Tag Archives: mothers

10 Poems for Thursday

1:
She butted into a conversation to say how nice it was to hear me laugh,
Told me she felt like being social, and sat at the other table,
And sounds like me when I talk.
She’s the worst combination for my personality,
Self-confident and incompetent.
She changed the spreadsheet without permission,
Calls her fiancé her partner.
My partner this. My partner that.
I have thought it out. And now I know.
Exactly why I don’t like her.

2:
I tore up the paintings I was making for my brother for Christmas,
After my mom called to tell me grandma was going into hospice.
I told him what happened and that I’d make him more.
He nodded and forgot, I’m sure.
I finally finished them, just now in April.
I told him they’re coming.
He sent his address.
And now I have the uphill battle to make it to the post office.

3:
I went on a terrible awful date, where I said more to the waiter than the dinner partner.
And yet, I want him to call me, and message me too much.
Is it so I can decide how I really feel about him?
Maybe I want everyone to love me, just because I want options,
Or choices. Or it’s something evolutionary?
Am I so reactionary, I can’t go get what I want?
I have to react to how you feel.
Think about it forever.
Even if I didn’t like you,
I want you to think I’m great.
External validation from the opposite sex, I guess. Confirmation that my worst fears aren’t true,
That I’m not unlovable, socially awkward, unattractive, mean.
Somehow them wanting to see me again, spend time with me again,
Is proof I’m worthy of living, loving.

4:
I live with a very critical woman,
And I’m worried it’s rubbing off on me.
Not allowed to misspeak,
Not allowed to leave unscrutinized.
Or you’ll get teased, or it’ll get brought up again,
Or they’ll remember.
She waits for me to fail, so she can feel better about herself,
Fix me.
But I’m too competitive to let her win, get away with it.
And there’s a tension, and I can never relax.
I’m worried I’m making other people feel the way she makes me feel.
All I want to say to the whole world is leave me alone.
Let me make mistakes in private.

5:
I felt like the whole lining of my uterus fell out.
And I uttered a quiet, annoyed oh my god.
I wanted to tell my boss, I need to work the rest of the day from home,
Or I will spend 1/8th of my day walking to and from the bathroom.
Taking pain pills and head-down on my desk.
But I didn’t because somehow,
Women are supposed to be quiet about this massive pain
If we’re at work,
It’s not supposed to exist,
I’m not supposed to wince if I’m in a meeting, and I get a muscle cramp hard enough to leave me on the floor.
I’m supposed to be proper, and whisper the gross words I say instead.

6:
My sister confided in me, over tea and a Pakistani food truck,
She looks for mother figures, but hates that she looks for mother figures,
Angry, because she thinks our mom didn’t do a good enough job.
But I don’t care.
My mother has been a person to me for a long time.
What can I tell her when she looks at me like she wants me to be angry too.

7:
She wants me to stop seeing our step-dad in solidarity with her.
But being threatened with being hit,
Doesn’t scare me.
I’m tougher than she is in a lot of ways.
And there’s a strength in that I didn’t realize I had.

8:
I’m painting triangles,
Not well, skillfully or with meaning,
But because it makes me happy,
And I’ve been excited to come home with something to do for the past three days.

9:
My mother told me,
I think you should have a baby, so you can center yourself,
And have something to live for,
You could get one of those people to do it for you,
I think it would be good for you.
You’d make such a good mom.
It’s the exact opposite of what I’ve been telling myself,
To be okay alone.
To be solid here, right here, and live here, and not tomorrow.
And now I don’t know which one’s right.

10:
I miss the days before I realized I am my body,
If souls don’t exist,
Before I realized I can’t say,
My body wants this, my body wants that,
Instead of I want. I need.
I miss the days when I thought I could escape the skin I wear,
When I didn’t realize I have to live in this forever,
Be trapped here forever,
When I get sick,
When it fails me,
And when I finish dying.

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Six Poems (10-18-17)

my mother came to visit. expect general family analysis.

1:
Look at my sister with her husband, and her hobby,
Those degrees and prospects.
She deserves it, of course,
Of course.
I’d like to say, look at the support she got that I didn’t,
Look at the personality she got.
But I can’t shift blame away from myself.
I’m told, everyone does things in their own time,
But I want my timeline now.
She’ll never be an understanding person,
She’s never been friends with the rapist, instead of the assaulted.
But qualities of character don’t matter much,
When eight hours a day you get to spend doing something you like,
And I sit behind a combination sitting-standing desk staring at excel spreadsheets.

2:
Let me tell you how I’m doing.
I’m reading illegally downloaded romance novels on my macbook and changing the pages with my pinky because the rest of my fingers are Cheetos stained.
I’m hoping he texts me back.
I’m not applying to grad schools because I don’t have three people who would give me recommendation letters. It’s all my fault.
I’m crying all the time.
I’m dodging the volunteers lady from the community center because I had to watch the worst 2nd graders in the world for three hours, and I hated it. I’m not man enough to say I won’t go anymore.
My hair feels greasy.
I’m actively avoiding the boy who likes me because I think he’s ugly. Everyone needs a fallback right?
I can pay my bills.
I’m sneezing out pieces of dead grass from the music festival I went to. But I can say I’ve been to a concert now.
I’m so lonely. I want an adventure again. Or at least someone who lets me rest my head on their shoulder.

3:
I went to dinner with my mother, her husband.
My sister, her husband.
There was no one on my side. I wasn’t first for anyone at the table. Unless I made a fuss, then I could temporarily get bumped to the top of the list, ahead of my dying grandmother.
I want to be the reason someone else is there.
I’m not an afterthought. I’m important too. She tells herself quietly in her own head.
I need help to wake up tomorrow. I’m tired of my mother being proud of me for making it on my own.

4:
What am I doing wrong?
I should blame you for making me doubt myself. I’m told.
I must have done something wrong, that you won’t text me back,
You won’t try and make alternate plans when you tell me you’re busy.
I should drop it right here.
But I liked you. And I don’t meet hardly anyone I like.
And I thought?
But you never touched me. Maybe I confided too much? I shared too much of myself.
I should have planned better dates?
It’s just a difference in character. It’s nothing against me personally, I’m sure.
Even if he did set something up, maybe you would be the one to draw back.
He wouldn’t change just because you got what you wanted.
He’d still be this inconsistent.
But I really liked him.
And I can’t seem to stop myself.
Why does it hurt so much? It shouldn’t. It’s silly.
I’m being silly.
Suddenly I’m relating to jazz songs.
He probably has lots of plans. You can have lots of plans too. I bet. If you wanted. Not that you’d have anyone to go with you to them, because you can’t seem to find anyone who isn’t a ghost.
I can fix me, just tell me what to do. Well, damn, that’s pathetic. You don’t stand for this kind of nonsense. Men should treat you better than this.
Nod your head and move on.
Please?

5:
I should never have told my sister our mother pressures me into having children.
Now my sister thinks our mother thinks she’ll be a bad mom.
Not just once has she brought this up.
It was my mistake. Sharing. Sharing anything at all with my family.
It’s the thousand little winces that build up when you’re around them.
And I can’t do anything with them. They’re just piled on top of old wounds.

6:
It is not wrong to put feelings on a shelf.
My way of dealing with things is no worse or better than yours.
Please stop making me feel guilty for the way I process emotions.
I’m quiet dammit. I don’t like to explode. I don’t like to get angry. I want to think about it first.
I will resolve the issue when I want to.
It is possible to feel things later.
I don’t like your way of doing it, because somehow, it’s always me that ends up hurt from your blast radius.
I don’t think I’m sulking. I just need a minute.
Or I’ll let it go.
Please stop it. Let me be.

Poems from My Day (2-21-17)

hello again. it’s been a bad couple of weeks

1:
I apologize too much.
She told me, quit saying, “I’m sorry.”
I don’t have a problem with my apologizing.
Leave me the hell alone.
What have self-confidence-less people ever done,
But hurt themselves.
It seems to me, the people sure of themselves are the ones
Who never think they need to listen and learn.

2:
I fall under something called the Hatch Act.
It means while I’m seen as doing my job,
I can’t say anything political.
In all honesty, it’s a little bit of a relief,
To have an excuse,
When someone asks about my politics,
But, at the same time,
I want to civilly disobey that, and speak my mind, because I was told not to.

3:
Oh god so much has happened.
I can’t bring myself to write about it.
My support systems collapsed.
And I needed people,
I felt like I was being emotionally manipulative,
But I couldn’t spare the mentally energy to check my filters,
See if they were clearing the air before I spoke it.
And I felt abandoned.

4:
I had a day when I felt vulnerable.
A half-hearted breeze could have whipped me.
On those days, I want to hide,
But then the day is over,
The feeling isn’t,
And I have to go into work like normal.

5:
I needed to talk to my mother yesterday,
She called me today.
She told me how to live my life,
Her prophecies for the future,
And, really, what she knows to be true.
Then she told me her “stories”
I was so mad from the first section,
I didn’t bother with the minor sexism, and that little bit of racism that came
with her helping the poor, new african family from church.

6:
My step-father is thirty thousand in debt.
That’s more than I make in two years.
I try so hard to only spend thirty dollars a week on groceries,
I don’t get to buy ice cream. I only buy half a gallon of milk.
It’s not fair.
That’s all I want to say.

7:
She asked me if I thought game night last night would be more fun with men.
I said I was the wrong person to ask,
I don’t really like people.
She can’t process that other people work differently than she does.
I’m not sure why she’s a teacher,
If she doesn’t have the patience to understand,
That her normal isn’t my normal.
I learned that the first week of college,
After living with a woman who folded her dirty clothes.

8:
Officially,
I got searched and rescued.
Really,
Her dad came to pick us up in his truck.
And they called it in so they could get mileage reimbursement.

9:
I was the slowest when we were walking
Walking the miles to get cell phone service,
And they called me a little bitch for it.
I can only offer excuses.
I suppose I am, then.
I can show you my bloody, snowy socks.
I can’t make you feel my nausea that whole night,
Or the pressure of my sinuses with my cold medicine,
Or the three-day long insomnia battle that scrambled my brain.
My hips that ached because I didn’t wear my inserts.
I am, in most cases, an introvert,
I need planning time before I can be okay in a crisis.
And I was useless when we got stranded, because it had never happened before.
I can only apologize for not being better.
But god it hurts when they mock a weakness,
It’s why I’m quiet in the first place.
Maybe they would’ve handled my body better,
But there’s no way to tell.

Poems from My Day (10-31-16)

i have too much to share today i can’t get it out

1:
I spent this afternoon memorizing “Invictus.”
Then recording myself so I could check for missed words.
I can say it in 0:25 seconds flat.
There’s this wonderful pleasure that comes from being able to recite
And entire poem by heart.
So you can drop it when you’re out stuck on the beach
Lost in the night that covers you,
Black as the pit from pole to pole.

2:
I went to a party here in town,
One mom came up to me,
I know we’re parents but we like to party too.
She told me this twice, she forgot the first time.
Dressed as bettlejuice’s wife.
I feel I’m condoning her
By being there,
Not saying anything,
Watching her drink.

3:
My roommate sicced me on bouncy house duty
Untrained with 40 kids and parents.
I had to send reinforcements in the form of a second-grade teacher
Who knew better than me,
How to get ninja turtles out of the castle.
And she could tell the difference between Captain Americas.

Poems from My Day (9-27-16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poems from My Day (6-26)

my god have i been writing poetry for two years now?

1:
My house in Alaska has run out of gas.
No hot showers.
Cold water to clean with.
And the day in late June, when the temperature drops below 45,
I have no heat.
To get gas, I have to call a guy to come pick it up from the fuel station and bring it to my house, and pay him $20 and find the lock on the tank.
I can’t bring myself to do it just yet.

2:
How do I tell my sister what I want for my birthday,
How do I say, spend this on me,
When she’s as poor as I am.
Do I give her options, but then I sound greedy.
This is something that needs to be done over the phone.
But then I’d have to call her.
I’d just rather not bother with.
Maybe she’ll forget.

3:
I can write like “Frog & Toad Together.”
Short sentences are easy to read.
They make writing difficult.
A lot of emotion fits in simple ideas.
Many feelings squeeze into short stories.
Mr. Lobel tells powerful, human stories.
I would like to do that too.

4:
He says I could fix me if I wanted,
I’m not trying hard enough.
He says I don’t want to have more confidence,
Get better.
But he also says he loves me,
So his word isn’t much to go on.

5:
I confided in my mother,
So I felt supported and connected to humanity for a minute.
But everything I tell her will come back to bite me,
Take a big chunk out of my heart later,
“Well don’t you remember two weeks ago when you said …”
I knew that going into the call.
The need to talk to someone
Outweighed the need to feel lonely.

6:
I want to be lost in the world of a crappy romance novel.
So I don’t pay attention to food,
Or weather,
And the problems of my day to day life.
I just can’t start reading.

7:
It hurts so much, having no one to talk to.
Who I can open up to completely,
Without fear of repercussion.
Someone who’s here with me,
Who already knows my story.
It’s so damn hard,
And I’ve been under the impression that friendship isn’t something you force,
So I’m sitting here waiting for it to happen, naturally.

8:
I’ll go to a new small town, village, thing,
Where I’ll be self-supportive, and not need anything from anyone,
That’ll be better.
I’ll be able to be myself,
And I won’t have to answer to anyone,
I can be rude, and snotty, like I am in my heart,
And I won’t care if people dislike me,
And any friends I get will be real friends, because I’ll be being myself.

9:
My roommate took a bunch of kids to Costa Rice for a senior trip.
She wanted them out of this village, to see the world,
And also to have a passport, a passport that’s good for ten years.
This reminded me I have a passport. I can go wherever I want.
If I can afford the plane ticket.
I moved to Alaska by myself,
I can do anything.

10:
Start peddling.
That’s what he told me on the phone.
I liked that.
Maybe that’s what I’ll start doing, once my bike works and stuff.
I’ll get a helmet and fit in that way.
Up and down the hills.
I’ll bring a camera, my camera, and I’ll travel all around.
With a cell phone of course.
People will recognize me then.

The One After Me

I will pass it onto another generation. My daughter will have an eating disorder in her teens, because of something I said. Then she contemplate suicide, and have to see a counselor, and I’ll be helpless. I was so close. She’ll be closer. Her avalanche is worse. Her building is taller. Her car won’t hesitate to swerve. Her knives a bit less scary. Her bathtub waters a bit safer. Her pill bottles on a lower shelf. I can’t do that to another human being. I can’t create something knowing the pain I’ll pass down. I can’t.
I can try. But it won’t do any good. I’ll have to watch all my mistakes go down a line, in order, knowing it’s my fault. I could have prevented it. I can’t. “Oh you could try.” He’ll say. “I’m sure it won’t be that bad.” What are the odds I’ll have a daughter stronger than me? I can’t create something to die. I don’t love me enough to duplicate what I’ve been through. I’ve seen it pass already, grandma, to mom, to me. I can stop it with me. That’s my choice. Not yours.