failure

i will accept my lot,

marry myself to

this new version of my life.

i will learn to love it,

won’t turn back to look at

what was,

won’t become a bitter

pillar of salt,

monument to regret.

 

 

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assignment #3

my therapist told me–

yes, this is going to be one of those poems–

that i needed something

to ground me in the here and now,

so that,

maybe someday,

i can stop hearing

your sharp whisper in my ear,

stop feeling

your firm grip on my wrist

everywhere i go.

 

my therapist assigns homework.

i am comforted by this.

i am good at homework and

it’s nice to feel good at

something.

 

i scrape old inspection and permit stickers off my dashboard.

now when i’m driving,

i can’t lose myself in the thought that

maybe this new life was all a dream.

now,

even moving,

i am still. here.

 

 

 

this is how it feels:

like there is a story stuck in my throat

like the way desire feels until desire gets too close

like static cling

like a haunting

like boredom

like rage

like there is a story i’ve read so many times its

lodged itself in the marrow of my bones

buried so deep i can no longer make out the words, can only

feel their sharp edges

when i try and fail to let them go

season 2, ep. 13

he hands her the ring and it’s

different than i remember from

when i watched it the first time,

staying up too late longing for

the feeling of

warm fingertips and cold metal

in the palm of my own hand

 

i forgot that the ring was something final

that his hands were cold

that the world was ending

 

you hand her the ring and it’s

different than i imagined from

when we talked about it for the first time,

staying up too late longing for

the feeling of

warm fingertips and cold metal:

                            my palms remain empty.

                            my world is not ending.

 

time moves in

strange, uncomfortable waves

 

the light on the ocean is blinding

 

i lift up a hand to shield myself from the rays.

i take up my armor.

i remind myself:

this is how it has to be.

you’ve been haunting the halls of my dreams.

 

at first

i let you in.

but then you try to

hang your own paintings on

walls of my apartment,

hammering big, heavy nails into

my stark, clean walls.

 

i rage and howl, screaming, get out get out get out 

as angry with myself as with you for

letting you play me for the fool i used to be.

 

i grab you by the collar and shake you, hard

i swing and my punches land, over and over,

with fury enough to

defy the laws of dreamland.

 

that first night after i threw you out–

why do you keep coming back?

and why now,

years later,

when i’m finally comfortable

being alone in my head?

for months after emily killed herself

i wore only dresses and skirts,

only colors and patterns

jumbled combinations that reflected

the strange hollow echo of remembered closeness

i’d never recover.

 

then, one chilly morning, i pulled on a pair of jeans and

life skidded forward

 

as it does.

 

 

years later, will your poet’s memory turn

the rough surface of our romance over and over in your mind

until you find the words that best fit the motions of goodbye?

the rolling down and rebuttoning of sleeves

the pulling of sweater over head

the readjustment of collar

the zipping up of jacket

the yanking on of boots

and that last pause–

 

that last pause.

 

will you replay with regret the way you stood

framed by the doorway,

running hands through hair

watching my jagged movements–

the mechanics of heartbreak–

unable (or unwilling) to move or

say much of anything at all?