poetry · Recent

Pier Jumping

Back after a long hiatus from poetry, and from any kind of writing not directly related to the dissertation or teaching. I journaled and have plenty of scraps of poems that I haven’t finished, but this is the first poem I’ve finished in a while.

I performed this poem, a couple days ago, at the open mic night I attend.


Back when I jumped off piers at midnight

dark water below shushing and slurping against the pilings

Back when balancing on the rickety railing

at midnight in bare feet

bare legs, bare skin gooseprickling

not from cold–though even summer nights

aren’t hot in the Pacific Northwest.

Goose flesh from the thrill

the tide ebbing over rocky shores

seemingly gentle from the height but

stronger, higher waves with each

whooshing inch that brought body

closer to impact with chill salt water.

Tangle of seaweed and current pulling, pushing, carressing.

Back when I jumped off piers at midnight

my fears had little to do with risk of injury on rocks

or of being dashed against cement and wood of the docks.

When my daily waking hours consisted of fears

of being dashed against walls or pressed under flesh

cuts and scrapes on barnacled beaches were a welcome change.

Back when I jumped piers at midnight

the swoop in my stomach

rapid pounding of heart

rush of blood in ears

meant that for a moment,

the worst that would happen

might still be out of my control.

Back when I pier jumped at midnight

at least at those summer midnights

the worst that could have happened

was by my choice.

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