Monthly Archives: May 2016

Poems from My Day (5-10)

i had a day i thought would turn out better.

1:
I bought a bike.
I purchased it in pieces.
I assembled as much as I could.
Perhaps I was overwhelmed.
It’s been sitting half done in the spare room.
That room smells like rubber now.
Hang on a second, I have to let the dog in.
Two people offered to help.
I can’t take them up on it.
I don’t know why.
I should be biking,
I’ll have to this summer,
Carless. When my ride goes back down to Montana.
I can’t seem to, get it done.
I stare at it.
I think, give me a little more time.
I think that about a lot of things,
Just give me a minute.
One more second.
A moment to figure it out.
I am the mud of spinning wheels.
I am death.
I don’t know what that means.
I should go to sleep.

2:
I’m sad my clothes smell like the wet mold you get from not drying properly.
I don’t know how to fix this.
The dog, not my dog, the dog bangs at the door to come in.
She scratches.
Her owner taught her to breathe at the door.
Exhale, exhale, exhale.
She wants to come in.
I can’t hold out as long as my roommate.
The whining gets to me.
If I ever have a baby,
The same thing will probably happen.
I’ll be the weak one who’ll give into the cries.

3:
The woman who works next to me read me part of a book today,
A children’s book about how to play nicely with others,
Something something brown colored pencil,
No one wanted to be around the thing because it was always negative.
Is that me?
I am a brown colored pencil that’s always angry and sad.
What does it mean about my adulthood that I take lessons from children’s picture books?
I self-censor when I keep my mouth shut.
Adult conversation isn’t all that advanced from when we were seven, I suppose.

4:
A little kindergardener mimicked me in a mocking way today.
That hadn’t happened to me in years,
I wanted to call her a little shit,
But she’s a kindergardener.
I didn’t know what to do.
I was upset I was offended.
I have no coping mechanism for this.
It reminded me of the time I met a new girl in choir,
And the first thing she said to me was did I know my two front teeth were longer than all the others?
Yes.
I’m aware.
That’s all I can ever say to bullies young and small.
Yes.
I’m aware.

5:
They look at me like they’re waiting for me to say something else.
I don’t know what.
That’s it.
I can come up with more to say.
If I were on a college campus it would be a day where everyone would look at me weird.
And the servers at the dining hall would cock their heads to the side.

6:
I want to go home.
I use that phrase as a litmus test of how bad a day is going.
Oh man, I only thought that three times before lunch.
I have no home to go to.
It would be worse back there.
I tell myself.
You’d be within driving distance of your mother.
But it’s become a Monk’s chant.
I shower. I want to go home, I want to go home.
I cook. I want to go home, I want to go home.
I fall asleep, alone, after no one invited me out.
I pet the dog who can’t quite get her blind eyes to focus on my face.
I check my cell phone for messages.
I stretch familiar yoga poses in the dark.
I sing Prince songs I’ve heard a thousand times before.
I pretend to like the beer they’re drinking.

7:
She was on the second floor of this office building off a boulevard right off the exit of the highway.
The building next door stood empty.
She is black,
I didn’t want that to be a thing,
But I think worrying about it was wrong,
I tried to be normal,
So I guess, that makes it just like all my other interactions with people,
Trying to pass as normal.
Not wanting anyone to hate me, so they won’t tell everyone else they hate me.

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Poems from My Day (5-9)

Okay. We’re going back to ten poems in twenty minutes, because I can’t get anything out, and I need a structure. I’ll tell you what happened as it happened to me, as best I can, and do better tomorrow.

1:
We drove up an old logging road in her maroon, beat-up, ‘97 Jeep Grand Cherokee she’s named Gerdie.
I think she’s named it because she’s heard of other people naming their cars, not because the car has a name.
It’s the same with her kindness,
She’s nice because she’s supposed to be nice,
There is no goodness there.
That’s my least favorite kind of disingenuousness.
It might be because I’m from the Midwest, and that’s how I was raised,
I’m contrary on purpose, and stubborn and hospitable, and upfront.
So, for me, character flaws are cause enough to distrust someone.
They’re harder to change.
And I dislike her. She’ll only say thank you because it’s what’s expected.

2:
I have not come right out and asked her to drive me,
My pride wouldn’t allow it.
So, on her birthday, she asks if I want to go take pictures.
“Yes.” I say. “Always.” I say.
We drive up to a scenic overlook spot.
It’s almost like senior pictures, she says.
She brought a change of clothes.
She’s driving in her fancy new blue high heels.
She blow dried her hair.
I didn’t get asked to take her picture. I need prep time for portraits.
I do this for a living. I get paid for this. I don’t offer me for free.
If I give me and my camera, that’s one thing, if I take your picture because I want to, that’s one thing.
Why didn’t I bring it up?
I don’t stand for crap like this.
I don’t owe her.
But I do, because she drives me around, because I have no car.
And in her mind, I live in her house.
So I take bad photographs, because I’m blindsided, and didn’t have prep time.
And I’ll take the blame for that too.

3:
We could do something for your birthday tonight. It’s still early.
I suggest from the corner, hiding from the angry lady complaining about cramps and her friends.
“It’s 8:30.” That’s all the response I get from her.
How could I ever think of doing something so late.
There must be something wrong with me, like she’s always thought.

4:
Oh for goodness sake. Make a decision.
Pick one.
Both have good and bad sides, but are roughly equal.
Do one or the other and stop complaining.

5:
Quit talking work with me.
It’s Sunday.
And I know when my supervisor leaves, you’ll be my new boss.
But I don’t want you to be.
You like being in power, and that scares the hell out of me.
You’ll make a terrible leader.
But I can’t say that.
I’m going to go eat more asparagus from the grill over there.
And walk away from my future boss on a beach chair.

6:
What did you do for your twenty-first?
She doesn’t have many birthday parties.
I laugh.
Then laugh some more.
Good or bad, she asks.
I take another laugh.
Oh, it was bad.
I don’t even say, I’ll tell you about it when I’m very drunk.
Because I don’t think I will.
That terrible, awful, hell of a night.

7:
She doesn’t do black hair ties.
Who says that out loud?
I mean I can see someone saying it knowing they’re being ridiculous,
But to be so silly on purpose?

8:
I’m an asshole.
The maintenance lady’s son, wait they call them custodians,
The custodian’s son, who I think is not right in the head, helped me move boxes of books and shelves for the library.
The nicest anyone here has been to me is the mostly mute, slightly brain-damaged, ex-fisherman who didn’t have his overalls zipped up all the way.
But we got a lot done.
And I feel nervous around him.
And he walked me home, without permission.
I’m just making a face and wanting him to go away.
See line 1.
If I say I’m an asshole, it covers my sins, and I don’t have to work on fixing me.

9:
By the time I’m comfortable at a party,
Everyone’s leaving.
By the time I like someone,
They’re done.
I don’t have attachment issues,
Stop telling me that textbook from my early childhood psychology class.
Just because my parents divorced when I was a baby,
I don’t have abandonment issues. I’m perfectly fine.
It’s just that no one will ever love me.

10:
He’s coming over to make us fish.
King salmon.
He was supposed to come earlier last week. He kept forgetting.
The guy who made moves on me (and I let him)
Still “talks” to my roommate,
And didn’t respond to my last text.
Oh yeah,
This is gonna be great.
I think once you tell yourself to be cool, play it cool,
You’ve lost all your nerve.

Sunday at 8,000

photo of a single tall pine tree of some sort

a pretty unoriginal photo all in all, and my lens aperture ring is still loose, it’s getting it on with all my filters

photo of a boots on a hiking trail in alaska

this might be one of my favorite pictures i’ve ever taken, and those aren’t even my shoes.

photo of a drop off next to an old logging road in rural alaska

why am i always in the worst moods on the prettiest days? i don’t know. but it was pretty today.

Poems from My Month (5/4)

i’m still not writing properly. i’ll figure it out tomorrow.

1:
Ok I think I’m ready.
To give you some of me.
I think I’m strong enough again.
Thanks Bruce Springsteen.
and matching socks.
Take what you see here.
It’s me,
Unglorified, shamed, and flawless, and perfect me in its me-ness.

2:
I met a woman,
She’s showing what could be me. She’s Midwestern. She was here for a short trip. She stayed. She got pregnant. She got married. She lives in one of the row of houses next to the totem pole.
One of the ones next to the ones with old, beat-up boats and cars in front.
The tiles in her floor are worn through.
She married a fisherman missing teeth. She keeps getting mastitis. The only new things in the house are for the baby.
She’s not working anymore.
She doesn’t know how to accept the kindness of people giving. It’s not out of their hearts. They can, so they do.
She looks a lot like a mirror right now, of me three years ago, and vulnerable.

3:
She said she likes the idea of being able to start over, start fresh. Because she believes it’s true.
I think we have not lived the same lives.

4:
I want to take a hike a photograph, I have that need, inside me.
That need to write and read, and be better, and sit and stare outside,
And tell you what it means to be me right now.
Without shame.
Please, let me be without shame for just a minute more.
I want to take detailed photos of pointless bodies, and wrinkles, I want to have the courage to ask You to drive me to take photos of the sunsets. But you’re going to see your friends without me. And I can’t afford my own car, so I’m being punished.

5:
My sister’s husband is taking a job in Switzerland.
How interesting.
Why do I feel like it’s a one up?
Oh, she tells me, I forget you’ve never lived anywhere but Indiana.
This makes me resort to the stunted, slightly abused 13 year old girl I really am,
“Well, and you’re a jerk.”

6:
I hate being the subject of sermons again.
So I stop telling people things.
Then I think, I should share, I should depend. I have no support system.
Then they tell their whole church something private.
I feel exposed.
So I clam up.
Then I get called out for being depressed.
So I share how I’m feeling.
Then I get a call from my sister, saying mom’s worried about you.
Then I say I’m fine.
And I stop sharing.
I want to confide in a person who keeps it to themselves.
I want a magical, mystical friend, who’s a good friend, and doesn’t tell me I need a bit of work here and there.

7:
I’m failing. I’m here. And I’m failing. I’m not properly trained, I don’t know what I’m doing, and instead of costing people money, I can hurt real people.
I’ve lost track of my wider perspective, it all gets so bogged down in a small town.
I think if I did it my way, I think if I moved to a town I wanted, and could live how I wanted, I could pull off this small town thing. Here? Not so much.