Abecedarian on Hunger

Everyone's Image

Give her


Killing is on-
Ly for


People she knew
Ran if they still had legs

Starve quick
Taste delish

Undigested flesh rots and she
When she remembers 

X used to be so-and-so, could be
Yours Truly, could be a
Zombie Walker

Small Things Series: Scientist LEGOs

The toy store had two scientists:
1. The Crazy Mad Scientist, $11.25
2. The Female Scientist, $25.97

She comes prepared with two beakers
To his less-efficient one

Her hair is parted neatly on the side
His juts out in spikes

She displays her ID badge
Where his jacket is splattered

His solution is evil neon green
The look in his eye is effectively Crazy Mad

Do you think she costs $14.72 more
As a salary honoring her professionalism?
I wonder.

Small Things Series: Colored Pens

We didn't pick them out together
But Jeff had them too
A set of six three-inch, colored pens

Depending on the text, I had two practices
1. Colors by heading, subheading, body notes
2. Colors by section

He was impressed by my order
I was impressed by his shameless use
Of pink and purple

Determination of Flavor Following the Inclusion of Sweet in Savory

She says scientists love to cook
They follow instructions well
And everyone loves some version of chili
Buy the meat and peppers

Wash, peel, seed, dice
Onion, garlic, tomatoes
Heat up a pan
Stir with a slotted spoon

Lab work is the same
Source your materials
Prep the buffer solutions
Handle specialized equipment

Centrifuge, cell scraper, pipette
The artistry exists in knowing
To approximate in cooking
And quantify exactly in science

Things go wrong if they can
The spice cake was flat and dense
Baking is closer to science
You start over

Questions of the infinite
Answers in dehydrated milk
Three old white men grill her
On the knowledge behind her thesis

We used to question the inclusion
Of sweet in savory
Her friends and family
Sometimes we say the wrong thing

She starts over
The conversation
She is more likely to say no-
Thing, than the wrong thing

You can merge the word "porn"
After "food" or "science"
Passion is not added to taste
It is the taste and the process

Label a scientist cold
Feel the heat of her chili

The Mirror Stage

Note: Sexual themes and drug use. Maybe don't read this if you're a kid or those topics make you uncomfortable.

When I lost all that weight
I couldn't get enough

Of the mirror
Clothes from before or never
Reflections in newly-washed car exteriors
My shadow moving in the parking lot
I asked my therapist if I was a narcissist
She said, "It’s just a mirror stage."

In a musical charge
I listened to a recording of myself
Some silly little song
Hundreds of times
The ‘e’ vowels produced
In my endocrine system
The “within, sift” system
Cellular, sugar and mineral,
heart and guts, prolonged

How many half-a-days
Were lost to reading
My own posts, re-reading
Until the reading becomes skimming
Becomes staring
Until the screen sleeps
And glazed-over eyes stare back
A psychic disturbance
A face all double-chins and grease

Who is that?

One night when I was stoned
I turned the camera app to selfie
Needed to know I could be satisfied
Painted my hair and face like Venus
Soft features, everything soft, and white
White babydoll, white eye brightener
White breasts as big as my head
I didn’t know

Didn’t know a self cathexis
Could feel like Imago Dei
They say when a baby
First knows his reflection
The recognition is so pure
A judgementless consolidation
Of object and subject
The child seeks to see it again
For the rest of his life

He is unable to love himself
Except as a coping mechanism
Except as a placeholder for real love
Unable to see the gestalt of his actions
Unable to see the infinite forms of love
The process of the thing

I looked myself in the eye as I came
Ah ha, and I slept

Sebastian Chases Storms

Sebastian chases storms
with a Nikon d3200
and an eighteen to fifty-five millimeter lens.
"Science is pretty awesome stuff," he says.
He liked weather since he saw his first storm.

There isn’t much weather
in Central California,
Not like the summer storms of Missouri,
Not like the monsoons of Arizona.

He talks about before now,
Being busy with family life and stuff.
Before now he was seventeen.

He needs a lot of things.
A Canon 7d Mark II,
Or a d7100,
A better lens,
Another trip to Yosemite,
Better exposure shots.

One time his favorite photographer
Photographed the same storm as him
And he didn’t even know
Until he saw the pictures online.

He’s going stormchasing after he graduates.
After he gets up for school in 4 hours.
He’s gonna be all predictions and radars
reports and stuff like that.

"I'm just a troubled teenager who likes weather
for now."
Sebastian chases storms

Beautiful Person

I answered a call from an unknown number
Because when the ID says “Unknown”
It’s usually Grandma offering to take me to dinner
“Do you have some time to take a survey?”
It wasn’t Grandma.

“How much time?” I asked.
“It’s about ten minutes
but it can get toward twenty-five.
Depends on the person’s answers,
So I don’t want to say specifically.

You’d really be helping us out
because we only need one more survey
and we can all go home.”
That could have been a line
but if it was a line

It’s because he knows something about humans
When a chore becomes a favor
it’s no longer a chore
In one sentence I transformed
from Random Participant to Good Samaritan

“Sure,” I said, “I can do that.”
Twenty minutes later
I’d answered all the questions
He said, “Thank you so much.
You’re actually a beautiful person.”

And left me to figure out
How a moment
Goes from almost not answering the phone
To validating our existence
Worth missing Scattergories at Game Night

Maybe he found it sweet
That I would Strongly Consider
Giving up a kidney or part of my liver
For a family member
And Somewhat Consider the same for a stranger

I don’t know how often
The agency that checks for errors
in credit score calculations is accurate
But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt
And say Every Time

Maybe he agreed with my views
That Cosmopolitan Magazine isn’t appropriate for all ages
But I Strongly Disagree with actions to censor it
Or he liked my jokes
“How many cups of coffee do you drink per week?”

“Since I left Seattle, averaging zero!”
And, “Tell it to me straight, man.
Are you just using me to draft your short story?”
“No no,” he laughed, “I don’t even write the questions.”
“Alright,” I said, “I’m gonna write it then.”

The draft is coming along
It has two characters, yearning
Dialogue, direct and indirect
Tension that zooms in and out
I think I might add in somewhere

A phone survey operator
With a sense of humor
Who knows lots of things about humans
I answered a call from an unknown number

The Third Place

Give that car salesman
A cold beer
This is the night
He goes into space

And you're allowed, you know
To calm
Opening night jitters
With whatever's handy

The sales race was close
Two men forerunning
Tallying add-ons and contract riders

Last month
The reward was a Costco supply
Of microwave lunches

You're going to space, man
Drink up

This bar is famous for its DJ
Request any song
How about Rocket Man, Spaceman
Space Jam, Starship something
Cyndi Lauper, you got it

No one here will question
Your late night NASA mission
As long as the news comes with a round

We know the Earth is over
We're trying to get off too

The pool table was just refelted 
Doesn't she look nice?

Curiosity's on Mars
Reconnaissance orbits the moon
Where are you going?

When you get to space
Will you leave something

To float around forever for me?
I must have something in my pockets

Here, take this bottle opener from the bar
It'll say we were here
Using tools, sharing tools,

We were here
Look down at us and smile

Human Interactions As Told By a Future (I Hope) Cartoon

1. I have been cutting out my organs
And little pieces of flesh
And holding them out to you in the palms of my hands

You look at it and say
Wow, that's disgusting
But I think it still works
So I stitch it back in and kiss you on the cheek

2. Sometimes you look at it
And then you look at me
And you turn away

And you turn back holding your liver

And we look at each other's and we say
Wow, that's disgusting
But I think it still works
And we stitch them back in and kiss on the cheek

3. I have been cutting out my organs
And little pieces of flesh
And holding them out to you in the palms of my hands

And you say,
Looks good.

I keep my offering extended
"Looks good?"
Do you not see how raw and outside of my body this is?

Maybe it's because I do this daily
That you assume I've learned
That my organs are gross but they serve a function

It's true I have gotten used to the itch of the bandages
And you've seen me caress the texture of my suture scars

But it took me three hours to craft
The perfect vein of fat for you
Another hour to get the nerve
Did you notice I'm still bleeding?

You must not understand
The consequence of your assumption
Now I think you were just being polite

You're afraid to tell me
It doesn't actually look good
It's rotten and bad
I can't use the flesh
I'll be full of holes

4. I have been cutting out my organs
And little pieces of flesh
And holding them out to you in the palms of my hands

You look at it and turn back to chopping carrots
And I know it's just a gallbladder
It's not that impressive
But I wish you would acknowledge the risk

5. I have been cutting out my organs
And little pieces of flesh
And holding them out to you in the palms of my hands

We had plans to meet at six
So I made you a kidney

And by the time you showed up at nine
I'd already had to stitch it back
You probably didn't want to see it anyway

6. I have been cutting dead leaves off houseplants
I don't know what's inside me
I'm lonely

Not Evil Like Glitter But Warm Like the Sun

I never feel free like the winds through a willow
Or wrecked, in pieces, in a wretched ruin
I think the other poets are on drugs

I would love if my heartbreak carried me across time
Time just happens without movement nor stillness
And even the word "heartbreak" is too abstract

I am not planted like a tree
I am a couch-dweller
There is no metaphor here

If I figured out what drugs they are taking
I would speak and flecks of glitter would weaponize
Swirl, dance, combine to form a sword

Or peel away in a cloud under the door
Traveling by wind, fiercely
Infecting every open orifice with a word virus

Or a word cure, which is not sharp and evil like glitter
But warm like the sun and pours from my fingertips
Every word is a touch with the power to improve

Or, sober, I might find another way to write in simile
Meditate until I am equalized
I am the same as a cricket

And a cat, and a fleck of dust
Caught in the light
I am the light, and then, one with all

Stick my fingers into sockets,
Slide my heels into rattlesnake dens
Wade deeper and deeper into the ocean

Charged and swollen and raw and one
Just like / such as / as in
One who understands what that's like

A person who emotes like things
And exists
As feeling

Dear Future Self (A Blackout Poem)

Typed up and blacked out a journaled letter to my future self to find the important parts.

Itchy Sunburn

Yesterday when the sunburn just hurt a lot
I'd gladly trade for this incessant itching
The worst spot is mid – back
I can reach it, just barely
Staying away from windows
For this mid – morning topless flailing
I might order pad Thai and some wonton soup
And the Thai food delivery guy
Will fall in love with me
And then he will draw me an oatmeal bath
Feed me a Benadryl like a chocolate strawberry
And rub me with lavender oil and aloe

"Today, Still" Cross Stitch Pattern

My #NaPoWriMo project today is a cross stitch pattern of an excerpt from my 2010 poem "Today, Still". Maybe I should've done this yesterday when it was #TBT!

I'm really excited! I made it to serve as the cover of my new Facebook page, www.facebook.com/sweetlovetruly. I hope to see you there for updates on new writing projects and things that inspire me. I WILL find my people!

<3 Sarah

Mother, Daughter

Daughter, get a job
And please move on
You are breaking my heart daily

You don't have to like your work
But get up, go, repeat
Be strong

Maybe you'll get lucky
If not, you know that you can fake it
Make me proud

You're healthy and you're young
But not for long
So please get going, baby


Strength is showing up
Looks like, on that, we agree

I speak up when I am hurt
Mom, look a little closer, please

Fluttershy's the strongest pony
Eeyore is the bravest donkey

Littlest bird, prettiest song
Ukulele, sweetest anthem

Off-brand cereal, best value
Are you still not proud, Mom?

I comfort friends through their depression
Mine's become an art obsession

When I find success in work
It damn well is authentic

Mama, you want simple for me

But nothing's simpler than loving
Things for what they are already


Daughter, how will you make money?
What about romance and family?
Someday, I would like grandchildren.


These things you list are synonyms
For safety and connection.

I have those things. It's just a bad day.
Please stop looking at me that way.

The best part of acceptance
Is you haven't failed either

We're both doing such a great job
Bloodied up in this arena

When I tell you I'm unwell
It is because I need your help

Not to say I'm living wrong
But to remind me I am strong

The only thing I want...


Sorry you had a bad day, honey
I'm so glad you share with me
My love for you would never break my heart

It builds


I cried when I hugged my brothers goodbye at their rental car
And the Palm trees reassured me I'd made the right choice
As I drove straight to the mattress store

You live here now
This is for you

I watched Friends DVDs on my new mattress
Until the finale coincided with Tikka Masala delivery
Spilling on the bedsheet
When the things I'd sold
And the people I left
Became indistinguishable

The view from my Bellingham kitchen
Was a tree that changed colors with seasons
It never reassured me in the winter
When the passing students could look in
As I washed the dishes

You don't belong here
You should just kill yourself

And the rest of the year,
When it was green, or orange, or red
Had I cleaned enough to deserve the view?

The Palm trees are just Palm trees now
Usually neutral, planted and bending

Leave if you want
Stay if you want