-I am female
-I am 20 years old
-I am horribly misplaced on this planet
I left at first light.
Packed my bags for the 23rd time.
(Or was it the 24th?
I've lost count.)
I went south,
To a sad little factory town
Where I spent part of my adolescence.
I thought it would be interesting to see if
The townies still remembered me.
If their booze-soaked brains had
Retained the memory of the strange
Little homeless girl with crooked hips.
I have changed quite a bit.
And I've just seen the medicine man,
He knows who I am.
I saw the fear in his eyes when he came in.
To him I am
A ghostly amalgam
Of memory and imagination.
Something he never thought he'd see again.
He walks right by me without a second glance.
I let him pass.
I only exist in the rear view.
Just a minor case of déjà vu.
My twenties came
And buried my mind in a shallow grave.
But it's okay.
They say damaged goods wont keep
Without a refrigerator
Let it spoil.
Complex PTSD made even more complex by frequent bouts of mild psychosis.
Obsessive pineapple eating.
And I have a horrible sense of direction.
What was the question?
The lonely little girl in me
Wants to hug the scared little boy in you
Until you stop being scared and I stop being lonely.
But this is a grocery store.
And you are a stranger buying cauliflower.
My sister loved sunflowers.
Anything worth loving in me died in a ditch behind a trailer park in northern Wisconsin. I’ve never been one much for talking. But I think I’d like to say something. I am all nerve endings. Don’t touch me. Don’t look at me. How dare you look at me? Keep your money, I come here to be lonely and broke. That is the whole point of me, you know. I’m like some sort of plot device the author chose to show how lost the human soul can be. I’m supposed to die horribly to teach you that life is short and beautiful or some bullshit like that.
My niece liked pie. Not just any pie.
I could go on this whole speech about how you don’t know me. But I’m probably just as ridiculous as I seem. A stereotype confirmed. Go tell your friends you’ve found Waldo in the wild. It probably won’t happen again.
My mother collected angel statues.
No, I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve tried so hard to fix the people in my life. To fix myself. But my hell has made me complacent and I just don’t give a shit anymore. Spite is the only thing keeping me alive. Spite and Jack Daniels.
You know, I used to like to sing. Isn’t that interesting?
Don't tell me to shut up and be grateful,
For the rights "given" to me.
Nobody "gave" me my sovereignty.
It is mine, inherently.
To say that I should be grateful to possess more rights
Than the women before me,
Is like to say I should be grateful to the theif
Who only steals twenty dollars, when he used to steal fifty.
As long as I live in a society that blames a rape victim
For being too sexy,
As long as I live in a society that creates an institutional
And as long as I live in a society where people feel trapped
By their sexual identity
I will not shut up and be grateful.
I will be loud and angry.
We work our fingers to the bone
For a pitiful paycheck.
Our clothes smell of chlorine and bleach.
We stay up all hours to study.
Our futures are bought with our sweat.
Women like us don't wait around.
No time to be idealistic.
Sure, we dream of a better life.
But we're not afraid of the means
To our ends.
Women like us have dirty hands.
They say we are strong,
What do you think of that?
They say we are lucky,
What do you think of that?
They say we are survivors.
I glance at my sister, balancing her beer
precariously on the edge of the couch cushion.
Her brows furrow.
She knows how grief worms its way into your
Heart and makes a nest.
They stole our souls and pissed on our innocence.
No amount of change, distance, time, love, therapy
Can ever replace what was taken from us.
She looks back at me with knowing eyes.
No one survives.
Containers full of pain and sorrow
And laughter and joy.
Tiny universes held together with skin,
Sitting in a bus station at 3am.
Drooping faces weary with travel.
These are my people,
Though they don't know me.
Though they don't see me.
I sit alone in the corner and watch them watch their T.V.s
I watch them wait.
I watch the woman across from me.
The picture of middle-aged addiction.
Clinging to her garbage bag belongings
Like a scared child clings to its mothers breast.
As I memorize every line on her face,
Broken teeth and searching eyes,
I realize that she is beauty defined.
Has anyone ever told her?
In that room,
The ineffable resides.
Hidden in the suitcases of crack fiends
3am Escanaba to Milwaukee
That's my cue to leave,
I raise my hands to the ceiling and I shout
"Goodbye, you're all beautiful!"
They look at me like I'm crazy.
I don't care.
I am madly in love with their humanity.
I never want to know sanity.
A flatness of feeling falls and rests on my shoulders like leaves that
Drop from the maple at summer’s end.
My hands are limp at my side.
They have no wish to grasp at false strings of hope.
All of the passions of my youth have died.
Now, I only care for truth.
How quickly I have aged.
Only a few years ‘til I reach my expiration date
And all I’ll leave here are a few words on a page.
Words of rage.
And the love of a man that time forbade.
His soul bears the scars of my mutiny.
I am guilty.
But somewhere in his veins,
Somewhere etched in his DNA
Is all of the love I gave.
I did not take it with me.
I heard news of him today.
He has a wife and a summer house on a lake,
He’ll be a daddy soon.
Isn’t that beautiful?
What a fitting dénouement.
Someday when the door is open
And the sky is blue,
I’ll see you standing on my beloved dunes
In the spot near the coyote’s den,
Where when I was ten I learned of death
From the sun bleached remains of a rabbit’s collar bone.
Someday I’ll see you shining in a sunlight
That no shadow can erase.
Joy will be the air around you
And there will be no more pain.
No fear of retribution,
Divine or mundane.
No more death
No more hunger
No more shame.
Someday we’ll start over.
Just you and I
And live the dreams we spun
When we were young.
We’ll find a world that isn’t broken,
And a life that isn’t hopeless.
We’ll live in the realm of snow white innocence,
Immersed in the warmth of
For now I will endure.
Live the existence assigned to me.
I will calmly and quietly suffer my share.
I’ll meet you there.
Thank you for pulling me out of my silence
Into the world of other people for a moment.
It reminded me that my existence needs context
And that people can be something other than
Annoying background noise to my obsessions.
Thank You for ignoring the awkward silence,
And pretending that “uh, yeah”
Is an acceptable answer to any question.
Usually my obvious lack of eye contact
Would discourage the casual conversationalist,
But you took it as a challenge.
And it’s exactly what I needed.
Most of all,
Thank you for taking the time
To be kind to me,
A lonely misfit,
In an indifferent world.
And though it is not worth much,
You have my eternal gratitude.
It's funny that I can so clearly see
The soul you deny you have,
Shining brightly through
Your ocean eyes
And peeking through corners of your smile.
And the softness in your voice
Has such spiritual undertones.
I cannot believe
You are merely skin and bone.
But What do you see?
If all I am is a rush of dopamine,
I wonder why you put up with me
When so many others could facilitate
the same purpose.
How can you love me and
Say that I am nothing?
What do you mean?
My armor is made of sunny smiles,
The smell of peonies,
And the breeze off of Lake Michigan.
It is made of guitar strings,
Of midnight kisses,
And snowflakes that fall gently on windowsills,
My skin is made of lemon juice,
And tree roots.
It is made of razor blades,
And window shades.
My soul is a tempest,
An angry sea that swallows all
Who have the gall to brave it.
It is a hurricane with a human eye,
Incomprehensible and strange.
It is the wind that
Rips the sails from vessels,
That no God or man can tame.
I've no idea why I write so much
As I have never had a way with words.
And I don't know why I fight so much
When I am genuinely apathetic toward the outcome of most arguments.
I think I get bored.
Maybe I just--
I like to make things dificult.
I like the combination of puzzle and pain.
It gives me something to fill my little brain.
A reason to be awake.
It's like a game.
But not the kind that children play.
More like a contest.
Who can destroy themselves the fastest?
Except the only prize is self denial and
If you are lucky--
A bit of Jack to wash away the lonliness.
A miserable existence, I know.
I live it,
Because I still have this ridiculous hope
That the empty chair in the kitchen will
Save me from myself.
I'm a senseless,
I am of the north country.
Sure feet and sealed lips.
Born on the shore of lake superior
And carried off by the wind.
It takes guts to live like this
And maybe a little bit of a mental illness.
Keen senses and good instincts.
Always with a foot on the gas.
I've seen a lot,
maybe more than I should have.
But life is a learning experience,
and I've had a few laughs.
Things have changed.
People have gone.
It's been years since I've heard the cold wind'ssong
Or been trapped under five feet of snow,
But this place still feels like home.
Where else am I going to go?
Some things stay the same.
I'd take cold, northern civility
Over southern hospitality
Time is not my master
He cannot order me to forget.
Nor is he my doctor.
My wounds are remnants of the dead.
As long as blood seeps they
Live through me in memory.
I made a vow in love
A promise, an oath
That I would never let go.
I wouldn't break it.
Not for all the happiness in the world.
I have known the sweetest love
How could I let it fade into the abyss of time?
How could I do that and live with myself?
I love how this town empties out at night.
How the buildings take on a life of their own.
With all the people gone they can
And finally so can I.
I feel a lot less lonely when I'm alone.
I wonder if someday I'll turn to stone,
Like Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt.
Only, I imagine it would be a bit less dramatic.
More like falling asleep and becoming part of a park bench.
In any case, I think I'd like that.
I wonder why I write these things
And who I am writing to
Immortalizing my thoughts here
In black ink on the back of a used
I guess I hope someone will find it someday.
I just wish I had something more profound to say than
That tree had blossoms on it last week
And now they've disappeared.
I have pieces of myself
In boxes under the bed.
Tonight I'll take each,
Neat brown parcel into
And burn them.
The parts that feel
The parts that sing
The parts that care for anything
The parts that remember
Will disintigrate in the embers
Of the first summer fire.
Erasing every trace of my presence here.
Time to disappear
Into the night like
A vapor in the wind.
Follow if you wish.
I'm no angel.
I'm not made of gossamer and dreams.
I am a painter,
I paint the world according to my whims.