Saturday, May 6, 2017

Woman Body

Woman body knows Spanx, push-up bras, and high-heeled shoes are designed to keep us small.
Knows women used to faint on couches from corsets strangling breath.
Woman body knows we have always survived on less: less oxygen, less stability, less money, less space, less rights, less
of our own bodies.

Woman body knows wage gap, knows "how old are you anyway?"
knows "but you aren't the real doctor, right?" knows "all you women are just the same"
knows research ideas stolen and executed, knows
man got the praise, knows woman body said it first.

Woman body knows "you tell my wife I'm the man and she will do what I say with my children." 
Woman body knows female bodies bruised. 
Woman body makes friends with security guard.  Feels finger on panic button in her sleep some days.
Woman body will never be the loudest voice.  Resorts to being most insistent; woman body learns to say no and forgets to cover her ass first.
Woman body finds boundaries, learns she's being "unreasonable,"
might have to say yes anyway.

Woman body walks down the street.
Woman body wears jeans, wears skirt, wears sweatpants, wears yoga pants, wears...
Woman body hears "hey Baby, where you goin'?"
hears, "you wanna come in and fuck?"
hears, "smile Sweetie.  Aren't you gonna smile for me?"
hears, "why you not answering me?"
hears, "bitch"
hears, "cunt,"
Woman body keeps walking.

Woman body knows wings clipped and pinned to brick like
butterfly to shadow box.  Knows purple crocus blossoming where fingers lay;
woman body cannot write angry metaphors.
Woman body makes them beautiful,
woman body knows they're not,
woman body tries anyway.

Woman body doesn't know what to eat anymore. Woman body starving not for food.
Woman body does not know which women to look to; woman body lost.
Woman body wants a mother; woman body, own mother.
Woman body knows shame.  Knows small.  Knows to take up less
space to make you more comfortable. 
Woman body wonders what space feels like without
too much. 

Woman body stands outside at night,
chest to heaven, breathing in expanse of sky.
Woman body does not imagine herself astronaut.
Does not become planet, moon, or cloud.
Woman body is star.
Woman body is small on the ground but science knows
she is ball of power and light.
When you know her she has already died but
continued existing for light years, she
expanded out beyond her unsmall body, this
woman body knows how to survive anyway.
Woman body knows to survive anyway.
Woman body survive anyway.
Woman body survive

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A History in Music

A History in Music

What if the songs we hear become pieces of us?
When we love them hard enough, notes become dislodged, float
inside our bodies and stick in our
hearts or lungs, we
embody those notes and each time we hear the song again it's like
a puzzle finding it's missing piece: something we
didn't know we were missing snaps
into place and for that 3 minutes and 29 seconds we
are something like complete.

is for the notes
of every song I've ever sung that are
waiting to be breathed again;
and this is for all the notes still waiting out
in the beautiful not yet.

It's bedtime and I am 5 years old.
My sister and I go into our bedroom and switch out the cassette from the tape player
exchanging soothing ocean sounds for Disney's Greatest Hits.
Dad comes in, says goodnight, turns out the light, presses "play" and "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" fills the bedroom as my sister and I howl with laughter, hopping in our beds. 
There were no ocean sounds in our bedroom that night,
but at 5, music filled my body with wiggles I could not suppress.

I'm 8 and have discovered my father's record collection.
In the basement, my sister and I don fancy dress-up clothes and turn on Jim Croce's
"Bad Bad Leroy Brown" while flipping our skirts and dancing wildly around the floor. 
In that moment, I felt myself simultaneously beautiful and talented and also
hilarious and a little naughty dancing to this song I did not understand.

At 11, I was practically a piano virtuoso...according to me.  I played
and played and played those songs until I never had to open a book.
I lost myself in the embodying of those notes, played them again and
again until my mother would yell, "Give it a rest, Laur,"
and I would slink to my bedroom.

I have always been a poet.  I want the lyrics
to wrap themselves around me: as a teenager, I would crawl inside
and find myself a home inside the words. I left
pieces of history in those songs that still smell like
summer camp, swimming pools, dressing rooms, college dorms,
car trips, alcohol, and regret. 
Large pieces of me can be found on CDs I burned and listened to until
their rhythm became the pace of my day.

This is for the music of the not yet.
For the love and laughter, grief and heartache
waiting to be heard, to be sung, to be played
until everyone around me begs me to
give it a rest.
This is for knowing the world in us as the only song.
For the music of magic creating vast vibration of
beautiful in us; this is for the songs we sing off-key in our kitchen.
For the lyrics we remember wrong - or never hear right.
For the ones that speak to our souls and never leave us.
This is for the music we make
with our tongues, our feet, our hands,
for the beat of our hearts keeping time with our
rests, our melodies, our
cacophonies of words we try to smooth like symphonies:
you untamed, wild song.

Hold the microphone of your life to your lips that we
may ever hear your vital blossoming of lyric, you
unfolding explosion; let us
breathe our harmonies into your bloodstream --

can you hear it?

is the sound of the world in us.

It is the song of all the music that is
living in you.  It is
the harmony of all the songs
you have not yet sung.

Monday, January 9, 2017


the poem is born from the  
underbelly where the
fire lies.

I will
write from the place where
broken turns broken
open like too much becomes over-
flowing like
river like
can't contain this 
could never contain this, like
tried to tame this
tried to train this
tried to good girl this
truth, this human, this
woman out of me, like -- 

I am learning to
breathe this body.  Learning to
move to
unsmall myself, learning to
expand.  You may not
chain me: I am
frightened and
flying. I am
everything you fear and
living in this broken,
holy body, I will
the blossom of this
too much, this

truth-stained, battered
transparent heart of a body is
all I have and I will
rely on her for she is
fierce.  You may not
convince me
otherwise and

my heart will 
believe these words.  Sheds
tears to believe these words, it took me
years to remember how
to pull my tear ducts
open but now I let old
pieces of myself fall like
stars: hope-filled and
sad, yet 
beautiful in the

God, make me fierce
enough to hold this holy
boldness.  Turn me vast and
spacious: unleash in me a wondering
furious love to keep me


Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year Poem in 3 Acts

I.      Resolutions

Sometimes I wonder about the cost of being human.
I wonder if I made a covenant with a divine
being I have since forgotten
to pay on this ride; I wonder if I
am pulling my weight.

I could make a resolution.
Everyone could make a resolution.
We could all make resolutions like I will: 
                               lose 20 pounds and eat more vegetables
or                           give to charity and volunteer for the homelessanimalshelterfoodpantry
or                           beabetterperson who doesbetterthings and thinksbetterthoughts.
It would not be wrong and many will do it.
I could make a resolution.

Promise is a synonym for resolution.
As are oath / pledge / purpose --
this is no small matter in a world of the
uncompromising splendor and
terror we
live, enable, unmask.

 A synonym for resolute is stubborn.
So are determined / unwavering / definite --
there is power in this,
the living, the marching rising lifting hearing speaking yelling falling and
rising again.

I do not love the coming of the year.
When more in me feels old than new and
change hangs like a pendulum swinging without
gravity or physics,
resolutions surround that may/not be of consequence
and the weight of the unresolved shifts like earth
quake: break me open.  Make me
thunderous and messy in my
shaking, challenge me to be dis-
comforted, up-rooted and
growing.  Unquiet my heart and light a
fire to burn my too soft edges -- the world is precious and I am
Let me learn to pay the cost of being human in
raw, determined love:
this promise is one I must continually learn
to keep.

II.     Revelations

New Year "beginning again" is not my
target: growth is too hard

won to aim for beginning
anew, roll that clock

onward, I am standing
under the dripping

faucet of faith, waiting for
no one: I am my own

Godot. And aren't I
dangerous? Aren't I a woman to be

feared as I dare
revelations of my own

III.     Revolutions

In astronomy, natural objects in space are
heavenly bodies.
Although no one says it,
we celebrate the New Year because our
heavenly body completed one
full cycle around another heavenly
body and those cycles are

Quiet, unassuming amid our
fireworks and ball drops, the
heavenly body heaves herself to home plate
without a sigh of derision, the
gravity of this revolutionary
love literally holding us all
here, we
human bodies crack
under both weight and
weightlessness, we know

is the key for our survival
is making it home when they tried to end you
is holding it all in love, and anger, and fear, 
is the will to keep your
heavenly body