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b e mccomb Sep 2022
i'm not
suicidal

or maybe i just
don't know
how to tell
if i was

do random
thoughts
crossing
my brain
while leaving
the house in
the morning or
taking a shower
equate to suicidal
or just little electrical
blips in the sack
of meat piloting me?

my veins
ache

i suspect it's
a side effect
of the
permanent damage

and i think
about death

i suspect it's
a side effect
of thinking
about taxes

(you know
the two
go hand
and hand)

and 35 hours
a week of
thinking about taxes
leaves a lot of
unoccupied time
to think about death

she always used to say
"this is the most
boring job
to become an
alcoholic over"
and she's right

i have the most
boring life
to ****
myself over
too boring
to even bother

but the ticklish
surges and bursts
of thought
continue
unbidden
trespassing
traipsing
through

it gets
boring
slap myself
on the wrist

(they can’t tell me
how long it takes
a clot to form
and they can’t tell me
how long it takes
a clot to dissolve

but i can tell you
i’ve got the thinnest
blood this side
of the mississippi
a constant
ache in my
left calf
and stretch marks
on my knee
no matching ones
on my right

it’s easy for me
to forget the
part where i
very could have died
not so easy
to forget the
part where i
was alone)

life is
tenuous
and my grasp
on it even more

i'm just not sure
some days
that i'm meant
to be alive

it's hard to believe it
when my brain
and body
both say otherwise

(maybe i'm lucky
or maybe i'm
defying my
own odds)
copyright 9/23/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
it's getting bad again
but not bad enough
that i think i should
start to worry

or maybe i don't
know what's bad
and what's normal
anymore

the dark thoughts that
scamper around
are just mice
in the kitchen of my conscious

but to people with
clean houses they are
ginormous
terrifying
monstrosities
with great *******
wings and horns
and fangs and
unprovoked
bloodlust

(i guess
the unprovoked
bloodlust part
is true)

it's just mice in my pantry
keeping me awake
leaving traces
getting into my things
just mice
harmless
but very
annoying

and i'm
getting
tired
of it

it's just mice
but the urge is to
burn the entire
house down
to deal with
the problem
copyright 9/14/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
it’s 3:30am
i can’t remember
the last time
i was up this late

it’s 3:30am
and he's crying
into my shoulder

it’s 3:30am
and i’m regretting
being honest

it’s been
almost five years
together
and i’m still
digging to find
the right words
and he’s still
apologizing
to me for the
fact that i

(for lack of
a better term)

am
sad

it was still
dark when i
got up
this morning

and it felt
correct
how it’s
supposed to be
when autumn
begins to fall

but i also felt
the inexorable knife of
seasonal affected disorder
begin to twist into my side

this is the
moment i
wrote about
years ago

where he learns
he can’t
fix me

this is the
reason we don’t
 talk about
mental illness

because what’s
normal to me in my
****** up brain
(the fact i just
randomly want to
die
or hurt myself at
infrequent intervals)
is distressing
to my loved ones

my reality is
his fear

i'm afraid of
the bottom
dropping out
when he realizes
continues daily
to realize

this is how
i always have
been and how
i always will be

because i'm
constantly
realizing this
and the floor is
constantly swaying
under my feet

but it's 3:30am
and he's crying
and i can't cry
when i've already
cried about all
of this before

living with the guilt
of hurting people
is just as bad as living
with the mental illness
copyright 9/14/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
i once watched
a documentary about
transgender women
in pakistan

thrown out by
their families and
ostracized by
society

all they had
were each other

but instead of compassion
for the struggle they shared
solidarity
in each other

there was a pecking order
where the elder women
abused and beat down
the younger

i never thought
about why this
made such an
impression on me

until today
when i realized
it illustrates
the incomprehensible fact

that women
regardless of their
age or gender
assigned at birth
or ethnicity
or economic status
or the society
they live in

women
are just
horrible
to each other

my grandmother is
83 next week

family is
coming into town
and there will be
a party

and i
will not go

why?
because
**** her
that’s why

and will i regret
my resentment
when i’m as
old as she is?

i just might
but that doesn’t mean
it's worth putting
myself through the
experience at this
moment in time

i was always
papa's girl
his little
shadow

and after he died
it was like
suddenly
i didn't have
him anymore and
she didn't have any
reason to be
nice to me anymore

now that i've put
my foot down
my mother is
telling me off

and i just don't
think i need to
put up with this
any longer

and i just don't understand
why women
have to be so
horrible to each other
copyright 9/12/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
where to start
maybe where
i start
most days

dr phil says
we begin behaviors
for a reason
and they continue
for another
and i say
it’s usually
habit

some mornings
as i propel myself
down the sidewalk
i don't realize its
me moving my
own legs

(and i wonder what would
happen if i just
stopped
fell to the concrete
let the city
claim me as its own)


i know where
the puddles
form when it rains
on the asphalt terrain
been power walking
for four autumns
and i know
when to dodge them

i know where
the bus will hit
the potholes
and my body
tenses automatically
no thought

i know i carry
too much junk
around in my purse
but i’ve been
doing it so long
i don’t remember why
i thought i would need it
in the first place

i don’t need coffee
to wake me up
most mornings
but i drink it anyway

and if there’s a
box of wine in
the fridge i’ll
drink that to

(i don’t know
why i’ve been
doing everything
all right but
can’t give myself
any credit for it)


i love my commute
because i can think
and i hate it
because i never
come up with
anything new

i don't actually think
i used to be happier
in fact
i know i wasn't

but i had something
to tie myself to
espresso machine cleaner
drying my hands out

the smell of bleach
sizzle of cheese
scone dough under
my nails

buckets of carnations
armfuls of wine bottles
the hum of the
air conditioner

anchoring myself
to things
sounds and smells
objects and people

i wasn't happy then
but the nostalgia smoulders

and what
now?

the same
bus ride
every
day

three blue and
white screens
screaming phone
stacks of files

i like my job
and i'm happy with it
but there's always the
constant need to
optimize
make it better

the three year
itch is real
and the three year
itch is all i've
every known
the urge to
run
against all reason

i don't know
where i'd go

i just know
it's september again
and i'm
tired of it
copyright 9/8/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
sometimes to
move forward
you have to
look back

i looked back
revisited
the past
all my old
thoughts
chronologically

it would appear
i've been writing down
in line breaks and stanzas
the godforsaken
dramatic **** in my head
and calling it poetry
for a solid
ten years now

ten?
really, ten?

yet i checked
and last year
i wrote exactly
four poems
the year before
six.

ten?
only ten?

and this is the
fourth for
this year
and i know
because i can feel
the words i didn't
allow myself
still rattling around

i need
to get
them
out

a set of maracas
constant cha cha
in the background
trying to pinpoint
the moment of
nostalgia

i can feel it
it was
definitely
ten

i can't salsa
dance to
my own
failure

so here i am
and i'm wondering
what if
i tried

one
just one

poem a day
it doesn't have to
be like this it can be
freeform
it can be
proper
it can be
anything

ten to one
leave the
half dozen
to the others

it just needs to
be

i just need to
be

can i commit
myself to
one
until the end of the year?
copyright 9/7/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
it's like suddenly
the dam has burst
and the words
won't stop tumbling

and isn't that what
you get after
a drought
the flood?

my scalp itches
but i just washed my hair
it itches
begging me to do something

a dozen half-baked
thoughts accumulated
a blank space in the
narrative of my life

to recap
what i missed
the things i
never wrote about

a toxic job and quitting it
watching my friends
and former friends
get married

watching myself
get married

that time when
i almost died

the constant struggle
between myself
and the body i so
tenuously inhabit

my boring job
where i sit at a desk

there's a lot i haven't
let myself think about
and maybe now
is the time to do so

my doctor told me last
time i went to see her that
she understands why i don't
want therapy right now
therapy is just a tool
that doesn't work for everyone

(it certainly works
if you find the right
therapist and the odds
align to keep them
but i've done this before
and i will do it again)

so i should do
something that
restores my soul
to maintain myself

and i must have forgotten
how calming
it is to put things into
words on a page
in lines and rows
to let myself happen

hate that it took me
this long to realize
what i'd
been missing

after the drought
comes the flood
copyright 9/6/22 by b. e. mccomb
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