Thursday, September 18, 2008


voices muffled behind closed doors
i can hear the cadence but not
the conversation
from my perch on the unused steps
the ninth and tenth floor
the elevators
give me my solitude.
i need it
i do

trying to erase everything in my head
and wondering how far running
is far enough
this city's not large enough for me
to get lost in.

i can feel insanity creeping in, silent
as a cat
don’t know whether to fight it or
welcome madness back in
like a long-lost lover and enfold it
in my arms.
there is comfort, after all,
in the familiar.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


all the way home i took the curves blind,
hand sure on the wheel,
body clenched
around the hard knot of my stomach.

staring at the waning moon as if somehow
it might shift things.
all the way home
i imagined the touch of your hands on
my body,
arching against the seatbelt,
along in a sightless night.

you asked me to
tell you what i was thinking,
i had
no idea where to start so i just shut up,
which means,
i want you to
hold me so hard you bruise my skin,
make me feel my own body,
touch me
let me know you are here.

Monday, September 15, 2008


i repeated the words,
a sickening mantra to myself:
not need, not need
do not feel

hoping to bear down
and force my longing for you
into the same box
as all the other former lovers
i never really left behind, just
scrubbed their stains from me

i'd mouth it silently to myself,
not need, not need
banging my head against the wall
behind my bed,
hoping to somehow sleep
wishing you would hear and come up the stairs
to me

i couldn't even feel the pain.
not need, not need
i'd plead not to
but i do.

and i'm not finding it a weakness, but
a strength, standing
and facing you
when i could have ensured
i'd never hear your name again,
until i'd convinced myself
you never meant a thing

but i find strength is not,
self-reliance. it's
the willingness to face yourself,
and everything you attempt not to see
when you confront your mirror.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


i'm watching the sun shriek up
over the horizon,
mulling over
your inability to claim me the way
so many others tried

i refused all but you
so now you
refuse me.

you talk, about restlessness and
the feeling you're still looking for something -

something you won't find
until you understand
what you search for
can only be found within you,
and the rest of us
have nothing to do with it.

you call us contentment, when i ask
if you are happy
where you used to call it love

and i'm screaming this,
as i watch this devolution

your problem is in front of your face:
it's not that you're not done
looking around for
a better bargain
but that you do not give
even value
for what you possess:
you don't
count your losses when figuring
on next, or "better"

and you know i love you, but
i'll say it straight:
by the time you figure out
you might just want me,
after all your posturing,
i may have become disgusted by the fact
that you call this merely contentment
and do not take what i freely give

you shelve the offer, tell me
you don't know how
to let someone closer in
as long as you're still shopping, you never will.

i'm starting to feel
like the bruised banana you leave
on the counter and won't eat,
but watch it slowly darken
through the week.

you dissect the idea of happiness, and whether
i belong inside
and i'm tired of this weight[wait]
sick of persuading my shell-shocked self
to try

this morning's cold
i'm shivering two hours
of sleep from my eyes,
waiting my shift through to
come home to you, and not know
what to say

so instead i'll go drink beer and shoot
bleary photographs
and on that film
i want to show
the bruised look
of my eyes,
an honest portrait of what toll
i take from you

i won't come home to the cold sympathy
in your eyes.

if you will not claim me,
i will reclaim myself
and fucking piece myself
back into my patchwork life
scraps into a quilt
until the holes are again
made whole

Saturday, September 13, 2008


this is what they
do not tell you:

it doesn’t end when the scab closes,
and the skin heals.
penetrate deep beneath the surface,
when you press their newness,
until you rake your fingernails
over the sensitive new tissue:

they do not tell you it can take years
for the tenderness to leave.

doctors will say: stop
cutting yourself, you
[scar visibly, raised, violently]

patiently waiting for your skin
to finally start to assimilate,
when the redness
starts to fade
– these
are the lessons you learn on your own
lessons you relearn,
every time,
each time, you manage to forget
and the agony of healing
surprises you

Friday, September 12, 2008

on razors

stop trying to tell me what this means,
let me
tell you: it's
(release?) yes, of blood, but more

pent-up energy that, left untouched,
will explode
the tears that will not come
what you attempt to drink away

this impetus begins in the mind
the cyclone of thoughts
that won't let go and so
you get frantic trying to kill it, i mean

wouldn't you do anything to make that hold
to force the storm to be through?

anything will do
whatever makes you slip into a state of staring

the terrible desire to crawl out
from your skin, or,
failing that, let something escape
and not knowing how

blood, (tears, if you can make them)
the need to run like hell
like a drug, like any other escape
yes, it is

i said it

so imagine, if you will
not how hard it might be
to work yourself up to do it -
put a knife to your skin and pull
and part

but instead
what might horrify you to the point
where bleeding is a desperate haven.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


the trees are vomiting
petals into the streets
nature's finest display
of flowery fertility
& i'm slouching along in my newly
baggy jeans, perversely pondering death
the dying confidence i have in myself,
the new kill of the trust
between us,
i tried hard for that
but won't work anymore.
this time i want
something to come from you.

scuffing through fallen blossoms
thinking wanting
to run
until i forget
but that won't do
i can blister my feet all i care to
but there is no forgetting this

i tried
sitting on the couch staring
through you like a window
as you asked
me why friendship wasn't enough
you said, stop it. don't
don't turn off.
with me.

so i did
because you asked
and shrank within myself
to fit the way i feel
growing smaller
and foundering in my self-loathing,
expended too much of myself
on you.
now i'm failing myself,
unable to run when i need to most
too ashamed to admit
my failures, &
angry enough to stick out your bullshit
but vulnerable enough
to tell a stranger, when she asks
me to call her,
that i will.
and i do.

it's NOT that i don't
want you.
but it's nice to feel,
even for a night,
that there are no ghosts.
and it'll be just me that she desires.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


i get asked often,
by men
who've never tasted desperation on their lips
i do what i've done.
"i couldn't do it," they say, shaking
their heads,
and i'm thinking,
you have no idea what degradation is.
something more like humiliation: like
standing barefoot on the filthy floor of
the local convenience store,
barefoot because
beer from deposit cans
has soaked through
your shoes & socks, thirty minutes
into your shift,
dirty construction workers throw dusty money
onto your counter
as if you, not they,
are the one covered in grime.

degradation: reliving over and over
the moment
your lover says he's looking for something
better than you

standing swallowing bile,
cash while thinking about $20,000
of student loans and that bachelor's degree
that really helped your career!!

i tell these men, they know nothing
of how humiliation is made.
they've never seen it.
here i own this stage.

i roar.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


words scatter through my periphery
and i only grasp
at a time.


when your lover wakes each morning,
contemplating whether or not
to keep you,
what can you say to that,
what do you do??

i spend my mornings lying awake, while
trying not to be -
curled into myself,
counting down days to destroy what is left
of this month, the last of this house.

waiting for the space that is ours
to disappear.

Monday, September 8, 2008

he does not touch me

naked in the bed, you
wrapped around me
you are further away than when i go back
to the city
and leave you behind

and i know what's running through your mind
like an endless marathon
whether to stay or go
what the hell you're to do
about me, and
where i fit in your picture

sometimes i wish you would let me go
but you say you're not ready yet.
as if
sooner or later you'll work up to it.

i want to build a life with you, but
hold my hammer loosely.
no sense
constructing something you may tear down
without warning.