The Chill Factor

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I just want a corner to lie
down in.

Pull the covers over
my heart.

Let it get buried in
snow.

Somewhere underground
where the coordinates get lost

A hideout from worry and the
slow burn out of life.

My calendar whited out.
My fingers too cold to hold.
My lips too raw to kiss the end note.

And I can live in the moment
before.

A frozen vessel alone
in the stillness.

My soul encased in a thousand
miles of Arctic air.

-Tosha Michelle

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Get Over It?

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Things to Get Over.

1. Hurdles, potholes in the road, stumps. The gap, you refuse to mind. The fact that you aren’t British.
2. Relatives you’ve lost to cancer, old age, depression, and alcoholism.
3. Things that ended in nothingness. The fear of being alone. The aggravation of being together.
4. Stupid love affairs the ones that terrified, and the ones that were filled with happiness The ring kept, or pawned, or thrown in his face. The one who got away. The one you wish had gotten away.
5. Childhood memories of storybooks, catching fireflies,; snow days so bright that the whole world was covered in whiteness. Your imaginary friend, named Tom, who never made fun of your coke bottled glasses, and the way you refuse to look at strangers
6. Suburban life, the ethers of banality,
7. Children growing up and the pain of letting go. The stillness of the house. The quiet you chase around every room
8. The cries for help from those you were able to reach and those you weren’t.
9. Dispossessed possessions. Substance. The absence of substance.
10.The unfound. The unfinished.
11. illusions, delusions. Daydreams. Nightmares.
12. All the seconds, minutes, hours, days, the years that pile up, the past always waiting to hear from you
13. Words that rise and fall. Transparent, sometimes luminous but that will vanish in the end.
14. The crushing reality that not everyone will like your remedy
15. Wasted time. Good intentions that grow tired.

These are a few of the things to get over. However, do we ever really get over things, or do we just learn to go around them?

Perhaps, we should savor the
things to get over. Praise what was. Our past, always there to confess. Bow to
it like a priest. Recall the shifting seasons, hoard the heart’s thorns, what hurts us can also nurture us. Just remember, the past can never be altered. Don’t stumble on your way around it. Listen for the footsteps of the future. Be ready to take its hand when it calls for you.

What good is life if we don’t use it up? Bite hard into the things to get over. It doesn’t matter if you break the skin.. Relish the pain, and then come back to today, to life, and ardently pursue the elixir, living.

-Tosha Michelle

Words, Interrupted

If I write it down
I can’t take it back.
When I’m gone, and
the wind of your world
is still scented with
my verse, what then?

Who will I be to you?
a bittersweet arrangement
of molecules only legible
under certain nostalgic light?
The tug of your heart, of
what might have been?

If your voice fails you
give them my words.
Tell them this is how
she adored me,
with syntax and lyrical sighs,
bleeding emotions.
The wingspan of her poetry.

I dressed you only
in the sun, too far gone
to halt our ending, but still
close enough for you to cling
to the last bit of light.

You’ll find me somewhere
lost between the pages of
your life. Sitting on an
endless porch swing singing
the blue notes.

The language never quite finished.
The language;never quite done.

Tosha Michelle

I Wish

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I’m tired of being love’s
recruit. I want to enlist
in hate

I wish there was a dose
of something that would
make me care less.

I’m tired of doing math, I
forgot a long time ago.

Tonight, I want to get
wrecked and call it
victory.

I want to sleep on the
deathbed of empathy.
and be reborn a cynic.

Instead, I’ll wake
tomorrow. Victory
sinking and thinking
love is as necessary
as a soul patch to
a hipster.

Never content to let
it rest. Always trying
to stitch it and people
back together.

Always a sucker
for Mahler and his
tragedies.

Always in tune with
the birds weeping
in the trees.

Never content to
hide in dark places
with the moon.

Always making
something out of
nothing that
isn’t there.

-Tosha Michelle

Woman Child

I’m the woman who believes in thorns,
the beauty of fallen fruit,
and lavishing love on the lovable
and unlovable.

I’m generous, difficult, and incomplete.

I’m emotional, moody and often demanding

I have spells of sullen iciness,
and moments of hot tea and clarity.

I’m the woman who can only be
of this world for moments at a time.
My soul affixed to solitude
and one darkness after another.
When the lights finally come back on,

I confess I like a warm arm around my waist
and a strong shoulder to rest my chaotic head.
I’m also partial to masculine fingers
that know how to coax my color back,
under silk sheets, with creative words,
and hands of purpose.

I’m often confused. Do I succumb
to the screeching crow
or pay homage to the nightingale?

I’m the woman who would go
anywhere to leave you,
but will beg you to come with me.

When we get there, I’ll fight with you
over the map and then kiss you
on the street.

I’m an expert at backbends.
I practice them every night
under memory’s disco light.
I hide an extra heart under my bed
in a packed suitcase of longing.

I’m the woman waiting for good enough
to be enough. Still, always wanting
more of much. Knowing life, like art,
is what we make it.
We all deserve something more than nothing.

I’m insignificant, and at times insecure.
I’m the broken woman.
cracked, bent. Damaged.
I’m the woman becoming whole,
becoming more me with each new break.

-Tosha Michelle

The Remains 

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The ones I love,
and have been
blessed to keep,
are sleeping
as night’s low
pitch hums slowly
fades.

I walk along the lake
with only the birds
to keep me company.
The clouds sticky,
but devoid
of cotton candy,
offer no sweetness.
I move through stony colors,
a stillness in my
soul.

The water churns,
dark froth travels
in its wake.
I cry for some
inexplicable reason.

Through my tears,
I stare out into
the silence,
and think of those
who make me the happiest.
And then I wonder
about those
who have come
and gone.
The ones I have lost,
lost loves, lost friends,
a litany of history.

Memories reclaim
me for a moment.
Has life carried
them where they
want to be?
Does the dusty world
ever taunt them, too?
Do they ever
wonder why time
offers no explanation
for grief and regret?
Do they ever weep
because whatever
we’re made of,
we can never alter
the ticking clock’s
hands.

I hope that there’s
a table set somewhere
for them, and morning kisses
to greet them.

The past opens quickly,
but recedes just as
fast.

I pick a dying
wild flower from its
sidewalk home,
just as a boat
heads off into the gray,
brushed stroke
of the mist.
A lone crow
plummets toward it,
like granite.
The first faint orange
spot appears in the
sky.

Lifting my chin to the sun,
to brightness.
I discard the unbreathable,
dizzy smell of nostalgia.

I bathe in the now,
and wash my soul
in today’s syllables

Thankful for what was,
but even more grateful
for those who await
me at home.
I know without them,
the air would taste
like nothingness.

Standing on the bridge
in the space between
yesterday and today.
I walk back toward
the scent of nectar,
of happiness
Eating up the sunshine
while I still can.

-Tosha Michelle

Lost Lines

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This is my elegy for those lost lines of poetry.
The ones that died in my mind,
when I was in the store, out on the town
or walking in the park.
Those times when pen and paper chose to stay
home and take a nap. My usually
fruitful memory-barren.

Go, little poem off to the land of word limbo,
out into nothingness.
The braids of forgotten syntax and out of sync time
will guide you. You’ll forever dwell with untold
stories, names unrecalled, and dreams unremembered.
What if and
what never was will comfort you.

I’ll mourn for you as I sit at my desk
staring at the unfulfilled pages, lonely,
for lines that came and died suddenly.
Erased between here and there.
Sentences that turned into ashes,
leaving only the residue of punctuation
and a memory of the moment
just before I forgot to remember.

-Tosha Michelle