giving up my whole life
i sold my soul up the road
for a Carole king vinyl
im gonna lay on the floor
and sing along in denial
i pretend you still love me
and it’s not too late
make believe that i’m not free
that i have two dinners to plate
but i’m eating alone tonight
after giving up my whole life
to household chores
to let myself be yours
i cleaned out the car
of your old cigarettes
and i drove to the bar
to drink and try to forget
i pretend that you’ll come in and see
me leaving on the broken jukebox
i dream you’re coming home with me
that there’s still time on our clock
but i’m sleeping alone tonight
after giving up my whole life
to finding you cures
and letting myself be yours
it doesn’t matter how hard i pretend
you’re not here when the night ends
i’m not what you want anymore
so i’ll be alone tonight and forevermore
Dress in the closet,
Eye-brows are done,
Invites are sent,
I love you so, hun!
Gifts are packed,
The menu is spun,
The venue is decked up,
Oh darling, we can't be outdone!
Bridesmaids look gorgeous,
and friends are having fun;
The uncles and aunties,
you bet, are overdone!
Dress is now out,
Fake lashes, a breathtaking bun,
Stars on my lips,
Soon, I won't be a maiden!
As I slip on the dress,
A change in my disposition,
As I look in the mirror,
Red's my complexion,
Spiders crawl my back,
Stomach's in contraction,
I wonder if I can do this,
But, I love you so, hun!
It's time to walk down the aisle,
and my feet are frozen;
My body's all ice,
but, I love you so, hun!
From Miss to Mrs.,
the leap's a big one;
From this house to that,
a change of foundation!
The life that's gone by,
a kaleidoscopic procession;
The life that's to come,
coz of you, a worthy proposition!
You my darling, are
the sign on the side of the mountain;
With you on my side,
I'm ready for this expedition!
they said he had a broken heart
but it was just too full.
they screamed at him
for showing emotion
criticized him for his tears.
his heart was three sizes too large.
they said he had a broken heart
unable to fathom why
a teenage boy could
feel so much pain
if it wasn't because of a girl.
they said he had a broken heart
but society is the broken one.
he was whole, he was full,
and they tore him down for feeling.
now he has a broken heart,
but it was never because of
i've spent my whole life
wishing to be unnoticed.
hoping to slide by
away from society's eyes.
people i didn't know
said my name in the hallways
and it scared me;
when i moved out
of that school
suddenly i knew no one
and no one knew me.
the world was big and vast
and most people
had no idea i existed.
i was a drop of water
in a flooding universe.
i was small and insignificant,
just how i'd always wanted.
finally, i knew
i could come and go as i please
and no one would notice.
i'd walk under the metal detectors
and no one would stop me
if it beeped at me.
i'd wander the halls at lunch
and no one would tell me
to return to my class.
i could go anywhere,
i had power.
i had everything i'd ever wanted...
i'd read too many books,
seen too many stories,
of the underdog becoming a hero.
i wanted to be the underdog
so i could become the hero
but i never really succeeded
at being either one.
i was born into privilege
and chose to throw it away.
i was born to be forgotten
and i realize now i
never wanted it that way.
i wanted to be loved
to be seen,
but i also wanted to rise.
and you can't rise
when you start at the top.
rather than fighting my way up,
i fought my way down,
clawing myself deeper and deeper
hoping to find myself a sob story
so i could become something more.
but all i got was darkness
no easy way back up.
now i'm trapped in the hole i dug
and i can't fight it anymore.
when people ask me "why"
i can't give an answer
because my life has always been perfect.
the only imperfection here
i've dug myself down
thrown dirt in my eyes
and then sobbed until i'm red
hoping someone hears my cries.
maybe there's something wrong with me
maybe i deserve this.
because no one comes to help me.
(maybe i'm a toxic person)
maybe the reason that no one shows
is because every day that hunger grows.
hunger for eyes, for attention, for love.
even though i recieve it every day,
i want more.
but i've succeeded in making myself invisible;
no undoing it now.
the only curse i have
is the one i've brought upon myself.
now if only i could
that my life meant something.
but it doesn't. not a thing.
i dragged myself down,
and i'll drag you, too.
Do you remember?
I remember the night before.
The night before you were born.
We were sent to stay with a family friend.
Me, and your 2 other older siblings.
Emily broke her right arm,
for the second time.
I remember being tucked in,
with a promise to meet you in the morning.
I remember sleeping on that couch.
I don't remember the room,
I don't remember the hospital,
I don't even remember who all was with me.
I just remember 6 year old me,
Going to meet my baby sister.
I was sat down,
and I got to hold you.
You were asleep,
you were deposited into my eager arms.
But when you were moved,
you woke up.
You started to cry.
I look up at mom,
I was very concerned.
"Mommy, does she not like me?"
I know you don't remember,
But I do.
This is for my little sister. We are 5 years apart, which makes our relationship interesting. I remember this very vividly. We get along fine.
True things (Magic 8)
This is important.
I cannot tell you anything truer. So please listen.
We were in your apartment, studying. So many books.
Once I dreamt my Beloved’s path through Surgery and he walked for miles and miles over fields of books. Pages stitched together like a quilt. He and his now-wife climbed over them in an endless trek all through their 20s. Sweating with bottles of water and t-shirts in a companionable journey under a prairie sky.
But I digress,
The point is, there are many books in Medicine, many words. Many things to memorize.
It was an exam, I can’t remember which one. It doesn’t matter, they were constant.
You are Persian. Soulful dark eyes, and a kind soul. We have lost touch, I suppose I changed. But in this moment, we were friends. True friends, you had unconditional love for me and I had learned to accept it,
Like a stray dog finally accepts the food on the back porch.
Sniffing, circling, and so hungry eating. It must be good, and after a while you are so hungry you don’t care. But it is good and you learn.
Learn to trust a little more.
“How did you know that?” You said,
It was slightly accusatory.
I never studied, was as undisciplined as a feral child.
(Really, I was a feral child. So it’s not even a metaphor.)
It was some Fact. We were always wielding Trivia like weapons. Glittering orbs of ego splatting about the room. Like paintballs whizzing always whizzing at each other in an endless war.
(I did not dream this of my Beloved but I did observe it. He was not immune to the Training either.)
I had known the Fact and you, my Friend, had not. And it was not Fair. And you knew it.
You had done the work, all the endless work with so much patient Discipline.
And I sat there like a grinning Monkey and I knew it anyway.
I grinned even more.
“Just use the Magic 8 ball,” I explained, to be kind.
“What are you talking about?” You asked.
Now you were exasperated, as though I was playing a game of mental keep-away.
“You know,” I said. “The magic 8 ball in your head. You shake it and the answer pops up. You don’t have to put it there per se, just have heard it once or something.”
I really wasn’t that sure myself how it worked, only that it did. I had found it in desperation during an exam which I (predictably) hadn’t studied for. Then used it ever since without any real thought about its Origin.
I used to be Unconcerned like that.
I can see how this must have been infuriating.
I’m grinning about it even now.
It’s so illogical and unfair.
Funnier because it’s to my benefit.
If I had been you, I think I would have been indignant too.
“That’s not normal,” you said.
And we looked at each other, and I finally understood.
You did not have a Magic 8 ball.
And neither did anyone else in our 300-person class.
Or anyone you had ever met.
Maybe, anyone I had ever met.
Or if you did have one, you had never used it.
Not for an exam.
Probably not to cross the street.
Although I like to think, that you used yours once, long before, to pick me as
There was a moment of silence and unfortunately
I think that was the end of our friendship.
It was when you discovered that I was Other.
And you could not accept it.
Stray dogs are sometimes a bit too Wild to let into the house...
But in that moment, in the evening, before it Ended we acted as though the silence had not happened. And we moved on.
And shortly you said another Trivia. And I stopped.
This time it was I who balked.
“That is not True,” I said.
“But it’s on the Exam,” you said.
“But we know it isn’t true, it was disproven only this last year, and logically…” I explained... The details are lost on me and I would not bore you with them even if I remembered.
(When you are like me you evolve very pristine Logic so that even though you have the Answer in advance you can always justify how you arrived there after the fact. I confess I spent most of my time on this skill instead of the other. I had no interest in simply learning — well anything.)
“Just learn it,” you said. “It will be on the Exam.”
I was distraught.
Normally I am unfairly Comfortable, even when I really shouldn’t be.
But here, I was distraught. Upset in the way of a neighborhood house fire, or a child bleeding from the head. Something was hand-wringing Wrong.
“You can’t,” I said.
“I can’t... You can’t.”
“It isn’t true….”
You can’t learn untrue things. It will always be there!”
“No.” you said.
And now we were past the borders of your Space and it was all Over although I didn’t know it yet. “I will learn it for the exam, and I will get a better grade than you.”
“I can’t afford to miss any marks.”
“I do not have a magic 8 ball. I must learn everything they tell us.”
“You will never be able to forget it,” I said. “And it will clutter your mind. Please do not do this.” But I was pleading with a closed door.
And I was making it worse.
Stray dogs need to eat and move on. It’s one particular kind of interaction and should not be contaminated with barking, and scratching and fleas. Kindness must be accepted in the exact amount it has been meted out as and there should never be any asking for More.
We stopped for the night, and really for an entire lifetime although we have made pleasant overtures a few times since.
It was too Important I suppose, to both of us.
And watching our lives unfold since, I see that it was. It was very Important. It defined everything we did for every day from then till now.
Most particularly in the Now.
And many years later now, I can say with perfect certainty:
This is important,
It is the most important thing I will ever tell you.
You cannot have a Magic 8 ball,
If you believe, for even an instant
In a Lie.
We are born
In the dream she is always giving birth. It is always a girl. I am by her side and she is either angry at me or saying something whimsical. In the dream I had last night, she was angry. As she pushed out her baby girl, she said things to me that are true and the reason I am addicted to substances that may or may not alter my reality. Her husband is often kind to me in the dream, as he is kind in real life. It is always a girl. The baby is screaming, and I am waking up, sweating.
I told her once I wanted a girl as my first born and she said, "After what we went through together?"
She just stopped smoking cigarettes. Her life was always a life or death situation. She drank and almost drowned in a bathtub, took so much medication she was vomiting uncontrollably and went on dialysis. Never again, she swore, will that happen. Nothing is worth the pain of that procedure. I don't know what that feels like, to hit rock bottom so hard you go sober instead of craving the crashing of waves.
We had a falling out and she never spoke to me again. I am a bad person. I wish I could smoke but it's too expensive. I want to wistfully lift one to my lips and breathe in the toxins that embody my personality. She said I am not my disease. I slammed the door. I don't know much about apologies, but damn am I good on autopilot.
The dream. She is giving birth. It is always a girl. The women we have become are so impressive, so accomplished, and yet we don't speak. I still want my first born to be a girl. I don't want the nightmare, the fallacy, anymore. I want my sister back but instead I'm left waking up as she whispers what are her final words to me in her peaceful world.
REM - South Central Rain - I’m Sorry
REM is a band that never tried to be a band, they were friends and artists who liked to party and tell stories, and that’s what they did.
Micheal Stipe emerged as the leader, a soft spoken southerner in the college town of Athens Georgia in the 1980s; someone who seemed unlikely to become a rock star, more of a poet than a performer.
My first exposure to REM was in college at the campus radio station. A girl told me about REM and lent me the album Murmur. I was immediately struck by the sound of the album, it had a rich sonic texture and each song told a story; immediately it became my favorite album.
The following year REM performed in my home town at a small venue. The highlight of the set was an acoustic version of South Central Rain. Here Stipe sang and Peter Buck played acoustic guitar.
South Central Rain is about love and loss. Michael sings about waiting for a call from his partner, but the call never happens. “Did you never call? I waited for your call.” it begins. And sadly he never gets the call.
South Central Rain is my favorite.