inside your roots

For my friend Elizabeth.
I remember sitting on the floor
in Orlando with you
playing cards
your sister nearby
our dreamer friends in a circle

you had sung that day
I’ve tried, I can’t remember the song,
but I do remember thinking
how much you sounded like hope
“like hope” is bad language in a poem
don’t use abstract concepts when you
should use an image
you sounded like the future
there I go again with bad language
for the third time you sounded like
a tree squeezing out green leaves
from somewhere deep inside your roots
like it was easy to sing
like you were made for it

and I know
dreams change

it’s been a few years since,
I think, you believed in a future
as a singer
but you still seem green
pushing out what’s inside
like Jesus and hope,
and in the end,
what’s that but music?


I want your details

my hands, filled with bones,
can write love letters
or goodbyes
they can grab a day
by the lapels
and shove it into the corner
and kiss it on
the mouth
my ears have held
the whispered truth:
“I love your voice.”
and on a good day I
know exactly what to say
I’ve known when to touch
and go
I get lost driving a car
but I can tell you the
of how to dig deep
beneath the skin, down to
the bones where I live
here now, spill
your details on the floor
let’s sort through
the old photos
I want your details


present, given more presents

I try not to wonder what else I could have done
if I could have been more present, given more 
presents, had more cash to spill out of my heart
there’s never enough to go around or the right 
kind of kindness to get the point across across 
all the distance the distance between epomhas 
have gotten farther and farther apart as you’re
a part of the wondering I try not to do but I do


The Tulip and the Frog

the tulip and the frog were friends
and felt they’d be until the end

so every morning without fail
for all of spring along his trail

he’d come upon his flower friend
he’d promise once or twice again

“Tulip, I’ll never leave your side
you are my heart, my soul, my pride”

but tulip could not speak a word
nor could her petals be disturbed

she could be only what she was
all flowers obey garden laws

then frog knew love was bitter-sweet
knew some words were not worth repeat

so frog took one more final gaze
and promised her he’d always praise

her beauty, calm and elegance
and most of all her eloquence

and with a note of sadness deep
the frog intoned a magic leap

“It’s good that you are happy now,
love, you deserve that finest crown

I’d like to know you’re always safe
so hold your place as garden’s grace

please don’t forget your old frog friend
who loved and loved until the end”

and then frog had to hop away
to learn to love as quietly