You gesture for me to pass
as if I’d been waiting
for your permission
I wasn’t looking at you
but at the traffic
you couldn’t see
judging my safety for myself

I’ve seen you before
sprawling your briefcase
notes, folders, phones, Starbucks
arms and legs
over the territory of the board room table
that extends well into mine
without even noticing
your border violation

Just like you
step in front of me to see
the street performance or
to check your muscular form
in the sweaty mirror
of the weightlifting room
startled and confused
when I materialize through my voice
or nearly head-on collide
when I refuse to step aside
first and yield
to your supposed

Privilege means
you get to take up space
without considering
whether it’s already occupied

Privilege means
you get to grant permission
that’s not yours to give

Privilege means
you get to take up words
and time
volume and decisions
while I budget mine
slip them in narrowly
with moderated manner and
modulated tone

Privilege means
you don’t even have to realize
you have privilege
that you’re breathing others’ air
and standing on our ground
The air around me is not a vacuum
my ground isn’t vacant
just waiting, barren, for you

True, even my body is built
to accommodate yours
I will not be
small and apologetic
scarce and invisible
fast and minimal
just to make room for you.

I don’t hate you
I don’t even hate your privilege
I hate its unexamined injustice
unearned rewards
I hate
your invested ignorance
since privilege means
you get to be  BIG
and abundant

© S. Rinderle, 2013

Just WON my first slam!

Hi y’all!  I just won first place in the monthly Final Friday poetry slam here in Albuquerque, much to my surprise!!  (After a couple not-so-great performances in the last few weeks).  Thrilled to share the stage with some super talented local poets and the featured ABQ poetry slam team, leaving for Boston on August 12th!  Keep checking my website for upcoming performances, including a feature performance on August 18th!


Weeks and weeks
no sign of you
weeks passing like cars
on a silent night train
days vanishing into the dark
like their passengers
a mere blur of vague

It’s been weeks
and not a word.
Is this how you say goodbye?

I think I see
your faint silhouette
across the rushing tracks
blinking between the cars
like a strobe as they pass
but my doubt waxes large
as this train grows long
you’re looking down
hooded face
as if just waiting
for it all to pass by

Weeks and weeks
only silence
punctuates your absence.
Is the best you can do
at goodbye?

I wonder if I close my eyes
can I make it disappear
bring up the caboose and
sent it swiftly along as well
leaving us standing
on either side of this
dual divide
with nothing but twilight
and cricket song
a pause like between the in-breath
and the out
exhaling as you slowly raise
your wide, velvet doe eyes to me
come to life
as your smile ignites
and bound gently
across the tracks
towards me.

© S. Rinderle, 2013


I think I finally deciphered
this sensation in my chest
that only appears
when you do
on the other side of a door
constructed by a particular
I recoil abruptly from its discomfort
yet it seduces with a subtle sweetness
among the bitter
like that perfect cup of morning coffee
delicious and aromatic
yet still too scalding
to ingest

It’s a convex swelling
a bowing in my ribs
like an overfull balloon
near bursting or
a dam trying to maintain
despite increasing pressure
gently building like
slowly accumulating
floodwater abundance or the
gradual expansion of air
in heat

I want you to be the one
to sing the lyrics this time
that you
want to reconcile the violence
and undisclosed desires
in my heart
still muffled and gagged
behind this door
docile in their den
but fed every day
time like air filling the balloon
our skin like water
flowing into
threatening the brim but
to pour over the edge or
burst my ribcage would be
to lose all containment

my only defense

To hear you admit our love is
would be vindication
you claiming this bastard emotion
is also yours
and it is named Love
would relieve
and release
this tension
Perhaps you seek immunity
before making a confession
but freedom has always been yours
and my love
real love
is not a prison of
until you can see through
these imaginary walls of fear
I hold up the dam
and hold my breath
and wear my beauty
as just a mask.

© S. Rinderle, 2013