1,000 words or less


The manic love fest with anxiety soars through my veins, toes tap tap tap endlessly; words go round n round n round in my brain like celery strings caught in a garbage disposal. My heart is heavy yet weightless and there is no ground to stand on, no fixed point to steady my gaze. He unnerves me and leaves me seething with the same shameful blood; I too won’t take responsibility for those left wounded in my wake. And then im 7 again and thinking simplified ways to justify my too-crazy-to-say out loud get-backs. Always get-backs, I never want to start the fight, its so grueling and painful and im just a little girl. My breathing is staggered, heart beats got the hiccups, I can feel him back in my life and I have no where to sink into because I made a life of me put together, put back together like a Picasso portrait. And now im exposed and can’t fall apart and I can’t shut down… so I feel him in my missed breathes and the words that can never be spoken don’t even try to break free anymore…and he still weighs me down without leaving a single mark… I fight the crazy hard this time because I need to feel it this time, feel every crack, every scar split back open, so I can shake him free like zebras dancing after being chased by lions…



An (English) Ode in the works

A          High above the sea, our hands touching clouds

B                      our fingers comb through pine

A          Cold winds blowing, wrapped around us like shrouds

B                      our eyes gaze endless white lines


C          Let me linger here, deep in the rest of loves arms

D                      where mere mortals stand in awe

E                                  like flecks of dirt and dust set free

C          Let me linger here, deep under all these tiny stars

D                      where mere mortals lie in awe

E                                  like specks of fallen golden leaves


(Big Mama Thornton – Heavy Load)

You can have the sun,

you can take the whole goddamned sky lit on fire…

I will gladly choose the clouds, the woods, the forests –

rain and thunderstorms and the dusky grey horizons

comfort me and nourish me plenty

You may need sun to feel love

to feel strength sprout inside of you

and blossom as if your love has not already faded

all I need is the earth beneath my feet –

the mountains at my fingertips, the pine dew

scented air wrapped around me

daffodils left unpicked and blooming…


it’s lovely, isn’t it? All the golden and raspberry-stained leaves hanging loosely from limbs, and those birch-bark stalks standing tall and majestic…

winter comes close and worms go deep underground. our words never leave our mouths, barely connecting thoughts and feelings to our hearts and minds.

We brush past each other with less grace than leaves falling to their death.


You Should Know

Before you buy me that drink

or look at me with eyes sweet &

soft like the calm lake surface –

           You should know

that I’m unlikely to crack or open or truly

let you in


I’ll look across from you

with eyes that are deep & curious &

cause you to want to get closer…

            My eyes will look at you, to you –

and you may feel a growing confidence &

desire to inch closer toward me…


You may feel a strong obliging pull

 to be the exception-

because my eyes resonate with you – you,

the doctor, the artist, the intensely focused entrepreneur, teacher, the vagabond gambler…

my eyes that are always resting above those soft grey-shaded circles

will spark something in you, and

you may even think you’re special…


you’ll resonate with my passion

you’ll want to fix my pain

to heal my heartache

to show me it’s safe to let people close

and my eyes will plead with you to succeed

convince me, please – my eyes will say to you…


I casually break free, push away,

avoid your closeness


So, before you buy me that drink, and

scoot your barstool even closer to mine,

before you get all close and share your stories

 and ideas and your own twisted ways…

You should know –

I’m unlikely to soften, to truly let anyone in


(Hiking in Grand Mesa National Forrest; listening to Ryan Adams – La cienaga just smiled) 

Wandering in the mountaintop,

I only want snow powdered dust filling my mind, and

while you crawl across the landscape,

peaking through clouds to spy on me –


I’m hidden safely in the arms of

pine and aspen and birch,

snow clinging branches; I’m clinging nothing –

not sun rays nor snow-scapes nor mountain sides



Can I fall freely

into your golden freckled arms

feel the wind carry me

safely across the horizon

can I get lost in your soft California eyes,

hearing the ocean when I look into them? 

apparently not…


© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


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