Tag Archives: life

Poems from My Day (3-21)

i’m back.

So. I’m living on an island of ~600 people.
Remote. Rural.
There aren’t any Mexicans or black people. Pretty much just natives and whites, and a Korean family.
There is no restaurant, bar, or coffee shop.
You can’t drive to get here.
I’ve been here two weeks.
Start praying for me.

I did it. I flew across the country by myself.
And I didn’t die.
I got trained by these people who really seem to care.
I heard horror stories about poverty, and what it means,
And what it looks like.
It was just depressing.
I told a girl on the bus ride over to the plane this,
And she said, it wasn’t depressing, it made me want to do something.
A something that will be useless.

I’ve never talked so much about where I’m from, until I’m not there anymore.
Because I assume people would know what I was talking about.
But now they don’t.
They’ve never been to KFC, or seen movies in a theater.
I’m an outsider, for the first time, a person who wasn’t born here, who didn’t grow up here.
And I don’t fit in, for a good reason. But it’s the first time I don’t fit in with a good excuse.

I may or may not have had a thing with the only other person I know here.
I drank PBR because he was drinking PBR.
And I had to tell him about my claustrophobia.
That you can’t trap me with your arms.
And that I had to ask my friend before we went any further.
He fell asleep. I had to control my breathing.

Packages take two weeks to get here.
The dump is a pile of trash they light on fire every once in a while,
It’s where all the bald eagles are.
There are miles of logging roads people go “cruising” on.
I’m so alone.

A loaf of bread costs $3.50, the cheap, white kind.
You can’t fill up your gas tank past half-full,
They have a fuel stealing problem.
I have 4G, though, and Amazon Prime.
There’s an airport for seaplanes,
And commercial fishing,
And alcohol. So much alcohol.

My mother called me,
My uncle visited and saw grandma before she died,
My brother asked a girl to the prom, she said no.
My sister’s visit was nice, but short, and they have communication problems.
My stepdad is having more dementia and skin cancer.
My mom still has no external support system.

She was analyzing me,
Like I wasn’t me,
It was as if I was a test, an experiment, like when we were kids,
And she was trying out reactions, seeing how far she could push me, before I’d get upset.
She did it on the phone,
Practicing her counseling techniques,
One step away from, well how does that make you feels.
It sounds as though…
I hear that you’re…
Well what do you want from this situation …
What’s your best outcome.
I remember why I no longer confide.

I watched basketball.
I quit my part-time other job this week.
I’m officially under-employed, qualified for SNAP, and poor.
Tired and poor.
What have I done?

Poems from My Day (2-9)

Gravitas he lacks it.

I hate that I smile when I’m uncomfortable
I hate that I’ll think I’m stupid and know nothing in 5 years.
Please don’t ever talk to someone, pat them on the head, and think their problems are cute.

I kept telling myself if I get everything done I need to today,
Then I can do nothing and sleep.
Except I got almost everything done,
Felt guilty about not doing more,
And never got the break I was promised.

I hate being dependent on someone.
I feel obliged.
And I’m never sure what they’ll do with that obligation.
Like ask to let something slide,
Or tell me “it’s nothing,”
So we have something to hide together.

I feel like I worked all weekend.
And I didn’t get that day to do nothing.
Maybe I won’t ever get those days anymore.
But knowing that the last time I would have a free day, would be the last day,
Probably would have just added more pressure to have a good time,
Instead of increasing my bliss.
It’s like, the m&m can only be so good,
Even if you save the last one till twenty minutes after you finished the bag.

I have a new worst thing in the world.
It’s when someone does something wrong that effects you,
And gets mad at you for asking them to fix it.
Also known as payroll.

It’s the first time I’m being asked to sign a non-compete clause.
I’m vaguely offended.
But this company has always put business practices before doing the right thing,
Mind you, they tend to screw those up too.
Even if the founder would tell you different.
I’m going to get in trouble for writing that.

I deleted all my books
The ones you made fun of me for,
And now there’s no record I’d read them, or where I stopped reading them, or gave up.
I still want credit for them.
Because I so desperately don’t want everything to be for nothing.

But my handwriting is perfect.
That’s what my Mom told me she thought as soon as she checked into the hospital for stress exhaustion.
She told me this after I told her all my clothes are folded and put away.
And everything is perfect.
But the me is lacking in me.

Poems from My Day (1-21)

i’ve been so cold this week

I’ve started saying phrases I don’t believe in,
Copied from other people
Who have their guard awake constantly
And have perfect eyebrows.
Things like, I would greatly appreciate it if,
And have a wonderful weekend, or
I’m so glad to hear you say that.
I’m developing a constant refrain of saying,
The old me never would have said …
Would never let herself,
Would have stood up to this before now.

I read a boy I knew in high school’s post
On an off-chance and a whim,
About how he tried to commit suicide because of his weight
How he’s a beautiful person inside and out now,
And it sounded pre-written, scripted,
So I’m worried about him as a person, now,
Instead of dying of heat disease.

I’ve needed the help of my mother.
She’s been there.
She’s helped me do big girl things this week,
Like open a 401k, tell me I only need 10k in life insurance,
Write my first two-weeks notice, and tell me it’ll be ok.
I had this terrible thought,
My kids, if I have them, won’t know the mom I knew,
They won’t know her without wrinkles, skinny.
They won’t see all the cuts and bandages she’s put on me.
And soon I’ll be the only one who knows about those too.

You’ll never understand me,
Even if you want to, try to,
And I’m okay with that.
But, then again, I’m hard to upset.
As long as we don’t start sharing our souls,
I’m fine with you on nodding along.

I say hi to the cleaning people.
I’m not sure if I do it out of pity,
Or goodness,
Or trying to do right.
Or to prove I’m righteous and good.
I might say hi to them, because they’re the only people lower on the totem pole than me, and they have to be nice to me, which is a change.

Exit only signs.
I let my brain work out why they say exit only instead of no re-entry,
When I’m about to lose my lane on the highway.
I have to have a stupid problem for my brain to work out while I’m driving
Otherwise, I’d start to feel mundane.

I think I’m developing a stutter.
I make myself so nervous.
I try to get everything out perfectly.
I have to double check everything I say,
So it’s perfect.
So I can’t be at fault.
I’m even stuttering in my mind.

She said, I literally just turned this on, this second.
I told her I believed her.
She’s nervous. She thinks I think all she does is watch tv.
I don’t mind, or judge. I’ve been there.
I try so hard to be a non-passer of judgment.
Especially as it relates to people I like.

I budgeted this month correctly.
I can buy sunflower seeds and saline nose spray.
I put the 10% in savings, and the 250 in retirement.
Tomorrow I’ll remember to put deodorant on,
Reply to all those emails,
And do all my dishes.
Then, as my mother says,
I’ll start to see the warning signs.
When all my socks are matched, and put in drawers,
My desktop is organized, and my pens all work,
It means there’s something wrong,
When it’s all too clean.

Poems from My Weekend (12-14)

i went to my old high school to watch my brother’s christmas concert

I want to be an old woman with
The old woman’s afro of pale hair
So that I can sleep through this terrible Christmas performance
And not have to care.

These are my insecurities.
You can’t have them.
They don’t exist.
If I don’t tell them to you, and you don’t notice.
Please leave them alone.
They’re fine where they are,
Where they’ve always been.
Please don’t fix me.

Praying a phone battery dies
Yes. I’m praying my mother’s phone battery dies.
So that she stops recording. And flashing.
It’s a common complaint.
I could say, it’s her experience, she should live it how she likes,
But I want her to do it my way, and like it.
And really, I just don’t want to be here.

I’m going to go through my whole life
Like this boy on stage who doesn’t want to be there
Who doesn’t want the attention
Who wants to say his lines,
Then get off
And take off the elf hat
And have no one ever notice him again.
I’m going to go through my whole life apologizing for being alive,
On accident,
With my spotlight on myself.

God I miss singing Christmas carols,
It’s almost worth going back to church for the month of December,
It’s just so much damn fun
Singing songs you already know with people who know them just as well as you.
It’s a community you have that you don’t have to work for,
It’s already there.

Have you ever been in a moment when you know you’re going to remember it later?
I’m there right now.
Trying to figure out
Where to live,
What to do,
What routines to set up,
But I’m still not sure what will last,
And what will matter in a week,
That I only gave a passing glance to today.

I sit next to a man who types too loudly.
And encroaches on my space a bit.
And has too much beard and not enough neck.

If you give me the truth without any apologies or meanderings,
But just how it happened,
That’s the best of the best.
I’ll know you, if you do that.

Belittle me all you want from your position of power.
I have no say in the matter,
Make me feel small,
Make me feel useless and incompetent,
Go for it.

Poems from My Day (11-21)

It snowed for the first time today. I used to think that made it a magical day.

I’m fifteen again, because I’m talking to my mother.
She says, “don’t be snippy with me just because you’re hungry.”
I wasn’t that hungry.
But no comment can be made against her.
Unless you have empirical, documented evidence.
It’ll still be your fault though,
How dare you bring this up and make her feel bad,
Don’t you know what she’s going through?
I just shut down. Then get yelled at for being quiet.
Why don’t you talk to me anymore?

Let me tell you what complaining does,
You smug bastard.
I’m coping when I complain.
Coping means dealing with it,
To deal with it I have to say it,
To say it, I have to sound whiny sometimes,
There’s no way around it.
I need to say it out loud,
I have to process, grind, smear, and stutter.
If you don’t let me, I’ll push my tongue to the roof of my mouth,
Clench my jaw so my molars stick out,
And not let you in anymore.

I sing sexy songs to myself in the mirror
And pretend to be Shirley Bassey, and have hips,
And a big bowling voice.
Then I remember something he told me once,
I quiet, and check my forehead for new wrinkles,
And tell myself I won’t do that again.

I saw my grandmother today.
My mom wanted to take a picture,
To post online.
I said no.
When I have a definite opinion,
And you don’t respect it.
You lose.

I left my dog with my parents,
I’m allergic.
She looked so happy to see me,
She’s a dog.
She made me feel loved,
She doesn’t know any better.
I had to leave her behind,
I had to go home,
I’m so sorry.

I make all these rules for myself.
If he calls you again at three in the morning, drunk,
Only pick up the phone if you’ve done something that day.
Wait at least two minutes before responding to texts.
Don’t cling.
Don’t complain.
Don’t get your hopes up again.
Expect nothing.
Don’t remember how much you miss him.
Don’t keep staring at his picture.

Poems from the Weekend (Oct. 31- Nov. 2)

Halloween, all-saints day, day of the dead, time-change, and I need more sleep.

There are probably a thousand places I could navigate again without thinking about.
A whole big long list.
I wouldn’t have to look up maps. I wouldn’t have to double check my direction.
I’d just know.
I know which direction to turn in my house without thinking about it, even if I haven’t been home in years.
I wonder what my brain is doing with all that knowledge while I’m forgetting I know it.

He was the sort of man who I could have told to go to the store for me,
Who would have forgotten what exactly he was supposed to buy, and get beer instead
And I would lightly yell at him,
Just glad he’d done something for me. Because sometimes I don’t like being strong.

I wish I just had one problem, like the women in novels
A big, honking, thing of a thing
That could be easily solved by a man,
A sense of humor
And really good, very detailed, sex.
Then I’d be perfect after that got solved.

Every time I go back to visit my family
I see my mother involved with my brother’s life.
She can name all his friends, all his friend’s moms.
She knows which colleges he applied for,
She knows how much homework he finished,
And what he has to get done tomorrow,
And how much gas is in his car.
And which of his friends are dating, and when play rehearsals are.
It makes me want to cry.
To say,
Why didn’t you care so much about me?
Why wasn’t I good enough?

I pack my books in old Keurig cups cardboard boxes.
That way they’re stackable, and not too heavy.
I have to decide:
Am I taking Tolkien, or would he be ok by himself?
Matilda is coming, there’s no doubt about that.
Leaves of Grass I can find online, but I like holding.
Auden has to come, he’d be lonely otherwise.
Princess Bride is comfort self material, check.
Eyre, Emma, Pratchett, and O’Henry are a shelf by themselves.
Dianna Wynne Jones got me through the summer of ’11
I can’t leave her.
My people travel well. They don’t complain unless it’s raining.

I told you,
You’d leave me,
Don’t you remember?
I said, you’ll get tired of me,
Like they all do,
Up and down you said no.
But I waited.
And there you went.

I like being up early.
I don’t like waking up early.
My time of day is when it’s quiet.
And dark.
A couple bugs still up,
And twelve dollar Target lamps,
Laptops, and wifi,
And Arnold Palmers.

I had someone to meet at 6:45.
I got off work at 5.
I couldn’t afford to get something to eat,
In a café where I could sit.
Starbucks. I could sit and work, but not get anything cheap to snack on.
I brought a book with me, if I could find a place.
I drove around and got lost,
And my phone kept telling me where to turn.
I can’t afford to waste this gas,
But I couldn’t find a place to pull over,
And sit.
Is this what it’s like being homeless?
Trying to find quiet, where no one will bother you
Until you have somewhere to be at a specific time?
Shampoo aisles suck up a lot of time.
So do craft stores.

Poems from My Day (10-29)

Give me a holler, if you’ve got one to share. A poem a mean. Not whatever you were thinking of.

I would like to complain about my work,
But I won’t.
Because they could find me.
And because I’m no longer free to speak my mind.
Or rather.
I’m no longer brave enough to speak my mind.

I’m in the zen state of tired-ness.
When the patterns on quilts become difficult logic puzzles
Requiring all you attention
And the swirls milk makes in the tea
Becomes the most interesting thing in the world.
And I can’t remember my last sentence.
Or if I’m inappropriate.
I want sleep and warm.

I decided after I stopped religion,
I wanted to still be a good person.
So I read some Kant, and a bit of ‘stotle
And I try.
I had to find meaning somewhere with something rather.
But damn, do I miss the simplicity of church.

I don’t like, well, a lot of people.
Women who won’t admit when they’re wrong.
People without senses of humor.
Who are careless with their friends.
Those who expect a certain response
Who punish you when you don’t show it.
And who look a hell of a lot like me.

A woman told me today, you have to be suspicious of people,
You have to be suspicious of people who don’t drink,
And don’t swear.
What kind of place do I live in my head,
Where I can’t stand up and say something,
To something like that?
If it were a joke,
If I were in power,
If I was faster and wittier and smarter and superman.
I should have called it.
What a terrible thing to say.

I talked with my sister a bit about feminism.
Why can’t women get roaring drunk without something being wrong
Why can’t we be confrontational and still delicate
How come we’re not allowed to make a scene
Why do we have to worry about this
What did my mother tell me to make this barrier?
The barrier to not caring about me appearing flowery.
Why do my ducks have to be a row before I’ll call someone on their piggishness?
Maybe we’re just shy north of the Ohio river to get away with it.

I want to tell my friend, out loud, in a public place, with witnesses galore,
That I don’t believe in love and thunderbolts and – I saw her across the rooms,
To tempt fate,
To give me someone to love.

I knocked over a plant with my elbow
Off the windowsill and onto the floor.
And the dirt spilled on the fluffy beige, putzy carpet.
That was two days ago.
I look at the dirt,
I don’t pick it up,
I don’t make plans to pick it up.
I just keep looking at it.