Tag Archives: written

Poems from My Day (2-27-17)

1:
I will not be jealous
It’s silly to be jealous
I can’t be this competitive
Love doesn’t work like this,
In measured ways.
We can all be friends,
I am not better or worse for being excluded.
I will not care that they’ve done something without me.
My abandonment issues will not make me weird.
I won’t play with people like this.

2:
I met a woman with three other friends
At a dive filipino place in southeast
And she was nice, kind
But either she didn’t want to be there,
Thought it would be different,
Or was on drugs.
I kept thinking, why was she here.
She writes though,
Which means she was absorbing everything,
To use later, without giving too much of herself away.

3:
Maya Angelou wrote this poem for people who have to be happy for work.
I think she’s right.
We’re all crying on the inside.
No wonder cannibalism has gone out of fashion,
We’re all dead inside.

4:
She said,
That’s why rape happens,
It’s why alaska’s rates are so high.
Because you have to be nice to the people you live with,
Or you don’t have a place to stay,
I have to be nice to her, Or.
She thought we were thick as thieves.
No.
She takes what she learns about you,
To use it against you, again and again.
Like the domestic violence,
And it happens and it happens,
And you watch it happen
All over again.
You do nothing to stop it for others,
Or yourself,
And you hate everything you are a little bit more.

5:
Tomorrow’s my last day
Tomorrow I can talk about politics
And not be a logo
And not answer to Jamie,
Or be penned in
Or have to wear a polo
I’m free
Gemma was right.
She kept telling me,
You’re almost done.
My head can’t comprehend

6:
How much of your village is native?
About 80% identify, but beyond that you get into percentages of people,
Which I’ve never really enjoyed.
I didn’t go into this thinking I’d be more comfortable around the brown people I see everyday,
Then a conference room of white.
I talked to the yupik lady from up north for too long, because she looked like my people.

Poems from My Day (11-29-16)

1:
17 days.
I get off this island in seventeen days.
I get to go home.
Where it’s not weird.
I shouldn’t say weird, I should say different than what I’m accustomed to,
Different from my culture.
But I can’t help it.
It’s weird.
And I want to go home.
Even if I hate that home.
I want to be where there are roads and stores and love
For Christmas.

2:
Today I am absurdist comedy.
We drove out the road,
With a hatchet and a flashlight
In the jeep with one loose door, mice in the back, and conspicuously wet seats,
To chop down a Christmas tree to put in a pickle jar.
We filled the jar with water and rocks and covered it with a red pillowcase from the back of my closet.
We put four hardback discarded library books underneath.
It was too wobbly.
We duct taped the pickle jar to the stack of books.
It leans now.
There’s one string of lights, in neon blue,
And four ornaments from the only store in town.
There’s a good chance the blind inbred dog will knock it over.
We were going to make halibut and muktuk for dinner.
Need help. Send wine.

3:
Yesterday, we met up with a reporter from the radio station an island over.
We were taking out our trash, which means a trip to the dump.
She was in the back. Listening with the tape recorder and her reporter mode on.
As we told our stories, about up north,
And we showed her the dump,
That gets set on fire every once in a while,
And burns a beautiful plastic.
Because you can’t recycle or barge it out here.

4:
They have basketball teams stay in the library.
Kids sleeping where the other school can put them.
For about two weeks, they either have games at home,
Or travel to the other small islands.
Two weeks they travel away from school.
The line the teachers give is,
What grade do you want them to have?
A we’ll do our own thing state for sure.

5:
I’m nervous talking to reporters.
If I lose my job,
I want it to be about something big n’ loud.
Not because I picked up a chair,
When I’m only supposed to do administrative work.

6:
I feel myself drawing away from him
And I don’t care.
I’ll be fine on my own.
I’ll sing Les Miz loudly and wear a beret to pretend.
Other people might make my life better,
But my pavement still shines like silver.

7:
I heard carol of the bells at the store today,
It reminded me of bell choir,
Of damping my middle c bell so hard I had a crescent bruise underneath my shoulder
Because Joanne never damped her b flat, and it would run, and sound terrible.
I remember going to her funeral thinking she died with orange hair in an afro.
I remember learning her sons had died before her in the war.
I don’t know what to do with that.
I just felt it, but I don’t know what to do with it.

Poems from My Day (6-28)

what’s my sin? i try so hard.

1:
My brain woke up today.
There are so many things to keep in mind when I’m having a conversation.
Or telling people what to do.
I can’t keep it straight.
Then I over eat to compensate.
It’s a protective shield.
If I don’t take care of myself,
No one has to talk to me.

2:
Trying to be interesting, and well read,
I’m up to number seven of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
So far,
I’ve gathered,
I’m supposed to have a child to pass on my beauty.
I must be missing something.

3:
In one of my potential conversations in my mind,
I have to explain my relationship to him.
We’re messed up in similar ways,
So we’re mutually supportive of our destructiveness. Together,
If you can get him on the line,
He’s a good source of predictability,
But he’s also one of the main reasons I won’t drink too much. He’s so close to what I am, it’s a reminder to do better. What a way to use him.

4:
Quit telling me how to feel or what to do
Just tell me what you want to tell me and get on with it.

5:
I can have a family? I can pick them out? I can choose?
I could have kids and a husband if I wanted and smoosh together in photos?
I could have that?
It makes me want to cry.
It seems so far away from the life I’ve known.

6:
A friend here on the island has a baby.
I’m becoming familiar to the intricacies of wails.
Someone else has a two-year-old and a five-year-old.
They’re around all day.
It’s,
Almost too much.
I don’t think I can deal with that,
Can I make that proclamation, or am I too young? No kids on my own.

7:
There was a woman, drunk
Outside the blue house across the way,
And her man, a man, I guess, was forcing her into the truck.
There were little kids.
Screaming, and she was beating the kid with her bag.
And yelling.
I felt so naïve.
What to do, what’s right? Why am I so upset? Why aren’t I more upset?
Why are they so casual about domestic violence here?

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 (6-7)

it’s not good right now.

1:
You will not do something nice for me and tell me how to feel about it.
That is emotionally manipulative.
I won’t stand for that.
My mother does that.
Am I clear?
You will not buy me something and tell me to be happy,
You can buy me something pretty and hope I’m happy, but you can’t expect me to be happy and grateful.
Do you know how gift giving works?
You do it expecting nothing in return, it is a gift.
My emotions are mine to feel, share and give away.
They aren’t yours to use and bask in.
If you give me flowers, I may be glad,
Or I may hate them, tell you so, and throw them in the trash.
You don’t get to say a goddamn thing about it.
Am I clear?
You don’t tell me how to feel in anyway shape or form.
Wow, you’re carrying a lot of baggage?
You’re goddamn on point now, bub.

2:
My mother always said that sometime I’d get hit, by like this thing, where I’d uncontrollably want babies, I’m sort of waiting for that, I guess.
But I’m so cold, I want someone to hold me.
Actually anyone who would just even smile at me would be fine.
What the hell is wrong with me.
I hate everyone.

3:
I remember the speech the salutatorian gave at my sister’s high school graduation 11 years ago.
That’s how good it was.
Being 2nd in the class wasn’t nothing. It’s a good school.
So many people went up to her afterwards to say what it meant to them.
My family still talks about it every time we go to a graduation.
Her speech.
She got up there, and said,
It wasn’t worth it.
She had worked and worked in high school.
And she was going to a state school, but her family could afford her free-ride tuition.
She turned down friends,
Events, family, to study.
It wasn’t worth it.
If she could go back, she would have partied.
She would have come out of high school with a friend.
It reminds me of the last interview Maurice Sendak gave to Terry Gross, and us,
He said, “live your life. Live your life. Live your life.”

4:
But god I shouldn’t have told him about Tim’s nephew.
I shouldn’t have told him.
Even though I didn’t really tell him,
I sort of skirted around the issue,
Tried to explain why I’m claustrophobic.
Told him why he couldn’t trap me, hold me, with both his arms.
I was hoping he was too drunk to remember.
But now he looks at me,
Or flits around with his hand,
I can’t say what you’ve been through,
Stuff like that.
I should have just kept quiet.

5:
I told her, I don’t have a plan, I might end up working with a wood carver, because I’m interested in that,
And I don’t really care.
She said can you deal with mom and dad having to tell people that,
And I said yes.
And she looked at me.
I don’t have a career path, and I don’t care.
I might care later, but I hope old me can respect younger me and the decisions I made at the time,
Because,
I’m okay with this.

6:
I remember my father talking to himself in this whiny howl-like voice,
He’d eek out my mother’s name as he went to sleep,
Or while he was distracted.
I remember thinking, “this is why I can never live alone.”
But I find myself almost chanting,
“I want to go home.”
Even though I have no home to go to anymore.
I think what I mean is,
“I want to feel safe.”
But I feel like I’m whining for a long-lost love, like my dad.

7:
I don’t know how to deal with these people being kind to me.
It keep freezing me up.
I cannot process it.
Rude? I can deal with.
Nice makes me feel undeserving.

8:
My mother used to say to herself,
“Tssssh”
And pretend she was spraying PAM,
While she drove us half asleep to our grandparent’s house three hours away.
“What’s that?” She would ask the car,
“I’m spraying Teflon on my self.
Ping, ding, fwing,
It all bounces right off.”
She would have to prepare herself for the fires of visiting my grandmother.
I found myself doing something similar on the plane ride over.
Except in my head was Mr. Rogers telling me I’m perfect as I am.

Poems from My Day (5-17)

these are decent

1:
Let me tell you about the scars I wish you had asked about
I listened as you told me all about yours.
The one from the bike crash where your atv fell into the creek, the one from you running into a pit full of sticks, the one you really should have gotten stitches for when you were little.
I didn’t get to talk about mine,
But I guess you can’t have it both ways,
You can’t hold back and then expect to be asked.
So I’ll keep my stories to myself, and pout,
No one wants to hear mine anyway.

2:
I had all these things built up to say to you in my mind,
I had all the ways I was going to act, all set up,
I knew how I was going to behave,
And say, and not say
I had my eye contact mapped out,
And I had topics planned.
And then you never came by.

3:
Let me tell you what happened. I’ll try to take my bias out.
As much as I can.
Somehow, she did it on purpose, or I let it happen on accident,
But she’s made me feel inferior,
Like I owe her something. i won’t stand for that.
She’s made me feel like I’m bad with people, bad at communicating,
Because we seem to misfire.
Like I’m not right enough, or good enough, somehow.
And then I went to the big city,
And I say city with quotes around it, remember I’m in Alaska,
And I got along so well with everyone, almost,
I remembered I’m pretty decent with people when I want to be
In the short term at least,
I’m kind of a failure long term,
But then again, I haven’t tried long term,
And as my mother would remind, you have that one chinese friend down where you went to college,
It was this great relief, to remember I can make friends, I can talk to people,
It’s not just me.

4:
The second I let myself be me, people look at me oddly,
And someone from my past shows up to laugh at me,
It’s awful.
I keep a tight leash.

5:
Me and alcohol have a weird thing going
I don’t crave it, but I don’t want to crave it, but I still want it,
But I’m proud of myself for not wanting it,
But I kind of want to drink it, but I won’t like it when I drink it,
Control.
I’ve seen too many people lose control.

6:
I’m about to spend two hundred dollars on produce that doesn’t go bad.
There. I did it. I clicked a few buttons online, and, groceries.
I’m trying to find foods I can take with me as lunch that won’t go bad without a refrigerator.
I need to go to the store for more bread, and vegetables, and meat, and eggs, and butter,
But my roommate hasn’t gone, and I don’t want to ask.
What am I going to do this summer, when she’s not here, and I have no car?
Hmm?
Die. I’m going to die.
Or just bike ride everywhere. Yeah. Right.
I need a car.
I can’t afford a car.

7:
I told Beth a little about my roommate’s romantic life,
I regret that.
I try to keep people’s people to myself.
But she asked,
And I think I wanted to share, cut her down a little, which I now feel guilty about.
I hope it doesn’t go anywhere.
This boy? She asked, don’t you mean this boy? No, that one. She’s dating that one.
I bet they’re related and I just insulted someone.
Shit.

8:
What an odd thing to say, “where is my dog?”
It shows such propriety.
She didn’t use her name, or say,
“Where’s the dog.”
My dog.
Like somehow, in the last two hours, I’d taken her away.

9:
I love how dogs hold a bone like they’re scared it’s going to run away.
I wish I held on to life that way.

10:
I want lightning. I want my anger to show up in the clouds.
But it rains, then sometimes, rains louder.
And there are 10 days when it’s clear and beautiful,
The only days you can convince people to live here.
That’s what they tell me,
When I’m visiting the city.

11:
I’m trying to write, I’m trying to explain what it was, how it felt,
Let me start over.
I chaperoned a high-school lock-in 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
At 3:30 the leader lady (my roommate) split them up,
They didn’t have to be asleep, just in one of two rooms.
She asked me if I was going to sleep,
I told her I wasn’t sure.
I shut my eyes for maybe twenty minutes. My feet fell asleep.
I tried sleeping on the ground, it was too cold.
I tried sleeping in a ball, I am too fat.
I got up and read on my tiny iphone 4 in the hallway.
My roommate asked me, did you sleep?
A little, I said.
Lying.
Wow, she said. That’s amazing. She said.
You can do that. Control it like that.
What did you do in college I wanted to ask.
But, what I couldn’t tell her,
And what I guess, she’s never been exposed to,
Is
There are reasons people can’t sleep in groups they don’t trust.
I haven’t been able to fall asleep with another person in,
God what year is it?
8 years.
And she shamed me for it.

Poems from My Day (5-10)

i had a day i thought would turn out better.

1:
I bought a bike.
I purchased it in pieces.
I assembled as much as I could.
Perhaps I was overwhelmed.
It’s been sitting half done in the spare room.
That room smells like rubber now.
Hang on a second, I have to let the dog in.
Two people offered to help.
I can’t take them up on it.
I don’t know why.
I should be biking,
I’ll have to this summer,
Carless. When my ride goes back down to Montana.
I can’t seem to, get it done.
I stare at it.
I think, give me a little more time.
I think that about a lot of things,
Just give me a minute.
One more second.
A moment to figure it out.
I am the mud of spinning wheels.
I am death.
I don’t know what that means.
I should go to sleep.

2:
I’m sad my clothes smell like the wet mold you get from not drying properly.
I don’t know how to fix this.
The dog, not my dog, the dog bangs at the door to come in.
She scratches.
Her owner taught her to breathe at the door.
Exhale, exhale, exhale.
She wants to come in.
I can’t hold out as long as my roommate.
The whining gets to me.
If I ever have a baby,
The same thing will probably happen.
I’ll be the weak one who’ll give into the cries.

3:
The woman who works next to me read me part of a book today,
A children’s book about how to play nicely with others,
Something something brown colored pencil,
No one wanted to be around the thing because it was always negative.
Is that me?
I am a brown colored pencil that’s always angry and sad.
What does it mean about my adulthood that I take lessons from children’s picture books?
I self-censor when I keep my mouth shut.
Adult conversation isn’t all that advanced from when we were seven, I suppose.

4:
A little kindergardener mimicked me in a mocking way today.
That hadn’t happened to me in years,
I wanted to call her a little shit,
But she’s a kindergardener.
I didn’t know what to do.
I was upset I was offended.
I have no coping mechanism for this.
It reminded me of the time I met a new girl in choir,
And the first thing she said to me was did I know my two front teeth were longer than all the others?
Yes.
I’m aware.
That’s all I can ever say to bullies young and small.
Yes.
I’m aware.

5:
They look at me like they’re waiting for me to say something else.
I don’t know what.
That’s it.
I can come up with more to say.
If I were on a college campus it would be a day where everyone would look at me weird.
And the servers at the dining hall would cock their heads to the side.

6:
I want to go home.
I use that phrase as a litmus test of how bad a day is going.
Oh man, I only thought that three times before lunch.
I have no home to go to.
It would be worse back there.
I tell myself.
You’d be within driving distance of your mother.
But it’s become a Monk’s chant.
I shower. I want to go home, I want to go home.
I cook. I want to go home, I want to go home.
I fall asleep, alone, after no one invited me out.
I pet the dog who can’t quite get her blind eyes to focus on my face.
I check my cell phone for messages.
I stretch familiar yoga poses in the dark.
I sing Prince songs I’ve heard a thousand times before.
I pretend to like the beer they’re drinking.

7:
She was on the second floor of this office building off a boulevard right off the exit of the highway.
The building next door stood empty.
She is black,
I didn’t want that to be a thing,
But I think worrying about it was wrong,
I tried to be normal,
So I guess, that makes it just like all my other interactions with people,
Trying to pass as normal.
Not wanting anyone to hate me, so they won’t tell everyone else they hate me.