Tag Archives: grief

Ten Poems April

i’ll get better.

1:
Sandpaper and jell-o.
Me, who’s usually the robot, in this case, is the jell-o.
And the, I’m sure nice to everyone else, in this case is the sandpaper.
He took another woman to a wedding.
He told me this as we were sitting down to drinks at the same place we always went to, the same place he never tipped enough. He told me as an aside.
It was a test, the meeting, to see if we could be friends, he said.
Not even more than that. Just if we could work as friends.
Me, I ended it over text, it had been enough. I had been hurt enough.
And he said with exclamation points and bad grammar how nice it was of me to spend so much time with him.
I’m cherry jello smoothed on high grit sandpaper. I’m just smashed to pieces.

2:
I’m trying to try on clothes as fast as I can in a pulled-closed, thick-curtained, wheelchair-accessible, overly-bright, closet last Sunday while my sister waits outside. Wondering why I hate this so much. When they don’t have your size and you feel too big for the room.
I remember why I hate shopping for new clothes.
We had to buy new clothes, she wanted us to buy new things,
They had to fit,
But hurry up the store clothes in 15 minutes and your sister already tried on her things.
When we spent too much checking out, she would go silent, fast-fidgeting hands, and say it’s fine. Then not talk to you the whole way home while she rationalized how much she spent out loud as we drove back from the cash register where our coupons were expired and she argued with them.
She would tell me over and over again how I was still pretty even though I gained weight. And didn’t I know she gained so much weight in high school she ran out of sizes in the stores. She was fat before anyone else was fat.
And it looks like you’ve lost weight recently.
You should buy that, you know, it looks good on you. If you don’t buy it, you’ll regret it later, you should get it if it makes you happy.

3:
I am mad at the god I don’t believe in anymore because he’s taking away her hands and her music.
My choir director, the director of the choir I don’t want to be in, with gray hair, and a purse with keyboard keys and music notes.
She’s had too many strokes, and she can’t play anymore. I watch her week by week lose a few more notes, forget a key change, and slip in a scale.
And I’m mad at her god. I’m mad at her god for her.
My sister tells me that parents will force their kids into the best schools, which makes the whole community suffer, because the wealthy parents take their resources away from everyone else in the local public schools.
I’m sure it’s time that someone else should take over, I’m sure Carol’s time is up, she’s had her turn.
But for her, I want to bend the rules. I want my kid to go to the best school out of district, because I know her, so she should matter more.
She should get to keep her music.

4:
I talk to my mother on the phone,
Who feels like a failure if she can’t cheer me up.
I’m sorry I couldn’t make it better.
Sometimes I should just listen and not say anything.
But she never does.

5:
He said he’s looking for someone to love.
This is the boy I’ve been spending time with,
Who doesn’t want to date me, but hang out,
The one who conveniently forgot to tell me he had kids,
The same one who told me he’s not looking for anything serious,
Just bought the love languages book for $5 from his friend because he saw it in his bathroom.
I told him he’s scaring me.

6:
My dad went to vegas on a helicopter tour,
He told me he wants to go on a blimp, that’s the only other aerial transportation he would like to take before he dies.
I keep thinking in my head, they don’t do blimps anymore.
Maybe I can commission goodyear when he dies.
I think that’s hilarious. I think he would think that’s hilarious.

7:
A woman screamed on the bus.
Hunched over with a man above her saying he just needed to get her home everything would be fine.
She screamed for four stops.
They got off, and the bus driver pulled over,
And yelled at her radio operator that she called emergency and no one answered.
I still wonder about that woman.
Drugs? Was she really just needing to get home? Was it something worse? Should I have done a damn thing other than stare?
But her scream and the seat she sat in are chilling in my memory.

8:
I went to Cuba.
And I took their culture back.
I took their rum, cigars, and small souvenirs made in Panama.
I held onto the colors they let us see.
I have a piece now I get to hold over everyone else who hasn’t been to Cuba.

9:
I should just say,
You’ll do.
I won’t find someone who’s my everything.
But you’re not going to hurt me, and I am able to reproduce in a stable environment.
Romantic love is for nothing anyway.
Marry someone from the business school, actually afford property in this city.
I told this to my friend who said and I quote,
“Meh you don’t want that.”

10:
She finally died, my grandmother who wouldn’t die.
I kept saying to myself,
Well she’s never died before.
I don’t know what to do.
What do I tell my mother,
Who wants to give out goody bags at the funeral?
50 lbs of chocolate-covered gummy bears.
And bingo bucks,
Wrapped in ribbons in the church narthex on the table with the photo albums.
The grief never came.
She didn’t die herself. She died as what was left. After her brain scans were empty and her children’s names were gone.
I managed the grief of my mother. Who wanted her alive longer at 90 years old.
We took the funeral flowers with us back home.

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Ten Poems (09-10-17)

mostly about romantic relationships today

1:
I remember after the first time,
Thinking I should feel something different.
Thinking I should be thinking something else.
Instead of vaguely sick and uncomfortable.
And mostly bored.
How can you not see it on my skin the next day?
How does it not show on the outside what I’ve been doing.
Shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone?
I should be the drunk who’s worried he’s drunk at his kid’s basketball game.
But instead, I over-interpret certain looks from passing strangers,
And take too many showers.

My brain likes to spit back certain moments the next day, as I work through them.
I sat on my bed in my church dress and thought through whatever I was trying to think through.
I guess going over the memories again and again hoping to make sense of them, and relegate them to certain sections of my brain, so that they come when called, and not surprising unexpected, uncomfortable.

2:
I’m so much more used to forward people,
Like me.
(Is that a lie?)
Who tell me they want me.
And I feel safe then,
To be blunt like I like.
I want to be the one holding back.
Power. Or something.

3:
Jesus, what have I done?
I broke it off. Officially.
I used my words and said I couldn’t keep the door open romantically any longer.
And two days later he sends me a text,
He says he’s going to change, I’m going to notice a change.
Is he being manipulative again?
Am I his love coach for life now?
Bad for breeding. He was sick with crohn’s.
We were raised in different SES places.
I’m cold steel on the inside, don’t forget.

4:
Did I really call it off?
He was nice.
That’s all I keep saying about him.
He wouldn’t give me grief in the way I want.
It’s a different personality type than I’m used to,
So I don’t already know what bugs him,
And what turns him on,
Just because I’ve met his type before.
Is that why I wasn’t attracted to him?
I’m not attracted to the guy I was with yesterday, but he was forward, so that was fine.
I don’t really want to know what that says about me. I’m not going to over-think that one.
That thought has been relegated to the unopened file cabinet of my brain.

5:
How do we feel about short guys?
I’m not that tall.
But I’m taller than him without shoes on.
It shouldn’t matter right?
No. It shouldn’t.
But I’m finding small things about people again,
The small things mean I’m looking for an excuse out,
Instead of a reason in.

6:
I’m excited to see him.
Is he too old?
Am I imagining too far in advance.
I think the gray hair is cute.
This is the first time I’ve planned out a life with someone.
I get to come into this community of people who have thought these thoughts before.
Who try to plan to get phone numbers, and think of what children will look like.
It’s a first for me.
I really do like him.
My friend told me the biggest problem with ten plus age gaps is that you’re very rarely at the same point in your life.
What do you mean, I asked.
He said, someone wants kids, has kids, or wants to move.
One is ready to settle, and the other wants to travel.
I said I’m open both ways, I just want someone.
We both like the cold, isn’t that enough to build something on.

7:
I wonder if she loves him.
And that’s why she was so upset,
When he said he was starting a relationship with a co-worker.
She has a boyfriend. In Milwaukee.
He seems better than her.
I’ve met the type before. I wouldn’t be around her if not for him.
But they’re “good friends.”
I can’t tell him he’s better than his friends.
I don’t know what troll they’ve faced in a dungeon that’s forged their bonds.

8:
Curls and comfort,
And talking too much.
God I love curls.
He’s a furnace,
But he made me feel attractive.
Which I know I am,
But I still want to hear it every once in a while.

9:
I feel young,
Like I should be happy I still have a first left to feel,
And the novelty of newness still able to take up hours after I should have been asleep.

10:
I went to a church with my sister today.
We sat side-by-side like we did when we were growing up,
And my dad was in the pulpit.
I can’t remember the last time we sat alone in the pew bench together.
It was our dad’s church, small, old building, older chandeliers, oldest congregation.
But it was warm.
I don’t know how to explain it, other than warm.
The rhythm from my childhood was there,
And passing peace, and silent thoughts.
My sister said she was crying a lot,
How beautiful it is to see this group of people coming together to make themselves better for an hour. It’s not often anymore you can be in a building full of people who are good. Who you know are good.
I don’t go to church because I believe. And I told my friends I go because then at Christmas time so I don’t have to answer to my mother.
But I think it’s the rhythm that gets me.
The social aspect. I’m doing what I did the first twenty years of my life. It feels right.
I don’t have to agree with what the pastor says, or say every word of the confession of faith.
I can be in my own space again, know what will happen next, and be at peace.
Think thoughts I’ve thought before, but were just a little dusty.
God, the comfort, and the opportunity to sing as loud as I want.

Please Don’t Judge Me for This Later

Is this what happens? They just keep dying.

She wasn’t even twenty-one. She was still trying to find the kind of eye makeup she liked.
First responders isn’t who’s on call, it’s the who’s sober call.
She was so young. She can’t be dead. Not again. She was making bad choices in life.
Goddammit. I talked to her about alcohol. Not that I could have done anything. That poor town.

Is this what we let happen? We just keep letting these accidents happen? Again and again. You forget which cake you made for which funeral. They come in threes don’t they. It means they have one more.

And the people there are still sticking it out. What has to happen to get really angry? When do you say, no, I’m done living? What has to happen? One more fisherman dies because he doesn’t know how to swim? One more girl drinks herself to death on the beach? I guess it’s good you guys are so bad at giving your daughters protection, because with all the kids you’re losing, you’ll need to make a lot more one way or another.

So what she shouldn’t have been dating who she was dating? So what she made trouble and hung with the wrong kimono-wearing crowd?

She died and she didn’t make the news. Why would she? She wasn’t anyone special. She was another native girl from the villages. She didn’t get out. She wasn’t stupid behind those eyes. She was a slow kind of alive. I didn’t really even know her. I knew her enough to say hi at the airport. Enough to say hello. Enough to keep her secrets. Goddammit. So what? She was brought into this world to get taken advantage of by older guys? Then left without an education or tools, with the liquor bottles open on the counter. And we let it happen again? That’s it. I’m done I’m so done.

She wasn’t old enough, she wasn’t old enough to fall in love with things, to have a passion to learn that you can be passionate about something.

She didn’t know that could happen yet. She was too young still, to learn about herself, to do anything other than pay attention if she had to pass her classes with c’s.

I remember that age, when everything is terrible and you think you’ll never find a passion, or something to get excited about. But she was so even. So calm. Maybe it’s that calm that people who are drinkers get who haven’t gotten drunk yet that early in the day.

I can tell you her father was a drinker. I can tell you she’s a victim of her society. I can tell you she’d seen it happen and knew it was a possibility. I can also tell you how experimental she was with the way she looked, how she carried herself with a solidness you don’t often see in young women. And then I run out of things to say. Because I didn’t take the time to know her better, she was too young. And I was too old, and too nervous about myself.

And like most of the people, you accept and you keep going, not changing, just acknowledging that’s what happened.

Do I donate to her go fund me page, so her family can pay funeral costs?

What do I tell my friend, the first responder? Do I tell her I’m sorry? And what do the people I know tell me? They’re sorry. Geez, a lot of people you met in Alaska die. Then they wonder how long they have to talk about it before they can change the subject.