The Type by Sarah Kay (Poem#24)

The Type

by Sarah Kay


If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at,
you can let them look at you
but do not mistake eyes for hands
or windows or mirrors.
Let them see what a woman looks like.
They may not have ever seen one before.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch,
you can let them touch you.
Sometimes it is not you they are reaching for,
sometimes it is a bottle,
a door,
a sandwich,
a Pulitzer,
another woman.
But their hands found you first.
Do not mistake yourself for a guardian,
or a muse,
or a promise,
or a victim,
or a snack.
You are a woman,
skin and bones,
veins and nerves,
hair and sweat.
You are not made of metaphors,
not apologies,
not excuses.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold,
you can let them hold you.
All day they practice keeping their bodies upright.
Even after all this evolving it still feels unnatural,
still strains the muscles,
holds firms the arms and spine.
Only some men will want to learn what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you,
admit they do not have the answers they thought they would by now.
Some men would want to hold you like the answer.
You are not the answer.
You are not the problem.
You are not the poem,
or the punchline,
or the riddle,
or the joke.

Woman, if you grow up the type men want to love,
you can let them love you.
Being loved is not the same thing as loving.
When you fall in love it is discovering the ocean after years of puddle-jumping.
It is realizing you have hands.
It is reaching for the tightrope when the crowds have all gone home.

Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of woman men will hurt.
If he leaves you with a car alarm heart,
you learn to sing along.
It is hard to stop loving the ocean
even after it has left you gasping, salty.
So forgive yourself for the decisions you’ve made,
the ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night.

And know this:
Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.
Let the statues crumble.
You have always been the place.
You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.

Self-portrait with Hornets by Henri Cole (Poem#23)

Self-portrait with Hornets
by Henri Cole

Hornets, two hornets, buzz over my head;
I’m mapping and cannot keep my eyes open.
“Do you come from far away?” I ask, dozing off.
My gums are dry when I wake. A morning breeze
rakes the treetops. I can smell the earth.
The two hornets are puzzling over
something sticky on my night table
wiping their gold heads with their arms.
Ordinary things are like symbols. My eyes are watery
and blurred. Then I lose myself again.
I’m walking slowly in a heat haze,
my vision contracting to a tiny porthole,
drawing me to it, like flourishing palms.
I can feel blood draining out of my face.
I can feel my heart beating inside my heart,
the self receding from the center of the picture.
I can taste sugar under my tongue.
All the usual human plots of ascent
and triumph appear disrupted.
Crossing my ankles, I watch the day
vibrate around me, watch the geraniums
climb toward the distant mountains
where I was born, watch the blank worm
wiggling out of the window box,
hiding its head from the pale sun
that lies down on everything.
purifying it. Lord, teach me to live.
Teach me to love. Lie down on me.

That Night by Lang Leav (Poem #22)

That Night
by Lang Leav

It was one of those nights that you are not altogether sure what really
did happen. There are no photographs, nor receipts, no scaled journal entries.

Just the memory sitting in my mind, like a half-blown dandelion,
waiting to be fractured, dismembered. Waiting to disintegrate
into nothing.

As I close my eyes, the pictures play like a blurry montage. I can
see us driving for hours, until the street signs grew less familiar –
the flickering lamplights giving away to stars. Then sitting across
from you in that quiet, little Italian place. Your hands pushing the
plates aside, reaching across for mine.

The conversations we had about everything and nothing. And
kissing you. How I remember that.

It was one of those nights that my mind still can’t be sure of. That
wonders if I was ever there at all. Yet in my heart, it is as though
I’ve never left.

Years by Sylvia Plath (Poem#21)

by Sylvia Plath

They enter as animals from the outer
Space of holly where spikes
Are not the thoughts I turn on, like a Yogi,
But greenness, darkness so pure
They freeze and are.

O God, I am not like you
In your vacuous black,
Stars stuck all over, bright stupid confetti.
Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.

What I love is
The piston in motion –
My soul dies before it.
And the hooves of the horses,
Their merciless churn.

And you, great Stasis –
What is so great in that!
Is it a tiger this year, this roar at the door?
It is a Christus,
The awful

God-bit in him
Dying to fly and be done with it?
The blood berries are themselves, they are very still.

The hooves will not have it,
In blue distance the pistons hiss.

The Illiterate by William Meredith (Poem#20)

The Illiterate By William Meredith

Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.
His uncle could have left the farm to him,
Or his parents died before he sent them word,
Or the dark girl changed and want him for beloved.
Afraid and letter-proud, he keeps it with him.
What would you call his feeling for the words
That keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII by Pablo Neruda (Poem#19)

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII By Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

When Love Arrives by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye (Poem#18)

When Love Arrives

by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye
I knew exactly what love looked like…
In seventh grade

Even though I hadn’t met love yet
If love had wandered into my homeroom
I would have recognized him at first glance
Love wore a hemp necklace

I would have recognized her at first glance
Love wore a tight French braid

Love played acoustic guitar
And knew all my favorite Beatles songs
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me
And I knew
I just must be checking the wrong classroom

Just must be searching the wrong hallways
She was there, I was sure of it

If only I could find him
But when love finally showed up

She had a bowl cut
He wore the same clothes every day for a week

Love hated the bus
Love didn’t know anything about the Beatles

Every time I tried to kiss love
Our teeth got in the way

Love became the reason I lied to my parents
“I’m going to… Ben’s house”

Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor
But made sure we never missed a slow song

Love waited by the phone because she knew if her father picked up it would be

“Hello ?” (*Heavy breathing*)
“Hello ?” (*Heavy breathing*)
“I guess they hung up”

And love grew

Love … Stretched like a trampoline

Love changed

Love disappeared… slowly
Like baby teeth, losing parts of me I thought I needed

Love vanished like an amateur magician
Everyone could see the trapdoor but me

Like a flat tire
There were other places I had planned on going

But my plans didn’t matter

Love stayed away for years
And when love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him
Love smelled different now, had darker eyes
A broader back
Love came with freckles I didn’t recognize
New birthmarks, a softer voice
Now there were new sleeping patterns
New favorite books
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else
Songs love didn’t like to listen to

So did I…

But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly
We found jokes that make us laugh
And now love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies
But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack

Loves looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator
Love knows where she’s going
It just might take her two hours longer than she planned

Love is messier now
Not as simple

Love uses the word “boobs” in front of my parents
Love chews too loudly
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste
Love uses smiley faces in her text messages
And turns out

Love shits!

But love also cries
And love will tell you, “You are beautiful”

And mean it

Over and over again (“You are beautiful”)
When you first wake up- (“You are beautiful”)
When you’ve just been crying- (“You are beautiful”)
When you don’t wanna hear it- (“You are beautiful”)
When you don’t believe it- (“You are beautiful”)
When nobody else will tell you, (“You are beautiful”)
Love still thinks… (“…”)

You are beautiful

But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget
When you need to hear it most

You are beautiful

Do not forget this

Love is not who you were expecting
Love is not what you can predict

Maybe love is in New York City already asleep
You are in California, India, Australia, wide awake
Maybe love is always in the wrong timezone

Maybe love is not ready for you
Maybe you are not ready for love

Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type

Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce
Love looks older now, but just as beautiful as you remember

Maybe love is only there for one month
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit
Maybe love stays
Maybe love can’t
Maybe love shouldn’t…

Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to
And love leaves exactly when love must
When love arrives say,
“Welcome, make yourself comfortable”

If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet
“Thank you for stopping by”