she's gonna bring me clarity/ this'll take the heart right out of me

warm metal in the moonlight
and the protest of leather learning the shape of my body
keep me company
as i trace the curve of my sanity
searching for the ultimate point of traction
at which a brain traveling at maximum speed can make contact with the world
and both walk away alive

  • AlanL
    It's magical.
    by AlanL at 07/23/13 9:07AM
  • 71lespaulcustom
    I'm glad Alan clarified that. I was thinking new car.
    by 71lespaulcustom at 08/05/13 5:54AM
  • sarahpet
    I will buy your published works.
    by sarahpet at 09/29/13 9:18PM
  • two
    Where did we all go?
    by two at 02/28/17 5:08PM
  • wrex
    by wrex at 04/17/17 11:53PM

you call it limerence. i call it triage.

every time she goes in just a little deeper
cooing delightedly at the delicate infrastructure
i've managed to cobble together since her last visit
seeping through my illusions of independence
filling the cracks and corners of my self confidence

and then she flexes
a casual stretch
a callous shrug
splintering and shattering my frame

surveying the wreckage with satisfaction
she settles contentedly into my shuddering center
and waits to see what new secret hurt surfaces
for her to play with

there is no place in this breaking for fear
there is only space for stillness
acceptance of the overwhelming awareness
that i am infinitely fragile
perpetually vulnerable
my resistance as rice paper to the penetration of the blade

so i do what any reasonable person would do
i lean into the pain

the hollow whine of the wind
the insistence of rain on glass
provide a buffer against the undertow of the hunter's moon
just enough interference
that i can breathe through the burn
as the venom begins to dissipate from my blood
and october slowly
releases her grip on my veins and arteries
her essence rasping across my neurons
sliding out of my nostrils
and dropping me unceremoniously into the sweet, cool indifference
of november

  • curlie
    by curlie at 10/30/12 10:30PM
  • whipsmile
    A major difference between you and I is that we both feel pain but you can exorcise some by poetry. Does it make you feel any better?
    by whipsmile at 10/31/12 10:07AM
  • two
    This is very high on the esoterimeter scale.
    by two at 11/01/12 10:56AM
  • whipsmile
    these are for you, they are glitter pills. Whenever you are feeling down or sad or just need a pick me up. Take one pill, open it and throw glitter in the air. Instant momentary glee.

    by whipsmile at 11/01/12 11:13AM
  • fullofgrace

    i has ALLLLLLLLL the glitttttterrrrrrs
    by fullofgrace at 11/01/12 3:45PM
  • two
    Your counter has been reset!
    by two at 06/11/13 2:47PM
  • AlanL
    White link! New post! No! It must be a test to see who can spot what has changed.
    by AlanL at 07/13/13 7:53AM
  • mjintexas
    ^^Hrm. Grumble grumble.
    by mjintexas at 07/13/13 11:46PM

in which the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light

six weeks ago i went downtown for my final divorce hearing
i signed the papers and signed away my last illusion
that there might be any remaining corner of my life i hadn't magnificently botched
during the colossal train wreck commonly referred to as my twenties

i walked out of the courthouse that afternoon clutching a handful of documents
containing the tattered shreds of my social and emotional dignity
and a new name that began polarizing my interactions with people
before the ink on the dotted line was finished drying

these words i write here
are not a justification of my decisions
nor an invitation for your inquiries
it is unlikely that i will feel like talking about these things with you

there are raw bleeding places in my mind and heart
that still can not tolerate contact with the rest of the world
no matter how well intentioned such touch might be
and i have learned that continuous wounding is not the path to healing

finding the words to create necessary space has been a challenge
and i have discovered there are no words
that can be always comforting to the concerned
while also being always true

"dis" means 'separate from'
and "aster" means 'star'
the word "disaster" translates into 'separated from the stars'
and so i chose my second name

my thirtieth year was about learning to love the burn
to embrace the pain that brought me to a place of understanding

my thirty-first year was a blistering dance between fire and metal
as the edges of my sanity wavered in the heat of the refination process

this thirty-second year has been a merciful immersion in grace
the first time that stillness and peace have penetrated deeply enough
to bring relief from the white hot pins forged from guilt and shame
and rain to the desert wilderness where i wander

and so i chose my third name
as a platform from which to launch myself into my thirty-third year
the age that martin luther nailed his 95 theses to a door and took on a broken system
the age that Jesus nailed his body to a cross and took on a broken world

trinfinity is coming
reeking of leather, blood, ink, and motor oil
vibrating with power and possibility
and hurtling me toward the event horizon of my soul

  • whipsmile
    the word "disaster" translates into 'separated from the stars' - that seems so remarkably perfect in terms of etymology
    by whipsmile at 09/27/12 10:35AM
  • mountainmama
    by mountainmama at 09/27/12 12:58PM
  • jenlew21
    by jenlew21 at 09/27/12 8:56PM
  • curlie
    Big hugs, sweetie.
    by curlie at 09/28/12 1:05PM
  • chooselove
    run free, peni penguin!
    by chooselove at 09/28/12 9:12PM
  • lastoflakewood
    Hope your 33rd year is full of good surprises!
    by lastoflakewood at 09/30/12 11:31PM
  • two
    They're actually experimenting with warp drive... trip to Mars in 2 minutes. Reaching your escape velocity may be possible.
    by two at 10/03/12 12:16PM
  • mountaingirl
    by mountaingirl at 10/18/12 6:45PM
  • fletch
    oh how I miss you, PeniJean!
    by fletch at 01/16/13 5:16PM

the clock on the wall has been stuck at three for days

we are all our own best science experiment
flinging the amusing illusion of objectivity to the wind
embracing the authenticity of our experience
the inevitability of our humanity
the beauty of our imperfection

these sleepless rainy nights in munchen
my body struggles to calibrate
as my mind battles to maintain equilibrium
through this resurgence of my latent hypergraphia
triggered by the inhalation of 7000 pages of text in the last two weeks

like an addict with a line of syringes protruding from my forearm
i breathe through the vortex of words
counting my breaths quietly and slowly
as the letterscreatingwordsformingthoughtsbuildingconceptsexplodingintogalaxies
pour into my brain through my eyes

seeping deep down in my belly
burrowing upward through my mind
mingling mixing laughing screaming dying melding
giving birth to a new and unfamiliar creature
with a voice that will not be silent

sitting in a white bed in a white walled room
with white floors and white furniture
surrounded by piles of white pages full of feverishly scribbled words
black ink marks heavy with the infinite density
of my naked singularity

  • curlie
    by curlie at 06/07/12 11:26AM
  • two
    I could never study that much again. Oh, wait, I couldn't do it back when I was supposed to be doing it!
    by two at 06/07/12 11:54AM
  • two
    Such a rainy, rainy, rainy night in M√ľnchen
    by two at 06/11/12 10:38AM
  • 71lespaulcustom

    Thanks for the comment.
    by 71lespaulcustom at 06/12/12 10:12PM
  • jenlew21
    You're such a great writer..... :)
    by jenlew21 at 06/21/12 6:33PM
  • lastoflakewood
    You are a very talented writer; love the post below also!
    by lastoflakewood at 06/22/12 8:53AM
  • sarahpet
    all you need is a white cat!
    by sarahpet at 08/07/12 8:41PM
  • two
    by two at 09/18/12 10:04AM

what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us ~ emerson

while i was watching this brief clip a little bit ago of a father lifting up his son at a major league baseball game
to catch a foul ball
i remembered that my dad used to do the same thing with me and my brothers
when we were kids
if my memory serves me
i think one of my brothers actually caught a pop up that drifted over the line into the stands
if you held an electric mixer to my eyeball
i couldn't tell you which brother it was

as i reminisced about hot plastic seats and sneaking pop into the stadium in our oversized pants pockets
my eyes caught on the black leather rawlings glove my dad got for me when i was about ten or eleven years old
resting on a shelf in my bedroom
shoved between my purple boxing gloves and a motorcycle helmet modified with copper sheeting to emanate EMF waves

i remember when he first brought the glove home
and the look of anticipation on his face when he pulled it out to give me

i was disappointed because it wasn't tan cowhide brown like the other kids' gloves
and i did a poor job of concealing my dismay
"but,'s BLACK..."
a memory that still grieves me when i think about my lack of appreciation
because it was an insightful move on his part
to get me something that wasn't like what the other kids had

because i wasn't like the other kids

and i wanted to be
i knew i didn't fit in and i wanted to badly

over time the glove grew on me
as i rubbed oil into it
and rubberbanded it around a baseball at night
and got dirt all over it during late summer afternoons on the ball field
where i awkwardly tripped over the bases and dropped as many baseballs as i caught

i even wrote my name on the label in fine tip sharpie
the equivalent of a long term commitment in those adolescent years

with time and multiple moves around the world
the black glove spent years in different boxes and storage facilities
and i forgot about it

until today
when i pulled it out
to play catch with a little boy who has down syndrome
and no daddy

he told me that it's hard to be different
and i said
yeah it is

but that it's okay
we aren't all made the same

and the more different we are
the more we have the chance to open the hearts of those who may forget
to see the beauty in all the shapes and colors that people come in

he stood still for a moment
carefully watching my face
his eyes blinking owlishly behind his thick glasses

i could see he was assessing whether or not i really meant what i said
or if i was just feeding him the usual adult platitudes

"how would you know?", he challenged me

i held up my gloved left hand
"let me tell you a thing i learned once..."

we played catch until it was too dark to see
and when his mom called him in
he ran over and hugged me
whispering fiercely in my ear,

"i'm gonna get a red glove!
" 'cause that's the color of my heart!"

then he barreled up the porch steps before i could think of anything to reply

i stood there for a few minutes in the dusk
absently swatting mosquitoes
and wondering if red baseball gloves even existed
worrying that it would just be just one more way the world would let him down

until i realized that i was forgetting
the strength and resilience inherent in the children that love hard
in spite of how many times they get hurt

if he couldn't find a red glove
this was the kind of kid that would make his own
he didn't need my pity
he deserved my respect

as i walked home
a worn out leather story dangling from the fingers of a little girl
in a grown woman's tired body
the dancing shadows of the dying sun
twisted and burned around me
and i felt the heaviness in my belly dissipate into the quiet wet air

*author's note:

a brief google search informed me that actually, there are quite a few red baseball gloves on the market these days.

  • mountainmama
    by mountainmama at 05/20/12 7:46PM
  • cmvermont
    i'm really happy i know you peni
    by cmvermont at 05/20/12 11:36PM
  • teelside
    other author's note: I love you so....
    by teelside at 05/21/12 4:59AM
  • onelittlecandle
    I like this!! :)
    by onelittlecandle at 05/21/12 9:16AM
  • jra
    This was really beautiful! I'm so glad you shared it!
    by jra at 05/21/12 10:07PM
  • AlanL
    From what I've seen, people with Down Syndrome are usually well loved, so being different would almost seem to be an advantage for them... yet different is different, and so it must still be hard.

    So often I remember something I did when I was a small child, or a teenager, or a young parent, that I am ashamed of, yet there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.
    by AlanL at 05/22/12 10:27AM
  • mountaingirl
    I love this... and love you too!
    by mountaingirl at 05/24/12 8:18AM
  • sarahpet
    what a wonderful active listener he is. That's not easy to find in this day and age. I hope he gets his glove.
    by sarahpet at 05/24/12 7:57PM
  • curlie
    Love this.
    by curlie at 05/25/12 1:31AM
  • whipsmile
    you are cool. that is all.
    by whipsmile at 05/28/12 3:39PM
  • mjintexas
    Sometimes it's good to be different. :)
    by mjintexas at 05/29/12 12:47PM