Give me a holler, if you’ve got one to share. A poem a mean. Not whatever you were thinking of.
I would like to complain about my work,
But I won’t.
Because they could find me.
And because I’m no longer free to speak my mind.
I’m no longer brave enough to speak my mind.
I’m in the zen state of tired-ness.
When the patterns on quilts become difficult logic puzzles
Requiring all you attention
And the swirls milk makes in the tea
Becomes the most interesting thing in the world.
And I can’t remember my last sentence.
Or if I’m inappropriate.
I want sleep and warm.
I decided after I stopped religion,
I wanted to still be a good person.
So I read some Kant, and a bit of ‘stotle
And I try.
I had to find meaning somewhere with something rather.
But damn, do I miss the simplicity of church.
I don’t like, well, a lot of people.
Women who won’t admit when they’re wrong.
People without senses of humor.
Who are careless with their friends.
Those who expect a certain response
Who punish you when you don’t show it.
And who look a hell of a lot like me.
A woman told me today, you have to be suspicious of people,
You have to be suspicious of people who don’t drink,
And don’t swear.
What kind of place do I live in my head,
Where I can’t stand up and say something,
To something like that?
If it were a joke,
If I were in power,
If I was faster and wittier and smarter and superman.
I should have called it.
What a terrible thing to say.
I talked with my sister a bit about feminism.
Why can’t women get roaring drunk without something being wrong
Why can’t we be confrontational and still delicate
How come we’re not allowed to make a scene
Why do we have to worry about this
What did my mother tell me to make this barrier?
The barrier to not caring about me appearing flowery.
Why do my ducks have to be a row before I’ll call someone on their piggishness?
Maybe we’re just shy north of the Ohio river to get away with it.
I want to tell my friend, out loud, in a public place, with witnesses galore,
That I don’t believe in love and thunderbolts and – I saw her across the rooms,
To tempt fate,
To give me someone to love.
I knocked over a plant with my elbow
Off the windowsill and onto the floor.
And the dirt spilled on the fluffy beige, putzy carpet.
That was two days ago.
I look at the dirt,
I don’t pick it up,
I don’t make plans to pick it up.
I just keep looking at it.
It’s late October. It’s rainy. I hate the fall.
I drove home from my brother’s birthday party in the rain tonight.
I decided to talk to myself while I drove,
Instead of listening to the white-green light of the radio.
I told myself what I think it means to be from my home.
It felt good to have someone listen.
I purchased a quilt from a woman on Etsy.
In the listing she mentioned that if there were no takers,
She was keeping it for herself.
It compelled me to buy it.
It makes it seem like I’m getting something I shouldn’t have.
A bit dirty, but satisfied.
I made the Jimmy John’s delivery guy laugh.
I got the guy ringing up my candy to smile.
If I met someone on equal ground,
Maybe I’d be strong enough to make them laugh too,
But I pass myself by them cheerily enough,
So they’ll be introduced and not remember me.
The man who lived in here before me,
Loved my roommate.
Maybe it’s good I’m taking his space,
Giving new customs, idiosyncrasies to the way cast iron skillets sit on the shelves.
But, to me, it feels like I still haven’t found a place to cry in peace.
I had my favorite realization again.
I love when it comes along.
It reminds me that my women have steel underneath them.
He could leave me, ghost me,
And I’d be fine. I’ll always be fine with or without a man.
Ice cold steel, baby, ain’t nothing like it.
And it’s the fault of my step-father for never seeing it run through his wife.
Stronger, fiercer, and meaner than you’ll ever know,
We’re out waiting you to die.
Then we’ll be just fine.
I remember the first time I felt like an adult. I was reading Call of the Wild. I didn’t have to look up the big words, I already knew what they meant. I read most of the book standing up near the tall bookshelves in the back, in study hall, in eighth grade. Now that I think of it, that was the last time I took a study hall. I felt like resting would be a discredit to my father who put himself in debt to put me through good, private schools. But, in part because of those schools, I could understand the sentences as a whole, that included words like imperious and intolerable and imperative. That feeling of understanding makes me feel like I belong.
I was so happy I belonged. I started using those words in my speech, my everyday speech. I was told I sounded like I was trying to be smart. Now I’m ashamed; ashamed when I make other people feel inferior. I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to be smarter. Because I don’t think I’m smarter. It had the effect of telling someone they have a strange smile. You won’t ever see their laughter again. Unless they’re stronger than I am. And have that magical ability to not care.
I feel like singing “Memories” and that people who need people song.
He wears Chucks with holes in the heel and the side plastic.
He’s gonna to be an anesthesiologist because they make the most money.
He sings on the low pavement,
And sings the verses I know twice,
So I’ll sing with him,
And play with the curls of his brown hair
And flip his glasses up from the ends behind his ears.
This was before he fell asleep,
Fell asleep next to my blonde friend.
I wear sweatpants that are too big
So I can feel small,
Instead of having a football player give me a hug.
If my brother died –
I’ve made a plan for it.
That way I felt a little something today, a little grief.
I would first call to confirm.
Then call my boss’s boss. The one that hired me.
Then I’d get in my car,
Put my seatbelt on.
And drive west. West until I ran out of road.
I’d pull over at a Waffle House.
Order a cup of coffee,
Look as dredged as everyone else in there.
And stare down into a filmed over stained mug.
Until I started crying.
The “young punk” who lives with his mom underneath my apartment,
Played a song I recognized over his loud speakers,
Or he was blasting out his laptop’s speakers, who knows,
So I found that song in my music bank,
Synced it up to the second mark,
And blared it along with him.
How stilted am I?
The only escape I can imagine is driving my car far,
and coming back in the early morning, gone nowhere,
just running for a little while.
Before I start writing, I have to tell myself I can go back
And change the first line to make it better,
But first I just have to get it all out.
I re-read something I’d written and I sounded hollow.
This must come from working for my rent.
I sounded trite, and sounded like I was trying to be fancy, and stupid.
I sounded stupid. I always sound stupid.
My panic attacks are coming more often.
I’m always haunted by that phrase I read somewhere,
It said that many mental illnesses establish themselves in people’s early 20s.
I wrapped a bandage too tightly around my finger and felt claustrophobic.
I wanted to call an old boyfriend and tell him I don’t think I can do this anymore,
I’m breaking, I’m cracking, I need someone to talk to. But I didn’t. See? I’m still fine.
This one was minor and lasted less than ten minutes,
But I knew it was coming beforehand.
I felt trapped because I didn’t have enough room to walk and my finger bandage was too tight.
I didn’t have a panic attack on the plane.
I tried very hard.
I asked him what he wanted me to do with this.
Then I flexed both hands and held them over my collarbones.
“This, this, isn’t mine. It’s yours. It belongs to you,
Whatever it is.
What do you want me to do with this. What do I do with this?”
Will I always be covering up for my accent?
Will I ever have a home?
Will I ever fit in?
Will I ever not wish I was in the past?
I transcribed a series of handwritten letters I wrote, but never sent. Read the previous letters here.
This is the final letter I wrote to him. If I meet him again, I’ll let you know. Promise.
I think I’m closing this chapter of epistolic rants. Basta. Enough. For lack of anything better, I’m going to quote Leonard Cohen. “That’s all. I don’t even think of you that often.”
– All My Love