Returning to the place I left with the man I left to celebrate my brother’s life in a memorial and the love of two of my friends with a wedding. My higher power goes big.
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
Backyard tag in humid twilight, slipping into safety,
muddy toes, future scars on our knees, howling at the moon.
Collapsing in belly laughs atop wet grass
connecting the bright dots into people we knew.
Being in love with being young.
Searching for worms under garden bricks to feed our pet store turtles.
Drawing chalk lines round our fingertips, leaving our impression
until sprinkler run-off washes our aspirations
into the sewer. We sailed oil rainbows on mini ships.
Being engulfed in summer rain to cool our steam.
Remembering the terror
of that homicidal clown-spider “It”
and avoiding all gutter drains.
Being scared of the unknown abyss. Being remiss
to ever go in.
Candy cigs hanging on our lips. Tough like real
street kids stealing nickels from our parent’s hidden drawers
to buy more Slurpees and Bubblicious bubble gum;
the kind with all the swirls that tastes like a carnival.
The boys discovering Daddy’s hidden porn.
Hyper speed on our rollerblades and bikes
tearing up pavement. Racing to get back out
after our roast chicken and potatoes
to finish playing Indians in the ditch
taunting the weak to fall in
the septic system creek. Water never ran clear.
Neighborhood strays followed us everywhere we went.
Leaders of the pack. Spent all summer
seeking solace in shadows
hiding from the house.
Often, we pondered what would come of us when we grew up
and returned to see the tags we left, the forts we built
out of fallen limbs and twigs from the trees we claimed.
Can gumption stand the test of time? We were brave enough to spit in wind
and curse out bullies with sticky fists
when they weren’t that big and we had each other
to form a shield.
Alone we always come back
to taste a pinch of the past.
Approach the drain to face It.
Those streets still smell of future schemes
and melted Skittles.
Those streets still sweat in summer heat,
the ghosts of blistered feet chasing dreams.
Whispers in the breeze sing amazing future plans.
Impractical things, plans never made sense.
Face the sun and hope for a good day.
Together we took to the scorching streets
planning our escape,
blowing dreams in bubbles through our teeth.
I must have swallowed something nasty;
some expired culpability
that tasted like rotting grain
covered in soy sauce and curry
to disguise the odor.
Smelled the container,
reeked of sickness;
an animal that had ruptured an important part
of its organism
and was now sort of flailing in its misery
but wasn’t dead yet.
I eventually threw it out
but I knew
that’s not how this works.
I knew there was some payback
for refusing to waste
even the worst of things.
Vibrating nails scratching the toilet seat.
Retching violently. My throat is giving birth
to a Florida summer storm.
The kind that takes whole neighborhoods hostage
and leaves the dismayed picking through the remains
to find their family albums while their babies are holding an empty leash
and finally understanding their environment’s severity.
Enemy gaining ground, mocking
my insistence on hoarding everything
even when it could kill me.
Maybe some things are better left untouched.
Undignified, naked and panting, regretting
everything, all my life choices up to this moment.
My mother was nowhere to be found
in this un-agreeable town.
My cries sound like a mourning monster
yelling for its young
that some men in black suits discovered.
She has yet to be found.
My body is a raincloud
over some other lucky town.
My tongue is the crop
dying of drought.
Cold and hot all at once.
Sweat and shivers, slimy,salty goose bumps
dancing over pallid skin.
This must be the climate of hell.
Yes, this must be hell that I’m in.
Bruises on my palms
from clutching the porcelain
like a steering wheel
in an attempt to control a homicidal bus
trying to avoid any further accidents.
I questioned hospitalization
just til the bad stuff passed.
I remembered when I sat with stale coffee
watching your heart rate on the screen in ICU.
I kept asking the on-duty questions.
Studious little sister.
Your agony and yellow skin,
your Vaseline covered eyelids
to keep them moist in your dying silence.
The hurt you kept in
because you couldn’t make a sound.
My cries sound like a bratty toddler
who lost her favorite plaything and best friend
all before naptime.
All your hurt coming out of me.
Cursing Jesus and other awful things
for taking you at your most willing,
your most desperate,
your most vulnerable.
My stomach feels like a civil war
and no one really wins.
Massacre at Gastric Acid Hill.
My leftovers have taken a stance
in the middle of my intestinal tract
and they have decided to turn back.
You waved the white flag
on the battlefield too late.
Your body is ash on a pedestal
preserved for us to gawk at
during an uncomfortable wake.
My body is your shooting ground
back firing its own mistakes.
My cries sound like your insides
spilling out. Noises that your feeble body couldn’t make.
My belly fighting the battle you refused to wage.
You went to the pond
to feed the water fowl
even though it’s not allowed.
a new disillusioned mother duck.
Steal from her ducklings
so you can get a good pluck in
before you abandon her
the same time her babies learn to swim.
Wrap your torso in the warmth
of her wings.
You need to warm up before you take off.
She’ll transform you , teach you how to fly.
She’ll nurture your progress,
let you grow feathers before her doubting eyes.
But she won’t let you go either.
Fingers are stretched, ready for departure.
Ready to discover new ponds, a new nesting ground.
Want to try those wings out.
She’ll wrap her wings tighter.
She nursed you, you’re her baby and her ducklings have tired
of her pecking. You are her one remaining child.
These mother ducks are all over
disguised as professional cuddlers
waiting their turn,
waiting to smother.
Can’t leave now.
She’ll try to drown you.
Press her wings hard on your head.
Dunk you lower and lower til your feet stick to the mud
and you’re stuck blowing bubbles out of your nostrils
suddenly forgetting how to breathe.
Nothing floats down there.
Only the fish and microbes and disease
and other creepy crawly scary things
that scavenge for particles of flesh for feed
know how to breathe.
They hate to cuddle, they love to eat.
Gain a legion of leeches,
suckling your perfect prince skin.
They also like to peck on rich white bread
and your lifeless body fits the bill.
beneath mama duck’s feet
while she searches for a new baby boy
to teach how to swim.
She wants to go to Denver
to suck off the wedding ring of a gentle fellow
out celebrating a Tuesday
with his other ball and chain chums.
Take him to the alley bathroom
where there is more privacy.
She tiptoes over puddles.
Those shoes are from the thrift store
but they make her appear taller;
make her legs look longer
like a gazelles before they are some hungry kitty’s chew toy.
She always wears them when she wants a boy.
He has hypnotizing green eyes and one kid at home,
a Subaru out front and a small stock portfolio.
He’s still wearing his work clothes.
Blue button up and a shit eating grin.
He works somewhere downtown
brainstorming ways to brainwash the public
into buying more environmentally friendly paper products
from his environmentally destructive company.
She is his environmentally incompatible plastic chew toy.
She is the forest he will destroy.
She wants to run a marathon.
She wants to sweat out all her unrequited love
on a course in Orange County
where the backdrop is stunning
and the weather is perfect
for chasing dreams on concrete.
B y the end of her training
she could serve brunch on her stomach
and her legs are cut like the canyons
to find better scenery.
She wants to be admired
in her spandex shorts
by the little runner boys
that she wouldn’t dare approach.
She wants to make great distance.
She wants to start her own bakery
so other mourning mistresses
have a quiet place to go
to chew on their feelings in solemnity.
She can barely cook an egg
but she heard it’s a good way
to get discounts on chocolate and other girly things.
She’ll name it something weird
like “Saccharin Solution”
and it will attract the hipster crowd
who are kinda into that sort of stuff
and they want to see what this new place is all about.
It will be popular for less than an hour
because she really can’t bake
and a new bar just opened up
right next door to her.
They have $5 dollar wings and $1 PBR.
True sullen girls would rather chew on that
with their hand rolled cigarettes.
She wants to be disappointed
into new justifications
that she is no good at things like this.
She wants to fail again.
She wants to spend the whole summer
holed up in her one bedroom
spewing out sonnets and sickening hate notes.
Eyes sore from late nights
scouring the internet for better adjectives
to paint her domestic travesty
than she could ever pull out of her public school vocabulary.
She wants to be crippled with carpal tunnel
by the time the leaves start to change in September.
She wants to write his effigy
so critics can dissect and burn his character defects.
Cheer her, jeer him.
She wants to be discovered
as a brilliant recluse
who doesn’t deserve to take on this misery
She wants to remind him of his part.
She’s gotta do something to stop herself
from pressing her ex-boy’s switchblade to her veins
and guzzling glass after glass of 7-11 Cabernet.
She stole that blade from him to cuddle with at night
when she thought he might leave her
a forgotten fuck toy on her hardwood floor, broken in half
like an aging girl’s discarded Barbie doll
left for the dog to discover.
She’ll sit in her daydreams, legs crossed, on her queen-sized bed
too big for her now
in placid twilight
creating worlds where she is needed,
men by whom she is wanted.
This lethargy will leave her
if she could just come up with a plan.
If she could just get some sleep.
If she could just remember the names of the islands
she always thought she could explore.
If she could just, if she could just quiet her head.
Get these motherfuckin character defects off of me
I want you crawling in pestilence.
Disease festering infection.
One hundred pounds of shriveled shit and regret
for sticking your dick
in every girl with an exotic name
or pseudo-punk princess with a pierced lip
and no boundaries. Your favorite countries
Your tongue used for spitting nonsense
all dry from the thrush
instead of dripping in lust.
You can’t taste anything but your
Chewed up antibodies
like a squeaky toy.
Clusters of tumors stuck on your brain
like barnacles on the lower deck
of an untended ship.
You loved taking off in the Pacific
on your friends’ parents yachts.
Your only protection now is God
but since your God is lying limp dick
covered in lesions
on a hospital bed in San Fran,
I guess you’re really better off dead.
I’ll buy two tickets. I’ll bring my daughter.
Show her the skeleton of the guy I once loved.
The guy I once ran to
that my daughter will run from.
Don’t scream babydoll.
Pus and blood
seeping from open sores in your skin.
The parts that should be left in
like my feelings
when you told me
you could never be a father.
When you told me my insecurities
were too much of a problem
and you couldn’t help flirting.
Do you flirt with your nurses?
When they wipe the crust from your eyes
do you tell them you love them
and you promise to stay
even when the rough has gotten going?
They better get going.
They got other patients,
and quite frankly,
they find you repulsive.
I always come back.
People make their beds.
Enjoy the bad reception on your cable TV,
the infection has spread
an d you can’t close your eyelids.
Advertisements for Tide
and the state of the economy on CNN;
that’s all you can see.
You can’t move your wrist to shut off the thing.
And barnacles wrap your synapses;
it’s too painful too think.
Your mouth is so dry
like a New Mexico summer
where you spent a whole season high
trying every dime that walked by.
It’s too tiring to drink.
Take a look at your world.
Take a look at my girl.
I used to be your girl.
You had to see the world.
You once told me
“I’m young, I have my whole life ahead of me.”
That was ten years ago
and there’s no one home
to pick out your gravestone.
You had to see the world.
The world ate your body
and the women you loved.
Help me Jeebus!