upstate suite

published in my 2nd book, TRAVERSALS

upstate suite (written in the catskills for the ones i love most..)

i. music has a way of placing you in and out of time. funny how – always funny – how you never, ever know where you’ll end up. you clutch the map in your hand and swear you can see to the edge of the world, then one day, without warning, you feel the compass begin to spin in your heart and you spill desperately off the horizon – into love, into death, into endings and beginnings, secrets and hopes and tears cried and letters written you could never have imagined. and such is life. we begin and begin and begin again. the sun hitting these blades of grass in floods of light – they will always be new. with every glance, never the same. these verdant isles reflected in my eyes – the meadows of my childhood, my nana’s car horn, my dad skipping rocks, my mom reaching back to touch our ankles. i cry because it is much too beautiful, too much to carry, too much to let go. but as they pass, they are not passing into nothingness, but into being – the gift we have to live but also to remember.. we are blessed enough to revisit. reanimate. retain – in our blood and bones the depth of precious memory and this, our present. the way we somehow can, over and over, watch one flower as it sways, shifts, splits open to the light – as if you were seeing such an occurrence for the first time. meaning, no longer trenchant, but gentle – edges, blurred – lilting over in waves like fog on sun.. remember it this way. make it alive again. you push your memories further when you should really tug them into the warmth of your chest and hold onto them – clutch them when you can’t do anything else but cry. and wish.. thank god our souls are whole even as we split – because every day all my blood flows into conjuring your return.. infinity to recollect you in the mists of dreams – ever so perfectly alive.

ii. the projector crackles as the guitar picks a sweet melody i can’t quite place and it hangs in my ribcage so sticky it stays for days.

i miss your smile. i see your face, my hand on screen, thumbs edging photographs, your eyes lined with black like an egyptian queen.. our queen. i remember sitting with you and ma in the lamplight of your room, doing the same – tears coming to your eyes as once more you saw your mother, father, sister.

it had been so many years..

everything is a moment.

how do we keep it


when sometimes i wish i could force myself open, to suddenly be able to CONTAIN – the grief my body has pushed down into my fingers, hiding it, storing it, so each press of skin leaks a few drops of it away.

it’s so hard to make it go away.

i am light glinting off the water. my mother’s hand on her forehead. my father’s hand on the wheel.

everything, here
infused with light.

makes me remember..

it all goes somewhere.
it all has – a place to go.

never – disappears.
never ends.

my fingers curled around this pen, pressing.

is it the ink spilling –
or me?

iii. i want to live inside this –

yes, those moments when
reality burns to dream,
your worry drops away.
there is only – totem pole, rock
and roll, wheels, mountains
turning blue in the distance.
don’t mistake the forest for
the trees –
does it count if i –
am mistaking it all
for light?
like the things you know
you’re going to miss
when they’re gone
but can’t, for the life
of you –
oh, the life of you
appreciate – the way
you know you should –
right now.

i ask and ask and ask –
lord. split me open – break me apart
but i guess it’s –
all this grief stuck in my
please don’t go without
seeing me get married.
ma –
i want to be able
to hug you
without feeling like
a forest fire.
“it’s still not done,”
she says,
i guess not.
but i will press
these fingers
against the world
so hard until
they touch something
besides yesterday,
besides should-haves,
besides ache.

let yourself collapse
like the tree in the stream
and don’t waste a moment
what comes over you.

iv. my love, this might be all we know of forgiveness, this small time when you can forget what you are. –marie howe

you remember emerson saying it, too. nature just is. the roses by the window – just are.

however –
humans. mortals (for this moment) – we are made to strive.

we are meant to be restless. meant to voyage. meant to yearn and ache and explore.

how we punish ourselves for not being able to “be.”

yet this is what makes us what we are.

this is why our journeys are so precious – because they do not roll on and on forever.

because it is just –

this moment, that smile, that golden light, this patch of purple wildflowers, that little white horse on the side of the road, serene as a unicorn.

forgive yourself for the bumps and bruises you sustain, consistently tumbling out of your dream –

skinned knees cracking against the summer concrete, swift sting like your wishes as a woman for the girl you were in the good ol’ days.

remind yourself – we are meant to know that this will only last –
for a time.

there is eternity swirled inside that transience – i promise you.

don’t you know the wind always moves in affirmation?

and it is brushing past you, never to be seen again –
and grinning.

v. trailing after time like a child tugging sleeve made of clouds, the teetering hope of possibility pushing back waves of tears, please – i didn’t get to look at her long enough, i didn’t get to hold on to their laughter. take me back to the dim light with the stones on the stereo, playing cards – all those voicemails i got rid of, all those loving looks i couldn’t accept, all those trips, all those roads, bring her back to wait in the driveway. make us little enough to sleep on the floor every summer in the AC. that day you fought your way back from the hospital.. just let me – watch those fireworks we shot on the beach in january, just let me watch until it’s burned on the backs of my eyes. please. it will never be enough, i weep, in realization. and there is no point in asking.. you have always been chasing since you were a child. stand still, dear girl. stand still.

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