“I am writing you from an eight foot snow drift
somewhere south of somewhere.
I would call, but I lost my phone two days ago
at the ice rink pity party that was really just me,
a frozen lake, some cheap Russian vodka and
a depressed polar bear. (Those guys are dark.)
I still have six waterproof matches
and what Vogue Magazine assures me
is twenty extra pounds of body fat.
No, I am not proud of myself.
No, I am not “done with my obsession with Survivalism.”
But I am sorry, I am sorry we fought.
You were right when you said writing poetry is not a real skill
applicable post-apocalypse, and I said but who will tell the good stories,
and you said guys who can fish with their bare hands.
It turns out that’s really hard.
Trout are ticklish,
and my hands do not have to do what I tell them to,
some sort of freezing cold water clause.
I have nothing but the time and space I’ve been pining for now,
and I am using this opportunity to try and remember
why I thought this was a good idea.
I think it had something to do with Escape,
which has permanent offices in the romance division of my brain
and ground troops in my solar plexus.
The flight instinct comes on quicksand,
muscles out all rational thought,
starts Morse coding my limbic system with
complex dots and dashes for strange verbs that mean,
roughly translated: “joyous chewing your leash off,”
and “fire without readiness or aim.”
It always feels so right to go,
like it’s the only story my body knows by heart:
the creation myth of Alaskan shorebirds,
the bedtime story highways whisper to dirt roads,
the real reason horses sometimes obey.
You really wanted to marry me didn’t you?
My eyelashes are soaked now.
I’m beginning to think I will never see you again,
that I will never see anything again
but the twenty yards or so of visibility
in stark panorama around my broken sled.
I feel like an idiot, but I’m not scared.
You’d think I would be scared.
These are the soft frozen fields tundra vacations too,
the great white quiet.
No one to distrust.
I deserve this.
You would be amazed how much light there is.
The stars stay out all night.
Each snow flake is a mirror.”
Mindy Nettifee - To The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me
“Why can’t Braveheart be a little embarrassed by how much it liked me?
Why isn’t rent money concerned if I’ll be ready this Saturday?
Why can’t my bedroom only really be itself around me?
What if my clothes are just using me to look fresh?
Why isn’t my roommate proud of me for coming home drunk and eating his food?
What if I shit on a bird?
What if the floor and ceiling could kiss?
What if my dreams always forget me?
What if God isn’t convinced I’m real, and loses sleep over it?”
Edward Garcia on the benefits of slam poetry other than winning.
From Words in Your Face by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
“Be more forgiving.
Substitute, “goodbye” for “I like your face.”
Spend two nights a week not drinking to forget.
Listen to your body.
Listen to someone else’s body.
Get limber, Don’t dog yourself to feel humble.
It never works.
Lift others up onto your back until you are sore.
Write for yourself a movie that doesn’t end.
Eat a churro slowly.
Kiss your mother on the cheek and don’t miss.
Remember that now is barely now.
It will soon be back then.
Don’t text anyone while talking with anyone.
Now that Joni Mitchell lyrics have started to make sense to you
Now that your beard is no longer a fashion statement,
but a crude three-dimensional graph illustrating
the number of years you pictured her lips while failing her.
Now that you’ve cried so hard and long the 4th Street
beggars are pressing quarters into your palms.
You know how good it can feel, in its own way,
to be so profoundly disappointed in yourself.
How strangely magnificent, to be this demolished,
to have taken it, as they say, like a man—on the chin, to the testicles—
to have tried to take a bite with your last dangling tooth of dignity
and come away starving and grinning and sobbing.
’Cause really, how much worse can it get?
Short answer: a lot worse.
Don’t think about that right now.
You’ve broken all the promises you never made,
and few that you did, and they turned around
and broke you right back.
So be it.
From here on out you don’t have to pretend
to be perfect, or whole, or even right.
Your eyes can take a vacation
from being windows to your soul.
You can hang out with the other war torn countries,
who you suddenly share a language with.
Poland will show you her scars.
Croatia will teach you card games so cutthroat
you won’t be able to speak for days.
Iraq will start accepting your apologies.
It may not feel like it just yet
but you’ve stumbled upon a kind of freedom.
Your stomach now full of pride,
you can take your expectations off like clothes.
Stand outside in the cool night air
and show off your brand new shamelessness.
Howl if that’s your thing.
Scare the neighbor’s cat.
Notice the Moon’s gained weight.
Everyday I rewrite her name across my ribcage
so that those who wish to break my heart
will know who to answer to later
She has no idea that I’ve taught my tongue to make pennies,
and every time our mouths are to meet
I will slip coins to the back of her throat and make wishes
my head on her belly might be like home
like doubt to doubt resuscitation
because time is supposed to mean more than skin
She doesn’t know that I have taught my arms to close around her clocks
so they can withstand the fallout from her Autumn
She is so explosive,
volcanoes watch her and learn
terrorists want to strap her to their chests
because she is a cause worth dying for
time will teach me to pick up her pieces
put her back together
and remind her to click her heels
but she doesn’t need a wizard to tell her that I was here all along
let us catch the next tornado home
let us plant cantaloupe trees in our backyard
then maybe together we will realize that we don’t like cantaloupe
and they don’t grow on trees
we can laugh about it
then we can plant things we’ve never heard of
I’ve never heard of a woman
who can make flawed look so beautiful
the way you do
The word smitten is to how I feel about you
what a kiss is to romance
so maybe my lips to yours could be the penance to this confession
because I am the only one preaching your defunct religion
sitting alone at your altar, praising you out of faith
I cannot do this hard-knock life alone
You are all the softness a rock dreams of being
the mistakes the rain makes at picnics
when Mother Nature bears witness in much better places
I will gladly take on your ocean
just to swim beneath you
so I can kiss the bends of your knees
in appreciation for the work they do
keeping your head above water