Torrin Greathouse – two poems

8th Grade Dance Hallelujah

love is a dance floor, where only
left feet are allowed,
where everybody is laughing, and no one is laughing at you.
Where 10,000 lovers toe-tap to the melody of
each others’ heartbeats, off key with the song,
like the hallelujah of an 8th grade dance revival and
everyone still looks terrible,
but this time
no one cares.

love is the best cheap wine we can afford
on a Friday night when rent is due soon
and it’s started to feel like we’re stilt walking
on butterfly knives.
Baby let’s get just drunk enough to lose our balance.
I can be your left foot if you’ll be my right, ‘cause sometimes loving
is not understanding the gravity of a situation,
but knowing you couldn’t shoulder it alone.

Or maybe,
love is the ocean reaching for the moon,
each quiet particle stretching, stretching palms
upward like dinner plate Frisbees,
waiting for the fall
waiting for the fall,
then shattering down on themselves,
into endless violet fractals like a delivery truck crashing
into a factory that for some reason only manufactures
blue glass.
They know they’re never gonna reach it
but they don’t stop trying.

Or love is the last spark
of a lightning bug whose entire world has become encased in glass,
who has given up flying because there is nowhere left to go.
The last full body shockwave of light bled out
into the cold horizon
of a mason jar so a child can see tonight.

Or love is a heart full of chips I brushed off my shoulder,
and I feel bad for filling it up with them, but
they didn’t have anywhere else to go.
Then you came in like an open door
and a slingshot,
like we’re gonna shoot down the whole world on a Saturday night,
like maybe love
is running out of ammunition.

But I think that maybe
love is like a performance art exhibit I saw once
where people tied their lover’s feet to a tiny
wooden block with one rickety wheel beneath it
then helped them to stand
when they couldn’t stand on their own.

Everybody kept falling down.
I saw love
in the eyes of the people
who kept standing up
until they got it right.

Another Word for Holy
after Ellen Webre

Another word for holy
is the pebble in the child’s knee,
the release of blood like communion into the dirt,
a gift of flesh given to the hungry god of the ground.

It is the tender itch that long outlasts the wound,
the colors of skin in the sunset of rebirth.
The scar we know so intimately,
that we will one day struggle to find.

Torrin A. Greathouse is a queer poet from Southern California and a governing member of the Uncultivated Rabbits spoken word collective. They were the 2015 winner of the Orange County Poetry Slam. Torrin’s work has been published or is upcoming in Rust + Moth, Chiron Review, Crack the Spine, and Yellow Chair Review. They have also published one chapbook Cosmic Taxi Driver Blues (CreateSpace, 2015). They are currently employed as the executive assistant of a sustainable lighting firm. Their previous jobs include security guard, farm hand, antique store clerk and tattoo artist.


One thought on “Torrin Greathouse – two poems

  1. KarenBarton April 4, 2016 / 11:33 am

    So beautiful it took my breath away and I reread till I had to surface for air again.


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