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.

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.