The Prince Never Arrived

Dead vines encircled the tower
Once green, budding flowers, and thick thorns
Now withered, dry, and brittle
Half the bricks from the structure have fallen
Black vegetation still clinging

Above all, the princess still sleeps
Once dressed in a pure white gown
Now caked in dust, stained by sun and rain
Her face remains forever frozen in a state of youth
As the rest of her body wanes

Long ago there were hopes
A prince would come to break the enchantment
Take the princess as his wife
And carry her off to his kingdom
To live the fantasy

But the legend grew old
And with it, the location was mistaken
The trials to face exaggerated
And no one could remember why
The princess continued to sleep

again

shattered
busted
torn
and
twisted

warped
burned
infested
and
rotted

alone
decaying
into
the
earth

again

Dance with Me

Have this dance with me
Run your fingers over the wood
and play a harmony

Duets are forever dances
even when we aren’t moving
our feet to the rhythm

And yet we are
as the notes fill the room
and we sway in time

Each of us shining
in our own way
with the music

Stay with me
for this one dance
before the night is done

Let me have
this moment with you
to keep forever in my heart

Do Not Stop in the Woods on a Snowy Evening

“Stopping by woods on a-”

Stop
Right there
Do not continue

I hate that poem
Twenty times I heard that poem
in the same year

They kept playing the same Reading Rainbow episode
every time they wanted to put something on
just to occupy us

Every
Damn
Time
it was the same episode
Always, midway through, a man standing uselessly
in a snowy forest
with a horse wondering
“What the fuck is this guy doing?”

You and me both horse, you and me both

A novel tried to save the experience for me
and pointed out the suicide elements
I understood those by then
but still…

The poem drives me crazy

I wish it would rain

I wish it would rain

The sun keeps beating down
Heat rises from the earth

Every step feels like
wandering further into the witch’s oven

I’ve been out in the heat long enough
that I feel like I should be well baked now

I wish it would rain

The sky is full of clouds
and threatening to pelt us

Staring out the window
with begging eyes

Even if the rain hits and immediately evaporates
it will be better than this

I wish it would rain

Mississippi River

Houses make me nervous
They can burn down

Buildings with floors
Have the possibility of collapse

Bridges are unreliable
London Bridge fell after all

But the Mississippi River
Is the one constant of my life

Sitting on its banks
I feel at peace

When leaving, I am not fearful
I know it will be there when I get back

It does not burn, collapse, or get razed to the ground
It is a constant

It is my home

Cheese

G. K. Chesterton: “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

It’s no mystery
Cheese speaks for itself
Its dizzying variety
Their names a poem alone
The unending possibilities
Either eaten in slices
Placed on pieces of bread
Melted
Scorched
Toasted
Covering pasta
Smoothing over bagels
Resting on crackers
And soothing the tired soul
Cheese is not worthy of poetry
Cheese IS poetry

Waking Me Up

(Author’s note: the sad thing is, this is pretty much my internal dialogue every morning)

Hey.

Hey… hey you…

Hey…

Hey!!

It’s time to get up

C’mon, you know it’s time

No, don’t pull on my arm

No, don’t pull me back to bed

I know the covers are warm

And I know the hedgehog is huge and soft

I know how it feels when you hug it

But it’s time

It’s time to wake up…

No… you… not five minutes… now

Now

Fine, fine, ten more minutes – no five more

Why did you change it to ten??

NO. Five Minutes.

Hey…

Hey…?

Wake up

Ode to 2020

Holy shit…
What a year you were
After 2016
I thought I had seen a terrible year
I was wrong

Some want to extract you from their history
To strike you from the record
I can’t say I haven’t thought of it
But still, you happened
And we have to live with that

So many you took
Not just lives
But jobs, freedoms, relationships
Time together, time missed
Time never to be spent again

Pressure pushed our flaws to the surface
Our festering wounds
Still aching
Were relit and reopened
Hoping that maybe it would be different this time

You didn’t end
You have yet to end
I can’t get out of 2020
Half a year apart, still
I feel your grip

2 am Walk

I hear my boots
Scraping on the pavement
On an empty street
At 2 am

I see ribbons of light
Swirling around me
Ghosts of the cars
That went by

I feel prickles
On the back of my neck
Caused by the person
Following me

I breathe humidity
Thick in the air
I wonder if my companion
Can feel it too

I stop
My follower stands next to me
“Why are you here?”
“I was worried.”

1 2 3 11