Tag Archives: 10 poems

Ten Poems in Twenty Minutes: COVID Edition Day 4

these are personal not political, but don’t think the politics aren’t there

1:
It happened and I’m mad my mother was right.
I saw a baby and I wanted one so badly I cried.
I rocked myself, and I cried.
I was happy there was still a very small chance,
Even though it would upend my life,
I planned for it anyway.
So I could daydream,
About what I wanted, for once.
It’s pure want.

2:
It hasn’t even been a week,
And I’ve already had an offer.
That I shouldn’t take.
I shouldn’t take,
I shouldn’t take.
But I want someone to not have put me in a category of “not good enough”
Like, why wouldn’t that hurt my feelings?
Why do you even have a “not good enough to love” space?
I could have been at his house, with his cats,
Not being alone, saying screw covid, but being treated honestly for who I am,
And not playing this –
You’re good to be casual for now, but not enough to make me care about you, or try to make you feel good.
But I’d have the testing fears all over again, are we clean?

3:
My grandmother only approved of my mother’s husband after she’d had dementia for 3 years.
She also put whole grapes in her rice krispies.
Hand washed the plastic cover over her regular table cloth,
And collected tea cups even though she drank coffee.
But there I was on a Saturday, sitting on my friend’s couch, missing her.
Missing her not being alive.
And sad, because I realized I’m still at the start of missing people, I’ll just keep losing more people the longer I’m around, and I haven’t been around long at all yet.

4:
Weird thing happened.
I said, I’d turned off my feelings for him,
To him.
Directly.
Which was a lie. Then.
But today, it wasn’t a lie.
I didn’t feel anything but sympathy for him.
Sympathy that you have to live in such strict boxes, with so much fear.
Where you don’t think you’ll work with someone long-term, but you get along well enough to limp along, for a bit, to stave off loneliness.
I’m worried my mood will change and my feelings with it. Again.
I’m worried I’ll retaliate and hold myself off, because he’s doing the same.
Tit for tat. Dumb way to play with people.

5:
I invited him on my birthday trip.
Maybe that will be the next and last time we’re together.
And it will all be about me.
He’s the free add-on that I won’t take into consideration.
I’ll be the one laying on the floor communing with the moon.
He doesn’t get a say in where we stay.
He’s allowed to bring the dog.
I turn my phone off for three days and embrace the thoughts that come,
Which are usually, mostly, anxiety. But it’s nice to have it in a new place.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t end up coming, like the boy last year.
But I’ll get that beautiful drive by myself again, and it won’t matter,
Because it’s about me.

6:
500g bread flour
Why do you still love me?
350g water,
I’m writing this down, I promise,
No, see I’m taking notes.
Add 1/8th tsp yeast.
You told me you can’t say no to me.
Mix.
Turn.
Let stand 30-40 minutes.
Does that mean I can ask you for things?
Add 50g water.
15g salt.
Mix again.
You’re not supposed to flirt with me anymore.
Turn.
Wait 30-40 minutes and turn again.
Rise overnight on the counter.
Tell me why you love me.
Stretch out in the morning.
450 on a convection oven.
Tell me again I’m pretty,
Before I forget we said we wouldn’t do this anymore.
No, no, you only bake it 10-12 minutes.

7:
It’s me and the snails on the sidewalk at midnight when the weather has dropped below 90 and I can walk.
Me and the snails and the toads and the roaches on the sidewalk at midnight.
Flowers growing into the path,
Running into one-line spider webs,
Listening to podcasts,
Talking to my mother,
Tracking my distance, donating 25c a mile.

8:
Why can’t I be weak and still loved?
Why is all I do defend my right to be vulnerable,
To carry my trauma,
To have not had experiences,
To be uncomfortable.
To ask you not to say those things or use those words.
Right as you’re walking away.

9:
Is that what you do brain?
I finally give you some calm, some space, you’ve been having a nice time exploring,
And you give me unprocessed trauma,
You throw the boy’s words back in my face,
The idea that I should deal with the trauma, that there’s something wrong with me?
That it’s not okay I’m not at 100%?
It’s not fair.
I give you space and you give me more to deal with.

10:
He came over to pick up some candy I made.
And he didn’t leave.
I wasn’t expecting him to stay.
Had no beer to offer.
No nuthin.
I stayed six feet away.
The first hint of hey I have things to do, I thought would make him go,
But it didn’t.
He said something interesting,
He said I stack up better than anyone else they’ve ever been with,
Better job,
In better shape,
Better educated,
Better beard.
(Apparently that’s a type he told me)
Nothing about who he is as a person, which is all I care about right?
But he thinks of himself in these measurable terms,
Am better than.

Ten Poems for February

1:
I bruise easy.
I found what looked like finger bruises on my forearm a few days later. I thought. I thought. Maybe one of the other people did that to me, the people I’d seen over the weekend. Who held me when I wasn’t watching.
But it wasn’t
It was me. I held my arm in front of the officers, hard enough and long enough to leave a bruise. Two bruises, my sisters noticed before I did.
They’re yellow and faded now.

2:
C’mon let’s remove those tentacles,
The ones that say you care.
First the one with the memories,
The ones tied to guilt and shame over the silly things you’ve done together,
Then the ones that thought you might be okay, normal,
And the ones that are embarrassment, wanting to do it right..
Finally all your little claws, talons, pieces, hopes, are all back where they belong.
All died like the succulents you water too much.
And we’ll go on as usual.
I’ll not ask for what I need.
I won’t have to learn how to build boundaries.
You can go collect spare tokens with the other partial memories of the boys who’ve loved me.

3:
So what if you’ve seen my body,
I haven’t bared my soul.
You can tell me my brother’s name,
But not how it feels to love him.
Maybe that’s something I’ll never get to share with someone else.
They’ll always be a part of me held back in trust,
That’s where all my optimism in life went,
Reserved from the cynic,
It sits in my heart, and promises we’ll open up for that perfect person
Who’ll love me perfectly.

4:
I have no doubt we make better friends than lovers.
Something about my canal being too tight,
And your lack of patience and finesse.
Maybe I can’t deal with your short height and children.
I’m too much for you,
That’s what you said.
That line you should never say to the depressed.
But we can make each other laugh,
And conversationally rhyme so easily.
Not as lovers, but as friends, we’d be good.
If I were safe and you were taken.

5:
I met a woman in the bathroom last night,
When I was the drunk woman handing out love in compliments the like of which I won’t give to people I love,
She had chains on as a shirt,
I told her she had beautiful nipples.
She said thank you, everyone else had just been staring.
And I continue to connect with the safe people, who I know I’ll only know for an instant.
The only time I’m honest is when I know there can’t be consequences.
And I’m worried I’m becoming dependent on something else to allow me to be myself.
Yesterday it was alcohol, today it was sleep deprivation.
I’m only proud of myself when I can turn part of my mind off.

6:
Maybe if I can tell you then I can tell him.
This is my name.
I was not raised in an emotionally healthy household.
I have abandonment issues, while at the same time am the victim of emotional abuse
And later in my life, sexual assault.
I am the child of parents with anxiety, depressive, and possibly schizophrenia.
For all intents and purposes, I am the child of an alcoholic.
No one ever taught me how to have boundaries
I have only recently learned these are a thing I’m allowed to have
I like things explained to me, because I like to understand.
I like to be right
I like to be safe.
I want to know you like me before I will let myself like you.
But, you’re practice, like so many before you.

7:
My fan can make a breeze and cause a change.
It does more than I do, laying here with a heating pad
But I turned on the fan.
Does that count as inciting action?
Or am I merely circulating already circulated air,
Trying to not smell like the boy who lay here,
Just like the fan,
Always reacting to someone else.

8:
The free food will be eaten or thrown away.
And all that worry about it will be for nothing,
Except creating new grooves in my brain patterns
That are friends to stress and worry,
About how quickly I can eat the food,
If I should have taken it from work,
And whether or not I’m taking up too much space in the refrigerator.

9:
To the women who upload romance novels online
So I can download them for free,
I love you.
I feel guilty for reading,
For downloading,
Even if I do often buy them in print.
But thank you.
For this love affair with the happily ever after,
Has gotten me through a couple bad nights,
Where I might have turn my addicts eye to something stronger
Than the printed love.

10:
Austin, Texas.
Why couldn’t I have gotten stuck up north where I was wanted?
Instead of here.
With all this muck of humanity in traffic on I-35.
And dirt and heat
People trying to be something.
I want my seasons to change. I want to date someone other than a software engineer who plays rocket league and drives a car with modifications.
I want authenticity that isn’t in the form of tacos.
I want to find the damn place I belong.

Poems from the Week (7/14)

1:
It rained so hard today I wanted to cuddle with strangers.
The sky turned to winter morning’s green.
I hunkered my shoulders.
I wanted someone to notice I wasn’t ok,
And hold me while I curled up in a ball
From the big scary noise.
Desperation bred lovability today.

2:
I woke thinking life had nothing but horrible thoughts for me.
Then I got something done,
Not everything, mind you,
But something.
And I only thought, “I have to get out of here” when I stopped to think.
That must be why busy people never stop to think.
All their little day saddnesses would play catch-up.

3:
Someone’s beautiful place of memory
Got destroyed today.
Those poor red shutters on the old brick house,
And all the overgrown fence posts,
They’ll never be like you remembered them.
You can’t go back to double check yourself.
Did I really feel like that,
When I saw the sights I’d seen a thousand times before
With different, healthy eyes.
I’m so sorry little memories.
I should have written you down to keep you safe.
I should have sketched you in color,
I should have photographed with sound.

4:
I do not want to talk to my old teachers.
I will be reminded of all the things I promised myself to be,
The last time I came across their desks.
Let me stay unjogged, more likely forgotten,
So that I can slip by,
Accountable only to myself today,
Instead of the, look where I’ll be, girl with shorter hair.

5:
Pain pills chill on my desk leftover from surgery.
I don’t take them.
I have to say I can overcome some sort of addiction.
I’ve left them on the desk because they fit in.
Like I’ve left that bird turned just sideways.
I have to be able to do something right.

6:
I want to be noticed, but I can’t say I want to be noticed.
So I have to pretend my below grade flying is destined on purpose.
I could be famous.
If I wanted to be.

7:
It’s true,
You find love together in the moments,
Then the waiting for the next one.
Maybe this next one will be better,
Or maybe he’s forgotten.

8:
I met your father for the first time,
He knew all about me,
Oh god, I’m a topic of conversation around your damn meatloaf.
I thought we thought of each other as friends.
Dammit, why didn’t you tell me, you know I’m blind about things like that.
I never saw you again after you left for school.
You an all curl hair.

9:
My dyslexia kicks in.
I’ll tell you what happens.
I’ll be stressed, I have to say this quickly, and it has to be accurate.
I know exactly the word I want to say,
I try to say the word, but I can tell it’s coming out wrong,
And I can’t fix it.
I know it’s the other thing I want to say, the opposite,
But I can’t figure out how to say it,
And there’s no time,
So I go with what my mouth was trying to say,
And I can’t figure out what I said, or meant to say, except I’m mad at myself.
It happens with words.
It happens when I’m writing down a phone number and can’t figure out if I’m writing down a 6 or a 9, and I know something’s off but I can’t see it. My b and ds looks like butterflies, with bumps on both sides.
It happens when I’m thinking too. I’ll think wrong, but I know what I mean, so that one’s not so bad. When I’m reading the letters will flip flop, the letters and the words, and the lines, sometimes it’ll sound funny, and I can laugh to myself. It gets bad when I’m tired too.

10:
I’ll never be beautiful.
I don’t mind.
It means I don’t have to put on makeup.
And no one lies to me.
They know they can’t tell me I’m the prettiest.
I can be fine with me, and my perfectly normal features.
I’ll draw you a picture of me one day here soon.

Poems for the Week (7/6)

The schedule is now more like a rough outline. Anyway, this is what I wrote this week

1:
I wonder what I’ve done to permanently injure someone else
And I never knew.
I wonder who’s memories I haunt
And if our spirits cross in each other’s memories to wave hello to a friendly face.

2:
I knew a girl with my first name.
I thought she should keep it.
It fit her.
It fit her far better than it fits me.
I’ve always thought of it like my body, a trap instead of one together.

3:
I’ve found my temporary freedom card in an odd place.
It was under the seat of the old car.
I plug my phone into my car and let music play.
I sing as loud as I want driving to work.
I sing off, I constantly rewind, I’ll listen to that part again.
I bear no one’s standards. I get yell and howl and screech.
Only where no one hears me – that’s as strong as I am.

4:
I pushed myself into the cracks so that she wouldn’t notice me, and I had an excuse to be shy.
My Mom usually forgot about me. I thought that has a nice ring to it.
So I wouldn’t draw attention or ask for, then I could bemoan my state.
But you can’t tell her that. You can’t blame her for anything. Don’t you know what she went through?
We take the blame, and smile at you, and add another edge, next to our broken teacups.

5:
The first time I met you, we sat on the floor off the right wing of the art building. I cut cardboard and you sketched lines.
The first time you schooched over toward me, I flinched when you touched my arm.
I told you, you shouldn’t smoke, and you asked me why I cared.
You played guitar for me by the naked lady fountain and I stared at our Converse.
You said you wanted to be an anesthesiologist because they made the most money.
I told you, you can’t buy a suit jacket that falls that far down your wrists.
Then we just stopped running into each other. And I blamed me, my defects, something wrong, prolonging the incapacitation of confidence. I read somewhere that if they really want you they go after you.
My number hasn’t changed.

6:
I always think, if you’d have just told me,
By this point, I’d be able to stand on my own two feet.
Instead of amounting to debt and new excel sheet lines in inventory.

7:
Next time, you tell me you’re never drinking again.
What do I say?
Good. I’m glad?
What do I do when you go on a bender?
Do I just sit and wait to remember all the times you told me you’d stop after college?
Go on, brush me off, I’m not important.
When do you take me seriously? Is there something unserious about me?
What do I say when you ask for another twenty just to cover tonight?
Don’t brush me off. Please.
No, you know what? I’ve done all I can.
Destroy yourself now. That was a command not an insult.

8:
I don’t let anyone speak to me like that.
But I’m tied to you, I need your money.
So I say nothing.
I add another tack to my miserable, and say
You could have prevented this, you could be somewhere else by now,
If you weren’t you.

9:
It’s rained for three straight days.
So I wore black jeans in summer, to say,
Hello sky, I commiserate with you.

10:
You condemned my curiosity. I will not absolve you of that.
You mock whatever isn’t your standard.
I use that tool now. I know how to make people feel ashamed of trifles, because you taught me.

Poems from My Week (6/7)

1:
My mother is powerful.
She can’t lift a dresser though.
She’s sharp, but she can’t make you bleed.
She gives you the blessing of guilt.
I am so blessed.

2:
I wanted you to be perfect.
The best in the world, for me.
I wanted to have someone who fit.
Understood me.
I guess I just thought you did, because you talked to me.
It seemed like you were talking just to me.
But you’re human again, and far away,
And I don’t know how to fix it.
God, I want you to love me. I’m so disgustingly selfish.

3:
I’m at peace with my two front teeth.
I don’t have an even line smile,
It’s bumpy and crooked
And two are chipped from, well, it’s a funny story actually.
I am not a straight and narrow person, nether are my teeth.

4:
I got a little bit of money from my Dad.
I was so excited. I need so many things.
Then I was sad. Because I can afford one of the things I need.
Shorts, new necklace, socks.
I don’t have enough money to buy morals.
I have to shut off the part of me
She says this is wrong, what you’re doing for money.
But I don’t have a choice. I always feel trapped.
Trapped into taking other people’s money.
Stuck into graciousness.

5:
Make I statements.
Don’t insult the other person.
Address the issue with respect.
Outline the precise nature of the problem.
Kill me now, please,
All this hubbub because we have to be nice.
This just sucks.

6:
I cry in the car on the way home from work.
It has become my blue chariot of peace.
It flies between two hells on the highways.
I walk into the second and hug the emotional torments who call me daughter.
My biggest argument tomorrow will be with myself,
And how to exit the needle nest
To make vain for someone else.

7:
When I’m overcome with emotion,
I spout cliché,
Not my own words,
My own words take so much longer,
And seem lesser,
To the apologetic blank mind of the moment.
I wish I could make myself smarter,
Faster. So I could tell you what I felt right then,
And not have to wait for this thing between my ears to settle and explain itself.

8:
I thought I could understand everyone.
I am wrong.
I do not understand the humorless.
I cannot comprehend their pride.
Are they nervous?
You cannot live with yourself, if you cannot find your weaknesses ironic.
I do not understand.
I think, you have no soul, if you do not find humor.
Why does she scare me so much?
This woman I know.

9:
I cannot do this. I can’t.
But, see, I don’t have the ties of family,
I don’t have, I must do this for the kids,
That makes it harder,
Having no one to work for,
It makes it harder to stay.
Because I’ve always run, shied, hid.
And somehow, where I am, responsibility means exchanging your heart for a timeslot.

10:
I’m always going to associate with the worker over the boss.
Even when I’m old, and know people who started this thing when they were young, and became heads of companies, with fancy names and hair cut styles.
I’ll find myself on the side of the picket who values people.
I always will.
I’m mourning the loss of the boss in me.
I’ll never make that much money. I have too much humanity, and middle child syndrome.
I read somewhere, I think, that if you’re poor when you’re younger, you’re more altruistic. I think we were poor. I’m not super sure.
But we’re union.
I find my family values where I can and take them for their linearity. You don’t side with the mighty against the powerless.
I know that. And when I see myself starting to look for positive black numbers in excel sheets,
And avoiding how much people need to see bits of themselves in other humans,
I think, maybe it’s ok I’ll never be somebody.

Poems from my Week (6/1)

Guys, guys, are you seeing this? I’m actually keeping to my schedule. I just cannot believe it. It is, in fact, unbelievable

1:
Come on, preserve my sanity, I dare you.
I bet you could break me if you wanted. So do it.
You’re so close already.
You think you’re my life line, what’s holding me here.
Prove it.

2:
I am more than what you see between my hairclips and my shoelaces. I have to be.
I have to be something more, because
Otherwise,
Well,
I’m not sure, but it’ll be unsatisfying as hell.

3:
I don’t know what to do with myself, or what it is I think I might be feeling. So I’ll go buy something. Or, maybe just think about starting the car, to leave, to be free, to run. Run in my car, and buy something, to feel better.
I thought this an hour ago, and I’m still here. And still here.

4:
If I could show you how I felt, I would clap till my hands turned to ground beef.
But I don’t know what to say.
So I’ll say what I always say to you, which is hedged bets and a plastic mold of a heart.

5:
I screwed up a bit. Not a lot. Just a little.
And I’ll be agonizing over that for the whole week,
I’ll get distracted and really mess something big up,
But not care, because I could have prevented this whole catastrophe in the first place.

6:
My goodness found a stamp.
It peeled off the backing and wrote an address.
It mailed itself to someone who was a bit better and felt a bit more.

7:
She must have realized she was talking down to me.
She must have processed who she was talking to.
She can’t be that cold, but wait who am I talking about.

8:
I memorize songs, so I can keep track of time in the shower.
I think the same train of thought so I can reorient myself.
I count my fingers when I can’t breathe.

9:
She spent so much money. Just all in one go, no problem.
I have to be careful where my twenties fall.
I can’t be loaned out later.
I hate that she doesn’t have to worry,
And doesn’t have to keep track.

10:
I met a boy who wore a purity ring.
It took too much strength not to make fun.
People must hate me, always sarcastic that one.

Poems from my Week (5/28)

i am. a penniless, schedule keeper. but i thought i’d tell you about my week

1:
The dentist took my wisdom teeth.
I had to go back to his office.
I had to be polite
To the man who caused my week’s worth of pain.
He should sell himself as a weightloss specialist.

2:
They know who I am as soon to look.
Then I have to be the attitude they’re expecting,
Because they’re waiting for it,
They’re who I’ve always wanted to be.
They’re women who knew what to do with their hair,
Because their mothers told them,
Because their moms knew,
Because their moms cared what their hair looked like,
And not that they were late.

3:
I would much, very much like to know someone who would
Celebrate a very merry unbirthday to me, to you.
I want someone to push me,
Accuse me.
Ask me why didn’t you finish that when you were told.
I put more of you on paper as real.
I’m hoping you’re the one person of whom I can say,
“She knows me, she gets me, she understands.”
You know why I need to pour tea from a watering can and cry.

4:
I want to talk to you, but you’re high.
I can’t even tell the difference anymore.
When did I become a nag?
My mother bugged people like I’m starting to.
He doesn’t love me enough to stop.
I haven’t asked.
I can’t ask.
I can’t complain about something I haven’t spoken of.

5:
You’ll know me, then be bored of me, then leave me.
I am me without you,
I am me without you.
If I see you again,
It’ll all come back,
Like driving past elementary.

6:
The skin cancer man didn’t wear sunscreen,
Until the doctor told him:
Please continue, I have two kids to put through college.
Insult to the way you handle money,
Only to be pull off by a stranger in authority.

7:
Complain about yourself.
It can’t be your fault.
Oh, the most horrible thing happened.

8:
I cussed out the woman who lives in my phone.
She directed me to three closed coffeehouses
Before she found a tea place instead.
I wanted to hold her accountable, and couldn’t,
It’d be better if I could.

9:
Remind me to tell yous –
Are remembered after it’s been lost,
And it’s raining,
And your shoes are squeaking,
And the food is cold.

10:
She called – just to chat.
I talked for an hour.
Thursday night ramblings of weekends and weeks before and things and trees and shrubs.

Poems from My Day (5/19)

i wrote ten of them. you know why.

1:
My dog led me along a thin and narrow path.
I followed her into the deep woods, into rivers
Under trees, I followed her.
We walked up a hill steep and narrow.
She yanked my arm,
Shot into the brush,
And brought me out a little squeaking groundhog.
I followed her while she buried it,
Then we went back to the car.
We had such a lovely time.

2:
She told me I have too much personality. These, hand brush, are cookie-cutters,
Like those boxes that only change from beige to brown,
You, you have too much you in you.

3:
If I wanted to,
I can find all your secrets. Anything you’ve tacked up.
It’s all still there.

4:
Who’s gonna pay for this?
Look at all this damage.
You did this to me.

5:
Tried a new place where the old Thai place used to be, had good drunken, sloppy, noodles.
I wanted to like it, for the spirit of the thing.
They showed off the same dusty black candle boxes, the same Vishnu painting with a mint tint.
The noodles were gummy and the chicken chewy.
I started singing Joni’s “don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
And I didn’t laugh at someone else’s joke. I’m still going through my, I want to be stoic and not laugh all the time phase.
My cheeks hurt now when I smile.
Their sweetened condensed tea wasn’t bad. One day, I’ll be on time. I’ll find the place I love and it won’t close before I’ve had my fill.
Too fancy philosophical for closing Thai restaurants? Yeah, I thought so.

6:
I drive over the limit when I’m surrounded in traffic.
But when I drive at two, after a Saturday of whatever it was,
I go the 55 exactly. I’m accountable more to myself than to the waves, then, I suppose.
I hear as my car starts to struggle with the second switch, my second switch hasn’t worked since I have to be exhausted to sleep.

7:
One of these I wrote for you, you know.
I’ll give you a hint. It was a love poem. Not that I write a lot of love poetry, or good love poetry, or good poetry at all. (I’m not fishing, don’t send me things, you butts)
I just want to talk with you. But I don’t know how to get you to open your instructions.
And if you do start talking, I don’t know what to say. I’ll say something to make you go away again. I always do. Then I miss you.
You said that to me once. I missed you. It made my day, you know? No you don’t.
I’ll be flying with my fancies over this way. Belittling myself again.

8:
I had to tell a story about something fun I did with my best friend from childhood. I couldn’t think of one.
And I started telling it and got that feeling of being boring, and made it worse.
I trapped myself, then got mad at being trapped, then made myself stuck.
We must have done something that was nice, that I don’t associate with embarrassment, shame, penance and disgust. And now I can’t think of any gleeful memory.
They’re only happy when I’m in a certain mood.

9:
So, then, big power in my mind.
I just get the one, then?
She gets me. She’s smarter, and funny as hell, I want to write down everything she says,
Mystical magical.
Same soul.
I just get the one though? I need another, please. Where do I fill out my form?
I’ll get on stage and recite lines for you. I want someone to know me.
Someone I’m not scared to hide the sections of me I only tell the dogs and strangers.
I tried to give it to someone else, pushed it, dropped, stained my floor, still there now, part of the furniture.

10:
I’ll never be good enough. Enough for me.
The competitive me wants more.
The styrofoam container kid in church, says you work for goodness.
But I still take comfort, sometimes, in thinking that the meek have something.
We’re supposed to get the Earth. I think I have that on a magic card as manna.

10 Poems (4-29)

i know, i’m behind schedule again. sigh.

1:
We walked out of the restaurant smiling, with happy on our faces,
I’m thinking, no I can’t remember the last time that happened, not at all.
It was a good time.
But then I realized I was having a good time and ruined it.
You weren’t there. We got white cheese queso and had mock battles over the possession of salsa.
We were happier without you. And I was in a good mood.
No bows drawn back, no double meanings, did you catch thats,
It was just nice.
How sad it must be for you, no longer needed, now only tolerated till it’s done.

2:
I teeter and wobble on the line between farcically melodramatic and temperate mundane.
I pull out big words when I’m uncomfortable. If I’m awkward at least they’ll know I’m not totally stupid.
But big words don’t mean thoughts, good thoughts,
Thoughts like, I’ll never be good enough as long as I keep thinking I’ll never be good enough.
Nothing profound.

3:
I sit in the chair that seems lower than my knees, so I feel small.
He looks me over, tests my hooves, and my references.
It’s all great fun.
I want to say, I’ll do whatever you want, just give me salary.

4:
I am a washing machine, no wait, hang on, hear me out.
I have cycles, cyclical, big word, did you see that big word?
I tell myself, I have to stop this, I can’t do this again. I can’t do this to myself again.
I shouldn’t. And then I do, I talk to him, and wish I hadn’t. I started it.
I say, I won’t do this again. I’ll take a break from him.
Then I don’t, and wish I had, because I rinsed and he responded.
And I felt a silly old rag fool.

5:
Engrained in me are a few strings and shavings of stone.
They shore up every once in a while when I’m not looking.
You boil spaghetti in a big pot.
You give the three-fingered wave on two-lane roads.
You are polite to old people.
You bring a gift when you go somewhere.
Immoveable aspects of me.
I don’t know they’re there till something turns them wrong, and my whole me says,
No, stop, you can’t, it’s just wrong.
It’s probably why, even if I don’t “believe” I’ll bring my kids to church.
Because it is done. I must miss so much of life because of what I can’t see I can do.

6:
You were born to be better than me.
Better in heart, soul, spirit,
Better at church, love, speaking, breathing.
But I got something you can’t touch, and it’s what will keep me in straight confidence.
I’ll never tell you when I figure it out.

7:
I’m indecisive about whether I want a lover, one good friend, or a leader to follow.
I should pick one,
I should pick something to do, with a whole heart.
I want a braided tie to another something here around somewhere,
Maybe it’s time to look down toward my chest, touch my chin to my collar bone,
And find some passion.

8:
I try to explain to him, Ryan, I mean, I’m trying to say why I’m friends with him.
I have an entire, a whole ethos, thing about being friends.
Is that odd? Of course it is, but I won’t be ashamed of it for you.
I think we can be friends and I can not like you.
I don’t have to think you’re great to get along.
We’re not soul friends, or good friends, or pound my chest brothers,
But we are good enough, and I like to talk to you.

9:
I want a goat who votes,
He jumps over ballot boxes, and steel legged plastic tables
And crinkly red, white and blue paper table cloths,
Well those he stops to eat.
Then I can blame the goat,
And eat him, or freeze him, or get some cheese for my trouble.

10:
I’ve never been on fire, not for a man or with cigarettes.
My mother would imply there was something wrong with me for it.
I never let myself have the chance to be really stupid.

10 Poems (4-21)

of course the first week I try a real schedule i fall a day behind.
These are ten poems I wrote today, as true as I could make them.

1:
Just came up here to work, and no other reason.
Listened to Sweet Baby James in the car and
Rolled up the window on three pieces of my long hair; it’s too windy today.
First week without her.
I’m can’t be a mess already.
But I cut my nails short this week.
And finished my book about Robert Kennedy.
I have something else planned for tomorrow.

2:
I repeat and repeat to myself:
Feelings are neither good nor bad,
Like facts,
They are. Deal with them as such; accepted.
But that does not work. Why would that work? I have no such luck.
My Mother’s voice comes into my head, and she says in the same tone she speaks,
She smiles, that knowing patronizer, grinning, how cute her emotions are,
How cute that she’s upset, why can’t she just get a job, what have I done wrong?
It must be my fault, I could have been a better mother, I can fix her if she’d let me.
And I have to tell myself, what I feel is alright, it is not wrong,
It can be improved, but it is not wrong to feel this,
It is ok. You are ok.
I tell myself what she’s never said. So I can let myself be sad. I give you permission.

3:
The dog has the courage I don’t, because of her lack of brains.
How courageous and wonderful would I be as a bimbo?
I would be a god.
The dog, the new hated dog, she makes him mad,
Shows no shame or qualms about it.
She sits in his broken, blue chair, his chair,
And like Catwoman, she puts her head over the side and smiles at you as you come down the stairs to first spot her. It makes him so mad.
I love it.
I can’t make him mad, it’s his house I live in,
But here she is, with her beauty, gazing at him without compunction – see what I’ve done –
And watch me not care. She doesn’t mind the yelling.
I’m idolizing a dog. At least I have a hero now.

4:
I own a little plastic kangaroo I got from a vending machine in a mall in my college town.
We were happy that day. That’s all I remember about that day.
But that stupid squishy kangaroo with black dot eyes became an object that won’t lose itself.
I put it on a desk when I see it. Then I see it on the desk and I put it in a box.
I find it in the box of papers, am disgusted it’s still around, and I’ve seen it too many times,
And I put it on the floor and toe it under the desk.
I want to keep it, but I have no place to put it, I don’t want to have a special place for something that doesn’t matter that much. So I wait for it to lose its sense of direction.
But then I vacuum and it ends up in the box with my extra Tupperware,
And I find it when I make a new spice mix, so I put it on top of the fake flowers on top of my bookcase, next to the other memories I’m not sure I want to keep up there.

5:
I don’t want to die here. The place I was born.
I don’t know where I wan to die instead. Just not here.
I can’t die here.
I can’t die where I hated it.
I can’t die where I grew up,
Where everything had its first,
I can’t be that 50-mile statistic,
I want to at least get out.
I would be the nothing I’ve too long imagined.
(god this is depressing, I’ve got to do better than this, man, it’s just too sad)

6:
I met a woman at the church function I got dragged to.
She told me about her motor-bike rally days over a mildly-warm taco bar.
I remember why I like to talk.
I told him once too, it’s the complications, they make people interesting. People aren’t interesting. The complications are interesting. I rebuffed him after he scoffed and I think he agreed with me.

7:
I watch every phone call.
I’m waiting for the signs I missed last time. Am I causing the signs I missed last time by waiting for them? God I hope not, this better not be like that cat in a box physics thing. I’m being superstitious.
She’ll sound too cheery.
She’ll brush off my asking how she is; she’ll silent laugh an anecdote instead.
She’ll tell me how good it will be in a month when blank finally happens.
She’s going to get everything she wants: she’s going to go back to her dream stipend at the place she wanted, and he’s going to go to conferences, but still be interested in her, and she’s going to lose the five or six pounds without her calves getting huge, and perfect her roasted turnips, and Dad will finally talk with her about the elevated topics limited to his men, and she’ll get that new eyelet backed dress with the triangle straps, and she’ll have everything that’s in the routed plan. It won’t be enough this time, everything.
And then I’ll talk to her on the phone, and I’ll hear what I heard two years ago.
That cover.
And I won’t get there in time to help even though I know I need to get down there,
I’ll let it go again, and this time Mom will miss it too,
And those conversations we had about how about are you today, rocks in pockets bad or head in oven bad, or mid-total wave drenched bad, will be over and over analyzed again,
And I’ll have missed it.
This time. But I won’t get the chance for another. Not again.

8:
She described me so perfectly
I felt the need to change.
I didn’t want to be known.
“You don’t know me.”
She seemed shocked my torso held together with more than tape and glue.
And I lost her forever after I insulted her.

9:
I can read people fast and well,
It’s from the danger you have to spot from distances,
I can find the hair-trigger tempers two miles back,
Preservation, baby.

10:
I have to work out this argument in my head until I can figure out how it was my fault so I can fix myself and not have to be mad at someone who I don’t know how to be mad at.
The last time I got mad was January of 2014. God it felt good.
I’m sure there’s something wrong with that.
I’m just going to listen to this song again, it’s already on repeat.
I’ll think of something before it’s over. A different way to see what you said that doesn’t make it mean.