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 May 2017 Sheridan
J Arturo
When the sweat is dry on my brow
I will get up.
I'll be able to focus then better, I think.
The sweat is linked to a general malaise,
where objects drift in double shapes...
Not unpleasantly.
But smarter, I think, to stay. At least,
Let the pupils dilate, and left eye
Recalibrate it's aim.
The salt and sweat malign the eyes,
which either slip too fast past the the target,
or arrive a bit delayed.

You said:
Maybe we'd be happier if we moved on with our lives.
You're seeing something in Iowa that was likely there all along.
And the more I feel like you could slip away
I become more paranoid and afraid.
Wondering now who you're with,
Whether this path ultimately leads to my replace.

Though maybe we both agree, then, with what you said.
I can't hang on to something that long got on a plane and left.
Or try and **** through wires the delusion of a scent,
that dissipates, reductively, with every breath.

Though I will rephrase, in my own way,
the sentiment I think remains:
It would be more prudent to
Let the nose and lungs to rest.

         Let us be ungreedy with breath.

If you move on I will let you pass.
I cannot hold you within me,
And these cavities have not the space.

         But I will taste your color again, perhaps,
         In the wind, a laugh,
         The wet heat of a lovers face.

         I will taste your color again,
         In the wind, a laugh,
         The wet heat of a lovers face.

If you move on I will let you not just pass but
And rebuild a more modest faith:
Just once, to inhale again something like what went.

(And still remember what it meant.)
 Oct 2016 Sheridan
 Oct 2016 Sheridan
i have survived
i have survived a father's voice like thunder;
handprint lightning flowers petal over my skin
like i am a garden to sinners-
adam and eve call my grassroots their home and hum lullabies-
i have survived
pros and cons of
clock-ticking therapy sessions where money is thrown at my gaze,
fixed on the wall,
dollar-a-second drumming fingers
screaming so loud that heaven shuts the blinds and hangs a "closed" sign on the door.
pros and cons of
stumbling home,
under a murky peerless crowd of smoke,
slurring words trail around and behind me like moths to a porchlight.
morning headaches,
angry adults
damaging drywall and breaking family portraits
exhausting search for answers
exhausting search in a silence that lengthens the disconnect from child to mother
where your mind goes red and the honest truth that stays stuck to the roof of your mouth falls out
where you become an overflowing mailbox and your hands shake
the absence of parents who never taught you to hold your tongue
i have survived
i have survived the specific type of loss that you feel in the pit of your stomach
the one that lies next to you
when you stare at the ceiling and your face hurts from crying
tears scrub your eyelids raw and you promise,
"if i ever make it through this,
i will never be here again."
i have survived giving up,
taking it all back, throwing it all away,
parallel structures of contemplation and decision
i have survived
angry storms of abandonment, melodies of the lonely and the hurt
i reprise to the ones that add injury to insult,
you are not the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
i echo choruses to the people that force me to grow up at sixteen
i have destruction embedded into my neurotransmitters
i have shooting post-traumatic pain in my memories
i have survived
a hell that your hands are not stained enough to touch.
i assure you,
my love,
i will survive
you as well
 Jun 2016 Sheridan
i have wasted so much paper for you
i have told strangers things i haven't thought about telling you
i have written poetry like
its a cheap substitute for therapy
and i've held the pencil so hard the lead breaks
when my hands shake too much to keep going
i have gone to all of these great lengths
i have written epics about the way you left me
i have written sonnets about how you came back
ive never shown you any of this in fear you will see how my handwriting slowly deteriorates into shaky lines and abstract complaints
in fear that you will make the connection that i havent spent one day free of you since we met
i feel like i have so much to say
and maybe im an expert on beating around the bush
or maybe you're just too self absorbed to hear me
i have tried every way to encrypt my words and say them without letting their meaning sink into your skin
ive got enough for a novel but i havent made my point
i love you
stop hurting me
okay, now im done.
 Jun 2016 Sheridan
maybe its because it hurts somewhere in the pit of my stomach to think about how far away you are and how close we used to be and thats why i try to stay moving all of the time because i'm trying to distract myself from how long it would take for me to get there and how long id have to hold my breath in order for you to admit you wanted me where you are.

maybe its because i never got over the first time you told me you wanted to kiss me or the first time you told me you were tired of me because they felt so similar that sometimes i get the syllables twisted and i felt like too much work and detail on an abandoned project so i let you place me somewhere between your old memories and your new ambitions because whats the difference between compliance and being too exhausted to argue?

maybe its because it hurts to think about all that you've done and all that i've done and it hurts to lace them together in a spiderweb of why we didn't work out and maybe its because we didn't try hard enough or maybe its because we have always been written as a tragic story where we are both victims of self sabotage with emotional damage that keeps us up at night and our own demons that could never learn to love eachother

maybe it hurts because its not our fault or maybe it hurts because it is and we are both too stubborn to admit it
Ok, I have

to write but
I'd like to
write, but

it's gotten
an unfamiliar
strange smell on
it now from sitting

out on the
counter too long
writers block
 Mar 2015 Sheridan
Dana E
 Mar 2015 Sheridan
Dana E
oh we came here and we kept on going
and once we said stop
but we don't stop
we keep going through fall
and fall in lima is just grey turning into gold

and then it's day and we're not day livers but we're trying
and this is almost over but
it ends then
the surviving
the come with me
the you or him

and the sky turns azul or amarillo
truth is we're just going on
and we can do it now
or not at all
 Sep 2014 Sheridan
J Arturo
sheridan you’re
the first other person I’ve ever
wrote a poem

I’ve written about just
everyone, lovingly but usually
in a weird passive regret.
but never sent the letter, just
stewed alone, that’s me:

a stew.


and I’m writing a poem to you because I
can’t find a better way

       well of course my immediate response is to
       (on your notes):

       “******* it girl you are going to be So… OKAY.”

but you know you won’t believe it.
know I didn’t when I was you and
so maybe I
(maybe I)
thought a poem might grasp at trying to say:

I don’t know much and most people I get wrong,
and I’ve ****** up and (for some reason) **** up still,
but ******* it girl I’ve seen every Kind of ****** Up and
you’re jumping every hurdle, blowing past
each road bump with
flying colors I
don’t know how you do it but I— *******…

       if you could have seen me in writers craft
       spilling to mr. spree the way I
       weekly carved a heart into the
       skin on my chest just…

       to grasp at something permanent.

(just to feel
a little bit different).

and I know you hurt in your own way and you
gotta, please—
and if you don’t try (and at least pretend) to **** your
at least twice before graduating then you

probably aren’t graduating yet.

but I’ve seen Every Kind of ****** Up and kid you’re
none of it, and I’d bet ten thousand dollars
(you can hold me to it)
that in five years you’re going to be the

       the happiest
       most amazing person most people will ever be lucky enough to know.

               they’re gonna say, “I need to get my life together”, and
               you’re gonna say, “and I want to be there with you for that.”

                       and you will love.
                       and you will be loved in love.

                       because you do your damnedest and that’s *******


and not only are you going to be So very happy
(ten thousand $, promise)
but you’re going to make everyone around you happy…

               you’re going to be one of those rare rare creatures
               (people will be suspicious)

                       ..who are true sources of good in this world.

       and it’s going to be so entirely different than
       anything you can imagine now:

       going to do things you’d never dream about and
       do drugs you can’t pronounce and hurt people because
       you tried to help and
       fall in love with a Loser or a Railroad or a
       Foreign Country and either way will get let down but
       get back up and keep on going because

       (it seems like)
               when you can
                       you do your best.

and yes it will lead to disappointment.
when you see
you’re not really like the rest.

       (most people hardly try at all…
               …and generally aren’t who you’d expect)

and I know it sounds extreme and I
want you to not believe me cuz—
who would.. but
like I said I’ve

       seen All Kinds of ****** Up and somehow, kid
       you’ve got it.
       you’ve got it just right.

               musta been an angel or something…
               (..or a very hard fight)

and I guess I wrote this to say that you’ve gotta do
you’ve gotta do.
and you’re gonna break hella hearts and a couple laws too.
but if you’re ever alone, and

“what am I even worth?”

I hope from this poem you can at least take away

       that at least someone thinks you’re
       doing great.

               and **** the ******* anyway.
for my little sister, who is sixteen.
 Sep 2014 Sheridan
J Arturo
Part one

my understanding of youth was
interrupted vignettes, I guess.
the little moments overlapsed the
greater moves like
deciding to move to Canada.
or learning I could *******.

but all that sticks is little toys
received at Christmas, the
talking plastic face we tried to
stuff down in the side storage of the
family van on a long drive to the far
east coast.

the way some jellyfish stung my leg and
realizing there existed a kind of pain
that patience could will away.

but I had to go to England for a month.  to get outside myself.
coincidentally meeting up with a girl who'd
read my poems, thought them ok.
spent two days, stupid, with what we thought were romantic notions.

then walked that old dog through endless English fields
inhaling my hands incessantly until the scent at last had dried away.

I am a different person now.

But back then I walked till my feel hurt, then
collapsed in a city I'd never been, and
Only lamented the complications I'd caused
when she dragged me back to Lockerly again.  

Made bacon, warmed bagels, softened cheese, poured wine
in a house, not mine, in the English countryside.  
Are these not the dreams, when young,  we live by?

She kissed me on the porch, on a bench,
the night before she caught the train.
(I remember I was sitting on the left. )
Inside later asking, politely, if she would undress.
And the next morning, new to this,
offering  breakfast.

We were sixteen, what did we know?
We'd listened to pop music from a small stereo and didn't have ***.
And that morning all I
could do was go with her to meet the train.    

Then keep walking that small dying dog
as if he could fill in the rest.

Part Two (interlude)

She visited my parents' house later that season in a summer dress.
We sat at the dining room table, for maybe an hour,
Making small talk, and then she left.
That was the first time she'd worn a dress.

Part Three*

I came back from college wanting to do something stupid, so we
Put on headlamps and invaded the sewers, skewered
the brickwork waded in filth I thought
Who, if anyone, would follow someone through this mess?

Then we drank one beer each from our
sewage-soaked sacks, went to the unrenovated room
my parents had reserved, sheetboard and a mattress...
In case I ever came back.

We watched Perfume, the film, on a laptop, then had ***.
I guess.
I mean it was
***, but so much less. Less than the painting I had in my head.
Less than the time we ran away to France.
Less than four years of high school.
Less than a glance.

We woke around ten.  Dressed. She
looked me in the eyes with what I didn't know was goodbye.
Shook my hand, and left.

But in those first few half lidded moments
(when dreams are hit with light and turned to steam)
when you know what's coming next but first must find a missing sock, must
scan the room for evidence

When naked in bed and sober now and so
confused yet actualized at least lifted to
meet the north window winter light when this
immovable stone of a woman rose
put her
hands on my shoulders and coward-like kissed me from behind

I threw everything I thought I knew at
something I'd no right to know. Her
dark skin, her skinny fragile frame. With I
so grossly white in the December light. Wanting
everything, too young
to know what yet.

You know who you are.
You who laid there.
You who, raised up,
Placed lips on my my right shoulder, from behind.

You who kissed me in the back.

Then clasped your bra and
quickly dressed. Didn't want breakfast.
and before my stepmom could notice: left.

Several years have passed. I've

Maybe never felt loved like that.
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