Budweiser cans lay on the floor like empty mortar rounds,
the smell of Jack Daniels as potent as battlefield blood.
Weekend wars where we fight ourselves for pleasure.
Waging conquest on the banal.
Losing limbs and liver for a life less ordinary.
The air in my apartment is stale like cigarette butts,
buried in mass graves in an ashtray over full.
Weekend warriors where we battle for a new fix.
Waging conquest on the week day.
Losing steady vision for a life less ordinary.
Do you find yourself wandering through the desert of life
Searching for an oasis of truth
A safe place to stop and rest for a while
To gather enough strength to carry you through
Do you find hope, in this middle of nowhere
Or do you let the ache eat you every step you take?
Can you smile, when even though you remember,
the wounds you created by your own,
on the beautiful surface of your skin?
Are you capable to hold the tears back,
from streaming down,
when all you feel is the heavy weight in your chest,
scaring your heart,
at every beat of it?
When off in the distance you see what appears to be
A mirage of your own making
You take out your scared heart before it falls apart
And head in that direction for safety
But alas it's just an illusion
A figment of imagination in your mind
What you thought of as paradise
Was the reality of the times
My heart isn't as cold,
My soul isn't as dark,
Now that I feel belonged,
to this paradise,
I only feel infinite
I was brought into this world for a purpose
To conquer my ambitions and my dreams
It all started oh so simple , but when I entered high school all of that did not matter
The were three types of groups in this hell hole
Nerds ,Stoners , and popular teens
Obviously I had to choose and I only hoped being a stoner could boost up my reputation
Instead of receiving education ,I was busy inhaling the holy plantation
Look where I ended up , my report card is an embarrassing piece of paper that ever came up my eyes
Shouldn't we all be studying?
dedicated to M M Jones from Montana,
where I guess big skies make people think
about big questions and young poets thrive.
the butterflies of child-awakening
to the certainty
that school and
shame and embarrassment
were only minutes away,
is as fresh as
the flowers my love
buys every Friday,
fifty plus year later.
I would awake,
climb into bed with my mother,
telling her I did not feel well,
stomach felt gray.
I could not tell her that
the mocking I received by
my richer classmates at the
multiple lines in the fabric
of my corduroy pants
where she let my pants down
made me cannon fodder
for what we call now
I could not tell her
of the heartbreak
when somehow the parents
of my supposed suburban friends
pick me up for the weekly swim,
leaving me to watch
the sunset fall as I sat
on the stoop of our old house,
tucked away in an out of the way,
the shame still wet.
I could not tell her
of how two bothers tortured me
as I sat in the back seat
of their station wagon,
on me like curses.
Their older brother died of cancer
when that was still unusual,
and the mother wrote
a beautiful book
about his life.
I still hate them, those two,
fifty years later and it gives me
unusually great pleasure to
announce it to the world.
So I studied.
Not my schoolbooks,
but lovely and junky literature.
Friday afternoons, three children,
me the baby brother,
(anonymous, for they nicknamed me
brother as if I was nothing but
checked off category)
to the library went.
Five, five was the max
they the austere librarians
and their coda of holy silence,
would let me withdraw.
(god I can see my library card still).
By Friday night,
I had finished one or two,
ruining my eyes in
the lousy lamp light
in the living room,
falling asleep on the couch.
this, reading addiction,
which afflicted the entire family,
I did well into my teens.
I have stopped reading
which amazes the very few
who know and care.
do let us re-pose,
let us repose,
Shouldn't we all be studying?
the answer of course is
yes and no.
my studying blue period
is long since ended.
now, my biographer,
will call this my red period.
for red are the memories that my remembrances
come back to me.
crystal is the clarity
of the indignities
I recall, though red,
is the anger
at the shame and
abuse I took.
now I can write what I have always held in my heart.
those two awful brothers,
who loved to torture me,
I was glad their
wonderful brother died.
so this is my red writing period,
when the studying of a kind,
has long since ended
but the smell,
the memory of
fresh textbooks still can
make me nauseous.
Yet, I still study life around me,
as I clean countertops,
walk deserted beach isles
in early September...
is the product of years
of studying the inside out
of me, and turning that study
fruitful into poetry.
why am I writing this at 2:00 am on a Sunday morning?
I did not pose the question.
but it posed me,
and the dialogue in my mind came
sugarcane fresh and tumbling out
and will be both
recorded and recoded
("in the truth will out eventually" file)
after a fashion.
these days I sometimes study
my older poems,
whose titles I recognize,
but whose content
I cannot recall.
so double digit delight
meet again old words,
wondrous and trite,
that make believe
that all my studying
somehow paid off after all.
There are parts of our stories that we wish were different
Things we wish we could erase
We get stuck in moments
Over-analyzing our every movement
Trying our hardest to make the memories perfect
Memories turn in to ghosts
That haunt our happiness
And kill our freedom
We try to live in the past
But we can't repeat it
So it never works
And it hurts
Then somehow inside the same story
There is good
There are memories that make us laugh and make us smile
Loving relationships and life changing conversations
Places that we hope to go
And people that we want to meet
Even things as simple as favorite books and songs and films
They are a daily reminder of why we're alive
And we've come to believe that all of it matters
That all of it is significant and
The opposite of small
We've come to believe that you deserve to be around people who make you feel whole
People who laugh and mourn and celebrate with you
People who remind you
You're not alone in this whole big thing called life.
You say, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”
but I say surely something
must taste nicer than the burning acid
being forced back up your throat.
Why not hug people instead of
toilet bowls? At least they’ll hug back.
Except Mia is your only friend now.
And her cousin, Ana, of course.
And I understand that you never
wanted to die, but this is a thousand ton truck
hurtling towards the edge of a cliff and
Ana took the wheel a long time ago.
There is no strength in this: in you, in a
fear of calories. Even your bones creak
as your muscles sigh with exhaustion -
for this, is not a war you're winning.
This is a battle with only one contender
and I will not be the one to disarm you.
That's your job and it always has been. I know
you only wanted to be beautiful
like all those stars in the magazines
you saved under a file titled ‘thinspo’
but the only stars you ever saw were in
your eyes from the dizziness
and to tell you the truth, you are not pretty.
For there is nothing “pretty”
about the layer of fuzz your body grew
to protect itself from the big bad wolf
when really, the only growl was coming
from inside your stomach.
Or how your little sister is afraid to touch,
let alone hug you, in fear of snapping you in two.
For there is no glamour in having to
remove clumps of hair out of the plughole
at least six times whilst having a shower,
just to let the water run down.
Or that one time you "accidentally”
took too many laxatives. Messy.
There is nothing admirable about the way
you sat shivering on your bed
at night instead of kissing boys,
or dancing, or eating ice cream.
There is nothing to be marvelled at
This, is not a life to be lived.
God, this isn't even a life.
This is being a slave to your own body,
a walking zombie, a ghost stuck
between two sides.
You are not alive.
But it was all still worth it, right?
Slowly killing yourself from the inside out.
A small price to pay for perfection,
a bargain for a broken mirror;
for a half-written book
with 97 blank pages,
that only captures in black and white,
with frozen hands.
And most importantly, for a peace of mind
you never received.