Tag Archives: poem

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.

Poems from My Day (9-19-16)

i’m a mess

1:
I’m blasting un-autotuned T-Pain singing about booty and shawtys,
Through my borg-like twenty dollar tiny speaker,
While I’m drying dishes in my kitchen,
And the last of the summer sun is shining through my window.
I’ve got refrigerator rolls with another ten minutes in the oven,
To take to my yoga friend’s house, because she invited us for barbecue.
I am comfortable in my skin,
Braless, wearing Super Bowl XLIV “The Who” baseball long-sleeve shirt I wear to paint,
Sleeves I’ve rolled up so often the cuffs are loose fresh out of the dryer,
And my Levi’s boyfriend jeans with two patches on the inside-thigh seem,
Shabby clothes, bad dancing, for the me no one else will see.

2:
I’ve been imagining what I’d say when at her funeral,
If she kills herself like I think she will.
I’ll say she was my friend.
She pushed me,
When I was working in marketing,
She asked me what I was doing with my brain.
There’s not many people in your life who will understand you,
Or care about you enough to call you out,
Tell you you’re wrong.
She was stronger and smarter than me.
She left her home to be better, do better, learn more.
She was funny.
She would go with me on strange twisting battles of subjects
Ranging from why we should stop for traffic lights
To why no person can be really good.
She wouldn’t mock me, unless I deserved it.
She was wispy, and wiry, and full of energy.
The first person I ever met, unafraid to be herself.
I feel honored she might call me her friend.

3:
Be as smart as you like,
Back up your theories with page cited references,
Names I’ve never heard before.
But if you still can’t figure out how to be kind,
How to checkout at the store without doing it wrong,
What use are you?

4:
I’m new to this feeling,
Of knowing you’re being ridiculous,
Knowing your emotions are irrational, but
Having them anyway, and not being able to stop them.
It’s new to me,
I get the feeling,
I’ll get accustomed quickly.

5:
I was lying in bed watching some shitty movie on Netflix about love and quilts.
And I was feeling like a voice-over.
Thinking about telling my computer screen how much I miss the sound of bugs at night in summer.
How my skin feels after I’ve been sweating and then it cools down.
I miss porches painted white

6:
I’m trying so hard not to think about him.
Because I don’t like him,
But I want him to like me.
But I don’t want to care,
I think I’m lying to myself,
I just can’t figure out where.

7:
I made thin chocolate chip cookies
For the funeral this week.
I made a bundt cake for the one last week.
I don’t want to be here,
I don’t want to be here.

9 Poems for the Week

my heart is tucked away today. i’m sorry it’s not open for my writing poetry visiting hours.

1:
I met the math teacher,
At native food day up at the senior center.
He’s from nearby, originally,
So he says his a’s like everyone else up here.
There’s an h in there and a little hint of a smile.
You can hear it if they say bag.
He told me smoked fish is the best because it goes really well
With any type of alcohol.
I love it.
The last time I met him,
He was yelling at me,
So this is improvement.

2:
My heart broke over a piece of paperwork.
She had to fill out the reimbursement forms for me,
For the trip we sent her on to Fairbanks.
I couldn’t get her to fill it out.
My supervisor yelled at me.
She who I had hoped would, would, do. Something.
So now it’s a body and a mind that does what needs to be done.
I’m out of this.
Me and my heart and my soul are back in our little corner,
Looking for better long-term cold storage facilities
Who don’t charge high rent.

3:
I told her my standards are really low.
I quoted this passage from a book which talks about how
He wasn’t much, but she’d never seen much of anything, so there was a chance they could be happy.
I said that was pretty much me.
You’re out of bed. You’re clean. You’re not hurting anyone. You’re good in my book.
I’ll not condemn the lazy.
She just looked at me.

4:
And I can tell she’s never been around chronic depression,
Or lived with an alcoholic,
Or an abuser.
I can tell.
She’s that funny kind of clean
Who wants to know the dirt,
And may have seen the dust,
But she’s never stopped caring when it’s covering her hands,
Because it’s been there too long.

5:
I used to always side with the children.
How could a mother do that?
I didn’t realize I had a bias.
Am I older now, to see adults as humans?
As an equal to the child, they’re needs have to matter too.
When did that happen?
When did I put the living above those who have yet to live?

6:
They say the first day of moose season,
Always means bad weather.
The rain came yesterday.
The first moose this morning.

7:
I just spent fifty dollars
On new clothes,
A pair of work pants, a sleep shirt, a blue dress oxford, and a blouse. A red blouse.
I shouldn’t have spent that.
It’s not in my budget.
My budget is titled: Don’t Spend Nothing.
And if I have to pay for heat again this month,
I’ll be two hundred dollars in debt.
And I’ll take out of my savings,
My rocking chair on a wrap-around porch fund,
I worked so hard to build,
I gave up my social life to bank,
Because I decided it was a good idea to volunteer for a year,
For a cause that might be worth it.

8:
We’re having yoga down at the firehall.
Me and my roommate and the woman in town who does community things.
I use the old beat up pink mat that lives in the corner shelf and has rust stains.
We’re doing thirty days of yoga. Or so they say.
A man came yesterday.
Changes the whole dynamic, even though I feel like it shouldn’t.
And my roommate said my side comments were annoying him.
If I’d known I would have said half of what I’d thought,
Instead of quietly trying to not show my ass while downward-dogging into hell.

9:
He asked.
Damn.
I almost escaped.
But he asked,
What are my plans for after my contract finishes here.
And I had to tell the truth.
Damn.
I have no plans.
I could go back to freelancing, if I had to,
Which wouldn’t be a problem.
Will someone tell me what to do please?
That makes me so pathetic.