Tag Archives: relationships

Ten Poems in Twenty Minutes: COVID Edition Day 5

look it’s about boys again

1:
It’s shame. Shame my skin still sticks to me.
It’s a shame I can’t make them love me.
Why would he buy a house with her,
That beautiful woman.
Why wasn’t I enough?
Why did she get the complete-r person?
And I got the scraps and building material.
It’s not fair.
Like the boy who broke up with me and then was surprised when I asked him to leave.

2:
I will not blame the skin that holds me together
This is good skin,
It’s held on,
I like that it shows scars, love marks, and burns.
It’s mine,
I like that life draws on it.
At least it’s not boring.

3:
Do you think that you touch me and I don’t feel?
That we’ll forget when you don’t text back?
Do you think somehow we won’t see the side glance,
The distancing,
The purposeful waiting, so she doesn’t get the wrong idea?
You think I don’t understand what is it that you’re trying to do?

4:
I don’t understand.
Why would you call me and tell me you’re attracted to me,
And then the next week buy a house with your girlfriend,
You’re beautiful girlfriend,
Who I’m sure puts on outfits,
And takes the time to do her hair,
Will smoke with you,
And drink with you,
And her family comes from money too, you know?
She’s the right color, age, weight,
With the right body for you.
You look right together.
Why did you call me?
To see me again.
Why would you do that?

5:
The next one you’re with, she’ll be right,
You’ll get to fix her up just the way you want her,
She won’t have any of this damage in her skin,
She’ll be young, and you can protect, but not be happy for long,
Because you have to love too much, to get that kind of happiness your parents have, and I don’t think you’re capable,
Of throwing it to the wind.

6:
Non-hurt Me,
She would have sent a joke request via venmo for $400
And offered to reschedule.
No problem.
She wouldn’t be totally heartbroken.
She wouldn’t have said the same thing happened last year,
And that she expected nothing less from him.
She would be able to stop crying.
She wouldn’t think it was an indication that, like usual,
No one can put her first,
And that they promise to be better, only after they’ve hurt her.
They never mean to hurt her, of course, of course.
She wouldn’t see it as,
But he knows, he knew, how much it meant.

7:
I refuse to be casual about my feelings, they’re there right?
Even if I’m feeling them and I know they’re an overreaction,
I should still respect them.
It’s not an indication of the fact he doesn’t want to be around me,
Or doesn’t respect me,
But, wait, why isn’t it?
He said he does want to spend time with me.
I should have said, sure we can move it. Sure it’s no problem, nice of you to think to reschedule.
It’s a scheduling error,
I’ve made them myself, I can’t blame anyone for making scheduling errors.
But I’m leaving town soon,
Denver would have said all my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.
And I was planning for this,
But why aren’t they rescheduling around me,
Why do I have to be accommodating?

8:
I’m sure he knew something was wrong on the phone.
He asked me about my day, like he wanted to amend,
He only does that when he’s guilty,
I wouldn’t want people to be kind to me out of guilt,
That’s not kindness that’s shame.
Don’t touch me anymore,
Don’t touch me with that heart donut-glazed in shame.
Don’t touch me with your hand or your I-feel-bad-for-you eyes .

9:
Internally I’m deciding how I want to be around him,
The next time I see him,
If I ever see him again.
I’ve vacillating between aloof and uncaring,
Me, but without the parts that make me
The kind of person I am with my father,
Removed, pleasant, distant.
Or to say, hey, I want to embrace what I’m feeling,
I should tell him yeah you made me cry, but I know it’s unreasonable,
I can be All Me with you all over again,
Only to cry some more.
I think you broke it though, not on purpose, the part of me who was just starting to be herself.
Why do I plan anything nice in my mind? Is it unreasonable to cut him off because of this? Probably yes.
The fates of power and tipped my way now, and I don’t want that debt on my conscious.

10:
I’ve snipped the vine root.
The imaginary one I grow,
A nice little visual of any caring I have for him,
Our connection shining rose gold on the great, black, mind plains, I thought of it as a rose root,
I tried to cut it a while ago, but it didn’t work, my shears couldn’t get through it.
The edge of the scissors wavered back and forth, only gouging, not cutting.
They did this time though,
And I tried with my hands to put the pieces back together, but they didn’t reattach,
The graft didn’t hold, even with masking tape.
I feel nothing for you now.
Not even commonly brotherfelt love.
Nothing.
The sparkles from the cut bond are ash on the floor now, too bad.

Ten Poems in Twenty Minutes: COVID Edition Day 3

these have a distinctly romantic bent for which i cannot explain

1:
I’m a memory you don’t use to make decisions anymore.
I saw her, she looks just like me,
Was it that I was your type, just my personality didn’t fit?
I knew we wouldn’t work.
It doesn’t mean I didn’t want it.
You said you didn’t want that –
That life –
The one woman, living with you, loving you,
With you.
I said I needed to be able to be put first, and that couldn’t happen because of your kids.
You said, I want to be able to go with the flow and live in the moment.
I guess, it was my fault, taking you for your word.
I broke you up, got you back together, what will happen the next time we talk?
Will you remember to call on our birthday?

2:
How are you actually supposed to tell people how you feel?
This must have been some magical lesson y’all were taught in kindergarten.
And now we tell Tommy that what he did hurt our feelings and ask him not to do it again.
How do I say to this boy, hey, I have stronger feelings for you than I thought I would.
They caught.
How do people bring these things up in the moment?
Can you really tell people they made you angry? I’ve never seen it work. I have no modeling.
I’ll just keep guessing. But I feel like I’m buzzing around a bug zapper, waiting to get hit with electricity when I make the wrong move.

3:
64 ounces of soap.
That is how much came in the mail today.
Since April 27th I’ve known we were running low.
I looked for low-shipping local soap companies, liquid, of course, it has to be liquid.
I found online bulk retailers, I could buy a pallet of soap, shipping incld, not that expensive, really.
Finally, Monday, I was adding mustard seed to my grocery store online cart that now acts as my reminder list, and I saw it.
Two-pack Softsoap refill, free two-day delivery $8.94.
And it came in the mail, wrapped in overly large, unbranded ziploc baggies.
My soap. It came in the mail.
I called my mother,
Mom, I got more soap.

4:
Editing essays of folks who say they’re great writers.
I texted my friend applying for grad school, engineering management.
Hey, quit using adjectives. I have to cut the part where you say “I’m a succinct writer.”
I told him in the first round, tell me a story.
He said okay.
I told him in the second round, an essay should be supporting a main point. If your paragraphs are not supporting the main point …
Suddenly I was talking to my 8th graders, my tutoring students.
Why do we never learn the fundamentals?
Why do engineers never learn humility, clarity, or empathy?
Why can my 13 year olds not remember how to structure a paragraph for an essay?
Why don’t I remember I’m supposed to be full of coddling, even when they ask me for editing help?

5:
There’s a power dynamic issue, when one half of a friendship is in love with the other.
I left it with him, to decide if he wants to be my friend.
But I drew the boundaries.
I said I cut myself off from feeling anything toward you a long time ago.
He said he thinks that’s impossible,
Saying instead you know how I feel,
But never spelling it out like you want him to.

6:
I want to cry alone in a sound-proof room,
Feeling bad for Stevie Nicks in Silver Springs.
That’s what I’d do if I were alone.
I wouldn’t have to explain the way we use curse as a verb in America.
I could leave my room without someone saying my name.
I would wear my silvery, sparkly, somewhat dangerous top all day, because it’s shiny and it makes me happy.
But, look, I wouldn’t do any of those things if I were alone. I’d find another blocker excuse to stop me from living how I wanted. Today, I’m just using the stay-at-home orders trapping my roommate and I together.

7:
I returned a 23 palms shirt to the UPS store.
I sent emails to ads on craigslist about apartments in Washington.
I called the insurance company to fix the double claim that was denied falsely.
I made my bed, called my mother, took a shower, and put a sprig of rosemary in my hair I stole off a bush I passed while I was walking by.
These are the things I did today. I will not think more than one hour ahead.
Today I do one thing at a time.
I will now go make a playlist of music to listen to in the car tomorrow.
Notice how I hamper my own planning and future analysis brain, but I get stuff done for now.

8:
My body is smaller than it was in college,
I can see a vein in my neck now,
Feel a collarbone under my tapping.
My thighs, I’ve measured are still the same size, 24.5 inches.
My roommate told me that I’m melting.
I feel like I was supposed to look like this all along, and I’ve been hurting my body for all the things I imagined I did wrong.
There are wrinkles now around my eyes, without the fat to fill them in. And there are hip bones I forgot could close drawers.
But I still don’t know how to dance. And I still can’t do anything right.

9:
I told my therapist,
My dad said something I think you’ll think is funny.
I told him, my dad, when he asked how I used the money he sent me last week,
I said oh I’m using it to pay my therapist.
He said, so I’m literally paying for my mistakes.
I laughed.
He said, what would have been funnier is if you would have said, no for that you’d need to be paying more.
We laughed.
I’ve never seen my therapist laugh so hard, so unexpectedly.

10:
He texted, asking how I was.
I responded, and asked the same. To only receive a one-word reply.
I warned him, I’m calling you if you don’t give me anything.
So we sat on the phone for an hour.
And I oddly felt nothing but friend affection. A minor tug when he told me about another woman, how he’s going to focus on work again.
And I told him how I’m having trouble sharing.
It felt like we were friends again.
Like he made me promise,
When I made an off-color joke after he texted me for the first time in months,
Either drunk off his ass or sober, I’m not sure which is worse, he said, let’s always be friends.
I said pinky promise.
This is one of those ones where I want to read ahead in the chapters of life to see how we end, if we’re still friends in five years, or if I’ve forgotten his name, and I’m not sure where he lives.

Ten Poems April

i’ll get better.

1:
Sandpaper and jell-o.
Me, who’s usually the robot, in this case, is the jell-o.
And the, I’m sure nice to everyone else, in this case is the sandpaper.
He took another woman to a wedding.
He told me this as we were sitting down to drinks at the same place we always went to, the same place he never tipped enough. He told me as an aside.
It was a test, the meeting, to see if we could be friends, he said.
Not even more than that. Just if we could work as friends.
Me, I ended it over text, it had been enough. I had been hurt enough.
And he said with exclamation points and bad grammar how nice it was of me to spend so much time with him.
I’m cherry jello smoothed on high grit sandpaper. I’m just smashed to pieces.

2:
I’m trying to try on clothes as fast as I can in a pulled-closed, thick-curtained, wheelchair-accessible, overly-bright, closet last Sunday while my sister waits outside. Wondering why I hate this so much. When they don’t have your size and you feel too big for the room.
I remember why I hate shopping for new clothes.
We had to buy new clothes, she wanted us to buy new things,
They had to fit,
But hurry up the store clothes in 15 minutes and your sister already tried on her things.
When we spent too much checking out, she would go silent, fast-fidgeting hands, and say it’s fine. Then not talk to you the whole way home while she rationalized how much she spent out loud as we drove back from the cash register where our coupons were expired and she argued with them.
She would tell me over and over again how I was still pretty even though I gained weight. And didn’t I know she gained so much weight in high school she ran out of sizes in the stores. She was fat before anyone else was fat.
And it looks like you’ve lost weight recently.
You should buy that, you know, it looks good on you. If you don’t buy it, you’ll regret it later, you should get it if it makes you happy.

3:
I am mad at the god I don’t believe in anymore because he’s taking away her hands and her music.
My choir director, the director of the choir I don’t want to be in, with gray hair, and a purse with keyboard keys and music notes.
She’s had too many strokes, and she can’t play anymore. I watch her week by week lose a few more notes, forget a key change, and slip in a scale.
And I’m mad at her god. I’m mad at her god for her.
My sister tells me that parents will force their kids into the best schools, which makes the whole community suffer, because the wealthy parents take their resources away from everyone else in the local public schools.
I’m sure it’s time that someone else should take over, I’m sure Carol’s time is up, she’s had her turn.
But for her, I want to bend the rules. I want my kid to go to the best school out of district, because I know her, so she should matter more.
She should get to keep her music.

4:
I talk to my mother on the phone,
Who feels like a failure if she can’t cheer me up.
I’m sorry I couldn’t make it better.
Sometimes I should just listen and not say anything.
But she never does.

5:
He said he’s looking for someone to love.
This is the boy I’ve been spending time with,
Who doesn’t want to date me, but hang out,
The one who conveniently forgot to tell me he had kids,
The same one who told me he’s not looking for anything serious,
Just bought the love languages book for $5 from his friend because he saw it in his bathroom.
I told him he’s scaring me.

6:
My dad went to vegas on a helicopter tour,
He told me he wants to go on a blimp, that’s the only other aerial transportation he would like to take before he dies.
I keep thinking in my head, they don’t do blimps anymore.
Maybe I can commission goodyear when he dies.
I think that’s hilarious. I think he would think that’s hilarious.

7:
A woman screamed on the bus.
Hunched over with a man above her saying he just needed to get her home everything would be fine.
She screamed for four stops.
They got off, and the bus driver pulled over,
And yelled at her radio operator that she called emergency and no one answered.
I still wonder about that woman.
Drugs? Was she really just needing to get home? Was it something worse? Should I have done a damn thing other than stare?
But her scream and the seat she sat in are chilling in my memory.

8:
I went to Cuba.
And I took their culture back.
I took their rum, cigars, and small souvenirs made in Panama.
I held onto the colors they let us see.
I have a piece now I get to hold over everyone else who hasn’t been to Cuba.

9:
I should just say,
You’ll do.
I won’t find someone who’s my everything.
But you’re not going to hurt me, and I am able to reproduce in a stable environment.
Romantic love is for nothing anyway.
Marry someone from the business school, actually afford property in this city.
I told this to my friend who said and I quote,
“Meh you don’t want that.”

10:
She finally died, my grandmother who wouldn’t die.
I kept saying to myself,
Well she’s never died before.
I don’t know what to do.
What do I tell my mother,
Who wants to give out goody bags at the funeral?
50 lbs of chocolate-covered gummy bears.
And bingo bucks,
Wrapped in ribbons in the church narthex on the table with the photo albums.
The grief never came.
She didn’t die herself. She died as what was left. After her brain scans were empty and her children’s names were gone.
I managed the grief of my mother. Who wanted her alive longer at 90 years old.
We took the funeral flowers with us back home.

Ten Poems for August

1:
I’m sorry I haven’t written,
I’m sorry I’m not enough.
There was too much,
And I was not enough.
Whatever you want to say,
The answer is that I’m sorry.
Not that I’ll do better,
But that I would like you to know I feel guilt,
The kind of guilt one feels when someone likes you but you’re already involved with someone else.
No that’s not right, because I love you all.
Which is why I’m sorry.

2:
She’s still alive.
My grandmother is still alive.
She’s recovered from kidney failure stage four, pneumonia, malnutrition,
They’re taking her off hospice.
Two weeks they told us at Christmas.
What is she playing at, living through the pain as usual, determined to cause as much harm as possible.
Making a caretaker for life out of my mother who has better things to do.
She needs to die. Her brain has huge black swaths.
Also I want to eat the food at her funeral, I helped plan the menu.

3:
What will I call you when I forget my mind?
Will you be my sister?
Or my first boyfriend’s name?
Or nothing at all?
Who will you be to me when I can’t chew my food?

4:
It decided to all catch up with me today,
I finally got enough sleep,
Or sat still long enough,
For my brain to think.
It was all there waiting for me,
All the trauma, heartache, pain, agony, suffering, blah.
I’ll tell them to you one by one as I can. As I need to. As I can express.
I’ll verbally process on paper, talking to myself,
Wanting to have that perfect person that negates the need for all this explaining.

5:
I don’t know the pin number to my debit card.
And I have to buy a monthly bus pass for $41.25.
The money I saved in my little silver box has all been broken.
You have to enter a pin number to get cash at the grocery store.
I just got my new driver’s license, so I can’t write a check at the store to get the extra cash because the dln doesn’t match, so the machine won’t take it.
They won’t let you write a check for a bus pass.
My bank is back in my home state.
They need me to come into the bank to verify my identify, three thousand miles away.
I don’t have an account here, because I don’t have a permanent address here, because I’m living as a “guest” and I’m not on the lease.
So I don’t have checks that match my new license, so I can’t write a check to get cash back to pay for the bus pass.
They have a mobile app, but it doesn’t work on all the buses, and I don’t always have my phone charged.
My sister doesn’t have any spare cash I can pay her for later.
She tells me to go to an ATM.
I’ve never used an ATM, I tell her,
And her eyes bug out, but she doesn’t offer to help.

6:
I miss your old apartment,
That truly awful place.
Near Spiderhouse, west campus, off Guad, past 26th
I miss it now that you have a gate with a key code,
An apartment with white walls,
And no twindly staircase to a creaked, upper floor.
The times we played vr without room to turn around,
The snacks and sweaters in my little paper bags,
The way it smelled so terribly like you.
Your bed on the floor without sheets,
The heart murmur, the thighs, the ceiling-projected midnight movies,
I miss that I had hope back then, that you might want more,
That we could fit together.
That I would trust you enough to share my feelings,
That I hadn’t seen you snap at your kid’s mom.
When you would talk as much as I would,
And find me amusing instead of a thing to deal with,
When I could crash at your place after getting drunk at the bars downtown.
He said he didn’t want it to end, didn’t he?
When I told him someone else loved me now.
Funny, then, he never did a thing to keep me.

7:
I need to be someone’s first.
I can’t come second.
I want to be someone’s sun and moon and all the stars.
So, I won’t date you if you have kids,
Or if you’re in a living arrangement with your brother and ex-girlfriend who’s really more of a sister to you, who you haven’t slept with in three years, is coming third okay?
I can’t take being pushed aside for whatever it is that’s more important.
I want to be important. I want to be looked at, taken into consideration, important, recognized, give me validity you external sources.

8:
Let me go down the list of people I’ve failed,
Of promises I’ve broken to myself,
Commitments I’ve forgotten I’ve made,
Things I wanted so much to remember.
I cannot love myself for being human, I can barely love myself for being who I am.

9:
There aren’t any clouds in Texas.
Oh sure it rains, turns gray, and the sun disappears.
But where is my orange and purple?
Where are the dayends in a blaze of glory?
I want my feelings to be seen in the sky.
Those beautiful moving, sweeping, forces of nature.
There are no swirls, fluffs, miniature elephants, or dancing biscuit dough,
It’s clear, or it’s airplane stripes, or a gray you can’t see, deceiving all these southerners,
Making them think those painters are making it up,
Instead of barely capturing how beautiful it is where it’s not this damn hot.

10:
Leave him alone.
I must have spent the same amount of time thinking about texting him as I have actually spent with him.
I want him to plan things with me,
And take me seriously,
And like me.
He’s starting a new job, I should leave him alone.
He doesn’t care about me,
I’ll never see him again.
Even if my family did background research and really likes him.
What did I do wrong?
Was I not enough of myself?
Why doesn’t anyone love me?
Please, at least,
Don’t text him again, after this one.

10 Thoughts on the End of the Relationship

1:
He told me I have one setting.
I only behave with people one way.
I said yes.
He said he was just noting.
I told him that he hadn’t seen my other sides.
He told me to drop my filters.
I said they’re there for your protection.

2:
I knew he was immature.
I knew it.
I told my sister.
And she laughed at me, that I need someone communicative.
She laughed because she think I don’t share.
But I knew he was incapable of talking about his feelings, at least with me.
But I need that kind of transparency.
I don’t think he knows enough to try and change.
To ask for what he needs, to infer, to care, to suppose, or touch me with anything other than his hands.

3:
It feels like he threw me away, by not taking the time to think of me.
Just because it doesn’t show on my face doesn’t mean I don’t feel it.
But now I read something online that says, adapting your actions based on how you think the other person will react is manipulative. Is it?
I don’t know.
If you’re only responsible for how you feel, doesn’t that let you get away with whatever you want? Lead to pleasure-seeking behavior only?
Maybe it’s just a sign that I was raised in a bad emotional environment.

4:
He keeps calling me weird,
I think I asked him not to.
I told a friend,
Who said,
Anyone who still has their bed against a corner isn’t mature enough for a relationship. Doesn’t take into account basic accessibility of two people sleeping.
I sat there at two a.m. wanting to leave.
Because I couldn’t sleep.
Because I didn’t feel like he liked me.
I don’t want to be called weird.
I want to feel normal and fine just as I am,
Not different,
Not away from you
Just okay for being me.
I’m sorry you don’t come across people who behave differently than you expect.

5:
Is it because I already had it worked out in my mind?
He isn’t for me.
He makes me feel bad about my body.
Goodness gracious. I’m supposed to say out loud –
Please don’t blame me for the way my body reacted, or
I’m sorry I threw off your groove the first time we tried to have sex?
What else can I say but I don’t have a lot of sex, and I’m sorry.
I’ll be a joke you tell in stand up.
And you can be my thought in a poem.
My heart was protecting me, I knew this.
And I’m little mad at it, for not letting me get hurt, feel.
But I’ll be leaving unscarred, and with a little more perspective on myself.

6:
Here’s what we’re going to do.
We’re not going to initiate contact.
I left nothing in your apartment.
I figure in a couple weeks you’ll invite me out on a Monday.
And I’ll decide from there.
I won’t seek your attention. So I can detach.
I’ll be horrible, and not speak how I feel out loud,
I’ll turn into the ball of self-sufficiency.
Wring out the old happy face leftover from my terrible years of living with my mother and telling everyone everything was fine.
And you’ll get no part of me.

7:
Even though I laugh all the time, and can usually keep a conversation up,
I’m supposed to be quiet?
While you make me feel bad for taking too long to get wet?
You’ve never said you wanted me.
I would have thought about being body monogamous, but my heart would’ve remain elsewhere,
Behind those filters you hate so much,
Behind the never minds you don’t want me to stay, that’s where I keep it.
Because I need a depth you can’t provide, I need understanding, compassion, and bluntness.
I need it. I’m not scared to ask for this, it isn’t rude, and I’m asking politely.
Is it because he’s going to say what I think he’s going to say,
The same thing I’m going to say,
Which is I’m indifferent, and my body needs warmth?
And then you compare to me a character from an anime show?

8:
Is it my work to fix it? Do I want to take that on?
It isn’t my work to point out what your mom didn’t teach you, and twist to make it better.
For someone who hurts me?
No.
You don’t really get to hurt me twice.
Those doors shut honey.

9:
I’m sorry I have too many filters?
I’m sorry sex makes me jumpy and tense because I’ve been assaulted?
What would make it better?
I’m sure it’s my fault, but let’s keep putting the blame over here shall we?
What’s he going to tell those friends of his that would never ask after me?
She found someone else,
Hand wave, haven’t seen her in a while,
I don’t know, good as far as a I know?
No one would ask him what happened.
No one would be like, bro, you’ve been an asshole.
Do you think because apparently I’m a machine, that I don’t need words, feelings, water, and food?

10:
Obviously oblivious.
He’s hurtful in his casual everyday.
I told him he can say whatever he wants, but that he’s responsible for the result.
And he told his friend that he has to watch what he says around me.
Equality feels oppressive sometimes to the ones used to getting their way.
Go ahead, keep calling me a robot.
Then ask me why you only see one side of me.

10 Poems for the Weekend

the edits will have to come later, i’m used up for the day

1:
He asked me to drop my filters,
To tell him all those things I almost tell him, but renege on.
I told him a lot of those are in place for your protection,
And my protection.
Because it’s pretty dark up there.
And there’s a lot of tentacles to infect the happy people.
He looked at me like he was trying to think.

2:
That’s what I am,
what an interesting reverse.
I am the material,
I am gathered,
Pinched, sewn, and used everyday,
As everyday material
My privacies are no longer mine,
Because I’m with a person who
Shares.
Disgusting.

3:
Well, I got what I wanted and I’m as unhappy as I thought I’d be.
Guess it’s time to fuck it all up again.
Where do I sign?
How can I make this wrong?
How many more people can I leave behind again?

4:
Gargoyle arms and God morning.
They don’t mean anything to you.
Only to the boy who sat next to me at work for round about a year.
And soon to him, they’ll mean nothing too.
We share a square space of time and mind for a little while,
Long enough to help each other get by, not much more.
We won’t ever be friends for life,
Or share a drink at a bar alone, in a group, in the worst dregs of the poorly paid peasant life,
We were kin.

5:
A part of me misses the water so much it hurts.
Not these, not these little lakes, streams, cricks. Puddles.
I miss the water. The beauty, the inevitable, the fear, and the love.
Right there. Just right there.
If I move again, when I move again,
It will be for the water,
To sit by the water and be.
I’m trying to explain it to myself,
Maybe it evokes emotion, and sometimes I can’t do that without help.

6:
I know I’m going to look back on this time with a firm opinion.
One way or the other.
I will have a colored lens to see what’s now through a set polarization.
I can’t see it, feel it yet.
But it’ll be there.
Rosy, gray,
Dusky or sad.
I’ll swing with my feelings the other way. And have a very strong opinion about whatever it is I’m doing now.

7:
What would it be like to be the woman he thinks I am?
All bubbles and giddiness.
Instead of concealment, boredom and anxiety.
Maybe I would have had a steady boyfriend named Brandon in high school,
Gone to college to teach special needs preschoolers,
Discovered my love of baking with my grandmother in the kitchen.
And only have wholesome in my heart.
What would it be like to be that woman?
Who knows how to do her hair and makeup, how to flash with her eyes,
And smile with her legs?
He’ll be disillusioned soon enough.
Leaving all the same for his broken, acknowledged dreams.

8:
Laptop, why won’t you turn on?
Have I forsaken you?
Put another device before you?
I put a pan of cooked ham on you for Easter, but that was just because you were my recipe book and I was out of space.
Haven’t I loved you?
Cleaned you with swipes and air-dusters?
Don’t I keep you in a case, away from heat, light, and laying flat?
Please turn on, my beloved,
My lifeline, my laptop.
I won’t eat ramen next to your keyboard,
I’ll clear my internet history,
Please power on.
What will I do without you?
You are irreplaceable with memories and saved files.
I’ll back you up as soon as you turn on.
Turn back on now.
Please please please.

9:
My favorite part of baking is alone,
When I can take as long as I want to measure the ingredients,
And re-read the steps, without judgment,
Google how-tos on the simple things I know how to do, but wonder, if maybe there’s a better way.
I can soften my butter without the microwave,
Listen to my music,
And eat the batter off the spatula.
I don’t have to apologize for turning on the mixer,
Or over-compensating for different ingredients.
Life, in general, I’d like to spend alone,
Wait till I’m done to show other people,
And allow me to apologize profusely,
For the small errors.

10:
I got enough sleep,
Enough sleep to process.
And I found out what that deprivation was covering up.
The I’m not good enough.
That’s what I was hiding under there.
If I’ve gotten enough sleep, I don’t have that excuse anymore.
I have to own up to the fact my brain isn’t the best,
I’m wasting away,
I haven’t hated myself lately, and maybe that’s why,
I haven’t given my brain enough power to do so.

Ten Poems for February

1:
I bruise easy.
I found what looked like finger bruises on my forearm a few days later. I thought. I thought. Maybe one of the other people did that to me, the people I’d seen over the weekend. Who held me when I wasn’t watching.
But it wasn’t
It was me. I held my arm in front of the officers, hard enough and long enough to leave a bruise. Two bruises, my sisters noticed before I did.
They’re yellow and faded now.

2:
C’mon let’s remove those tentacles,
The ones that say you care.
First the one with the memories,
The ones tied to guilt and shame over the silly things you’ve done together,
Then the ones that thought you might be okay, normal,
And the ones that are embarrassment, wanting to do it right..
Finally all your little claws, talons, pieces, hopes, are all back where they belong.
All died like the succulents you water too much.
And we’ll go on as usual.
I’ll not ask for what I need.
I won’t have to learn how to build boundaries.
You can go collect spare tokens with the other partial memories of the boys who’ve loved me.

3:
So what if you’ve seen my body,
I haven’t bared my soul.
You can tell me my brother’s name,
But not how it feels to love him.
Maybe that’s something I’ll never get to share with someone else.
They’ll always be a part of me held back in trust,
That’s where all my optimism in life went,
Reserved from the cynic,
It sits in my heart, and promises we’ll open up for that perfect person
Who’ll love me perfectly.

4:
I have no doubt we make better friends than lovers.
Something about my canal being too tight,
And your lack of patience and finesse.
Maybe I can’t deal with your short height and children.
I’m too much for you,
That’s what you said.
That line you should never say to the depressed.
But we can make each other laugh,
And conversationally rhyme so easily.
Not as lovers, but as friends, we’d be good.
If I were safe and you were taken.

5:
I met a woman in the bathroom last night,
When I was the drunk woman handing out love in compliments the like of which I won’t give to people I love,
She had chains on as a shirt,
I told her she had beautiful nipples.
She said thank you, everyone else had just been staring.
And I continue to connect with the safe people, who I know I’ll only know for an instant.
The only time I’m honest is when I know there can’t be consequences.
And I’m worried I’m becoming dependent on something else to allow me to be myself.
Yesterday it was alcohol, today it was sleep deprivation.
I’m only proud of myself when I can turn part of my mind off.

6:
Maybe if I can tell you then I can tell him.
This is my name.
I was not raised in an emotionally healthy household.
I have abandonment issues, while at the same time am the victim of emotional abuse
And later in my life, sexual assault.
I am the child of parents with anxiety, depressive, and possibly schizophrenia.
For all intents and purposes, I am the child of an alcoholic.
No one ever taught me how to have boundaries
I have only recently learned these are a thing I’m allowed to have
I like things explained to me, because I like to understand.
I like to be right
I like to be safe.
I want to know you like me before I will let myself like you.
But, you’re practice, like so many before you.

7:
My fan can make a breeze and cause a change.
It does more than I do, laying here with a heating pad
But I turned on the fan.
Does that count as inciting action?
Or am I merely circulating already circulated air,
Trying to not smell like the boy who lay here,
Just like the fan,
Always reacting to someone else.

8:
The free food will be eaten or thrown away.
And all that worry about it will be for nothing,
Except creating new grooves in my brain patterns
That are friends to stress and worry,
About how quickly I can eat the food,
If I should have taken it from work,
And whether or not I’m taking up too much space in the refrigerator.

9:
To the women who upload romance novels online
So I can download them for free,
I love you.
I feel guilty for reading,
For downloading,
Even if I do often buy them in print.
But thank you.
For this love affair with the happily ever after,
Has gotten me through a couple bad nights,
Where I might have turn my addicts eye to something stronger
Than the printed love.

10:
Austin, Texas.
Why couldn’t I have gotten stuck up north where I was wanted?
Instead of here.
With all this muck of humanity in traffic on I-35.
And dirt and heat
People trying to be something.
I want my seasons to change. I want to date someone other than a software engineer who plays rocket league and drives a car with modifications.
I want authenticity that isn’t in the form of tacos.
I want to find the damn place I belong.

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.