by any other name

well, I tried to hold out. early
in the new year I thought
to myself that it was remarkable
that I had not yet written a single
poem this month. it would be
a funny, fun challenge to hold out
until February. a little test
and trick to play
upon myself, since certainly
no one else was noticing. and
it wasn’t as if I had anything
to say for myself anyway,
so abstaining from blathering
about nonsense

was no big hardship. but
I simply could not do it. this month
seems fucking endless and
it turns out that eternity

by any other name
feels every bit as long. at this rate
we shall never reach the promised land
of the shortest month, let alone
get any closer to summer.
may whoever have mercy
on our shivering souls.


I am a girl
of sand and fire.
I am a voodoo doll
held together by my
pins. I am a sentient collection
of ants. I am a girl-shaped
form made out of ashes;
pour me through
a sieve and watch me
disappear. I am a gingerbread
woman; bite my head off
to put me out of my misery. I am
the Wicked Witch
of the West, melting in the rain.

I am a ghost, a breath
of hot air from your mouth;
I am steam, condensing into
being and then dispersing
as fast as I appeared.
I’m the last dying ember
of a dead star. I’m a whirlwind
of sand inside a sirocco.

I’m only real
as long as your eyes
can see me.

the veil, lifted

I see it now: I was never
the one. she was always
the bright-eyed doll, the queen,
the evanescent moon around which
you orbited. I almost can’t
blame you. she’s blonde, she’s
pretty enough. she fills out
her clothes nicely. she plays
a mean guitar, and wields
her voice like a weapon.
no, it’s myself that I’m mad at
as usual, for daring to think
that your dark weirdness
was directed my way. I
could not know, but I
should have known.
it’s never me.

imposter syndrome

I don’t deserve
to take myself seriously.
I’m a fraud, a fool, a dilettante, a dumbass.
taking yourself seriously
is for winners.
that’s why I make sure
to make lots of faces
after I play a song.
just in case anyone thought
I was sincerely hoping
to deserve your serious
attention. I’m just anticipating
the critique that has long since
stopped coming. it now resounds
only in my own head. if I admit
all the flaws first, will I escape
the put-down?

no. there’s no point.
might as well pretend
that I don’t hate myself.
maybe if I do it long enough,
I’ll finally start
to believe it.

cold and grey

it’s too cold. the sky is
crying. all is damp
and hopeless.
I’m sick of this
bullshit. when will it
get warm enough
to stop the aching
in my bones? when
will this empty void
in my soul be filled?

the tiny voice
inside my head
that’s used to
dealing with this
whinging sounds like
a Magic 8-ball. it says only,
“try again

the headache

the headache is
your best friend. it’s
with you in the morning
when you fall into an exhausted
uneasy slumber; it’s with you
when you wake in the late
afternoon filled with self-loathing
and guilt. every time
you move your head, the headache
reminds you that your
body is unhappy with you
and your choices. the headache
thinks you need
to try something different,
perhaps. it says
maybe alcohol and
cigarettes and constant,
constant cat hair and
spring pollen and lack
of exercise and very few
green vegetables are all
bad choices if you want
your body to like you
and to give you another friend
besides the neverending


riding the train but I’m
facing the wrong way
and it feels like I’m
being pulled back to the city
by my heart strings, I can
feel the spool inside my chest
winding and winding.

sometimes when I
feel like crying there’s a
silvery sort of nerve pain
that runs along my very
veins and a prickling heat
behind my eyeballs and
I don’t even know why
crying wants to happen now
because there’s no excuse
for it and as usual I’m
in public and idiots are everywhere
existing in my presence and
I know by the time I get home
it will have passed and I’ll
be dry as a bone, my strings
rewound and all tucked away
and no relief will be had because
the need will have withdrawn
inside me like a snail
pulling back its antennae.

tomorrow is another day
to want to cry and not be able to,
or to not want to cry and barely
be able to hold it back.