Tag Archives: poem

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.

Advertisements

Ten Poems (09-10-17)

mostly about romantic relationships today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Women

I’ve spent longer watching myself smile in the mirror than I’ve spent laughing with friends.

Has your mother accused you of scratching yourself because of the stretch marks on your breasts?

To the women who wipe it away with alcohol. I understand. I’m here if you need me.

Don’t qualify your statements when you speak. You’ve a right to be heard. Have something worth saying. I want to hear it.

To the women I’ve let down. I’m sorry. Tell me please, so I can get better.

Who fall in love with the cashier at Dunkin’ Donuts because he has a sexy voice and he kept my extra penny.

I’ve never seen a healthy relationship. What would I expect from my own?

Who have tried to turn over one-sided mattresses by themselves.

Who have hair on their bellies longer than the hair on their legs.

Who have used the same pair of panties, with a different pad the next day.

If you can’t eat goldfish without eating the whole bag.
Welcome. I have snacks.

Who have been the victims of sexual assault.
Domestic violence rates are nearly one in three.
Do you know three women?
You don’t have to move on with your life if you don’t want to.

If you’ve got in your car and never left.

Sing all the words to Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” if you haven’t had a hair cut in a year and a half. Light a big yankee candle, turn off the lights, put your crystal necklaces in a semi-circle and pray to the gods that Robin McKinley will write a sequel to “Sunshine.”

If you’ve never sent anyone a nude photo, you don’t have to be beautiful to be human. I hate my feet too. The only thing yoga helps with is passing gas. My thighs certainly aren’t thinner.

I’ve over-thought a two-second conversation because it was the last time I’ve spoken with anyone all day. My socks never match either. I like that it drives other people nuts.

To those who wear the blood of a crushed mosquito on their skin like war paint. Come hike with me.

To the woman who can’t find an entry-level job that pays a living wage and has snaggle tooths.
You are good enough.

Who read romance novels into the morning to self-sabotage their big day.

To the women who won’t give up control.
Don’t apologize.

To the women who are actually able to tell their accidental, fingering-on-the-couch date that, no they haven’t found the clitoris.
Can you tell me how you did it?

Who have scrapes from going skinny-dipping in the rocky Pacific at midnight in thirty-degree weather. Don’t ever start showering every day.

Who have to remind themselves that friends can have other friends, and they won’t leave you.

To the women who have gone to bookstores so they can tell this day from the last.

To the women who have changed in the backseat of the car because you needed to. I bet you can also take off your bra without removing your shirt.

To the women who wait for a text.
Who don’t want to be needy.
Who try to call out sexism.
Who have to live with someone they don’t love.
Jason Momoa is in your google images search history.

If you don’t have anyone to talk to, talk to me.

To the women who have cried for no reason at all and can’t stop themselves, and get mad at yourself because really, you’re old enough, what is wrong with you, why can’t you do anything right?

To my quiet women, who can’t tell someone how they feel. Try listening to Cat Stevens.

To the women who have stood up to their mothers. Did you hands shake too?

Can you tell a guy to shut up? Have you figured out how to be interested in his hobbies?

To the women up north who wear xtratufs, toting shotguns and dead moose. You’re heroes. Tell your Alaskan sons to stop raping women.

To my aunt who took me in when I hadn’t lived outside a village in too long and I was weird.

To the woman who was nice to me in Sitka. Who didn’t need to be. Who talked to me like I mattered. You don’t know how much I wish I could be friends with you.

To my sister who didn’t have that affair. I will never judge you for your sexuality or promiscuity. I will be there if you leave him. I will send you secret condoms.

To my mother who tries so hard.

To Kelly who doesn’t see how wonderful she is. You are beautiful in and of yourself. If you find someone to love you, great. If you don’t, you will always be the best of humanity.

I wish I knew all the women I accidentally hurt, who think about me as often as I think of the high-school girls who hurt my feelings. I want to fix it.

To the women who have picked at the dirt stuck at the corner of their toenails, who aren’t sure if they can make it on their own, who look down when they walk, who don’t laugh too loud because they’re not sure they have a right to be alive, who are trapped, who are scared, who are destined for greatness, who have a well-worn t-shirt of a college bar logo and a mug of beer.
You are my favorite.

You will be better than your mother, because someone loves you. I love you.

I love you as you are. I love you. I mean it.

I love you. I love you. I love you. Stop hurting the people I love.

Poems from My Day (11-29-16)

1:
17 days.
I get off this island in seventeen days.
I get to go home.
Where it’s not weird.
I shouldn’t say weird, I should say different than what I’m accustomed to,
Different from my culture.
But I can’t help it.
It’s weird.
And I want to go home.
Even if I hate that home.
I want to be where there are roads and stores and love
For Christmas.

2:
Today I am absurdist comedy.
We drove out the road,
With a hatchet and a flashlight
In the jeep with one loose door, mice in the back, and conspicuously wet seats,
To chop down a Christmas tree to put in a pickle jar.
We filled the jar with water and rocks and covered it with a red pillowcase from the back of my closet.
We put four hardback discarded library books underneath.
It was too wobbly.
We duct taped the pickle jar to the stack of books.
It leans now.
There’s one string of lights, in neon blue,
And four ornaments from the only store in town.
There’s a good chance the blind inbred dog will knock it over.
We were going to make halibut and muktuk for dinner.
Need help. Send wine.

3:
Yesterday, we met up with a reporter from the radio station an island over.
We were taking out our trash, which means a trip to the dump.
She was in the back. Listening with the tape recorder and her reporter mode on.
As we told our stories, about up north,
And we showed her the dump,
That gets set on fire every once in a while,
And burns a beautiful plastic.
Because you can’t recycle or barge it out here.

4:
They have basketball teams stay in the library.
Kids sleeping where the other school can put them.
For about two weeks, they either have games at home,
Or travel to the other small islands.
Two weeks they travel away from school.
The line the teachers give is,
What grade do you want them to have?
A we’ll do our own thing state for sure.

5:
I’m nervous talking to reporters.
If I lose my job,
I want it to be about something big n’ loud.
Not because I picked up a chair,
When I’m only supposed to do administrative work.

6:
I feel myself drawing away from him
And I don’t care.
I’ll be fine on my own.
I’ll sing Les Miz loudly and wear a beret to pretend.
Other people might make my life better,
But my pavement still shines like silver.

7:
I heard carol of the bells at the store today,
It reminded me of bell choir,
Of damping my middle c bell so hard I had a crescent bruise underneath my shoulder
Because Joanne never damped her b flat, and it would run, and sound terrible.
I remember going to her funeral thinking she died with orange hair in an afro.
I remember learning her sons had died before her in the war.
I don’t know what to do with that.
I just felt it, but I don’t know what to do with it.

Poems from My Day (10-18-16)

Eight poems for now. More later.

1:
I took a drive with her.
We’d never been by ourselves before.
I tell her I’m quiet, that’s nothing wrong,
Which is a lie,
She tells me she wants to know me,
Then plies me with peppermint schnapps.
She tells me about her last week in Anchorage,
Hanging out with the man she had an affair with,
Taking a bump at a strip club,
Looking for that someone who will
Make her better, into the person she thinks she should be.
She tells me about her High School English teacher,
Who wrote her a poem,
Saying she was just waiting to fly.
All I see is a dreamer, with three kids, a small house,
And too much to burn.

2:
Stop competing with me,
Please.
My name is listed on the undersides of game boards
With the date we played, and my final score.
I’ve had guys ask for my number.
I’m sorry you’re insecure.
There’s nothing here I’m trying to win.
My father sent me a gift in the mail,
She says she’s jealous.
I say it’s guilt money,
That’s nothing to hope for,
But I don’t think she believes me.
Whatever I have is worth it.

3:
You don’t ask my kids why they weren’t at church on Sunday.
They’re in a safe space here.
School grounds. Dammit.
You don’t pressure them here.
All my instincts said protect.
I hate this weakness. Oh if only I were in a bigger town,
If I was Kanye’s better, faster, stronger,
I’ll never have the guts to stop it when I see it.
I’m going to have to deal with this about myself.

4:
I drive on what’s left.
After the pot holes from sewage projects, rain, and only black gravel.
What’s left behind at the store after the barge comes through, and the rest of the community grabbed the fresh vegetables.
I love what’s left of the people they were.
I sleep on the bed from the woman who lived here before me,
Wearing clothes another dropped off at goodwill.

5:
What can I love of what a monster creates?
Who am I to judge?
Can’t I sing along with a woman?
Admire a painting?
Can’t I read something,
Someone terrible wrote,
And not celebrate them?
Or by not ignoring them,
Am I giving the virus-filled pages ad revenue?

6:
I have trouble dealing with insecure people,
I don’t think it’s because we have so much in common,
I think it’s because they can’t take a joke,
I can’t tease them,
I can’t push them,
And there’s no equality.

7:
Yesterday,
I sat on the couch,
My day off,
And ate the shortbread fresh from the oven,
Listened to Jazz at Massey Hall
And read a wallflower romance novel
In my new pair of Xtratufs.
I’d never been so happy with myself, or my life.

8:
I’m having trouble saying I need attention,
I want attention,
I feel like I’m just become nagging,
Like my mother.

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 (9-22-16)

bad day. bad day.

1:
I was under the impression everyone was as worried and self-conscious as I am.
I’m wrong.
It’s common to think the other way around.
These people must not have grown up with my father,
Who was always smarter.
Someone in your life has to be aggressively intelligent,
To convince you of your insignificance.
I can thank my father for my obnoxious self-detrimentalness,
His constant, accidental, humiliation of me,
Has made me cautious, slow to judge, and fault-assuming.
And it’s made my self-confidence my own,
Because I built it myself.

2:
We fall back on the old patterns of interaction,
When we don’t know what else to do.
Because we ended up talking about the one thing we have in common,
Again,
Or because we already know how to react,
We already have the emotions all set.
The youtube video is queued up,
Just press play.

3:
I’m stuck in this space in my mind.
I can’t get off this track.
I want to have the same base thoughts as I was thinking last year,
But I can’t access those,
Even though I thought them a thousand times.
I feel like a never-ending to-do list that repeats itself,
Every time I turn the page, it adds something new,
And forgets the page before it.

4:
I’m like my kids in tutoring.
I need someone standing over my shoulder,
Telling me I’m doing well,
And I’ve got this,
In order to allow myself to keep going.
It’s a little frustrating.

5:
I don’t remember what’s it’s like to be a child anymore.
I’ve forgotten all the realizations that had to happen
To make me realize my parents are people,
That all people are people.

6:
This one is for the repressors.
Not of free speech, but emotion.
You heroes.
The best things are bottled,
Beer, wine, and emotions.

7:
If I were to address a room of high school kids,
Telling them why I write,
I think this is what I’d say:
You’re spare.
Prove to me you matter.