Tag Archives: chapbook

diary of a moth.

20 Jun

photoWelp. I’m back in Portland, for good this time (sort of). I’ve been meaning to write up a goodbye letter/poem to Ashland and share it on here, but I haven’t had the energy or the inspiration just yet. I’m sure I’ll get to it sometime next week, once I’m done unpacking and settled into my pre-NZ routine. I’d also like to write a review of The Unfortunates, which will probably happen at some point this weekend.

Anyway, in my Advanced Poetry class during my last term of college, we were required to make chapbooks. I’m not going to post all of the poems from my chapbook, which was entitled diary of a moth, but I am going to share a generous selection of them. If you’d like a hard copy of my chapbook, just leave me a comment and we can work something out.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~*~

failed science experiment.

five days into my last college term
I was diagnosed with severe anxiety

I had gone to the emergency room
because I thought I was having a heart attack
the doctor who looked like Roger Waters
told me I was lucky it wasn’t a blood clot

and Beckah said “you’ll be fine
and Nick said “you’ll be fine
and Wilkie said “you’ll be fine

but it’s hard to agree with their sentiments when
fingernails drag through my arteries but only at midnight
thumbtacks and paper cuts and violin music fills my veins
helium lodges itself deep inside my brain
my heart runs a ten minute marathon without stop
while my breath tries to catch up

one                  two                  three               four

one                  two                  three               four

breathe           breathe           breathe           breathe

breathe           breathe           breathe           breathe

I                       am                   fine                  I

am                   fine                  I                       am

fine                  I                       am                   fine

screaming into black pillowcases into friends’ mouths
into shaking palms into cellphones into wine bottles
seeing person after person after person after person
who all come to the same conclusion

you’re broken, but we can fix you

well who the hell dropped me in the first place?

~~~*~

thirty-eight minutes of separation.

we’re not alike
we’re not identical
we’re not psychic

we’re not the made for TV breed
you find on sitcoms or in young adult lit
who pull hijinks and speak in sync
there’s no Weasley blood twitching in our veins

both pledged to a fraternity since birth
destined to forever share the same
bad eyesight and cheekbones

once we were a band of pirates
pockets filled with Pokemon cards
but that clock stopped and now
drunken texts about Mad Men
are how we choose to communicate

so I wish people would just stop —

but the thing is I once wondered to myself if I
would know instinctively if he were ever hit by
a car and an hour later I got a phone call about
how he had in fact been hit by a car and my
heart stopped dead inside my chest because
maybe we hadn’t lied to Cindy Modjesky ten years
ago when we tricked her into thinking that we
were telepathic at Rachel Lowary’s birthday party

no, we’re not alike
no, we’re not identical
no, we’re not psychic

but we are something

~~~*~

my hometown is more than just a tv show.

patches of orange cackle on the island

riding pioneered escalators
towards a heaven of cinematography

lloyd’s beckoning me nigh
practicing voodoo
on my thighs and stomach

flying through the park of oak
mouth crammed with
green clouds

tumble down the water hole
keep your ground control in check
vault down your blitz or you’ll jinx henry

sit upon your throne of literature
berkley can wait
forever lost in the maze of saturday mornings
filled with hoards of drunken santas

science is not only for children

~~~*~

the only time I ever felt patriotic.

When I was ten I
fell in love with
John Adams.

I inhaled his letters.
I cartographed his lineage.
I painted visions of his farm, his trials,
his speeches inside my mind’s eye,
and people would crease their eyebrows
whenever I’d shout:

I care!
I’m there!
I could be your Portia!
I’d be your Diana and Miss Adorable!
So long as you’d be my Dearest Friend!

And friends never understood the obsession,
even after I tried to explain
the pride of his Boston Massacre win,
his undying passion
during the Second Continental Congress
of the late seventeen hundreds,
how he spent almost half his life away from his wife
but never once stopped writing her love letters.

If only I had realized back when I was ten
that being in love with the dead
is as useless as being a poet,
but my tempered heart never did stop beating
for our nation’s second president,
who died on my birthday
one hundred and eighty-seven years ago.

You bid me burn your letters.
But I must forget you first.

~~~*~

adama.

I thought I saw
Edward James Olmos
on a bike outside Bimart
and I almost cried out to the
aged Commander to take me away
aboard his vessel and save me from myself,

but it wasn’t him.
It was just some
guy. I should have
known. He did not
have a Commander’s
pride.

~~~*~

forestiera.

I spent the train ride wanting to scream
I am fifty percent of you

I grew up on faunes and gnoochi
and ravioli once a week
my nonna taught me
to count to dieci on her knee
always surrounded by cornicello
and mano cornuta necklaces
pizzelles and pignoli were distributed
around the natale tree
while my cumpari and cumari
praised their favorite bambina

but how do you communicate that
to a dozen or so strangers with
your big blonde curls and
your big blue sunglasses and
your big bulging suitcase and
no trace of knowing
the tongue of your heritage

~~~*~

hey quiet girl.

where did you hide your tongue

words are thick in your
birchwood mouth
and never seem to seed

fingers hidden in curtained bangs
owl eyes impressed on your palms

no one likes a shy beast
no one likes a doubter
no one likes a wallflower

stop imagining fictional destinies
when reality has a bone to pick with you

people think you don’t like them
so you cannot blame the silence

~~~*~

inked.

I wish someone had clued me in
on how often it would be
misinterpreted and sexualized
and violated and touched and called
into question,

because I feel like
Jim Henson is probably
rolling in his grave right now
and I’m
to blame
for wearing his words
on my skin.

~~~*~

michael.

I proposed to you back
in our kindergarten days
of red rover and monster tag
hand prints hung on walls with
drawings of glitter and magic markers

you didn’t care that I had proposed
to Kenny Laszlo and Alex Wagner
in the same hour or that
they had both said no

our two year engagement ensued
until the day I broke it off
when I realized come second grade
I wanted Parker Unruh’s buzz cut
more than your pudgy face

and you tried to kiss me
in the lunch line
in front of Cindy Modjesky but

by
that point
I had stopped

~~~*~

dream life.

I wish I lived
in a tiny flat in the middle of NYC;
the summer sun kissing my shoulders
as I’d float around to
bookshops and black box theatres,
eating my weight in pizza
and photobombing tourists.

I wish I lived
on a farm miles out of town
with twenty-four palominos
that I’d ride across sloping fields of barley,
and my cuticles would always be dirty
and each day’s end would mean
sunsets and apple pie.

I wish I lived
in a fictional realm
where people could fly and Muppets rode bikes
and there was always a Han or a Donna to
solve my mundane issues;
where evil was definable and defeatable, and
I had a viable excuse to own a katana.

I wish I lived
in a log cabin that smelled of wet dirt, and
I’d have with me an old typewriter
and a drawer filled with red flannel shirts,
so I could spend each day feeling like the
Thoreau of the common age as I’d ponder life
and the universe over a mug of Kahlua.

I wish I lived
in a multitude of realities and dimensions,
but I only live in the one
and I do not have a license and my wallet
is always bare, and for some reason
my feet are glued to the ground
and beg me not to go.

I wish I lived.

~~~*~

failed science experiment II.

I tore my ticket to the circus
into ten star shaped shards;
one for every week,
every broken speech
swollen on my teeth.

I smashed the violins.
I cracked the fingernails in two.
I chucked the helium canister over the moon
cause I am done being spoon fed.

One     two      three                           four

One                 two three       four

I           have    won                             I

have                won     I           have

won                 I                       have    won

no        thanks to                                            you

I know now the world was
the one who dropped me,
but that’s okay because
this broken girl learned herself
a healing factor,
better than James Howlett
and Kal-El combined.

It’s nice to remember
how to breathe again.

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