Tag Archives: poetry

Three Poems for the Weekend

1:
What would happen if you collected all the men who’ve loved me?

What would they have in common?
Would they be friends?

They would be an odd assortment to be sure.
If I remembered them in their prime.

The young and the old, maybe, collected in the age I loved them.

Louie would be there, proclaiming his love to me in kindergarten before moving to St. Louis.

And the boy who’s not sure if he loves me,
I wonder who would be the surprises.

Patrick from 5th grade, who helped me count all the countries in Africa,
And I never looked at twice.

Josh from high school, who I didn’t realize was in love with me,
Until his father talked to my mom, and told her more about her daughter than she knew,
Information he’d learned from his son.

What about the minor crushes,
The boys I left behind,
How many of them could say I loved them back,
How many told me,
How many were related to me?

Would there be any fights,

I wonder.

Dad would be there, and my step-father,
And then we start getting into forms of love,
Does a grandfather count?
Do the people who said it count or just felt it, even if they didn’t know they felt it.

My first boyfriend would be there, who I dated for two seconds
I didn’t actually like him I just wanted to have a boyfriend
I remember telling my mom, and saying, you’re supposed to like them aren’t you?
My pastor would be there,
Who else loves me?
What a weird category to make, while slightly self-serving.
Hmmm.
Would they be ugly, famous? Fun, funny, aggressive? Self-effacing.
No one I’ve known this year or the last.
It’s not a matter of not being there to love,
It’s being there long enough to love.

Would they argue about who loved me best?
Longest? Worst?
Would they wonder why they were there? Compare themselves to each other?
Would there be lots of colors, or would they all look the same?

Would they get along?
How much could you learn about me from listening to them?
What stories would they tell?

2:
I want a new scar to match my fading one from last year.
I subscribe to the rather hillbilly ideal of,
More scars the better, means you’ve lived, and you’re reckless,
And you’ve survived,
Which means your lucky.
And I want lucky friends, so you can hang with me.
I feel like I’m not living,
I need to do something, anything,
I want a new scar,
I don’t want to be hurt,
But to be able to point to something tangible and say,
See? I do things. I am a keeper of stories.

3:
I am living in such a place of self-condemnation
I cannot be proud of myself for taking a shower today,
Making food, or brushing my teeth.
I only remember the horrors of my past,
The things I’ve said,
That were wrong, stupid, incorrect,
And think of all the other terrible things I’ve done.
I’m paralyzed, immobile from the stupidity of my past and present.
But the part of my brain that kicks in,
In kindness really,
And tell me to stop feeling,
It’s okay to go numb for a minute,
It hasn’t hit yet.
Maybe my stomach is just upset because I’ve drank too much milk lately.

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Ten Poems: Arguing With Myself

1:
I made ten thousand extra dollars last year from my retirement account.
Because I started a retirement account young, and set up automatic payments years ago.
And suddenly, I get my statements, and poof,
Look at all that money I won’t touch until I’m old.
How can I complain about corporations profit margins
When here is literal proof in my hands,
That I’m benefitting.
How can I argue anything when I can see both sides,
When I change my mind,
When I’m not informed enough,
When I’m not good enough to think the thoughts I think?

2:
I don’t want to hear her talk about politics.
I can’t stand it.
Whine near someone who can do something,
You’re talking to a crowd who already agrees with you.
You’re not promoting action, you’re reveling in drama.
This isn’t constructive. We’re spinning our wheels in our own wheelhouse.
Let’s go to a city council meeting.
Talk to someone who doesn’t agree and let’s plan something concrete,
We all know he’s crazy.

3:
I don’t want these men to lose their jobs until their guilt has been proven.
At the same time, if the justice system fails victims so often, public court is all we have.
But if you’re just getting rid of the attackers from public sight, you’re not fixing the problem.
Stories are to be believed as much as fact.
But I still want proof, even if it’s testimony.
I want better education about what’s right and wrong,
And I want it to come from parents.
Not from schools. I want what’s right to be clear.
At the same time, I doubt this would happen.
All we have left is sensationalism law,
That will break so quickly on a false accusation.

4:
I want a doctor to be able to kill her.
She never would have wanted this.
I think she deserves the right to want to die.
She’s there already.
I know it’s a slippery slope.
But for god’s sake the woman can’t swallow food anymore.
She’s not hungry.
Can we please kill her?
Please?
I can’t keep watching my mom try to take care of a dying plant.

5:
I am not defined by my work.
That is not where I fit into society.
He’s wrong.
I do not need work to be a part of anything.
Work is an option.
This nine to five is a western concept, as is steady employment.
Sure the factories employed people with a little extra money to go the movies on a Saturday,
But no one likes working in a factory.
These jobs were soul-sucking to begin with.
The economy was better, life measurements were better.
How did we get to this categorization? Of people.
Have you ever tried to categorize people?
Their feelings?
Good luck.
Because I am a person, my worth, my value, is there.
It is not in how much I can fit on my little black screen.

6:
Pick someone and go with it.
I’m tired of all this back and forth and over-analyzing.
You’re tired of being alone, just find someone.
It’s a fifty-fifty chance anyway.
This one will be as good as the next.
I’m tired of looking for a reason to be alive,
Why don’t I do everything wrong,
Throw my lot in with a stranger,
Tie myself emotionally to something unstable,
Have no identity of my own,
And wear some sort of apron thing.

7:
We’re not going to be friends.
We have gone through hell,
Known as our current job,
Together.
And we are bonded.
But you’ll never hang out with me outside those,
Those doors right there.
Those glass double doors.
Because you don’t see people like I do.
As entities to enter your life, and love while they’re there,
As a whole person already.
You’re using me to get through our jobs.
I understand.
And I’ll leave you to it.

8:
How do I standup to her?
Why does she get to be mean to her,
But if I’m mean back, I get yelled at.
That’s not fair.
I have to get out of here.
But I have nowhere to go.
I’m a failure. I keep cycling here.
There’s nothing new.
Something in me has to change.
I need perspective.
Let me stand on a desk,
Or forget about time for a while.

9:
You know what I did today?
I applied for new jobs,
After all that worry.
I organized, folded, washed dishes and my hair,
I prepared and thought out, and now.
Well I was waiting for someone to come over,
But they’re putting me off, and now,
Now I don’t want to do anything else today.
Why can’t I be happy with myself?

10:
My mother said I should offer to take my sister to the gym with me.
Because I’m trying to be healthy.
Because I’m losing weight.
And suddenly, it was about my sister,
Mom thinks she’s worried about her weight again,
Like she was for years in high school,
Doesn’t she remember how many years we’ve been dealing with this.
I cannot make her happy with her own body.
I can barely keep me up here on the line, and you’re putting pressure,
Blaming me,
Trying to get me to make her happy with her body too?
Why can’t it be about me?
She sang to me yesterday in the car, middle child syndrome,
When I said no one was home to take care of me during my wisdom-teeth removal surgery.

Poems from the Plane: Christmas 2017

1:
Don’t ask me permission like it makes a difference.
Don’t pretend to need my blessing.
I’m no deciding factor.
Go ahead.
Put her on hospice care. It’s past time.
I don’t know why you’re insisting on picking me up from the airport.
Mom. I can take a cab, stay with your mom.

2:
I didn’t realize other people’s memories don’t work like mine.
I’ve combed it so often,
That very few are tinged with emotion any more,
It’s more of what do I remember,
And how was I feeling,
I’m like a third-party to my own mind.
I see what’s going on,
But offer no judgment to the woman there.

3:
The most intimate thing I’ve done?
Given him a sweater.
He said in a text message that he’s never the one to start something.
But I couldn’t tell, I was waiting.
I was literally laying in your bed watching videos on a ceiling projector.
We’ll see how I feel tomorrow about the kids thing.
A friend told me, don’t you want kids?
That shut me up.

4:
You know what I want for Christmas?
I want personal morality to apply to the workplace.
That’s just business. What does that mean?
Why is this okay?
Why is doing a good job, good work, the equivalent of holiness?
Why is competitiveness disgusting interpersonally, but accepted when you put on a blouse? Why is suddenly protecting your best interests more important than equality.
If corporations aren’t our new churches, we have loyalty to nothing else.

5:
I don’t want to go home.
I want to go back to having an apartment to myself with Netflix gratis.
The ability to leave lights on without impunity.
The noise volume regulation of a toddler.
Jacking-off squeak privileges.
And grabbing what I need from my room in a towel.

6:
She says she doesn’t see the point of her –
This is my brother’s girlfriend –
Why would they be together?
Jesus, have you ever been stupid abut how you feel?
Sometimes suitability is more about the answer being,
I don’t know I just do,
Than,
I admire his mind.
I think, to ask that, you must never have done, no, let yourself do something stupid for a feeling.
He likes the girl. Leave him alone.

7:
Dad called me to say,
Oh I missed out on spending time with the sweetie twin.
He would have taken the train to see me at my three hour layover.
You’re not serious. I’m not serious. We both know,
But the sentiment dad, is appreciated.
Even if it’s not to see me, but “your daughter.”

8:
That Midwest gray, I love you.
I’m from there.
Those lines from the sky, those grids, where everything is flat,
And the sky clouded for months.
You miss it.
How could you miss an itch in your ear?
I missed the normalcy.
I want what’s normal to me to be normal all around.
Gray sky in December is right in my head.

9:
I was so mad. Just mad. Why can’t god even decide to kill someone?
Why do we have to do it? Why are they waiting on me to let her die.
To discharge her. To new nurses with unlimited paid meds.
Who’s going to do her hair?
Mom, I’ll be your sounding board again, for your parent’s funeral speech.
I’ll get ready to put that pressure on another human when you yourself die.
In family tradition.

10:
I told him no one wants to hear they’re just like someone else.
How do I tell him that he has the wrong idea about me?
I am nothing like this woman, girl.
Except my silliness that comes out when I’m around you.
Don’t tell your girlfriend she reminds you of me.
I didn’t know I ranked that highly in your estimation of people,
But, keep it to yourself okay? Like the girl for being her.

Ten Poems for Late December

1:
Know where I am?
Hawaii. On Christmas vacation paid for by my mom.
And so much has been happening,
So much has happened, and yet,
I can’t bring myself to write about it just now,
Because there’s palm trees out there
And water and sun.
In December.
So I’ll sit and watch this dragonfly a little longer.

2:
He didn’t tell me he had kids,
Little kids,
Like toddlers,
And do I get involved? Knowing either he’s a poor father?
Or he’s a good father, and he’s been hiding it from me.
I think I have to see where it goes.
Suddenly all the big little faults seem worse,

3:
I read dirty poems on the plane ride,
The whole time hoping the woman next to me couldn’t make out any words on my screen.
Like Please or Master,
Perl or Sweet.
So I switched to trying to sleep,
Alternating between playing music and how long can my battery last.
I accomplish nothing on plane rides.

4:
Did you know you can get constipated from stress?
I didn’t.
You think it was the travelling to my mother’s house?
Then to Hawaii for Christmas to meet with relatives.
My money problems?
Putting my grandmother in hospice care?
Having to hear my mother tell me she doesn’t want her to go.
What do you say to that?
I’m not asking you, I’m asking God.
What do you tell your mother when she says,
“I don’t want my mom to go?”
Huh?
I want an answer.
Why isn’t she dead already so we can start grieving?

5:
She’s not capable of handling it.
She can’t.
She doesn’t have enough unselfish juice to take care of other people,
It has to rebound onto someone else.
Here she is telling me,
It was so hard.
Like I don’t know.
Like I haven’t seen this before.
How do I have sympathy for this woman, my sister, who had to take care of my mom taking care of her mom for three days?
That’s it. Three days.
It was so hard. Why aren’t we more sympathetic towards her?
The kindness isn’t there. I keep looking, hoping to find somewhere, that caring.
But instead I find anger directed toward whoever is present. Me.
She will never see it as anything other than relating to her needs.
I need to stop judging her for what she can’t do.

6:
We’re going to talk about it for a minute.
No one gave me a sex talk.
My mom says she gave me one.
She didn’t.
I went through sex ed in a conservative Christian school,
So sex was evil and you were going to hell.
I was told I was a piece of scotch tape,
The first time mattered, but if you keep sticking that piece over and over on your skin it didn’t hurt anymore, you weren’t worth as much. As a woman. Because your tape lost it’s ability to pull hair off your arm.
I had a beer with my friend yesterday,
She hasn’t talked to anyone. She says she’ll research it online.
I told her to see an OBGYN, they are there to treat you like a sheep. Ask the questions, they won’t judge you for it, they’ve seen weirder. You are a number. It’s perfect.
Why are women allowed to have painful, uncomfortable experiences because no tells them it shouldn’t hurt?
Why did the woman teaching high schoolers sex ed not know that oral can transfer stds?
What is so wrong about facts and information?
It’s my body. Tell me about it’s bones and what they do.
About it’s blood flows and cycles.
Tell me that it’s okay I don’t want to be on birth control.
Tell me it’s okay that I don’t want to be regulated.
Tell me it’s okay that I don’t like tampons,
Cups, or iuds,
Shaving my bikini line or the hair on my toes,
Tell me it’s okay to be unsure about being confident.

7:
I’m a failure and I’m breaking down.
I can’t keep working this job.
But I can’t apply, it’s so hard for me to apply.
I can’t keep living with my sister.
I can’t keep avoiding getting a higher ed degree.
I want a house to put my stuff.
Magically, mystically I want to not work and have money.
I’m just so tired.
But I don’t have references because I’m too shy and scared to ask.
This old cycle, I’ve been here before.
Hello old friend. Glad you’re back.
Take the place of dying relatives and alcoholic aunts.

8:
She said he raised a fist at her,
After telling her to mind her own business,
He has a point,
But at age 67 you’d think he’d be able to regulate emotions,
And say what he needs to say without yelling.
He’s incapable of understanding other people have feelings.
I just avoid him now. I take an active indifference for the years of pain he caused me.
But he threatened to hit my sister, I didn’t see it.
And she was furious.
She was more mad that mom wasn’t on her side.

9:
I found it,
I was sitting with mom and my sister and her husband at a pie restaurant.
I was upset we had to wait an extra thirty minutes.
I was being quiet. Trying to be contained,
And they mocked me for it.
Mocked my feelings.
Teasing me, taking pictures, telling me to make that face again it would make a good meme.
Mom didn’t say anything.
She said I was “in a bad mood” and being a “bee-bee” because she wouldn’t say bitch.
My sister would make faces and say, “don’t take my head off”
Anytime I show any negative emotions.
Somehow when I’m upset I get mocked, but when anyone else is upset they get avoided and respected.
Just because you think it’s a silly thing to be upset about.
This right here. This is why I can’t share how I feel.
And she did this to me.
I just hadn’t seen it in such a long time. It took me a minute to recognize it.

10:
I needed to rage at god and no one was available.
I had to the apartment to myself, an opportunity to get drunk,
And no one returned my call.
I wanted to be mad at god for dementia,
For families,
For airplane turbulence and grief,
And I didn’t have any friends.
So I sat by myself on the computer.
While I packed, and daydreamed about how excited my mom would be if I were pregnant.

Ten Poems (12-10-17)

1:
Let’s go find lunch.
Like it’s hiding in the bushes,
Like it will appear if we can seek it out.
If we say the right incantation, poof, it appears.
Only a few of a restaurants have it.
This lunch thing.
You must find it first.
Find my lost lunch.
Is it in my bag?
On the grass?
In my hat?
I don’t know. We must seek it out.

2:
What is this hope of new romance?
Aren’t we too practical for this nonsense?
Here I am talking to my friend on the phone while I’m wandering my room,
Folding laundry, cricking my neck, friend in my ear,
What are you supposed to do on a third date?
She googled what to expect.
She says it’s going well.
That he’s shy, so each time she learns something new.
And she likes him.
And he likes her.
I tell her that’s great. I’m so happy for her.
Even if they can only meet at weird times because he works the night-shift.
I tell her I went dancing, and ate pho with a new boy.
I like him I think.
Like the nervous you get when you know a painting is going well,
You don’t want to ruin it.
So you proceed very slowly,
And try and shush down the hope and the future plans your brain has decided to spring on you.

3:
I play a video and get told to use headphones.
But they can talk and make tea unencumbered.
I am the one to subdue because I am the interloper,
The quiet person who pays rent, and won’t be staying,
Don’t make room on the bathroom counter,
Or in your daily routine.
Let us find a box for you and your things.

4:
I haven’t applied for new jobs.
I think about it, and chicken out.
I get home and cry because I have no energy left.
I can do it on the weekend.
Yet here I am.
Reading instead.
Trying and failing to make a list of what I need to get done.

5:
Here is this woman,
This wonderful woman,
Sitting across from me, sipping her cider with spices,
In a black coffee mug,
Snacking on Norwegian wreath cookies,
Telling me about what she studies,
With passion in her voice, and no shame.
She’s telling me engagements are different in Egypt,
In her culture,
Because there is no premarital sex,
They are often shorter,
But also less serious.
It is not a sure thing, once you’ve been engaged.
But the man is still expected to provide financially,
Basically afford a flat,
So the time engaged depends on money more than anything else,
And the expense of the wedding.
She doesn’t get to tell me more,
I have to drive the people who invited me along home,
And I think,
We could have been friends.
Those funny, subtle shifts, of timing, friends, and circumstance.
We should be friends.
I want to hear about her fiancé, who cannot see.
I want to hear about growing up in Britain,
I want another chance from fate, to sit down in a green plush chair caddy-corner to her,
And hear more about life, from someone else.

6:
The boys I meet now,
I cannot just trust my own opinion,
I use the other people’s voices in my head as counterbalance.
What would my mom say of this person?
Would my best friend turn up her nose?
If I introduced him to my people,
Would he fit in?
This is what I ask myself,
Because, suddenly, my own opinion needs bolstering,
And my own thoughts need support braces.

7:
Here I am in the car again, so I can talk privately.
Yes, I’m cold, but I can’t be overheard.
I made it home from the party okay.
I got pretty claustrophobic, but I made it out.
No, I don’t know why I still talk to you either,
I think you’ve always known you liked me more than I liked you.
I’m hanging on now because of my abandonment issues.
I will leave you once I find someone better,
You know it. I warned you. I gave you a chance to stake a claim.
I think I’m your out too,
I give you someone to think about when you’re tired and lonely,
Which is better than nothing from afar without your glasses on.

8:
Hello, it is I,
The person hiding in the tread of your shoes,
Congratulations, I have finally shrunk to the size you think I need to be,
Leave me alone now please.
Let me do things wrong or right in my own way,
Way down here,
Out of your notice.
Let me fail, please, without commentary,
It’s so hard to keep my shields up at full maximum for so long,
To repeal all the insults, jokes, teasing, and jibes, that I can and could do better, if only.

9:
She says she only wants to date,
She’s not taking care of anyone.
So many men, she tells me,
At that age, are only looking for someone to take care of them.
She’s done that already.
But who will take care of her, I wonder to myself,
But her mind and body are good,
So maybe, she takes care of her.
A nice thought.

10:
I can think to myself,
People are all the same,
As often as I want.
But when I was driving in Texas after the snowfall,
No one slowed down over the bridges.
When I called my friend to tell him how to steer out of a fishtail,
He ignored me,
I have front-wheel drive he said.
No one here knows how to use defrosters.
And again, I had those stranger’s thoughts.
I don’t fit in.
I have no home to go back to.

Ten Poems (11-26-17)

1:
I used to tell myself,
When I talk to myself, which is frequently,
That all I needed was one person to care about me, right?
I’d tell myself, just one.
Who cared if I was dead.
But I have that now,
I’m still unsatisfied.
I want someone true, and loyal to worry about me.
To love me.
And I worry this is escalating.
That maybe I’ll get that, find a perfect relationship, from the books,
And I’ll want more.
I’m worried I’ll never be satisfied.
That my only moments of peace will arrive in two second snippets of peace I find sometimes when I’m driving on the highway, and the sky looks more orange than usual.
I worry that I should have been a stoner, at least, at last, at peace with himself.

2:
The meaner I am to him, he closer he pulls.
Because no. He doesn’t understand me.
Do you have to understand someone to love them?
I don’t think so,
In fact I think the opposite is true.

3:
What do I tell him?
Would you please fuck me in the car so I can get it over with?
Doesn’t strike me as having a high probability of success return rate.
How do I say,
I’m not sure if …
If,
I missed that boat in high school and college,
That no one ever made out with me in the backseat,
But instead people fucked me over in other, more fun ways,
That I don’t know how to do anything,
But I’m tired of having people make fun of me for it,
I shouldn’t have told him I was sexually assaulted, maybe he’s nervous now.
Maybe he just doesn’t care one way or the other, and is along for the ride like the rest of us,
Coasting until you find you care.

4:
I’m all at odds and a mess with myself,
Unsatisfied, angry, and mad that I’m angry.
I can’t seem to think in a line without a minute of self-doubt and stubborn focus on something useless.
I want attention and loneliness. I want a friend, companion and perfection.
I want my hair to look as beautiful the day after I wash it.
I want to make sense.
I want to know what it is that I want.

5:
A cardinal hits my office window everyday.
Repeatedly.
He makes it up higher on the window some days than others.
You hear it hit, reverberate, then scratch again.
I feel like that damn bird,
Trying to get to where I wouldn’t fit in,
Hitting the glass, thinking they look like me over there,
And bouncing back,
Getting brain damage,
And trying again in twenty minutes, hoping maybe the glass has changed.
Forgetting I’ve tried before,
So excited someone looks and sounds like my reflection.

6:
I pull down my bottom lip in the bathroom mirror after I brush my teeth but before I’ve showered to take a look at my skull.
It’s supposed to remind me of the shortness of life, and quick approaching death, look, see your skull with your own hands.
Instead I become obsessed by my plaque. Hoping I’ll never have to get dentures,
Dreading when my gums never shrink back into my brain.
Live your life, live your life, look what you have left.
Instead, I become more obsessed with my future.
Will my teeth ever be straight?
What would they look like if I got braces?
Does anyone remember when I got that crack?
Oh my one baby tooth is still there. Isn’t that nice.
Watch my desperation for topics, once the dread of life sets in.

7:
I went to a neon art show.
I went to a local fair trade gift fair for local artists.
I went to a park with fishing next to the Colorado river.
Look at all the things I did.
Look at my pictures as proof.
What more do I have to do to prove myself to me?
Why can’t I be good enough for me?

8:
I’m worried I’m picking these fights,
I’m worried that I’m not as smart as I think I am,
I’m worried I’ll never find a pair of boots that truly fits me.
I’m worried that I’ll lose my home and my job at the start of the year.
How I hate applying for new work.
Have I written this already? I worry about that all the time.
Let’s try this again.

9:
I’m getting ready to leave here again,
To find another job in another new place,
Find new coffee shops to type in,
Different stressors to wake me up at night.
New people to forget,
New memories to hurt,
But away from here, away from the heat.
I want to leave because I don’t feel at home.
I think I’m looking for community.
For beauty, friends, and lovers.
And I think I’ll always be looking.

10:
She told me to be careful about sending mail here in my name,
Because I’m just a guest,
They might get in trouble with the apartment company,
She’s right.
I’m temporary.
She’s made fun of me for it.
I’m living boring,
Off the kindness of family,
And a lucky office job until the end of the year.
Then I’m free of commitments.
To become that person who leaves again.
People forget to remember.

Ten Poems (11-12-17)

1:
We don’t have souls; we’re just our bodies.
Not much better than ants,
Smarter, with a larger, more complex society,
But you kill us and we go away.
There isn’t some spirit that survives.
It’s all very simple, he told me.
And I thought he had no sense of the silliness of life.

2:
We sat in the back far corner of a studying-type bubble tea place.
I don’t think I’m the person he invites out to go drinking.
But, I could be myself with him for a minute, which was great, because I was sullen and being assholeish.
I used crude language to be fun.
I updated him about my life, my dates, my non-ending sinus infection, and my fears.
I listened while he had to remind himself to come back to his body, because his depression would take him somewhere else.
I laughed at his stories, and his breakups, hookups, and drug use.
It was nice to be friends for a minute.
To think to myself, we’re friends, I can do this.
I can buy life insurance,
And have tea, normal-like, and find a way to make it.

3:

4:
He gave her what she wanted.
That’s the refrain.
She wanted another child.
She told me, my mother,
She was thinking about getting a donor, if she didn’t find someone.
Were we not enough?
Are my sister and I not enough?
Is that why my brother gets more money and attention?
He’s the boy. The youngest, the one really wanted?
She told me when she forgot she was talking to me.
They were getting divorced soon anyway,
She said there was no way.
I’m thinking I was the one last try, the goodbye, or the accident.
At the same time she was mock-trial arguing women’s reproductive rights at her law school,
She chose to have me.
And I sit here on a Sunday afternoon wondering what I’ll do by accident,
And what I’ll get because I want it, one way or the other.

5:
I wore a tank top that showed my bra
So he would look at my cleavage.
It’s the one thing about me I thought he might like
But if I’m resorting to skin,
It means I’m desperate.
I’m not sure which shows more strength,
The persistence of trying without hope
Or the courage to have confidence in what’s left of my body.

6:
Will I be my mother and have no long-term close friends?
Will I have no one to hang out with on Sunday nights?
Because I want that.
The casual, they just show up.
I’m tired of having to plan it.
I know it comes with time, trust.
But I want a click, I want luck, I want safety.
I guess I’m sacrificing the opportunity for something better, to settle safe.
I think I’m okay with that.

7:
Be proud of your failures.
What an un-American thing to say.
Us, the people who can’t take seriously the things we didn’t do ourselves.
Unless you’re talking to businessmen who are telling you about how to build a better life using these three principles,
I don’t see anyone taking that to heart.
I see them pretending to brag about the things they did that went wrong,
To fool themselves into an excuse for bragging, and follow step three written in the first book they’ve read in years.

8:
It’s like she forgot she left.
She was telling me how bad dad was to her when we were little,
With a casual wave, before you remember.
I told her, when it was just me and dad,
When she was in school,
He was calmer by then.
She looked at me in shock,
Still never seeing that other people have lives too,
That might be just as important, painful, or meaningful.

9:
I don’t open up to him, I don’t feel safe.
I like him, I’m attracted, but I don’t feel I can be myself.
Is that because he’s more attractive?
Or because my body knows he’ll hurt me, and it’s keeping me tucked away,
The me who has no boundaries.

10:
I’ve been staring at a age-spot that appeared on my hand.
I remember the wart that was there for years and years.
The constant shame of my hand, the constant hiding.
Right there over the third knuckle.
How often I would pick it apart, hoping I could make it go away without showing anyone.
Without creating another problem for my mother.
Who tried to ice-burn it away with some over-the-counter contraption she picked up on her way home when she was only going to the grocery store for one thing.
I was fifteen before we went to the skin doctor and the third thing he tried made it vanish.
And I wonder if his spot on my hand if from the cream they used.
If this is a delayed reaction, to the fact I hid my shame,
And didn’t tell anyone about what was wrong until years later.