A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: national poetry writing month

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.

 

26/30: A STREETLIGHT MEETS AN OAK TREE

Every night, I see the Oak tree across the street
Towering over the houses and the power lines,
pumping light into my heart. After all,
I am a machine. Meanwhile, the Oak
was born where it stands. I know how
different I am from that which
is rooted into this earth. We are both
shadow makers, though,
the Oak was here first.
Elder Oak. All light is
a lesson, though,
we are different students.
I illuminate the dark street,
the sunlight scatters through the Oak.
I am not a home for the wandering Hawk,
the roaming blue jay or tired cardinal, though,
I do want to
We are of two different worlds
living on the different side of
the same street. When the leaves fall,
I feel a longing I cannot name.
I am not a tree,
growing and alive.
I am a machine, designed
to illuminate. I know my fate—
it ends and begins each day, arrive
when the sunsets, leave when the sunrises.
In the in between,
the Elder Oak must sing
a thousand different
songs.

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.

 

24/30: SUNDAY – GIDDINGS, TEXAS

At 55 miles per hour, a head on collision
between two vehicles has enough force
applied that both drivers could die on
impact. A quick death, I suppose
is a small mercy. I did not die, though
everything
in life ingrained the expectation that
no one is that lucky.
It was a Sunday in Giddings, TX,
the day I should’ve died,
but didn’t. Think impossible.
Think inescapable fate.
And I escaped.
But the other driver did not.
What kind of miracle is this?
He crossed the dividing line
of oncoming traffic. Happened
so fast my body couldn’t
even see its fate. I never
broke like glass. Even though
my car
bounced like tumbleweed
over concrete and grass.
I question God and physics
all the time. What I feel
is a different kind of pain.
I never talk about that day
in November. It was raining.
I’m not particularly
proud of how the story ends, but
I am not here unless it ends that way
I didn’t do anything
but lock up, my blood
pumping frozen adrenaline.
The airbags did all the work—
cradle my spine and skull
into the grassy knoll. I
rolled over the concrete parking lot
Landed in the soft mud
the tender earth
oh, the gentle soil
that gave me
a safe place to crash. Maybe
that
was God
coming to my rescue—
and on the Day of Rest,
no less.

 

 

 

19/30: MIRACLE OF SLOW HEAT

All day, we wait for the roast to fall apart
in the most beautiful way. I teach you how
to sear chuck roast in the Dutch Oven.
The oil pops a righteous song
We two-step in the kitchen.
I tell you to trust the process.
A textbook sear appears.
We’re nearly there, my love.
No need for a recipe,
I know where we’re going.
With a little patience,
Dinner is on the way.
Tonight we put our trust
in the miracle of slow heat.
I am a man in love with the idea of tenderness,
no matter how long it takes.

18/30: A WATCHMAN

Strawberries, blueberries, apples,
lemon juice and orange juice,
sugar and slow heat
collide.
I witness
the alchemy of time,
what happens to
sweetness in the fire.
A watchman
over the flames.
Bearing fruit
until it reduces
into itself.
When I say I create,
I want you to hear
homemade. I want you to think
of my hands like a door,
open and ready
to work.

17/30: SERENDIPITY, OR CHAOS IN THE COSTCO PARKING LOT

Taking our groceries to the car,
the Saturday sky looms like a bully
like Houston on a hot spring day.
We put the groceries away, efficiently
escaping the rain’s sudden arrival,
just a second faster than the downpour.
We missed the touch of a storm,
and I praise serendipity
with good timing
from my driver’s seat,
reminding myself that
even the tiniest miracle
is its own kind of chaos—
a silent disruption
in the plot of what
we thought was
going to happen.

16/30: INSTRUCTIONS FOR LATER

Take IH-10 West.
Do not leave at 5 pm.
Go when the sun lowers.
71 West is your exit.
Drive five below for the first five miles.
Stop only at Buc-ee’s in Bastrop.
Do not get swallowed by the big blue sky.
Do not take the toll road.
Take the long way home.
Call your mom an hour out.
Call your mom a half-hour out.
If mom is sleeping when you arrive,
kiss her on the cheek.
Tell her you’re home.