I'm one day away from finishing my road trip, but I've got a few more posts about my time before I transition out of #RoadTrip2k16. Now, this isn't exactly about my time in San Francisco, but here's some stuff I wrote while I was there. Maybe it was visiting City Lights books, or the BART rides, but I found myself writing a lot of poetry & I want to share a bit of it here! Thanks for reading!
on public transportation.
people watching people watching people
on a train
boys breakdancing, hip-hopping
one teaching another
out, in; out, in
young & easy
short hair woman watching teenage boys dancing
denim on denim ponytail watching short hair woman
young man not much older than teenage dancing boys
watching denim on denim ponytail through funky glasses.
a silent, signed, sealed, delivered contract
no eye contact, no ear contact
look down & ahead
only darkness outside, only night
pairs looking at each other
at subway maps
but otherwise unobserved observations.
headphones in on two ears,
not always on in the same head.
& as i look away from the
teens confidently misstepping
I catch someone staring staring at me too.
I am not exempt.
maybe he wonders who pulls out a notebook
on public transportation
at this hour.
the circle meets itself.
the doors open.
i step off onto the platform
and wait for my transfer.
the eyes stay onboard
the bodies move forward
faster, with the motion of the train
and faster still
until the compartment flies by
until all the compartments flash past,
until the train disappears from now
until even the lights swallow themselves
until even the echo of the wheels amongst the walls
dissolves into a distant memory.
i sit on a bench,
to meet myself.
rage, or rabbit.
would you like to see me swallow my fist?
it’s ripping off bandaids
one second, clenched fingers
& abracadabra, poof!
all traces of unsettled emotion,
when you see me in the cafeteria
yellow under fluorescents
holding a chapter book in one hand
while cannibalizing my other forearm entirely
there’s no need for panic;
it’s defense mechanism,
which keeps me in good standing
with the rest of known society.
but although the swallowed appendages
haven’t yet ruptured
or the lining of my esophagus,
i have also not reached deep enough
to encounter antidote
for the twitching in my palms,
crying out for retaliation;
it’s morse code
tapped out by plastic sporks,
with sideways snickers
that makes me feel
you smell like laundry,
i often contemplate the size
of your hands, the shape
of your fingers, the mass
of your palms, the radius
of your nails, the strength
of marble sculptures.
always lost in thought
on the passenger side,
through the window.
you discovered the entrance to
my chest with needle,
you lodged a single turquoise
thread, you fixed this intrusion
into the rolling doldrums
i do not allow tourists to visit.
tingly, like the touch of a tattooist;
then weightless, like my assumptions
about wooden legs & their relationships
with the people who lean upon them.
sing me to sleep, why don’t you?
weave us a basket for resting in,
use pond reeds & lukewarm chicken
noodle soup, stitch a quilt
from the shards of my private
wilderness; i’ll lend you my thumbs,
if you need them
(please need them).
the effect of a thunderstorm
on the psyche of a person
sitting in the driver’s seat,
without so much as a navigator
to connect the automobile
to the correct veins of pavement,
the windshield wipers working
many are the moments i’ve stared
through the deluge for your form;
many are the moments i’ve yearned
for fresh clothing to fill my nostrils.
well the closest synonym is heavy,
like cold plastic orange scissors
handed to a person who means
nothing to the carefully carved
severed at once.
it is common knowledge
that only a nuclear weapon
will annul the spirit of a fighter,
so then, i’m quelled
as i pick up the scattered appendages:
the first hand of mine i touch
reminds me of you
& i finally allow myself to weep,
to feel entirely the pit squirm;
the second hand of mine i touch also
reminds me of you,
but this hand clutches
the sharp instrument of fate,
& i finally allow myself to rage,
to engulf the kettles with flame
to graffiti the moraines with glaciers
that sculpted the land in the beginning
until the terrain is unrecognizable
& i can take in my surroundings:
a single bedsheet on the line,
flapping in the wind
as ashes, ashes dance through the air,
we all fall down,
like dandelion seeds.
to cut the thread myself,
to touch fingers,
to kiss the handle together,
it hurts, yes, but in that good way
growing bones hurt.
i exhale for the first time
in many wash cycles.
goodbye, my first love;
may the harvests that grow
on the wastelands you wreaked
be plentiful as the ways
to fold a pillowcase.