to Diablo, who has recently died

just when I thought
the tide of grief was receding, it
rushes in again. fuck. you
know how much I loved you, right?
please tell me you did. I couldn’t
bear it if I thought you died
not knowing.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t much use
to you at the end. I learned
something about myself and how
I’m really not much good with
the dying. you were a great little
guy, with a huge heart. everyone
who ever knew you
loved you. you tried to go home
with every delivery guy.

you were often naughty, and
that made you wonderful. you
were more like a dog
then a cat, which I must admit
I often found annoying. but you
were so smart, and so human;
I swear you understood
every word I said.

you chose me
that day 15 years ago, and
I never regretted it.

I hope you come back to me
when you’re ready.

3:20

things are different,
in the dark. in the middle
of the night when I’m
the only one awake – even
the cats are sleeping, and
the birds not even dreaming
of their stupid little chirps
for hours yet – my mind
starts to play tricks
on itself. thoroughly unfun
little games like “let’s remember
twelve times I was
hideously embarrassed”
one hopscotching to another
reaching back as far
as I can remember;
or “how many moral failings
can I count in the next
hour”; or “let’s analyze
every interaction
I had this week to see
who hates me and what
I’ve done to deserve it”
and nothing stops it because
there’s nothing else
to do.

that’s when
I get up and smoke
yet another cigarette, shivering
in the cold air from the
open doorway, feeling
it’s my just punishment
for still being awake –
if I had gone to sleep
two hours ago
like I was going to, when
I actually felt sleepy,
I wouldn’t feel the need to do this
to myself right now – but
helpless
in the face of the relentless
assault of a mind
brewing up horrors –
like when you go too long
without eating and your stomach
starts digesting itself – I
desperately take the stopgap,
in the hopes that this distraction
will give me a break.

that’s why sometimes
I wait until dawn
to sleep, when at least life
is happening.

because
the darkness breathes
at me. things that are not real
seem dreadfully, hugely
powerful, and only daybreak
robs them of their strength.
I suffer for that choice too
but sometimes
it feels necessary.

I’m sorry. I fear
you daywalkers
will never really
understand.

manifesto

don’t tell me it doesn’t matter
if this person understands me.

as a poet, all my writing
is a constant attempt at
self-defense before the
uncaring judges of eternity,
I’m always arguing my case
in Anubis’s eternal court –
THIS is why
I am the way I am
this is why
I did that thing I did –
I do this even
(maybe especially)
when
the only person I’m trying
to convince
is myself.

so this is why
I did the most recent thing I did:
there was a little girl
whose father left
when she was seven years old.

she didn’t understand
why
she didn’t understand
that her mother did
the best she could
in an impossible situation.

she was told
her father loved her
but still he left.

her mother smothered her
and told her lies
about her nature, trained her
to abuse, invaded her sovereignty
so that she had no space
to be herself.

is it any wonder
she grew up thinking
the ones who really care
are the ones that
walk away? and the
ones that stay
can’t be trusted?

is it any wonder that
she doesn’t know how
to take care of herself?
she only has two models:
never there, or always.
so she ricochets between
extremes, craving togetherness
until it gets to be too much,
and then needing more space
than exists in the entire
universe.

weigh my heart
against your feather, and see
which one comes up
guilty.

lifeline

I’m sorry. I saw the drowning
look in your eyes – the one
I know so well from
the inside out, the one that says
everyone thinks everything
is fine but it’s not okay, I’m
not okay
– and didn’t throw
you a lifeline. I know
how it feels to be the only one
in the room who’s holding
on to a grudge because it’s
been with you so long it feels
like a part of you, so that to
let it go would mean losing
something of your identity,
even though everyone else thinks
you’re punishing the person
for old dead deeds and why
can’t you just get over it
already. you can’t. you’re
not ready. you might not
ever be ready. and he doesn’t
deserve your forgiveness.

you warm yourself
by the fire of your hatred.
I know.

flawed

I’m sorry
that I’m such a passive-aggressive weirdo
who causes drama
and pretends to be
so haughty and aloof
when in fact I am a boiling mess
of seething feelings
that I try so hard
to cover up
and deny because
the last thing I want to admit
is that I still care
way too much
when it was never warranted.

there was never an us.
you’ve said it
time and time again.
I know. but it rankles
like a thorn in my paw
and I can’t bear to admit
that I wasn’t your type.

I’m sorry
that I made you think
that I no longer value you
as a friend and as an artist
when that was never
the case.

I just can’t bear
to be straight with people
when the situation makes me
feel lesser than, unwanted,
not good enough. I have way
too much pride.

you deserved better.
you were a good friend
to me when I needed it.
you tried to let me down easy,
but I insisted
on making it hard.

my whole life
I’ve had to learn
everything the hard way.
I guess
this is no exception.

punching bag

I’m sorry
about last night. my
soul was eating itself
alive, my mind
turning inside out
like a coat,
fears and rage, guilt and sadness
chasing their tails
in circles and
my art needed fuel – I had
to get some feelings out,
it felt like dying –
so I rifled through my
pockets, found an old wound,
a small frustration
hidden deep
inside my heart,
left over from those
olden times when I
carried a sad torch
that was never needed
or wanted, and I
used the feelings, coupled
with the memory, to light
a bitter bonfire
to burn off the excess
pain.

the things
that weigh upon me
the most are the ones
I fear so much
I cannot write a word. so
when a safer outlet
presented itself,
I took it. I see now how
it was a coward’s move.

next time I’ll try harder
to find a way to let
the real demons out.
or at least
find a better target.