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.

empty

you cook for yourself, and
eat what you make. you used
to finish it even if
you had to force yourself
past the point of fullness
or risk gifting the fridge
with yet another container
of instantly suspicious leftovers.

but yesterday when
the French Toast had been made,
and mostly eaten, and you
realized you had stopped
eating because
you were no longer hungry,
you didn’t eat the rest.
you got up and threw
the rest away, despite the
voices in your head saying
wasteful
children are starving in China
you spent good money
for those eggs, that bread,
those sausages.

you remember sitting
at the dining room table
as a child, for hours upon
hours, stubbornly refusing
to eat the food your mother
had slaved over a hot stove
to prepare. you don’t
remember if you actually
ended up eating it,
or if she gave in and sent you
to bed without any other supper
than what you had
already eaten.

you probably drank the milk.
(there was always milk.)

you wonder at the expression
about eyes being bigger than
the stomach. first of all,
how is that even possible.
your stomach is quite
sizable. secondly, after all
these years of cooking
and eating, wouldn’t you know
by now how much is enough,
and how much is far
too much? it’s as if
those years of being forced
to eat food that was not
what you wanted, being shamed
and mocked for the food
you wanted, taught you that
there’s never enough, that
only too much is correct.
just in case. better than
not enough.

it doesn’t stop you from
feeling empty.

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.

hello old friend

it’s been quite a while
since our paths have crossed.
you seem different
than how I remember you –
smaller, shabbier, and sallower – but
I don’t think you
actually changed. it’s more
that I see you with new eyes.
I’ve changed, and
what used to fascinate me
no longer holds the same appeal. I’m
not sorry, because
we were doomed anyway,
and I no longer need or want
there to ever be an us.
I’m glad that I can now
appreciate what you can offer
as a friend, instead of
languishing over someone
who could never have
been more than that.

the drop

my roof had sprung
a leak, dark droplets dripped
down onto me and
my bed. I had
stayed up all night and
was struggling
to sleep with this damp
and dripping
situation happening. so
I called the super, spread
some plastic down next
to and on top of me, and
passed out. hours later I
half-woke to the sound
of footsteps on the roof,
and hoped that someone was doing
something.

Continue reading the drop

robins

why am I suddenly
remembering that time
last winter when
we went for a walk
around the reservoir
and I’m pretty sure
you ogled my butt
when I came downstairs
in leggings and a normal
length tshirt and
it was bitterly cold and
I complained nearly
the entire walk
except when we saw
all those robins hopping
and bopping in the dead
trees and grass next
to the path and
I stopped dead
in my tracks and exclaimed
“Robin Redbreast! look
how many of them! oh
they’re so plump and
cute! how I love them!”
just like a real
manic pixie dream girl
but I really could have
watched them all day
and then we stopped
at Starbucks on the way
back to my house
and you had a long
blonde or grey hair clinging
to you and I removed it and
it was your mother’s
and then I got an unsatisfying
sandwich and when I
got home I found
my period had started?

Ouija II

who is that girl
who let so many
people beat her up?
we’re so ashamed of her, no wonder
she won’t come forth
to tell her story. have I met her
yet, is it someone
I know? where did she go?
come out, come out
wherever you are. olly-olly
oxenfree.

use the planchette
to spell your name. we’re
doing another roll call.
don’t bother knocking on the table
or making the candles
flutter, we need it
in words.

who’s the girl
who taught herself to read
at age three, who still vividly remembers
the Richard Scarry book
with the picture of Lowly Worm,
she felt so incredibly sad
when she read those words
but didn’t know why
until many years later, because I
was a lowly worm,
crushed under mother’s heel
for so long. how the hell
did that child even know what
“lowly” meant? come, tell us.
even the worm must turn
and have her day.