Tag Archives: free verse

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.

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8 Poems from My Life

i’m doing better today. i sat and watched the sunset.

1:
I read about the lives of famous people on Wikipedia.
I always feel like it should have gone differently.
I want the people who did great things to only do great things,
But then, their lives happen,
Something goes wrong,
In the end they always turn out to be people.
I want them to be an example of a faultlessness.
Never have anything go wrong,
As proof that life can be perfect.

2:
When will I be a hellraiser? I want to be a hellraiser.
I can party and stuff.
Or just get told I’m cute.
That happens to me more often.

3:
I get so excited when I read a Christopher Hitchens piece and I don’t have to google any words in the first paragraph.
To me, it feels like the first time I read “White Fang”
And I understood all the words, and I knew them well enough
That when I read them, I understood,
And I felt good about myself,
Smart.
Which is a running problem for me,
If you haven’t noticed,

4:
Can I lead a club called the nervous and the damned?
I’m always worried.
There’s something I’m doing wrong, I don’t have a plan, I should have a plan, I could be doing better, someone in my position would be doing better by now.
And.
I’m going to hell for sure.
Or at least, I tell myself I have to think I’m going to hell, so somehow I can convince myself to be a good person, or what I think is a good person.
With food.
Can we have sandwiches too? And cut them in squares? Diagonally. And have paste sandwiches? I’ve always wanted to have paste sandwiches because I don’t know what those are.
We’ll watch films, after quietly and individually writing down our thoughts by ourselves.

5:
When I watch movies on serial killers I always keep the video player small-sized.
I don’t make it full screen, it keeps them farther away that way.
The same way I had to tilt my head way far back and away from the screen
When I watch that new Les Miserables. Because otherwise I was just too close to those characters.
And their syphilis.
But, I shouldn’t judge the people for what they’ve done or what’s happened to them,
I still want them over there, though.
That’s probably something I need to work on.

6:
I think it’s in the eyes of the kids,
What they stare at – meaning what they haven’t seen before
And what’s totally normal – ignored.
A stranger driving down the street finds eyes and attention.
Or when I’m introducing myself, or offering a normal kindness.
But not when I yell,
Or hear other people yelling, or gunshots, or unwashed faces.

7:
Sometimes I read the forums on 4chan because they use language in a different way,
And I want to read that.
Sometimes I want to be shocked, to feel something.
It’s to laugh occasionally too,
Or pick up cooking tips.
Or hear what other people are thinking, when they get to be anonymous.

8:
I called my mother,
Sitting on the early learning center carpet in the library,
Wedged between stacks of partially-alphabetized children’s books,
Because I had started crying.
I found this book, and the pictures looked familiar.
I started to read it,
My mother’s voice came into my head, singing this song,
Peanut butter peanut butter, jelly, jelly.
And I remember hearing her sing this rhyme.
And I thought, I’m not crazy.
So I texted my sister with a picture from the pages,
She didn’t remember.
So I called my mom.
Mom, I found this book in the library,
Do you remember this?
It’s about building this huge sandwich, peanut butter jelly, and,
And she knew.
And she sang the song that I was singing in my head,
Except it was in her voice.
My mom’s voice.
And that made all the difference.
It matters.
It matters with every book you read to your kid.
We’ll remember.
And you’ll tell us to have a carrot.

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 (7-4)

it’s all too loud

1:
I miss my family.
It’s not something I thought I would ever say.
But, today, oddly enough,
I’m sitting here imagining what life would be like,
What today would look like if I were back home.
It wouldn’t look like this. I would be stronger. I wouldn’t have let myself stay in bed all day. I would have actually done something.
I would be drinking a lemon shake-up,
Sitting on the prairie, sweating, playing cards, trying to keep the blanket flat.
I’d be miserable, I’d have been worried about it on the 3rd. Did we pack, will we run out of things to do, who’s going to get angry?
And worried about how we would all handle it. Would we have enough lawn chairs, would someone embarrass me, how often would I have to dodge the crowds, how bored would I be?
We’d eat sandwiches, or if Mom managed to manage her money correctly that month, we’d have fried chicken in a bucket that was a little soggy from being in the cooler. And it’d be mad at myself for being fat. And hot.
And the symphony would take forever to start, but I’d never be able to get lost in the music.
Because there would be something I would want to change, to make it better. Someway I could be less uncomfortable. I’d still be holding a grudge for something someone said in the car that I didn’t say anything about at the time.
But, I’d take the pictures that I’d file away with all the other fourth of july pictures that I’ve taken for years. And they would look the same.
I’d know what was going on.

2:
I told myself last Christmas that I couldn’t go to my father’s again without a buffer.
I needed someone to come with me, stand with me. Be the in between.
Because I couldn’t take it otherwise.
But now.
Now.
Now, I don’t know.
Maybe I could go again, just me.
I have a little more understanding, I think, after this year.

3:
I’m glad that happened.
It was terrible, but in a terrible way, I’m glad his wife died, because I got to read this beautiful piece of poetry. I got to feel something I wouldn’t have otherwise felt. So, I’m glad.
Maybe it’s a bit Kantian to say,
Like thanking God for the fall of Rome because all those cats have a place to live,
But, something beautiful is sometimes worth a sacrifice?
Or does that make me a bad person?

4:
It’s such a gift to be raised in a city.
You don’t even know.
I know how to walk down a block and have the look that makes homeless people not bother me.
I don’t get scared in crowds.
I can figure it out.
I know what street signs looks like.
I’ll be fine, if I decide to move back to a place with a stoplight.

5:
I got mad at my mother for posting my picture on Facebook.
I had asked her not to, she did it anyway.
She thought, well just one, because it was graduation.
I said, this is why I didn’t let take my photo. Because she would do whatever she wanted without asking permission.
She didn’t ask me.
It was the right kind of mad. I don’t get that often. Totally in my square, right to be mad, no later repercussions for doing it wrong or anything. God I was so mad. It was beautiful.

6:
Why do people always not see me as a person?
It’s not fair.
Can’t you tell I’m scared?
I like to be invited to things.
I’m not good enough.

Poems from My Day (6-29)

when everything’s in order, it’s for sure i’m a mess

1:
Wow. His wife looks at lot like his mom.
Just younger, and a bit prettier.
I should stop noticing things like this.
On a list of things you can’t un-learn
The oedipal complex is has to be near the top.

2:
When I still believed in heaven,
I worried I would become bored after a while.
A physics teacher at my school gave a morning assembly about how if God could create things you can’t imagine, you’d never tire of thoughts.
That was nice, calming, wholesome.
It made me think of what God would have up there that would be interesting.
I always hoped it was a big list of statistics about you.
This is how many total hours you spent brushing your teeth,
Or
This is how many total lemons you’ve seen in your lifetime.
Or
This is how many close scrapes to death you had but didn’t realize.
I’d enjoy reading that.

3:
She would bake scones if she had the time.
I guess I do have a lot of time,
But I think, it’s one of those things, that if you’re busy, you get more done.
I sit and stew,
Sitting next to carrots doesn’t help me avoid my doubts.
I wish I was worse at baking so I wasn’t so fat.

4:
God everywhere here is pretty.
The town dump is pretty.
Even in the cloud overhangs in dull, steel gray.
I feel exotic.
But I have to be careful to remember that is this normal for a lot of people. I’m outside.

5:
Okay doctor. I know I’ve gained the weight back that you asked me to lose.
Three pounds a month. To be healthy, needed to go.
I know it. I’m sorry.
But I got my fifteen minutes in today, and I’m hoping to go bike riding on a regular basis once I get a helmet and a hex wrench.
I’ll get it together.
I’m tired of my roommate using me as a comparison to make herself feel better.

6:
I’m screwing everything up, and
I don’t have the emotional energy to talk myself out of it right now.

7:
What am I going to do after this nice, by-pass year is over?
I’ll go back where I know the roads and bird calls.
No, I’ll go live with the best carpenter in the United States and learn how to use my hands.
Maybe I’ll take another marketing job and sell some more soul. Five cents a memory.
All over again, it’s my worst fear. Directionless and skill-less and dream-less.

8:
You’re a bully to push this on me, this summer brew in an orange label.
It hurts that I have to explain, that you can’t understand. Even if that’s not fair to you.
Let me drink half of my beer, so I don’t have to start going to AA, let me
Let myself leave half on the table. To prove to this body I don’t have a problem.

Poems from My Day 6-14-16

all i can say is sorry today.

1:
I have to create the space for it to go wrong before I can do anything at all.
Which means I often turn my muddy wheels in a ball of shame and stress,
Before I decide I can’t do it.

2:
It still hurts.
He looked at me right in the eyes, and
He’s the only one my age from the group,
He seemed to be listening.
But, today,
They must have spent the morning together,
And he passed me over with his time.
The most outgoing boys always get the prettiest girls,
Who know how to tie a shirt around their chests.
But it still hurts.
It’s a wound I’d forgotten I had, that never healed from middle-school me.

3:
Dear Lord, was I like that?
I remember thinking that about the freshman in high school when I was a senior,
And again as a sophomore in college looking at the first years,
And again as the boss of the interns dictating to the group of newbies.
I met college students today, they came to help me out.
I wasn’t a part; I was other.

4:
I want to get mad at him.
Tell him, our friend is a better man than you.
I want to tell him how badly he hurt me,
But I don’t want to have to say any of it out loud.

5:
She told me I’d lived many lives for my years.
I said I’ve done a lot of things, but nothing for long.
Which is true.
But they’ve none of them been me.

6:
Two days ago I stood at the point in my depression cycle where all I could do was read romance novels.
I don’t even like romance novels.
But it’s all I could do.
So it’s all I did.
I got by minute by moment, instead of hour by day.
And made it by.

7:
She wasn’t with mom in that bathroom at the funeral parlor.
Our mother, practicing over and over.
Apologizing over again.
Pacing,
With a handwritten note,
And I couldn’t make any improvements.
I thought, then, I wouldn’t leave this place for anything, I need to be this support, I feel good about being there for my mom, but I’m still bored.
It was me there.
She can never take that away from me, as much as she tries so hard to be included and the center of it all.

8:
I want somebody to tell me I’m perfect,
And I do it the best in the world,
So I get interviewed and matter according to mass public opinion.
Sometimes, my own blocks and lincoln logs aren’t enough to hold me up.

9:
There’s only one way you can listen to this song.
Wallowing in a heap on the floor, no lights.
So I got out of bed, lay on the floor with my knees bent up, an elbow over my eyes.
And heard him cry about “Lua.”

10:
I can’t imitate your work without adding me to it.
I don’t even have to try and change it,
My copying will make it me-like.

11:
And just because somebody cries loudly doesn’t mean they’re feeling the most.
God what a presumptuous thing to say,
And so like her too.
To think the loudest must be right.

Poems from My Day (5-17)

these are decent

1:
Let me tell you about the scars I wish you had asked about
I listened as you told me all about yours.
The one from the bike crash where your atv fell into the creek, the one from you running into a pit full of sticks, the one you really should have gotten stitches for when you were little.
I didn’t get to talk about mine,
But I guess you can’t have it both ways,
You can’t hold back and then expect to be asked.
So I’ll keep my stories to myself, and pout,
No one wants to hear mine anyway.

2:
I had all these things built up to say to you in my mind,
I had all the ways I was going to act, all set up,
I knew how I was going to behave,
And say, and not say
I had my eye contact mapped out,
And I had topics planned.
And then you never came by.

3:
Let me tell you what happened. I’ll try to take my bias out.
As much as I can.
Somehow, she did it on purpose, or I let it happen on accident,
But she’s made me feel inferior,
Like I owe her something. i won’t stand for that.
She’s made me feel like I’m bad with people, bad at communicating,
Because we seem to misfire.
Like I’m not right enough, or good enough, somehow.
And then I went to the big city,
And I say city with quotes around it, remember I’m in Alaska,
And I got along so well with everyone, almost,
I remembered I’m pretty decent with people when I want to be
In the short term at least,
I’m kind of a failure long term,
But then again, I haven’t tried long term,
And as my mother would remind, you have that one chinese friend down where you went to college,
It was this great relief, to remember I can make friends, I can talk to people,
It’s not just me.

4:
The second I let myself be me, people look at me oddly,
And someone from my past shows up to laugh at me,
It’s awful.
I keep a tight leash.

5:
Me and alcohol have a weird thing going
I don’t crave it, but I don’t want to crave it, but I still want it,
But I’m proud of myself for not wanting it,
But I kind of want to drink it, but I won’t like it when I drink it,
Control.
I’ve seen too many people lose control.

6:
I’m about to spend two hundred dollars on produce that doesn’t go bad.
There. I did it. I clicked a few buttons online, and, groceries.
I’m trying to find foods I can take with me as lunch that won’t go bad without a refrigerator.
I need to go to the store for more bread, and vegetables, and meat, and eggs, and butter,
But my roommate hasn’t gone, and I don’t want to ask.
What am I going to do this summer, when she’s not here, and I have no car?
Hmm?
Die. I’m going to die.
Or just bike ride everywhere. Yeah. Right.
I need a car.
I can’t afford a car.

7:
I told Beth a little about my roommate’s romantic life,
I regret that.
I try to keep people’s people to myself.
But she asked,
And I think I wanted to share, cut her down a little, which I now feel guilty about.
I hope it doesn’t go anywhere.
This boy? She asked, don’t you mean this boy? No, that one. She’s dating that one.
I bet they’re related and I just insulted someone.
Shit.

8:
What an odd thing to say, “where is my dog?”
It shows such propriety.
She didn’t use her name, or say,
“Where’s the dog.”
My dog.
Like somehow, in the last two hours, I’d taken her away.

9:
I love how dogs hold a bone like they’re scared it’s going to run away.
I wish I held on to life that way.

10:
I want lightning. I want my anger to show up in the clouds.
But it rains, then sometimes, rains louder.
And there are 10 days when it’s clear and beautiful,
The only days you can convince people to live here.
That’s what they tell me,
When I’m visiting the city.

11:
I’m trying to write, I’m trying to explain what it was, how it felt,
Let me start over.
I chaperoned a high-school lock-in 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
At 3:30 the leader lady (my roommate) split them up,
They didn’t have to be asleep, just in one of two rooms.
She asked me if I was going to sleep,
I told her I wasn’t sure.
I shut my eyes for maybe twenty minutes. My feet fell asleep.
I tried sleeping on the ground, it was too cold.
I tried sleeping in a ball, I am too fat.
I got up and read on my tiny iphone 4 in the hallway.
My roommate asked me, did you sleep?
A little, I said.
Lying.
Wow, she said. That’s amazing. She said.
You can do that. Control it like that.
What did you do in college I wanted to ask.
But, what I couldn’t tell her,
And what I guess, she’s never been exposed to,
Is
There are reasons people can’t sleep in groups they don’t trust.
I haven’t been able to fall asleep with another person in,
God what year is it?
8 years.
And she shamed me for it.