Monthly Archives: October 2016

Poems from My Day (10-31-16)

i have too much to share today i can’t get it out

I spent this afternoon memorizing “Invictus.”
Then recording myself so I could check for missed words.
I can say it in 0:25 seconds flat.
There’s this wonderful pleasure that comes from being able to recite
And entire poem by heart.
So you can drop it when you’re out stuck on the beach
Lost in the night that covers you,
Black as the pit from pole to pole.

I went to a party here in town,
One mom came up to me,
I know we’re parents but we like to party too.
She told me this twice, she forgot the first time.
Dressed as bettlejuice’s wife.
I feel I’m condoning her
By being there,
Not saying anything,
Watching her drink.

My roommate sicced me on bouncy house duty
Untrained with 40 kids and parents.
I had to send reinforcements in the form of a second-grade teacher
Who knew better than me,
How to get ninja turtles out of the castle.
And she could tell the difference between Captain Americas.

10 Poems from My Day (10-27)

these are a bit long. i’ll post lots of photos tomorrow to make up for it.

I angered my sister via text about casserole.
I’ll tell you the story.
My father sent me money wrapped up in a church bulletin.
A line at the end of the page said, “You can sign up on the clipboard in the narthex.”
I sent it to my sister. “This has to be the most Presbyterian thing I’ve ever read.”
She said, “It just needs casserole.”
“I’m partial to ham loaf.”
Here’s when I messed up.
She said, something like “you know, tuna noodle casserole has always been one of my favorite things to eat. “
I sent back a one word reply.
Then it began. “Geez, I try to share one silly thing about myself with you and you make me feel bad about it.”
This right here is where I should I have apologized for hurting her feelings.
Instead. I said,
“That’s what you get for liking tuna noodle casserole.”

She makes me feel alone.
I have a real problem with people who treat people like little things they can squish between their fingers.
I am not your caricature.
You will treat me as a human being, not a story to relate to your next roommate down the line.
I don’t know how you are a teacher, when you look so far down on anyone who needs to learn.
When you yourself are embarrassed to have more to figure out.
You talk, but it’s not the conversation I like to have,
It’s placemat placeholder placating blah-ness.
I told her, actually, I said, I love to have arguments,
When I can separate myself and just go with the logic,
I can argue a point, it feels like stretching my wings.
She doesn’t understand.
I always feel stupid after an argument, they always end badly, don’t you always win?
I don’t want to share myself anymore. I want to say, good you should feel stupid, it makes you want to learn, be better. Arguments can be so much fun, they can change your opinions. I’d say with an evenly matched partner, I win half the time.
She doesn’t understand.
I miss my friends, my friends who would push me,
And not talk to me about their Facebook headlines.
Maybe I am wrong, maybe it is better to never open yourself up to be wrong, to fight for what you know, to have to explain yourself.
Maybe it’s better to be safe where you are, to know people.

My first thought on seeing a sex ramp was,
“Oh my god that must be so much better on your back.”
I took some quiz about fantasies,
Googled half of the questions.
I’m glad to know, though,
That some part of my conservative upbringing has stuck around.
It feels safer somehow, that I’m still the prude I was in High School.

I called my brother for his birthday today.
Plastered on a smile and jumped up and down a few times in my doorframe,
So I could have the love to sing.
I said I was worried about turning into Mom.
He said we all turn into some part of our parents.
My sister got the fussy part,
Maybe you got the storytelling part.
Would it be so bad,
If all I did was narrate my life?

I’ll explain myself here, where it’s safe.
I don’t know what I’m looking for,
But I want more.
I don’t know how to say what I need,
And for someone who tries to use her words,
That’s really frustrating.
I would love to depend on someone.
I don’t know what that looks like.
I’m so scared about sharing myself,
Because you’ll use it against me.
I have this window of vulnerability,
Before I shut people out,
And your door is closing.
I’m doing it on purpose,
I won’t say I’m sorry anymore.
I need you once you’ve gone to sleep.
I don’t know what we have in common,
I don’t know what I can offer you.
I’m waiting for you to get tired of me and ghost.

Do you think after dating an alcoholic
I can’t tell when you’ve been drinking?
You touched my foot while I was doing yoga.
And said tickle tickle.

I don’t trust doors.
I loved everything about this parting statement.
As the woman with the old lady white-hair fro
Walked into the wind, out of my path.

It happens in a weird way,
There’s a guy you think is attractive,
But you don’t have feelings for yet,
You could though,
And someone brings him up,
Everything gets smushed together,
Suddenly, you want him to like you,
But you’ll only make the first move if you know.
I wish the world was bigger.

There’s all these things I need to get myself to do,
And I can’t.
The list builds until I hate myself.
I have to wait till I’m angry,
Or have the courage,
To just plow through,
With my eyes closed,
And hope no one sees me.
Then it starts all over,
And I hate myself a little more for letting it happen again.

Thought process. Goes like this.
Maybe my jokes are mean. I will just stay quiet.
They won’t like me because I’m quiet.
I want to leave.
I want her to stop talking.
I do not like this sam I am.
I put myself away in a corner of my mind so I could just be there,
Not have to be there.
Maybe it’s me, maybe I make her feel embarrassed.
But if I change me, am I still being honest?
She makes me feel embarrassed to be myself.
Do I do that to other people?
How much more do I have to watch myself?
I already try to be so careful.
I wonder if she knew I was angry.
Maybe they can read me easily,
Maybe I hide as much as I think I do.

Poems from My Day (10-25-16)

sean, if you’re reading this, stop. most of these are about you.

You called me honey.
I’m pushing this around in my mouth like a burned tongue.
See? This is how much I don’t know what to do with this,
I’ve resorted to simile.
I still can’t tell if you really like me,
Or just don’t have any better options.

I’d like to have conversations my roommate doesn’t overhear.
God, someone today said something, and in classic village way,
I overheard and wrote it down.
He said, “we take some getting used to,
All those people paying attention to you.”
Noticed and ignored.
Or unnoticed and ignored.

I remember now why I keep my mouth shut,
Because I embarrass myself.
But, I told him on the phone today,
I’m not good unless I’m talking,
If I’m babbling, or if I’m quiet,
There’s something wrong.
He said something about us having two ears and only one mouth,
So we should listen more than we talk,
But the math doesn’t add up if two people are on one phone call.
I’ve yet to find someone to be natural with, including myself.

I have it pinned to my wall next to that,
Wandered lonely as a cloud poem,
It’s a letter from my mother about keeping strong,
Of course, she’s passive aggressive in the third sentence from the top,
But it gives me strength anyway,
That’s what loving my family has become,
Giving me strength anyway.

I want to be a great speech writer,
Or something profound,
Because they always seem to be married to cool people,
And I want someone else to validate me.
But I have to be great first,
So I’m not a depreciating value appendage.

I made my sister angry today by calling her a pagan
After she said she likes tuna noodle casserole.
Came out and said, I share something with you,
And you disparage it.
I said that’s what you get for liking tuna noodle casserole.
I remember why I stopped talking to my sister now.
Who hates me for all I am not.
You never know when she’ll cut.
I should never share with her.

I wanted to be alone,
But I wanted them to like me,
I felt wrong and avoided, I’m probably self-fulfilling that one.
I know I can’t have it both ways.
Alone and talked to,
But it hurt when they talked without me.
All over again.
It’s irrational and I can’t stop it.
Life slogans.

10 Songs with the Memories Pinned on

“Twenty Miles” Deer Tick
The last song on the cd in the car changer,
It would end just as I was twenty minutes away from my college apartment
That was my escape from my mother’s house in the summer.
He sang the kind of grittiness I wanted to feel,
He sings like he’s seen something to make him yearn,
I wanted that.
It was the drive from my hellish internship to the southern part of the state,
Trees, winding hills, freedom, and limestone,
And my own music no one else had heard of.

“London Calling” The Clash
My sister was getting ready in her wedding dress in my childhood blue bedroom.
I needed her calm.
She was turning into the unmanageable sixteen-year-old again.
So I played Clash from my phone, and set it on top of the white hamper.
To distract.
I couldn’t listen to them for years afterward.
They would take me back to that stress,
That fidgeting anger, that is my sister.
And, more importantly,
The last time I was vulnerable to her.
I said she was the most important person to me,
In my wedding toast.
That winter, she asked, “what do you want from me?”
And I’ve asked for nothing ever since.

“Go Your Own Way” Fleetwood Mac
I moved to Alaska this year.
Like your cell phone when you’re looking for it,
Or your girl when you’re sharing your heart,
I’m very rural and remote.
I’m on an island.
It can be debilitating.
When my car finally got here,
I took it out on the white gravel road at an early hour on a Sunday before moose season,
I blasted this song as loud as I could,
And reminded myself I love to sing,
I put my hands out the windows,
And soared.

“Pale Blue Eyes” The Velvet Underground
The last year of college,
My friends had moved on,
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,
I felt ill prepared and a disappointment
And my roommate refused to turn the heat up.
I was cold always.
I would cook to warm up the kitchen.
It will always take me back there,
To sitting on countertops eating oatmeal watching the gray-blue dawn,
Hoping the night would last a little longer into tomorrow.

“Read My Mind” The Killers
I had a car full of friends.
We blasted this driving on old country roads,
My shotgun singing loudly after her tequila & worm
I was still nervous around people,
Waiting for them to reject me
For something I didn’t know I’d done wrong.
But, for right then,
I wasn’t bored, and it was a beautiful night.

“Heart in Your Heartbreak” Pains of Being Pure At Heart
My first college party, when I was determined to go with it,
They handed me vodka in red solo cups,
I didn’t say it was my first drink,
A boy started talking about this band, and their new album,
I loved their new album,
He said we could listen to the record in his room,
I followed,
My friend got in a drunken fist fight with her boyfriend,
And I went up to take care of her.
I saw him again when he made my sandwich at the deli counter,
I don’t think I registered.

“Fast Car” Tracy Chapman
My mother would buy me dinner on Friday nights after work in the city.
I would drive back north, late,
It was always a wonderful drive,
I had nothing to do the next day,
And no responsibilities on my time.
I could sing as loud as I wanted,
And listen to my favorite parts again and again without
The risk of annoying anyone.
It made me glad I was alone.

“O Holy Night”
My brother has a beautiful voice.
For a year or two there, he kept his high register, and his baritone came in,
And we sang this song a cappella in the kitchen while I made Christmas cookies,
Just for fun,
Just to see what we could do,
I didn’t have shame, for a minute,
We just had fun with a very silly song.

“Thunder Road” Bruce Springsteen
My sister’s husband doesn’t like when people sing along to a song he’s never heard.
My mother and I visited them in Texas.
I put this song on in that tiny four door,
And the three of us,
Who know all the words,
Because of my father,
Said screw you to her husband,
Cut off all conversation,
And sang our hearts out for a couple minutes
Stuck in highway traffic on the way back from IKEA
With a bookcase stuck out the back window.
Loved, and free.
This is the song my father sang to me in my mother’s stomach.
This is the song I discovered for myself, in 8th grade, with a portable cd player, could make me feel and think,
This is the song that made me want to write.
This is the first song I learned all the words to on purpose.
This is my litmus test for a relationship.
This is the song I lip-sync to at midnight in the pitch-blackness of my room,
To remind myself how to feel, and how to air-guitar.

“Elephant Love Medley” Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor et. al
I’ll always do something wrong, and they won’t like me anymore,
Whatever I don’t want to parse from my childhood,
All seems to be stuck in this song,
When my sister would yell at me for singing a line of the wrong part,
Then not speak to me for a week,
When I didn’t understand why she loved this movie so much,
When I wanted to make myself like it,
And not think it was weird,
I wanted so badly not to be in the middle,
But not noticed either.
For some reason, it brings it all back, this little mix-ballad,
To that summer when she would push me and yell at me to see
How long it took till I cracked,
Then say, “ha, I can’t believe you’re angry.”
And throw me out of her room.

Poems from My Day (10-18-16)

Eight poems for now. More later.

I took a drive with her.
We’d never been by ourselves before.
I tell her I’m quiet, that’s nothing wrong,
Which is a lie,
She tells me she wants to know me,
Then plies me with peppermint schnapps.
She tells me about her last week in Anchorage,
Hanging out with the man she had an affair with,
Taking a bump at a strip club,
Looking for that someone who will
Make her better, into the person she thinks she should be.
She tells me about her High School English teacher,
Who wrote her a poem,
Saying she was just waiting to fly.
All I see is a dreamer, with three kids, a small house,
And too much to burn.

Stop competing with me,
My name is listed on the undersides of game boards
With the date we played, and my final score.
I’ve had guys ask for my number.
I’m sorry you’re insecure.
There’s nothing here I’m trying to win.
My father sent me a gift in the mail,
She says she’s jealous.
I say it’s guilt money,
That’s nothing to hope for,
But I don’t think she believes me.
Whatever I have is worth it.

You don’t ask my kids why they weren’t at church on Sunday.
They’re in a safe space here.
School grounds. Dammit.
You don’t pressure them here.
All my instincts said protect.
I hate this weakness. Oh if only I were in a bigger town,
If I was Kanye’s better, faster, stronger,
I’ll never have the guts to stop it when I see it.
I’m going to have to deal with this about myself.

I drive on what’s left.
After the pot holes from sewage projects, rain, and only black gravel.
What’s left behind at the store after the barge comes through, and the rest of the community grabbed the fresh vegetables.
I love what’s left of the people they were.
I sleep on the bed from the woman who lived here before me,
Wearing clothes another dropped off at goodwill.

What can I love of what a monster creates?
Who am I to judge?
Can’t I sing along with a woman?
Admire a painting?
Can’t I read something,
Someone terrible wrote,
And not celebrate them?
Or by not ignoring them,
Am I giving the virus-filled pages ad revenue?

I have trouble dealing with insecure people,
I don’t think it’s because we have so much in common,
I think it’s because they can’t take a joke,
I can’t tease them,
I can’t push them,
And there’s no equality.

I sat on the couch,
My day off,
And ate the shortbread fresh from the oven,
Listened to Jazz at Massey Hall
And read a wallflower romance novel
In my new pair of Xtratufs.
I’d never been so happy with myself, or my life.

I’m having trouble saying I need attention,
I want attention,
I feel like I’m just become nagging,
Like my mother.

Poems from My Day (10-12-16)

i make no apologies for being silly

Maybe she’s not aware of how loud she walks.
Or that I think about recording her eating Hot Pockets,
Calliente pockets,
Because she chews like a cartoon eight-year-old bacon eating boy.
She wears mid-calf boots that muffin top.
She can’t handle my spicy food.
And she thinks she’s better than me,
Which, really, is the only thing that truly bothers me.

I stood, well,
I was folded in half staring a my knee,
I am not a downward facing dog,
I am an angry person folded in half.
I don’t think my belly should be touching my thighs,
I think that’s because I’m fat.
Lady, my arms aren’t that long,
There’s no way people used to cook sitting in a squat like this,
No, my heels will never touch,
What the hell does the light in me respects the light in you mean?
Do I look like a lamp?
Actually, don’t answer that, I was in tree pose earlier.

The pump that fills the tank in my toilet broke,
I don’t want to have to clean my room,
So I haven’t called the maintenance people.
4chan would call me beta.
I call myself a particularly beautiful kind of lazy.
I’m refilling it manually with an empty 3 lbs cashew jar.

There’s going to be strippers in Craig.
They told me on the conference call.
Oh, hey, I saw that flier.
They’re from a traveling group, up from California,
I’m told.
Apparently, they only let gay men in the bar the night the guy strippers are there,
They’ve had problems with territorial Alaska men.
The story only gets better from there.

I love having paint on my hands and having someone comment on it.
I got claustrophobic in the sauna two days ago.
I had to keep taking deep breaths, and the woman sitting next to me copied me,
Thinking that was the thing to do in saunas in the Alaskan wilderness at 9 p.m. on a Monday.
I take long drives on chug-hole filled white gravel roads so I can sing as loud as I want with my arms out the windows.
I drove a 1998 jeep with a coked-out 300 pound woman on the roof of my drunk roommate’s car, down a gravel road in the pitch black without a seat belt, blaring 2008 shorty rap. Two bottles in the cup holders. The other woman was hanging out the window. And the seats were damp from last night’s rain.

I feel like a failure.
I can’t do enough. I can’t do it right.
I need someone else to tell me to get it done.
I can’t do it myself.
I’ll never escape this. I’ll be like this forever.
I’ll never be good at anything.
Then I laugh at myself,
And pretend to shake it off,
And putter around for a couple more hours before I can go home.