Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Have and to Hold

Note: You can see the prequel to this poem, "A Johnnie for John," here.

If I can't hold a record or a book in my hands,
it doesn't seem quite real.
It's virtually invisible --
seemingly nonexistent.
While I can appreciate
facets of the digital world,
I want to hold art
in my hands.
I want to touch it.
I want to experience it
in a tangible way.
I want to own a piece
of the magic.
I want to commit to it,
like a partner,
like a spouse.
No cheap fling for me.
Nothing to consume quickly and
walk away from easily.
I want to invest in it.
I want it to mean something.
I want to connect to it
physically and emotionally.
I want to see it,
touch it with my fingers,
and hold it in the palms of my hands.
I want to engage with it.
I want to spend time with it.
I want to spread it out on the table
and study every inch of it.
I want to join myself
to the force of life and love
that created it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Garden

Our yard was a garden
of snow and our father
was the gardener. He
made snow forts and
an obstacle course of
sorts for my sisters and
me in the front yard one
winter. It was an exciting
adventure, and a little
bit scary, but I felt safe
knowing that Dad was
guiding the sled and
guarding the fort. I still
remember his laugh
that day as we squealed
with delight, holding tight
to the orange, plastic sled.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Little Did We Know (Becoming Us)

The day I met you,
I didn't know
that this stranger would
become the person
I know the best.

When I first shook your hand,
little did I know
that I would
hold your hand today
and commit my forever
to you.

The first time that I
sat across the table from you
and looked into your eyes,
I couldn't have known
that those hazel eyes
would soon
see the good
and the bad in me
and accept me anyway --
the same eyes that
I will wake up to
every morning and
close in restful sleep beside
each night.

Those first drinks
on that first date --
a latte and a root beer --
would mark the beginning
of a lifetime of toasts --
culminating
in a champagne toast
on this day, our wedding day.

How could we have known
that our first conversation about
music and Patty Griffin
would reveal a shared passion
that would bond us together?
We didn't know then
that one of Patty's songs
would serve as the
conclusion to our
commitment ceremony today.

I couldn't have known that day
that you would change my life today.

Little did we know that
you and I
would become
us.

Friday, February 13, 2015

(real love: standing in)

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Sometimes love stinks...

real love: standing in
the bathroom while your partner
poops, just to catch up

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Days Like These

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Here's to the heart!

It's taken me 16 years
to play this record again.
I didn't dare
to play it before
because I was afraid
of how much
it might hurt.

I selected it --
like a curator --
18 years ago
in the dark
on an adrenaline high.
I dashed out of
my roommate's room
and quickly -- but thoughtfully --
handpicked the album.
You were waiting for me
in the recently vacated room
and I wanted to be prepared
for what I hoped might happen --
what did happen,
thanks to Robert Deeble --
that and the months of
heavy make-out sessions
that led up to that day.
I was so high
on endorphins and young love
that night
that I didn't even care
that my body was
temporarily dyed blue
by my roommate's
deflowered futon.

Today, I play
the disc without pain,
thankfully; surprisingly --
except for the ache
that resides deep
in the corner closet
of my heart
that wonders what
may have happened --
and how different my life
might have been --
had we been allowed
to fully fall in love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chem Lesson

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  I wrote this poem in 1998, the year I was finding my "poetry sea legs" as a graduating senior at Hope College.

I smooth my palm into
the dip between your
rib and hip bone
on the side facing
the ceiling. The tip top
of your big tip toe
makes my index finger
smile. The two interact,
as if old friends meeting
for the first time. Sometimes
there’s a connection
that happens between
body and soul, like
DNA at work or
the saving chemicals
that form antibiotic.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How My Sister Discovered That I Was in Love with Her Best Friend

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Here's to the heart!

"You would NEVER
do that for me," she said
in a huff, half shocked;
half outraged after learning
that I had treated J.J.'s
soup bowl like an underwater
hunting expedition --
navigating around the
diced carrots and potatoes,
green bean cuts, petite
peas, navy beans and
conchiglie to fish out
the kidney beans
that J.J. despised
so much. I shrugged
my shoulders, smiled
and stared at the floor
for a few seconds until
J.J. changed the subject,
wondering if we would
see snow that night.