Spall

Bricks need room to expand
when the temperatures change,
but mortar keeps the them in place,
causing the bricks to flake,
pressure to build, cinders to crack,
and a home to slowly collapse. 

People are the same–
not meant to be held in place,
and if not given enough space
to grow during times of change
the pressure can become too much
and we begin to slowly destruct. 

Love isn’t mortar, love is a home.
Love is offering enough room
for people expand without exploding,
to grow when life seems frozen,
because resisting change
often leaves us broken.

Broke

Something broke inside of you,
but like a drinking glass
that falls from a child’s hand
when no one is looking,
the evidence can disappear.
You didn’t know something was broken
until you went looking for it later.
It’s funny how closely damaged
resembles creative,
the way the pieces
can be turned into a mosaic.
The thing about empty spaces
is you try to fill them with new habits,
until you wished what felt empty
could instead feel shattered.
At least then,
there’d be something to fix.
But a gambler doesn’t admit
to having a habit worth breaking.
They think empty wallets and homes
is just part of the risk.
If you lose everything tonight,
you cannot win it back in the morning.
You’ll still be taxed on your winnings.
There is always a price to pay
for trying to fill up the empty.
How many different ways
can I try to tell you
that the more you gamble
with the worth of your life,
the more likely you are
to end up broke?

Only Human

People are only human–
with pigmented flesh and 206 bones.
Our hearts, an overworked metaphor,
the way we pump it into our poems,
making it the lifeblood of our words,
blaming it for our bleeding and loss.
Instead, we love each other
with our digestive tracts,
they way we chew each other up
and spit each other out.
If teeth don’t break us down,
stomach acid will.

People are only human–
built to be muscle tough,
but pressure point weak,
predisposed to feel not-enough,
susceptible to critique.
Moods made of serotonin
and dopamine,
adrenaline dripping
into our nervous systems and spines,
all at different levels at different times.

People are only human–
and we should be loving
with every organ we have inside,
even with the parts of us
purposed only to destruct and dispose.
Nothing more than chemical reactions,
tissues and tendons we get trapped in,
all organically grown.

People are only human–
and even flesh and bone
blooms only to expire,
so let’s learn to accept each other
with every fiber
of our decaying being.

Boxes

I wake up in a box,
just to get into my box with wheels
that takes me to another box
where I work half of my waking hours
typing into a glowing box,
teaching college students about
the wide open world
while inside a desk-filled box.

I’m trapped inside these buildings unlocked,
and I want to raise the roof off
to separate the separation
between me and the world.
Even my shoes feel like feet cages,
and I might just explode.
Most days I just need
waterfront mountain views,
with free feet and no roof,
just liberated, wiggling toes
under a ceiling of clouds and sky blue.

But instead, I’m just a slave to
an existence inside cubes.  

Dandelions

This poem is for the students who have told me they feel like they aren’t good enough to succeed. I want to write all the metaphors in the world for each of you, just to prove that there is such beauty in the strength it takes to overcome the odds stacked against you. 

I love dandelions
and people always feel the need
to remind me they are weeds,
proof of bad soil and land.
But I’ve been rooting for the underdog
for nearly three decades strong,
and I think it’s beautiful
when plants and people
find a place to bloom
anywhere at all.
Imagine the strength it takes
to be able to grow up
in such poor conditions.
I think it’s beautiful
when the yellow pops up
on the side of the road.
I think it’s beautiful
the way they spread their roots
wide into the Earth,
breathing life into
the packed-tight dirt,
the way they keep coming back
no matter how many times
they are mowed over.

Instead of seeing a
species deemed invasive,
notice the resilience it takes
to blossom in uncomfortable places.

Candy to Chemicals

When we were kids,
you used to love
candy cigarettes,
feeling cool
and ten years older
with them pressed
between your lips.
I must have gotten used
to treating your habits
like sugar nicotine,
thinking they’d dissolve
if left out in the rain.
I assumed the box
would get soggy,
and you’d throw
the compulsions away.
I thought you’d eventually
outgrow the cravings.
I didn’t know it
it was just the beginning
of your chemical curiosities,
your synthetic dependencies.