Safety Belt, Hard Hat, a Kiss: Whatever It Takes

my dear friend
you’ve been reading her memoir
the ramblings of an angry woman
wounded well before you met her
scarred beyond a reasonable doubt
while still a child

yet, in a revisionist, vitriolic, rendering
it seems you are to blame,
you are the traitor

she needs you to believe this storyline
not to merely wound you
but to obliterate & bury you

she is seeking to decimate
the monsters under the bed
that nightmare she’s never shed
a hole in her heart that can’t be fixed

projection
transpose unmentionable horrors
onto a punching bag
that doesn’t strike back

she needs you to believe this story
because she is seeking to bury her pain
in a case of mistaken identity
for what was, certainly
unimaginable childhood suffering

but my sweet man
you make a lousy punching bag
and this memoir is not your story
you loved her, but you couldn’t save her
hard to save souls on the borderline
& harder to breath as she battles
seeking revenge, chasing ghosts

a safety belt
hard hat
bulletproof vest
a compass
flashlight
emergency kit
a kiss

whatever it takes
however long
I’ll read you a different story
but only the funny, lovely parts
& only the ones with happy endings

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Release & Return

Lost in a good book
adrift on a summer breeze
not looking to be found
but, if discovered
please release & return
to 137 North Easy Breezy Street

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A Brazen Act of Summer Love

Come
play awhile
leave your sadness
for the afternoon
the summer is young
the sun kisses your face
bare legs, bare feet, brave heart

we will catch falling stars
make wishes,
dream & never sleep
we will tame the wild hammock
tap dance on rooftops
toast white gooey orbs
to golden perfection

Come
take my hand
& for a few lovely hours
the day, you & I
will be three musketeers
all for one & one for all
in a brazen act of summer love

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Come and Kiss Me

kissing you
it’s all I can think of

sheets still a tangle
all points of pleasure at high alert

as if
you were still riding beneath

fast and slow
powerful and sweet

come and kiss me
I can accomplish nothing
will be of no use
in this tangled
sweat-soaked dream state

the night is young
you know the way
come kiss me now

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Safe Passage, Not Sidewalk Art

You know that sad girl?
the one that sometimes
stops in to see you?

she says she feels so small
tells you she is irreparably broken
says loneliness is erasing all trace of her

she worries that soon
she will be
just a chalk drawing on the sidewalk

scared to tell you, but
she longs to lay her head in your lap
wants you to love her like your own child

this girl, worn down
from lies, betrayal, theft
reeling now in pain, confusion,
having lost her oldest child
in a wicked chasm

Why are you embarrassed
to be seen with her?
how can you be so unkind?
in a rush you tell her
how lovely your days are
I believe you characterized
your life as ‘enviable’
good health, good work, good friends
goodness knows how
you yammer on so incessantly
but, please! it’s not material
for a movie of the week
that movie?
already made.

Jimmy Stewart
& bells & angels acquiring wings
so don’t shame this girl
by telling her it’s a wonderful life
she needs you to understand
needs you to love her
she visits infrequently
doesn’t haunt you day & night
makes room for your happier visitors

so i hope you can find a way to be kind
to respect her story, to offer safe passage
she doesn’t ring your bell often
but I’ve noticed her there
standing sometimes on the porch

funny, but I almost took her for you
an uncanny resemblance,
perhaps you can claim her
as a girl you know
as a girl you know quite well

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Torii Hunter, Woody Allen, Matisse. She’s All That & More

My little sister
She has no idea
how amazing she is

So many talents
so little time
to enumerate them all

Ability to make the throw
from the wall @ center field
nailing home plate
with razor sharp accuracy

walks on the court
leg brace secure
the competition smirks
then doesn’t
she mops the floor
with their astonishment

Has a natural artistic sensibility
the window designers
@ Bergdorf Goodman
would trade
ivy league art degrees for

Level headed
Plain spoken
Wicked smart
Well read

love her with all my heart
for many reasons
but especially this
she makes me laugh
even when
the world collapses

She makes me laugh
my amazing little sister

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Summer Days/Bare Legs

Summer Solstice
seaplanes on the lake
sunlight floods our sensibilities
bare legs, short skirts

Seattle, it’s your time
Go outside and play!

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Transition Objects & Superheroes

Do I resemble a transition object?

My son, as a shy 5 year-old
had a transition object

BATMAN!

A 12 inch plastic replica
A boy doll gaining him safe passage
into unfamiliar territory

Batman & I are
No doubt, psychic twins
My wardrobe runs to black
& I appreciate
his Lycra fashion aesthetic

But a transition piece is temporal
A safe passage, a transitory necessity

True
I do possess
the superhero power
to protect you

black Lycra or no

my abiding affection
fierce determination,

my belief in you
will safeguard your passage
through this frightening territory

Yet, superhero powers
are not foolproof
guaranteeing safe passage
but leaving our venerable
superhero vulnerable
to heartbreak

Superheroes, generous
sometimes in an ungenerous world
heartbreak & heroes
(not the stuff action movies
are made of)

If it’s a transition object
you need
in this perilous hour
I will lend you that
12 inch boy toy
then meet you
on the other side

You’ll know me
I ‘ll be the one in black Lycra
Driving the super cool bat car
happy to see you safely delivered
& eager to kiss your face

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Leaving New York

Manhattan.
June third two thousand twelve
Temperature 72 degrees
Azure blue, an unmarred sky
Life in forward motion
Full bloom and full of possibility

Then there you were
Standing at the sidewalk
Corner of West 51st & 8th
Four suitcases announcing your departure
A yellow cab sweeping you away
Leaving Columbia, leaving New York
With Chicago waiting in the wings

Inexplicably
in the very moment you left
The wind rushed in
toppling street corner displays
whipping up skirt hems, shirttails
The sun turned her face away
Azure replaced with midnight blue
It started to rain

The city and me
Missing you
Tears and rain falling together
here on a sidewalk in midtown Manhattan

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Bookended Between A Poem & A Kiss

I’ll meet you in history
U.S. history, second floor

She crossed the foyer
heels tapping out
the exact measure of
her heart
a rockabilly tempo

Too fast, feeling flushed
our dancer
never made it to history
as he was waiting
for her in poetry

Taking her hand
saying hello
gracious at her apology
(late by seven minutes)
remarking he had been
in good company
surrounded by books
reaching then
for a volume
& sharing a poem

Effortlessly, unknowingly
helping her slow her pace
as she seated herself
just there, next to him
at once at ease with this man
in this place, the books
mystery, art, romance

Years from now,
the history
will show an evening
between convivial friends
starting with a poem
& bookended with a kiss

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