Tag Archives: parents

Ten Poems (10-02-17)

1:
Why is it that it’s so much easier to be the one liked more?
And once you know you like someone more than they like you, you cling.
I should speak for myself. I cling. I am cling. I am dryer sheet.
I want them to like me.
Maybe I should give up, and never like anyone again.
Or be less fat.

2:
I think the brain that decides it’s going to wear my skin while I’m on my period,
Has very different taste in men than I do.
It says, this one is safe.
Then this thought will appear, it says
I want to rest my legs on theirs.
But when I meet them the next day, I can’t figure out what it is about them
I liked.
And I think I’m the practical monster all over again.
She who only sees people as a means to scarcely allocated resources.

3:
They’re younger than me.
I didn’t think it mattered. I’ve always been on the other side of that.
But I sat at lunch today, in the cafeteriatorium,
They got all the names of all the country stars wrong,
And I was “never minded” by a guy younger than me for not answering immediately.
I wasn’t myself.
Because I can’t be myself at work and still have a job,
More so, though, to me, they’re still college kids,
Taking about how they learned something new that changed their lives,
And wondering why something can’t be said out loud.
I have more important things than that group, and I’m not sure that they do.
It’s like they haven’t hurt anyone yet, and they don’t know how much future hurt they’re already carrying around.

4:
My father is paying my offering money again.
When we were little, he would run down from the pulpit and hand us each a dollar,
Sitting there huddled in the first pew.
To put in the offering plate.
He asks me each week on the phone if I need money.
He sends me a dog-eared twenty and a five brochure folded in an old bulletin.
This week I put my cash in my white envelope, then in the heavy, rust flecked plate,
And it felt like I was sitting in the same pew all over again.
My father taking two seconds out of his important work to rush down the steps, and give his girls money to make sure they were part of the congregation.
Separating us from them and connecting us to others at the same time.
Like he’s always done,
Teach me how other people think,
And how everyone else is wrong.
He’s never been able to see from a smaller perspective, and he misses out on the insights idiots can make.
Which is why he never understood my embarrassment at having to be the one getting money from the dad’s last-minute pocket.

5:
Suddenly there seems to be so much time.
I wonder if, thinking back, we’ll say those were the days when we were young and silly,
Before we settled down. I’m so glad we settled down.
Or if, instead, I’ll think back to a minor thing I said while I wasn’t paying attention,
A relationship version of nicking a parked car with my sideview mirror,
A slipsecond of not paying attention,
That causes us to never speak again.
Maybe I’ll call you up, in twenty years to see how you are,
To see if you got what you wanted.
It’s turning over the next card in blackjack to see if you could have made five-under-twenty-one,
I want to check to see if I made the right decision, even if I can’t change it now.

6:
God, what did he say to me?
Hang on, let me find it.
I don’t ever want you to go. Hopelessly devoted I think I am.

My head processed the annoying grammar before it read the emotion.
I think he’s lying. But he doesn’t know he’s lying.
I don’t think anyone can predict their emotions like that.
But, the happy part of my brain says, what if he’s right?
That’s creepy, says me who learned that my terrible step-father only went on a first date with my mother after waiting outside her building for weeks.
He seems to like me?
Is this a self-confidence issue with myself? Do I not think people are capable of liking me?
I might have heard this before, but maybe those other cases don’t apply to this one.

We’re different social classes, which you don’t think is important, but it is.
But wait, I’m arguing about a different issues, instead of this one.
What is the issue?
I don’t know what to do about him liking me. And this makes it seem like he really does like me. Love me.

But that phrase gives me all the power doesn’t it?
He doesn’t want me to leave.
I like that.
But at the same time, I’m still more comfortable with the boy planning out the dates and taking care of me. It’s work to be the one in control.
I can’t have the power and still expect him to make the decision though? Can I?
Maybe it’ll be more nonsense he’s said with all the other things.
Or maybe he means it. Or maybe he doesn’t know how to say what he really feels?
I can’t know him better than himself though? Can I?

7:
Everyday I have to drive on a fast, crowded, four-lane twisty, hilly road to get to work.
They test teslas cars on that road.
In the left lane, I’ll be passing a gardening truck with hedges sticking out past my dotted line,
I have to take a deep breath to keep my hands steady. The cars coming south are inches from my mirrors around the curve, past the rich, tech-money houses.
The first time I drove it, I said I would smile every time I rode on it.
Now I wish it were a flat line.
I wish a mountain were a flat line.
That’s how much I dread work. I don’t want any more of my attention directed in that direction.

8:
My brain can’t stop telling me all the ways this could go wrong.
Over and over to be rejected by an automated resume-reading machine.
I want a nice job, one I don’t hate.
I should go back to school, be in debt, but happier in the long-run.
But I don’t have anyone to give me recommendation letters, and it’s too late to ask, and I haven’t taken the test, and I’ll have to wait a whole other year.
And I’m wasting another year of my life.
I’m mad at myself for not knowing what it is I want to do, for not taking the time to figure this out when I was younger. I want it to just happen, I want someone to make the decision for me. I don’t want this responsibly.
I paid my car insurance today isn’t that enough?

9:
My mother is coming to visit.
Suddenly I’m fat and slovenly.
My job is bad, and my clothes have holes.
I should have children already, read more, and wear more makeup.
I want her to buy me food, and not judge me.
That would be the perfect mom, wouldn’t it?
But very unlike my mother.

10:
She gets so angry, and I don’t know how to handle it.
It’s the same anger from when we were kids.
I have issues dealing with anger because of her, because of this.
I cower. Instantly. And it pisses me off.
I get yelled at for being angry, and she gets everyone to move out of her way.
She would tell you it’s because she’s great.
And I’m sure she is.
I just want her to go away, so I don’t have to put up a front all the time,
And have all my emotions just so in place.
My feelings don’t go in slots. And sometimes I have to feel them later,
There’s nothing wrong with me.
Don’t mock me for my feelings. I am right to have them. They are right to exist.
The reason this dialogue even exists in my head is because of you.

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Poems from My Day (8-23-16)

it’s a day to hide in a corner

1:
I didn’t understand people who bragged,
Until my brother decided to be a doctor.
I’m so proud of him.
I want him to do so well.
Is this how parents feel all the time?
I don’t want him hurt, but I want him smart, and happy.
I feel so bad for my mom. She’s been feeling this for years.

2:
I want to hide under the covers.
Cover me up in a corner.
Don’t make me go outside.
I’m weak today, and vulnerable,
Worse than vulnerable, I’m noodly,
I’m flexible, I’m not me, I’m not strong.
I want a big bear of a man to protect me.
I don’t really care right now if that makes me sexist.

3:
Why didn’t I hug those kids.
I should’ve hugged them, told them I loved them.
I’ve never met kids and wanted to take care of them before, I wanted to take them in and make sure they were okay.
I’ve never felt that before.
But their mom drank herself to death, and they’re going to live with their dad,
You know, which might be good for them,
Stability.
But I really liked them.
Damn.

4:
I was supposed to go to the capital this weekend.
They couldn’t get a plane here,
First the fog, then more weather.
I had all this built up energy ready to fly,
And I’m still on this island.
I won’t get to see my friends again before they leave.
One to Seattle, one who won’t be in my program anymore.
Damn.

5:
I can’t get out of my head today,
The space that says,
You’re doing everything wrong,
You can start that later.
I just want to sit and read to avoid the judgment.
That judgment that never leaves.

6:
There are very few people I like,
Even fewer that I love.
But, I think, for those people that are real friends,
I won’t let them walk off the deep end,
I guess there’s comfort in the power I have but don’t exert.
At least, I like to think there is.

7:
The first time I remember feeling claustrophobic
I was sitting in the crowded middle school cafeteria benches.
I sat on benches like those today,
And all the fear came back.
Funny how that works,
You never really leave your fears behind.

8:
He grew up with a different life than us.
He didn’t get yelled at for spending money.
I don’t know what that’s like.
He always got what he asked for.
He had all that attention.
He played all those sports.
He had all those friends.
He knew he was loved.

9:
She said if she had girls that looked like that
She’d keep them locked up.
I don’t know why this bothers me so much.
I think, first, that, you would keep kids locked up just based on their appearance,
Second that you assume bad things will happen to them,
Third, you think bad things will only, or only happen, to pretty people,
And lastly, that keeping them locked up will do any good.
Maybe there’s more reasons that bothers me, maybe it says more about me than her.

Poems from My Day (1-26)

i’m moving across the country soon. did i mention?

1:
My father has never been happier.
His little girl, forsaking the world of marketing,
High-profile, clients, ARR,
To take a year of her life and work for the good of the country.
First time he’s ever seemed full of pride since I graduated.
He’ll be able to make so many sermons out of this.

2:
A pretty girl in middle school told me,
As she was trying to braid my hair,
That I had a sensitive head.
She didn’t think someone like me would be so soft.
To this day, I still have no idea what she meant.

3:
Everyday I drive on the highway,
I have a second, a feeling,
Like I was a hairsbreadth away from crashing.
Some days, I think, I’ve lived my whole life like that.
Just this far away,
From walking in front of that car.

4:
I’m sitting with my arms pinned in by people talking loudly on either side of me.
We’re in a basement of a crowded place, there’s alcohol, and the social necessity to talk.
Sitting on those kind of benches from 8th grade lunch.
It would take me a solid thirty seconds to get out.
And once I realize I’m starting to have a panic attack,
It makes it worse.
I got through it.
Then I sat in my car for twenty minutes in the parking garage with the lights off,
And cried.

5:
I don’t like when people know things about me.
It’s mine to share.
I don’t know what you’ll do with it.
Probably hurt me.

6:
Why am I so bad at the things I think I should be good at?
I want to be quick, nimble, and fast.
Smart and caustic.
But I feel slow all the time.
Behind, outdated, frumpy, and slow.

7:
I got sick Sunday.
And went to work Monday morning.
And I’m not sure why.
It wasn’t loyalty.
I had so much to do.
And my sense of right, won’t let me do a bad job, at my job.
Even if they deserve it.

8:
I told my sister once that she was selfish.
I think it was the only time I ever hurt her.
One count.
She brings it up every once in a while,
Expecting me to apologize, take it back.
But it’s the one hurt I’ve never been ashamed of,
It’s a pain I don’t mind causing.
Because it’s as true today as it was years ago.
She’s selfish.
And she’s hurt me so often, it seems like fair cosmic retribution
That I can have my pride on this one point.

Poems from My Day (1-21)

i’ve been so cold this week

1:
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.

2:
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.

3:
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.

4:
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.

5:
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.

6:
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.

7:
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.

8:
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.

9:
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.

The Dog Who Watched the House

Another story for you, written in 20 minutes:
7:15 p.m.

We lived in a manse. The house is square, red brick, and old. One side faces the road. It’s called County Road on our address. One side faces the graveyard then the Church. The fence pens in cows behind our property. And then it’s corn in all directions.
It was my Dad’s house to me. Mom’s was far away. Dad’s house was quiet. Dad took a walk down the road for miles every morning. Alone. He came back to the quiet house when we were at our Mom’s.
Dad didn’t like pets. He didn’t understand them. I think he sees why people like pets, as companions, things to be proud of. But, they’re a waste of money, time and energy. What good do they do? They take up space. They eat things. They have to be provided for, and looked after. Oh, the vet bills alone! Why would you pay for a leech?
Dad warned us one night coming home. “Girls, be careful, there’s a dog outside the house. I don’t want you to be scared.” He told us he’d call animal control, and the second they showed up, the dog would vanish. “He won’t bother you, just leave him be.”
I watched with big open eyes out the window of the car as I spotted this great big dog. He looked like a German Shepherd, but bigger. Great big pointy ears stood on top of his head with little hairs coming out the sides. He had black-brown fur, thin fur, with lots of speckles of gray. His belly was almost all silver.
He didn’t look mean to me. But this was Dad’s house; Dad didn’t want him here. He didn’t belong here. Dad couldn’t get rid of him. The dog seemed happy to be there. I liked that he didn’t listen when he got yelled at. And Dad would yell at him. The dog sat and watched and smiled.
He followed Dad on walks. He guarded the house. Dad tried his best to chase him off. “He has no collar. He won’t leave.” I wanted to invite him in the house. I knew what Dad would say, I didn’t ask.
Every weekend I saw him. I didn’t pet him. He didn’t hurt us. He’d follow the car to the end of the driveway. He seemed happy to be alive. He sat next to the tree that bloomed pink little petal leaves. He sat there for months. I thought Dad might secretly like him.
I asked what happened to the dog. Dad said he finally left. He said it with a smile. We took a walk along the road that weekend. There was a skeleton on the riverbed. Maybe it was a deer.
The dog loved my Dad. Whether he lost his mind or not. Even if he had another master and got confused. He protected. Dad left him to stay outside. We never touched him. That great big dog, who had no name, outsmarted my father, and got to stay for a little while.

For the Mother Who Holds

I’m silent. I let you make me silent. I don’t have money. I depend. And I don’t have the strength to be on my own. And you took my words. How I say what it is I feel. I’m not a quiet person. I laughed years ago. I let you do all this. It was me. I’ll hate you for this far longer than I’ll hate you for forgetting I’d grown. You took this. You made me think I gave it. That it shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I shouldn’t ever go against you. I left myself in a box. I thanked you for letting me stay. I can’t ever be here again.

A Thought on My Parents

If I have children who meet my parents, they’ll never know them as I knew them. Those people are gone. They’ll not recognize the soft, cuddly, chubby Mom I grew up with, who wore few bras and had short curled hair. They won’t know my father with these strange eye magnifying glasses. He hasn’t said it yet, but I’m waiting. I wait for the phrase, “I’d like to be able to play with my grandchildren.” They won’t know them without the pains in their knees and backs. They won’t know them without those added years of I-could-have-done piling on guilt from time. They’ll only know the wrinkles, never to see how beautiful my Mom could be. And then they’ll die while my kids are in college, and my kids will care. But not really, they never really knew them before their minds went. Never had the chance. The kids were too young. They had me too late. It’s too late to know them.

That might not be bad after all. Maybe I can dull all they the messups they did to me through a filter for the next ones down. If they never meet the originals, they can’t spread the fire of self-hate they gave to their children. If I can’t see them, I won’t be them. I have a chance to be better for me and mine.