Vent in D Flat
i have a friend from high school
who keeps visiting war torn countries
to save dogs
and do yoga
and i see the photos of sun salutations
and posts about how gross the air is
and how the people are rude
and sometimes i think
i should reach out
but i don’t know where to start
and then i think
i’m probably an alcoholic, so,
who am i to criticize
active members of a community
not to mention
half of our graduating class
has either OD’d
or been to rehab
so maybe poverty tourism
and white savior complexes
are excusable by comparison
i never reach a conclusion
i never reach out
i open a bottle of prosecco
95 pesos at Costco
and look out over the Mexican sunset
passing another day
under the umbrella
of trying to
“figure it all out”
A Perfectly Good Screwup
“You’re a screwup”
My mother yells at me as I’m backed into my corner
“You were a mistake, a fate I’m unable to escape”
I’ll sit in my corner
Looking down at my chewed up nails
And my imperfect messed up screwed up hands.
I’ll sit in my corner
As I let my mother scratch her claws
And snap her jaws
Like a wild animal attacking its prey.
I’m nothing more then a fucked up little girl
To my perfect, strong, hard-working mother.
I’m a screwup because my floor looks like a world war,
And my war leaves socks and muddy footprints in her perfectly trimmed house.
I’m a screwup because like my room
My head is a disaster
explosions of stress wrecking the perfect harmony of my family.
I’m a screwup to my mom
Because instead of touching land mines of broken promises
I took a pencil and a paper and wrote “no”.
But writing is a disaster,
An invaluable art of destruction
Bringing nothing but chaos to a life my mother has so carefully granted me.
I’m a screwup
Not worthy of this life of ease
The only mess I’m living in
Is this corner
Caged by a roof forced over my head.
It’s a constant war
In which I never fight back
A war that leaves me bruised and bloody
From words of insufficient care.
How can I be a screwup
When I cook up love for my siblings
And serve them nothing but a good life?
How can I be a screwup
When my room overflows with words and knowledge
Like my “A+” brain?
How can I be a screwup
When the life I’ve chosen
Is the one that puts a smile on not only my face but others?
Now that I’m out of my corner
And living my life as a perfectly good screwup,
Let me ask you this:
How can I be a screwup
When you screwed up way more than me?
This is petty of me. This is weak of me. This is me saying that I have very little confidence in myself. This is me asking how I can improve.
I'm generally really hesitant to share my writing. I've never been under the impression it would <i>take me somewhere</i>. I've never been under the impression that I'm more or less talented than my peers.
When I do share something, I've noticed the responses are light. I'm never expecting the world. And I know this is my own problem. The trouble is, some of my writing gets a lot of views and little to no feedback. I feel like the writing I love the most is recieved in the worst way. I just struggle with handling this. Does it mean I'm more awful than I thought? That, really, out of 102 people who read something, only 1 person likes my writing?
I've been really struggling with my mental health. I'm really depressed and I can't afford treatment and, honestly, my brain is often just useless. I'm trying to be better and make better choices.
I've really enjoyed Prose. It motivates me to write. And this week I've finally created a challenge people want to participate in. So it's been nice interacting more than usual.
But I told myself I'd start making practical decisions this year. And I'm not sure I am able to handle this anymore. It's no ones fault but my own, I need to square away my own brain. But. If you're someone who has read my writing and doesn't like it or are indifferent, why? What is it you don't like? How can I improve?
I really appreciate honesty and constructive criticism. And any advice you can give about handling public response to writing.
I'll likely continue to write regardless. But I might take another hiatus/stop publicly posting. I feel weak and needy writing this. But I'll get over that, too. Eventually.
Maybe I'm afraid that you were simply lonely.
That it had nothing to do with me.
It could've been anyone you got attached to.
Or maybe I'm afraid that I was simply lonely.
That it had nothing to do with you.
It could've been anyone I got so attached to.
And maybe I'm afraid because I'm lonely all over again.
The Things I Said While You Were Sleeping
I am not a good person.
If white lies were good deeds, I’d be called a saint. I substitute nihilism for wit and self-deprecation for charm. I’m too scared to believe in God.
You could do better.
I’m so pretentious. I equate big words with big feelings, and I overuse the semicolon. I don’t know how to tie my shoes properly. I’m afraid of grasshoppers. I get anxious when things stay the same for too long, and change frightens me. I’m haunted by the people I’ve ghosted. I’m daunted by my own heartbeat. Everything I do looks like a cry for help.
Why are you even here?
You are so beautiful. I’ll never deserve you.
I’m the shade to your sunshine.
You rest comfortably beneath me,
but I’m stunting your growth.
I’m holding you back.
I’m obscuring your view of the sky.
Please be patient with me.
I’m a wagon with square wheels.
You bring so much light to the world around you, the sun might be your mirror.
I’m a squalid, pathetic little hermit,
holed up within the confines of his own head.
You’re everything Julie Andrews sings about.
if your open eyes don’t halt my heart,
I promise I’ll tell you everything.
My accomplishments lately
I wake up on time nearly every day. I don't run away from challenges. I have a really good mechanic. I try my very best with everything I do. I put in a lot of work to excel at school. I push myself to my limit and I'm gentle with myself when I screw up. I try to make my bed every day and actually do it like 4 times a week! I finally cleaned out my car. I was able to get presents for my friends this year. A kid I tutored last semester brought his grade up 50 points! I appreciate my family. I feel comfortable in my skin most of the time. I didn't cry when my teacher yelled at me last week. In fact, I went on to have a pretty good day. I don't need to see my therapist every week anymore.
I am happy and I am so proud to be happy. It didn't just happen. I never thought I would be. It took years and a hell of a lot of work, but I made it happen. It started with one accomplishment each day. Some days my biggest accomplishment was just not beating myself up for staying in bed. Other days it was making someone smile. I still have to work at maintaining a positive outlook sometimes, but it's a lot easier now.
Mourning in the house ... all grief and sorrow: some weeping, some crying, staring at a point ...
One of the four children of the deceased at the funeral without any signs of mourning. Of course, many were surprised, but no one asked why.
Finally, the weary old man began to reprimand the boy who was still smiling. If you are not happy! You lost your father today! Would you not even shed a tear? ”The boy replied,“ That's a sad day for me. My heart hurts, but I have to be patient! First of all, if I cry out to others, I will suffer the pain of my deceased father. Secondly, if the weeping people were at least one word in exchange for the weeping and dedication of the deceased, they would have benefited and rewarded them. That is why I keep saying goodbye to myself!
The elder asked, "Why you smile then?"
There are two reasons why I should be happy first, I am glad that my father's spirit is refreshed by the fact that I have kept myself from crying; Secondly, I smile because I do not want others to be saddened when I see myself in distress! So let's start reciting the Qur'an without wasting too much time!
Who am I? What am I to do?
Its been a month and a half and things still haven't calmed. If anything they're worse. And it's killing me. Its unleashing demons I've fought before. Though I won the last time I've noticed the increased aggression and physical toll it takes on me. I won't be as successful one day. That day will be my last.
My life is one that movies could not capture. The horrible things I've been through and the horrible things I obsess over show through the gray in my once blue, vibrant eyes. I lost my soul a long time ago. Through the windshield of a car I should have never been in. Coming back from a light I never should have ran from. That was my chance. Since then I've experienced things no one could imagine. Ive been stricken with disease which restricts my mobility more each day. Pain that never ceases and sleep that never comes. The treatments require money. The money requires working. Working is impossible. I watch my two children grow up more each day. Soon they won't be able to forget me. Then I am trapped. They are the reason I stick around and fight and the reason I want to go. They don't need to lose their innocence watching their father suffer and die a slow death. My brain conjures images of my brutal and vivid end. Its playing on loop every moment im not distracted. Dreams of running in traffic and nightmares of surviving. Visions of wrists running dry in the bathtub. The sound of the belt stretching as I slide down the closet door. Then the ultimate sadness when I wake up. Suffering still. No chance at heaven; no soul to save. I missed my chance. Still I'm
, a soldier and I follow my path. I try to make this world a little better when I leave it. So, of course, when my father needed a place to stay I was there... But maybe I shouldn't have been. You see, about 4 months ago my father was stricken homeless along with his fiance. I found this odd and completely out of character but didn't question it. I invited them into my home with no room for my tribe as it was. 2 small children and a wife can fill up a house. Air mattress in the living room it is. My dad will learn to love it. Still not able to work I watch and worry as we get farther behind. I sell all I can to help make amends. But, eventually, there were no more. The two houseguests were struggling as well so no need to bother them with my woes. Right? And then it happened. Everything took a turn and I never saw it coming. It still hasn't ended and I know not what to do. You can be a soldier and battle for good but, I've found out, you sometimes also have to battle for evil to be that same soldier. To be that same follower. To uphold that same faith. I woke up a few weeks ago to find my father having a stroke. Strangely, I knew how to handle it. I understood the symptoms and relayed the urgency to the dispatch. We were able to save him after a 4 hour brain surgery. With no money we were figuring out how to make our home equipped. Due to me already limited mobility there was not much to change. I spent what money I did not have to get out home ready for my dad, the survivor! But, boy, was I way off. We discovered an addiction that triggered this stroke. An addiction I completely missed. How?? Along with this addiction came truths to come out that would forever make me regret being there to save my fathers life. What kind of person am I? How terrible. This thought makes my demons stir and take over. What kind of son am I? After all, there are only 2 of us. Me and my little brother. My bro is severely autistic and is the most loving and happy person I've had the pleasure of knowing. Most people saw my brother as handicapped but I saw him as a priveledge. The light this family needed. At least, he was. Now he is violent and depressed; a familiar pattern amongst us. He can't stand to see his father, our father, left like this. Did I do the right thing? I unearthed after the stroke which came from an overdose many things I wish I hadn't. I found out my father and his fiance were not only addicts but dealers. I found hundreds of dollars of dope lying carelessly on my children's bookshelf in the living room of my house. Which was also the area that I let them call home. I went through everything only to find uncapped syringes and burned spoons tucked away all throughout the very room where my family gathers daily. I lost all respect and love right then. I could not even grieve the brain damaged father for worrying about my children being safe in there home. I immediately sent the fiance packing. She can go be homeless. I got enough going on. And by the time we brought my dad home 3 weeks later he is able walk a little and understand most things. He cannot speak. He will never live on his own again. But he is alive. Or is he? Ive mentioned my disability and my mental health but my father has ignored it since I was diagnosed. Now that he is in a condition Im having to care for him. But all he cares about it the dope. And his fiance that brought the dope around in the first place. I am having to keep tabs on him and drive all over town to find him when he "disappears". My little brother gets more depressed and I get angrier. He doesn't deserve this. Did my father miss his chance too? My eyes have grown more gray as my life and fight fades. What kind of person am I? Did I do the right thing or did I intervene in my father's chance at redemption? Did I save his life or take it? Every day since I have seen small improvements with my fathers speech. Always about his fiance. Or asking for my money that I don't have. I can't keep this up. I know that. I'm perfectly fine deciding my own fate. Am I perfectly fine to decide others as well? Do I end suffering for myself or end it for us all? Who am I? Did my passed battles just prepare me to fight? Or show me how to lose? Or would it be winning? Who am I?
Grief is a tricky thing. You can never be sure when it will sneak up on you. It could be a song playing on the radio, a subtle whiff of a cologne that triggers a sense of familiarity, a color that sends your mind on a spiraling trip filled with despair.
Today it was Kobe Bryant’s death. I didn’t know the man personally, never even been a fan of basketball but everyone knows Kobe. I turned on the television to the news today morning and it was the first piece that jumped out. I saw the images of the smoldering helicopter, stark against a dark grey mountain. Immediately my heart squeezed and I felt the tears bubbling up from inside me. But it was not about Kobe even though I could tell he was much beloved. It transported me back to that moment when the doctor stood before my mother and I and told us my father was gone. I recalled the numbness, the complete shutting down of my body, the utter lack of feeling at first. I remember placing my headphones in my ears and listening to Casting Crowns “Praise you in this storm” over and over. It was dark and rainy then just as it was when Kobe’s helicopter went down.
The thing with grief is all the questions you are left with... what were the last words I said to my father before he died? Did he know how much I loved him? Was he afraid when he took his last breath? Did he feel pain? Is it really going to be alright? Why does everybody keep saying it’s God’s plan? What am I supposed to do with all these I’m sorries? What now?
I imagined Vanessa with these questions, or a version of them... and I thought of my father... his soft hands and how he used to lay on the sofa reading a newspaper, a cigarette always on his hand... I thought of how I used to discuss the weather with him and how I fought with him…I thought of hearing his voice on the phone and laughing when he kept his bowl of fruit salad in the fridge… and I thought about how I would never see these things again.
The thing with grief is it never really goes away… it hides after a while like a scab that has formed over a wound... then its peeled away when another reminder of death is thrust in your face… grief remains with you, hidden like the darkness when the sun comes up...it is a constant reminder to love, to hold, to laugh, to forgive.. It is also a reminder that you will never get the answers you seek because as cliché as it sounds, life really is to be lived.