Kristen Baum DeBeasi was born in the Willamette Valley, Oregon and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She has lived in Ohio and Arizona, too, and the Sonoran Desert is one of her favorite spots on the planet. She holds a Master of Music in Theory and Composition and spends her time writing poetry, children’s literature, and music for film and concerts. Kristen lives in LA and has an inordinate love of fairytales, flowers, and writing fridge poems whose only limitation is the words on those little magnets. Her poem, “African Violets” was nominated for Best of the Net.
Photo credit: Daniel Kresco
find me again,
in a book closet at your best friend’s
house, a lidless box of colored pencils
spilling onto page after page,
the colorful language of you.
Yellow-green, my willow-home
behind the barn. Red and white,
the bleeding hearts that drip
from greening wands. Black, the piano
with cracked and missing ivories, brass,
its strings that rang in my ears,
and yours. And you and always you, inside the yellow
kitchen forming loaves of bread, your dark hair
in stark relief against the sunny color.
The muffled ocean’s roar as from within
your conch shell womb. I think
you wanted me then. Before
I arrived to show you who I am.
If a poem were a word it could abracadabra you
from there to here. Not the word alone but
something behind the word that maybe the poet
isn’t even aware of. It teeter-totters you.
The poet understands because she’s left rocking too;
like she’s on the 23rd floor of a Japanese hotel
and the giant catfish at the center of the world
has just moved. The poet feels the building sway
like a ship because even it is connected to everything.
Are you shaken? Moved by the same things that move
the poet? She wants you to feel like it means something,
has significance—even if it’s mundane and you’re crying
the tears of a life you didn’t get to live
and in your desperation you breathe the prayer
of the Buddhist who goes to Pink’s Hot Dogs and says,
Make me one with everything, and they do. You forget
the kid you never got to have, the ships that sailed
without you; you even forget you were racing
to the dock shouting Wait for me! but the traffic
on Rodeo Drive was at a standstill and your partner
wishes they hadn’t insisted on the detour, on showing you
that thing—whatever it was—that you’ve both forgotten
already. And you arrive at the dock without your luggage
but it doesn’t matter. The ship has sailed. You stand,
too numb to wave at the happy passengers
bouncing their perfect babies and throwing noisemakers
so you can celebrate their “precious little bundles of joy”
but the noisemakers fall short, straight into the brine
and you realize it was never for you—that life—
and the meaning of life slips from your grasp; your mind
pulls out an emergency blanket, tries to cover you, says
Hold still. You will warm up again. And you realize
you’ve gone cold—really cold. Your mind starts babbling
about how things don’t always work out, how
the Disney family cruise is probably gross—you
definitely don’t want to touch the buffet table—
too many germs—too much shit that can go wrong.
And yet, like the poet, all you feel is the quake
of the giant catfish thrashing; the ship rock-a-byeing
like the 23rd floor of a hotel. The poet is still reeling;
and what she desperately wants is
to feel like she’s one with everything.