Tag Archives: poem

the monster inside my chest.

2 Jul

the monster inside my chest.

i find myself wanting you
like a wave laps at the beach
hoping the grains will take notice
after thousands of years of longing

we could have been a whirlwind of
sea salt and skeleton bones
cracking as we’d collide
in torrid embraces
turning ourselves into dust

i imagine your kisses
taste of tree sap

but who am i kidding

you are nothing more
than a vessel for a
fabricated day dream
that i can never release
as it passes from body to body
searching for its next host

i have a crippled heart
waiting to be serenaded
but you are not my savior

but you are not my savior

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.

two.

1 Jun

sometimes I close my eyes
and try to envision what it will be like
somehow sheep always work
themselves into my visions

(statistic: there are
seven sheep to every kiwi)

but when it comes down to the fact
I can’t imagine how it will be

the uncertainty
the insurgency
the enormity

the freedom

no permanent residence
no Christmas tree in December
no room to call my own
no sense of home

just a pack flung on my back
the wide open road
and my heart’s song

I think I can live with that

~~~~~*~

six || five || four || three || two

three

21 Apr

breath hasn’t been coming easily to me as of late
I’ve grown accustomed to sleepless nights and horrid thoughts
an anxious anxiety that permeates within my soul

but all I need do is place my hands on my stomach and just think
to be there
to be in you
to be surrounded by you
and it makes the breath come back in waves and renews
the heart in me that fears the worst

but not only that

this week has not been good for us as a people
what does it say that I feel afraid
to walk on the soil to which I call home?

and I’ve begun to contemplate
whether or not this one year excursion
might turn into something more than just
a meager diversion from reality

maybe it’s destiny, maybe just a vacation
but I cannot deny this question has been on my mind:

will I even want to come back?

~~~~~*~

six || five || four || three

she would’ve been sixty today.

10 Apr

6am aneurysm.

 You told me that I looked like her once,
as if it were some simple compliment
you could pay to a stranger on the street.
How can seeing another face in the mirror
ever be taken as a blessing? People
constantly comparing the way I look, the way
I speak, the way I walk, the way I carry my
books pressed against my chest. All they
see is her, her, her, her to a fucking tee.

I once made my computer applications
teacher cry in front of an entire class by
reciting the simple fact of who my mother
used to be. Little had I known of her
friendship with the departed. As she broke
down in tears, I felt so embarrassed, like
the fault fell on me for being the daughter
of a dead woman.

I’m reminded everywhere I look of a life
that crumbled to pieces ten years ago.
Tom Hanks movies, cat collections,
song creating, humungous scrunchies,
lizard impressions, lilies in spring, red.
Each taken away from me before I knew
the meaning of the word teenager.

God she loved red.

I wish I could be her more than anything, but
I’m not. I’m simply the shadow of a ghost.

four.

26 Mar

Excitement runs rampant,
while worry sets in.

None of that
“well maybe this is a bad idea”
“oh, I’ve changed my mind”
“what was I even thinking?”
bullshit you might expect
from another human being.

My worry stems from guilt.

A wedding for an old friend and his gal,
a possible class reunion filled with faces
I haven’t seen in years, and canceled
beach plans previously discussed.

Santa Con.
ER marathons.
Nancy Drew games.
San Diego Comic Con.
Breaking Bad big reveals.
Going out with Portland pals.
Bonding with baby half cousins.
Adventures to NYC to meet TPers.

And birthdays.
So many birthdays.

No Thanksgiving preparations,
for lack of family and lack of country.
No opening presents on Christmas morn,
decorating the trees, setting up the lights,
walking around Pioneer deep in search.

A year I should be spending with my father.
A year I should be bonding with my brother.
A year I should be reuniting with my family.

I’m terrified that my time there
will be all for naught
when there are a million other things
I could be doing with my year.

Please let this trip be worth it.

~~~~~*~

six || five || four

The Day Andrea Gibson Came to Town.

2 Mar

So, I had the amazing experience this last week of not only watching Andrea Gibson perform, but meeting her and going to a workshop she gave as well. It was definitely one of those moments as a writer I’ll forever cherish.

For those of you not familiar with the name, go google ASAP. Andrea is a well known slam poet, and for a good reason. Her poetry is absolutely gorgeous, and the way she words her pieces and they roll off her tongue – ugh! – they’re so great. She performed at this year’s That Takes Ovaries open mic night event, and she stayed for the second half and saw me perform one of my pieces. She did a lot of her best pieces, including my favorite of hers, “I Do.”

Then the next day she held an hour and a half long workshop (which turned into a two hour workshop because we ran way over time), and she would read us poems and we would then free write whatever came to our minds. All together we free wrote three poems, and then some of us shared one poem at the end. I shared one and she commended me on how every word was there for a purpose and how good it was. I felt so honored to have someone I admire so much pay me such an amazing compliment. At the end of the workshop, I got the chance to tell her that she is one of the three people who are the reason I got into slam poetry (along with Shane Hawley and Sarah Kay), and she thanked me. It was just an overall wonderful experience.

Anyway, here are two of the three poems I wrote. I didn’t really like the third poem, but I’m quite proud of these two. Enjoy.

——————-

Advice to a teenage Julia Allegretto Gaskill.

Don’t clash your wear and tear.
Run spark plugs through your hair.
Your avalanche back and craning legs
highlight your race car persona,
so cave in the mountain and kill the bird
before someone notices.

Stop Star Warsing all over the place.
Hobbits in your eyes;
pluck them out and wring them dry
till they turn into origami butterflies.

Speak like a queen.
Demand like a king.
Your jester smile is doubling down
your chances of ever learning how to fly.
You Blues Brothers mother.
You finger-clacking lover.
You star-gazing, toe-tapping, dream-lapping
miniature Great Dane.

Fingers grasping for rooms laced in water droplets
to dunk your shins into
and be born again as a broken smile.
Stop snapping wishbones.
Go dye your heart green
and hawk your virginity
to afford admission to this never ending factory tour.

——————-

I hate to do this, but I have to preface the next poem. This is not a poem about rape. It’s a poem about how my first kiss was taken from me, and how I came close to being taken advantage of sexually when I was eighteen, but it didn’t happen the way he planned, so fuck that fucker.

——————-

sunshine.

My body was not your playground.
The small of my back was not a slide
for your hand to travel upon,
looping around going lower and lower.
My ass was not monkey bars to grasp
over and over again
to take you to some other side.
My lips were not a teeter totter
where every “no” was a “yes”
and every “stop it” was an “I like the way
you put your hand up my dress
in front of all my friends.”

You ran around my playground
as if you owned the deed,
but before you could bulldoze me down
with your weed and liquor breath against my neck
to build a strip mall to cover all the places I had grown,
I took that stand.
I said “enough.”
You said “come back” with your carpenter hands
grasping for that monkey bars ass and
feeling for those seesaw lips,
but I slammed the door on you for good
before you ripped my life to bits.
Your broken lies broke down
the second your too-old kiss stole
from me, even after I told you of my dreams,
and after I trusted you as a friend;
my playmate during recess to whisper warranted
secrets to when the teachers weren’t looking.
Apparently I was wrong about you all along.

Now I’ve planted a sign
deep within my bark dust eyes
which forever shall read:
No assholes allowed on this playground anymore.