Depression · Mental Health · Spirituality

Episode | Poems that Suck

Time crawls during an episode,
 the days and nights extending
  before you; a vanishing horizon. 

You begin to take notice of little
 things; the exact rhythm of your heart,
  the way a water droplet holds light.

But mostly I sit in the stillness
 of apathy, stagnate as everything around
  me grows and changes while I molder. 

It's happened enough times for me
 to know that it's all a matter of time
  before it passes. 

So I sit, and smoke, and drink
  black coffee and wait until 
   the light returns. 
Love · Mental Health · Spirituality

Empath’s Eye | Poems that Suck

"Look at me," he murmured.
 So I did, choosing his left
  eye over the right.

Like I knew it would, 
 the pupil dilated, blossoming
  under my steady gaze.

There's never an option,
 I'm taken hostage by eyes
  and that's why I never look, see?

Now I saw him, stripped
 bare before me, the scars
 raw on his flesh. 

Yet, he never blinked, 
 never broke contact as I
  penetrated and saw it all. 

I admired his courage -
 I could never be that vulnerable -
  but also his stupidity.

After all, he didn't know
 what kind of woman I might be
  or what I could do with his scars.

Then again... 
 maybe he just wanted
  to be seen. 
Hope · Love · Spirituality

Fertile Valleys | Poems that Suck

You held my hand as we
 drove through the desert,
  the parched night air like a
   ribbon that tangled in our hair. 

We stopped for a drink in
 what could've been a ghost town,
  had it not been for the neon lights
   wound around and strung between the lampposts.

I got something to share with you, 
 a drink, delighted at the thought of 
  our lips sharing the same edge; it was
   almost as if we were kissing. 

When I returned to the car
 you were standing with three other
  girls - one who was barefoot, her toes
   blackened by the asphalt. 

I joined you, but hesitated
 because I understood that we 
  were in that no man's land between
   something and absolutely nothing at all. 

But you somehow sensed my
 trepidation and slid a reassuring
  arm around my waist, pulling me close
   to you and kissing my lips with tenderness.

It was in that moment
 I fell in love with you
  because I knew I was safe. 
Free Verse · Psalm · Spirituality

Beloved: A Poem for Palestine | Poems that Suck

This is the poem that won the Anita McAndrews Poetry Award

There’s a funny story behind this poem:


It was written in January of 2017 – 1 month after I returned from Palestine the first time. It is the product of a class assignment: I had to write a Psalm using non-traditional language and non-traditional versing. I was PISSED that I had to write this (if any of you know me, there’s two parts of the Bible I cannot stand – Psalms and anything Paul wrote). I put it off for a week, grumbling and bitching about having to do it. I was, additionally, experiencing a major depressive episode at the time and just didn’t have the energy to do it. So the night before it was due, I sat down and wrote this.


Funny how life works out, huh?

You can read it here or below:

Beloved:

You called me to the ends of the Earth,
the place where your breath sighs,
so that I might suffer to find
brotherhood.

I met you at every step, the ochre
Judean sands gritting between my
toes as I tried to match you;
heel to toe.

Your spirit whipping my hair, as
I traced the desolate crescendos
of the South Hebron Hills in the dying
winter light.

I have known the fragile weight of you,
destroyed, in my open arms as despair
swallowed me on the rocky shores of
the Kinneret.

Heard your voice transform from singing
in a sumptuous Arabi to the shrill scream
of terror as I stood, useless, on the rooftops:
Al-Khalil.

I have seen your face in its forms of hurt
and healing; bruised purple, smeared with
blood, swollen; the gift of a crazed soldier
or settler.

Smelled the acrid stench of burning wire,
choking me, stinging my eyes as I trudged
knee deep in filth to bring your children
to kindergarten.

Beloved:

You have called to where my heart throbs
thrice: Fal-a-steen -and I can’t ever hope
to rid myself of the land, the people, or
the life.

You invite me, now, to receive you in
the fruit of the vine, to fill myself
with your sacrifice so that I might match you
heel to toe.

Hope · Love · Spirituality

Olivewood | Poems that Suck

We snuck into the church's gift shop in
 hopes of escaping the oppressive summer heat.
  They had an air conditioner, which felt delicious
   on our sweaty skin and sunburnt shoulder blades.

Trying to look inconspicuous, we pretended
 to shop, so the clerk wouldn't catch on and
  throw us out. You were looking at something intently
   and when I came to see, you extended your hand to me.

In the bowl of your palm was a perfectly carved,
 polished olivewood heart. I turned my palm skyward
  to see if you would offer it; you dropped it into
   my waiting hand without hesitation.