from a largely un-worked work-in-progress

The three-story building shouldered the sharp winter wind. Pastel teal paint, dull in the grey light, had lost its charm. The white of the shutters had begun to surrender. Harsh fluorescent blue streaked out of a window on the first floor, left of the entrance. Someone on the third floor was watching TV, or had otherwise left their set on through the night.  Dated script on the glass read Balmoral, number 5661. Two trees sat on either side of a cracked cement pathway that led to the large glassed-in foyer. Leaves helplessly scraped along the ground outside, the branches that stabbed the sky had been barren for months. The winter hung on, not bitterly, but with a certain determination.

Ruth stood on the sidewalk across the street from her apartment building and inhaled deeply. As she walked across the street she tickled around her pocket for her keys, ducking to hide in her collar. She rolled the key into her grasp and unlocked the heavy metal and glass door. As she stepped over the threshold the door swung violently away from the jamb, slamming into the foyer wall before she could catch it. The wind fought with her, attempting to pry the door out of her fingers . Finally, her pull was stronger than the push and she managed, with both hands, to yank the door to a loud close. She breathed heavy for a moment in the silence and felt a sweep of sweat mingle with guilt for making so much noise so early in the morning. Ruth adjusted her fallen canvas bag, pushing it firmly onto her shoulder, and continued through the second glass door. Inside, the building was warm and smelled of freshly brewed coffee, mixed with the permanent staleness of old carpet.

Sitting on a bench waiting for you to wake up

please don’t dismiss me
while dismissing my inability to come
out of myself
long enough to express
how perfectly you push
all my buttons

i just want to be good for somebody
i just want someone to care about
what is good for me
and since I don’t know
can we build it together?

because the bricks don’t fit and
I like windows but
these ones are freaking me out

are the floors supposed to creak this much?
should the mattress be up off the ground?
the temperature is perfect
and if I close my eyes I can smell you —
so I want to call it home but
I don’t think the water is running yet,

though we know I might try.
I’m far to tempted to say
“go find someone that is what you want
and leave me alone”
for I know that in effigie 
will always outshine
in esse 

A note from the poet: I likened my ideas to matches this morning, and my notebook like a pile of flint. There always seems to be the potential for a spark, but when I’m writing poetry it seems I work through a slew of matches very quickly. So lately, when I’ve tried to consider writing fiction, it feels like I don’t have any matches left. My notebook, these thoughts, feelings, observations that I collect each day, they need a little kindling. Maybe I’m just not quite sure what I’ve got to say anymore. Poetry is my own truth, fiction feels like it should be a little more universal. A raging bonfire that collects people around in a circle. A poem demands less, it can be a small as a lit cigarette being passed between two people.