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Billy

You were amazingly sad and angry
Pretended to be a super hero
To hide the fragmented boy

We were practically children
Playing adult games

I imagined a fairy tale
Where I made all of your scars smaller
And didn’t suffer any in return

The failure was devastating
it stayed with me so deeply
I looked for you in other people
So I could try again
Until I got it right

I loved you with an insatiable compulsion
I’m not sure you remember it
You were in a protective state
Not yet facing what had destroyed you
When you were not even speaking yet

You reminded me of Tommy
in that scary movie from my childhood
It traumatized me in a similar fashion
I sang the songs in my sleep
Over horrifying visions kept secret
Recent posts

Baby Dreams

I collapsed under the weight of my dream
The residual pressure on my chest was extraordinary
Sweaty hair pressed on my forehead
Where am I?
Where are YOU?
Invisible in the solitude
of that gender neutral yellow room
My crib keeping me safe
But feeling like a cage.

Not Enough

My first suicide attempt was not my best work. Swallowing a handful of expired sleeping pills and immediately knocking on my neighbor's door for help.
My vision of an ex-boyfriend finding me being overtaken by grief and saving me through regretful sobs was replaced by an overnight in the ER with an annoyed doctor signing my release paperwork because I wasn't considered a risk.
Sad and troubled always looked like the formula for a sexy happily ever after. I wanted this. But I wasn't very good at being tragic.
I am a recovering cutter, but not the kind who let people see it very often my injuries were always rather subtle and discreet on parts of my body hidden by clothing
When my father saw a small wound on my wrist, he cried for one of two times I’ve ever witnessed and said he’d rather I cut him than myself.
My upper rib cage used to read, “FUCK YOU” A carving I made with scissors Upside down and backwards (just before my poor attempt at suicide) A litmus test for potential long term relat…

What the Ghost Said When She Whispered In My Ear (Poem)

Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Shhhhh... it's okay, I'm not here to hurt you.
I am you. You are me.
Yes, sort of like projecting from your imagination. No, you shouldn’t worry that you are losing it. Be like the Buddha.
This really IS all temporary. Even if you aren't sure you are working towards enlightenment – haven't you figured it out yet?
Each day, each minute, each inhale and exhale. They are all fleeting.
Don't dwell there. Just be HERE. That really is the secret.
I know, I know. The grasshopper and the ant fable begs to differ. But I am here to tell you, the past and the future really don't matter. Your now is inside of you. Your home is too. Not in a perfect town, or a Barbie Dream House. And certainly not in another person.
That hole is starting to feel cauterized on the edges, shrinking bit by bit – it can only be filled and sealed by your trust in this.
Let go, Child. And trust. You are going to be just fine.

The Walk Home

A man I half recognized saw me tumble out the door
Offered to walk me home
He said my first name, so it seemed safe
It was snowy and cold, and home was up a long hill
I leaned in most of the way up
Because I had achieved my usual goal
Of being drunk beyond basic motor skills
Halfway up my senses told me something was off
But I didn’t know how to get out of it
At my house, he told me he was coming in
I said “No” very clearly.
He grabbed my head to kiss me
I pushed him back.
I was dizzy and scared
My habit of coaxing danger was passing the precipice
He was tall and strong
He flanked me with both arms against my house
I ducked under to open the screen door
He slammed it closed and came in for another attempt at a kiss
I became angry
Somehow, I outsmarted him.
I was inside the door, locking it, panting
I sat on the floor to cry
Shaking it off like a dog after a fight.

Things Like That Happen Sometimes (Poem)

Party fouls Bar casualties Drunken mistakes
You get to a point where "sometimes" starts happening more often.
A scraped knee A sprained hand An impulsive haircut behind the closed door of the bathroom at a party because you are too anxious to host anymore.
A hundred bucks spent on coke that you can't remember if you enjoyed or not.
Your unpaid bar tab … again.
Missed rent Bad skin Acid reflux Misfired text messages.
The fight because of the stupid thing you said or did. …. again.
Things like that happen sometimes. When you are drowning yourself instead of noticing that your endearing tics and habits have shifted into something more destructive than cute.

Divorce

We are walking to our third and final counseling appointment. You have been sleeping elsewhere the last few days, or weeks, I can't remember.
The “you” I know has been dead for months 
as far as I'm concerned. I notice you aren’t wearing your wedding band, but I'm not wearing mine anymore either. I ask you what is happening. You look me in the eye and say, "I'm going to pursue a relationship with her." I think you continue talking, something about dividing furniture and vinyl, but I can't hear you. I'm smoking a cigarette you rolled for me,
a habit I restarted to spite you. At first I think it’s a nicotine buzz, but then I realize I can't breathe and my vision is closing to a small circle and then black, my knees buckle, I pass out like in a movie. End scene.

The Love That Informed Many Bad Choices

You ruined my life the first time you smiled at me. I was 14. I didn't know people like you
until I did, and then I couldn't stop finding them. Re-enacting vignettes and patterns in a terrible spiral with every new mate.
We were happy sometimes though. We laughed, you were tender. You got me a kitten once
(twice, but the first one died).
It took decades to stop feeling it. The pure panic and desperation of trying to make you love me the way I loved you.

She Was a Big Influence on Me

She taught me about Siouxsie and the Banshees Soundgarden how to take NoDoz stolen from the gas station down the street so we wouldn’t have to eat. How to dig lines and words into my skin with safety pins. I quickly graduated to scissors and shards of glass in my own bedroom. I learned that boys found her interesting because she was sad and sometimes threatened suicide and always wore black. I started wearing all black too, and quoting The Cure in love letters to wild seeming boys in eyeliner and combat boots. I don’t remember when we stopped being friends, but she could probably always see through my fa├žade, to her authentically morose friends, more rebellious and troubled than I ever hoped to be.

Pamela Brown

It's 1982 I think
in the kitchen with the yellow and beige linoleum
Sun comes through the window over the double sink.

You are smiling,
thick sandy brown hair
   in a short feathered bob
   and large framed glasses

You pick me up and set me on the counter
while you finish the dishes,
humming the theme song to the Pink Panther
in ba-doop-a-doos

This scene is forever locked in my mind.
I remember nothing else about you,
except that you died before you could babysit again,
murdered at the festival downtown
where my first grade class sang It's a Small World
and others drank under the beer tent
in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds,
getting rowdy into the night.


You were found behind a church the next day
by some children collecting bottles
(schoolmates of my siblings and I)
strangled by your shirt string
and undressed from the waist down.

I didn't know what any of this meant
but my mother told me
if I was ever being attacked by a man
to yell "fire" instead of "rape"
because someone would be …