My Refrigerator

My refrigerator is haunted by ghosts of girls gone by.

Gochujang from that crazy girl who liked to set my world on fire.

Kona Longboard in tallboy cans from The Matchbox Racer who cursed like a sailor, but kissed like a school teacher.

Moscato from The Scientist who spent her days tinkering with the windows to the soul, to give the world a brighter vision of the future.

Coors lite bottles, from the wild girl that started with hiking and a sandy cove, and ended with dinner and karaoke, and all the while whispering “popo haejo…

And most recently, spicy buffalo sauce from the Warrior Poet who I would eat chicken nuggets with at 2am in the morning.

…I think I need to go grocery shopping.

Bump it with:

As the Dust Settles: The Matchbox Racer

We met and loved, in a whirlwind dust storm.  I was stumbling through the wake of the girl with the orange dress, rubbing hot ash from my stinging eyes, and you were fresh from your own trauma’ed life, so much so I could taste His name on your lips every time we kissed.  But being with you was familiar, so comfortable, like my old alphabet quilt hand stitched by my grandmother before her sight and needles became too weak to sew and see.  So we saw each other through.  You leaned against me, and I leaned against you.  And suddenly we weren’t two torn and tattered sails whipped by the whims of the wind anymore, no– we were a pup tent; where your damage ends, my damage begins.  And we lay curled below the canopy’ of you and me– nestled in the afterglow.

We fit.  And it worked.  When He called broken and bawling at two am, I didn’t get jealous.  When my phone went off, you didn’t go through it; you just let it ring.  Your bed was softer than the rack I’d been stretched across.  My jaw unclenched.  My fist-shaped-heart unballed.    And I never laughed so hard or so long as when I was with you.  You joked once, how I always stroked my chin like I was getting ready to be a wise old man; in truth it was the unfamiliar shape on my face clinging to the corners of my eyes and cheeks.  Smiling.  Me, smiling, something I never thought I’d do again.

You carried with you a history the scribes of my mind had all but forgotten.  Like the Matchbox Racers of our childhood, on our knees through cobblestone courtyards, and across wooden pews turned raceways.  In truth I don’t remember this at all; but the way you described me through your eyes, through your eyes like I was something worth beholding.

Church Pews

But it was too easy too quickly.  And I began to worry that we were both dancing in someone else’s ash filled shoes– still warm.  So I went out into the wilderness to explore.  And since then I’ve slipped in self-esteem puddles and slept under unstable bridges, I’ve been bruised and I’ve gotten stitches; each encounter more unremarkable and obtuse– each traveling companion never measuring to the mettle of you. No one makes me laugh the way you do.

And I bought these for you months ago, thinking how fun it would be on our hands and knees in the stone courtyard laughing like we did more than a decade ago as kids.

But they’ve just been collecting dust:
Matchbox Racer

Bump it with:

The Bridge of Closed Doors

I’ve closed doors that can never be reopened, and on the other side are the unborn ghosts of a lifetime together; big house, big dogs, children, and laughter.   But I know, She goes on to find someone better, to grow old with someone who can cherish her in a way I could never.  And in a way, I did that, with a graceful bow and a sidestep through the curtain, and I’m certain I’ll never be at this point again.  And it’s just as well.  Sad smile, exit left.  Chin up.  No regrets.  

I pull down each closed door and stack them one upon the other on the floor.  Each one raises me higher and takes me a bit further– planks for me to walk, out over uncharted seas in an an ever growing arc of my history, of who I was leading to who I could be.  But eventually it’s no longer one more step’  over the restless black abyss, until we plummet to our death… no it was that last moment until our long lonely walks– intersect.  And our feet are steady, and the wood holds fast.  A bridge.  Abridged. We meet– at last.

Bump it with:

Matchstick Girls

I’ve traipsed my way
through someone’s love again.
Completely thoughtless
to the consequences
and it’s only fitting that the axe
falls heavy on my head.

Because I’m to blame
for burning through good girls
like matches I can’t’ light

All He wanted
was the ring in his pocket
to glitter round her finger
and Her, his home and hearth
for the rest of their days.

And I the dower downpour,
snuffed her like
so many brief indulgences.
Now she’s his soggy tinder,
and I can’t even remember
what it was like to feel her
aglow in my cheeks
and the chill is setting in.

So I’ll stomp my feet and
cup my empty hands
in the shivering cold
on the outside looking in.
And I know.  

I’ll be the kindling in someone else’s pyre soon enough.

Bump it with:

The Porcupine and the Pine Cone

I loved you the way
the Porcupine loves the Pine Cone.
kindred hearts
sharing shape and form,
pressed together for warmth
through the night’s chill.

But between my spines and your spurs’
one of us was bound to get hurt.

So I kept my distance,
closer though you inched
in the growing days.
We wore a groove
in the ground as our tiny legs
made plans upon the looming hills.

But in my heart,
I knew we could never reach them…
and I know we never will.

I miss you,
the way the Porcupine misses the Pine Cone.
I’d carry you with me if I could.
But being born of barbs and bristles,
it’s hard to shoulder anyone’s baggage but my own.

Soon you’ll be taking roots
and kissing thistles to the wind.
So you take the high road,
and I’ll take the one less traveled,
and we’ll see if it makes any difference
where we come out at the end.

Bump it with:

Robert Frosting all over the top of this cupcake.

The Shipwreck Survivors

 I ran aground on someone jagged
who tore my insides out.
With no lighthouse warning,
left listless and wanting
in the middle of the sea.

Do I dare to drink from the ocean
or let the thirst and isolation
consume me?

In the distance I see you,
neither savior nor life-boat
for you are equally, damaged.

barely.
afloat.

Between your battered masts
and my seeping hull.
The ocean rages
to drown us both.

We’re in-congruent shapes;
two ships adrift,
but if you lean in
and I lean against you
we won’t sink.

So man the oars and mind your words:
and promise you won’t fall in love or lie.
But if you must,
do the first and deny the last.
Because the reverse
is sure to kill a boy
where he stands.

Bump it with: