I am on many lows
while you’re trying to go slow
now I’m kissed by sand and cold
bare skin flecked silver and gold
I keep my thumb against my throat
a blooming gun for my last note
flay to find the heart, so remote
miss it and I’d never really know
can’t find peace in my own head
tired enough to defer to you in bed
stay put so I’ll never make you cry.
There is a break between words
that comes when we fight
a borderland we share alone
quiet wars over who suffers more
who gets the bed, who sleeps on the couch?
how long can we go without looking
to see if someone is letting up?
Is that sound a deliberate slight?
are you telling yourself it’s time to bow out?
I wonder each time, “Is this it?”
ending it all in my head
before he says it
I’m packing boxes in my head
while we’re sitting in bed,
I’m sitting on the curb in my head
even if we’re in bed
I’ll always be inside my head.
you taught me to swim
so I wouldn’t drown
enough to keep my head up
I felt your hand on my stomach
holding me up
but you were king of letting go
so I hated you the most
I guess you were trying me out
just seeing if I could ride it out
and I did, but
you said I’d never be enough
I’ll always be skirting the edge
afraid you’ll stay away
afraid you wont come and stay
I’ll always be skirting the edge
just enough to keep my head up
skirting the edge,
trying to give you up.
Arms out the window
to feel the rain
I’d cut right through
this memory is all you
Blister in the warm spots
I’d hijack the season
drive you insane
salting your windows
to hold on your focus
if I keep you inside
I guess I’ll stay free
I don’t know what it is
didn’t know until I was gone
I really loved the breeze, but
couldn’t stand what was wrong
I was chasing licks of the sea
when you crashed into me
I was just passing by
when we became the sea.
When I was young, I would pull my hair out until I had bald spots. It helped me feel in control when I was anxious during the day, but most aggressively it happened when I couldn’t sleep. I knew it wasn’t good, but I couldn’t stop.
She was willing to come with me to see the hairdresser in order to lie about what was going on. Usually, something to do with trying to get sand out of my hair from the beach and pulling too hard.
She spoke to me about it once, to capitalize on my shame and feign ignorance as to why it was happening. The rest of her words were for everyone else, to pacify their concern.
I wasn’t able to stop until I was an adult and moved away.
I suspend and dream
hold my head to the deep
I think, I think,
just to breathe in
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.
You’re coated solid gold, the messiah,
and I’m inhaling the fumes from below,
you capture me in corners and open space
capture me, get bored and walk away
quizzical, to see if I know what you know,
the difference between trees, I don’t,
what you’re trying to get me to say, I don’t know,
your interest in me is just passing through
your interest in me is if you’re in the mood
It’s only fair to give credit where credit is due
you had me trying until it was what I couldn’t do
you had me dejected over everybody else
when they managed to win you,
the desired result, I bet I checked the right box
I have your particles in my heart,
gold flakes from resting in your mistakes
no more skirting by and holding my breath
yet, I find you on me all the time
sitting in the corner of my eye.
I know this story
you’ve told it before
you’re chasing, I’m running,
I can’t stick the landing, no
I can’t keep my feelings to myself
you crawl in while I sleep
entangled in my sheets
waking as a casualty, I
cant wash myself clean
can’t stop thinking now
Always seconds from the door,
just cradling the ignition,
just a few more boxes to move,
and there you are again
cracking your knuckles,
ready to break me in
This carousel sort of routine,
I can hear you telling me
you’ll never let me go,
never let me go,
and I sit on my horse
pray the path is straight
that I’ll escape
but you’re in my dreams every night
some phantom sort of sinner
and I, I just can’t keep you out
I can’t get off this horse.
Reason one we keep you inside:
You are an illegal immigrant. If the police come snooping around, they will take you away forever. You will be treated badly. You will be put in a prison where you eat out of a communal bin like a pig and get raped by the other inmates.
No, you cannot volunteer anymore.
No, you cannot go to school.
You need to stop going for walks.
Don’t answer the door.
You tell me you’re just doing the best you can.
You always had papers. I didn’t.
Where is the proof? How does the brain change?
I waited an entire year before I told them about my diagnosis. In retrospect, I should have made the decision last much longer. I wanted to have some sense of what my life would be like, some sort of resolution before I could open the door.
Prove it to me, tell me about academics and science. I am not a daughter, but a translator and educator. Tell me as I cry about how I am hurting that you need to know if this is even a “real thing.” I suppose it’s easier for me to tell you than for you to politely explore it yourself.
I am only your daughter if we can call this a matter of being too sensitive and absolve ourselves of its name. If we can pretend that all my turbulence is no different from what other people go through– what if this is just how it is at your age?
Pull your head out of your ass.
Funny that my reality is unfounded, but is strategically useful.
Are you sure you can handle this? The token response when I do something unfavourable. The voice that tries to say that it can see my sickness, but what it means is that I have done something they disagree with.
Did you take your medication? The thing you abhor, unless you can use it to paint me as irrational. If I am upset with you, it is only manufactured.
As it turns out, you don’t need to believe anything. You just need to know how to manipulate the people that do.