Monthly Archives: November 2016

Poems from My Day (11-29-16)

17 days.
I get off this island in seventeen days.
I get to go home.
Where it’s not weird.
I shouldn’t say weird, I should say different than what I’m accustomed to,
Different from my culture.
But I can’t help it.
It’s weird.
And I want to go home.
Even if I hate that home.
I want to be where there are roads and stores and love
For Christmas.

Today I am absurdist comedy.
We drove out the road,
With a hatchet and a flashlight
In the jeep with one loose door, mice in the back, and conspicuously wet seats,
To chop down a Christmas tree to put in a pickle jar.
We filled the jar with water and rocks and covered it with a red pillowcase from the back of my closet.
We put four hardback discarded library books underneath.
It was too wobbly.
We duct taped the pickle jar to the stack of books.
It leans now.
There’s one string of lights, in neon blue,
And four ornaments from the only store in town.
There’s a good chance the blind inbred dog will knock it over.
We were going to make halibut and muktuk for dinner.
Need help. Send wine.

Yesterday, we met up with a reporter from the radio station an island over.
We were taking out our trash, which means a trip to the dump.
She was in the back. Listening with the tape recorder and her reporter mode on.
As we told our stories, about up north,
And we showed her the dump,
That gets set on fire every once in a while,
And burns a beautiful plastic.
Because you can’t recycle or barge it out here.

They have basketball teams stay in the library.
Kids sleeping where the other school can put them.
For about two weeks, they either have games at home,
Or travel to the other small islands.
Two weeks they travel away from school.
The line the teachers give is,
What grade do you want them to have?
A we’ll do our own thing state for sure.

I’m nervous talking to reporters.
If I lose my job,
I want it to be about something big n’ loud.
Not because I picked up a chair,
When I’m only supposed to do administrative work.

I feel myself drawing away from him
And I don’t care.
I’ll be fine on my own.
I’ll sing Les Miz loudly and wear a beret to pretend.
Other people might make my life better,
But my pavement still shines like silver.

I heard carol of the bells at the store today,
It reminded me of bell choir,
Of damping my middle c bell so hard I had a crescent bruise underneath my shoulder
Because Joanne never damped her b flat, and it would run, and sound terrible.
I remember going to her funeral thinking she died with orange hair in an afro.
I remember learning her sons had died before her in the war.
I don’t know what to do with that.
I just felt it, but I don’t know what to do with it.

Assume You’re Wrong

I wrote to my father today in a letter I’ll never send.

I have lots of thoughts Dad, but you know, the one that keep coming up is that, it’s kind of your fault.

You and my roommate are very smart people, but you both have a tendency to dismiss people out of hand which is not only snotty and superior, but also a cause of real harm.

When someone says they’re voting for Trump, you say he’s nuts, and turn them away with a brush of the back of your hand. You don’t say, “How come?” Then explain yourself. You assume you’re right, but you only get away with that because you’re educated.

I’m coming to realize I’m alone in always thinking I have something to learn, which means, sometimes, I get to hear someone else’s reasons before I say I’m right. And If I’m sure of something, I have proof and lots of evidence – which you both have. But I share it. I say here’s what I think, and why. Then leave it up to them to decide. I don’t tell them they’re stupid, or what to think. I present what I know and how I feel and leave it at that. If they’re a good enough person, who I can argue a point with, who won’t take it personally, then I’ll argue the point. Try to see it from how they see it.

When my old roommate comes across racism, she doesn’t get upset, she says, “lets talk about it.” Which I love. That’s how you build understanding – through calm smiles.

But I don’t know. Maybe this is naïve. Maybe this only works because I know so few people, so many of whom have so little power. And I like to hear people’s stories. Maybe that’s why I can get away with it. Maybe I’m being self-righteous. Anger and business and busyness are taking the place of community. The eff it, I don’t care, it won’t matter to me, at least I can be contrary if I choose this one – that’s what happens.

We don’t know what democracy means, because everyone smart assumes we learned it the same way they did.

Maybe my friends are right. Maybe I’m an over-explainer. You don’t think you have to explain yourself. You don’t give a why. You know you’re right, and how could no one else understand what you just learned five minutes ago.

I’m starting to think that the swath of insecure, quiet, shy people have nothing wrong with them. Nothing to be fixed. No necessary, mandatory self-confidence lessons. Because they take the time to understand, under the assumption they’re always wrong.


Poems from My Day (11-7-16)

I hate it when my mother is right.
She said, you’ll have a time when two different guys are after you,
And you won’t know what to do, and they’ll tell you how blue your eyes are.
When I finally thought I was good by myself,
There she is in my head,
The woman who never leaves,
Telling me they’d love you more if you were skinnier.
And they only like you because you’re new in town.

We did thirty days of yoga,
On the thirty-first day,
I asked my roommate, are you ready to go at seven?
At 6:55, dressed and ready,
She asked me how I did it, how I could keep going?
I did yoga in my room by myself.

I said something in a bad tone that upset someone’s cousin at a luau a couple months ago.
So my friend’s friend was mad at me on her behalf,
For months.
No one said anything to me.
That’s why half the town hasn’t been talking to me for a months and months.
What kind of people do that outside of middle school?
Do I want to be friends with people who do that?
Am I being snotty?
My mother said, when I called her to cry,
Well, they got over it, so it’s all in the past,
And doesn’t matter anyone.
That doesn’t feel right either.

I listened to the OBC RENT soundtrack while I folded laundry.
So many nothing were on my list today,
So many different lines to cross off,
And I got one done.
I folded laundry.
That’s all your going to get from me and my couch today.

I had to have a talk with him because my conscious kicked in,
I don’t know what to do about him,
I’m being silly to start this at all.
It’s all in my head.
He could be showing the pictures I’ve sent him to drunk fishing buddies out on the boat,
So that when people see me they blush.
But I had to talk to him,
To say,
Hey this other guy messaged me,
Do you have a problem with this?
But unlike the good lawyer’s daughter,
I didn’t know the answer I wanted to that question before I asked it.
Because I can’t figure out how I feel about this,
It would all be easier if I were more decisive.
He said I was sweet for asking.
I want to take it all back,
At least the thought of being duplicitous
Gave me something to whittle away the hours with.

There’s such beauty in going back to something you love,
Because only you have changed,
It hasn’t moved,
The words are in the same order,
Scenes fall the same way,
But how you see it has altered,
So you’re able to learn about your self,
Through the old memories you keep,
And the new thoughts you have.
God that was a bit heavy-handed, wasn’t it?

I like thin crust pizza. Dammit.
If I’m making the pizza I can make it however the hell I want.
I can make the crust thin, the cheese too heavy and the pepperoni stacked.
It’s my goddamn pizza.
And I made it from scratch in my oven, in my house on my pan, with my cheese.
I don’t answer to anyone.
I can make the pizza however I want, and the rest of you can eat it
And be happy.

Three Poems from My Day

three quick little things, because I’ve started NaNoWriMo

She said Japanese people are only really reserved with strangers,
Whereas Americans were it all on their sleeves.
And here’s the interesting bit.
She said, American are shallow underneath,
Whereas the Japanese aren’t.
They’re so frank and open.
First, I hate when people praise another culture.
In my experience, it’s all fine and dandy,
But humans are humans.
There’s always a tradeoff.
Also, who says blanket statements like that?
Who can get away with that?
And then who won’t admit to seeing their wrong,
Who won’t take a second to see it from someone else’s point of view.
Admit that their statements might have flaws?
I’ve found this with my roommate too,
Maybe it’s me,
Maybe not many other people like to argue,
Or expand their brain.
They like to be heard, and seen as correct.

Okay we’re going to take a second,
Rather you’re going to take a second right now,
I took the second when I was writing this,
To ask,
When the hell did I become the liberal?
I’m pretty reserved in general,
I’m never the one with the craziest ideas in the room.
What’s going on here?
Am I suddenly too far left?
Am I the edge of the horseshoe who now has more in common with the crazies on the far right?
I’m the one who only sees grays and isn’t sure what solid white or solid black looks like.
Perhaps, today, I am argumentative.

Also, I hate having to report to roommates.
Nosy ass roommates.
Leave me alone.
I don’t want to be around you.
I don’t want your noise.
I don’t want to play with your kids.

Poems from My Day (11-1-16)

if one more person says to me ‘you do you’ we’re murdering

I read Potrnoy’s Complaint
Until I got to the masturbation in liver
I didn’t want to force that on my eyes.
I saw enough when I thought exposure was cool.

I would love to be vulnerable and honest with you,
But I’ve made myself not share,
So now I can’t tell you what might be
What might show you who I am.
I can only keep talking at you,
Like my mother does,
Talk at you, not to you.

I had an argument with a roommate
About when you contact someone about scratching paint.
She said you always leave a note, or go tell them.
It was 3:30 a.m. her sister was drunk riding shotgun.
I was sober.
There were drunk guys milling around on the weekend before Halloween.
Your call at this point.

I start these things,
These relationships,
Or something.
I know can never work.
Because I want to be safe.
But I think I read that in a book somewhere.
What I really think is that,
I start what I can start,
And try,
So I can hope and dream
Like the teenage girl I never let myself be.

There’s a stapler my new roommate can’t get to work
I think it looks like a lobster.
It could be the rum & coke I’m drinking out of a solo cup goblet,
I told her to be nice to the stapler and it would be nice to her.
She told me to write down the stories I’m telling her,
Instead of trying to write whatever it is I’m trying to write.

I had to present to city council today.
Waiting for the updates,
The one non-councilman in the room.
I kept thinking the floor didn’t match the podium colors,
And that the city manager’s voice doesn’t match his personality.
I didn’t think my nervous heart could beat for so long.
For the five minutes I presented.

Here’s the mental path I censor,
Stop talking,
You’re talking too much,
No one cares.
They’re just humoring you,
They don’t care what you’re saying,
They’re going to use this against me,
I can’t do anything right.
I’ll never do anything right.
I’m going to be a failure.