Tag Archives: stress

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.

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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.

Poems from My Day (6-29)

when everything’s in order, it’s for sure i’m a mess

1:
Wow. His wife looks at lot like his mom.
Just younger, and a bit prettier.
I should stop noticing things like this.
On a list of things you can’t un-learn
The oedipal complex is has to be near the top.

2:
When I still believed in heaven,
I worried I would become bored after a while.
A physics teacher at my school gave a morning assembly about how if God could create things you can’t imagine, you’d never tire of thoughts.
That was nice, calming, wholesome.
It made me think of what God would have up there that would be interesting.
I always hoped it was a big list of statistics about you.
This is how many total hours you spent brushing your teeth,
Or
This is how many total lemons you’ve seen in your lifetime.
Or
This is how many close scrapes to death you had but didn’t realize.
I’d enjoy reading that.

3:
She would bake scones if she had the time.
I guess I do have a lot of time,
But I think, it’s one of those things, that if you’re busy, you get more done.
I sit and stew,
Sitting next to carrots doesn’t help me avoid my doubts.
I wish I was worse at baking so I wasn’t so fat.

4:
God everywhere here is pretty.
The town dump is pretty.
Even in the cloud overhangs in dull, steel gray.
I feel exotic.
But I have to be careful to remember that is this normal for a lot of people. I’m outside.

5:
Okay doctor. I know I’ve gained the weight back that you asked me to lose.
Three pounds a month. To be healthy, needed to go.
I know it. I’m sorry.
But I got my fifteen minutes in today, and I’m hoping to go bike riding on a regular basis once I get a helmet and a hex wrench.
I’ll get it together.
I’m tired of my roommate using me as a comparison to make herself feel better.

6:
I’m screwing everything up, and
I don’t have the emotional energy to talk myself out of it right now.

7:
What am I going to do after this nice, by-pass year is over?
I’ll go back where I know the roads and bird calls.
No, I’ll go live with the best carpenter in the United States and learn how to use my hands.
Maybe I’ll take another marketing job and sell some more soul. Five cents a memory.
All over again, it’s my worst fear. Directionless and skill-less and dream-less.

8:
You’re a bully to push this on me, this summer brew in an orange label.
It hurts that I have to explain, that you can’t understand. Even if that’s not fair to you.
Let me drink half of my beer, so I don’t have to start going to AA, let me
Let myself leave half on the table. To prove to this body I don’t have a problem.

Poems from My Day (6-22)

no one makes me feel like a natural woman

1:
Kelly stood up at the little girl’s birthday party,
Inside the bunk house where the service group is staying for a month this summer.
He grabbed baby Helena from her Momma.
But effectively cut me off from my exits.
I had to mentally calm myself down, like I have to do on a plane.
He wasn’t trapping me. I could get out.
I wasn’t stuck.
I have to tell myself the same thing in my physical space as well as my headspace.

2:
Sometimes I like being around people I can’t read.
Get a read on a mean, like understand.
We’re on the same level.
But, when my brain is tired, it’s less work to be around less smart people.

3:
I don’t do well on my own.
I mean living alone.
Because I am now.
My roommate has fled for her summer teaching holiday back to her home.
I’m having to have a new experience each day.
I’m planning them.
So I don’t fall into the bad kind of depression.
The kind where I can’t leave my bed.
And no one will be there to judge me for it.

4:
There’s a woman here in town,
She’s a lot like me.
I dislike her.
But, because of the similarities between us, between who we are,
I feel like I’m disliking myself, by disliking her.
It makes me want to change.
Be less of a know-it-all,
She’s the sort of girl I avoided in college.
But, here, because everything’s so small, I can’t tell her how I really feel.

5:
It comes back when I’m uncomfortable.
I can’t stop smiling. There’s nothing to be smiley about.
It’s a default.
I want it to go away.
This person who smiles.

6:
I spent an hour of my lunch seated in the beige chair
Reading a book I’d read before,
Hunched over my small phone screen
While eating my lunch of dried apricots and peanuts.
But from that spot in the library,
No one can see me, I’m not watched.
So I can sit like a man.

7:
I warned her before I was going to do it.
Throw my phone across the room.
I had talked to my father.
It was one of the times he wasn’t listening, but hum-hawing along.

That same day, he drunkenly told me he loved me.
And I was upset that I wasn’t worth it sober.
I went into shut-down mode.
She asked what was wrong.
I smiled and made small-talk.
I think she finally realized just how much, exactly, I hide.

8:
So, part of growing up,
I’m told,
Is learning more about yourself, and growing habits.
I used to think I had no habits, I was the best in the world to live with.
But that’s not true anymore.
I’ve learned more about myself, and how I work.
So now, I take all that with me to each new person I share a sink next to.

9:
I’m mad at myself I couldn’t see it as a good thing that we both like to draw, and paint, and speak bad Spanish.
I didn’t see it as a bonding thing, but competition.
Because we’re similar, I had to be better.

10:
I held her baby.
I wanted a baby.
I didn’t understand this.
So I called my mom, hoping to have her tell me it was okay not to want kids, but crave something of my own.
Instead she told me all about how my stepbrother has decided everyone is dead to him, and how her conference went well.

Poems from My Day (5-25)

the last one, i think, is the only good one of the bunch

1:
She thinks he’s rich.
He has like a million dollars.
Well, if he’s 55 years old,
Plans to retire soon, and has made 50,000 a year for a long period of time,
He’s not rich.
That’s money to live on regular-like,
After you stop working.
But how do you explain that to a hair-toss
Who wants to hate his ex-wife for taking the house?

2:
If you pay us enough money,
We won’t have to sell our souls anymore.
We’ll have the emotional energy to turn around,
And ask,
What do you think you’re doing?

3:
I’m not working properly today.
I’m sorry.
But, you know me,
I’m always sorry.

4:
Speaking of stress,
I haven’t felt this much in a long time,
I thought to myself, wow this is kind of fun,
Being this stressed,
Energy boost,
Then I remembered this used to be my normal default.
That’s why I deserted.

5:
I’m going home for my brother’s graduation.
Somehow it seems all about me.
Who will I see that I’ll want to avoid, because I feel fat and unaccomplished?
How am I going to get that car my mother decided to buy for me from here to Alaska?
I’ve calculated exactly how many hours I’ll have to spend with my sister.
My mom will have brie and crackers and juice for me at the house.
But it’s my brother, my little brother,
Who’s done something worthy of attention.

6:
Hi Shawn, it’s me.
I’m leaving you that voicemail I said I would.
The sunsets.
The sunsets here are gorgeous.
It’s so pretty here all I say is gorgeous.
The beauty has diminished my vocabulary.
That’s how gorgeous it is here.
Huge scrapes of purple, and reds, yellows, and pinks.
Right over the water,
Past the mountains hanging in the distance.
And the clouds,
Make it all worth it.
Because on the days they’re not there,
The clear blue days,
Are the most beautiful things.
Do you know what cedar smells like?
The room where I dry my clothes has cedar in it.
So I smell like cedar.
And I saw bears!
I went hiking, and there was this guy, just sitting there,
Right there on the tree stump.
God, Shawn,
It’s so beautiful.
The campfires with cold beer and a full moon,
You can see the stars here.
Anyway,
I’ll be back home this weekend,
So I was thinking of you.
I thought I’d call.

Poems from My Day (2-17)

how’s your day going?
*edit: i re-read these today, and they’re not very good. i’m sorry guys, i’ll do better tomorrow*

1:
I found myself walking down a set of familiar paces,
The bad kind.
The kind that means I’m heading down into a strand of depression.
Please, no. I was doing so well.

2:
I think my mother might be right.
God.
When I have a deadline, something that has to be done,
Right then, and no later.
I do fifty other things first, because they’re important.
I’m being passive aggressive toward my schedule.
I don’t have to take this from a list.
So I don’t, then freak, then cram.

3:
My roommate had the guy over again.
Her perfect guy,
The one she told me, is perfect.
Except that there’s nothing physical.
Nothing there.
But I’ve seen his slick black shoes by the front door twice.
Sounds like sex isn’t that important anymore.

4:
I carried a shoebox full of tax paperwork.
To sort it all out.
I want adult award points.
I felt like a little girl, I felt like I was forgetting something.
I had little sticky notes I wrote to myself from October about payments.
And I lead a dull life.
A well calculated, paperclipped, boring life.
That fits in neat stacks in green folders with black marker on the outside.

5:
I told a story to my mom.
After I had told it to my dad.
I had gotten it out of system,
I did not want to tell it again,
Even if she egged me on, telling me it was funny,
It would make them laugh.

6:
I went back to see how they were doing without me.
Fine.
Just fine. Like I knew they would be.
They’re having the problems I knew they would have.
And the new people they add, won’t know who I am.
Or what I did.
Which, in the end, was type and stamp and smile.

7:
She said call if you have time.
I didn’t, so I won’t.
When I could talk,
She was short with me,
It was all up front.
And I tripped over a switch, and got the annoyed noise
Then the silence,
Preceding a blowup,
And I didn’t care,
Because she asked to talk to me.

8:
I still want a slushie

9:
Her boss at work told her she needs to work on not visibly reacting.
And I laughed and laughed.
If she could learn that lesson.
Oh man.
She’d certainly be harder to read,
But still the angry, young, girl who puked her guts out after dinner,
And poured as much hate on the world as she did on herself.

Poems from My Day (2-9)

Gravitas he lacks it.

1:
I hate that I smile when I’m uncomfortable
I hate that I’ll think I’m stupid and know nothing in 5 years.
Please don’t ever talk to someone, pat them on the head, and think their problems are cute.

2:
I kept telling myself if I get everything done I need to today,
Then I can do nothing and sleep.
Except I got almost everything done,
Felt guilty about not doing more,
And never got the break I was promised.

3:
I hate being dependent on someone.
I feel obliged.
And I’m never sure what they’ll do with that obligation.
Like ask to let something slide,
Or tell me “it’s nothing,”
So we have something to hide together.

4:
I feel like I worked all weekend.
And I didn’t get that day to do nothing.
Maybe I won’t ever get those days anymore.
But knowing that the last time I would have a free day, would be the last day,
Probably would have just added more pressure to have a good time,
Instead of increasing my bliss.
It’s like, the m&m can only be so good,
Even if you save the last one till twenty minutes after you finished the bag.

5:
I have a new worst thing in the world.
It’s when someone does something wrong that effects you,
And gets mad at you for asking them to fix it.
Also known as payroll.

6:
It’s the first time I’m being asked to sign a non-compete clause.
I’m vaguely offended.
But this company has always put business practices before doing the right thing,
Mind you, they tend to screw those up too.
Even if the founder would tell you different.
I’m going to get in trouble for writing that.

7:
I deleted all my books
The ones you made fun of me for,
And now there’s no record I’d read them, or where I stopped reading them, or gave up.
I still want credit for them.
Because I so desperately don’t want everything to be for nothing.

8:
But my handwriting is perfect.
That’s what my Mom told me she thought as soon as she checked into the hospital for stress exhaustion.
She told me this after I told her all my clothes are folded and put away.
And everything is perfect.
But the me is lacking in me.