“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’ve created fantasies of you
in my mind.
I’ve sculpted you in glass bottles
like sand art
adding layers of color and glitter
filled it up to the rim
and left no breathing space—
stopped you with a cork,
stuffed you in a crackerjack bag
and made you the prize.
Pitched a striped tent
around your figure
and made you the ringleader
of feathered elephants,
but I’ve fed you to the lions.
Dreamed you up of daises,
tied your stems together with blue ribbon;
but a bouquet never looks as good
as it does the moment picked.
I’ve drawn lines on the walls
of your parents’ home
above the last mark your mother made
measuring your height—
you will always fall short.
There are vapor trails in my hair
made by airplanes and space shuttles
lifting off my skull.
I think my mind is always far away—
somewhere in Kyoto
while my professor explains the differences
between pathos, ethos, logos;
I think of their country of origin.
While you take my hand and trace my palm lines
asking if I believe in fate—
no, I believe in satellites.
My heart is on a star.
At Quick Check, you stand
in front of the refrigerated drinks for 6 minutes straight
thinking over your choices.
I grab the first Arizona Iced Tea I see
and wait in the car.
I realize it’s not the falling
but the staying that is difficult.
Everything about this world
is directed towards mobility.
This planet spins and orbits
carrying us with it
pulling our hands through seasons
whether we want snow
Time turns us ever forward
and changes us within and without—
what I forget sometimes is the speed
at which your hair grows
and suddenly I notice it’s much longer.
It makes me ask myself
where I’ve been every millimeter
He cut my heart diagonal down the middle
cut the crusts as well
ate one half and left the other for me.
I beat with two-quarters less care—
I think there’s an orange in place of my heart
and he dug his nails to pull back my peel
and broke my slices apart
with the tips of his teeth
and now there is half of me
to love halfheartedly
to wash it all off at the end of the day.
But I’ve read somewhere
that an anatomical hemispherectomy
isn’t all that bad if it happens young
and you have some neuroplasticity
and half a brain can pretty much do
what a whole brain can:
memory, personality, and humor develop normally.
You lose use of the hand opposite
of the hemisphere removed.
If the heart’s the same—I think I’ll be fine—
I think I can dance.
If I have half a field of vision in each eye,
I might overlook some things;
maybe I won’t be able to see
the sadness in the subtle differences
between your smiles
but I think it’ll be a momentary slip for a second
while I try to feel with the empty half.
But if I keep sketching love in tattoo ink
drawing geishas and angel wings and butterflies
across my half
I will learn to love with all the heart that I’ve got.
Sometimes in my room at night
I shake to the sounds of thunder overhead.
But if I step into the dim porch light
and feel the raindrops
and see the sways of leaves shining momentarily
and everything illuminates in a silver sheen
for nothing more than a second—
and I think it’s the most beautiful thing.
The Way Light Moves
Move the way light moves
when you look up and it moves
between the leaves
like sheets of glitter and green.
But light never touches everything
the way darkness does—
the balls of your feet—
the shadow on the small of your back
—light doesn’t touch.
Be the one
to make the darkness beautiful—
touch the places light doesn’t touch—
move the way it moves,
when you move,
the way those shadows are lit
by the movement of light.
If you keep moving—
what is in shadow now,
will shine in light.
Some people are going to treat you like a snow globe
and keep you on a shelf
and take you down only to shake you up
and watch what falls.
So break your glass
and let yourself pour out
and choose not to be so fragile.
Tip over the aquarium they keep you in
and seep into the ground
and grow flowers.
Evaporate into the clouds—
you’ll see more than a plastic house
where the snow is just paint
and the white-coated trees don’t grow or breathe—
let yourself fall in drops
and know you’ll be lifted up again.
One Size Fits Most
We stood shielded by trumpet vines
with orange blossoms
facing the sunset behind the pine trees
of my childhood home—
and no scenery could be more romantic.
But you pull me in
and I pull away
and think of him
and realize I only know my love
by your love.
And he knows his lack of love
by my love.
So I draw on yours for now
and he draws on mine
and we are a chain of those
A vine of flowers and pulled petals:
he loves me,
he loves me not.
We are not shoes with a perfect match—
we are not made in pairs
We are not looking for our other halves.
We wear each other like bracelets—
one size fits most
and carry each other in the links;
a little tighter doesn’t always cut circulation,
a little looser doesn’t always slip off.
Like the Sun Loves the Earth
I used to be okay with loving like the moon
loves the earth
238,900 miles away
around and around.
And then I felt the thousands of telescopes on me
and I thought I needed to be held all the time,
but when I crashed into someone’s arms
I’ve always left craters and rubble.
I never knew my own size—my own weight.
I never knew the impact I left.
I was a meteor but I wasn’t beautiful—
I carried a tail of sparks and destruction
like tin cans on strings hung from my back bumper
without ever looking back
and I always left the wedding leaving him standing alone.
All the stargazers left me narcissistic
and I thought I made my own light—
but I was just rock borrowing sunlight.
Now I want to love like the sun loves the earth
and lend my warmth and light and ask for nothing back again.
I’m okay with feeling the fireflies flitter inside my belly
knowing you feel nothing at all.
I want to feel the heat in my cheeks
even if yours are cool.
I don’t want to revolve around you though.
I can bear this one-sided love of a planet
but I’ll stand still
—no more chasing.
Maybe to shine like the sun you need to be humbled—
and rejected by earth.
All the eyes can admire the moon
that borrows the silent shimmer of the sun—
but no eyes turn to stare down the actual star
—direct sunlight scars.