/30: THE ROUND ROCK ROLLER RINK

In the hallway of the Men’s bathroom
at the Round Rock Roller Rink, I left
my hand print on the right side of the wall. I dipped my
right hand in green paint. It was a birthday tradition for
anyone who had a party at the Roller Rink.
Underneath your hand print, they write
your name and your birthday.
It was
too much power for the 9-year-old in me.
You can put
your hand on any wall inside the building, a
it’s your call where. Isn’t that amazing?
A place that celebrates you
by giving you a choice
in what to leave behind
for others to find.
The Round Rock Roller Rink no longer stands.
It belongs to the history books.
Like that one time in the sixth grade,
on a Friday night, I danced during
couple skate to Don Henley’s
Boys of Summer blasting
from the speakers next to the scoreboard
used for hockey games, and
my elastic smile
going in circles, balanced
on roller skates, holding the hand
of a girl who held mine back
for the very first time. Those days
are gone forever, just like Don sang.

 

25/30: THIRTY-FIVE INCHES TALL

Jessi picks up a crayon with purpose.
Every color is her favorite color.
She talks a sing-song of thoughts
under her breath,
washing
the white paper sky
ignoring the lines,
she orbits around
with color after color,
determined to create.
I ask her, what she created
and she answers,
This is what I created!
I laugh and tell her to keep going.
It is Saturday afternoon and
Jessi is the color of joy.
We paint the day together.
She asks if I’m going to color
with her,
and I pick up a crayon
like an old friend.
She laughs like a color wheel.
It sounds like my favorite color.
Reminds me of my brother,
her father, and when we were boys,
we would do everything together.
Now his daughter is in my house,
three years old, thirty-five inches tall.

 

14/30: The Path You Leave Behind Is A Line In A Poem The Universe Wrote About You When You Thought You Were Alone

Keep going.

11/30: I WON’T WORRY MY LIFE AWAY

In the sixth grade, if we got up early enough,
my mom would take my brother Brent and me before school
to Round Rock Donuts,
with enough change in our pockets
we didn’t have to walk into the morning
empty-handed.
we bought donut-holes by the bag
the orange icing, its own little sun—
it is the perfect bite.
A ritual, I would come to learn,
are small blessings on a schedule.
Back then, in the mornings, Brent rode shot gun,
a birth right in my family
and that meant the radio belonged to him.
And most mornings, it was 96.7 KISS FM
with Bobby Bonez as the DJ –
Prince of the Round Rock Airwaves
spinning top 40 hits for the youth of America.
I remember The Remedy by Jason Mraz
playing every single morning for weeks.
I had it memorized by the end of day 3
I won’t worry my life away
I won’t worry my life away

The morning car ride to school
meant we were lucky enough not to ride the bus
it was a ritual.
Whenever it played,
the backseat became a sunrise symphony
a boy bursting his lungs
free to sing
without judgment and without interruption.
You can turn off the sun but I’m still gonna shine.
That line can probably explain
why my light shines the way it does
without judgement and without interruption.
Never knew a shadow I couldn’t overpower since then,
What my mom thought, who knows.
She was on her way to work,
She was dropping her sons off at school.
She had a mission, a purpose.
Meanwhile, I found joy in the in-between.
Another ritual,
my own remedy.

10/30: Today’s Perfect Moment

For Adela, my fiance.

Happened on Harrisburg
five minutes from home
with your hand in mine
The sky was alive behind
the downtown Horizon.
Pink light dripping
from the overgrown Oaks.
Oh, the beauty of a sun’s goodbye.
I did not trust my memory
to hold this moment
without ruining it.
That’s when you tell me
to take a picture, and so I do.
You are outside the frame,
smiling the way you do.
When we get home,
I post the photo on Instagram
with the caption
Today’s perfect moment.
Then I wrote this poem.

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.