Tag Archives: family

7 Poems with Titles

i will post something better, and better written tomorrow. this is all i can do for today.

Heard in the Hallway
I thought,
I’m not in rural Alaska anymore.
I won’t have to hear abuse happen and be powerless and guilty.
But I came home.
And he hits the dogs.
Not in a, I’m venting my anger,
But in a, you’re not behaving properly way.
And I want to go away.
But he’s old, and hopefully dying.
And I don’t want to deal with it.
Or make my mother deal with her husband.

I’m Sorry
He called me a minefield.
I keep thinking,
He’s the wrong one to practice this on.
This time,
I can’t disentangle whether it was him, or it was an old hurt
That I’m just deciding to feel today.
I flashed back to all the times I would be excited, or mad, or really happy.
And my sister would be there to make fun of me,
So that I never showed how I was feeling,
No one would notice and no one would hurt me.
She would flick her thumbnail over her ring finger and tsk,
God, what is wrong with you.
She’d say.
He was teasing my mood in a casual way.
Then.
I lost it, and started crying. Why was I crying?
Suddenly all those 13 year-old me feelings come back,
I got quiet, and I didn’t know why.
And I don’t think he’s strong enough to deal with this,
Or smart enough.

I Lost the Whatever I Had
My sister says I’m wasting away.
That’s what living in this house does to me.
My mother’s house.
She says she can’t watch it.
She says come live with her.
This is what happens when I can’t speak my mind,
When I can’t criticize,
When no one thinks I’m important.
All the whatevers I found living on my own disintegrate.
So that I have to cry silently at two in the morning so no one bothers me.

I Don’t Like Her
My brother’s first girlfriend.
When my sister pushed me for the whys.
I said, “she’s young.”
She’s …
How do you say someone is accidentally racist?
They’re only 19.
And he’s sillier with her than I’ve seen him in a long time.
She’s a lot like me.
And it’s hard to see your own traits reflected back at you by a prettier face.
She asked me to tell embarrassing stories about my brother to her.
How do I explain what’s wrong with that?
I told my sister, she’s very much raised as middle-class suburbs Indiana.
I think he’s smarter than her. I think he can easily out-maneuver her.
I worry that she’s not enough of a force of nature to counteract the abusive tendencies his father taught him.
He asked, and I said, “you like her, I like her.”
Cop out. I’m a cop out.

She’s Way Too Good of a Person to Be Friends with Me
It’s not often I’m the crazy lady who takes someone on adventures.
Except with her I am.
I’m the brave one.
And she takes me seriously, and the things I tell her actually seem to help her.
It’s almost like I’m scared she’ll clean the cynic out of me and I’ll have to start caring again.
Oh god save me.

I Haven’t Found a Job
I shake, literally my hands shake, like they do when I confront my mother,
When I have to apply for jobs.
I have to put my hand over my eyes, scary-movie-watching style, and just type.
To the outside, it’s such an easy fix.
I want to find a job, almost any job, before I move,
Just kidding, I want a paying job that isn’t demeaning.
And there go all my options.

This Counseling Book
Don’t worry about why I’m reading it.
Listen to what I discovered.
If the counselor and the client have different social-economic status, personal values, background and experiences, they might not click.
My god. This is why people who move have so many problems.
Think about it, if you don’t want to share with a trained professional who’s a little different than you, why would you ever be friends with someone so vastly different than yourself. They, and I quote, don’t have “intuitive insight.”
And you know what else?
This is exactly why my roommate up north couldn’t find any friends,
Because she doesn’t have anything in that list in common with the locals, and she didn’t know how to find common ground.
She thought the common ground should come to her.

10 Poems from My Day (10-27)

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

1:
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.
Pagan.
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.”

2:
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.

3:
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.

4:
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?

5:
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.

6:
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.

7:
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.

8:
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.

9:
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.

10:
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.

1:
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.

2:
I’d like to have conversations my roommate doesn’t overhear.
Nosy.
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.

3:
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.

4:
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.

5:
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.

6:
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.

7:
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.

Poems from My Day (9-27-16)

1:
I am competitive.
Pushed way, way down,
Because it turns me nasty.
I remember playing Monopoly with my sister,
She would talk about her win for days.
But when I would win, and try to act like her,
Crow, tease, smile at your tears,
I’d feel guilty.
It became easier to lose,
So I didn’t become the monster,
That is my sister when she’s better than you.

2:
I don’t know what to do here.
She says she’s leaving her husband,
Thursday.
This Thursday.
She’s going to stay with us in our spare room,
She’s bringing up her extra twin bed.
Not her two kids, only the baby.
I called my mom,
Mom, what’s normal here,
What do I do?
What do I expect?
She says 8.
It takes an average of 8 times before a woman will leave an abusive partner.
These problems I thought of as only for adults are happening to my friends now.

3:
My mother has a really great rule,
It’s the –
No matter what,
You can call me and I’ll come rescue you –
Rule.
I probably avoided a lot of dangerous situations,
Because I knew it would leave me having to call my mom,
Which isn’t nearly as cool
As having to dodge her.

4:
I saw the way his mom is with him,
And I see the young mother his sister has become,
I see the lack of developed potential.
The struggle for income.
But, really,
They seem happy.
So who am I to judge?

5:
Back home,
The farmers go to school,
Education is important. This is recognized.
You bring that to the farm,
New techniques, a view of the world, information.
But these people,
Don’t care.
Fisherman, Pacific Northwest, or small town,
I don’t know.
But it’s damn frustrating.
What? You don’t need to know how to buy a boat?
You don’t need to learn about coastal patterns,
It wouldn’t be helpful if you could read contracts,
Do basic math, speak what you mean?
I guess not,
All you have to know how to do,
In this community,
Is how to drink yourself to death.

6:
I’ll never not be lonely.
I’m learning there’s different types of lonely.
You can see someone every day,
Talk to them once an hour,
Know they’ll care if you died,
And still feel lonely.
I’m scared of committing to something tangible,
Right now I can hope it’ll improve,
Once I find a person to understand me.

7:
No one tells you how to have adult relationships with your siblings.
Do I call once a week,
Can I still offer advice?
Do we keep it shallow, cute pictures of puppies only,
Or talk about,
What you’re doing with your life?
We’re so far apart now, in distance as well as age.
And I don’t know these people with their brains fully formed.

9 Poems for the Week

my heart is tucked away today. i’m sorry it’s not open for my writing poetry visiting hours.

1:
I met the math teacher,
At native food day up at the senior center.
He’s from nearby, originally,
So he says his a’s like everyone else up here.
There’s an h in there and a little hint of a smile.
You can hear it if they say bag.
He told me smoked fish is the best because it goes really well
With any type of alcohol.
I love it.
The last time I met him,
He was yelling at me,
So this is improvement.

2:
My heart broke over a piece of paperwork.
She had to fill out the reimbursement forms for me,
For the trip we sent her on to Fairbanks.
I couldn’t get her to fill it out.
My supervisor yelled at me.
She who I had hoped would, would, do. Something.
So now it’s a body and a mind that does what needs to be done.
I’m out of this.
Me and my heart and my soul are back in our little corner,
Looking for better long-term cold storage facilities
Who don’t charge high rent.

3:
I told her my standards are really low.
I quoted this passage from a book which talks about how
He wasn’t much, but she’d never seen much of anything, so there was a chance they could be happy.
I said that was pretty much me.
You’re out of bed. You’re clean. You’re not hurting anyone. You’re good in my book.
I’ll not condemn the lazy.
She just looked at me.

4:
And I can tell she’s never been around chronic depression,
Or lived with an alcoholic,
Or an abuser.
I can tell.
She’s that funny kind of clean
Who wants to know the dirt,
And may have seen the dust,
But she’s never stopped caring when it’s covering her hands,
Because it’s been there too long.

5:
I used to always side with the children.
How could a mother do that?
I didn’t realize I had a bias.
Am I older now, to see adults as humans?
As an equal to the child, they’re needs have to matter too.
When did that happen?
When did I put the living above those who have yet to live?

6:
They say the first day of moose season,
Always means bad weather.
The rain came yesterday.
The first moose this morning.

7:
I just spent fifty dollars
On new clothes,
A pair of work pants, a sleep shirt, a blue dress oxford, and a blouse. A red blouse.
I shouldn’t have spent that.
It’s not in my budget.
My budget is titled: Don’t Spend Nothing.
And if I have to pay for heat again this month,
I’ll be two hundred dollars in debt.
And I’ll take out of my savings,
My rocking chair on a wrap-around porch fund,
I worked so hard to build,
I gave up my social life to bank,
Because I decided it was a good idea to volunteer for a year,
For a cause that might be worth it.

8:
We’re having yoga down at the firehall.
Me and my roommate and the woman in town who does community things.
I use the old beat up pink mat that lives in the corner shelf and has rust stains.
We’re doing thirty days of yoga. Or so they say.
A man came yesterday.
Changes the whole dynamic, even though I feel like it shouldn’t.
And my roommate said my side comments were annoying him.
If I’d known I would have said half of what I’d thought,
Instead of quietly trying to not show my ass while downward-dogging into hell.

9:
He asked.
Damn.
I almost escaped.
But he asked,
What are my plans for after my contract finishes here.
And I had to tell the truth.
Damn.
I have no plans.
I could go back to freelancing, if I had to,
Which wouldn’t be a problem.
Will someone tell me what to do please?
That makes me so pathetic.

Poems from My Day 9-5-16

i’m a mess today. i’ll try again tomorrow.

1:
I can’t tell you why I needed to give him a call,
Leave him a voicemail.
I think because somehow we both connected, with something real
Underneath all that marketing and sales.
But I was never trapped as he is.
I got out.
I never bought it.
He was the first person who ever thought I had a brain.
I gave him my word, I would leave him voicemails,
So I have.
I feel like I’m this strange thing he doesn’t know how to handle,
But doesn’t want to leave.

2:
She’s never broken her patterns.
She’s still the 16 year-old girl
Leaving the table in a huff,
After being yelled at by our step-father
Crying all the way.
Waiting for someone to come along and ask what’s wrong.
And the one time you don’t,
You hear about it for years afterward,
Or she tries to kill herself again.
The ever guilt tripping, sister of mine.
Except now, she’s married,
With a husband who’s done something to upset her balance,
And he doesn’t seem to care,
And we don’t seem to care,
So she’s pouting,
And I’m trying not to be glad.

3:
My mother makes Italian chicken
By soaking pieces in kraft yellow Italian dressing from the bottle
In a container for a couple hours,
Before frying it up.
That’s my favorite dish of hers.
And mine never tastes right.
Like my biscuits don’t taste like my father’s,
And my comments never as piercing as my grandmother’s.

4:
My father has a girlfriend.
I’ve seen her on Facebook.
Sometimes his pronouns get mixed up.
But he won’t declare her to us.
And I don’t know why.
I want so badly for him not to screw this up.
I’m so happy for him.

5:
0% battery now.
I should move.
And plug this computer in,
Instead of sitting her waiting for the screen to go black.
Or I could sit here and wait for the screen to go dark.
Before I decide to move.
There’s always a gap between deciding to do something,
And getting up and moving.
I have to talk myself into it,
Even breathing sometimes.

6:
Yesterday. I wanted to wake up early.
Wake up at sunrise.
Go out to the beach.
Call my mom from sitting on the roof of my car,
Out where no one could over hear me,
And ask her why I never fit in anywhere.
No matter what I do or where I go,
I’ll never fit in.
I’ll never be able to be me,
Relaxed.

Poems from My Day (8-23-16)

it’s a day to hide in a corner

1:
I didn’t understand people who bragged,
Until my brother decided to be a doctor.
I’m so proud of him.
I want him to do so well.
Is this how parents feel all the time?
I don’t want him hurt, but I want him smart, and happy.
I feel so bad for my mom. She’s been feeling this for years.

2:
I want to hide under the covers.
Cover me up in a corner.
Don’t make me go outside.
I’m weak today, and vulnerable,
Worse than vulnerable, I’m noodly,
I’m flexible, I’m not me, I’m not strong.
I want a big bear of a man to protect me.
I don’t really care right now if that makes me sexist.

3:
Why didn’t I hug those kids.
I should’ve hugged them, told them I loved them.
I’ve never met kids and wanted to take care of them before, I wanted to take them in and make sure they were okay.
I’ve never felt that before.
But their mom drank herself to death, and they’re going to live with their dad,
You know, which might be good for them,
Stability.
But I really liked them.
Damn.

4:
I was supposed to go to the capital this weekend.
They couldn’t get a plane here,
First the fog, then more weather.
I had all this built up energy ready to fly,
And I’m still on this island.
I won’t get to see my friends again before they leave.
One to Seattle, one who won’t be in my program anymore.
Damn.

5:
I can’t get out of my head today,
The space that says,
You’re doing everything wrong,
You can start that later.
I just want to sit and read to avoid the judgment.
That judgment that never leaves.

6:
There are very few people I like,
Even fewer that I love.
But, I think, for those people that are real friends,
I won’t let them walk off the deep end,
I guess there’s comfort in the power I have but don’t exert.
At least, I like to think there is.

7:
The first time I remember feeling claustrophobic
I was sitting in the crowded middle school cafeteria benches.
I sat on benches like those today,
And all the fear came back.
Funny how that works,
You never really leave your fears behind.

8:
He grew up with a different life than us.
He didn’t get yelled at for spending money.
I don’t know what that’s like.
He always got what he asked for.
He had all that attention.
He played all those sports.
He had all those friends.
He knew he was loved.

9:
She said if she had girls that looked like that
She’d keep them locked up.
I don’t know why this bothers me so much.
I think, first, that, you would keep kids locked up just based on their appearance,
Second that you assume bad things will happen to them,
Third, you think bad things will only, or only happen, to pretty people,
And lastly, that keeping them locked up will do any good.
Maybe there’s more reasons that bothers me, maybe it says more about me than her.