looking at you it occurred to me
I could sit around all day
wearing nothing but your kiss
you make mirrors
want to grind themselves
back down into sand
because they can’t do your reflection justice
and this just in
I am done with those
who in life would have made me fight
an army of imperfections
a battalion of flaws
tonight we’re going to keep this city up
when they hear our bodies
slap together like applaus
Grief vs. Joy, Rage vs. Hope
(For Emily Wonderboy Saavedra,
my tour manager/buddy/partner in poetry for the last two years,
in celebration of our final weekend of shows together.)
The fact that you are the most positive,
hopeful, joyful person in the entire world
makes the fact that we get along a goddamn miracle.
Two years into our friendship
I still ask you about being happy
in the same way my high school friends
still ask me about being gay,
“So what do you do exactly?
I mean, how do you do”it”?
And by “it” I mean smile,
all the fucking time,
like your mouth is a glory garden
and your teeth are the tulips
you grew for the “Say Yes To Sunshine Festival.”
Were you born this way?
Or did your mother raise you to be a fairy?
A literal fairy, with the magic
and the dust that sparkles.
I was in the worst fucking mood
shipwrecking around the clashing waves of feminism
the day you called me, voice singing like a chickadee on a sunflower
to tell me you bought velvet shoes.
Who buys velvet shoes?
I have 16 handmade postman delivered
postcards on my refrigerator from you
and we live in the same town.
The only time I ever turn my frown upside down
is when I’m standing on my head in yoga class,
and I only go to yoga class
to infiltrate Om time with the question:
“I wonder if visualizing world peace
is just an excuse to sit on my ass?”
I swear to God if I see one more “Free Tibet” sticker on an SUV
my head is gonna explode into peace flag confetti.
But you aren’t even paying attention to the cars
with the bumper stickers that say,
“If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention!”
Instead you’re meandering around on your bicycle
in a snowstorm
praising the ice on the streets for being so shiny.
I don’t even think you have a heart beat.
I think you have a heart kiss.
If think if you listened to it with a stethoscope it would sound like:
kiss kiss…….kiss kiss…….kiss kiss………
You make Mary Oliver look like Quentin Tarantino.
I’d give anything for film footage of you
in your suspenders and mohawk
handing out love letters to strangers.
Or you walking downtown with your 20 pound typewriter
to type love poems for the lonely.
Nobody ever believes me
when I try to describe your hand-puppet theater
or your ukulele singing
or the ferris-wheel spinning of your parking lot dance,
not to mention all the videos you post on YouTube
of you bending gender into a bowtie with a tutu.
I walk through the airport
my conscience in a constant fistfight with my own use of jet fuel.
On the plane I go off about the wars fought
for the minerals that make our cell phones,
while you compliment the flight attendant
on her pretty teal scarf. She blushes
like all the world’s blood spill has just left the battle
to bloom a rose garden in her face.
How do you talk so kindly to everyone?
Including the manager at the front desk of the hotel
when we found that 2nd poisonous mousetrap beneath the bed?
How did you not scream when homophobes
keyed our rental car in Florida?
I burst a blood vessel in my eyeball that day.
As I’m writing this it still looks like Rudolf’s nose
while you’re somewhere elfin around in a velvet suit
probably carving wooden toys for children
I’m tearing up my throat trying to tell the world
how Santa mines his coal.
I have always believed in thunder,
in the loud truth that shakes the fruit from the trees
while you have always believed in blowing kisses to the seeds.
I’d say I’ll forever be inclined to argue
for the fire of sacred rage,
but you’ve taught me
there is probably little chance for revolution
if we are all doing things the same,
if we’re all reading the same books,
underlining the same words
in the same lines
on the same page.
Unless of course, we’re reading Mary Oliver,
who said, “Imagine grief as the out breath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side. Wage peace….
Learn the word thank you in three languages.”
Emily, thank you
from the top of my roaring lungs
to the tippy toes of your fairy feet.
I honestly believe in magic when I’m around you.
I believe in the heart kiss and in the heart beat
and in all the ways we stand up for love
that swinging chandelier in the shack-castle chest,
in all the ways we sing the word YES
into this dark dark dark infuriating
yet lovely world.