Tag Archives: love

Ten Poems for March

1:
Please just love him.
Body, why can’t you work right?
He’s perfect,
Perfect for you, just the right amount of flaws, perfect.
He’s such a good man.
Mom warned me, when I told her,
She said, if you marry a man who you don’t love,
Want-to-have-sex-with love,
You’ll meet someone you do,
And you’ll have an affair and run away together,
Trust me as a divorce lawyer.
I said, Mom,
I don’t know if I’m even capable of that kind of love.
When have you ever seen me go head over heels?

2:
We listened to Whitney Houston and drove to get slushies.
And we took a detour so I could tell him about Fleetwood Mac
And have him listen to Silver Springs and Go Your Own Way,
With all the context.
It’s like, Layla is never as good a song until you know he was in love with George’s wife.

3:
They’re going on their honeymoon before they get married.
I find this weird.
Then I find it weird that I find it weird.
For one minute, I think I can move in the world without carrying notions about women and love,
Just kidding, no way.
Look how judgey I can make you about a person’s vacation.

4:
I said, we’ll go to the wedding, if we’re still together.
And they said, are you thinking about breaking up?
I said, no, I’m just bad at relationships.

5:
His mother wasn’t happy apparently,
That he might move across the country with me.
I gave him this article about parentification,
And he was like, yeah this is what my mom does,
So I think he’s pulling away from her.
And I feel like a wedge to this invisible woman I’ve never met.
Who lives in his phone, and calls him while we’re eating.

6:
I called my favorite old friend,
To get an opinion.
Because someone (not the nice boyfriend) exploded at me when I told them how I felt.
And he made a good point.
He said maybe you’re not compatible,
As friends,
If you’re having to work around them so much, like you would a co-worker,
Maybe you’re not compatible.
I told him that line about not wanting to be with people who make you edit your soul.
And then we talked about other things and I got to hear him laugh.

7:
Why is it sexy to be on mute with your video off,
In a conference call,
Kissing your boyfriend, or making eyes or touching his body?
Somehow, it’s just sexier.
Checking that you’re on mute for that instead of eating crackers too loudly.

8:
He told me he loved me, almost in so many words
He said, can we use the l-word now?
Because he agreed to move across the country with me,
If I go to school in New York,
He thought it was time.
We had a good dinner out,
And he sat in the car with me, and he said, before you turn the car on,
I hid in the high wool collar of my black coat.
And said this is scary.
But I had been watching too much of The Bachelor
So things like, falling in love with you,
Made me suspicious.

9:
I can’t get through the muck in my head,
To get anything done.
I spin my wheels.
And then cry about wasting time.
I take breaks on purpose that turn into day long hour watching.
I can’t get out.

10:
I was not acting out of love,
I don’t know how to tell someone they hurt your feelings
And also act out of love.

Ten Poems About the Boyfriend

1:
Do I have other things to do today?
Deadlines to not miss,
People not to let down?
Well, yes, but instead, I thought I’d write to you about my boyfriend.

2:
I haven’t gotten a chance to tell you about him.
What would you like to hear?
About what he looks like?
A bit pudgy, 5’11”, brown hair, like a bad FBI agent, white, and long-limbed.
How he treats me?
He bought me tulips for Valentine’s and will pick me up from campus and tell me I’m pretty.
How he is in bed?
He’s very nice, takes forever, but really wants to see me cum too.
Does he have money?
Well I think his family has some, and he doesn’t have debt, but he hasn’t been working very long after he graduated.
What’s he do?
He works at the same place I go to school. Academic advisor like, but in a different department.
Do you like him?
I’m still not sure. My whole body wants to like him, but I still feel almost nothing, I keep waiting for me to get attached, and it keeps not happening.

3:
He eats every meal on placemats.
He has three eyebrow hairs that stick straight up.
He is very endearing.
He walks like a cowboy,
He tells me from all the lunges he did in his teens.
He sprays his vents for spiders every weekend.
And he vacuums with his headphones on.
He doesn’t eat gluten, or butter, or sugar, really.
He won’t wear sweatpants in public.
He doesn’t know what to do with his hair.
He told me he missed my leg hair when I shaved.
He has an earthing blanket he leaves on his bed,
The first time I heard him say that, I heard birthing blanket,
And got very confused.
He sleeps with ear plugs and a mask, on elevated pillows.
The old southern woman in me wants to tell him,
Oh, bless your heart.

4:
We bonded over Batman, funny enough.
We both have the animated series in a collector edition boxes.
He hasn’t told me he loves me.
But he stares at me when I’m not watching
He’s trying to get better at dirty talk,
In a way that makes you smile, but not laugh.
I told him he’s the nicest boyfriend I’ve ever had,
And he said, that’s kind of sad.

5:
He watched period dramas with me, in all their costumes
And follows the plots,
And yells at the characters,
No, Willoughby, what are you doing?
He tells the screen from next to me on the couch.
And he doesn’t complain about it.
Because I watch wrestling with him on Wednesday nights.
And can now tell you the storyline of Hangman Adam Page.

6:
He didn’t touch me for three dates,
When I only went out with him for sex, oh my god, I wanted sex.
I finally texted him
Asking, have you been tested recently?
Trying to get things moving, you know.
And he sent a text back that said, I really like you,
I want to do this right,
We should talk about the relationship before we get into all that.

7:
He had to go to the hospital,
At the same time I had to go to a wedding.
And I took care of him on his couch,
Even though the nurse gave us both COVID,
And he looked and looked at me.
Saying, no one ever treats me like this when I’m sick.
His mother, I overheard on speaker phone,
Told him he should stop calling 911, and that nothing too serious was wrong with him,
And what was he thinking spending all that money.
Then I understood, why me saying, it’ll be okay,
Got me the wobbly-wibbly eyes.

8:
There are songs I sing in my head, when we have sex,
First it was that slow hands, like sweat dripping down my dirty laundry,
Then it was Shakira, Shakira,
But just the guy’s voice saying the name, not the rest of the song,
And now it’s been this old song,
About needing to let go of past flings so you can love the person in front of you.
He’s a good man, he’s a good man. I keep telling myself to just let go.
I have to let go.

9:
And he is, he’s such a good man.
Read more about mental health, when I told him all my problems,
Sends me cat pictures when he knows I’m having a bad day.
Makes me food, even though he can’t afford a ton of meat right now.
Winks at me when he smiles and blinks.
Let me use his office when I had a paper deadline.
Told me, it’s his job, when I say thank you.

10:
It’s not supposed to go this well, right?
I’m not used to people respecting my boundaries,
I’m so suspicious of how well it’s going.
I told my therapist, annoyingly well.
It’s very odd to me.
Here’s this support system,
And it’s like, working?
Is this what happens to normal people?
Like we get in fights, and then he thinks about it, and we come to an understanding, and then he doesn’t do it again?

Ten Poems for Late August This Year

1:
And I’m sad again,
They’re in the living room, and I’m trying to work,
Getting something done that should only take an hour but is taking me three.
I’m sitting on my bed eating snacks
Trying to work,
Still thinking I made a mistake moving away from all those places I recognized
To sit here and read and feel dumb and study.

2:
It’s hard to be around someone who’s smarter than you all the time.
Brighter, faster, funnier.
What’s the fun in that.
Like I get the, surround yourself with smarter people bit,
But like no one really believes that there aren’t some people who aren’t always going to be smarter than you.
But, I don’t want to have to prove myself,
I want to have a conversation with you,
A full conversation,
With the back and forth bit,
Not the information given bit.

3:
I left the boyfriend,
Why didn’t he say anything?
Why is he being antagonist?
I don’t understand.
I want it to be all about me, please.
For just a minute.
Tell me I’m pretty and special.
You didn’t even mention it. I don’t understand.
I’m starting to question myself, was I supposed to …
That always makes me nervous.

4:
What if I don’t want to do a PhD in what I’m studying.
What if I want to write instead,
Bad poetry I post on the internet,
Will they let me do that instead?
Please.
And pay my rent.

5:
It’s 75 degrees and I’m freezing.
I have two sweaters on.
This is what I get for moving from Texas.
To somewhere that gets cold starting in August.
I’m going to die.
Someone please bring me a blanket.

6:
Do you know how much I love you?
The way you’re only nice to me when you’re sad,
And the times when I can hear your dog’s collar shaking in the background,
And you’ll argue with me with your mouth full.
I don’t think you’ve ever felt it, and that’s okay with me.
I’ll hold on to this while it lasts,
And I’m still glad I told you.
Not always but sometimes,
When you’re being ridiculous about how to organize the dishwasher.

7:
I sat crisscross on the floor with my friend,
Who had never been in a library before.,
The libraries outside of the universities,
The regular people libraries.
I said I had to show her my favorite book.
And I found the children’s book my dad loved,
Everyone poops. It’s called.
And we read it on the floor together.
And she thought it was hilarious.
She took a picture to send to her boyfriend.

8:
It suddenly mattered again
How much skin showed between my pants and my ankles,
If my top stopped at the right length,
If my shoes matched in a way I hadn’t cared about.
Since we went back in person.

9:
It’s me who will fly back to my hometown to take care of my mom.
That way we avoid all the drama.
Me and mom.
We do okay together.
We’ll be fine.
Not my brother who lives an hour away,
Or my sister who has the flexible schedule.
Me, half a continent away,
It’s me who’s coming to take care.
And I’m glad it’s me.

10:
I called you for your birthday,
You let me.
I sang as loud as I could.
I loved it.
Did you know that?
How much I love singing badly to you for your birthday.
And I also love how you save all my voice messages I send you.
I really do.

10 Poems on Traveling Back

talk to me

1:
The city smells the same you know,
That really distinct smell of hot trash,
And smelling like it needs to rain, but hasn’t.
The highways move in the same swirls.
The buildings seem to be newer and there might to be more of them now.
I forgot that the heat stays around all day, and doesn’t take the hint to leave when the rest of the days guests are departing.
I forgot what it was to walk outside and have the shirt stick to your back. Instantly.
I forgot the colors people wear here, the pinks and blues that you don’t see near Seattle.
Mostly, I forgot how lonely this city is when you’re poor and cannot afford to go anywhere.

2:
He picked me up from the airport,
Even though I had to change my flight time.
I wasn’t expecting to land,
I wasn’t expecting to make it on the plane.
I’d heard people say before it all feels like a dream,
But never felt it myself before,
Are these really my hands back in this city?
Are those really my shoes?
Did he really give me a hug?
And then leave me on my own?

3:
Watching someone buckle or unbuckle their belt,
Clicks my brain into what-if’ing.
Even buttoning or unbuttoning their pants,
In the living room,
On the couch,
Checking the loops before walking out the door.
Draws my eye.
And my body.
So I stare, every time.

4:
We’re getting drinks on Friday,
With people I haven’t seen since, was it Christmas before covid hit?
Dinner on Wednesday,
I’ve got a tour scheduled of one of those homes an architect owned and mosaic’d himself.
There’s concert tickets I’d like to buy,
And a trail I’d like to walk again.
And, oh, that one restaurant that survived the pandemic has their patio open.

5:
I haven’t been able to work.
I tell myself this,
I tell myself that,
I calm myself down trying every trick my therapist knows.
And here I sit, in front of my computer, or book, or phone.
Unable to do anything.
Thinking through mud, moving through molasses.

6:
Eavesdrop and people watch.
Those are your goals in the terminal.
You can try to read, or get something done,
But it never works,
You can’t even watch out the plane window.
Learn about what semi-conductor job the person in front of you does.
Be a nosy old lady for a few hours.

7:
I didn’t feel anything when I saw you but confused,
And trying to figure out how to act.
What was I supposed to do.
Can I put my feet up on your seat.
Wait I have to call my mom.
And you haven’t even looked at me yet,
Except to knock my glasses off.
Was I supposed to respond to that?
And you telling me you had to go back to work.

8:
You won’t still like me
By the time I get back,
You’ll have been on date three with the ice cream shop girl,
Who elbowed her coworkers about you,
And your huckleberry flavor I’m sure.
The girl who liked to hear about the history of the Idaho star garnet
Will have decided you’re the one for her.
And I’ll think about your curls from over here.
Forever.

9:
I take the 803 to get to your apartment,
The northbound,
It’s a five-minute walk,
Then I know how to get to you from there.
I’ve got the pass on my phone.
It’s planned in my head,
It’s just whether or not I can do it,
Get myself up from sitting when the time comes to start moving.

10:
She talked to me the whole way there,
At 4:30 AM on the winding path from our town to the airport,
So nice of her to drive me,
And it was going to be her first time driving my car,
When she went back.
She talked to me about odds and bobs, her family and how smoky it was because of the fires.
I’m not sure if people don’t take her seriously,
Or if she flies under their radar or what.
She works so hard,
I’m just not sure if the sense, the common sense, the practical nature, whatever,
Is there to back her up.

Ten Poems for Summer

i don’t know what to make of it either

1:
Safe. I told you.
After you said that you have trouble to talking to pretty girls.
I said you wouldn’t have that problem with me.
You said, “don’t you remember the first couples sentences I said to you?”
I said I just remember you were safe.

2:
I found myself uncaring about promises,
That had meant so much, so much.
When I was alone, wanting that stability, to know I had a place and a title, with a boy.
I found someone I liked.
Do you know how hard it is to find someone I like?
Who automatically understood,
I didn’t have to explain things to,
Didn’t have to burden them with the knowledge of all my trauma,
They got it.
I’ve never liked someone else while I was with someone else before.
This is a new one on me.
Decisions to make, I guess, assuming fate stays on my side.
Chance it for nothing? Or stay with the angry one?

3:
What am I doing,
Calling this late at night,
For talk through the phone I would never say if I weren’t sleepy,
Playing with the edges of the knife.
Please just help me feel.

4:
My professor uses jumps scares to test your biometric response.
He says “Boo” really loudly.
They don’t think about PTSD responses to these sorts of things,
Or these fireworks going off tonight.
I get teased for jumping if I’m deep in thought.
Or pushy relatives who want a hug, when I don’t like to be touched.
The loud clapping to call your dog.
I’m constantly vigilant for what will set me off,
One more filter to add to the pile.

5:
What will it be like to be with you?
Are you a kind lover?
Am I making a mistake?
Will we instead have no química?
Will you not like to kiss, or think I should shave more than I do?
Will that one spot on your neck taste like what I think it will?
Will my thighs turn out to be too big?
Will your dog stare too much?
Will your meds let it go through?
What if you’re the perfect height?
What if your hair curls exactly the way I want it to?
What if you look at me like that forever?
What if I hurt you?
What if I snap and yell?
I have to get myself sorted first.
I should have gotten myself sorted out first,
Before I sent those texts.
Am I really thinking about leaving him?
For a chance?
A chance at touch?

6:
What will it be like to see you again?
Will your mouth attack me again?
Will I be put up in one of your houses?
Will you drive me up north to see my friends?
Will you let Grace eat pizza on your couch?
Will I be able to sleep again?
Or will I walk your paver stones in the backyard until I can rest?
Where will I talk too loud?
Who will I love?
Do you even remember how I feel to touch?
Will you call me fat again, well not fat exactly,
Tell me again how I’m not your type, meaning chubby?
Or un-makeuped?
Will you just be drunk again?
And order food all the time?
Fight with me again that women shouldn’t be believed straight off.
Tell me I’m not worth your time with deed and action.
What if what I will makes it true.
What if all I do is cook for you?
What then, is a month too long?
What if the summer isn’t enough?
Will you let me drive?

7:
I can’t get it out of my head.
You said you’d think about me every day.
You knew how powerful that was, I hope?
I hope I’m nice in your memory,
Or your new created fantasies.

8:
There’s a check I can’t cash from my father
For money for a hotel room to escape the heat bubble
Because we don’t have air conditioning in this part of the world.
I can’t cash it.
It’s too much.
I didn’t buy the air conditioner either.
Too scary.

9:
I can’t brush my teeth today.
I couldn’t water my plants yesterday.
You can’t see the floor of my room this evening.
I can’t eat properly anymore.
I want to be a magical pretty number that means I’m healthy.
I have a pile of work I haven’t started.
A boy I haven’t called,
Money I haven’t organized.
And love I haven’t spent.

10:
Say you’ll like me until August?
Please just put a pin it in for me?
I can’t ask,
But it’s all I want to do.
Love me just a little,
Little enough to wait.

Ten Poems for February

researching has been consuming, i’ll keep posting as i’m able

1:
My father asked me for our family trip memories,
He’s putting something together.
It’s so funny what you remember from being a child.
I don’t remember what museums we visited or what historic monuments we photographed.
I remember I got sopapilla cinnamon sugar stuck on my fingers.
I remember that we walked for forever in New York.
I remember that my dad complained my uncle couldn’t get us real meals and insisted bought street hot dogs.
I remember we met my dad’s monk friend who he suggested got a lot of women with the “I’ll be a monk soon” line. I didn’t know what that meant at the time.
I remember what I took a picture of.
What would I remember now if I did those trips again?
Reading what my sister remembered, her bullet-pointed notes in an email response, jogged my own memories.
Oh that’s right, we did visit the Cheers bar.
And I did leave the bag of Supreme Court souvenirs on the subway.
I mostly remember being bored, embarrassed, or tired.
My life hasn’t really changed all that much.

2:
I had the realization today that he’s not coming back.
I got to tell my family on the call.
I don’t know if we’re doing grief right,
But my family has never been closer.
We’re all semi-relieved he’s dead.
And it’s brought this little group of people who are feelings the same guilt for happiness closer.

3:
I’d forgotten what student stress is like.
The assignments due you forgot about.
The constant pressure that you should be doing something.
The odd freedom that comes from an uneasy schedule.
Sending frantic emails at 1 AM because there is something you have to know right now.
And the constant small issues with bursars or tuition or loans or money.
I am very much the same student I was when I was in school the first time.
I’m still snacking on the same things. Oyster crackers and reese’s pieces.
My stressors have changed a bit. I’m a bit grown up. But I still scroll reddit when I’m bored. Worry that I don’t have enough friends. And that I’ll never amount to nothing.

4:
I thought my brother having a baby would cool down my mother’s all –
You know you don’t have to be in a relationship to have a baby –
Thing.
I was wrong.
She still thinks I would just make a great mom you, know, not that she’s pushing or anything.

5:
He asked me how I felt about marriage
These are not questions you bring up to people you’ve slept with but aren’t dating,
These put ideas in heads that don’t belong,
You don’t like me that way, I heard you tell me that,
Not long-term material, if memory serves,
And you’re asking me about how I feel about marriage?
But I gave you the truth,
Which is that marriage has never been very important to me,
I’m not one for rings and certificates.
But it would, of course, depend on who I’m with.
And now I can’t stop thinking, no not thinking, hoping
Hoping he’ll make some grand gesture.
That I wouldn’t even know how I would respond to.

6:
My roommate’s boyfriend is an idiot.
Not in the, can’t memorize facts, idiot,
But the, wouldn’t know what to do if a woman screamed at him,
Idiot.
And he’s going to go to medical school.
I can’t help but hope he flunks out, because I don’t want someone out there in the world who doesn’t realize he should say hello to the roommate he’s walked past ten times in the hallway.

7:
I bought a dog a birthday present.
How are you spending your very limited resources during COVID
Now that you make less than minimum wage being a grad student?
I bought a dog a birthday present.
A jar of nicer, more organicer, peanut butter than I would eat,
And premium, one ingredient chicken jerky that I googled to check for manufacturing location and chemicals.
I will sit here eating my dubiously treated pork I bought on sale, and be happy,
Because I bought a dog a birthday present.

8:
I miss the touch of skin.
The way my nails can dig in,
Hold on to hips or arms
And grip.
I miss getting hugs
And shoulder bumps
In offices.
I miss hearing other people typing.
I miss hair tousling and making faces across the room at the person I know, but can’t talk to right now.
I miss you mostly. I miss touching you. But those other people too, but mostly you.

9:
I ruthlessly prioritized
Did I mention I hate that phrase?
I said I needed to talk to another student later
Because I know this student currently doesn’t have a place to live
Has left her boyfriend for the fourth time after she couldn’t attend class because he wouldn’t stop screaming at her.
So I told my student with paralyzing anxiety that I would send him a link as soon as I could.
And I prioritized one pain over another.

10:
I made the perfect white cake in a square pan.
Almond extract in the batter.
Fresh jam in the buttercream frosting.
I have no one to share it with.
Because my baking friend doesn’t text me anyone.
And I said I wouldn’t text him.
And so I have to have this ephemeral experience all by myself.
I have to see these beautiful sights and remember them myself.
I don’t get to share them with you, tell you about this new trick for settling batter.
Nothing. It’s just me. And my beautiful cake.
By ourselves.

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.

Ten Poems for August

1:
I’m sorry I haven’t written,
I’m sorry I’m not enough.
There was too much,
And I was not enough.
Whatever you want to say,
The answer is that I’m sorry.
Not that I’ll do better,
But that I would like you to know I feel guilt,
The kind of guilt one feels when someone likes you but you’re already involved with someone else.
No that’s not right, because I love you all.
Which is why I’m sorry.

2:
She’s still alive.
My grandmother is still alive.
She’s recovered from kidney failure stage four, pneumonia, malnutrition,
They’re taking her off hospice.
Two weeks they told us at Christmas.
What is she playing at, living through the pain as usual, determined to cause as much harm as possible.
Making a caretaker for life out of my mother who has better things to do.
She needs to die. Her brain has huge black swaths.
Also I want to eat the food at her funeral, I helped plan the menu.

3:
What will I call you when I forget my mind?
Will you be my sister?
Or my first boyfriend’s name?
Or nothing at all?
Who will you be to me when I can’t chew my food?

4:
It decided to all catch up with me today,
I finally got enough sleep,
Or sat still long enough,
For my brain to think.
It was all there waiting for me,
All the trauma, heartache, pain, agony, suffering, blah.
I’ll tell them to you one by one as I can. As I need to. As I can express.
I’ll verbally process on paper, talking to myself,
Wanting to have that perfect person that negates the need for all this explaining.

5:
I don’t know the pin number to my debit card.
And I have to buy a monthly bus pass for $41.25.
The money I saved in my little silver box has all been broken.
You have to enter a pin number to get cash at the grocery store.
I just got my new driver’s license, so I can’t write a check at the store to get the extra cash because the dln doesn’t match, so the machine won’t take it.
They won’t let you write a check for a bus pass.
My bank is back in my home state.
They need me to come into the bank to verify my identify, three thousand miles away.
I don’t have an account here, because I don’t have a permanent address here, because I’m living as a “guest” and I’m not on the lease.
So I don’t have checks that match my new license, so I can’t write a check to get cash back to pay for the bus pass.
They have a mobile app, but it doesn’t work on all the buses, and I don’t always have my phone charged.
My sister doesn’t have any spare cash I can pay her for later.
She tells me to go to an ATM.
I’ve never used an ATM, I tell her,
And her eyes bug out, but she doesn’t offer to help.

6:
I miss your old apartment,
That truly awful place.
Near Spiderhouse, west campus, off Guad, past 26th
I miss it now that you have a gate with a key code,
An apartment with white walls,
And no twindly staircase to a creaked, upper floor.
The times we played vr without room to turn around,
The snacks and sweaters in my little paper bags,
The way it smelled so terribly like you.
Your bed on the floor without sheets,
The heart murmur, the thighs, the ceiling-projected midnight movies,
I miss that I had hope back then, that you might want more,
That we could fit together.
That I would trust you enough to share my feelings,
That I hadn’t seen you snap at your kid’s mom.
When you would talk as much as I would,
And find me amusing instead of a thing to deal with,
When I could crash at your place after getting drunk at the bars downtown.
He said he didn’t want it to end, didn’t he?
When I told him someone else loved me now.
Funny, then, he never did a thing to keep me.

7:
I need to be someone’s first.
I can’t come second.
I want to be someone’s sun and moon and all the stars.
So, I won’t date you if you have kids,
Or if you’re in a living arrangement with your brother and ex-girlfriend who’s really more of a sister to you, who you haven’t slept with in three years, is coming third okay?
I can’t take being pushed aside for whatever it is that’s more important.
I want to be important. I want to be looked at, taken into consideration, important, recognized, give me validity you external sources.

8:
Let me go down the list of people I’ve failed,
Of promises I’ve broken to myself,
Commitments I’ve forgotten I’ve made,
Things I wanted so much to remember.
I cannot love myself for being human, I can barely love myself for being who I am.

9:
There aren’t any clouds in Texas.
Oh sure it rains, turns gray, and the sun disappears.
But where is my orange and purple?
Where are the dayends in a blaze of glory?
I want my feelings to be seen in the sky.
Those beautiful moving, sweeping, forces of nature.
There are no swirls, fluffs, miniature elephants, or dancing biscuit dough,
It’s clear, or it’s airplane stripes, or a gray you can’t see, deceiving all these southerners,
Making them think those painters are making it up,
Instead of barely capturing how beautiful it is where it’s not this damn hot.

10:
Leave him alone.
I must have spent the same amount of time thinking about texting him as I have actually spent with him.
I want him to plan things with me,
And take me seriously,
And like me.
He’s starting a new job, I should leave him alone.
He doesn’t care about me,
I’ll never see him again.
Even if my family did background research and really likes him.
What did I do wrong?
Was I not enough of myself?
Why doesn’t anyone love me?
Please, at least,
Don’t text him again, after this one.

10 Poems for the Weekend

the edits will have to come later, i’m used up for the day

1:
He asked me to drop my filters,
To tell him all those things I almost tell him, but renege on.
I told him a lot of those are in place for your protection,
And my protection.
Because it’s pretty dark up there.
And there’s a lot of tentacles to infect the happy people.
He looked at me like he was trying to think.

2:
That’s what I am,
what an interesting reverse.
I am the material,
I am gathered,
Pinched, sewn, and used everyday,
As everyday material
My privacies are no longer mine,
Because I’m with a person who
Shares.
Disgusting.

3:
Well, I got what I wanted and I’m as unhappy as I thought I’d be.
Guess it’s time to fuck it all up again.
Where do I sign?
How can I make this wrong?
How many more people can I leave behind again?

4:
Gargoyle arms and God morning.
They don’t mean anything to you.
Only to the boy who sat next to me at work for round about a year.
And soon to him, they’ll mean nothing too.
We share a square space of time and mind for a little while,
Long enough to help each other get by, not much more.
We won’t ever be friends for life,
Or share a drink at a bar alone, in a group, in the worst dregs of the poorly paid peasant life,
We were kin.

5:
A part of me misses the water so much it hurts.
Not these, not these little lakes, streams, cricks. Puddles.
I miss the water. The beauty, the inevitable, the fear, and the love.
Right there. Just right there.
If I move again, when I move again,
It will be for the water,
To sit by the water and be.
I’m trying to explain it to myself,
Maybe it evokes emotion, and sometimes I can’t do that without help.

6:
I know I’m going to look back on this time with a firm opinion.
One way or the other.
I will have a colored lens to see what’s now through a set polarization.
I can’t see it, feel it yet.
But it’ll be there.
Rosy, gray,
Dusky or sad.
I’ll swing with my feelings the other way. And have a very strong opinion about whatever it is I’m doing now.

7:
What would it be like to be the woman he thinks I am?
All bubbles and giddiness.
Instead of concealment, boredom and anxiety.
Maybe I would have had a steady boyfriend named Brandon in high school,
Gone to college to teach special needs preschoolers,
Discovered my love of baking with my grandmother in the kitchen.
And only have wholesome in my heart.
What would it be like to be that woman?
Who knows how to do her hair and makeup, how to flash with her eyes,
And smile with her legs?
He’ll be disillusioned soon enough.
Leaving all the same for his broken, acknowledged dreams.

8:
Laptop, why won’t you turn on?
Have I forsaken you?
Put another device before you?
I put a pan of cooked ham on you for Easter, but that was just because you were my recipe book and I was out of space.
Haven’t I loved you?
Cleaned you with swipes and air-dusters?
Don’t I keep you in a case, away from heat, light, and laying flat?
Please turn on, my beloved,
My lifeline, my laptop.
I won’t eat ramen next to your keyboard,
I’ll clear my internet history,
Please power on.
What will I do without you?
You are irreplaceable with memories and saved files.
I’ll back you up as soon as you turn on.
Turn back on now.
Please please please.

9:
My favorite part of baking is alone,
When I can take as long as I want to measure the ingredients,
And re-read the steps, without judgment,
Google how-tos on the simple things I know how to do, but wonder, if maybe there’s a better way.
I can soften my butter without the microwave,
Listen to my music,
And eat the batter off the spatula.
I don’t have to apologize for turning on the mixer,
Or over-compensating for different ingredients.
Life, in general, I’d like to spend alone,
Wait till I’m done to show other people,
And allow me to apologize profusely,
For the small errors.

10:
I got enough sleep,
Enough sleep to process.
And I found out what that deprivation was covering up.
The I’m not good enough.
That’s what I was hiding under there.
If I’ve gotten enough sleep, I don’t have that excuse anymore.
I have to own up to the fact my brain isn’t the best,
I’m wasting away,
I haven’t hated myself lately, and maybe that’s why,
I haven’t given my brain enough power to do so.

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.