THE PARTY

It starts out as a chain letter

game of telephone

construction paper series of loops

not until Christmas

but until your own birthday

like you could be Christ

but sparklier&notdead 

Your blood is sitting pretty

in your body I am sure of it 

This room a world

in which we need NEVERENTER

anywhere with fluorescent lighting

not even to buy toilet paper

 

*

 

The method here is not much outside of rainbows

anyone can see as long as clouds

are more like peeled-apart cottoncandy&enough

pairs of sunglasses have fallen nicely

between our heads&ears

 

I’m not asking to be in love

just to keep the sensation

that what is invisible&good

in me is leaning so far forward

you can see it a little

 

I should know more

about glam rock if I’m going

to let all this glitter out

 

Here it isn’t about what you don’t know though

rather how pink it can be

Pink in that it is sometimes sexual but also

pink in that it is new&sofilled

with a JOYQUALITY

only potential takes on

 

A bunch of children running

all around inside or outside it doesn’t matter

The light makes everything warm&amess

the plates on the tables ALLACOLOR

 

&somewhere winter has again promised summer

it will make the trip

&againstallodds the adults in the room

have found a bubble of air in the corner

from which to breathe&speak

of THINGSPASSED

 

*

 

Not a lot gets finished

Ways are found to enter

photographs&nomovie

theater is left empty

 

This is NOUTOPIA

but spreading out a little

the right amount of peanut butter

for every drop of honey

 

The bees this year

seem practically caffeinated

Even the small trees are applauding

 

We could talk about Paris

or where we left the mountains

 

but the TRUTHIS our most urgent

consideration is the discovery of

NEWTONES of white noise

 

Our mothers’ showers

running all night through the walls

 

*

 

A friend seldom heard from asks

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO LOVE

 

How yesterday when I forgot

the world&could do nothing

BUTCRY

 

Rachel said “look how well you

are breathing”

as though I were

some kind of miracle

 

*

 

This morning I am starting the fire

in the middle of the field

as both apology&forgiveness

or thanks

for how last night’s dreams went

 

It feels well to be left

well enough alone

 

My hair grows

long&chooses a color

&when I think of the dentist I forget

I am no longer

offered a prize

 

*

 

I’ll admit it

I am so ready to love

Lately when I read

the words fall out

 

My brain stays on a page

I can’t hold onto quite

 

Same goes for speaking

&though I refuse

to lament any loss lost

here there is a wildfire

pink sunset HOTLIGHT

to it all

 

Like my fingernails

the hats they put on newborns

week -old lilies SOOPEN

they thicken the room

 

Today Dale said

“I’m a daddy”&I liked it

 

Not sex but a puppy

 

That a dog’s name is Tim

is another reason to like

BEINGALIVE

Same serotonin as grass cutting

the cool morning before the game starts

 

*

 

Weird things make other people happy

&when they do we are all walking through rain

encouraging me toward the water’s edge

toward a smudge or two of blue above

 

Once we were math poets

now we are mud poets

the children say

&it is on-brand&inavoidance of cliffs

 

Sharpie&agoodfont never saved anybody

but for a few more years

we’ll be standing on rocks

screaming LOVE’S NOT GONE

LOVE’S NOT GONE

until the light catches up

 

*

 

I read it’s easy for just one part of the rainbow

to disappear like indigo for example

it’s the easiest thing

I’ve had to remember

 

On today’s wish I wished

HOPE HOPE HOPE HOPE

 

One of the rules is four

is not always unlucky

 

How my body knows the date

each year without textual prompting

 

This poem that poem

 

How sex can go fast&quiet

Without you is nothing to mourn

more a way to feel good about

someday I will be an old lady

 

&will no longer keep track

of whose or whose death lingered longer

on this birthday NOTHEN

it will be every day

chocolate cake in bed

 

*

 

Cart before the horse or chickens, etc.

I choose a shield covered in kaleidoscope

keep the joy safe all day

 

Michelle said “Poets are butterflies because

all their beauty comes out at once&then

they are dead how are they not already

always dead”

 

Imagine every liquid the color

of grapefruit juice or imagine

the inevitable occurring

all at once just once

 

It’s not ever an isolated instance of violence

&asthebeatdrops I can see you&yourlimbs

taking up a whole side of the room

toward DANCINGONLY

 

*

 

To be okay with the couple extra pounds of ASSFAT

creeping out the sides of a new swimsuit

is no small trophy in the litany of changing rooms

 

That I can see you waiting insofar as the airport gate

is illegal&romantic

 

The days too long to resist

spearing YETANOTHER

toothpick through the unbaked cake

of my heart&pulling it out unclean

still surprised to find it

covered in wet batter

 

Thing is I’d walk toward you anyway

let you LOOKATME like I’m a wedding

the shape of a galaxy

you’ve only heard the name of

 

*

 

What if YOUKNOW being happy

did get bigger than being right

like not quite full moon full moon

tomorrow so you can see just

HOWCLOSE to grown you are

 

Remember your mother

say thank you for HOWLONG

an afternoon alone with you

 

The champagne days hardly passed

confetti ALLOVER their love

Yes think of your parents

having GOODSEX the kind that makes

yummy children think of them

as pen tips held to a new mattress

emptying&emptying

 

Walk out the door LIKETHAT

not just having finally had one good night

of sleep but believing really believing

everyone else did too

 

Singing I KNOW THIS SONG

I KNOW THIS SONG I KNOW THIS

SONG I KNOW IT

 

*

 

One thing to learn is

how to get GOOD&DISAPPOINTED

 

The books you’ve read soak into the soles

of my feet while I stand in the river I soak

them up from its bed

 

Sleep nectar is not all bad

We are mostly alive there

 

Having written many thousands

of poems

I decide to be the WHOLEOCEAN

 

How even thinking about it you can

no longer find a ribbon

LONGENOUGH to tie around me

 

*

 

Here’s to dying in relative obscurity

Glasses of fortifying tonic raised high

above our heads I’ll name you

light&

 

Everything&everyone around us a darkness

we’ll welcome just for the memory that we are

yes still upright or more accurately about to take flight

 

Having had no time to arrive

to fold the fitted sheets or even spit

in our palms fast enough to slam them

together

 

What wild love have I

left in me

 

Even then

 

*

 

Standing on one foot

or a little jump rope a little

hopscotch

A poem sets its title

in bold&WOW just like that

my heart is the floor again

 

&yetJOYCOMES

even here

 

Always another beauty from the EASTCOAST

with goodglasses&goodmanners

This brings comfort in the same measure

it is worrisome to shout loud internet

 

To walk or punish myself into listening

to the little birds because it is nearly

spring&thewarm air is nice to sing into

but even they are calling out to each other

 

*

 

Only sort of listening is one way to decide

I’d hold handfuls of bees

I mean my mouth is full of honey&myhair

 

Our POSSIBLEDAUGHTER shows up in the poem

I did not know she was there&howslow

it took me to love what loved me back

 

Thick gold melts into baseball

&again baseball

 

Still my dreams are safe from you&reserved

for only my fondest dead

 

Tho if our lives were at sea

we’d have a widow’s walk&I’dwalkit

 

*

 

I don’t want to hear just the song anymore

We go from locked in the dungeon

to a classroom with chalkboards

 

The kind that teach boys to grab GIRLSASSES

slowly gradually if still without asking

 

You leave me a 2+minute voicemail&you

are in my room again

You have had so many good haircuts

 

It’s still possible we could make art or money

or babies that work

live in houses with floral wallpaper we put there

on purpose not just floral wallpaper we tolerate

 

It is almost safe to say neither of us will go to war

before we are too old to go to war&inthisway

 

we have already had luck

the walls of our childhood bedrooms painted

colors we remember

 

*

 

The tenderness of uncertainty

is a tenderness

I tend to

trust

 

To often do one thing over another

is to tend

to fly over

is to care for

 

I think lately about whether

WHENNEXT I fall in love

or have a baby or plant a garden

start a book there will be SUCHATHING

as splitting

 

There is of course

just as there are

hills in Nebraska&trees

&asImake my way across this country

already fires everywhere

 

Or a try at spring

ridding it of leaves soggy with gone snow

burn to get to the ground&hearit

hello

 

*

 

What kind of rite of passage do I need

in order to truly know 1,000 jokes

 

A word I forgot I loved finds its way

back a decade later

 

Mary said Basho said to only use “fuck”

every 1,000 poems

 

Like breathing I eat fruits

take pictures

name everything I see “birthday cake”

 

Lilly wants to move to the desert

Once I saw her cry&understood her as a child

Someday when she has a baby I will hold it

 

When sons die their voices grow huge

Mothers look behind them float

each other out to sea on rafts

made from driftwood&tornapart clothes

 

No mistakes here only a word

 

*

 

Though not done justice to

by a camera embedded into a phone

at times LIGHTIS the one thing in the room

keeping your eyes going

keeping them going

 

Hungry for a variety of blues&greens

for the occasional pink

 

OURART is blue mostly

except when it is pink

as on the birthdays

marking decades

 

What I love about you

is the smell of my sad perfume

is also sad to you

even on the subway on a Saturday

during the part it goes above ground

&thesun is shining&youremember

what reasons there are to live

in New York

 

while I am alone in Colorado

inside a dark plane ride

with only screwdrivers&greyhounds

as color

 

We do get older

fall in love finally

with the right person

Discover light

we thought was in pieces

is actually whole

 

*

 

The thing I didn’t realize

was that IWOULDBE in love

or at least LEANINGHARD

into promises

 

My mother’s Christmas vision

is of a TALLMAN dark hair
in the kitchen with children

 

I wake at 1, 2, 3

in the morning

to realize

I have not built

enough rituals in

When Becky asked

“Do you want to plan something special”

she did not mean a trip

to the beach

for the good photos

 

She meant

Do you want to bury a stone in the sand

Do you want to hold hands once more

before I marry

 

*

 

Something changes

&we need REALLYNEED

each other

need more swimming

at night&atdawn

 

I wish on all the candles

to feel only one thing at a time

 

Put on a tulle skirt

silver bra orange cardigan

call myself BORNAGAIN

 

Outside is CHURCHBELLS

or an ice cream truck

Either way it wants a little more darkness

so a storm forms off the hills

 

The wind blows

I bunch my skirt into a

SORTOFFLOWER

wait while a ladybug

crosses the whole sidewalk

in the direction of safety

 

The storm likes the part that isn’t sad

but growing up never happened

as fast as we needed it to

 

My grays come in

 

STAY STAY

I tell them

in the same voice

I ask you

 

*

 

JUSTLIKETHAT I look everywhere

&cannotfind anything but photos

of the two of us

 

I search&search

I invite you to an ALLNIGHTDINER

I also invite a photographer

 

My goal is to return to the time

I could imagine us separate

 

The photographer takes dozens&dozens

of portraits

 

JUSTME sitting on MINTGREEN barstool

JUSTYOU sitting in COTTONCANDYPINK booth

 

I try to remember if there was ever

such a color as PLAINPINK

 

*

 

We wake up

 

The film is ruined

by an ALLMORNING exposure

to your face

 

&through the wall of flowers

it seems all in the mob are smelling

nice&different today

 

It’s okay to make a beautiful thing

without thinking too hard about it

 

I yell

 

Nobody notices

 

*

 

All brains are not the same

 

Yours is a mirror in the floor

with the sun ALLUPONIT

casting shadows into the signifiers

we learned separately as kids

 

*

 

ANTIEPIPHANY I repeat

while moving toward you

 

in disbelief

that we were ever anything

but staring into each other

trying to extract

the SHINYPARTS

to be taken into pocket

for the days we skip

breakfast&suddenly

my foot catches on

the INDIGO

 

the rainbow lost

 

&I trip

but it looks like

 

DANCINGDANCING

return to ISSUE ONE