xx2

I am am a parody of me
dressed in your confetti,
I drink to being feeble and weak

Could I make you laugh, this time?
Would I be better this way,
a glass in hand and foot displaced,
would you laugh just to give me a break?

Slither of it up my sleeves,
my chest feels bare and I’m scared
could you just acknowledge me,
tell me I’m not a freak?

I leave prints
sliding down walls
craving doorknobs to another place
no rattles, no, no searching for me.

Could you just see the monkey and her cymbal,
the seal and her horn,
a solo-spectacular, set to silent,
for all the noise I think I’m making,
could you just hear me out?

xx4

I said, “don’t you want to wait
for the taxi to arrive?”
but you took it in stride,
give up to the rain
and I went back inside

It was just the breathing,
crescendo of believing
but you sit on my chest
no rise-then-fall,
no, just gasp and crawl

The space in my lungs
I saved for you,
the whistle out-and-in,
ears full of your wind,
so ready to have you in,

I asked, “Why didn’t you?”
but these vocal cues
sink to my stomach and
I could never ask,
Why didn’t you?
why didn’t you?


057

I can’t think anymore
you’ve finally taken me down
a cup tipped over,
stalled out on all roads,
full in all this space,
I cant,
there’s no room

I don’t bet on it, but
I bet you know this
I’m embroidered by this scar tissue,
the maps you left on me
leading me to empty streets

I know you left me first
I hear your plans from other people
bury you in my anger
I guess we ruined everything

I had my feet on the ground
so sure, had my arms to the wind
thought I was so free
but running brought no sheath
to the dagger that you leave

you’ve finally found your out
leave me responsible for myself
leave me cluttered and spent

I chase you in my dreams
a fractured sort of sleep
maybe we miss each other
even if we had to go,
maybe it’s never leaving
if I can’t let you go.

044

I suspend and dream
hold my head to the deep
I think, I think,
just to breathe in
and out

tell me how
you want me to sleep
with one eye open
while you’re here

trick me, twist me
sedate me in your sea
until my skin becomes
the illusion of warmth

I could just leave
trailing my grief,
you could have minutes
and I could have miles.

038

You find a new curvature
shopping for spines
xylophone against my bones
just to try me out

I know, if I could sit up straight
maybe the song would play
and maybe you would stay

but I have slouched through
each and every absence
crumpled to your disregard
contusions from the heartache

you weave nerves into lace
amused by my contortions
I’ll twist to your methods
just to idle in your current.

033

It’s been a while since I’ve felt sharp
I’m just tired now
worn out
tired of half-bridges
chasing figures
just to fall out of breath

it’s been a while since I’ve been quick,
reliably golden,
like I could own a place
but now I have to pause
to remember my own cause

a relic filled with paper cups
dried out ink and stagnant things
I used to be so diligent
work late, sit up straight
now I can hardly wait
to crawl back home.

031

I rest my head on your shoulder
you take the picture and let me go
take the picture and I don’t know,
if it’s all the same to you,
I don’t want it this way

You light a cigarette
ducking under an umbrella
going out into the rain
I taste the smoke as you go,
if it’s all the same to you,
I’m a little over the burn

You sit on the edge of the room now
indentations in the middle cushion
where you used to be,
won’t retract, no welcome back,
if it’s all the same to you,
I think I’m gonna spread out now

I’d show up for you out of love,
ride the aisle seat so you can see
be a window ornament
while you sit on your phone,
If it’s all the same to you,
I think I should sleep.

smooth white, you find the walls
more interesting than my eyes,
your drink is a better walk
than a walk with me,
If it’s all the same to you
I think this is it.

Stories from Growing Up: Treating the Psychosomatics

I sat in the bathroom in elementary school, feeling sick. I didn’t know why.

When I was older, I had a favourite bathroom for throwing up in. I knew the smell of the water in the toilet, and I was comfortable watching for cockroaches coming out from the walls and shooing them. We called it food poisoning. It was a “me” thing, something about a weak stomach that no one else had.

It scared the shit out of me, not knowing what was going on. I would sit up through the night, wondering what was wrong with me and why I was alone.

Worse yet, the nights where I would wake my mother. It felt safe just to sit in the hall and hear rhythmic breathing. If I woke her, she would be angry sitting with and eventually she would give up and go to bed, something I could not do.

So I started to sit alone again. I counted my ribs each night for the fear that not eating would wither me away.

I sympathized with her fatigue, her desire to sleep instead of being with this.

I asked for a doctor. I sat on the couch with my heart palpitating in my ears, my body shaking and the tiny hope that this could be over.

She said no. That was when I started sleeping on the bathroom floor.

I just didn’t feel safe going home after school. I didn’t feel safe growing up. You can’t treat a kid for a problem other people pretend not to see.

 

025

smelling air freshener in your car
burns from the seat buckle
I get these excerpts, still
where you seem to be right here

I keep going to
The places we used to go,
they don’t wait for us to carry on;
the parks and their lilies
are paved with new cities
for the next somebody like me

I lose my focus just to see you clear
lights from the cars chasing your laugh
adoringly, you said I was the brightest spark
but when my sight comes back
it’s nothing like that
just highway traffic and night sky

teach me how to lay still in my grave
if this melancholy should stay,
teach me how to endure when
the cities intend to stay

better yet,
teach me that I’ll be okay
even though you couldn’t stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

023

It’s been years since we gave you a name
sat on my chest and placed blame,
my god if you tried a little harder
my god if you’d been a little smarter
you could lift the sun off the ground

All the time, claiming mine
a world that wasn’t for me to define
felt like a scribble ripping into this
a wholly uninvited kiss, I
wish I were a little stronger

my god if you tried a little harder
my god if you’d been a little smarter
you’d swim in bedsheets,
they wouldn’t swim in you

My god if you’d laugh a little louder
maybe we could pretend it’s still you
my god, laugh a little louder,
maybe you could breakthrough.