11. To 18 Year Old Me: Her Name is Joanie

You’re gonna see some shit
Do some things not worth remembering, but you will
Trust me, though.
It’ll be worth it

You you’ll meet her
(No not her; pay attention)
After some trying times and nearly lethal moments
You’ll wish for death and hope for relief
And you’ll find it, but not when you should
You’ll meet her
(No, not her either; focus)
At the moment you think it can never get better
But it will
She’ll make sure of it.
(No, not her; she breaks you like the others)
Ask her name first, though.
It’ll be better than what you did say
Trust me, it’s not worth repeating
Just remember, she’s hurting, too.
(Yes, her.)
You can’t be like you were with the others
You have to really work at this, cause she’s you
(Yes, her. I’m sure)
You have to show her you’re worthy
You have to let go of your fears
Because she’s afraid, too.
She’ll demand from you, what the others never understood
Cause they never really cared to consider you.
She will.
She does.
Every day.

I have to tell you, though.
There will be pain
And it will hurt
There will be blood
There will be words, you’ll regret and will shoulder for years to come
Just remember, her name is Joanie.

10. 6 AM on a Saturday

Coffee in the pot
You laying at my side
Your hair all messy and wild
The hush of the morning muting the early sounds
Sunlight creeping in through the fog of the Midwest dawn
Too warm for sweaters, yet much too cold for bare feet
But, I’m sure you’d walk on the concrete anyway
Chill be damned

9. The Rage and the Pride

I remained silent
Stubborn to not reveal my heart
Your heart, you knew so well
You knew just how to twist
And yet
I remained silent

Can I reveal the fire that burns so bright
And burn your hate away?
Leave behind the scattered words
You swallowed down that I choked away
Into your mouth

You must have been so hungry to eat my pain
Smiling all the while
As my life drained deep into your
Prideful smile
Hungering to devour my rage

8. Sevenling(She Stayed)

You made it simple to understand
Be honest, be earnest, and never forget why you’re here

You’ve remained ever by my side
Because I loved you in those ways
Never forgetting

Why you married me

7. The Silence Screams so Much More Than I Ever Could

And it was all I could do not to sound
The coming years of torment
I knew was in bound
Cause I knew the sound
I’d heard it before
In the subtle rows
Beyond the fields of forgotten

I dwelled there for long too long
Treading light on your darkened waters
Sought out the better times
When I lost sight of the better days
Followed by the terrible nights after, that followed your voyage

And you
Wound up the ties that bound
Our fragile frames
Looking to tie up the moments should I capture them
If only for awhile
To the ship you sailed away on for ten days and four years after

Where were you when
He called your name
And your spirit left
Did you forget your dress
Was still white
Before your heart spilled me
Out on to the night

And it’s all I can do now, not to go back to that place
And damn your name
Cause I knew then, like I know now
You did it because it’s just your way
Forgetting the world for your while
A moment of knowing better
But not giving a damn

6. Bumblebee

They said, “Don’t worry, it’s a short drive.”

When you’re crammed into the “back seat”
Of a yellow 77 Volkswagon Beetle
Along with 2 boxes of random stuff, a few bags of odd smelling food
And a particularly friendly chihuahua named Gnash
A mile may have been a hundred, for all the comfort it allowed.

The seats smelled of vomit and old lady
Turns out the car was once owned by my “friends” abuela
Some 20 years before
It had sat dormant for the better part of a decade.

Try as I might, comfort was moot
As was the lack of drool and a sense of impending doom I felt
Every time I heard a rattle or felt the jar of deathtrap over tracks
The only solace being the tiny window I opted to peer out of as we journeyed

The view was quite pleasant; even soothing.
Especially that time an attractive woman looked at me while stopped at a red light
And she smiled at me, eyes peering over mirrored shades
I smiled back

5. Thank You

I asked you something, never really expecting a response.
Yet, you came to me later

I could smell your perfume
And hear the subtle timbre of your voice

All at once, I knew

You spoke of many things
Alluded to much more

When it was over, I sat beside myself

Thank you

4. Yearly Reminder

I noticed you the Spring following
At first, I believed myself foolish to think you’d go to the trouble

You were always so quick to go unnoticed
If at all possible

The Quiet Man, mom would call you
Just like the movie

You’d land on my car, right by the door.
Hard as I tried, without harm, I’d shoo you away

And you would, only to land on the steel fence right next to me
Once or twice, even landing on my arm or hand

At the time, you were just another insect
A life that flitted about in search of your purpose

A year later you appeared again
Same coloration, same routine of

And every year after, since, you return
Sure as the seasons

Never before then, though
That’s how I know it’s you

3. Midnight Curled at My Legs

A pleasant surprise, Mr. Squishy
To see you curled up at my legs
Napping away in all your dark glory
Fuzzy and squishy, with just a hint of your fang
A reminder that to squeeze or not to squeeze, is never the question
More like a dare
One I’ll never balk at
Come here!

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