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Topic: Tenda's poems  (Read 18297 times)
Permalink  •  January 21, 2014, 07:32:36 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2014, 07:32:36 PM »

The casual end of everything is just cold and hungry,
The place thought shortens and wraps around
Into mantra

Cursing poverty, cursing circumstance, cursing
So that there's nothing left in the world
But to simmer.

I'm stranded on the uttermost floes,
Live life in a commercialized nation
Where everything is designed from the ground up
To inspire want

And I can't deny, I want things,

But there's nothing to get for me.
America drawn on its short side is just
One aisle of
Thirty brands of soda

And the illusion of selection is just
Iterative aching,
All of this market explosion just
A creative way to burden the poor
With that many more things they won't have.

The state of knowing for weeks on-end
"I will have nothing more than what I already own"
Becomes casual,
The state of casualness with which others
Buy the combo meal,
Stop at a vending machine,
Grab something for the road is just
Aching, more aching.

I am writing about not-having in an empty apartment
Aside from with which I write
Because it was worth it to come here,
It's worth living with nothing,
But it doesn't dull the cold and the hunger that comes
From living
Day-to-day stranded on the uttermost floes
Looking up at the mainland,
Chalk cliffs glittering in the sun,
And the land of plenty that's never out of earshot
But never either in arm's reach.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 10:11:03 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2014, 10:11:03 AM »

My favorite game as a child was just
Sticking the hose in the gutter
And building dams, and setting boats a-sail.

Water always seemed so convalescent,
And so easy to come by. Everything gets wet,
And wet things just dry,
And it's okay to spill water when it isn't okay
To spill coffee
And something about that made me smile.

I needed water more and more,
And getting older getting smarter
It seemed necessary to attach something more
To water,
And so the snails and jellies took on personalities

And the heart of all the ocean was something
I swore was,
Or had to be,
But that evidence for only existed in dreams.

In church, we say that faith is
Believing in things which are true,
But that we cannot prove.

I had faith in my friend,
Nighttime companion giant who dwarfed all living things that
Ever were, or are,
And existed in solitude in any part of the
Unfathomable deep
Only belief could espy,
And only dream could reach.

I had faith in my godfish,
In my soothing mammoth whale among whales
Who let my flickering self
Compass myself around and against it
To have an angle of attack against the day,
Who let my doubting self
Press up against its bulk
To buffer the travails of the day.

The compensating mechanism bore on as the world
Bore down,
And my sea teemed with life
Increasingly fantastic
Speeding towards a convalescent ideal,
Plesiosaurs that could talk,
Sapient islands that could knowingly comfort or

The novelty fades, though --
It gets ritualised, it becomes escape instead of
Heroism, it gets beat down by the gnawing
Rationalization of growing, it gets old and
It gets to be something I just talk about with pride,
Because it seems so fascinating
To have had a fascination

And it's so fascinating for my therapists

When my secret place of retreat isn't the sea
Or a waterfall,
Isn't a lush garden or a quiet room,

But a sandbar island
In the unknowable reaches
Where scallions grow,
And standing tall at the center of it
I cast no shadow on the water.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 10:23:18 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2014, 10:23:18 AM »

When you hold me I'm warmer than when we started,
And when we sit by the river the river is more dangerous
Than before we came. It was such a powerful place to be
Because there was that unspoken air
We shouldn't have been there,
And something so eminently purposeful about going there
Because there was that glimmer of hope
The murky waters hid whatever it was
That drew me out of my room,
Out of home and off of the stoop and as far as
The river, where North Arlington leveled off
At its sea level bottom
Where we would brush up amiably
Against the Passaic,
And join it walking hand-in-hand towards the bay.

I was always hoping to find more in the river than what I lost in it --
Good luck exceeding the value of the coin tossed,
Repose worth more than the hurt when I threw in secrets.

I remember stepping over a dead pig in a carton,
And the chilling absence of warmth
When you held me after I shrieked, consoling:
"It's okay, it's just dead,"
Like that was the answer to anything.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 10:29:03 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2014, 10:29:03 AM »

We weaved worms through each our hair in the grass,
Took pictures of picture poses in and against
Your tree.

The world was so much brighter and bearable
In your presence,
Standing in the galleries of your crystal cave
Aglow with the sunlight of yesterday and tomorrow
As much as today.
I never learned how to be that happy.
It was easier just learning how to be with you.

You propped a chair against the door
To give me three minutes in a safe place,
And I never forgot it.
I just go through life missing you,
And missing that cave,
And wondering always why no one else I'll ever meet
Knows where or what it is
But you.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 11:21:10 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2014, 11:21:10 AM »

In the student center quad, loving Katie means
Intimidating her with cold reading,
Assertively stating what she is thinking,
And by chance happening to be right.

She disagrees when I veer too far towards
My own inclinations
And suggest she wants a violent end to the world,

But pretending to be watching the stars
Lets me avoid eye contact
While appearing thoughtful.

Habitually looking away empties every memory of faces,
Someday the names follow,
And then it's only smells -- bleach and sweat in your bathroom,
Sweating in school,
Sweating in bed --

Sweating bleeds male. Damp socks and palms,
Hair adhering to my forehead in soppy curls,
The matted hair of forearms...

Amanda tells me I think other transwomen are ugly because they have no style,
But I'm secretly confident it's because we are men,
And we can't stop brushing shoulders because of our broadness --
Our essential drama --
But I'm only part of the problem to point it out, and we ache so divisively
And derisively
But we're quiet because these pains all run parallel.

I'll draw this line in the sand -- stand there, and then envy you --
And only oppositionally do we make a pair.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 11:36:58 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2014, 11:36:58 AM »

The line the future follows is so fat and palpable,
So ingrained in everything I touch and do;
Joining the church was a maelstrom,
A richer future sweeping in on the eaves
Of a possibility storm,
'What might be' distinct from
'What will.'

Death in Seattle was less frightening than
A life so diminished by drugs and slovenliness
That possibility bottomed out --
A broke and destitute moment where
There wasn't the chance for anything to happen,
An indefinite life on the streets
That would have to end eventually
Or end sooner out of suicide
When confronted with a future of nothing.
It still scares me more than death,

The idea of being destitute not in things but in
Poverty of chance. Without chance life doesn't
Nothing unexpected can ever make things
And nothing planned can ever come to

Because the underpinnings of what-can-be
Just aren't there. Joining the church felt so good
Not because of what happened,
But because of what could. I can become
Important, I can become spiritually rich,
I can make friends and I can be a good Mormon
Or a bad Mormon
But either way,
It's something I'll be. It's not the absence-of,
It's not the lack thereof
Of anything
But the fat and throbbing
Vein of what-may-be,

All future washed out
In the vigor and vitality
Of the red essence contained therein.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 11:46:02 AM by Tenda »

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 12:00:30 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2014, 12:00:30 PM »

How the Tide Really Works

The ocean floor is alive,
Papered over with starfish
And trains of lobsters
That travel warmward when cold
And coldbound when warm.

The sediment is called 'ooze'
Because it's half-alive
(As it once was,)
(Even if it isn't anymore,)
And at the right magnification
Every centimeter of sea
Is being soothed by a flagellum.

Detritus floats on currents
Instead of tides,
Contributes something heavy and sheltering
To a weightless world
Whether originating from the ocean or
The scattered above,
Broken-down cars and dumpsters dumped
That haphazardly become
The homes and landmarks by which
Swimming things travel or reside.

Almost everything we know migrates;
Fish school, jellyfish throng,
Squids agglomerate,
The seabed crawls at its flagella pace,
The starfish chew up and
Spit out
Reefs, and the reefs grow sideways
When they're cut off at the top,
And the garbage swirls in eddies
Or sinks to the bottom
To partner with the whale bones and
Discarded scrap that makes up the
Seafloor landscape,

And then there is a moon,

But there's also everything else,
And maybe we called the moon a
Good answer
To the question
Because the other half of the equation is
Presently unknowable,

But when even the walls of the ocean
Are a sludge that crawls
You have to wonder.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 12:12:08 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2014, 12:12:08 PM »

I'm regretting not taking my head out of his lap on the drive
So I could have gotten bearings,
Regretting think pleasing him would have been enough to win the war.
I am conciliatory at the last --
I am on the run from him,
Because he is the vindicated and righteous one
As he hunts down errant property.

There's nowhere to go but I'm still preoccupied with the
Repetitive act of just creating space between us.
My fear oscillates in time with time --
Every minute I have to pause and fear,
Maybe I know he didn't wake up fifty ago,
But was it forty-nine?

Walking in a straight line
The farthest sun possible is still the only warmth in the world
And the cold is bearable enough
With my scarf wrapped around my nose and ears
To prevent frostbite
Because I still want to get out of this whole,
As if that's possible;

This January I'm just wearing my pajamas,
And I'm bleeding from places you can't see
As you pass me on the street.
I have my cell phone pressed to my ear because
You taught me this trick:
"Threaten me, I dare you,"
"I'm so ready to call 911."

And to this day I don't know why I didn't,
But I defensively understand.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 12:32:33 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #53 on: January 22, 2014, 12:32:33 PM »

I saw God matted into my hair, tangled in the
Afterglow getting off the floor with Angela --
In a mirror in the dark, I loved my face,
My hair, my body, for the first time.

And I forgot about it. I smile into mirrors, now,
But I don't always remember why.
This happiness has become so reflexive,
So essential,
I am bursting at the seams daily
Immortal and immovable
Living the consummated life
Of someone who was dying to move people,
And then somehow did.

I see God in your pink cheeks,
In Amanda's blue hair and blue dreams,
The sweet contrary giants of
Challenge and

I found God in matchstick living,
Borrowed bones and dreams that let me
Share the pain and the burden
Along architectural design
Before I ever had happiness to share,
And we are all here because of it:

Macabre living on the shoulders of
The giants we slew,
Swords at long last turned into plowshares
As I see God everywhere
And know I've reached the promised land.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 08:57:33 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2014, 08:57:33 PM »

After the war I'll come home
To the sound of my name being called.

With clammy hands I'll pick up the pieces
Alone and in quiet understanding,
At peace with the setting and the
Last lonely feelings

That spring from separation,
Eager to rest in my homecoming
Coming home
From a hostile and far-off world.

It's easy because I know it's fleeting

To suffer these feelings

And it's not long 'till meeting

Friends and sundry again,
Secure in my know-how
Of the distance between us
And just what grew between:

The weeds and the bracken
In the small unlined spaces,

The absent names and faces,

The gulf of difference
Formed when the tide rose with needles
And I succumbed to the sea!

The broken promises are all dried out,
Aging in vases on the mantle
Between low-burning candles
That once-upon-a-time
Lit the hard edges of your face;
It's the smell of pines, the sight of fading lines,
The sound of light
Shut out through a keyhole
And crying, crying,

But I'll call!,
After the war, with nothing to say,

But I'll call!,
And we can go back to Fall in the Pine Barrens --
Standing on dry needles and you repeating:
"No, I don't understand,"
Like it would somehow protect you
From the confessions at hand

And I ached all over
With every step you took back,
Repeating, "No, I don't understand"
How much courage it takes just to come clean
When nature bait-and-switched you
And it's your very nature
That's come between.

After the war I'll come home alone,
To a house by the sea,
And in reality it's quiet --

It's only my own voice that calls out for me,

But you're there in the distance,
I'm just so damn sure,
If I'm willing to swim

And stronger
Than what grew between.

Permalink  •  January 22, 2014, 09:05:13 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2014, 09:05:13 PM »

Everything I hear is a babel,
Sound is so hostile and
When my hands can't stay still,
I won't rest my arms at my side.

I'm pacing in place again,
I'm chewing my purse strap again,
I'm looking at them
Looking at me
And it's only a matter of time before someone asks,
Like the tactful ones always do,
"Are you okay?"

"You look like you're freaking out."

Everyone is around me, and I hate it, because
Everyone is being such a someone
And I don't feel like I have the capacity
To deal with anyone except another
No one just like me.

There's always the need for acceptance or
But it's this impossible puzzle
To find someone with just the same sort of challenges,
The same sort of quirks,
The same kind of anxiety and the
Same need to have an unobstructed path to the door,
The same kind of flinch
When you get too close,
The same kind of fear.

More than I want to be with someone as good as me,
I've always wanted to be with someone as bad as me.
I don't understand the significance.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 09:06:36 PM by Tenda »

Permalink  •  January 24, 2014, 10:55:47 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #56 on: January 24, 2014, 10:55:47 AM »

I go back into my room after showering,
And close the door.
Text messages filter out through a hole in the wall,
Overshadowed and sunset,
It's either late or later but
I have this picture I need to show you,
It's all so insignificant but

In this picture I'm smiling, here,
In this picture I took of myself
Locked in my own room. After I show it to you,
I'm going to show it to Amanda,

I'm going to update Facebook, tag myself,
Text everyone, sign into old abdicated screennames to
Dig up the bones of friends I once had to
Burn the rope of chance meeting and
Use up my one opportunity I have to say,
"Hey! It's been so long! Let's catch up!"
Because I have to show you this picture.

It's all so significant, I'm smiling,
I'm alive, it's

Softy-lit and

Insinuates softly I was alive when I took it,
Smiling when I took it,
Insinuates that I smile or that I live,
That my bedroom door may be open,

And I'll lie or tell half-truths to your face:
It's going so well, and I'm so happy,
Or was it because
You looked.

Permalink  •  January 24, 2014, 11:34:17 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #57 on: January 24, 2014, 11:34:17 AM »

Everything is pregnant with the metaphor
Requisite to be anything else for the
One moment it matters,
And living is the act of transmuting
Thing into thing, as need be,
To keep the world honest,
Calling out when a deal isn't or
When a child ceases to be.

My own childhood ceased when I
Sneaked out of my bedroom after dark,
Tip-toed into the kitchen,
And realized my sleeping parents couldn't stop me
From eating all the dinosaur-shaped
Fruit snacks I wanted
And that, in the end,
My parents were just people as much as I was learning I was.

The world effuses beauty in my happiest moments
But I'm convinced it doesn't
When I'm feeling worse. In the afterglow
Two sweaty people in the dark
Can approximate the whole world
Falling out of itself into its own hands

And in the aftermath of accomplishment,
The world unfolds itself like origami
Broken back down into the pure essence of
And it's the same high,
It's the same surety of beauty and purpose as

Fourth of July parties when we still had them,
Uncles squaring off to master mortars
Against one another
In cheerful competition while my mother
Hides from the garden hose,
Me and my cousins pelt water balloons
By the dozen
And everything I've ever known about the hard world
Seems to sublimate and be
Whisked away in the wind
In favor of the truism that just,
"It's all so that you can have a really great party,"
And that must've been what family meant too.

Everything I remembered about childhood
Melted away too
Around the time of junior high,
When my friends started
Fighting for fun
And calling breaking into homes
Just how we used to call
Games of pretend.

In the brazen young arrogance
I felt like I had the world between
Thumb and index finger,
The potential of this and every egg mastered
Through intuition and what I called
Life experience;
Parents get hit by vans,
Mothers never touch you,
I don't understand television
So it can't be that important and
Family is really just, overall,
Actually the bad stuff that happens
Opposite the parties
When everyone puts on a good face and
Pretends the truth just isn't.

Growing up meant coming to terms with an
Increasingly two-faced Earth,
Flexing metaphor more and more often
To derisively hang truth from the low-hanging hooks
Of happenstance,
Inspired to spend every moment of every day
Illustrating to my friends and family
That things are only fated to be bad,
A spade should be called a spade,
And that nothing can ever get any better.

But no --
The world I'd put fingers on
In my triumphs later
Has to have a kind of constancy,
Something so large can't
Fluctuate so much
Without tearing apart everything living on top of it
In a whorl of shaking and tossed-off entropy.

The world is too beautiful to dead-end,
Even for the once-were-kids
Who choose to throw punches at one another
As their preferred activity,
Even the family that builds up
Instead of camaraderie
Will still see eye-to-eye at the party;

The violent fluctuation of every person's
Opinions of the world
And one another
Effuses into dreams instead of the waking life
To spare us all
(Except for when a valve may break,)
And the iniquity of the wicked

Is coolly dispatched

On the face of a constant and beautiful Earth.

Permalink  •  January 24, 2014, 01:21:39 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #58 on: January 24, 2014, 01:21:39 PM »

Cold weather bred cold people and cold people
Learned chemistry, conquered the hot places,
Tolerated gritty things and said:
"We'll build a city on the beach,"
"And live by the sea."

Cold people took fire back to the mountain
After they finished with it,
Built the boardwalk, invented neon lights,
And lived by the sea.

Cold weather defined cold lives and the
Blue places on maps; homes with thick walls
And heavy doors
Where people exploited every color,
Bought wicker furniture;

Shot water into the mouths of clowns,
Drove bumper cars to work,
Rented out their homes for the summer,
Worked the lee side of the carnival,
And lived by the sea.

I summered in cold places
With other warm people,
Interceded in the affairs of the cold
Via a beach house,
Via parties and bonfires,

Our crude imitation of the
Science with which they built their own flames,
And what I remember of the sea
When visiting
Was sitting in a hole in the sand
I dug in front of it,
Nursing a growing, warm drunkenness,
Staring into an impersonal body of water

That gave up everything once upon a time
Such that everything I will ever know
Once came from the sea,

But now gives up nothing;
And so I name it God,
And throw in a second penny,
And hope for better results.

Cold people built temples to Mars and funded magic,
Became pagans before they became Christians --
And sitting in the chilled nighttime sand,
I saw clearly through the purpose of
Cold people:

You will name Mars, and wish
For magic;
For superstition;
For intervention,
For something you can't name...
You will name God, but first

You will name Mars.

Permalink  •  January 24, 2014, 01:59:53 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2014, 01:59:53 PM »

I'm disgusted the bulk of my childhood memories
Are of video games,
That nothing more resonant for the present
Came out of those long years
Than whatever form arises from
Formative years spent
Holding a controller that can't control
Anything worth controlling,
Looking into a screen that
Never mirrored anything and
Never spoke only the truth.

I remember we had a rose bush that never once flowered.
I remember the cold feel of the patio stones
Underneath my feet,
I remember wishing our peach tree was olive
So my family
Could extend a measure of peace
Instead of having grown up in strife,

And if we hadn't maybe I would have
Spent those years better
Or taken more out of it.

The sundering is so complete,
I can't imagine that people don't molt;
We are crustaceans,
We are lonesome crabs,

We sit as young adults in McDonald's with
No one beside us
But a Dr. Pepper who is just a beverage.
I remember what came before the molt,

But it's so hard to make sense of my shape today
Without something in which
To see the hard lines.
The universe seems so combative,
And the bulwark of nothingness I lived
Prior to living now
Is just a shield to buffer against the
Sharpened, sword-edge of
This migratory and

I don't ever feel at home underneath the stars
And they follow me everywhere I go.
I'm suspended in a space without them
Looking up at them,
Wishing I had learned as a kid
How to properly crack an egg
So that I could fill a bowl with yolks
And just drag my fingers through gold.

'Combative' was just games of pretend as children,
Mock battles played out with sticks and
Pontificating over the
Bones of mice in owl pellets
In science class,
Gingerly touching rocks and feeling
So much more attached to them
After we learn what their names are.

Hello metamorphic,
Have you been through confusing changes, too?
The heat and the pressure
Frays my bangs,
Sweating in the winter for no apparent reason in that
Crowded, empty crab-filled McDonald's
Nursing a soda
And wondering when I'll molt again.

There needs to be some kind of advancement,
But I'm ill-prepared coming to the critical point:
I'm bringing a knife made of a peach branch
To a gunfight,
The dark horse black knight dredged out of
Warped history we loved as children and
Hate as adults after we learned the
College equivalent
Which was all about the feudal system and just how
None of us would really be knights,
We would be the turf turners,
Wishing for something as magical as the labor unit
So that we may become wage slaves
And advance past the
Pitched one-against-one warbling of
Everything that came before and

As an adult now

Seems as if it will come after.

Everything is competition,
And competition cuts down to and through
The ocean floor,
Where plates shifting in a molten sea
Themselves jostle for position such that

The rat race is beneath our feet,
And the rat race is peppered into space
Above our heads
When we pause for our adult study of what those stars
And what fills that empty space
Really is.

Everything is competition,
And it cuts to and through the bottom of me.
I worry myself to bed every night


I irrevocably threw away
The only years
I could have learned to
Master what is yet to come,

Sitting on the green and tattered carpet,
Controller in my hands,
Memorizing the names of the Knights of the Round Table and
The travails of the Mushroom Kingdom

Instead of ever thinking
Travails await me as well

That no one else can fight them for me

And that I can never reverse the molt and
Try to learn again.
What's done is done,
I am a crab with two small claws,
And I never even bothered to learn to swim
Because I never stopped to think
Someday the whole ocean would come to a boil.

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