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b e mccomb Jul 27
here is what
we are not
going to do

we are not going to
play taylor swift’s
latest album a
half dozen times

and we are not going to
get drunk on ****** sweet red
wine from a three liter bag
mixed with lime gin

and what we are most
certainly not doing today

is crying
and crying
and crying
and crying

mostly over what
didn’t happen
and what won’t happen
and what can’t happen

not
doing
that
today

and we are not
slipping darkly
down into the space
between the bathroom floor
and reality where
the bath mat lives and
i start to get afraid of myself

we are not falling
into the trap
of blood on skin
like drops of that bad
red wine dried and
left to oxidize

so here’s to what we’re
not going to do today

but then what
are we going
to do today?
copyright 7/27/20 by b. e. mccomb
Jul 27 · 82
lakelocked
b e mccomb Jul 27
i try not to
get my hopes up
too often
it’s never as good
as i convince myself
it will be

but i let myself
believe in this one
in the back of my mind
the beach

a week off work
ocean waves
hot sand
fresh fish
his birthday
where reality can’t find me

in 2019 it seemed like
a great plan
enter 2020
with it’s 99
problems but
a beach ain’t one

and so now another
year will go by
and i won’t get a chance
to leave this
humid lakelocked town
that will soon cool down
with drizzling rains and
thick white snow

people have lost
their jobs
their lives
and their sanity

and i’m doing
all right
untouched by
disaster and
richer from
overtime

so i should be
grateful
but i’m mostly just
over it

the long hours and
late nights and
going going going
busy bee

but i guess no
beaches for
*******
like me
copyright 7/23/20 by b. e. mccomb
Jun 7 · 1.2k
open wound
b e mccomb Jun 7
there’s an open
wound on main street
and i wish people would
stop asking about it
because every question pulls
the hole a little wider

something was always
just a little bit
wrong

a constant drip
in the fridge

a fruit fly trapped
in the bake case

missing corners
of floor tiles

pictures hanging
slightly crooked

one foot of a table
unscrewed to a wobble

the rattle
of the heater

smiles from those
i couldn’t trust

a tiny pinprick of
stress behind my eyes

every year was
the year that would
make it or break it

so nobody was
surprised
except those who
couldn’t see the scuffs

last year
things were supposed
to be so good
everyone talking
mad **** about their
incredible ideas

i had a few
ideas of my own
nobody ever had to
teach me how to
dream big
overachieve
overexert myself
and fall hard

the quiche crusts stuck
to the bottoms of pans

and there was no way to
get the slice out
without the whole entire
thing falling apart

i might have been
the first slice to go

but at least i got
out of there

before the hand that
pulled me out
was the hand that
dropped the pan

a glass pie plate
shattered and
the way things were
supposed to be suddenly

over
just
like
that

and i’m still
reeling
on the sidewalk
staring at the
empty shell of
something i once loved

big hopes
big dreams
big plans
small town
too small to
hold them all

every piece of my
future points
backwards
arms of a clock
working their way
into the past

it’s not in how
the damage was done
but in how you
heal from it

there’s an
open wound on
main street
maybe if we gave
south street stitches
we could pull it closed

but still i question
my existence as if
scones and coffee
and thursday mornings
before sunup were
the only things that
gave me
stability

maybe
they were

maybe people
pull themselves into
an orbit around that
which keeps them grounded

an orbit of
routine and the
dissonance needed
to stir ice cubes
in a plastic cup
to create peace
in the moment
of chaos

or maybe
the one place
that always felt
like home to me
was just a cafe
on the four corners
and now there’s
an open wound
not so much
on main street
but the pocket of my
heart where hope lives
copyright 2/17/20 by b. e. mccomb
Mar 18 · 255
3/8/20
b e mccomb Mar 18
the flowers will still poke
up to bloom this spring

and empty airline bottles
will still litter the sidewalks

and good and bad
will still reside
in all of us

and the struggle
between them
will still wage war

regardless
or perhaps
because of
what falls apart
or comes together
all around us
copyright 3/18/20 by b. e. mccomb
Sep 2019 · 577
the worst kind of mean
b e mccomb Sep 2019
taylor swift sounds
petty and vindictive
until someone hurts you
and then suddenly
she takes the words
right out of your mouth

there are mean
people and then
there are people you trust
and one day you
realize they’re
the meanest ones of all

the mean ones
don’t bother me
it’s the other ones
that do

i just want
to be big enough
strong enough
that they can’t
hurt me
anymore

to shake it off
as it hits me
not to let it
crush me

because if anything
takes energy
i don’t have to spare
it’s being hurt

but hurt me
you do
even as you
seek my love
and forgiveness you
still manage to dig
sharp little barbs
into my skin

don’t you dare
tell me what
i’m thinking
don’t you dare
tell me what
i’m feeling

and most of all
don’t you dare
tell me how
i should be living
how i should
be dealing with
things i would like to
leave in my bad memories

but if taylor swift reminds me
of any one thing it’s that
you will probably
never change

and i just have to
roll with the punches
let ******* be *******
and never stop hustling
copyright 9/27/19 by b. e. mccomb
Sep 2019 · 392
hero
b e mccomb Sep 2019
saturdays smell like
bleach under my nails
sleep in my eyes
scratches on hands
gluey stuck fingers
glare off an empty parking lot
and other people’s
uncomplicated lives

give me enough time
and i can get rid of
any kind of stain
in your coffee cup
but i don’t take the time
to wash out my own

and i can’t get rid of
how i sometimes feel
like less than a person
a second class citizen
or some kind of
preprogrammed robot
just here to assist with
strangers personal quests

i’m not the
swashbuckling hero
out on an adventure
i’m the placid villager who
never moves from behind
the counter night or
day and only ever repeats
the same half dozen lines
wears the same outfit every
time you see them

i don’t want
to be the hero
anymore
all i want is
to live comfortably
in this town
and let my life
unfold

all i want is
to get the dirt out
from my fingernails
and get enough sleep

to love
and be loved
to drink coffee
in the morning
wine at night
and water all day

but i never
want to be the
chosen one
i just want to be
the one who points
you in the right direction
copyright 9/18/19 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Aug 2019
how to ride a bike
(that was dad's department)
how to double knot my shoe laces
how to make my bed
how to play scrabble
how to keep a house clean
how to cook
how to bake
how to drive
(still dad's department)

how to exist without caring
about others' opinions
how to not burden everyone
else with your troubles

how to throw a punch
(only how to take one
and complain instead
of fighting back)

how to treat your body
with respect and when
you don't like someone else's
to keep your mouth shut

how to keep your chin up
when you're down
how when you don't like
something you do it anyway

to only accept criticism
from those you would
go to for advice
and that giving someone
the benefit of the doubt only
benefits the giver's conscience

how even words
that mean well
can cut directly
into a person's soul
and leave them
bleeding for decades

a work ethic
a good attitude
how to rely on yourself
and yourself alone
for anything and everything
but especially money

my brother taught me
bunny ears for my sneakers
my pastor's wife taught me
not to pack down flour in a cup
my first job taught me
how to clean a kitchen
my boyfriend taught me
how to make gravy
my boss taught me
you show up even when
you're sick and tired
and don't want to be there
my best friend taught me
positivity is never wasted
but i still sleep with
lumps of blankets in my bed

the numbers in my
bank account
the food on my
dining room table
and the people i made
a decision to love all
let me know
i'm self sufficient now
but my mother still
winds her way through
my subconscious whining
that i still need her

and i'll spend the rest
of my life trying
to unlearn the things that
my mother never taught me
copyright 8/21/19 by b. e. mccomb
Aug 2019 · 295
blood
b e mccomb Aug 2019
i just want the
bleeding to stop

my body to realize
it’s fine and it doesn’t
need to do this
it’s only hurting itself

all i see is
blood

it’s not the cut
that hurts the most
it’s the sting of
regrets that follows

so many
types
so many
shades
i’m so
tired of it

blood
more
and more
blood

why do i
do this

why do i
do this

WHY DO I
DO THIS

i don’t want
to live anymore
it hurts too
much now

too much
blood
just make it
stop

but i’m the
one who got
into this mess
how do i expect
it to stop while
i stand by?

look what
you’ve done now
do you feel
any better?

i didn’t think so
a sinking ship
that you keep
climbing back on

but for ten minutes
the fog in my
head cleared
as i watched the blood

bubble to the
surface and
run down my leg
forgot all the bad
things the bad
thoughts as it dripped

but i’m tired
of blood
so tired
i want it to end
copyright 8/15/19 by b. e. mccomb
Aug 2019 · 387
waiting game
b e mccomb Aug 2019
sometimes i wrap your
jacket around
my pillow and bury my
face in it before i fall asleep

it smells like summer
in a hot kitchen after
long work shifts
sweaty and spicy

smells like the first night i
put my head on your chest
your arm went around my shoulder
and i could feel my heart
thudding out of my ribs
when you kissed me without warning

i panicked
and the next time you
asked before you
brushed your lips against
my cheek and then i felt
the stars flicker in my bones

i remember the day i
threw flour at you
for no reason
and you didn’t get
mad or anything just
kind of stared at me

the day i stuck a rose
in my teeth
declared myself a princess
and we went to the mall

the day i stole some alstra
from my mother’s yellow pitcher
put them in a tin can
and gave them to you

gerbera daisies
your hand in mine
it’s been a year
and i find myself
falling in love all
over again every week

with your smile
with the dimple
in your right cheek
your laugh
your hands
how good you
are to me
even when i don’t
deserve it
and how i never
know exactly
what you’re thinking up in
that blonde head of yours

of course you’re not
perfect but you’re
the closest **** thing
i’ve ever found to it

and i miss
last summer sometimes
the brand new flutter
in my stomach and
the crashing and
tripping over the side of the
big commercial sink and
into feelings

but i wouldn’t turn
back time for anything
and i hope i
never have to sleep
without you by my side
again after this month

i never wanted an
expensive champagne
twenty four karat
designer tag kind of love
and that’s never what
you wanted to give me

all i wanted
was you
and that’s what
you’ve given me

when i say
“i love you”
you say
“i know you do”

how good it is
to have someone
the safety of home
and adventure of living

to blow a kiss
and know you’ll catch it

to grab your hand
and know you’ll hold it

to love
and to be loved

you’re my
soft place to land
and i’ll be
your right hand

you’re the only
decision i ever made
the only chance
i was willing to take

and heaven forbid something
goes wrong but you’re the only
possible mistake that
i would be happy to make

it takes time
for love to spread
its roots and begin to grow
upwards and bloom
but i’m willing to
wait as long as it’s for you

and it hasn’t been
easy lately
i’ve put a lot
of tears into your
favorite hoodie
been hanging
into you for
dear life

but i have to believe
this won’t last forever
that you and me
are strong enough

i have to
believe in us
copyright 8/15/19 by b. e. mccomb
Aug 2019 · 386
the new normal
b e mccomb Aug 2019
is this
the new normal?

yelling fights
drunkenly spilt
words that never
should have been said

crying myself
to sleep for
the third
night in a row

feeling alone
surrounded
by my
best friends

helpless
and lost
confused
and rejected

is this
the new normal?

i want to believe
this is temporary
that our tears of
anger will turn to
tears of laughter
soon enough

that i’ll fall asleep
and wake up
every morning
by your side
and won’t spend the
whole night tossing
and turning with
anxiety ridden possibilities

but maybe this
is the new normal

this is
what we
all wanted

this is
the goal we
worked towards

but miserable
is not where
any of us thought
we would be

and i knew
it would be hard
but i never thought
it would be this hard

i’ve gone through
rough patches
fought my way through
muddy swamps and
thick vines with sharp
thorns that ripped my skin

but always because
i was left there
never before because
i walked myself into it

but is this
the new normal?

pushing you away
because holding you
just reminds me
you still have to leave

i’m tired
of this

all i want is
a kiss that
isn’t given to
say goodbye

all i want is this
nightmare to end
and a new normal that
doesn’t feel like a mistake

this is what
we all wanted

but i thought
i was stronger than
the hard times
and here i am
all my resolve gone
cold and brittle
and i’m cracking
under pressure

all i want is to
take care of myself
without help
from anyone else

you held me close
and promised you would
take care of me until
i could take care of myself

but i’ve never known
any kind of tape or net
that could stop
a landslide from falling

if this is the new normal
i’ve started to wonder
what was so bad
with the old one
copyright 8/13/19 by b. e. mccomb
Aug 2019 · 212
lost
b e mccomb Aug 2019
i’m disconnected from reality
and hemorrhaging anxiety

i don’t
belong here

i don’t
belong there

i don’t know if i
belong anywhere
anymore and i don’t know
if home is a real place
or just a wistful
concept shrouded in
the shadows of other
people’s perfect families

but i don’t
belong here

and i don’t
belong there

this town turned
into my town
and now i’m wandering
the sidewalks wondering
where i lost
myself

was it in the library
between the pages of
a book i’ll never
pick up again?

was it in the gas station
dropped with my pennies
and dimes for an
eleven pm cola?

or the grocery store
somewhere in piles of
scratch and dent produce
in the bins of beef bones
or hidden under loaves
of overpriced bread?

maybe in the liquor store
it got pushed behind
forgotten bottles on a
shelf so high you need a
ladder and a grabber to
reach what you’re looking for

i probably lost
myself somewhere in
the cafe on the corner
dropped in the oven
and burned to a crisp
inside the espresso machine
covered in a thick layer
of grounds and oil
under a table or tucked
in a stranger’s to go bag

or maybe it was simply
that i got dropped
on the sidewalk
kicked to the side with
an old beer can
and nobody ever noticed

maybe i lost myself
in what i call
my own home
in between floorboards
or in a crack
in the paint

but i don’t know
what happened
and i don’t know
how to fix it

all i know is that
i don’t belong here
copyright 8/10/19 by b. e. mccomb
Aug 2019 · 300
baby blue paint
b e mccomb Aug 2019
there are two
kinds of sad days

the first kind is
periwinkle
with specks of
yellow sun throughout
where a soft cotton
fog covers everything
you can see and hear
and your limbs move
without you telling them to

automatic through
life with your brain
lost in thought
yet rattling around like
ice in an empty cup
void of cognition you
just have to keep putting
one foot in front of the other

and the second kind
is baby blue
smooth and soft like
fresh paint that has
dried and sealed
shut all the doors and
covered the windowpanes
so no light leaks in

and your body is
no longer compelled
to keep on moving so
you shut your eyes
against the overpowering
color of sad
and sleep
right there
on the hard floor

today started a
periwinkle sunshine day
and turned into a
baby blue paint day

few and far between
nowadays do i let
the blues get me
but today i felt the
last of the strength
i had been gripping
onto with both hands
trembling slip away

a white feather floating
off into the distance
or pink champagne
spilt on hot pavement
soaking in as i watched
it and boiling tears
wash away my scrawled
chalk drawings
of happy stick figures
and flowers that bloom
all year round

it’s silly
of me
never made
sense

but here i am
here are the blues
here’s a headache
behind my eyes

and here
is my bed
a soft field of
nothingness
where maybe sleep
can scrape the paint
off of the windows and
crack open the doors

all i was ever looking
for was home
is that too
much to ask?
copyright 8/1/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jul 2019 · 748
forever and always
b e mccomb Jul 2019
you’re the swimming pool i want
to sit at the bottom of forever
watching the tiled sunlight
letting the water
drown the world to a
muffled bubble
as peace descends
like it can’t above the surface

you’re the shooting star
i knew was nothing more than
an astronomical anomaly
assigned superstitious significance
and yet i let my foolish wishes loose
out the hatch of a blinking
midnight airplane and impossibly
every one came true

you’re the patch of sunlight
on a mahogany floor
and i wish that i could lay
in your warmth forever

you’re every birthday candle
i’ve ever blown out
every aspirational dream i never
deserved to see realized

you’re proof that
love is real and warm
alive and breathing
proof there is good
left in the world
and we all can find it
proof that angels still
roam to keep me safe

you’re the feeling in my
throat when i remember you’re
the best thing that ever
happened to me and when i say
i love you
i don’t mean i want to
kiss you in the rain
(although i do)

i mean i want to keep
you by my side forever
let our skin grow papery
and fade like crumpled
ten dollar bills worn with
fold marks around our
eyes from laughing together
and our thoughts twist and
vine their way around each other
so you can’t tell where one of us
ends and the other begins
until all the parts of you that
are kinder and gentler than i
shed like dandelion seeds and
float into the meadows
of my subconscious

the feeling in my throat
turns into a traffic jam when i
desperately hope for the
thousandth time that you know
that’s what i mean when i
say i love you

that i could struggle for
hours and write thousands
of words trying to explain
myself but you’re the one
feeling so huge and immense
i just can’t find a metaphor

i’ve often wondered if
i love you too much
but i never want
to love you any less

you are my sun
my moon
and my entire
solar system
the milky way
turns upside down
and pours out in a
wash of meteors
when i start counting the
constellations in your eyes

i hope i never stop
feeling the flutter
of a million microscopic
feathers in my stomach
beating in time to the
sound of your footsteps

but if the butterflies ever
fly away we’ll both be okay

because there’s no place
for even the tiniest
glimmer of fake
crystal anxiety
in the arms of
the only one who
has ever really
felt like home

and if home is where the
heart is than i’ve hung
curtains in your ribcage
covered us both in a
layer of fresh paint
placed my pillow
on your chest where
i sleep at night

i’ve spun castles
in the air and
now we’re building a house
from the ground up

you’re my present
and my future and
i want to keep you
as close as my
freckles and as
loved as my tattoos

i dread the day
the universe takes
you away from me
but until that day
i will live as if nothing
can separate us

you
and me
forever
and always
copyright 7/25/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jul 2019 · 160
her problem
b e mccomb Jul 2019
it’s two am
and i can’t sleep
so i’ll take a shower
try to let the hot
water wash away
the words that ring
constantly like
alarms in my ears

i want to drink
to forget
that i am a
selfish
disappointment
to forget that
my mother
doesn’t love me

and i might spend
my whole life looking
for what she didn’t
have to give me

being told i’m doing
a good job from my boss
learning how to keep a home
neat from my best friend
advice that has my best interests
at heart from women who care
and from him all i ask is love
that isn’t conditional

and i’ll teach myself
to finish a job once
it’s started and to
never rely on other people
to keep money
in my bank account

and i’ll never say i love
someone and then let
my words and actions
prove me wrong

my hair is wet now
and heavy on my back
i have hair like she did
when she was young
and it’s weighed down
dripping with expectations
of who someone
with such hair should be

i don’t belong here
in this house
this home that isn’t
mine and never was

home is where you
go at the end of the
day to feel safe
where others aren’t
out to trample on
your emotions

home is where you
sleep with ease
but here i barely
even sleep
not knowing if tomorrow
will bring a tornado
or if the sun will rise
peaceful on the meadows

the question keeps
me up and even though
i know the answer it’s the
hardest one to face

why doesn’t
she love me?

because she isn’t capable of
giving what she never had
and it isn’t a me problem
it’s a her problem

that’s the answer
i know but i can’t
make myself
understand it

so i’ll rinse my hair
dry off and climb
back in bed hoping
tomorrow will make sense

but when tomorrow comes
so does the reminder

i’m alone now
and i have to
take care of
myself now

that’s my only problem
not the fact she
doesn’t care
that’s a her problem
and my reactions are
a me problem
and despite what she
tells me i’ve never been
a problem only a
problem to her
copyright 7/24/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jul 2019 · 190
ignition
b e mccomb Jul 2019
the problem with alcohol
is that it’s flammable

you could set the whole town ablaze
if you started at the liquor store

you can set my whole
train of thought off the rails
flipped and on fire
after a few drinks

and when i drink i fall
prey to a different type of
burn than the one
in my throat

and it’s mean
a nasty little
whisper of a flame
on a petty match

the kind of burn
that destroys what
made it as it swallows
whatever is in its path

the problem with alcohol
is that it’s flammable
and it won’t cause an explosion
unless ignited

and the problem is that
i am the ignition
copyright 7/13/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jul 2019 · 190
love
b e mccomb Jul 2019
i’m not afraid of
anything
except spiders
and my own mother

i’ll never understand
how you can love
someone and yet never
support anything they do

because it seems to me
that love isn’t what’s just
convenient to your
personal agenda

but all that is neither
here nor there
i suppose
after all i don’t really
know what i’m talking about
too young
too naive
to have experienced life

i am standing on a path
my friends laughing
and skipping ahead of me
saying “come join us as
we learn how to grow
old gracefully!”
while behind me my mother
shakes her head and grumbles
“you’re making a mistake
you don’t know what you’re
doing and i don’t think you
understand just how — “

“wait, i’m coming!”
i call as i dart
forward and i don’t
have to look behind me
to feel her
glare on my back

and so i run
ahead knowing if
i hear one more
can’t or don’t
or shouldn’t or
i’m-just-saying
i very well might
let it get to me

or maybe i already do
sometimes at night
when i can’t sleep
and cry into my pillow
because it hits me all
over again just how
i will never
be good enough

i’ve stared down
the pale light that
flickers off of razor blades
and i’ve looked into
the flames as they
licked my skin

felt pain but never
like i’ve felt the sharp
edge of her tongue
and the steel in her eyes

she always said she could
out-stubborn me any day
i’ve learned the tricks
and games she plays

and i’ve felt defeat
humiliation
fear and maybe even
subtle loathing

but now i’m feeling concrete
mold to the soles of my feet

and i can stand
repeat the rules
and beat her at
her own game

learned not to let
“you can’t”
“i wish you would”
into my head

but always the most
scalding one of all
“i love you”
still haunts me like a threat
i’ll try to outrun
for the rest of my life

how can you say you love
someone with words and
expect them to believe you
when you never say
you love them
with your actions?
copyright 7/5/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jun 2019 · 307
flood
b e mccomb Jun 2019
starting
poem
after poem

nothing
making sense

throwing words
at the paper
like maybe they’ll stick

there’s a difference
between writers block
and whatever this
funk i’m in is

that is
an outage
this is
a blockage

all the things that
cross my mind in
streams and parades
and winds that whistle

stopped short of
escape by teeth
in my ears that prevent
the thoughts from
getting onto paper
but instead chew
and rethink and
chew and overthink

i know
what i want to say
i just can’t
make myself say it

i want to to scrawl every
lovely and positive thought
on an old brick wall and
then let the ivy grow
up over it and watch it turn
red as fall comes in

to paint flowers
up my arms and pretend
that plants can help the
chemicals in my brain

that drinking water will
wash away the doubts
and that shiny green leaves
are the only shade i need to
protect me from the burning
light of the reality of pain

all the thoughts
that flicker around
will i be happy?
i hope i’ll be happy

but until then
i will sleep

naps aren’t about
being tired
naps are about
peace of mind

stealing an hour
or two from your own life
to close your eyes and
find a quiet space
deep inside your
scattered thoughts

what if i’m
not happy?
what if all the
effort i make
to find happiness
is all in vain?

and what if everything
falls apart and my
own heart slips
out of my ribs and
shatters on an unsanded
barn-board floor?

or what if

(and this is an even
worse concept with
even more possibilities
to consider)

it all works out?

and what if
i end up happy and
content and fall
asleep at night
without worries
plaguing me
and wake up in
the morning and
everything is fine
and i don’t need
to take naps
to find my calm?

and what if
the words
begin to
flow again?

in floods and torrents
so fast my fingers
can’t get them out in
enough time and they
pile up and overflow
like the ponds and streams
this spring when the
rain wouldn’t stop?

what if my
future happens
and it’s all
just fine?

and what if the
plants that keep
me sane can’t grow
without downpours
of passing obstacles that
just feel like drenching rain?
copyright 6/20/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jun 2019 · 422
let myself go
b e mccomb Jun 2019
nostalgia
hit me this morning
washed over me in
a wave of memories
so strong i could only
stand there until it passed

as i stood alone
counting money
that wasn’t mine
on a morning i didn’t
want to be awake
much less here

the words to an old
song trickled through
my mind and i could
hear my mother’s voice

see the glowing
stained glass turtle
in the corner of my
childhood bedroom
feel her hand
on my back

and i remembered
how it felt to be loved
and i missed it
missed her
missed who i was
before i learned
to take care
of myself

and i’ve been feeling
something lately
something like a wistful
kind of missing
what might have been
had i been different

something like the feeling
you get when you’re sitting
on a cold concrete floor
of the thrift store
running your fingers down
the spines of old cd cases
his hand on the top of
your head as you talk about
things you might need for
your first home together

and you find an album that
you had right in the middle
of your extensive list of cds
to buy when you were twelve

and you flip it over
look at the songs
think for a long
minute about how
happy this once
would have made you

before realizing
it doesn’t make you
happy now because
you’re somebody else

and you put it back
stand up and go to
look at furniture and
dishes and things
to take into your
future and you leave
your past hopes and
unresolved dreams back
there in the stacks
of other people’s discarded
songs and half finished stories
where you found it

and that’s what
life comes down to

the melodies that sometimes
flicker through our minds

and the possessions we
let pass through our hands

what we keep
what we let go

i’m ready
to let it go
childhood
the life given to me
before i was capable
of building my own

i’ve made a
new one
found a new
family and
there’s just
one last step

let the past all go
and find the only
thing i miss
from those days

peace of mind
no concept of time
falling asleep to
the hum of a
box fan and waking
up to a fresh sunrise

no more
constant buzzing
in my brain
of what ifs and
might have beens
just blank and
pale silence like
fresh fallen snow
that muffles it all

spring to summer
fall to winter
just constant
quiet in my mind

i’m pleading with
my own thoughts
please just let
myself go
copyright 6/8/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jun 2019 · 429
reinvent
b e mccomb Jun 2019
i’ve always been on a
mission to reinvent myself

a mission expressed through
spreadsheets, guitars
powerpoints, paintbrushes
fabric, calculator buttons
bright colors of yarn
coffee and flowers
smiles at strangers
and always words

here and there
then and again
i’ve found myself satisfied
with who i found myself
to be at the end
of the week

i thought things were
on the upswing
thought that i had
almost made it
for two months this year
i was satisfied

with fifty six hour work weeks
and the bright blue blanket
forming under my fingers
the feeling of hope
brewing when i looked in
my bank account and thought
about him
about the home
that wasn’t ours yet but
would be soon

and then it began
to crumble
a brick or two at
a time until a whole
piece of the picture
tumbled out

and my weeks were reduced
to thirty five hours and
a crippling sense of
impending disaster
even though everything else
was still looking up

now that i have a
bit of extra time i find
myself low on motivation
and wondering
if it’s time to build
a new version of myself

but i’ve reinvented myself
so many times
i don’t have the energy
to do it again

i just want to
exist

just want to fall
asleep in bed at the
end of the day and
not wake up in the morning
wanting to sleep
for the rest of the day

to enjoy moving
my body
the way the
seasons change
and how the stars
look at night

i’ve always been good
at staying
you just keep doing
what you’ve been doing
let your routines pull
you along with them

but now i’m learning
the art of leaving
and i’m finding its not
as hard as i thought it was

in fact you might
even think
of it as almost
freeing

the leaving
behind of what’s
gotten too
familiar
the option to
reinvent

past leavings
have hurt
left me reeling
on cold floors
fighting to get air
into my lungs

but this time
the leaving is
quiet
barely noticeable
in the chilly
morning dew
as i let myself
slip away
under the gray sky
that hasn’t yet
realized it’s hanging
over a lost town

and i don’t feel pain
only the slightest
twinge of
bittersweet nostalgia

i’m not going
to reinvent myself
this time
i’m going to
exist
and somewhere
along the line
i think maybe
it’s myself
that i’ll find
copyright 6/4/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jun 2019 · 191
i like to hope
b e mccomb Jun 2019
the thing about
first jobs is that
they’re never
your last job

and for all the years
spent behind this counter
i’ll spend ten more
somewhere else

and now it’s time
to leave

i wish it didn’t
have to end this way
wish things would have
turned out differently

but at the end
of the day i know
i made the best
choice i could
as long as my
hands were tied

and i don’t know
where i’m going
from here and
i’m afraid

but not so afraid
that i can’t see
there’s something
better for me

and this time
change
is good for me
because who knows
how long i would
have let myself grow old
saturated in coffee under my nails
grease on my apron
and tears that
didn’t come from onions

and i’d like to hope
that i won’t be forgotten
like to hope that when
you put an extra tablet in
the sani water that you
think of me as it dissolves

like to hope that you
miss the way your
coffee tasted just perfectly
sweet enough when i
was the one
making it

like to hope you’ll
miss my scones and
coffee cakes and the way
i always tried to be
a forceful source
of encouragement

i like to hope
but i know
deep down inside
life just rolls
onward and soon
someone else will come
along and all i did
will be forgotten

but i do
like to hope
copyright 5/24/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jun 2019 · 313
slats
b e mccomb Jun 2019
i remember the day
i got my bed

in my childhood room
with all my family
gathered round
we took my old
threadbare quilt
out of its bag
for the first time
and spread it out

and at six years old
i was too small to
climb up into it
and had to use a step stool

and i remember my
grandma said
what a good solid
piece of furniture it was
how it would last me
until i got married

that was fifteen years ago
but the other day
when i shifted my weight
something cracked

i thought it was just
another slat breaking
(we’ve replaced
most of them)
but when i investigated
something else had broken

it was me
and my ties
to the past and
future and learning
how to lose your family

it was the friendship
that had been there
from the beginning
the ***** blonde imp whose solution
to the height problem was a
running start across the room
or twisting her toes around knobs
on the drawers to get a step up

she and i had our
share of shenanigans
broke a few slats together
but she’s never been afraid
of climbing on what’s mine
to end up on top

the offer has been made
to take measurements
and the mattress off
reassess the damage
invent some kind of
proper repair
rebuild some bridges
that have burned

but i don’t
know anymore

the slats that i began with
my mother and father
brothers and grandparents
and childhood friends
some of them have snapped
where knotholes made a fault line

but i replaced them
with boards bigger
thicker and without
such obvious defects

it was the leaving that
broke this last piece
but i see no need to fix it
when i’m not bringing it with me

no matter how they
groan and creek and
call me a disappointment
i’m not moving my bed again
and i’m not
getting married either

and i’m sorry
to all those that
i have let down
like bed slats breaking
one by one
and to all those that
i will let down at
some point in the future

but i want to fall
peacefully asleep at night
and not through cracks
in my own sanity

and i can’t let anyone
break me
like i was just some
weakened bed slat
copyright 6/4/19 by b. e. mccomb
May 2019 · 204
what i forgot to tell you
b e mccomb May 2019
you’re free now
to live your life
the way you want
for the first time ever
it’s all your choice
to make

and until you find
someone who can live
without telling you otherwise
it will stay that way

and what i forgot
to tell you is

(now keep in mind that
nobody can tell you
what to do this is just
a suggestion but
as you know i am blessed
with superior knowledge)

that you and me
(maybe macklemore
but we don’t plan
our futures around
such fickle creatures
as that disreputable
species known as men)
will find a cute little
lake town
the kind with rich
snobbish retired folks
and tourists
and boat tours and all
that watery nonsense

and we’ll open an
adorable little shop
and sell flowers
all sorts of
artistanal gifts
and we’ll have coffee
and warm homemade
pastries in the mornings

and we might not get
rich but we’ll make a
living which is all
that really matters

and we will retire
about 70
sell our shop to some
young whippersnappers
that remind us
of who we were when
we were younger
and more foolish

(but don’t assume we
will be significantly less
foolish at this point
in fact i hope that we
will actually age like
some sort of hilarious
variety of moldy cheese)

and we shall retire
to our tiny little
lake front residence
and occupy a front porch
with a glass crystal pitcher
of well-spiked peach tea
and jeer at everyone under the
age of eighty who passes by

and that, my dear
is what i wanted to express to you
that you’ve got
an entire life ahead
of you and cannot afford
to be put on the back burner
for somebody else’s
shimmery dreams of grandeur

so don’t think
too hard about my plan
because that’s all just
castles in the clouds
the story i tell myself
at night when i’m too
worried about the future
to get to sleep

but think
about this

today was not
the end
today was another
day in the very
mucky and unsubstantiated
middle segment of your life

(the middle is
the worst
like the middle of an afghan
or the middle of a poem
that is quickly derailing
from the original point
and i am afraid that when we’re
neither young nor old
but middle aged
nobody will laugh at our jokes
except ourselves
so maybe it doesn’t even matter)

and now
you get to
wake up tomorrow
and continue on
with your life
the way you want it

(which isn’t to say you’ll
live it alone forever but
you must live it alone until
you know you can survive alone)

so this is what i’ve been
meaning to tell you

other people come and go
(except me
you’re stuck there)
but you will spend
more time with yourself
than anybody else

and i’ve been
meaning to tell you
life goes on and
you’re going to get old
and it’s better to grow
old at peace with your
choices than to be
young forever and fooling
yourself into thinking
things will change
so there’s no doubt
you did the right thing

so here’s the
point of all this

i love you
and have always tried
my best to be your
biggest supporter
but that’s going
to change today

because today
was your first lesson
in being your own
biggest supporter

so cheers to this
the future
growing old
and growing happy

now get out there
an knock em dead
copyright 5/30/19 by b. e. mccomb
May 2019 · 205
not dylan’s dream
b e mccomb May 2019
depression
rears it’s ugly head
with no desire to do
anything

except lay
in bed
scroll
sleep
wake up and
eat
watch tv
sleep
and
sleep

sitting
in silence
listening to
the fan spin
and wondering
why i bother

why i’m still
here when
nothing i do
even matters

that everyone
would be
happier
without me
around to
bother them

it’s the kind of
time of life
where the only
real peace of mind
to be found is
in bob dylan

the old bob dylan
that you find in
broken cd cases
floating in forgotten
thrift store
music stacks

the songs of a young
person who didn’t know
where he was going in
a crazy and unjust world
he couldn’t control as it
fell apart around his ears

bob dylan never has
any answers for me
just rambles on
another interlude of
mournful harmonica
until i remember
he told me where
the answers are
and the answers
aren’t easy to find

up there in the sky
whistling around
bare tree branches
holding up birds’ wings
letting a lost balloon travel
thousands of miles from
the tightly clenched hand
of the child who lost it

how many years
has it been?
and i’m still here
blowing in the wind

the winds are busy
too busy to stop
for one second and
just give me the answer

why
am i
even
here?

i don’t want
to be here
maybe this earth
just isn’t for me

or maybe i should
give up on whatever
is left here for me
hop on a bus and
become some kind of
modern rambling man

because i don’t know
and almost don’t care
what i’m doing here
doing right now

all i want
is sleep
even half conscious
muddled sleep
anything to distract
from the grotesquely
realistic nightmare
that is real life

or maybe i’ll get
utterly wasted
on cheap ***
and miserable thoughts
drown them out until
something stronger
than the alcohol
pulls me down
something strong
like sleep

because now
when it’s time to sleep
i find myself
completely unable to

i’m trying to
look at the positives
trying to see this as
an opportunity
but all i can see
is an eternity
stretching before me
of what if’s and
maybe this and why
and why not and
who do i want to be
what do i want to do

a lifetime
of indecisions
rolls its carpet out
in front of my feet

i wasn’t ready
i’m not ready now
i’ll probably never
be ready for anything

what am i
even doing

no answers to be found
here in this poem
just rambling as the
cd spins on until it
scratches to a halt
rub my eyes
press play
hope maybe on this
go round i can find
an answer

but the thing i never
seem to remember is
there isn’t any
answer to be found

not when it’s flown
away and is up
in the clouds watching
the sunset and the
stars begin to pop
out of the deep blue

just blowing
away in the wind
copyright 5/19/19 by b. e. mccomb
May 2019 · 289
sleepless dreams
b e mccomb May 2019
i used to be able
to sleep

wasn’t afraid
of getting up
and facing my day
could take an
afternoon nap
in my own bed
without having dreams
that woke me up
heart racing

disjointed ideas
and people
novocaine and needles
in my mouth
drugs to numb me
being able to fly
over sharp mountain peaks
of white circus tents
in the rain
being chased by
villains in black capes
the fear of dying

my loved ones
decaying houses in the
middle of town
having ***
needing ***
and melting down
crying and sobbing
old familiar panic
a lump in my throat
the fear of

something
what?

“you have to tell her
you have to tell your mother”
not his voice
but his voice of reason
blowing gently
through the scene
the memory of
a dozen conversations

my head in his chest
his hands on my back
and the crippling
paralyzing
panic taking
over my body

i was never afraid
of the psych ward
i was afraid of the woman
who put me there

of the threats
the bribes
the guilt
and the way she
could win every fight
and leave me
choking in the dust
of words that wouldn’t
squeeze out past
the lump in my throat

the fear is of
falling apart
and when i begin
to unravel is when
that fear becomes
debilitating

what am i
afraid of
in this dream
that doesn’t
even make
sense?

not the fear
of falling apart
because i have
already collapsed

the fear
the fear
the fear
the fear of

i can’t allow myself to admit it
but i have to

the fear is
of her

that’s what’s behind
it all i’m afraid
of my own
mother

and why
am i afraid?

what can she
do that will
actually hurt me
endanger me?

how much power
does she hold?

and that’s when i
wake up
shivering and
thirsty

i’m falling
through the cracks
in my own
conscience

i can’t be a perfect
person and i
know that all too well
but i resent myself
for the flaws in me
i can’t seem to change

is it that i can’t
change or that
i don’t want to
don’t try hard enough?

the thoughts
begin to loop
around themselves
and form a strong
rope that snakes
it’s way around my
wrists and chest
and begins to tie
off my airways
from oxygen

if there is one
thing i know
it’s women that
use your own words
against you
women who find
satisfaction in
the power of making
other people hurt

i know
i’ve seen it
experienced it
and it’s tempting
oh so tempting
to do it myself

but the worst
thing i could do
is let myself become
those that hurt me

flip over
try the other side
and the more i think
about the sleep i need
the more time passes
and the less i get

if only
i could just
get some peace
in my own head
copyright 5/14/19 by b. e. mccomb
May 2019 · 195
dissolve
b e mccomb May 2019
i want to
dissolve
into my sheets
let my body fall
apart in flakey
pieces like
pastry dough
to float away
in sleep where
life can’t hurt me

to let my skin
peel off and
crumble into
my bed
let the blankets
creep up over me
like myrtle
overtaking a yard

i want
to dissolve
drift back in time
to when the weight
on my back could
be lifted by coming
home and taking
off the backpack

want to
dissolve
so that the sum
total of who i am
isn’t even
recognizable
just a formless
soft and hazy
quietly breathing
mound of nothingness

i don’t want
to be here
i want to be
in bed
a bed where i
don’t have to get
up in the morning
don’t have to make
myself move from
just a bed where
i can sleep
and sleep

and
sleep

let me
dissolve
copyright 5/11/19 by b. e. mccomb
May 2019 · 287
coverup
b e mccomb May 2019
i keep a drawer in
my bathroom full
of all the things that make
me appear pretty

the little pots of shimmery
eyeshadows to suggest
i’m feminine but more
importantly fully awake
and the dark crayons to
draw lines that simulate
an innocent expression
the powder to smooth out
the bad spots so you
don’t see the bad thoughts
the mascara to pull my lashes
outward and pull the focus
away from what you might
possibly see behind my eyes

fear
do not
let them see
the fear


and tucked in the drawer
of pencils and palettes
i keep a sharpener
so when my womanly
sense of protection
begins to dull i will
not find myself
at odds with the competition

in the drawer above them
i keep my elastic bands
to prevent a slow
and knotted descent
into the madness
of being choked
in my hair
my own weird
sometimes insane
always interesting or
at least provocative thoughts

i also keep a pack
of razor blades for
when the constant struggle
to maintain this illusion
of sanity gets to be
too much for me

the hair ties are stretched
beginning to fall out
won’t hold things in place
nearly well enough
and i am completely
blind and lost in this
rainstorm and the wind
blowing in my face

the blades
are calling me again
a dark and
slippery promise
of something
of what?

of peace?
lies
of art?
i can do better
of pain?
always

elusive always
getting away from
me just as soon
as i can pin it down

the purpose
is fear
but only the
expression of it

i’m afraid
always so
afraid it’s not
good like this

but if i cover
the fear with
my clothes
no one will
ever even
know


i keep a drawer
in my bathroom
and every morning
i select powders
and pencils to
present myself as alive

and every morning
i stare down a pack
of razor blades
half wishing i wasn’t
copyright 5/9/19 by b. e. mccomb
Apr 2019 · 467
first winter
b e mccomb Apr 2019
january

whispering to myself
it’s okay
it’s okay
it’s. okay.
relax relax
RELAX

the anxious loop
in my brain now
redirected into
more ****** activities

recreation
with hands and lips
and my heart hammering
in my chest

getting home late
and having to get up
early isn’t the worst part
the worst part
is the guilt that tries to
block my airways

february

the freezer is two inches
further back than the fridge
you’ve moved it over time by
slamming me against it
one hand on my waist
one around my throat

a couple whispered
words and a few
fingers in my hair and
i’m a complete mess

car windows coated in
frozen fog
your belt on the dash
coats in the back seat
my clothes in muddy melted
snow on the floorboards

my elbows pressed
against the roof
the worst of my
insecurities
forgotten for what
you found behind them

march

i’ll bury my face in your
coffee scented hoodie
and let you make me melt
over
and over
and over again

something else
has learned to drown
out the spinning circles
of cognitive catastrophes

april

the lights are out
the doors are locked
and like something out
of my darkest wishes

you’ve got me on top
of the cooler chest
and for the first time i don’t
pretend i want you to stop

and time only exists
for the traffic outside
and the big clock
that never runs to speed

“what do you want?”
i ask when you
come up for air
“more of you”
and your fingers
just keep working

the hardest part is
allowing myself to trust
to give myself permission
to be a human
with a human
body and human
emotions and
a human companion

the rest of the year
hasn’t come yet
and i don’t know
what it holds

but spring is coming
warmth after the
cold and wind
and i have to believe
in the good feeling
growing in me

have to believe that
i’m good enough
for the love you
want to give me
copyright 4/23/19 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Apr 2019
my brain is controlled
by two halves

one half is a
pink stuffed
easter bunny
bought on sale the
tuesday after
with big glassy eyes
that don’t see
and a slightly crooked
smile that doesn’t
let the emotions through

and the other half
is a bearded dragon
all spikes and scales
it flicks its tongue
at the pink bunny
and seems to imply

“go go go
move!
keep doing
something!”

the rabbit stares
into the distance

the bearded dragon
continues standing
neck prickles twitching
desperate to make
something happen
and yet he cannot
convey this urgency
to the pink bunny

who only exists
to be held
and to sit quietly
with only his
thoughts for
company

and so the silent
struggle for
action remains
silently and
unaffected by
either party’s action

or lack
thereof

and that’s the
two halves of
my brain and how
they work together

apathetic and
yet neurotic
depressed and
yet still anxious
copyright 4/23/19 by b. e. mccomb
Apr 2019 · 305
misplaced
b e mccomb Apr 2019
two concepts
dance around
in my mind
from time to time

the first one is
secure
small towns and
familiar faces
streets with grass
growing in the cracks
and parking lots with
the footprint of my
disintegrating shoe
pressed into fresh asphalt

streetlights that
come on to let
me know it’s time
to go home
a soft place
to call my own

the second one is
romantic
intriguing and scary
traffic and lights
and people and buildings
that fight to reach
into the clouds
an unfamiliar city
with corners and caveats
to explore for the first time

lights that never
burn out
restless crowds
to fade into
as soon as someone
learns your name

two very different thoughts
both equally
concerning in
two very different ways

complacency or
out of place?

i refuse to give
myself an answer
or maybe i’m afraid
to let myself wander

but a third question
knocks on my
skull and
lets itself in

and i can’t help
but wonder

what does
five in the morning
feel like when you
can’t see the sunrise
casting shadows
on empty fields?

does the world still
find a moment to
release its breath
before the day begins
when the city didn’t
even sleep the night before?

what if i don’t
belong here?

which outcome would
leave me least misplaced?
copyright 4/21/19 by b. e. mccomb
Apr 2019 · 80
sever me
b e mccomb Apr 2019
sever me

the blood doesn’t
worry me
neither does the
imminent pain

just get it
fixed
remove the
gangrenous limb
please just
sever me

i’ll learn to
manage without it
i’ll teach myself
to live again

but if you want me
to stay alive just

sever me
copyright 4/20/19 by b. e. mccomb
Apr 2019 · 187
peace and quiet
b e mccomb Apr 2019
the fear
is suffocating
the anger
is motivating
the sadness
is paralyzing

what do you do
when you’ve been doing
your best
and it’s still
not enough?

what do you say
when you know you’re
beaten down
and nothing will
change their minds?

my eyes are tired
of being dry and puffy
my brain is tired of
feeling like cotton
nose is tired of stuffy
throat is tired of lumpy
but mostly i am
just tired

please
all i want
is silence
so complete
and still that
even the ringing
in my ears
quiets

just a little
bit of peace

to reestablish
a connection
from the crossed wires
between my ears

a warm
hazy feeling
beginning to
grow up through
my stomach and
sprout blooms
into my
chest cavity

i don’t want to
live on the run
anymore

on the run?
but all you do
is work and sleep

exactly
i’m on the run
from the rest
of my life

the only place i
feel at home anymore
is a little blue car with
his hand in mine

i’m safe there
we go places
that take me
away from it all

but i always have
to go and ruin it
don’t i?
muddy footprints
on the door
streaks on the window
balled up napkins
propelled by tears
and emotions
onto the floor

i don’t want to be
taken care of
i want to grow
unhindered
up the wall like
the ivy that climbs
fill the lawn of my life
with endless may violets

not the mat
in the floorboards
with trampled debris
of leaves and winter wet
under someone’s
cold feet

i am my own
worst critic
though not my
only critic

but i am the one
i must listen to
in the still after
i’ve locked the doors
i’m the one that
keeps myself from
complete
peace and quiet

i can understand
people and why
they might not
like me
but it’s harder
to understand
why i can’t
like myself

but please
oh please don’t
put me under
a public microscope
please don’t turn
the far side of this
counter into some
kind of fishbowl

because i swear
i am doing my best
but it’s hard and
i can’t handle the
feeling of being
watched

all i want is
peace and quiet
a house
that feels like home
to come back to
at the end of the day

and the only
vicious voice
i must fight
to be my own
copyright 4/17/19 by b. e. mccomb
Apr 2019 · 436
forged
b e mccomb Apr 2019
it’s not that i was
made this way
it’s that i was forged
in the fires this way

born
blank
formless
ready to become
something
someone

raised behind
fragile glass walls
they tapped on
and i could not
defend myself without
cracking the seal
and being blamed
for destruction

until one day
the fire came
burning around my feet
and i had
to get
out

i smashed the glass
shards in my fists
blood on my knuckles
and i’ve been fighting
ever since
that day

i was not
supposed to be this way
i was supposed to be
a fragile china doll
but this is who
i ended up

a fighter
a warrior
an impudent
little girl who
doesn’t know
when to quit

supposed to faint
at the sight of blood
not be someone who
seeks it out

supposed to be
meek
and mild
mousy

not loud
and bouncy
chatty
impulsive
or daresay
even funny

but i am
a fighter
and i will not
be stopped
i refuse to be
walked over
for any longer
than i already have

and taking my
power back means
sometimes i must
punch
sometimes i must
snarl
bare my teeth and
sharpen my nails

but it also means
sometimes i must
stand
with all the power
i know i possess
underneath the
surface
hold it back

allow my spine
to straighten
and my shoulders
to stretch

remember words like
imposing
badass
competent
and for all i have felt
that i take up too
much space in this
body of mine
i am this size because
nothing smaller
could contain
what i have inside

let my full
height rise
and my full
weight surmise
to anyone and
everyone that i

might not always spit
fire and flames
but there is a furnace
roaring at my feet
copyright 4/10/19 by b. e. mccomb
Apr 2019 · 397
halfway homeless
b e mccomb Apr 2019
have you ever looked
at a house and felt
a crippling pain that
you couldn’t go in it?

i have
every day i see my own
front porch
and every day i see the house
still in someone else’s name
but not for much longer

the first hurt is raw
ripping and searing
through my heart
and running into hot
cinnamon fire tears
burning my cheeks

the second hurt is dull
stinging like a
badly sharpened knife
over skin or knowing
what your birthday
present is but having
to wait while not
letting on you know

i grew accustomed to
the custom of becoming
myself in this house
but the walls i grew up in
grew inward too tightly
around me to choke me

and still i have
a pillow to bury my
face in at night
a shower to wash off
the day dust
a kitchen to stand in
when i’m feeling
a bit lost

but lost is the only
feeling i have
when i’m here
in this house

i don’t live here
anymore

i live on my feet
behind counters
through the parking lot
and up the sidewalk

slipping in before
the sun is up
and dragging out
when others are in bed

feeling small
on a dull afternoon
when i can only curl
up on the couch
to think
and wait

time in between
that’s now

time between shifts
and time between living
in my house
and finding my home

it’s not so much
the waiting game
it’s the feeling
that i’m alone

that nobody
wants me

so close and
yet so far
almost there
but stuck here

just keep
the worn floors clean
music playing
and make sure
the janky old doors
are locked at night

this is my town
this is my home now

this town will take
care of me

as i’m wandering through it
halfway homeless
copyright 4/219 by b. e. mccomb

the second the paperwork goes through i’m leaving for good
Mar 2019 · 214
change
b e mccomb Mar 2019
champagne tickles
the roof of my mouth
like the fear bubbling
up in my chest

and sweet yellow
orange juice is what
i imagine hope for
living life tases like

is peering down
the aisles of this
narrow small town
liquor store
just peering
into my future?

**** it
and sink it
hope for
the best

happy birthday to me
now it’s time to tell
my mother that her vivacious
little girl has grown up
into a young woman who only
wants flowers in her hair
a pillow fort of quiet solitude
and a little peace of mind
maybe with a stiff drink
in her hand
or maybe just with
an iced coffee

swish the drink around
in the crystalline glasses
used to being filled with
water or cola
swirl it into the
confusion dripping down
the frosted walls and puddling
in the dip of the floor of my brain

alcohol
***
solitude
all tempting
and timely vices
now that i’m grown

everyone
leave me
alone
don’t leave me
alone
i’m scared

i’m scared
of who i’ve become
of who i will find
myself to be
when i reach the
bottom of this cup
full of old
memories

and when you asked me
what I wanted for
my birthday all
i could think of was
to be seventeen again
and not afraid of
what tomorrow
might bring

or to have a day
or two completely
to myself
nobody to ask me
silly questions and
nobody to answer
my doubts being voiced
just me
learning the art
of trusting myself

to lean into my
emotions without
spiraling down
into them

i’m growing up
growing older
learning change is the
only constant in life

empty the glass
brush my teeth
shake out my hair
crawl under the blankets
go to sleep and
wake up tomorrow
one day older
one day wiser

the future
is trash bags full of
old clothing
boxes full of
old books
a reinvention
of myself and
maybe finding a life
that brings me peace

this moment is coffee grounds
***** pennies and soft dollar bills
wind cutting through
the corners of the windows
always a couple degrees
warmer inside my bake case
jabbing keys on a grimy calculator
and a persistent ache in my heels

so i’ll sit down for
a snatched second here
or there and lose myself
in the quiet for just
a moment until the
bell rings and i
shake myself out
of the revery
shut the notebook
blue lined with
thoughts that won’t
stay in neat rows

back to work
an endless stack of
the dishes of
strangers

scrape
wash
rinse
soak
dry
repeat

washing dishes
a chore that never ends
perpetual transience of
soap through my hands

i tell myself that this
is just a season
that it won’t always
be like this

change is now
i am changing

i must learn to live
my life now and not
as a vague concept
misty in my future
clinging to me like
floral perfume that
isn’t mine but covers the smell
of bleach and bacon grease

water is a force of nature
that people have learned
to route through pipes into
small town water lines
contain in faucets and run
through sinks into bathtubs
pitchers and dishpans

oceans distilled into
jugs and splashed into
my cut glass cacophony
ice cube trays
frozen with complacency
something like me

and now it’s time to tell
my mother that her vivacious
little girl has grown up
into a young woman
who is growing her hair on an impulse
and who has found a family
beyond flesh and blood
who soon will lie on the floor
of her own home and solve
her own sadness in her own heart
surrounded by people who love her
because they chose to
not because they only wanted
love in return

that she is going to age
without resentment
and has made the choice
to lean into the wind
taste the change
entering her bloodstream

the future
is now
and change
is coming
copyright 3/23/19 by b. e. mccomb
Feb 2019 · 888
sex
b e mccomb Feb 2019
***
***
a word so bad
it didn’t even need
four letters

they told us
to wait for
our future husbands
to treat the boys we
dated as if they
belonged to someone else

that if we wouldn’t do it
with our parents in the room
it wasn’t okay
to do at all

that there was
some kind of higher
spirituality achieved
by celibates and singles
but of course that
couldn’t be for everyone
(as if needing human
companionship made you weak)

******* would send
you to hell and
of course the gays were
already there

that our virginity was the most
important part of ourselves
and losing it before due time
was the worst thing we could do
but all would be better
if we said we were sorry
swore never
to do it again

there were contracts
pledges, oaths
and jewelry
if you didn’t have
a ring you weren’t
doing it right

purity
virginity
words thrown around like
hand grenades into foxholes
as insurance policy against
pregnancy and stds

a barrage against the
onslaught of our culture
morality reduced to making
guys and girls sit on
different sides of the room
and debates in the mirror
over the length of skirts
and scoop of necklines

for something we weren’t
supposed to do
they sure made us think
about it an awful lot

meanwhile
back home in our own
bedrooms all the songs
on our radios and
the movies on our tvs
told us a very different story

somewhere along the line
i got so confused i
convinced myself i never
wanted *** at all
when i finally felt
desire stirring
in the pit of my stomach
it was terrifying

i thought since i
had never felt it
that made me immune
but it really just made me
in deep
deep denial

a denial that persisted
through late evenings
of exploring another
person’s body
learning to trust someone
with my own

they told us until we said
i do
there was no reason
to believe anything would last

and some nights i can’t sleep
with worrying about
some inevitable burning and
collapse of the building called us

i feel my parents’ gazes boring
right through my chest and
hope they never find out
what i’ve been doing

turtlenecks to cover the stain
of love notes on my neck
having something on
my body to hide
takes me back to being fifteen
and the judgement of strangers
a dead weight in my stomach
and sweaters past my palms

but the feeling of your lips
and hands and breath
in my ear and for a few minutes
i don’t care that tomorrow
i’ll be trying to forget
that i’m not as pure
as they once told me
i would stay

but i am no longer
in denial
only suffocating
in guilt
copyright 2/7/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jan 2019 · 276
clockwork (pt 2)
b e mccomb Jan 2019
“you having a bad week bri?”
hilary peers over the glass partition
between me and reality
“me? a bad week?
how can it be a bad week
when it’s only monday?”

but the truth is
it’s usually not
a great week
here for me
when my life is how it is
their lives are how they are

kayla had her baby
before christmas
haven’t seen sam
in forever
jennifer still doesn’t like
dressings or sauces
but she doesn’t call in her
usual every day anymore

still getting calls every morning
what’s the soup special?
barb drinks the same
cappuccinos as always
still can’t see properly but
she’s still trying
jim and dorothy like it when
i make their sandwich
because they say i’m the only
one who gets the chips right
nicadamus just didn’t
show up one day and
nobody quite knows
where he went

now mckenna walks
around the counter and
puts his arms around me
because i’m his girl
and him?
he’s my whole world

i bring mint brownies to the
brewery for the older couple
i smile when children smear
their grubby fingers across
the bake case that was just
cleaned and pretend it doesn’t
bother me to fish uneaten
coleslaw shards out of the drain

ray passed away
in july and nobody
told me because they
thought i knew
last week i find out rita
has gone on too
and the feeling in my
stomach sinks
into relief that she’s not
without him anymore

susan stops by sometimes
for lunch on her way to
see janice who is now
in the nursing home for good
and it’s better for her
but she doesn’t understand

the same faces come through
but a little tickle in the back
of my brain tells me some
of them haven’t been in
i can’t help myself from hoping
they’re all okay

new faces appear
i tell myself not to get
attached to them but after
weeks of making the same
items over and over just
the way they want
it gets hard not to see others
as an extension of my routine

the world is spinning
at an alarming rate
my heart is still running
at a declined pace

“well, breezer
between me and you”
maureen says
(she calls me breezer
and i call her a salve
to my cold 7am soul)
“i don’t blame you
you can’t stay here forever
and it’s a hard job
i couldn’t do it”

my mother tells me i’m not
going anywhere
maureen tells me there are
better things out there for me

and i tell myself i can
steep fulfillment into
complete strangers’
cups of tea

what i was saying to hilary
was that past a certain age
nobody tells you you’re
doing a good job
“we do in my office”
she says with a
who-hurt-you
expression

maybe in offices it works that way
but maybe i couldn’t force myself
into a plate glass cage where
telephones never stop
ringing and “coffee”
comes out of a k-cup

indecision
grinds its teeth
and i find myself clapping my
hands over the register and saying

“you’re doing your best!
you got this, c’mon
let’s get some espresso in you
and you’ll feel better
you can do anything
even get through today”

when i look in the mirror
i hear myself screaming
that all i have to do
is get through today
words echo through my
brain that i will get
through this
that i am smart
and beautiful and change
begins by knowing i am
worthy of better things

but i also realize it’s easier
to drown out the doubt
when you hear it from
someone else
so whoever and
wherever you are
if you need this affirmation, take it
pass it on, even

keep grinding, girl
you’re doing a great job
copyright 1/28/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jan 2019 · 823
my boy
b e mccomb Jan 2019
they write poems about
boys who are flowers and
sunlight or oceans and salt spray
boys who are soft and lovely

when they write poems about
men they are all whiskey and
loud voices or sneers and fists
men who are angry and violent

i’ve yet to read a poem
about someone like you
because they don’t write poems
about people who just are
who they are with no
exceptions or exclamations

i call you my boy
because you’re soft
but you’re really a man
(the clunky boots prove that)

but now that i’m writing this
poem i hesitate to call you
a man because heaven forbid
anyone think you
are made of sharp angles
and muddy truck beds

and i was scared
because they say men
carry guns and threats
and aspartame compliments
and condoms
in their wallets

but you just carry
a coffee cup
a smart phone
with stickers on the case
and a tiny spatula hanging
on your keys

so i handed you my heart
not ripped out but
scored and carefully
torn around the edges
slightly warm and still
faintly bearing

and you took it
held it in your hand
smiled at it
smiled at me

and placed it in one
of your pockets
under the phone
and the keys and
the wallet and
the coffee mug where
it couldn’t possibly
fall out

and let it warm for awhile
waited for the beat to
grow back stronger
until you held it fully
circulating and rejuvenated
but you didn’t hold on

you handed it back
set it gently in the
hole i had left
in my chest

and i felt the blood
start pouring through
my veins like i never believed
was possible for me

and i swear that even though
you said i could keep my
heart if i wanted to
i swear that i would
give it back to you
again and again
for the rest
of my life

along with the rest of me
my body and soul
completely
you can have me
no guarantees
just me

cracked open and sometimes
still the blood seeps out
but i am healing and learning
to trust that you will
hold me while i continue
to learn to trust myself

growing is painful
and messy and sometimes
people grow a little
bit crooked

but it’s okay for me
to cry on your shoulder
instead of alone
where the darkness
chokes and claws
through my throat

it’s okay for me
to grow
it’s okay for me
to love you

to love my boy
whose eyes are the sky
to love my man
whose hands are the earth

my boy who still watches cartoons
and plays video games til late
and my man who answers my questions
even if he has to look them up

my boy who leaves love bites
on my neck like we’re in junior high
and my man who will go downtown at
midnight to get concealer for them

my boy who buys me nugs
my man who cooks me dinner
my boy with his single dimple
my man with his scruffy beard

my man with his sturdy
strong hands
my boy who makes up silly
names for things

my boy who teases me mercilessly
and my man who hugs me tight until
the panic passes and stands
beside me when i’m afraid

i still get butterflies in
my stomach when you
walk in unexpectedly
and on days when the
sun doesn’t shine you
still make me smile

so here is a poem about
a boy made of orange september
sunlight and april afternoons
kisses on cheeks
rosemary and lemon zest

a poem about a man made
of electric july nights
a crunch on january snow
fluffy white smoke clinging to the ceiling
shimmering glass swirls of orange peel

i am fiercely
inadequate at expressing
concrete emotions

but the emotion you evoke
in me is a tidal wave of
calm and chaos all at once
and if the world were burning
i’d like to go down with your
mouth still on mine

it’s yours
everything i’ve got
you can have
anything for you

my boy
my man
my whole world
copyright 1/18/19 by b. e. mccomb
Jan 2019 · 222
frosted
b e mccomb Jan 2019
a thin sheet of ice
on a windshield
beach glass green
in the morning light

a frosted vase
in milky seafoam
red roses proudly
piled upwards

windows
you can’t see out of
and doors
that won’t lock tight

eyes that see
everything
and a haze over
my mind’s eye that
prevents any of it
from registering

reality reduced to
coffee and bread
aches in feet and
crumpled tissue paper promises
to be kind to myself
to not be so sad
so needy
so weak
so tired
so fogged

this part of my life
(the current present that has
continued on for years)
is the purgatory between
the past
and the future
so i spend my days
banging on the glass and
screaming for purpose
and nights letting slippery
tears freeze over
and crystallize on my pillow

if i could fix myself
don’t you know i
would have by now?

if i could make up
my mind do you think
i would still be here?

hurt me
please
but please don’t
tell me i can do this

if i could do this don’t you
think i would have?
copyright 1/8/19 by b. e. mccomb
Dec 2018 · 367
you
b e mccomb Dec 2018
you
the best gift
i got this year for christmas
was beginning to
understand who
you are as a person

what happens when the
emotions i know you keep
deep down inside somewhere
bubble up and you
explode a little

and how you see
the world
and people
and life
and me

the dimple in your right
cheek when you laugh
a genuine laugh
the tiny wart on
the back of your hand
the patch of fuzz
at the bottom of your back
the way your lips remind me
of peaches in the summer

how looking at you is
gazing into the sunset
how leaning on you is
everything i ever needed
how kissing you is
soft and precious
some days and
fire and chills the next

and i say i love you
an awful lot

but i mean it
an awful lot

and i’m used to making
your coffee every day
but every day i think about
how much i want to make
your coffee every day
for the rest of our lives
copyright 12/25/18 by b. e. mccomb
Dec 2018 · 661
not drunk, just tired
b e mccomb Dec 2018
a naked lady on a bicycle
graces the wine bottle
i swirl the blueberry bitterness
in one of the corralware mugs
with holly berries on the rim
choke it down and wish i’d eaten
some kind of dinner besides
stray fruit and dark chocolate

is this what christmas
really means?

cold and tired
unable to feel my fingers
or my toes
or anything inside my heart
that might resemble any
kind of positive emotion

sleep
alcohol
***
food

the four basic needs
associated with being
human and getting through
a time like this

at least two of them
should help me get through
this week but this hippie
wine is all i’ve got

it’s late
it’s really
****** late
at least for me

but you stay up
to all hours

i can’t get the
wine down
but it’s okay because
i’m tired enough
that i’m already
acting drunk

and when you walk
through the back door
i’ll tackle you
stick my cold hands
under your clothes
where it’s warm
and inviting and i’ll hope
for the best

i know better than to rely
on people for getting
me through the hard times
but it’s so tempting
when you’re so soft
and warm
and you always
take care of me

and i’m so tired
so tired
so...
tired

and i want to fall asleep
in your bed
on your chest
where time doesn’t
exist and stress
is just a memory

and the only thought in
my mind is that you’re
the best thing to
ever happen to me
copyright 12/18/18 by b. e. mccomb
Oct 2018 · 391
mind games
b e mccomb Oct 2018
mind games
with myself

a quivering equilibrium
of keeping myself too
busy to sink into depression
but not so overwhelmed
that the anxiety
swallows me whole

and the scales
are swinging

i am not
in control
of my own
life right now

cuticles stained green
hair grown scraggly
wrists that go
numb and tingle

i am only
twenty

too old to be carefree
and yet too young
to be callused and weathered
made miserable by time

the mind games get
violent
no referee
to call time out

my bath is still
hot but i suppose that as
with dishes it should be
emptied when no longer clear

and i am clouding
my own judgement

so the rusty red water
drains away
leaving bubbles
on my shoulders

mind games must halt
impulse control

because still the
blood remains
i can’t wash
it off me

it’s too
late

what’s wrong
with me

i am scared of
many things
the most frightening being
spiders
and admitting what i’m
really feeling

make that a fear
of myself

of the
mind games

and now what’s
done is done and
i will sleep or
lie awake in tears

when people ask what
happened to me
i tell them i was sad
and anxious and
got over it two
years ago

because not even i know
what’s wrong with me

how i’m supposed
to win the mind games

somebody help me
i need a referee
copyright 10/30/18 by b. e. mccomb
Oct 2018 · 1.6k
home
b e mccomb Oct 2018
people build
their homes

out of the age of
their tea kettle and
which plants they keep
on the windowsill

by whether or not
the cups and plates match
if the cupboards are
minimalist or overstuffed

from the color of the walls
and state of the floor

right down to what they
hang on the fridge
the scent they choose
for their dish soap

and the way the words
come out of their mouths

i am tired of tending
to other people’s homes
using their sponges
watering their dead plants
sweeping their floors
and smelling their dish soap

tired of listening to
my words crumbling
as fast as i can
get them out


and i want a home
with fresh flowers on
the counter at all times
something delicious
simmering on the stove
with hot tea every night
and cream line cappuccinos
every morning for breakfast

the plates don’t need to match
although i’d like them to
i know i’m not that type of person
and the mugs and washcloths don’t
need to be handmade but i’m sure
most of them will be anyway

with a goldfish
and succulents
both of which will live
long healthy lives

yellow walls and maybe a
sunny breakfast nook
with a crochet lace valence
over top the window

your hand
to hold
your chest to rest
my head on at night


and when the dishes rattle
it won’t be in frustration or
anger but in peels
of citrus and laughter

*i’m ready to build
a home of my own
and i want to build it
with you by my side
copyright 10/29/18 by b. e. mccomb
Oct 2018 · 201
dark
b e mccomb Oct 2018
greeted by the musty smell
of yesterday’s bacon grease
the familiar scrape
of sliding glass and brass
and the blast of hot air
from an open oven

turn on the lights
unlock the doors
whining and whirring as coffee
falls from the grinder chute
the steam wands hiss
water spits through
the filter basket and i
find myself awake

and standing with my
elbows in a bin of hot
water and soapy dishes
the crust over my eyes
loosening with the
warmth and wet

flip the sign
wave the flag
the plates clank
as i walk by

smile
chat
say the same lines
i say every day
toaster to register
sink to grill

an autopilot person
as the world spins

ivy on the brick walls turns red
snow blankets the stone steps
the streetlights stay on through
the fog all morning

the picture windows
rattle when the semis
roar around the corner
at night i lie awake
and imagine them
cutting the turn too close
and crashing through plate glass

i can’t sleep
not when morning
looms so soon
when the sky out the
window will be black
when i wake up

black when i
eat dinner
and gray whenever
else i look

and it’s true
i don’t have it
as rough as
some people

but that doesn’t mean
it’s all so easy for me

i’ve found by living in
the early morning
i can achieve the same
effect as staying up
too late but with less
negative consequences

but the things that are whispered
when the world is still dark
aren’t things to be whispered
to the faint of heart
copyright 10/3/18 by b. e. mccomb
Oct 2018 · 619
idyllic
b e mccomb Oct 2018
oh the joys of idyllic
small town life in this
whitewashed village where
everyone knows everyone
and everyone knows
everyone’s business

where the groceries are
overpriced and the taxes
are high and everyone but
the wife knows he’s cheating

where everything is a scandal
and nobody will admit to knowing
anything but they’ll still talk
about it behind closed doors

there are supposedly prostitutes
on main street but i only ever see
the drunk and drugged out there
and if someone is single there is
someone determined
to find them a match

all and all a very pleasant
charming life we lead here
what with all the arrests
and the highway department
yammering away on things
and the way the tops of the semis
scrape the bottom of the
traffic lights on their way though

something charming about
the way the sides of the buildings
all need a good power washing
and there’s probably lots of
good clean arsenic in
the water supply

scenic
a most sleepy
little burg
they say

spend some time
with us and
you’ll find a community
you’ll find a home

you’ll also
find a thing or two
you’ll wish
you didn’t know
copyright 9/24/18 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2018
2/11/17
i've had moments
here and there in golden
sneakers and navy blue
lace covered dresses
but i'm not the girl
in an owl city song
not something worth
writing dreamy poems
about not so lovestruck you
replace your words with dada

9/18/18
same sneakers
same dress
same faces
fresh sweat

suddenly the stars
all fall together
and my life comes
careening full circle

your arms around my waist
flashing blue lights
in our eyes as i scream
every word that kept me
sane through years of
hopelessness and rain

you move your mouth
trying your best to
sing along with me
but it all comes out dada

and shockingly
blindingly
i can see myself
clearly

and i find myself at last
the girl in an owl city song
hand in hand with
my very own adam young

now i know
all wishes come true
even the ones you didn’t
realize you made

and isn’t it the most
incredible
impossible
cosmic destiny
how years after we stop
dreaming
when we storm on through
washed out hopes

one day the pieces
just fall into place
with closure and new
beginnings all at once

rainbows and clouds
epiphanies and ecstasy
dreams and the dreamers
you and me
copyright 9/20/18 by b. e. mccomb
Sep 2018 · 499
one of those days
b e mccomb Sep 2018
it’s the kind of day
that makes your
jaw ache and the
soreness settle in
even the youngest
of bones

(“rainy days and mondays
always bring me down”
but rainy mondays are
guaranteed to be worse)

i worry too much
care too much
cry too much
think too much

it’s about time
to start thinking about
what happens when
seasonal depression hits

about time to start
making plans for
the rest of my
everloving life

it’s hard for me
to make plans
hard for me to
admit that maybe
my life won’t always
make me miserable

i struggle with
feeling powerless

watching those around
me suffer
trying every day to make
someone smile

and then one monday
picking up a paper
and seeing that one of those
smiles is no longer with us

nobody tells the barista
and they tell me it’s hard to find
out someone you know has died
by looking at a work ticket

but i’m just the girl who
makes your coffee and
wraps your bouquets and
no matter how much i
truly genuinely care about
each face in this town i know

at the end of the day
i have to face that
nothing can change
the inevitabilities

that nothing i say
can really help
the world will still
turn without me
like it turns without
others who are gone

i know i sound
pessimistic
i’m sorry
it’s just a rainy
day or monday
getting me down
copyright 9/13/18 by b. e. mccomb
Sep 2018 · 16.5k
morning eyes
b e mccomb Sep 2018
at 4 in the
morning the sun
is never up
but i usually am

i worry
about things
that are out of
my control
even more about
things that are

get up early
when i work
and earlier
when i don’t
the older i get the
more i learn
sometimes you
need to cry it out

alone
at night
into your pillow
the blankets
wrapped all
around you

sometimes you
need to cry
and cry
and cry

until the morning
sun falls across
the tears dried
under your lashes

and the lump
in your throat has
dissolved so you can
breathe with ease

you need to get up
let hot water
wash it away
let the steam rising
from your mug soften
any sorrow left around
your morning eyes
take a deep breath
don’t mention it
to anyone

and
just
keep
going

i will
just
keep
going
copyright 9/7/18 b. e. mccomb
Sep 2018 · 554
toxic
b e mccomb Sep 2018
it hurts
a sharp jabbing
pain in my
lower side
just above my
stomach

i only feel it
when i start
to think
too hard

it often aches
throughout the day
snakes downward and wraps
itself around my legs
squeezes my muscles
so tight i can’t sleep

the pain
screams
that i am not
good enough
that i never
have been and
never will be
good enough

there are purple
bags under my eyes
i keep them full
at all times

full of
what?

full of
words

words like
“no”
“can’t”
“want”
“practical”
“best”
“should”
“plan”

heav­y
words
that pull my
head down

so that i focus
on the floor
my own feet
and the thick
vine winding
up from the
ground trying
to choke me out

lately every
step has been hard
trying to pull
the roots up
so i can begin
to move forward

it’s slow
and the pain
and the words
make it slower

and i am tired
so tired
all i want is to
stop moving
just for a
bit to rest

afraid of
what i know
about myself
and how if i
pause and
slow down

my body will
come to a
complete halt
and more of those
dead weight words
might tumble out

words like
“wrong”
“want”
“work”
“will”
“can”
“happy”
“no”

until i am buried
under an avalanche
of double negatives
and wishful thinking

and still the pain
keeps on throbbing
as i keep swallowing
down my toxic words
copyright 8/27/18 by b. e. mccomb
Aug 2018 · 619
hustle
b e mccomb Aug 2018
my hands are covered
in scrapes and calluses
three week old blisters turned
gray with scabs and dirt

i paint my face on bravely
every morning and grind
the glitter into my skin
with a smile until i get home

and can let my cheeks begin
to droop and the hateful
thoughts i push down all day
begin to tumble out

i spend all day saying sorry
for things that aren’t my fault
and try to make
strangers laugh

and i work
and hustle
and sleep
and work

listen to the voices
tell me i’m not
trying
hard enough

and sleep
and hustle
and work
and sleep

and keep myself fighting
for something
but i don’t know yet
what that something is

sometimes at the end of
another day when my
body melts into bed
the glitter washes off
with tears

and the fear
pins me down
so i grit my teeth
shut my eyes and sleep

then i get up
pour another
cup of coffee
and just
keep
moving
copyright 8/20/18 b. e. mccomb
Aug 2018 · 13.0k
i dread the day
b e mccomb Aug 2018
i dread the day you learn
for the first time that
you can't just love all
the darkness in me away

and no matter how much
you care i will still toss
and turn at night and scars
might still appear on my skin

i dread the day you realize
that you can't cure me
and sometimes all you can do
is stand next to me and
hold my hand through fog
pouring out of my ears so black
and thick we can't even see
each other's faces

i dread the days i can't
get out of bed
the days you want to
take me out and all
i can manage is a prettified
shell of myself

i dread the day you learn
that sometimes no matter
how hard i try i still can't
pull myself together

the day you learn that
there isn't an answer
you can give that will
save me from my fears

you aren't the first person
who has tried to love the
darkness inside away
my family and friends
have given it their all
but someday you too will learn
that if love could
cure mental illness
the world would be
a much better place
copyright 8/6/18 b. e. mccomb
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