7 Poems with Titles

i will post something better, and better written tomorrow. this is all i can do for today.

Heard in the Hallway
I thought,
I’m not in rural Alaska anymore.
I won’t have to hear abuse happen and be powerless and guilty.
But I came home.
And he hits the dogs.
Not in a, I’m venting my anger,
But in a, you’re not behaving properly way.
And I want to go away.
But he’s old, and hopefully dying.
And I don’t want to deal with it.
Or make my mother deal with her husband.

I’m Sorry
He called me a minefield.
I keep thinking,
He’s the wrong one to practice this on.
This time,
I can’t disentangle whether it was him, or it was an old hurt
That I’m just deciding to feel today.
I flashed back to all the times I would be excited, or mad, or really happy.
And my sister would be there to make fun of me,
So that I never showed how I was feeling,
No one would notice and no one would hurt me.
She would flick her thumbnail over her ring finger and tsk,
God, what is wrong with you.
She’d say.
He was teasing my mood in a casual way.
Then.
I lost it, and started crying. Why was I crying?
Suddenly all those 13 year-old me feelings come back,
I got quiet, and I didn’t know why.
And I don’t think he’s strong enough to deal with this,
Or smart enough.

I Lost the Whatever I Had
My sister says I’m wasting away.
That’s what living in this house does to me.
My mother’s house.
She says she can’t watch it.
She says come live with her.
This is what happens when I can’t speak my mind,
When I can’t criticize,
When no one thinks I’m important.
All the whatevers I found living on my own disintegrate.
So that I have to cry silently at two in the morning so no one bothers me.

I Don’t Like Her
My brother’s first girlfriend.
When my sister pushed me for the whys.
I said, “she’s young.”
She’s …
How do you say someone is accidentally racist?
They’re only 19.
And he’s sillier with her than I’ve seen him in a long time.
She’s a lot like me.
And it’s hard to see your own traits reflected back at you by a prettier face.
She asked me to tell embarrassing stories about my brother to her.
How do I explain what’s wrong with that?
I told my sister, she’s very much raised as middle-class suburbs Indiana.
I think he’s smarter than her. I think he can easily out-maneuver her.
I worry that she’s not enough of a force of nature to counteract the abusive tendencies his father taught him.
He asked, and I said, “you like her, I like her.”
Cop out. I’m a cop out.

She’s Way Too Good of a Person to Be Friends with Me
It’s not often I’m the crazy lady who takes someone on adventures.
Except with her I am.
I’m the brave one.
And she takes me seriously, and the things I tell her actually seem to help her.
It’s almost like I’m scared she’ll clean the cynic out of me and I’ll have to start caring again.
Oh god save me.

I Haven’t Found a Job
I shake, literally my hands shake, like they do when I confront my mother,
When I have to apply for jobs.
I have to put my hand over my eyes, scary-movie-watching style, and just type.
To the outside, it’s such an easy fix.
I want to find a job, almost any job, before I move,
Just kidding, I want a paying job that isn’t demeaning.
And there go all my options.

This Counseling Book
Don’t worry about why I’m reading it.
Listen to what I discovered.
If the counselor and the client have different social-economic status, personal values, background and experiences, they might not click.
My god. This is why people who move have so many problems.
Think about it, if you don’t want to share with a trained professional who’s a little different than you, why would you ever be friends with someone so vastly different than yourself. They, and I quote, don’t have “intuitive insight.”
And you know what else?
This is exactly why my roommate up north couldn’t find any friends,
Because she doesn’t have anything in that list in common with the locals, and she didn’t know how to find common ground.
She thought the common ground should come to her.

Leaving South

i left alaska. i’m back with my mom.

She drove and gave me another hug.
She gave me a hug twice.
And told me she has a lot of friends, but not a lot of good friends.
And I got on the boat.
And watched it pull away from the dock.
And as we left the rolling hills and pine trees of the pacific northwest,
Driving through the fog dusted mountains on 90,
I kept thinking, turn around, I’m going the wrong way,
This isn’t right.
But I left all the same.
And I cried by myself in the midship deck that used to be a bar,
Crashed on the curved blue couch in the back,
With everything I possesed right there.
Now I have to go to yoga, and move all my stuff out of storage,
And find a job,
And fix my car registration,
And file my taxes
And figure out what the hell to do about my friends and these people I seem to have acquired.
When I just want to hide.
And I want quiet.
And they didn’t give me whipped cream on my smoothie.

I got to Seattle,
And I said the trees don’t look right,
These aren’t my trees.
This isn’t the Tongass.
I want my forest back.
With all its scars and its danger.
It didn’t care that I was this thing,
It didn’t give me a second glance,
But kept going with it’s own life,
I can respect that.

I miss the salmon strips and chips car rides.
Riding out the road with loud music playing,
And one of us sitting in the middle back seat with their arms on the passenger rests
Eating smoked fish with our fingers, skin and all,
And passing around a bag of sunchips,
Talking with our mouths full,
About how much we loved each other.

I remember driving down killer hill at one of the 3 p.m. sunsets
And the world filled with orange,
I thought, it’s almost worth it.
To pay eight dollars a gallon for milk,
And not be able to buy fresh meat at the store.
To know none of these kids stand a chance.
I left on the ferry, going nowhere, back to my mother’s house,
I watched the new terminal pass behind the boat,
Until I couldn’t see the light,
Standing out there with only the die-hard smokers in the cold,
In the jacket I was wearing when we got stuck out the road.
I stood there undecided.

I don’t want my life, my year up north to be some memory I use,
I won’t expose those people, who were good to me,
I wouldn’t do that.
I want it to keep growing, I don’t wan to lose them.
But I didn’t want to stay by myself. I couldn’t.