Tag Archives: poet

Dear R.P.H. (Letter #3)

I’m transcribing a series of handwritten letters I wrote, but never sent. Read the previous letters here.

Dear R-

Are you high, or can you talk? You know I used to come up with excuses to talk to you, but they had to be official so you wouldn’t know. I want to tell you right now – I’m crashing. I’m crashing. I can’t make it stop. I’d been doing so well. So damn well. What if I can’t stop it again? What, are you going to be there?

Dammit. I trusted you. Why am I so screwed up? It’s not fair. Why isn’t it fair? I want to be able to trust – not cling. Instead I’m just disgusting – clingy and disgusting. And I’m going to turn into my mother who doesn’t care and who’s fault it never is, if your feelings get hurt, when your feelings get hurt.

Dammit. You know what? I only ever liked one of your songs. The rest were crap. There. And you’re crap at explaining stuff. And you’d hate me if you knew me, as I do. I was myself with you, for a moment. Me. I don’t show it to anyone, not anymore. You rejected it. You got rid of me without a couple thoughts. And that hurts. It hurts so much. I don’t have anyone to be me with anymore. I’m facades all over again, you bastard. I almost got through the whole day.

You left me.  But, I want to be able to stand on my own. I don’t want to need to depend on people. It’s not fair.

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Poems from the Week (7/14)

1:
It rained so hard today I wanted to cuddle with strangers.
The sky turned to winter morning’s green.
I hunkered my shoulders.
I wanted someone to notice I wasn’t ok,
And hold me while I curled up in a ball
From the big scary noise.
Desperation bred lovability today.

2:
I woke thinking life had nothing but horrible thoughts for me.
Then I got something done,
Not everything, mind you,
But something.
And I only thought, “I have to get out of here” when I stopped to think.
That must be why busy people never stop to think.
All their little day saddnesses would play catch-up.

3:
Someone’s beautiful place of memory
Got destroyed today.
Those poor red shutters on the old brick house,
And all the overgrown fence posts,
They’ll never be like you remembered them.
You can’t go back to double check yourself.
Did I really feel like that,
When I saw the sights I’d seen a thousand times before
With different, healthy eyes.
I’m so sorry little memories.
I should have written you down to keep you safe.
I should have sketched you in color,
I should have photographed with sound.

4:
I do not want to talk to my old teachers.
I will be reminded of all the things I promised myself to be,
The last time I came across their desks.
Let me stay unjogged, more likely forgotten,
So that I can slip by,
Accountable only to myself today,
Instead of the, look where I’ll be, girl with shorter hair.

5:
Pain pills chill on my desk leftover from surgery.
I don’t take them.
I have to say I can overcome some sort of addiction.
I’ve left them on the desk because they fit in.
Like I’ve left that bird turned just sideways.
I have to be able to do something right.

6:
I want to be noticed, but I can’t say I want to be noticed.
So I have to pretend my below grade flying is destined on purpose.
I could be famous.
If I wanted to be.

7:
It’s true,
You find love together in the moments,
Then the waiting for the next one.
Maybe this next one will be better,
Or maybe he’s forgotten.

8:
I met your father for the first time,
He knew all about me,
Oh god, I’m a topic of conversation around your damn meatloaf.
I thought we thought of each other as friends.
Dammit, why didn’t you tell me, you know I’m blind about things like that.
I never saw you again after you left for school.
You an all curl hair.

9:
My dyslexia kicks in.
I’ll tell you what happens.
I’ll be stressed, I have to say this quickly, and it has to be accurate.
I know exactly the word I want to say,
I try to say the word, but I can tell it’s coming out wrong,
And I can’t fix it.
I know it’s the other thing I want to say, the opposite,
But I can’t figure out how to say it,
And there’s no time,
So I go with what my mouth was trying to say,
And I can’t figure out what I said, or meant to say, except I’m mad at myself.
It happens with words.
It happens when I’m writing down a phone number and can’t figure out if I’m writing down a 6 or a 9, and I know something’s off but I can’t see it. My b and ds looks like butterflies, with bumps on both sides.
It happens when I’m thinking too. I’ll think wrong, but I know what I mean, so that one’s not so bad. When I’m reading the letters will flip flop, the letters and the words, and the lines, sometimes it’ll sound funny, and I can laugh to myself. It gets bad when I’m tired too.

10:
I’ll never be beautiful.
I don’t mind.
It means I don’t have to put on makeup.
And no one lies to me.
They know they can’t tell me I’m the prettiest.
I can be fine with me, and my perfectly normal features.
I’ll draw you a picture of me one day here soon.

Poems for the Week (7/6)

The schedule is now more like a rough outline. Anyway, this is what I wrote this week

1:
I wonder what I’ve done to permanently injure someone else
And I never knew.
I wonder who’s memories I haunt
And if our spirits cross in each other’s memories to wave hello to a friendly face.

2:
I knew a girl with my first name.
I thought she should keep it.
It fit her.
It fit her far better than it fits me.
I’ve always thought of it like my body, a trap instead of one together.

3:
I’ve found my temporary freedom card in an odd place.
It was under the seat of the old car.
I plug my phone into my car and let music play.
I sing as loud as I want driving to work.
I sing off, I constantly rewind, I’ll listen to that part again.
I bear no one’s standards. I get yell and howl and screech.
Only where no one hears me – that’s as strong as I am.

4:
I pushed myself into the cracks so that she wouldn’t notice me, and I had an excuse to be shy.
My Mom usually forgot about me. I thought that has a nice ring to it.
So I wouldn’t draw attention or ask for, then I could bemoan my state.
But you can’t tell her that. You can’t blame her for anything. Don’t you know what she went through?
We take the blame, and smile at you, and add another edge, next to our broken teacups.

5:
The first time I met you, we sat on the floor off the right wing of the art building. I cut cardboard and you sketched lines.
The first time you schooched over toward me, I flinched when you touched my arm.
I told you, you shouldn’t smoke, and you asked me why I cared.
You played guitar for me by the naked lady fountain and I stared at our Converse.
You said you wanted to be an anesthesiologist because they made the most money.
I told you, you can’t buy a suit jacket that falls that far down your wrists.
Then we just stopped running into each other. And I blamed me, my defects, something wrong, prolonging the incapacitation of confidence. I read somewhere that if they really want you they go after you.
My number hasn’t changed.

6:
I always think, if you’d have just told me,
By this point, I’d be able to stand on my own two feet.
Instead of amounting to debt and new excel sheet lines in inventory.

7:
Next time, you tell me you’re never drinking again.
What do I say?
Good. I’m glad?
What do I do when you go on a bender?
Do I just sit and wait to remember all the times you told me you’d stop after college?
Go on, brush me off, I’m not important.
When do you take me seriously? Is there something unserious about me?
What do I say when you ask for another twenty just to cover tonight?
Don’t brush me off. Please.
No, you know what? I’ve done all I can.
Destroy yourself now. That was a command not an insult.

8:
I don’t let anyone speak to me like that.
But I’m tied to you, I need your money.
So I say nothing.
I add another tack to my miserable, and say
You could have prevented this, you could be somewhere else by now,
If you weren’t you.

9:
It’s rained for three straight days.
So I wore black jeans in summer, to say,
Hello sky, I commiserate with you.

10:
You condemned my curiosity. I will not absolve you of that.
You mock whatever isn’t your standard.
I use that tool now. I know how to make people feel ashamed of trifles, because you taught me.

Poems from My Week (6/7)

1:
My mother is powerful.
She can’t lift a dresser though.
She’s sharp, but she can’t make you bleed.
She gives you the blessing of guilt.
I am so blessed.

2:
I wanted you to be perfect.
The best in the world, for me.
I wanted to have someone who fit.
Understood me.
I guess I just thought you did, because you talked to me.
It seemed like you were talking just to me.
But you’re human again, and far away,
And I don’t know how to fix it.
God, I want you to love me. I’m so disgustingly selfish.

3:
I’m at peace with my two front teeth.
I don’t have an even line smile,
It’s bumpy and crooked
And two are chipped from, well, it’s a funny story actually.
I am not a straight and narrow person, nether are my teeth.

4:
I got a little bit of money from my Dad.
I was so excited. I need so many things.
Then I was sad. Because I can afford one of the things I need.
Shorts, new necklace, socks.
I don’t have enough money to buy morals.
I have to shut off the part of me
She says this is wrong, what you’re doing for money.
But I don’t have a choice. I always feel trapped.
Trapped into taking other people’s money.
Stuck into graciousness.

5:
Make I statements.
Don’t insult the other person.
Address the issue with respect.
Outline the precise nature of the problem.
Kill me now, please,
All this hubbub because we have to be nice.
This just sucks.

6:
I cry in the car on the way home from work.
It has become my blue chariot of peace.
It flies between two hells on the highways.
I walk into the second and hug the emotional torments who call me daughter.
My biggest argument tomorrow will be with myself,
And how to exit the needle nest
To make vain for someone else.

7:
When I’m overcome with emotion,
I spout cliché,
Not my own words,
My own words take so much longer,
And seem lesser,
To the apologetic blank mind of the moment.
I wish I could make myself smarter,
Faster. So I could tell you what I felt right then,
And not have to wait for this thing between my ears to settle and explain itself.

8:
I thought I could understand everyone.
I am wrong.
I do not understand the humorless.
I cannot comprehend their pride.
Are they nervous?
You cannot live with yourself, if you cannot find your weaknesses ironic.
I do not understand.
I think, you have no soul, if you do not find humor.
Why does she scare me so much?
This woman I know.

9:
I cannot do this. I can’t.
But, see, I don’t have the ties of family,
I don’t have, I must do this for the kids,
That makes it harder,
Having no one to work for,
It makes it harder to stay.
Because I’ve always run, shied, hid.
And somehow, where I am, responsibility means exchanging your heart for a timeslot.

10:
I’m always going to associate with the worker over the boss.
Even when I’m old, and know people who started this thing when they were young, and became heads of companies, with fancy names and hair cut styles.
I’ll find myself on the side of the picket who values people.
I always will.
I’m mourning the loss of the boss in me.
I’ll never make that much money. I have too much humanity, and middle child syndrome.
I read somewhere, I think, that if you’re poor when you’re younger, you’re more altruistic. I think we were poor. I’m not super sure.
But we’re union.
I find my family values where I can and take them for their linearity. You don’t side with the mighty against the powerless.
I know that. And when I see myself starting to look for positive black numbers in excel sheets,
And avoiding how much people need to see bits of themselves in other humans,
I think, maybe it’s ok I’ll never be somebody.

Poems from my Week (6/1)

Guys, guys, are you seeing this? I’m actually keeping to my schedule. I just cannot believe it. It is, in fact, unbelievable

1:
Come on, preserve my sanity, I dare you.
I bet you could break me if you wanted. So do it.
You’re so close already.
You think you’re my life line, what’s holding me here.
Prove it.

2:
I am more than what you see between my hairclips and my shoelaces. I have to be.
I have to be something more, because
Otherwise,
Well,
I’m not sure, but it’ll be unsatisfying as hell.

3:
I don’t know what to do with myself, or what it is I think I might be feeling. So I’ll go buy something. Or, maybe just think about starting the car, to leave, to be free, to run. Run in my car, and buy something, to feel better.
I thought this an hour ago, and I’m still here. And still here.

4:
If I could show you how I felt, I would clap till my hands turned to ground beef.
But I don’t know what to say.
So I’ll say what I always say to you, which is hedged bets and a plastic mold of a heart.

5:
I screwed up a bit. Not a lot. Just a little.
And I’ll be agonizing over that for the whole week,
I’ll get distracted and really mess something big up,
But not care, because I could have prevented this whole catastrophe in the first place.

6:
My goodness found a stamp.
It peeled off the backing and wrote an address.
It mailed itself to someone who was a bit better and felt a bit more.

7:
She must have realized she was talking down to me.
She must have processed who she was talking to.
She can’t be that cold, but wait who am I talking about.

8:
I memorize songs, so I can keep track of time in the shower.
I think the same train of thought so I can reorient myself.
I count my fingers when I can’t breathe.

9:
She spent so much money. Just all in one go, no problem.
I have to be careful where my twenties fall.
I can’t be loaned out later.
I hate that she doesn’t have to worry,
And doesn’t have to keep track.

10:
I met a boy who wore a purity ring.
It took too much strength not to make fun.
People must hate me, always sarcastic that one.

Poems from My Day (5/19)

i wrote ten of them. you know why.

1:
My dog led me along a thin and narrow path.
I followed her into the deep woods, into rivers
Under trees, I followed her.
We walked up a hill steep and narrow.
She yanked my arm,
Shot into the brush,
And brought me out a little squeaking groundhog.
I followed her while she buried it,
Then we went back to the car.
We had such a lovely time.

2:
She told me I have too much personality. These, hand brush, are cookie-cutters,
Like those boxes that only change from beige to brown,
You, you have too much you in you.

3:
If I wanted to,
I can find all your secrets. Anything you’ve tacked up.
It’s all still there.

4:
Who’s gonna pay for this?
Look at all this damage.
You did this to me.

5:
Tried a new place where the old Thai place used to be, had good drunken, sloppy, noodles.
I wanted to like it, for the spirit of the thing.
They showed off the same dusty black candle boxes, the same Vishnu painting with a mint tint.
The noodles were gummy and the chicken chewy.
I started singing Joni’s “don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
And I didn’t laugh at someone else’s joke. I’m still going through my, I want to be stoic and not laugh all the time phase.
My cheeks hurt now when I smile.
Their sweetened condensed tea wasn’t bad. One day, I’ll be on time. I’ll find the place I love and it won’t close before I’ve had my fill.
Too fancy philosophical for closing Thai restaurants? Yeah, I thought so.

6:
I drive over the limit when I’m surrounded in traffic.
But when I drive at two, after a Saturday of whatever it was,
I go the 55 exactly. I’m accountable more to myself than to the waves, then, I suppose.
I hear as my car starts to struggle with the second switch, my second switch hasn’t worked since I have to be exhausted to sleep.

7:
One of these I wrote for you, you know.
I’ll give you a hint. It was a love poem. Not that I write a lot of love poetry, or good love poetry, or good poetry at all. (I’m not fishing, don’t send me things, you butts)
I just want to talk with you. But I don’t know how to get you to open your instructions.
And if you do start talking, I don’t know what to say. I’ll say something to make you go away again. I always do. Then I miss you.
You said that to me once. I missed you. It made my day, you know? No you don’t.
I’ll be flying with my fancies over this way. Belittling myself again.

8:
I had to tell a story about something fun I did with my best friend from childhood. I couldn’t think of one.
And I started telling it and got that feeling of being boring, and made it worse.
I trapped myself, then got mad at being trapped, then made myself stuck.
We must have done something that was nice, that I don’t associate with embarrassment, shame, penance and disgust. And now I can’t think of any gleeful memory.
They’re only happy when I’m in a certain mood.

9:
So, then, big power in my mind.
I just get the one, then?
She gets me. She’s smarter, and funny as hell, I want to write down everything she says,
Mystical magical.
Same soul.
I just get the one though? I need another, please. Where do I fill out my form?
I’ll get on stage and recite lines for you. I want someone to know me.
Someone I’m not scared to hide the sections of me I only tell the dogs and strangers.
I tried to give it to someone else, pushed it, dropped, stained my floor, still there now, part of the furniture.

10:
I’ll never be good enough. Enough for me.
The competitive me wants more.
The styrofoam container kid in church, says you work for goodness.
But I still take comfort, sometimes, in thinking that the meek have something.
We’re supposed to get the Earth. I think I have that on a magic card as manna.

Art Institue Poems

Chicago

Marked and stated historical building.
Black and silver desk with sad and silver women behind it.
Took our cards and gave onceovers in return.
We paid one month of my rent for a night, but got more space and coffee packs.
She called down for soap. All those fancy towels and nothing in the dish.
Way it goes.
I went supernova on the couch with coral reefs and, I’m good with this, phone.
The desk couldn’t hold my whole laptop.
But the fancy pens and embossedness had their own box in their own drawer.
I sat on the pink velvet window seat and gazed lovingly at the apartment building next door.
It was all I could see.
Who wants to pay for faster internet when you’ve already paid for sheets?
I got carded by the couple in the elevator.
“Touring colleges?”
No, here for a wrongful death suit.
Wish I had the courage to say even some of what was on my mind.

It opened at 10:30. There at 11.
Central time, central time, central time.
All, day, whole day in the art museum.
I wandered with Europeans, and felt dingy.

I met this wonderful hunched woman with dyed red permed hair next to the triptych on one of the deaths of Christ.
She told me about the catholic myths in her southern South American and told me to look at the details. Her daughter lives here in the city. We walked piece to piece, getting yelled at by guards for being too close behind the still ropes.
I made a soul-friend with a woman who’ll die before my wedding, and who I’ll never greet again.
I find myself wondering, wondering a lot actually, but in this case, wondering if I’ve ever changed the way people think so I become part of their shortcut to a memory for worse thoughts.
How scary to think I could live in someone else’s memory without permission.
What do I do up there all day in their heads?
Probably make new soul friends with passerbys staring too long at the dutch egg details.

I crashed on an unused bench in the textiles room behind the paperweights and the tiny chairs.
The guards checked on me every couple minutes.
But it was me and the patterns and the corners.
The longer I looked at the blue stamp printed tulips, the more I thought furniture.
I am furniture.
It was so peaceful, you’d get the women wearing clothes so they hoped to get photographed for fashion blogs. But it was me and whirring conditioners for thought and hooks and placards and planned space that kept me there listening for me to say I’m ready.

We experienced the naked men statues of someone called Ray something.
We surmised he was famous, used our whole brains for that we did.
Truly, too many naked men.
The spraypainted silver statues, maybe he watched too much Goldfinger,
Looked trapped and chilly.
My feet hurt. I want to walk on carpet.
Let’s go home where we don’t have to hold our heads higher than the smarter richer.
I’m imaged out. Show me empty fields without too much color thoughts.

Only the homeless guys I don’t give money to bless me by God on the street.
Your eyes are your best feature, and they disappear when you smile.
The drivers in the low-riding big headlight red sports cars drive the speed limit.
They handed me prom dresses to try with a number missing in front of the size.
Old women with part dark brains ask me how I am and mean it.
I’m going back home where I know what to be scared of.