Sunday, November 26, 2017

Freedom Cry

If your words
were fists,
I’d be black
and blue.

I wouldn’t
really exist;
I’d be nothing
but walking
scar tissue.

But then maybe
you’d see
all the damage
you’ve done to me,
and the world
would finally
see it too.

Until then,
I could pretend
they are
a string of syllables
falling out your mouth,
nothing sensible
anyone can make out;
nothing that can hurt
or denounce
or discriminate
or sound
like hate -

just utterances
of love,
of what was,
of being enough,
and all the other stuff
you are too tough
to say.

Now it’s too late.

No one knows
what you did.
Only my memory
of it exists.
Only I am the one
who has to live
with it,
and the shadows
and the scars
you left.

But I am
still here,
and there is
only one thing
I know for sure:

you can’t hurt me
anymore.







Knowledge Is Power

I remember the phone call
from twenty years ago;
not the text
as much as the tone. 

I still don't know
why your rage
overflowed
onto me like hot lava.

We were just friends.
You'd said it over
and over
and over again. 

Then, 
in one random conversation,
we were nothing. 

What had I done? 
I still don't know. 
I have suspicions,
but what's done is done.

Time spun 
us out
in different directions,
like two tops
once together,
now apart.

But the years
brought you back
around
like clockwork,
and I opened the door,
hoping to get answers.

I never got them,
but we became friends.
Again. 

It was tentative.

Growing up
had made us both
sensitive
to words
and sentence currents,
the undertones
and underbellies
of emotions.

Words became
syllables
instead of meaningful
conversation,
and what was
never became
the love
we were both
looking for. 

Promises got lost
in the shuffle of life
and one wounded heart
urged a wandering eye,
while the other wounded heart
let it all die. 

I'd rather be alone
than afraid of loneliness.
I'd rather not know
than feel like I'm less
than who you expected.

You moved on.
Again.
I haven't. 
I'm still the same,
still without answers. 

So many words
have passed
between our lips.
So many questions
still exist.
What could've been
never was,
but I don't think
it would've been 
enough.

Our memories
still make me smile,
especially the quote wars
and how we laughed
until we cried,
but you went your way
and I have gone mine,
and you're the only one
who knows why.

Maybe someday
I'll know too.
 


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Talk Therapy

I saw a man
about the darkness
in my heart. 

I felt it
seeping into me
like black tar.

It comes around
when things go south,
and I stop
wanting to play my part.

I didn't want to talk.
I didn't want help. 
I wanted to disappear.
I wanted to fly,
but I didn't have wings - 
not that I cared if I fell.
I had no fear,
which scared me
the most
and led me
to the chair
in front of him. 

We all fall. 
Eventually.

But all the tears
I cried
told me
this was different.
I wasn't ready for it.

He said, "It's good to want things".
He listened. 

He saw the pain, 
but he didn't try
to take it away. 

He said, "It's okay to feel how you feel."
He believed me
without lengthy explanations.

He made connections
I didn't have to map out.
He understood
what this was all about. 

Then, the magic happened. 

He said,"Grief comes from love."
And like a blink of an eye,
the darkness lost the war.

A Personality Disordered

Seven days
on Depakote
and I didn't know
myself
or anyone else
anymore.

I was a stranger
in the mirror,
a phantom
in my skin,
a lost cause
no one wanted
to find.

Benzos and Lamictal
make me predictable,
but charged up
like a battery
looking for a fight,
or like lightning
waiting to strike -
but I never do.

I just keep waiting.

Three pills at night
help me sleep,
but sometimes
I dream
bad things
are coming for me.

Maybe those aren't dreams.
They could be memories.

Anyone who'd know
is dead and gone,
so I keep hoping
they're not real,
I'm not real.

High-strung,
too sensitive,
moody,
impulsive,
depressed,
aggressive -
negative words
attached to me,
etched into my brain
like a tattoo.

You assign a label,
then two,
and soon
I need a different kind
of doctor
to do what you do.

How far does it go?
When does it end?

I flush
all the pills
and start again.

Sometimes, a mood
is just a mood.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dear Whitecoats

You may have read more books.
You may have seen the insides
of a perfectly-preserved corpse.
You may have practiced your top stitch
until it was perfect,
and you may know the Latin roots
of requiescat,

but I do too.

I also know when breath
slips between screams
of pain and pleas,
your technique
may be the reason.

It wasn't her mind
playing tricks
or the opiates
you prescribed
to keep her quiet.

It didn't happen
until you
shoved your hands
beneath her skin
in surgery
after all.

Doesn't one-plus-one
still equal two?
How did you get three?

Fast forward
three years
and her chest
is pressed
into her back
by invisible weights.
She vomits,
and her mind senses
it is the end;
but you say it isn't.

What is it then?

You point to him,
he points to her,
she points to you.
No one knows
what to do.

 A resident
tries Nitro-
a quick fix
under the tongue.
The symptoms end.
The day is saved
even if you failed.
Again.

119 days
is all we get.
But her heart
ends up a fraction
of what it was.
Could we have
had more?
Should we have
had more?
I'll never know.

You stole
the time we had left
because you assumed
instead of assessed.
You may know a lot
about bodies and minds
and the anatomy inside;
but I know something
apparently you don't:

when a heart stops,
it might not be a side effect.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Half Life

I have opened my eyes
every morning
for 13,951 days.

I am more than half way
through your life,
maybe also through
more than half of mine.

Every choice
is an avenue
where what I choose
can be the end
or beginning.

I freeze.
I can’t think.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t see
what road to pick
that will lead
home.

Home is not where
it used to be;
you’re not there.
I’m not there.

Everything feels
in between,
like a forgotten path
nobody travels anymore.

I feel separate,
alone,
lost in the middle
of what was
and what never will be
again.

Every day my eyes open
is a day I have not seen.
It is a day
you will never see,
another tick
on my calendar
of grief.

Time is a thief,
a disease of my mind.
The days keep
coming
and going,
coming
and going.

But you do not.
Someday
I will stop
and I wonder
if anyone
will miss me
as much as I miss you?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Silent Scream

There is no sunrise,
only rotation.
There is no sadness,
at least not that I can mention.
There is only silence,
a scream inside
I can never let out
like the painting -
frozen in color and pain.
I am orange, yellow, red -
flames curved around
an alien face
you can't see is me.
I open my mouth
and push out only air.

Yet I keep screaming.