Saturday, July 30, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles: One Night Grrrl?

In a few minutes I have to settle in for some hours of writing a paper called Assessment in Special Education, but first I need to take some time for a heart assessment. Sometimes I feel like I am not so much a polyamorist as a making-things-awkwardist, but I’m hoping as usual that saying some fears aloud will help take away a little of their power.



Last month I wrote about being slutty in high school, how I specialized in one night stands. Actually “one night stands” sounds intimate compared to what I was doing, and returning to men has me a bit haunted by the emptiness of those actions.

Well, now I sort of feel like I’m stuck in the PG-13 version of those high school shenanigans—I’m afraid that when it comes to guys, I’ll always be a one-night grrrl. Since spring, I’ve been kissy-snuggly with 3 guy friends, with whom I’ve had three very different lovely, special sweet nights that sometimes spilled over into mornings and early afternoons. I got what I felt was reasonably attached to them, and then they never wanted to kiss me again, or couldn’t, or would if I’d agree not to get attached (ha.), etc. They all had compelling and legitimate reasons, not that you need reasons to not want to kiss someone again.

I can’t be mad at any of them, because I love them, and because they’ve made sincere efforts to remain friends, but I feel really superstitious about it—what if I can get past that one night time limit. And then there’s the dreaded “What if there’s something about me that keeps making them go away?”

Admittedly, what made two of them go away is that they don’t live here. I tend to be attracted to out-of-town guys, and I sometimes wonder if that comes from a pretty literal fear of being close to a guy, but more likely it comes from the fact that I help run a poetry reading, tend to fall for poets, and find 30th Street Station to be among the most romantic places on earth.

I started out this adventure afraid that I was essentially unlovable to men, and I don’t believe that anymore, but aren’t the odds of me finding what I want kind of insurmountable? Right now, I can’t imagine where he could possibly come from, but Philadelphia would be nice, an actual polyamorous mindset (should such a thing exist) would be nice.

I need such a break from worrying about it. I don’t have TIME to worry about it. But it’s hard to get away from something so urgent, so physically pressing. With the urgency comes a neediness that makes me wan to RUN, makes it hard to be close to anyone at all. To return to my clutch metaphors of last summer, I do my best with first and second gear, but when it comes to love, I’m nothing but a highway driver.

Dear missing guy,
I don’t have time to look for you or miss you anymore. Whoever you are, come on. Come pick me up. Throw me in the car, turn up the music, and go.




Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Love Poems: Amanda Mathews and Andy Bowen!



When The Gardner Loved Houdini

By Amanda Mathews and Andy Bowen

1. The Gardener:

In the quiet
I can hear my undoing,
The soil being tilled from the hard earth.
The sounds of loneliness
blooming from the stem of my throat,
your fingerprints
evaporating from my skin.

There will be great orchards grown from this goodbye.
A someday
of pluck- red
glistening from great boughs of leaves.
For now though,
I am an empty bed of dirt
the seeds of your goodbye,
still moist & swollen
lie restless
beneath my skin.

2. Houdini:

Shackles, milk cans, coffins, straight-jackets,
water filled tanks riveted shut from the outside.
No cage has ever held me so securely
as that made of bone inside your chest.
The day we met had all of the excitement of a rising curtain;
of a smoky spotlight and a tingy piano
reflecting the audiences own breathlessness back to them.
When I took your hand and bowed,
I saw the dirt beneath your fingernails,
heard the way you spoke my name and knew
that I was caught without a key.
But keys are only shortcuts,
an ignorant man’s path to freedom.
The careful man needs only time and attention
to extricate his self from any cage.
I began to watch you;
to study the firm grace of your movements.
How every gesture seemed at once
deliberate and flippant;
both careful and idle,
as though you understood how few
real choices we have in life,
and you meant to offer each one
its due consideration.
I measured the distance between your knees
when you walked with purpose.
I counted the rings in your spine
to know your age.
I could never manage to make these sums
fit into a single word
so I never said it.
But it lingered under my tongue
like a pick to a different lock.
In days I had all I needed
to perform the trick,
but showmanship dictated that I drag it out.
No matter how difficult an escape is
the audience always wants it to look harder.
A smooth exit is unappealing to a paying crowd.
They like to see the struggle.
I bit through sinew and kicked through bone.
I tore through your flesh and skin
like I needed air.
I won’t say I’m sorry.
I won’t bow.
I have never been bested.
I will only say that,
though the bars of longing are wide
and the distance between them is great,
though I cannot see them
I feel them.
I know they are there, just over the horizon,
and I know that I shall never again
be outside of them.

Poetic License Horoscopes for July 29-August 4

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “Leave no stone unturned/In your quest to/disrupt a rock garden.” (Demetri Martin) Be as anti-Zen as you’d like, Leo. Make a mess out of every calm. Be uppity, overwhelming, and out of control.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Gaps in inspiration are scary like cliffs, but they aren’t cliffs, so don’t fall in. Soon enough a spark and glimmer, a new hot song in your head, a telephone full of love letters, or at least Xes and Os.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): It may be too hot now for this, but the stars like to picture you walking through the cool woods at twilight, maybe with a nice Virgo, just as the Narnian lamps come on, just as the fireflies start their amorous signaling.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): “It takes a team of four horses to force the giant clam of the South Seas to yawn against its will. Every passive mollusk demonstrates the hidden vigor of introversion, the power that is contained in peace.” (Tom Robbins)

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): A mini tarot reading for you. The past: The (sensible) Emperor. The present: The Tower, but in a good way. The future: the Ten of Cups, a cup-city spilling over with wealth and friendship, a triumph just as soon as you arrive.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): From the way your children sing the bawdy songs of other families, I guess you’re connected forever, never alone no matter how often you travel, no matter how your mailbox sticks shut, you are all loved, you are always loved.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19) Meta-scope! To the Aquarius who said taking requests defeats the purpose of horoscopes: it never hurts to be honest about what you really want, even if you’re just wishing on the fake stars. Sing your dearest wishes loud and clear, dearest, like children practicing for a play, so that we have no choice but to hear and memorize them.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): I have a few Piscean requests for requited love, and let me let you in on a secret: that’s always your horoscope. Always lavished affection, always really specific love letters, always love is looking out the window at the pretty clouds and thinking of you.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key. I’m thinkin’ we should get together and try them out, you see…” (the stars like the Dollyrots’ cover of this adorasong) Whatever new cute things you are questing for, darling, they’re all yours, always, shiny and waiting.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Maybe we’ve been reading too much Tom Robbins, but the stars are imagining you a moon-themed wedding, silver as kissing to the clinking of glasses, sweet and shiny as candy wrappers. Be sure to register so we can buy you all of the magic bath towels and diaphanous sheets you never knew you wanted.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Like a busload of poets headed for the Slam Nationals, you are full of chi and feeling, you’re spitting swagger, ready to overflow and be all extra, to build rope-bridge connections with audience hearts. All the luck in the world to you!

Cancer (June 22-July 23): “Bring your buckets by the dozens, bring your nieces, bring your cousins, come put out the fire on us.” (Cold War Kids) Watch movies you’ve seen before in healing quiet. Listen to the sunlight in the back of your mind, let it glow your cells new again.

Teacher Lady Stuff: Classroom Observation and a Good Glitch







Yesterday morning, even though I was sad to be missing camp, I was really excited to be sitting in a classroom ready to start the kindergarten day. I feel like my brain is growing new rooms for learning about teaching. I’d only been there a day and had already built a rapport with the students. They were already wanting to yammer to me all about their lives. In summer school the lessons are very scripted, so it’s a little boring to watch, but there’s a little more leeway during the school year and I could see the ways that the teacher added her spirit and style even to the scripted lessons. I was so very excited for everything I got to do during the classes, especially helping the kids to write sentences and make illustrations about the book they read yesterday.

There’s been a glitch with my financial aid, making me uncertain this week if I would be able to continue the program. Things are still a little up in the air but I am grateful for that glitch—it made me realize that I’ll be really disappointed if I don’t get to be a school-day teacher, as soul-draining as the homework can be sometimes, as convoluted as the APA format for research papers is, I want to do this. When I am finally certified, I’ll get a blue star tattooed on my left wrist, under where my Hello Kitty watch goes. Dear universe, get me to the sting of that ink. Thank you for the ways you are helping my brain grow. Please help me to keep going forward.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Song of the Week: I Don't Want to Get Over You

Yesterday at work I overheard some of the teen counselors talking about how a friend of theirs has too many status updates about love and how this doesn't bode well for her actual love life. So...not so optimistic for someone who has a whole blog about it, hmmm?

I TOTALLY think about other things! Most of my day is thinking about the camp kids, including how the %&$#@$ to follow notes like "Have them write it like Pippin, but hip-hop." and my nights are spent thinking about grad classes in education. Currently I am working on a paper called Assessment in Special Education and trying to make heads or tails of the APA format. I have to wonder how the heck I'm going to pay for the next year and a half of schooling, worry about Amy's health, figure out what to do with our venue, etc, etc...

That being said, this week's song comes courtesy of this oddly cheerful This American Life episode on the theme of heartbreak.

I don't have anything to be heartbroken about at the moment, thank goodness, but I sure do wonder why some folks just kinda stay in my head a little more than they should. Sometimes I get really bored with crushiness, but I guess I can no more hate having crushes than having blue eyes...Oh Gaga, it's just something I'm born with, and I don't think I do any more inadvisable Googling than anyone else...

But sheesh, boys! Really, why ya gotta be so dreamy, even when you're not?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles : Polyamory Weekly, Nice Photo by Hannah

Hey loves, want to hear your multifarious heart issues discussed by pleasant, sensible, NPR-voiced folks, complete with movie and book reviews? Then you should try Polyamory Weekly. Such soothing company on my lunch break at summer camp.

And here's a nice photo from my friend Hannah!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Less Anxious


 At the moment, I’m sick and sluggish with heat exhaustion and feeling just about the opposite of anxious, but I’ve been meaning to write about this particular writing game for a while, so here goes.

Okay, probably you don’t get as anxious as I do. Maybe you never feel like a shivering little purse-dog who’s lost his sweater, but sometimes I do. In my adventures with therapy last year, I learned a writing exercise that really helps me calm anxieties sometimes. Sometimes when I’m doing this exercise, it almost feels like I’m pulling out threads of memory and worry to put into Dumbledore’s pensive, or, I guess, my own. More detail you write down, the more it helps. Write:

Activating event:  Whatever thing that happened that got stuck in your head and made you nervous.

Beliefs about that event:  I’m always surprised by how many limiting ideas we carry around about ourselves. It is a wonder anyone trusts me with their serotonin, that's for sure. Write down every single negative belief you associate with the activating event.

Consequences: How are the negative beliefs impacting the situation?

Disputation: Go down through the list of beliefs and objectively ask yourself if they are true. Argue with them in detail—this is the part that feels like such a relief.

Energization: In the process of arguing with your negative beliefs, you probably came up with some solutions to the problem. Hooray!

This exercise, done about every month or so, has made me feel at least, I’d say, 20% less urgent. It’s good to have a way to get my thoughts out of the troublesome loops they get in some times.

A Little Household Serotonin

Pretty ribbons, cute outfits, and shiny devices are all well and good, but at the moment, our new air conditioner seems like the best sex toy ever. Oh, cuddling, I didn't know how much I've missed you.

Sorry, Earth...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Curtis X Meyer!



I’ve seen you
go through others like tissues,
disregarding them once you’re through
and they’ve served their purpose;
left piles of trash on the floor
for someone else to pick up.
You need something more
permanent, light to the touch;
dependable, like a portable, pocket-size pillow
you can wash and re-use again and again.
Something that won’t irritate the skin or rub you raw.
I want to be your handkerchief.

I want to be the one who takes the sweat off your brow,
gets the dirt off your hands.
Soak me in water and I’ll help relieve your fever.
Use me as a napkin if you say the wrong thing and you can wipe
leftover letters from unspoken words off the corners of your mouth.
I want to be the one who catches the worst of you.

I want to be your handkerchief.

-No pretense.
-No metaphor.
-No over-the-top punchline involving hanky-panky.

I want to be the threads you run your fingers across,
baptized by your spit, able to take
whatever you throw at me and catch it like a circus net.
I want to be your soft landing, your perfect fit.

Something like a tourniquet – I want your initials sewn into me.
Fold me corner to corner, place me in your drawer
next to your socks and underwear
or keep me in your breast pocket
so you can carry me everywhere –
the one who’s closest to your heart.


Sentence Structure: A Love Poem

I.

It all comes down to semantics. Falling in
implies an open manhole, swallowing bystanders. I’d rather
Fall on Love, like a cushy mattress, a divine catcher’s mitt,
a net beneath hearts reaching out from the trapeze. Going in

implies ever-forwardness, a footstep through a curtain unveiling
the possibility of vast sunlight; a ship on course
guided by stars to a destination
permanent
only on maps of old. Better still

would be to Climb up Love,
a summit to stick a flag in after a trek through harsh elements;
a new perspective earned, from which all other things
seem small and trivial.

I don’t mind going in, but if I must
let me do so willingly –
I’d much rather
Dive than fall.


II.

Some loves are commas, a pause
between run-on sentences. Others
are semi-colons; one sticking
their heels into the ground, while the other
looks around past corners nostalgic
for something better. Some –

if they’re lucky –

are colons: A pair side-by-side,
both eyes fixed straight on a new horizon.
But there is always the sentence,
the desire to see just how it will end.   
When Love is gone, it becomes an ellipsis:
Each day a boxed prison of solitude indistinguishable
from the next until the sentence comes to a close...

Or another one begins. Yes,

there are declarations of Love. There are also
questions. Sometimes there are commands. Love

should always be an exclamation,
rocketing like the weight on a carnival
strength-challenge until it hits the bell
and crashes down; a comet highlighting
its glorious tail, even as it’s falling. Falling.

Some loves are quotation marks
sharing a park bench, both sides
turning to face each other as their refection,
examples to live their life by – asking without asking,
“Are you how it’s supposed to be done?”      


III.

The verb I find most bothersome is Making.

We do not make what we were born with,
or what we were made of. We only learn
to share our resources. Yes,

we can take Love, but You and I,
we have fallen in, fallen on, gone in,
climbed up, and dived into whatever
it is we have between us. All I ask,

is that you love me like a mercy killing,
kiss me like a firing squad. If I am blind,
let me be so willingly. I will tie the rag
around my eyes myself. I am not making.
I am Giving. And in this surrender,

you can use all that’s inside me
to fill your vases, lick up whatever rainbows
pour out of me to decorate the ground in puddles
when the mess has all been swept up
and the smoke has finally cleared.

Born in Scarborough, Ontario, not only does Curtis X Meyer have the mental disorder synesthesia, but his father Edward happens to be the Vice President of Museums and Archives for Ripley's Believe it or Not! He likes to think this combination makes him “quirky.” Not content with being a mere sex symbol, Curtis has performed across the U.S. and Canada, including appearances at  the 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam alongside the top spoken word artists from the U.S., Canada, France, and Australia, and at The National Poetry Slam for 6 consecutive years from 2005 to 2010 as a member of Team Orlando, not to mention hosting Real. Open. Mic, Orlando’s premier showcase event for poets, comedians, musicians, and all forms of entertainers between at Urban Deli! from 2009 to 2010. His works have appeared in numerous publications, and he has released three albums of poetry, the solo albums Certainty and Rant Down Babylon, and Go Home & Die as a member of the spoken word collective Quarantine Unit, in addition his chapbook of verse Ride The ¥ € $. Currently fighting the zeitgeist in Winter Park, Florida, Curtis plays his part to ensure the betterment of mankind serving as an editor, contributor, and linguistic alchemist for urbandictionary.com. His favorite punctuation mark is the semi-colon and he thinks it’s extremely pretentious for anyone to talk about their accomplishments in third person. Regardless, Curtis wants you to know he loves that thing you’re wearing. No really, it brings out your eyes. curtisxmeyer@hotmail.com /www.facebook.com/curtismeyerwinterpark

Poetic License Horoscopes for July 22-28

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): As soon as you get home from work, pack up the car with blankets, pillows, and beach books. Wait until late at night when the traffic dissipates and drive to the nearest shore. Have an ice cream cone with sprinkles, find some pretty shells, and kiss the nearest salty face.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Give your face and art a break from trying to be lovable. Stop ruminating on the funhouse mirrors you keep in your heart for yourself. Fold every unrequited love into paper airplanes and fly them until they turn to birds.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): To my Libra friend whose hearing is unwell—we can hope that soon your ears will open like umbrellas or flowers or like your heart and you’ll hear every 808 in every dance remix of every festive song so clearly it’ll be like Morrissey is tattooing love letter endorphins directly onto your brain.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Alyssa, the blond roommate in The Real L Word never seems to have her own plotline—she seems to exist only to narrate the “heartthrob” Whitney’s shenanigans. You are the opposite of that—you know there are storylines enough for everyone, so go out and thicken the plot.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Your choice to create a new thing or two daily is such an admirable one—take time to thank every pigeon you ever apologized to, every holey sock, every friend whose request for help you’ve ever granted. Write it all down and arrange it neatly.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is comprised of beautiful multicolored mosaic tiles, paintings, sculptures, repurposed wine bottles, and all manner of found things. The other day my summer camp was there and one of my little campers counted 28 rainbows refracting off the mosaic mirrors. You are collecting for something similar.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19) “For those of us too romantic to function without a poetic heart:/ May the stars carefully guide our verses./ May we fall in love as easily as we can allow./ May every celebratory sunset be just as it was meant./ May heartbreak never sully the beauty we see/ Everywhere.” --Hannah McDonald

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Here’s how to get through a traffic jam: turn the music up and open the windows. Get to know your car neighbors. Root for the pretty passenger running to the roadside to pee and hiding quite inadequately. Make pick up truck nemeses and wish them ill. There’s no reason for this traffic jam, no accident, and your way will be cleared soon enough.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Oh Aries, thank you for being so patient when love overflows and makes a little mess, though it may have been silly to put it in such measured containers. Though we have to write to nearer satellites, the stars will keep sending you texts like little gray space butterflies full of cute. We really just can’t help it.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): The other night in a bar a girl I don’t know turned to me and said “You give really awkward compliments.” in kind of a mean way and it took the wind out of my sails a little, even though, duh, in the oddly old-timey words of Lady Gaga, “I was born this way.” Oh Taurus, thank you for being on the receiving end of so much awkward, and for treating the awkward so kindly. Your merit badge in sensitivity is currently being embroidered.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Soon it’ll be time for the family camping trip, so pack up your tent, the big flashlight, and all of your s’more ingredients. Be prepared to sleep to the sounds of owls, revelers, and silence.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): You have no way of knowing how many gifts you give on any given day. This morning, your poems are being read aloud in a summer camp, inspiring the best lines ever about the meaning of colors, turning the oddest and most special phrases.




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Song of the Week: Popular

At summer camp, the kids are doing an adaptation of Wicked. Hearing this song today made me want to celebrate the utter ridiculousness of worrying (and writing blog posts) about whether I am (or my poems are) lovable enough. It's futile and silly, I know.

My campers sure don't need to worry, because they are the lovablest!! You can watch their shenanigans here!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dear Heartbreak Press


A few weeks ago I got the yearly rejection letter from my press of choice, which is a lot of people’s press of choice, and which is the publisher of many of my friends’ wonderful books. It feels taboo to talk about it, not to mention disloyal, because one of my very favorite friends just got her book accepted, and I couldn’t couldn’t couldn’t couldn’t be happier for her. Every single one of my friends who has a nice book from this nice press absolutely deserves it, but I want to talk about the grief of being rejected not just by a press but by a group of friends. I know I’m not the only person who feels it, but that doesn’t make me feel like any less of a jerk for complaining. I'm hoping that if I write this out, these totally unreasonable feelings will dissipate.

I am a pretty plucky submitter of poetry—I’ve been sending out poems almost nonstop for almost eleven years, and even during my new-love-with-Amy-gave-me-writer’s-block years I managed to send out poems and get them accepted. I am GREAT at getting rejection letters. (There’s a parallel storyline here that I’m sick of talking about…)

My manuscript is out in the world. It doesn’t just wait around for this one press every year, and it keeps improving as time goes along. But there’s something I just can’t get past about this one particular press.

I think it’s because this particular rejection reminds me of the lonely feeling I got when I left my first group of poetry friends in California to move back east—I was afraid for the longest time that I couldn’t be a poet without them, that they were forgetting me, that failing to live in Orange County made me a failure as a poet. One by one or all at once those friends created dazzling success for themselves that I couldn’t even fathom, and one by one they’ve gotten books with spines and I’ve applauded and supported and celebrated them but also I’ve just felt like I’d die because Iwant a book so bad and just can’t seem to get there.

Sometimes it feels exactly like not being lovable.

It hurts my feelings, Heartbreak Press. There’s a flaw in my personality that makes me sure I don’t belong anywhere, so your rejection feels like not just a rejection of my poems, but a rejection of me, and not just by a press but by the family, by the entire poetry community. My friends who’ve made it don’t see what the big deal is, they say just keep sending the book out, and I will, of course I will. But, I’m ashamed to say, the fact that you don’t love it makes me love it less.

Last week I started to settle into my teacher classes. I started to get excited about my school observations and everything I’m going to learn. Sometimes I wish I could just focus on teaching and leave poetry behind for the same reasons I wish I could leave this new endeavor of polyamory behind: my poems and my face are tired of trying to be lovable enough to capture their/your attention—sometimes I wish I could just give them a break and love them for themselves.

Motivation Mondays: I'm Still a Bad Motivator, But...

I'm laughing at myself because even though I write this every weekend and write 12 little love letters of encouragement every week, there are some things about which I feel teeth-grindingly frustrated, ways I feel stuck and helpless, dreams I may well have to just give up, things that seem so easy for everyone else that are complete mysteries to me. But somewhere in the middle of all that, I know I've accomplished a little something here and there, and that probably I'll feel like this again some time soon:


Kid Gives Speech After Learning To Ride A Bike - Watch more Funny Videos

Thursday, July 14, 2011

OMG Adorable! And I can't wait for NYC.

This weekend I get to perform in New York City in celebration of my friend's new album and chapbook. Everyone in the show'll be cute, BUT NOT THIS CUTE!

Friday Love Poems: More Victor Infante!

Alexandria

Unspeakable ghost knowledge tapping at the back of my teeth. I hold flames to my lips, try to burn this from me, but it just rises again as steam, settles as condensation, soaks again into my skin.

I hadn’t meant to tell you a desert, but my throat was sirocco, words simmering in arid dust,
evaporating.  The sandstorm of this flakes at my skin, longs to kiss the earthquake of you, until I am swallowed completely, until I am gone.

Aretha in Static (In-Between Days Suite)

1.
Just past
where the Mass Pike hits
the New York Thruway,
Aretha breaks through
100 bands of static,
a voice to absolve the dead.

Bubblegum pop and dog-tired
classic rock dissolve
in notes, fresh and vital
as when “Chain of Fools”
was new,

insistent as thoughts
of the redhead typing
back home, the voice
that tugged me away
from California,

melted a nation between us:

a song in the static,
suddenly, undeniably
clear.

2.
No name for the tesseract space between us: airport terminal affection, billowing steam in the right hand of Shiva. Communication breakdown. The swallowing of sky.

Radio band crackle: Nothing real. Everything.

3.
My transient sibling dragged me by the ear to “Rocky Horror” and played me my first Ramones album on the way: Freedom in two-chord fury channeled through half-dead speakers.

Her vocabulary makes mine a dime-store novel and she beats me at both sides of the Bible. I learned that trick from her. 

We drift—have done since we were bright young things in thrift-store clothes. Postcards from England. E-mail from the Bay. We wave across airports, pass on freeways.
Poetry gets me the eye roll. For her, I’ll say it straight: We’ve survived abandoned theaters and empty bookshops. Bottles crashed against cliff faces, broken glass slid into the ocean.

I love her for that.

Our distance is cell phone reception and dial-up modems.

4.

There are no diminishing returns.
The heart holds all these, and more.

View from the Sandcastle’s Turret

These silica walls were never meant to be home,
but still I find myself by starlight,
hands deep in earth, tide soaking shredded clothes,

sculpting battlements of sand and eucalyptus bark,
seawater mortar, brine-drenched air drowning
the taste of this from my mouth, and still
I scratch absently at the barriers, particles
wedging beneath fingernails.

Memory: Palm at the small of her skinny back;
Fingers gently tracing the brittle bone of her,
as she curled like a question into my lap,
bit my lip, kissed the blood away,
folded herself into the shadows, gone.

Memory: Reclined on a second-hand couch,
not touching, mouthful of ocean, moonlight
caressing your face, not touching, spark of us
burned at the back of our necks, not

unfathomed whispers in the dark,
distant sea shanties; unjoyous ocean
burbling through flooded foundations,
the collapse of elaborate towers
that were never meant to last.

Victor D. Infante is the editor of the online literary journal, Radius, and the author of City of Insomnia, a poetry collection from Write Bloody Publishing. His poems and stories have appeared in numerous periodicals, including PearlChiron ReviewThe Nervous BreakdownSpillwayWord Riot and Dark Horizons. He's American, but used to live in England. Now he lives in NewEngland, which is less similar than you'd think.