“We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”
- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Close Proximity is a meditation on the relationship between geography, spaces and memories. The poems in this collection examine the measurement of distances, whether in the context of time or proxemics. Human beings are social creatures by nature, and we have the ability to connect with others—friends, family, lovers and strangers—at the most fundamental level, regardless of the distances between us.
Point A to Point B
I can count the number of stepsit takes to get from my roomto your door without missinga beat.
In a geospatial contextwe´re not that far apart, but the thread that connectsmy wrist to yours is a tightropewe dance on and, baby, it´s about to break.
The distance between point A and Bcan be measured in memories: Christmas dinner at Carrabba´s; fogging up my windows in the YMCAparking lot; laying beneath you beneatha sprinkler beneath the stars illuminatingthe dark winding trail that came tosymbolize our history.
The distance between B and Cis measured in a foreign metric system.
Point C is a destination we may never reach together.You and I are no longer parallel, and it´s hard to makea correct calculation with this much space between us.
It seems we´re on separate islands, drifting in opposite directions.Can you feel the tectonic plates crashing?
Maybe it´s my heart pounding my chestlike a husband punching the coffin of his belovedsinking at five centimeters per second.But we´re both here, alive and well, writing elegiesfor a pile of failed attempts.
It´s always sad when two poets placea final period on a co-authored sonnet, but the inkwell is running dry, and I´m afraid there aren´t anymore wordsto add to this Gaudi-esque story we´ve built.
Not even a skilled wordsmith can builda bridge made of apologies and 'I love you'slong enough to close the gap that time had carved.
[Originally published in Mused: BellaOnline Literary Review, Spring Equinox Issue, 2011]
Time and Distance
An old widow looksout the windowand waves farewellto the mailman.Her mouth is dry, barren from lack of loveand lack of wine.
But there's peace in her house: a dead husband and a daughterin Beirut—silence as loud asdaily gunfire.
She thinks about generations, heirlooms, family ties and bondsthat break over time, stretched outby ever-expanding spaceas the Earth re-maps itselfby the millimeter.
She watches blood turn into rustand laments over the larksthat no longer sing.
She misses the warmthof freshly-baked sweet breadagainst her calloused palm; the warmth of her husband'schest; her young daughter's hug.
Out on a balcony a blue skirt fluttersand a young couple dancesthe night away.
The young girl twirls and twirlsuntil the world becomes a smearedoil painting of its own reflection.
[Originally published in The Platform GapIssue 01, April 2015]
She told her sonthat his father’s eyeswere green, like the pondwhere she tried to end her lifeat age 20.
She told him what it was liketo accept another person, fully; what wine sounds likewhen it pours endlesslyin red plastic cups; the stench of stale tobaccoon cheap motel bed sheets.
She told him about thelong winter nights alone, trapped behind a Berlin Wallof Detroit’s snow in a shitholewith broken pipes.
She told him about the stabbingin the living room; showed him the scars foreveretched on her skin; described to him whatcoagulated blood looked likein the moonlight: a placid lake of crude oilwaiting to burn future generations.
She’s thankful that her son’s eyesare gray, like her grandmother’s;the color of a cyclonebrewing off the shore, evolving into beautiful forms.
She passes stories to him, because the past is his to inherit--a reminder encoded in his DNAof mistakes corrected.
[Originally published in Perspective Literary MagazineIssue 04, December 2014]