i never thought
i could be this much
we could be this much
there's more than lies,
more that lies
under passive waters
where all the colors
of the eyes of the oceans
have been bled out
and we're all just an expanse of gray
i like to tread carefully
but sometimes i
take the dive
and i choke, sputter,
but pain gives way to
that Something more
and you are something more
we are something more
if we only accept it
if we only accept it
here in the deep
where don't get me wrong, it's dark
it's like nighttime is squeezing my soul
but then i see you
and i see there's others down here
as you cry to the counselor
and we scream that none of us are heard
but maybe we can
hear each other
and i think i hear you
where water fills my ears
i hear you
through the ink-stained waves
and suddenly it's all teal and beautiful
i was torn and you were there to fix me
i think there
are demons in here,
residing in frilly homes
in this silly head
some days they tear me to pieces
i couldn't say a
word, but i'm crying
in the car, crying in the
car, crying in the shower,
crying into my pillow, crying
but not for help
the demons tell me
how weak i am, and they win.
i think there
are sunlight fairies out there,
just across the internet,
on the other side of my phone,
when i can't see you
you fill in the gaps, the holes in my brain that the demons made
i wrote to you
because i needed somebody.
so thank you
for reminding me
that i am not weak, and they will not win.
i’ve been dying since i was 16
maybe it was before that. i think i was 6 actually. inside a pew. inside a church. catholic, they say i am. i say it too - its just something i do.
but i died, yes. when i saw all the sculptures. all the plaques with the man. the thorn crowned man with nails in his hands and nails in his feet and blood on his head.
no tears though.
there shouldve been both.
wasnt he human?
i never knew jesus was god. i thought he was the son of. like my brother was to my dad.
he still is. both mine and jesus'.
ive never seen us in the same sentence but i should have because we've both been dead for so long.
i've been dying since i remember how sad i felt for his hands but especially his feet. i remember trying to measure with child sized hands how big that nail must have been. i shuddered at imaging how much it must have hurt him to feel it and maybe even hurt the hammerer trying to get the nails through the foot bone.
pain is loud, and i always felt for it. i also always was willing to take it. i cant tell you why. i did not grow up surrounded by pain. there was no lack of love. maybe that's why. maybe that's the problem. maybe thats always the fucking problem: i have lived my life afraid of the mere idea that somebody else in the world does not know love and it has made me die.
wait, maybe jesus, jesus, jesus, and i -
we are alike.
(dont tell god i said such a thing - i need to still make it to heaven to measure him up. measure both of them up. that father and that son)
i have been dying for such a long time but in all this time, nobody - not one - has come with a hammer to nail large nails through my bony hellbent feet.
i have been dying since i was young but my soul has gotten old waiting for some father and son to say, we've got a thorny crown for you.
maybe it's cause i'm no god but it's about time, in the history of heaven, that a goddess comes along.
7-29-2022 // RUIN IT BEFORE THE FIRST BITE, YEAH, okay. okay. alright. okay.
and you ask the question,
the one you know you shouldn’t—
the one that’ll hurt,
the one that’ll scar,
the one that’ll leave you gasping for breath
and unable to move for weeks,
the one that could break you forever.
but the answer
leaves something to be desired—
a pause, then a rushed response
that’s longer than “just in case”
but that hurts, if at all possible, a lot worse.
and you want to follow up,
with something like
“well, i won’t bring it if it’s bad,” or
“but do you think it’s worth it at all,
even as just a ‘just in case’?” or
something that’ll hurt worse to say.
but you don’t say anything at all.
you get in the car, and
hold the dessert in your lap,
and try not to frown.
you try not to give in.
you try not to care so much.
and it just hurts,
to feel this way, all while
trapped in the sticky jaws of the heat
and unable to cry. it just
hurts, i say, but there’s nothing
else to say, now is there.
and all i’ve got left
is a tiny whisper of breath—
no courage behind it,
not even an ounce.
no apologies, either. just
beat myself up over
all the little things,
crawl inside myself, fold
into my ribs
(like well-trained acrobat)
tuck my head and face
behind pain-riddled hands,
push and push and push, willing
the pain and self-sabotage away
AWAY AWAY AWAY—
but neither leave.
and i turn round and round
in this crooked, gilded
bone cage, until
my eyes peek out from
behind my spine,
wide and bright and glassy
among the bone,
watching the world
from beneath a landslide,
the b-side of things—
and, wow, is it dark.
it is bleak.
i read every word backwards.
sdrawkcab sdrawkcab sdrawkcab.
i breathe through
the gaping hole
in my chest,
and expel it all
through the windows in my skull.
i cling to the bars of my cage
and watch the world
through pale flesh, rewound.
i see music through
bloodshot, sleepless, sunken eyes.
and i in no way interact
with the outward world,
except to breathe backwards
and press faster
on the rewind button.
what happens if this is number nine?
i think i was born this way. in a panic and
knowing that this is it.
i think i am a cat in my ninth life and
from the moment i crawled into the world,
squirming and skeletal, it was all panic.
i think i have lost something that cannot
be recovered. like i ruined the last eight
lives and am given one last
that i already know i will fail.
i think i am the kind of cat that no one wants.
in alleyways on fencetops under garbage bags,
the kind that ends up a pile of sticky fur
pressed against the asphalt of a highway.
i think my stomach sinks because i want
to be something more but am too afraid,
too sure that i am doomed. there is a
sinking premonition that my last lives
were ended on a desperate mewing note,
my claws grabbing on in denial. i think
of the pig in charlotte's web, and it echoes
in my head how he lived his life whining
'i don't want to die' knowing that he would,
he had to, he was a pig. but i think i am a cat
and there is no purpose. not even a price on my
flesh as something valuable, a profitable livestock.
nothing to love or be loved by. not an endearing
little pet to take care of. cats indulge in independence,
but perhaps inside they are bitter and lonely in the end.
i think i never wanted to be a cat, it is like being
trapped in a body i was never meant for. and the ribs
are restraining, the breathing is never enough and the
worst is being unable to speak. no cry for help that
a single soul would understand. here i am with no
language but panic, like the screeching of tires before
the inevitable car wreck. i think with eight lives behind
me, i can close my eyes this time and swallow the hurt.
i dont know if it is worse that i know what the metal
crushing my body feels like, or if it is worse to know
that i will never feel it (or anything) ever again. i think
i am a cat on my last life and you'd imagine after the first
lives i would not be afraid anymore. but i am a thing
of writhing panic and i think i was born this way.
“you’re every car that passes by/everybody in the corner of my eye” (off my mind, joe p) // i remember the good times and the bad ones, too
the afternoons were always
blue-green. the mornings were
always a young, summer type of yellow. the
evenings, they were
the orange of the setting sun,
the black of the coming dark night,
and the yellow of the lamplight
and your bedsheets.
i still remember the sounds of the birds
and the way the carpet smelled before
you had it torn up and replaced
with that white, fake-wood stuff.
i still remember you
singing to tom jones,
the grease on the table,
the way you made me mac and cheese,
the way you made me ramen
that i still can’t get perfect
and it bugs me that i miss the way you made it.
i still remember us looking through boxes of movies
and finding the best ones
and watching them while my uncle was at work.
i still remember our walks
and helping you water the plants
and helping you pick the oranges that were really mandarins
(i still remember you correcting me).
i still remember dog sitting with you,
and you sneaking me yorks,
and showing me around the bathroom of the neighbor’s house.
i still remember that halloween
that i dressed up at your house
and we went to the neighbor’s party.
i remember us going to the post office
and checking out the bookcase
of free books together,
and going back to your house
(back home back home back home)
to read them together.
i still remember all the good times
and the bad ones, too.
i still remember the summer i lost you
and the letters i wrote to you
in green and blue pens.
i still remember holding onto the movies we’d bought before
the summer i lost you,
holding on to them and hoping it was enough
that you might want me back.
i still remember all the days and nights and mornings i cried
that summer i lost you.
i still remember the three weeks before my birthday,
just after the summer i lost you,
and how you’d said you wanted to see me.
i still remember needing to take a breather
the night before the fall you lost me,
and a week before my birthday.
i still remember looking up at that midnight black september night,
and hearing the frogs in the canyon croak
and the mountain lions roar,
and sitting in the bed of my uncle’s pickup,
crying alone in the almost-cold warmth.
i still remember how you found me, and hugged me, and cried,
and said that i’d come back and it’d all be better.
i still remember that i came back,
two years later,
and it wasn’t all better.
i still remember the good times,
and the bad ones,
and i still remember all of the plans
written in my poems
and i still cry
because they can’t work
while i still love you. and even if i thought
i’d ever stopped, i never did,
and i don’t know
how i will. because i still remember
all of the bad times, but the good ones, too.
when when when
when i was younger
we would play monopoly
in the late-afternoon sun
on the greasy table
and make ramen and grilled cheese
and the old dog would lay at my feet
and i still see those days
in my head, so often still
and i wonder if you remember them, too
or if you were drunk then
and can’t recall my laughter
or our little jokes
and my bones feel too tight
at the thought of this
and my hands begin to hurt
and my heart burns like it’s on fire
and i feel like if i don’t cry i’ll just explode
and i feel like if i don’t let go that i might lose myself
but i doubt you’d know how that feels
and even if you did
we still couldn’t relate
not like we used to
(if we even did)
’cause the sun comes up
and you smile and nod your head
until the rain comes along
and you retreat to a crowded house
to forget about your sorrows and mistakes
in a bottle of beer
with a tall glass raised,
you make jokes
and i hand out empty smiles,
hope to forget
how it used to be,
only so i might let go of you
because of what it‘s become now
forget it all and wish
we could relate
like we used to
(but even then—)
(did we ever)
so i do my best
to blend myself away when
(find i’ve bled on the walls)
(and you don’t even notice the drip)
(but all the others do)
can’t breathe when you’re around,
can’t talk like we used to,
can’t hide my rain like
i used to
and i wish
that i could forget
all of the good times
where you were probably drunk
or high or whatever you might have been
so that you can’t remember
the little jokes
and the sound of our laughter
and the way things used to be
and the way things’ve turned out now
i wish i could forget it all
like you forgot me
(without a care)
(without even a goodbye)
(i’m bleeding on everyone else)
(just trying to keep you close)
(so now i’ve got)
(to let you go,)
(to let you go,)
(to let you go)
a frying pan
i want to rip my eyes out
i want to scrape off all of my freckles
one by one
then all of my skin
i want to grab and stretch it till it rips off
i want to take that part in your throat
where you feel like you're gonna cry
out with both of my hands.
i want to twist my head off and stomp
it into the ground.
i want to stab into my chest and
rummage through all of the useless body parts
until i get to my decaying heart so i can
take it out and cut it into one hundred tiny pieces
and feed it to a snake like the boy who broke it.
i want to hit the side of my head hard enough
until a hole forms and my brain falls out onto
a pan so i can fry it.
i want to rip myself apart from
but be alive for it.
i want this mental pain
to be physical -