The Wrong Questions

Be it the tired archetype
of the hero’s return or
a regression, I find
solace in a simplicity
I had long since
forgotten how to enjoy.

But am I finding my footing
or stagnating, am
I waiting
on myself or the world, does
it matter, am
I asking
the wrong questions or
is that
the wrong question?
And so
it goes, destroying
the peace I thought
I was seeking.
So it goes
and I think:

at which level
of recursive self-doubt
did my purpose unravel,
did wonder become panic,
did this refuge
become quicksand?


Anchoring Heuristic

conversations always carry
an undertone of finality, now
that it is clear to me
what the most magnificent
of exchanges can hide:

strong enough to turn
the whole thing inside out
at the drop of a hat, words
that felt once big enough
to hold the universe

into small, unyielding
shards meant to puncture
the foundations that let
those dreams grow at all,
never forgiving them for that.

like marbles I mistake
for planets, anchoring
and adjustment heuristic
gone haywire, I rush
to believe in

heaven knows must collapse.
Is this what trust is? Drifting
from our moorings, from
perspective and forgetting
how wonder can turn in on itself?



The sun is blinding, the birds
swooping and the waves
crashing- everything
is moving and she
is still, still and thinking

that this heaviness
is not apathy. Time has not
broken, after all, what makes her
tick – she cares so much
she is torn between all

the dreams she wants to live
not oscillating
between all and nothing,
not that, never that
she tells herself

until her mind runs
out of words
with which to feign conviction
that there is a difference
between these dilemmas at all.

No, she has not lost
herself, but the enormity of the proof
she needs to keep believing this
has expanded until she cannot
fulfill it without breaking.


These days

I am afraid when the chords of a song
stir my scattered feelings as they sweep along
into a faint memory of a joy
that even reality can’t quite destroy
and I realize the time it’s called forth is long lost,
that for feeling this glow there must now be a cost,
but I can’t stall my thoughts, try as hard as I might,
my smile a cheap remnant to which I’ve no right.

I’m afraid when I lay down to rest come night,
to see muddles of faces, hands reaching, eyes bright,
hear a roar that could be as dumbly benign
as empty white static, or could be a sign
of the dawn of an all-too-human storm –
and that’s when the worries begin to swarm.
Which do I hear? Well, I can’t really say;
depends on the weather, depends on the day.

I’m afraid that I cling to the masks we display
not out of trust, but to keep well at bay
thoughts of the future, of life’s breadth and speed
for as long as I still claim to know what I need.
I’m afraid when I open my mouth to speak,
feel the pressure of all I’d say, were I less weak;
see it dancing, unborn – flying leaps, landings sore –
done pretending it’s weightless, it pounds freedom’s door.

I’m afraid to lock eyes with people I know;
if things were this different, would they tell me so?
My mind and my stomach pull cartwheels in sync;
my eyes pealed for doubt, I can feel my voice shrink.
See, I fear most of all that you’ll throw me a rope,
that for the first time I will let myself hope,
that you’ll say to see, I can’t dread being seen,
and that I’ll leave my limbo for life’s in-between.


Turning point

It’s as though I’m at the vertex
of an upward-reaching loop
in fate’s cursive scrawl, could
fall backward or forward, things
could go either way, and still
I cannot close my eyes.

My momentum is all in
my potential, the worth of my patience
at the mercy of the unknown, to be determined
by the slight breeze I sense building
in the distance. Control
is an old friend turned stranger.

Words like “maybe”
and “someday” fall upon my ears
like the hopeful hum of rain
but taste sharp and fearful,
a warning I do not know
how to heed.