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b e mccomb Jul 2016
Loathing upon the
Object of awaking in the
Summertime can be quite

Dreamy eyes of browns
Opaque ceramic coffee cups in
Grassy fields by
Tired blackberry bushes
And, most of all, a
Gaping sensation of finality and

Now I'm wondering if I will
Ever find as
Vibrant a friend as you and your
Reasonable explanations, for lack of a better word.

Flying, close your eyes and
On you'll go, far over the skyscrapers, you'll find
Utopia, and I'll find our conversations of
November through June, and drink a thousand cups of your
Dark roast.

Maybe it's strange, but I'll miss your 10 a.m.
Eyelashes and all our lovely times.
Copyright 7/5/15 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Dec 2016
(twist my neck around
180 degrees to the past)

they're back again
the doctor calls them
"dark thoughts"
i just call them hell

it probably didn't
help that i stopped
taking my medication
but i was feeling better

and i often forget
about my pills and
what i'm saying in
the middle of a sentence

and i often can't sleep
or something i don't even
know anymore i just know
if it's sleep it's disturbed

(i love my job but i would
love it more if i didn't
completely disassociate myself
from reality while i'm there)

"having two managers
with chronic illness was
probably not the best idea
i'm glad we've got you around."

i smiled at her and
choked a little on
what's always in
the back of my mind

why i didn't come in for
months last fall and what
haunts me when i turn
off the lights lock the
doors and sit in the dark
by the front window
watching condensation
run down the glass

(last night i dreamed
i had a panic attack and
they found me in the
back by the potato chips
and i had to explain that
what i was really afraid of
was the fact there was a
church next door)*

i know i've changed
but i just don't know
how i could have
changed so much so fast

it all seems like a blurred
dream in my past
of computer screens and
carpeting and cold
winter mornings drenched
in vanilla and scarves

and if it weren't for the
fact it shattered me
i would miss it in the way you
miss a rose-tinted window
that was always cold as ice and
cracked clear down the middle

so i twist my neck around
180 degrees to the past
from 110 to -19 but that
leaves 51 unexplored degrees

of summer and cold concrete
of winter and colder concrete
of who i was and who i wasn't
of who i am and who i will never be

i twist my neck around
180 degrees to the past
before i realize that
something's gone askew

i called it love but hindsight
calls it something else.
Copyright 12/2/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
it's 2:53
is it wrong of me
to think that sometimes
the devil turns us
against each other
for his own schemes?

hours past my bedtime
but i can't sleep because
i'm over the edge and
if i turn out the lights now
i'll be awake until the
sunrise with panic attacks

it's 2:54
is it wrong of me
to think in terms
of either-or?

i'm a little weird
in that most of the
music i listen to lately
is just ambient noise
designed to make
me feel less

a pain in my chest
i'm afraid of death
even more to stay alive

i get scared
of myself
sometimes at night
when i'm alone
because i know
i'm the only one
with the motive
the power
to destroy

and i start feeling
i know where the
knives are
i know where the
pills are
i know i'm smart enough to
figure out how to tie knots
but sometimes i don't know
if i can talk myself
down from that ledge

and i get scared
of losing control
i don't really want to die
i don't think?

is it
3 yet?
Copyright 5/31/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Sep 2016
i'm on top of the world
and waiting to crash

i'm glad summer
is over now
always had too many
false expectations
and winter is better
because everyone
sets the season's
standards low

(except for christmas
but **** christmas
except don't actually
**** christmas
because the pine needles
would probably hurt)

i just want the dishes all
washed and my bedroom
floor completely clean and swept
before i jump in front of a car

(go ahead and hang
me from the chandelier
it's not like i need
my neck in one piece)

but there's some kind of concept
stating that anything left to itself
will steadily grow worse so
if i go now it may just all decay

(flowers sprouting out
of the sink drain and the
ivy on the window taking
hold of the kitchen walls
grass meandering up
through my floorboards)

last week you promised
over cups of morning coffee
that you would do
anything to help me

but that was before
last night when i washed
the coffee *** five times
brewing out the limey residue
of all the things you've said
and this morning it tasted
slightly of vinegar and
i remembered that you
got so lost in old grocery receipts
inside plastic bags under the table
of your own colossal problems
that you just forgot.

(if i were less anxious i would
definitely be an arsonist by now)

and i don't know as
you know about that
concept the one i was
just referring to

(the one that explains
why procrastination
will **** us both
you in your femoral arteries
me in the vicelike death trap
of my ******* head)

because i don't know as
you know that behind
the mania in my eyes is
three four a.m.'s
two five a.m.'s
one six a.m.
and six months
of three a.m.'s.

every time i fry a fish i'm
mentally putting my face
against into the pan and
the lid over my eyes

(and you just want
salad for some reason)

i'm a paragon of raging
domesticity these days
and you're saying how right
you must have raised me

(really it was all your wrongs
that raised me right that way)

you keep accusing me
of being mad at you
so okay i'll just say i'm
******* mad at you

because you can't
control your house
or who lives in it
you can't even take
care of yourself which
means i could lose
you tomorrow and
you don't care that i'm
suffering and dying
just as slowly as you are

(somebody has to
take responsibility
for your actions and
i've always been handy)

you call me selfish when
i learned that from you

(hell only knows
everyone is at least
a little selfish some
just hide it better)

but the other thing you
taught me by example
is that if you want
something done
right you must
do it yourself

*(**** it all
you'll see one day
what i did for you
and **** it all
because i can't save
either of us but you
had better believe i
can clean a ******* house.)
Copyright 9/13/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Mar 2020
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

or perhaps
because of
what falls apart
or comes together
all around us
copyright 3/18/20 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
and i’m still
digging to find
the right words
and he’s still
to me for the
fact that i

(for lack of
a better term)


it was still
dark when i
got up
this morning

and it felt
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
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
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 Aug 2016
(i'm 42% sure
i don't exist.)

intensely greased
plastic hair
secondhand green day
coldplay in the rain

i love the sound
that waxed paper
deli sheets make
and i could choke
on a glassed reflection
of celery salts and windex.

(i'm 42% sure
i don't exist
because when i look into
my eyes i see someone else)

i'm not catholic
and do not
understand who
st. peter is

but i wonder if he won't let
us into heaven because we're
failures or if we're failures
because he won't let us into heaven

(i'm 42% sure
i don't exist
and questioning how
bad hell can really be.)

too quiet for a saturday
i wrote the word
decaf so many times i
forgot how to spell it


(does decaf
have two f's?
because i don't have
two f's to give anymore
i mean i would but
i can't even find
vowels much less
extra consonants)

when i was a child
i always counted in
now that i'm older i
find myself counting in

i dreamed my
legs were bleeding
and i remembered
that they're not

i want so badly
just to sleep in
a bag of crystallized
ginger and swim
in a mixing bowl of
tasteless tea.

(i can't tell what's
real anymore
but i'm 42%
sure that i am not.)
Copyright 8/6/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jun 2021
it’s friday night and for once
i’m not slinging *****
no tickertape headaches
or low resolution bedtimes

purple cocktail and
a pink sky above
the bricks of a city that’s
turned blue in faded light

and it’s easier now
to be grateful
for what i have
for what i don’t

i don’t have
to relive the past
last year will never
come again

and things may
get darker than
ever someday but
for today i have
this moment
to hold onto

the seconds in which
the fog on my
glasses cleared
and the music in
my ears was coming
from above me
and i didn’t need
to run to my
destination just
walk with time to spare

minutes in which
normal can exist
after a lifetime of
trying to be different

those who know me
will say i’ve changed
and i have
you have to change
when you start feeling
like yourself

it’s not a
glimmering revolution
on a horizon of clarity
it’s when you can
set your own smile
free on your face
let yourself miss
what you’ve lost
but not so much
that you lose today

vulnerability is a
hard gift to give myself
but i don’t want to
live in a box anymore

life is not
a race or sprint
it’s just a walk
on a late spring evening
when flowers in planters
nod in reminder that
potbound plants can
find a way to thrive

growth is a
and i’m not
there yet

but for now
there’s air
in my lungs
a plan in my
future and
regrets behind me

and for now
that’s enough
copyright 6/4/21 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
I bought a paper
Bag of sunshine
Stood on dry pavement in
An early autumn rainstorm
And let the damp crush it
Crumpled brown paper bag.

I remember a car trip in
A vehicle similar to this one
And how I had notebook paper and
A purple pen with purple ink
I guess that old Barbie pen was
My first love.

Honestly, my nose is cold but
It's not raining
And my socks are keeping
Me and my massive sweatshirt warm.

Pink braid, pink shoes
I'd like to think I'm wiser
As wise as the owl on my keys
Too wise to write a letter like I did.

Part you, part her
Part him, part them
Part coffee breath but mostly
I wrote this brown paper poem.
Copyright 10/2/15 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Oct 2017
i always relate more
to the songs about
not having someone
than having someone
copyright 10/5/17 b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Feb 2017
suicide is painless
but injustice isn't

it's not fair
it's not fair

i've had a migraine
and a song to match
stuck in my head
for two days

and now
i'm crying

it's not fair
it's not fair

and oh but every war
is in color blazing
bright calfornia sun
soundstage color

he was so close
so **** close

but i don't think it
was the war's fault

you see some people
just aren't destined
for happy endings
and that's not war's fault

wars are needed
to keep things
too much calm
leaves mundane
trenches in us

but it's still
not fair

not fair he had
to die and not fair
that had he died
another way
it would have
been painless

take or leave it
but do i take
or leave it?

he didn't get that choice

suicide is painless
but death still hurts
i've never been this upset by a show before.
Copyright 2/26/17 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
a discomfort
upwards from the
***** of my feet
up my calves and
through the muscles
i try to keep
from twitching.

some nights i could
wash my hands
twenty times
and still feel
sweaty and

i could give up
i know where the
blind curves are
and the tallest trees
in the woods
and i know how
much it hurts
behind my spine and
inside my rib cage.

i can't
i can't

and maybe giving up
would hurt less than
trying to hold myself
steady and trying



thoughts keep getting
cut off in the middle

i can't
i can't

i've had dark
nights and
slightly lighter
nights and
quiet damp
nights and
buzzing summer
nights and
throbbing multicolored
nights and
nights so deathly silent
i questioned my own sanity

and some nights
where i wanted
to just
give up

all of them were

i can't
i can't

i would run away
from my problems
if there wasn't this
in the ***** of my feet
radiating upwards

and also
if i could breathe

*but i
Copyright 4/23/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
"He's a pushover," you grumbled
As you swung starboard
"I've never seen anyone so
Slippery in magic."

"Beastly," I agreed, "simply beastly
Like a competition with those
Seven unenchantments."

"He broke the boundaries!"
You swore, took a long
Swig from your jar and
Ambled to the prow.

I said nothing more but simply
Thought to myself as I looked to
The afternoon of leather and ropes.
Copyright 2014 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Sep 2022
mvp arena
s pearl st
albany, ny

(to summarize how
we got to this point

i was in the
darkest year of my life
and in my pragmatism
i gave myself
an out

the only way i could
survive was to
tell myself it was
going to be over soon)

i’m screaming
the words into
of noise

i should be
still hearing the ringing
in my ears and
seeing flashing lights
in my eyes

was the day
it was going
to end for me

i discovered
a genre designed
for kids like me

spent hours
in full blown panic
not at the disco but
twitching on the floor
trying to drown it out
with fall out boy
nights that didn’t end until
dawn picking apart
twenty one pilots theories
in razor free showers

and then
my chemical romance
was back from the dead
10th anniversary album with
new tracks
coming 9/23/16)

things have changed
i’ve changed
and yet still
the same

”what’s the worst that i could say?
things are better if i stay?
so long and good night
so long and good night”

(and i realized
there was something
out there to
look forward to

just maybe
i make it through
just for now)

”we’ll carry on
we’ll carry on”

i did
and i made it
all the way to here
found a way to
scrape myself through
every lonely night

but in that
moment the
crushing weight
of my own
caught up to me

i should have been
to have made it
to here

but the only thought
in my mind
was that
if i hadn't
made it to here
this moment
in this sea of
misfits and margins
in this sweaty stadium
four hours from home

if i hadn't
carried on
my absence

i'm reduced to
a face in the crowd
twenty dollar bills
in a merch line
a scream in a stranger's
snapchat story

and the world doesn't
need me
one more person
to add to the chaos

i should have cried
happy tears
but instead
i began to regret
what makes me
what got me
to this point

would it be better
if i had ended it?
would it be easier?
does it even matter
either way?
because i'm
beginning to think
it really doesn't

and i know
i made it this far
i have his hand
around my back
and don't cry
alone at night anymore

but in the cosmic
scheme of significance
(which i want there
to be and i want
to be in)
i just don't
i don't
if it matters enough

what's the worst that i could say?
are things better if i stay?

"so shut your eyes
kiss me goodbye
and sleep
just sleep
the hardest part
is letting go of your dreams"
copyright 9/5/22 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Sep 2016
i've heard the songs
about killing pain

sounding like the only
way is with a vinyl
record and several
shots of something strong

(but pain isn't all
alcohol and turntables)

it's a stack of cds
still shrinkwrapped so
they shine like diamonds
a discard pile scratched and
cracked so i know that
life keeps skipping on

a fourth cup of coffee
to send my heart
rattling and my
hands shaking

(i've wished to be in
love before just so
my heartbreak could
someday be justified
but i can let the music
paint that picture easy)

buffering lyric videos
sprawled out in bed
watching the light grow
brighter behind the curtains

finding myself addicted
to pain and freezing cold
because i need the white
noise of a fan at night

*(but pain isn't all
alcohol and turntables
sometimes it's just old
boomboxes and black tea)
Copyright 9/10/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
I'm making a
Mental list.

It includes high-pitched noises
And dried up creek beds
A few gallons of orange juice
And an empty tube of toothpaste.

I'm bold enough to add some
Paper bags and that time in an
August rainstorm with you and
The moon when it's blood red.

Recently it's acquired a canister of
Powdered sugar, a slew of people I
Was too afraid to talk to and several
More who I wasn't.

The receptionist I smile at and
An empty bench where I sometimes sit
And the feeling of hands covered in
Acrylic paint.

I'm making a
Mental list.

But now I'm moving it
To paper, a list
Of things I never
Write poetry about.
Copyright 9/30/15 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
clean counters
clean floors
homemade pies
privacy and respect
dishes that don't match
a radio in every room
coffee in the morning
iced tea from a spigot
handmade afghans
fresh linen smell

and how
could i
possibly forget
Copyright 7/22/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
We've been
Through a lot
You and me
Best friends for
How long?
Over ten years
And that's at

Last week
You told me
That if you had
All the money
In the world
And could give me
You would buy me two corgis
Because that's what
I deserved.

But if I
Could give you

I would give you back
Every tear
You ever
Considered crying
Whether or not
It actually fell
All sealed up in a
Case of fancy glass
For you to toast with
At your pleasure.

And I would find every
Who ever
Hurt you
And make them
Feel pain
Kick them
Directly through the
Stratosphere and leave
Them to die
From a lack of
On the moondust
Of who you
Would have been
Without their hands
Around your neck.

I would
Wind the clock
Fast forward through
Your entire
And find some kind
Of cosmic compensation
Celestial retribution
For every lost
Every tainted
Home movie that
Still plays
On the screen
Of your eyelids
At night.

Speaking of night
I would hand you
Every sleepless
You ever lived through
Refund the three a.m.'s
You gambled
And lost to
Smooth away
The tiredness
Soaked into
Your very

And I would hurl
You ever believed
About yourself
Down into the
Hellfire and brimstone
Where it came from.

Because all you ever
Was peace of mind.
Copyright 3/3/16 by B. E. McComb
I love you.
b e mccomb Aug 2016
if you went back in time
and found my eighth grade self

you would find long sleeves
pulled way down her arms
and you might notice
she was hiding something
that she got awfully tired of hiding
and tired of stares when she wasn't

i'll give you a hint
my ninth grade self
had bright red scars
seared into her shoulders

my tenth grade self
was still finding leftover
pink horizon lines from
safety razors on her thighs

my eleventh grade self
found all her skin remarkably
pale but her coping
mechanisms still unhealthy

and my twelfth-grade self
she was the weakest one of all
just had the strongest
jaw to hide behind
and enough self-confidence to
stretch thin across her neuroses

but if you could go back
and find my eighth-grade self

please tell her
something for me
she won't believe it
but i just have to tell her

that in four years she will buy
the most beautiful sleeveless
white dress with navy lace
and she will wear it with
sneakers and bruises on her knees
a smile the overexposed
color of her insecurity

and nobody
will say a
**** thing
about her scars
bleached into
a memory.
Copyright 6/13/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
this one is for every poem
lost in the digital age by
a mere slip of the finger, a
faulty web browser, your notorious
lapse of wifi, the convenience of
an anti-analog world, and now
a moment of silence.
Copyright 8/21/15 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
they say that
if you imagine
vividly enough
so many times
you'll begin
to believe
it really happened

a. blood)

but believing
without it ever
having happened
doesn't give you any
extra lessons learned

b. blood)

and you've seen things
in your mind's eye
enough times
to know

(a steak knife to
the throat or a
pile of pills
down the hatch)

that you haven't
learned anything
except how to
lie awake for half
the night while your
brain plays tricks on you

(a noose in
the woods
an overflowing
bathtub in red)

it starts hurting
after awhile
a tightness in
the chest that
just won't go
an ache behind
your eyes
a twist
in your stomach

(the yellow line
a pair of headlights
in the middle
of the night)

it keeps you up
just imagining
mental pictures on
the screen of your
eyes that you
can't shut off

(a railroad bridge
the scene of some
prior and future

flashes around the
bathroom mirror at
four in the morning
on a saturday night
when you can't

c. blood)

worst of all
you're afraid.
Copyright 7/31/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jun 2017
spinach has blown
down my neck
and drifted gently
under my ribs

(i'm the salad fork carefully
rolling coffee beans
in drippy melted
warm dark chocolate)

i'm hungry but
not in the way where
my stomach growls
in the way where
i want to cry
but i've got to keep my
$20 teeth fresh and
minty at all times

the mirror
is broken

cracked in so many places
i'm more jagged lines than person
a mosaic of pieces that don't match
and parts i don't like

the truth is i
am flawed
and i will always
be flawed

and i may never
stop looking in
a broken mirror
wishing to smash
my body on its
sharpest edges

but i'm slipping
into a comatose
state of control
and loathing

(the more dead i get
the more alive i look)

when will i snap
out of this
when will i snap
out of this


stir the greens
rip the chicken
orange stings
the minty sores

chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew
chew chew chew


take a bite
leave a bite
too much
too little
still hungry

always hungry

but it will all feel better
another ten pounds down
Copyright 6/3/17 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
mauve dress pants
i would wear
mauve dress pants
in this subtle jubilation of
springish behaviors
if everyone i never
knew didn't happen
to be wearing them.

the ice cream stand
is open again
and i'm letting the
snorkel its way up my
nasal passages
smooth away my
coral cavities.

when the weather gets
this warm
i end up spending too
much time staring at the
ceiling and tuning out
the sunshine calling.

and i wonder
if i lined the rafters
with millions of cotton *****
would they absorb the sound
of all the words spoken
that nobody ever
to listen to?

the scratchy texture of
is holding me in place
anticipating the
rise and fall of each
easter hymn.

glue me down
for one more round.
Copyright 3/17/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
i swear these
drum beats
are the only thing
keeping my heart going

and i would run
through the rain tonight
if i thought the cars that go
around the corners too fast
really would never see
a thing

my friends
is a dangerous game
that i was never
made to play
but i was given
too sharp a lot in life
to avoid it completely

call me a terrible liar
but if you think i'm so
bad at hiding the truth
i guess you'd never know
if i suddenly
got good at it

if i thought it would
do me any good
i would jump out
the window and run

but it wouldn't do any
good when i keep finding
myself too tired to even
turn off the lights.
Copyright 3/13/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Apr 2018
it's a perfect morning
sun flickering through spines of
bare trees onto grass and gravel
thick layers of frost covering the car

the perfect kind of morning
where if you shut your
eyes tightly and angle your
body towards the light
the world is so bright it leaks
right through your lids

and when you point your
face towards the sky to
let your hair blow back and
taste the deliciously cool air
it's impossible to decide
if it's april or october

but either option
is a good one

waking up
eyes puffy from
snatched sleep
and anxious
excitement drawing
your insides awake

jars of coffee
big smiles
bouncy feet
too much
nervous energy

things are different
things aren't ideal

but things
are still good
even when things
are bad

and how is that?
because i make
my own ****
rules now

and if i say things
are good
come hell or high water
things will be good
regardless of whether it's
april or october
copyright 4/22/18 b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
I know how to question
Now someone teach me to question
Why everyone settles for

I'm not
But I get
When society becomes

Art is not a
On an
Of paper-doll cutouts of

But somewhere we lost
With our former
And were stripped of all
Copyright 6/11/15 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Mar 2017
a random lady once told me
there's arsenic in the
town water supply so i'm
trying to drink it every day

the dishwasher is running
sandwich cooler is cooling
and i'm curled in a ball in
the dark on one of those
square cushioned wood
framed couches

and if i shut my eyes
tight enough i'm a kid
again on a lazy saturday
afternoon but i don't
want to be a kid again and
it happens to be monday

i've met a boy recently
and he's a person
unlike i who am one
part girl to one part
shaking hands to
one part arsenic

i'm screaming into
the void that i
hope this works out
hope this works out
hope this works out
but i have a feeling in
the pit of my stomach
that i might ruin it

or maybe that's
just the arsenic
Copyright 3/20/17 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
and as you walk
down the dimly
lit glass hallway
the faces on the walls
in your breeze
of sadness and
iron oxide tears.

every surface in
your mind is
in a thick layer of
concrete dust
and you wonder
how long before
your nose
takes a dive
too often
to breathe.

there is clay
and you can't see
the cracks
between your
under the
thick layer of

as far as art
departments go
you're not feeling
so creative
painted or
it doesn't matter
when there is more
brown paper offered
to you every
time you believe
you've failed.

would you believe me
if i told you that a
newspaper and a pair
of old blue eyes
reminded me
and maybe you too
that there is somebody
out there
who actually

press that
into the wall
pin down
you've tried to
and avoid
stabbing your
finger into
the perforated
abused and

you're not
i promise
only your
entwined metalic
Copyright 4/21/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
maybe if the
art store
that it feels like i spent
most of my lifetime in
had never closed
i'd be doing better

(maybe i wouldn't
but that's less likely)

and maybe there would be
a stack of canvasses
somewhere in my room
all covered in words

poked through by
needles and stretched
with yarn
laced and glittered
within an inch
of their lives

and i'd be crying
and bleeding

and maybe my
tension would be
strung looser than their
stretched and stapled frames.

i'm wondering if
we ever get
over our losses
or if we just find
to abusing the
Copyright 5/12/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Sep 2016
begin with a
disinfectant wipe
and wash your eyes
right off your face

(it might sting a little
but that's a small
price we all must pay
before we die)

next grind your
toenails down to a fine
sheen using only the
shower curtain

(it may take hundreds
of years and that's why
i'm telling you to
begin immediately)

let the roots of your
hair dig down into
the ground and slowly
bury your face

(at this point in the
procedure you may
pass out from lack of
air or lack of hope)

finally tattoo morse code
messages behind your ears
with a rusty safety pin and
old charcoal art pencils

(it doesn't matter what it
says because nobody can
read it back there nor
do they actually care to)

and submerge your
nose into isopropyl
rubbing alcohol just
to smell poisoned

but most importantly
of all when you begin
to experience pain so
intense you do not
have words with
which to describe it

always tell yourself
that nothing is real

n o t  y o u
n o t  a g o n y
n o t h i n g
i s  r e a l.

then take down the
noose hanging in
the back of your closet
turn off the light and
fall into the deepest
sleep of your life

*(whether or not you're
real or not doesn't matter
it just matters what you're
telling yourself to stay alive.)
Copyright 8/13/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Sep 2016
plan a.
1. take each day one step at a time.
2. find a college and go there.
3. take each day one step at a time.
4. get a job and pay off your student debt.
5. live a life that you're afraid of.

plan b.
1. take up bicycling.
2. get a job and bicycle to it.
3. make money at the job.
4. save the money.
5. don't buy a car with the money.

plan c.
1. offer your services doing lawn care.
2. suffer all winter when you can't do lawn care.
3. take care of a lot of lawns in the spring.
4. make friends with lots of lawn owners.
5. use your connections to full advantage.

plan d.
1. sell your cd collection on ebay.
2. get a tattoo of a cassette tape.
3. invest in a pile of used vinyl.
4. work as a waitress.
5. save tips for concerts.

plan e.
1. hop on a greyhound bus.
2. go to whichever city the wind takes you.
3. take polaroid pictures of the city.
4. sell them to tourists.
5. starve to death.

plan f.
1. give up.
2. scrap that and try again.
3. because you're not a quitter.
4. and quitting at life.
5. was never an option.

plan g.
1. go to beauty school.
2. make people feel pretty.
3. go home and feel less ugly yourself.
4. donate money to charity.
5. hope that karma pays you back.

plan h.
1. pack up with your friends.
2. move to alaska.
3. work over the internet.
4. grow vegetables to offset the cost of hot tea and alcohol.
5. find something to love.

*(and just think how all of
these plans could be done in
one lifetime and how it takes
that many misses to find the hit
i'll give you a hint the thing you
have to learn to love is the one
thing that stayed with you
every step of the way.)
Copyright 9/27/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Apr 2017
it's that kind of morning
you know the type
where you leave your
eyeliner wings crooked
and spend the time you
would have wasted to fix them
sitting on the bathroom floor
feeling sorry for yourself

(i can't distinguish between
what i say and what
i mean and apparently
neither can anyone else)

there's a gallon of
grandmother's bleach
next to my feet but it
has 9,000 calories of
pure sodium per cup
and i'm on a diet

(see i could say i was
just making a funny joke
but there's nothing funny
about that joke)


(are people bulletproof
or is it just their hearts?)

guess all that's left to do is
cry if i've lost what wasn't mine
yoga in the middle of the night
showers in the afternoons
and laugh if i'm still a believer
in second chances (circa 2002)
anyone else remember the jonah movie? let's just hope the caterpillar worm guy got his message through to me.
Copyright 4/15/17 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Oct 2016
scared is not
a good enough
word for how
i'm feeling

peeking through
a crack in the
curtain of who
i am as a person

(like a dumb
teenage boy
hoping to see
some girl's skin)

and being
surprised to find
the lights on and
no one home

(not that i should
find that surprising
when i haven't seen
myself around town)

like i moved onto
the back porch of
a stranger and never
went back home

(sleeping in the weather
and knowing that i've
chosen to be homeless
in pursuit of a feeling)

trapped in a
small town
by small mentalities
of who i should be

getting drunk and
laid while wishing
i was burning trash
alone in the woods

(the long
and short
of it is
i lost myself
or that i never really
had myself at all)

we hold onto
things and places
people and faces
that feel like home
even if we don't love them
even if they don't love us
because we want security
while growing up

(can't shake the memories
from dresses hanging
in the backs of closets
clinging like that knockoff
pink perfume that took
last shreds of innocence)

and i'm scared
i'm ******* scared
of being

because i've  hung
onto my sadness
like i hung onto
an old hoodie

(walked hand in
hand with darkness
the only thing i've
always had to fall on)

and now i'm standing
tapping on the window
trying to figure out if
the person i'm looking
for is hiding behind the
stacked moving boxes
if they were ever here
in the first place

i don't see her
but i have to find her
and i can't escape
i can only drag
myself up with a
questionable safety harness
determination and
broken fingernails

**this is ativan up
not ativan out
Copyright 10/11/16 by B. E. McComb
heavily inspired by the album Under The Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy and what's rattling around in my head tonight.
b e mccomb Apr 2018
don't find a boy who looks
at you the way he looks
at the stars hanging in
the sky or the waves
crashing on the
shoreline at sunrise

find a boy who looks
at you the way he looks
at a lightning storm
in awe and respect that
a man cannot keep a
force of nature for himself
copyright 4/21/18 b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Aug 2019
there are two
kinds of sad days

the first kind is
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

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

and here
is my bed
a soft field of
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
b e mccomb Jul 2016
Rules are only boundaries
Set in place to break
People only want to see
The side of you that's fake.

I walk on the wrong side of the street
I live my life toe-tapping to the backbeat.

I can't dance or even clap
Rocking in my own little world
They don't hear the backbeat
And so call me absurd.

Thunk-tap, thunk-tap
***** that bounce, jump ropes turn
All you hear is thunk, the tap
A language you can't learn.

Try to cover me, the shushing falls in sheets
But try as you might, you can't drown out the backbeat.

Think of life with no backbeat
Thunk thunk it's simple song
A perfect and boring example
Of where we all went wrong.

Thunk-TAP, thunk-TAP
The backbeat comes back in, beginning now to swell
Thunk-TAP, thunk-TAP, thunk-TAP, thunk-TAP
Faster, louder, a rhythm you can't quell.

This is who I am, I'm turning up the heat
Rendering you uncomfortable in the echo of my backbeat.
Copyright 12/8/13 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
Speed bump vendettas
Hit the gas and watch it go
In our winding opinions we're constantly making wrong turns
But to look at the mileage, you'd never know.

I'm walking on the yellow line
Lean to the left and lean to the right
And hope that you don't die tonight
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions
So I guess we're living in a hard-hat zone.

Streetlights can be cruel when they're showing parts of me
Streetlights are heavy when they highlight what you can't see
We keep parking too far from the curb
As we keep overspending our words.

You watch the cars, I'll watch the street
Our thoughts in the headlights, they never meet
Maybe our ideas are all we'll ever be
You keep counting yellow lines, disregarded like me.

We'll take turns backseat driving
Maybe that's the only way we keep surviving.
Copyright 2/23/14 by B. E. McComb and Anonymous Freak
b e mccomb Apr 2018
the process of crocheting an
afghan is about just that
the process

you make an afghan looking
forward to the nights you will
curl up under it and relishing
the way it fits over your
legs when it's halfway finished

or thinking and hoping
how much someone you love
will love and appreciate
your gift of time and callouses

weaving a container for whatever
emotions you need contained

i realized this that first winter
deep in february when i began
my long nights of scrap yarn
desperately trying to piece
something together out of
the not knowing why
i told myself that this was it
the sum total of my works
the item they would fold up and
place on the table next to the jar
of my ashes come september
and it was done by march

a slow and roundabout way
of pushing myself through
the suicidal smog
smeared through my mind

my friends had blankets wrapped
around them that bright morning
of the anniversary we all cried together
my tears falling on my afghan

i made them each an afghan
plus a few more
always pushing myself
to look forward

lost count of how
much yarn i used
how many stitches
passed through my hands

but by the time the next
march came around i
had made or charted
out five more

to fill the void
clawing at my insides

spent a year making
myself another
in tight ripples of
time and television

and now
my fingers
and stop

seven afghans
in two years
is an accomplishment
that might send the
head of even the
highest caliber of
grandma spinning

i have no more afghans
left in me to make

so instead i crawl
down into bed
two i made
two from friends
and one from
my mother

and lie
head pounding
eyes puffy
void of energy
in the space
between my afghans
copyright 4/20/18 b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Oct 2016
two men who i used
to know but who i
never knew knew each
other were sitting at
a window table as the
sky lightened to barely gray

both making a yearly pilgrimage
to the mountaintop stomping
grounds of when they were young
when they believed in revolutions

two ships momentarily run
a coffee ground on cold
october air and a well
buttered chance to catch up

"there's no replacement for family"
said the tall and pompous
actor with the demeanor of
a shark in a hawaiian shirt

"you can say that again"
replied the wiry bible
toting snowbird who used to
scramble around on roofs

somewhere through the
seven a.m. haze over my
conscious and the
florescent lampposts
the toaster popped up
two sesame bagels

("yes there is"
i wanted to sc
ream "maybe
nobody's fou
nd it yet but t
here has got t
o be some kind
of substitute to
people who w
ill only cause
you pain for
your entire l
ife longer th
an anyone e
lse you'll e
ver know")

let the doorbell
hurried goodbyes
of two rekindled
passing in the
morning fog
bring me back
to life

(nothing's real anyway
surrounded by how
alone i really am in this
big world small cafe)

let the rising smell
of espresso and the
bubbly hiss of 140
degree steamed milk
wake me up to something
i still can't put into words
Copyright 10/14/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
I'm wrapped in
Black lace.

I can see the world around fuzzy lines and
I can breathe almost
Normally and I can hear
Every whisper like a scream.

But when I try to
Talk the words get
Stuck somewhere between
My throat and my lips.

My tongue is scratching
The fabric.

I'm finally used to
It all
So used to it that when I
Wake up in the morning
I don't even fight
The cloth wrapped around me.

I just roll over against
The wall and look far and wide
To all the things I can't see around
The corners of my eyes.

I can't capture
The things I can't see.

I used to want a Polaroid camera
To pocket every little grain of
World around me and now
All I want to see is the
Subtle darkness of my own

That darkness used to be
Navy blue but now
It's pure black and when I stare at it
Long enough my mind
Superimposes a white filigree
Outline onto it.

Have you ever listened to
Sad music just to give you
The right to feel sad
Even if it was for the wrong reasons?

Four years ago this week
I found myself staring out
Plate glass windows at
Parked cars
The cold air trickling
Up my hoodie sleeves.

Now I'm staring at
Invisible black lace and
A lot of life lived between
The two vistas

My great-grandmother's shawl
Is still hanging in the
Back of my closet but I swear
It's wrapped around my face sometimes
And my old hoodie is
Lying on the floor at
The foot of my bed but I swear
I feel it creeping down my arms sometimes.

I never knew my great-grandmother
But I doubt she was a terribly pleasant person
Judging from the rest
Of my family.

Yet I doubt that any of my long-lost
Relatives ever held as tight a
Chokehold on someone as her
Black lace has on me.

I'm slowly dying inside
And when death catches up
With my physiology
I hope they send my body to the
Funeral home and clear out the
Weeds around the pond
Then have a bonfire
Of my notebooks and clothes in the
Back field some unreasonably
Lovely summer evening.

And I hope they burn that
******* black lace with it.
Copyright 1/18/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
and anyone in the
woods could see the five
idiots on the back deck.

wrapped in blankets
and circled up like
Indians who drink cranberry
Canada Dry ginger ale.

Saturday afternoon
empty house
i wish i felt

sunshine flickering
through the steam between
my fingers and over the
furry blanket.

i've always liked looking
out the back windshield
with swollen eyes at
what i'm leaving behind.

home again and
nothing is different
it's just i've
gotten worse.

and i'm crying
when it hits me
i'm finally

but i have a
blanket to wrap
myself up in
so everything's fine.
Copyright 12/5/15 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Dec 2016
my teeth have hardened
into straight lines and
sealed the rows together
so i can't open my mouth

(i should be
better by now)

and i'm afraid of what's
beating its wings in the cage
of my well-padded ribs and
i'm afraid of it escaping

(they're back again
even with the drugs)

i can't sleep
can't eat and
can't think

but of course somebody
else has had a worse day
than i and of course i'll
be okay after all i've

cracked before and
made it out alive

so i guess i will
this time too

but the wounds
bleed to differ.
Copyright 12/23/16 by B. E. McComb
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

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

so many
so many
i’m so
tired of it

and more

why do i
do this

why do i
do this


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

too much
just make it

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
b e mccomb Jul 2016
I remember how the
Blood used to run down my back
Like I was killing
The back of my mind.

The blackness smearing
Down to my cheeks as I let
The water dissolve me like a
Sugar cube.

And I sometimes think how
Useless someone else's shoes are
Because to truly know someone
You must stand in their shower.

My shower is stained now
From the hard water
And there isn't any more

Literal, metaphorical or
It's all gone
Washed down the drain.

Hot, hot water
On a Friday night
Hot, hot water
It's not like it's that different.

But I still remember how the
Blood used to run down my back
Yet I'm still struggling to
**** the back of my mind.
Copyright 1/29/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jun 2018
i spent the winter thinking
it was all a lost battle to me
until the leaves came out
shrouding the world in green

they say every
rose has it's thorns
but i've got a gizmo
to strip those off

one little ray of lost
sunlight found its way
through the ceiling crack and
now there's something
blossoming inside
my shriveled heart

notes scribbled in
sharpie on paper cups
and a kiss on each of
my freckled cheeks

vague shapes in
milkfoam and learning
to accept love that i am
not used to holding onto

i don't feel like i could fly
don't feel like i could dance
but i could tuck a fern behind
my ear and grab your hand
and we could skip
up the sidewalk

and like i could plant kisses
on the faces of everyone
who i have ever cared about
push them into that beam
of sun and watch the good
feelings begin to sprout until
one day our faces all flourish
into something no longer
dry and hopeless but something
more like smiles and cheer

they say to bloom
where you're planted

i say just have the strength
to make it through the
dormant phase and when
life begins to slip back towards
warmth and light the blooms
will find their way to you

some way
keep the flower
inside you alive
copyright 6/21/18 by b. e. mccomb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
lipstick stains on
paper coffee cup lids
my brother always
told me i would have
to sit back and watch people
younger and more
inexperienced than i
succeed while i suffered.

oh but i
think he
was wrong
three conversations
and one free cup
of coffee later
things are starting
to look up for me

and i'm thinking that
i am the younger
one succeeding while
elders suffer.

(on the flipside i
don't want to be
making sandwiches
for the rest of my life)

and i wonder sometimes
if i'm just naturally
gifted or if i just naturally
try too hard to be liked

(or there's an offchance
a slim blueish sliver of
possibility that the stars
have all been lined up for me)

anyway that assumption
however incorrect it may
be is better than
last week when i
was thinking that no longer
was i good enough

*(but scratch that
nothing i ever accomplish
or that the skies
have pre-established
will make me believe
i'm good enough.)
Copyright 8/10/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Jul 2016
Line up the
Bottles on your dresser
And measured
Have the water
Lines gone down?

So much perfume
So little time
So much bodyspray, our
Well-scented crimes.

Can I smell
Better than the
Next girl?
Should today be
"Fruited Almond Flower Quell"
Or "Coconut Island Sugar Swirl"?

What does it matter?
Just bathe in it
There's always tomorrow for
"French Hibiscus Pomegranate".

Because we're all just
Femme fatales
Or maybe our nostrils
Can no longer smell.
Copyright 12/18/14 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Aug 2016
steeped my
skin in ginger
a bathtub brew and
sweaty forehead

but i was
the teabag.

when i shut
my eyes
all i could see
was red lines

rubbing where
they should be
squinting my eyes
in main street sun
thighs burning

(dear goodness
i don't know how
i ended up here
again after so long)

opened my eyes
saw my wrists

white and
whiter scarred
but i always
picture them as
red and
redder slit.

gasping for hot
and humid air
motivation is
strangely illusive
but visualization
forever inclusive.

i'm boiling alive
or bathing to die
in scalding bathrooms
of appalling apathy.
Copyright 8/9/16 by B. E. McComb
b e mccomb Oct 2017
yesterday my therapist told me that it didn't do any good for me to beat myself up over my anxiety. she told me that if i felt anxious that was my body's response to what it perceived as a threat and that feeling guilt and hate towards myself for the natural instinct of wanting to keep myself safe wasn't the right way to think about it.

does that apply to depression, too? or just anxiety? because i can't keep denying how much guilt and hate i feel towards myself for just feeling. or a lack thereof.

there's no way for me to deny it -- i want to die. that's it, there, i said it. i want to die. cue the part where i immediately regret saying it because every time i say i want to die people don't seem to think that's an acceptable thing to mention in passing conversation. and then the guilt starts. i shouldn't have said that, now they're worried, i'm just selfish for wanting an out. around and around and around. and the more i think the more i feel guilt and the more guilt i feel the more i just want to die because obviously i'm not a good enough person to be here and i really should just die because --

if i had infinite time i could let the sentences run on and on forever around in my brain without cutoff or constraint. i don't have infinite time and they still do. and they build and build and build until sometimes i feel like i'm just going to explode if i don't let them out. but if i mention it, even think it to myself, the guilt starts again. don't let anyone know. don't tell them, you're making a mistake. it's getting old here, they've heard it before. so maybe i don't mention it. so then what? then it hurts worse, stabs me in the chest and twists the knife around until i start fiddling with my own blades on the outside. if only i could cry. but i'm too numb to find tears inside.

if only. if only. if only. if only i could shut the guilt and regret and rage and anger and hate up for ONE MINUTE maybe i could use that minute to grab onto something besides what i've got now.

oh well. it doesn't matter. nobody's reading this anyway. it's just me for one second of not pretending. so hey, here i am, i've said it. if you've made it all the way down here, i'd like to introduce myself, because i made closer to the end and i'm not yet dead.

hello, nice to meet you, i'm b and i want death.
b e mccomb Aug 2016
i didn't understand half
the words he said
and i don't understand half
the words you write

michael jackson
and waylon jennings
wrapped in a paper towel
"papa would be proud of you"
scratched in the back of
a children's book

it's the oddest thing
to no longer miss
someone who's been
gone so long

an odder thing to sit
in silence on your bed
with the fitted sheet all pulled
off the side next to the wall
feeling your best friend's
little sister's scratchy blue
nylon mattress rub
up against your sore feet

and open card
after card
after card
filled with glittering
words of praise and
monetary gifts

and then read about all
the things about you
that people think are
worthy of mentioning
and you start to
see a pattern

"thank you for serving"
"let God lead you"
"keep rapping"

(thank you
and by the way
i don't rap only
occasionally slam)

it starts to feel like a
bulletpoint hallmark eulogy
like you've left your body
and are reading about someone else
reviewing all the better
more visible parts of yourself
the parts deemed loud
enough to be acknowledged.

and you start to see
what's lurking off
the edge of the card
and the words they didn't write
the places that you
went wrong

the question marks
behind their eyes
wondering why they
haven't seen you for two months
why your hair is a different color
why someone else is in your seat

and the semicolons in
your stomach
when you realize that
you've made a mistake
and even with all the hurts caused
you've still got a family out there.

i'll say this
when it comes to
graduations and funerals
you find out who your friends are

the people who matter
will show up in the end.

am i mislead in thinking
that sometimes people
don't say everything they
think or feel until it's too
late because it takes a
loss to make them realize?
Copyright 6/13/16 by B. E. McComb
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