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.

the battle

almost every day I fight this
pitched battle
inside my head. one part
of me says I’m worthless
I’m dying
fuck my life
kill me now
why bother to get out of bed
no one will ever love me anyway
what is there to live for

and another part yells at the first part
for being lazy and useless and privileged
and a garbage human
and still another part says hey, what if
we pretended to act like a person
who doesn’t hate herself today?
what would this mythical creature do?

and so the eternal war
between my selves goes on,
and sometimes one part says
he didn’t write back, he must hate you,
what’d you do this time, you idiot
and most of the other parts tend
to want to believe whatever narrative
makes me feel the worst
about myself at any given time
and so you see, I’m hardly ever really fighting
with you. sometimes you get caught
in the crossfire between my selves,
that’s all.

my grocery lists

how many trees
have died for my
grocery lists?
thrown in the trash
with most of the page
left blank. well, rip me up
and put me in there too
because I’ve died for you
a hundred times and it’s all
meaningless, in a hundred years
no one will care, my using dead
tree bodies to write my ephemera
is just one of the eight million
reasons I’m going to hell, and when
I get there I’ll be confronted by the
sad-eyed garbage men
who will wordlessly show me
the cuts on their hands
from my orphaned and deadly
cat food can lids, and all the little
children in Africa who died
as a direct result of my wasting
water by running it in the bathroom
to give me privacy or sometimes
if I can’t pee right away, anyway
the point is none of them will
actually be in hell because they
are innocent and I’m just
the absolute worst – and even
saying that is narcissistic and
pathetic, a self-pitying
worthless loser trying to
draw attention to herself talk
and you see now how
this goes, a perpetual
downward spiral
forever like Fibonacci or some shit
I probably saw on a FB meme
because I’m
dumb like that –
they will just visit me in hell
and give me accusing stares
that say I’m not mad, I’m just
disappointed
and I’ll probably
learn even more ways
I’m fucking up right now
without even meaning to
or knowing it so
as much as I hate being alive
half the time for no good reason,
I don’t really look forward
to dying, either. so please
call off that mob hit I ordered
on myself, because
I’m going to have to do something
far worse than death.

I think I’m going to have
to live.