I got this job because I was seventeen
Available everyday at three
In debt with a man after I went clean
My boss at the time was thirty six with a goatee
Five dollars an hour plus tip, you see
It was fine for me.
I met the others standing by the kitchen line
All of them with the same look in their eye
Lying to family and friends saying, financially, their fine
Getting nothing on a tip and never knowing why
Yet they return the next day to serve white wine
Looking around I see all of us wanted more
But I’m in debt and you have to pay the rent
Do it all in one day and go home to a son that’s four
Under the thumb of an old vice president
The roof over the kitchen is about to cave in
And we watch with silent eyes
Because our uniforms are being held with safety pins
Promised new ones but Corporate lies
And when the bubble in the ceiling pops
We’ll be by the dumpsters flicking cigarettes on the road
While the greedy pigs come in drawing lots
Waiting for the gas stove to explode
Paid vacation sounds lovely
Been here every week for the past year
Sometimes I’m called to come in early
Pick up the broken glass from lunch rush beer
The people come in
Angry as they usually are
Now the glares don’t even touch my skin
It makes me laugh how many nasty people sit at the bar
The high-class families who come in for din
It’s been eight hours and six years
Since we started our shift
Staying here for three more is the biggest fear
But we’re already ******
We’ve been here for long we know this career
What else am I supposed to know
Other than how to make dough
It’s been a long night
You can see it in the height
Of cigarette buts by the dumpster
Where we can freely talk about the customer
It’s a busy life
Feels like we’re running out of time
To get out and ignore the strife
But there are times when the tips make us feel sublime
And we can buy a warm meal
Cause maybe it will heal
These aching muscles
That come from a constant hustle
Don’t you see why they say
At the end of the day
We need an ashtray.
It was easier to surrender to the pain
than take the steps to where I needed to be.
It was easier to forget how sad I was,
so I swallowed my feelings with lemon juice and salt
and the bitterness burned them away.
A year has passed and now I feel nothing.
There is no positive side,
there is no negative side,
because I can't put labels on things I can't feel.
Is this healing?
If it is, when do I get to laugh again?
And if it isn't
how do I start?
My stomach hurts with this conformity
as I'm not really me but a shadow of everyone else.
Playing piano the same way as the pianist;
professionalism guides me to imitation.
I've reached the point where these veins are thick
with someone else's warm blood and now I am sick.
There is an indentation of a wedding band on my finger
though I have never been married
my skin is anticipating the weight it will leave on me.
My womb is ready for five caucasian boys
that all play sports and **** women
a large dog we play fetch with to ignore
the rising temperatures and death in the poles.
Backyard barbeque smoke blends with the pollution
and we laugh and get drunk with the neighbors.
When they leave, my husband and I fight and
he hits me in a drunken rage.
Though in the morning we will wake to a foggy suburb
and drive to the chapel to hold hands in our Sunday best
and thank God for the life we have and beg forgiveness
for the sins that make us Human
In the sunlight coming through stained glass windows,
I see the reflection of a girl I once knew,
surrounded by untimely, immortal gold,
happiness in places where my wrinkles and tear tracks are.
She is me on another timeline
conformity unable to break her gold aura.
Miine was broken decades prior to this heartbreaking moment.
I let go of my husband's hand and I feel ill.
I won’t see you
for a long time
but I know you everyday
what you were to me
I will never forget.
Cosmic projections underlying in spaces
as warm sunburnt bodies move together across the floor
purple lights in neon glow attached to the ceiling,
mind spinning with the fluorescence.
And youth- your mind is spinning with how young you are
you carry the burden in your stomach the sadness on your shoulder.
You are much too young to have abundant regrets
to be living yet dead in a bitter grave.
Wrong choices overlap each other as the grave gets deeper- I know that sometimes it feels hopeless.
Banter with old friends about the aliens and rehab centers, the girl who taught you four square teaching you how to torch the end of a crack pipe.
Cycles of the same tornadoes, dreams of constant death,you’ve seen your best friends dead body more times than you will admit. Yet they’ve never imagined yours, or imagined you, or cared.
The rose colored glasses are ripped from your face given to the other unsuspecting girl who will walk the same journey I did with him.
One-sided friendships get lonely
lovers are no longer loving
and the pino has run out.
The purple lights manifest into messages coming across the lifeline simulation- Give up those who have fallen silent, your mission is not with them.
The mission is uncertain
get a man to prison
to watch a wild orca
have a family
but the process is daily.
My mission right now is to live freely let my hair grow and stick my head out the window singing Janis Joplin tunes on the 105.5
The aliens come through once again to extend long hands and acid tabs offering insight into treasures unknown.
Time capsules I have yet to bury.
The great thing about cycles is you can stop them.
God bless the children-
As they step off the school bus
To a soccer ball, summer camp, popsicle joke stick.
Bless those who return home to empty refrigerators-
Static television and *****.
Bless the airplane rides, holding onto the edge of a seat
landing into a world where their body-
is no longer their own.
Daytime heat rising off the road
walking barefoot from the community pool,
still an aching between legs.
Bless this sky, the grass, God Bless America
And the fireworks that set fires in our bellies
Bless lightning bugs making stars in a starless black sky
Waiting for the moon to move from behind the sheet
Guide the blessed children
Move into the morning light
let me see you in the way god designed.
All of this time you’ve spent trying to
make yourself perfect
but you were perfect all along
here in this light