4.12.18

If you take in a full enough mouth of smoke, you may convince yourself it’s something worth swallowing.

That singed tongue and throat are life-sustaining.

 

Is that not what he told you?

When he blew it into your mouth?

 

You said you weren’t hungry anymore.

You said you were content to die wearing only his perceptions of you, fitted to your cold body like a corset.

(Cinched & pulled)

You said of all of the ways to commit suicide, this was by far the prettiest.

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4.6.18 (white cars, late beginnings, and the uncertainly of the tightrope)

The tension evaporates

or collects in droplets,

beading on the leather of my boots

or muddying the ground beneath my feet.

 

Sometimes openness

does not feel like freedom,

and the anticipation framing your face

reads like disappointment.

 

I will collect myself.

Try not to swat or kill anything

before it lands.

Even if that thing scares me.

 

I will write belonging as a fleeting thought,

before the page moistens, limpens, and corrodes.

I think I am meant for an existence,

and am driven to unearth rather than tread above it.

 

But my wrist aches.

I will splint it until tomorrow.

 

 

 

3.21.18

This body — this prison

Confined against my own free will

 

The eyes I catch in the mirror are not my eyes

Do not reflect my sense of being or say what I want them to say

 

I’ve been struggling with the idea of identity

The idea that I need one

That I can’t just live in a symbiotic relationship with my own impermanence

Rather than paint and adorn, everyday attending to this shrine to social acceptance

 

I wonder if the voices in the kitchen sound like my voice

Are we all just taking turns feigning security?

 

I’m questioning how I relate to even myself

(describe a first)

The air was hollow and carried the light scent of disinfectant. There was no clock to watch – they never put clocks in waiting rooms. So I alternated between starting at the tile floor and the bag you had left next to me. You didn’t even take your wallet with you when they called your name. But I sat in reception, thighs sticking to the merciless plastic as my heart bobbed in my chest. Intermittent palpitations reminded me why we were there.

I just kept thinking of your voice and the softness of your skin and how you’d left me there, entrusting me with all of your worldly belongings and the memories of who you were before today. Despite you not even putting me down as an emergency contact.

I was not bitter, I was afraid. When I followed you down the hallway on our way out, I was afraid. I am still trying to differentiate femininity from the female and I’m not sure which quality of your’s I’m mourning.

In the morning, I looked at you, and everything was the same. This morning, I looked at you, and everything was the same.

But I still brace myself, anticipating your disappearance.

12.8.17 (birthday blues)

Hope filters like sand through my rib cage,

sedimented bedrock of being.

I’m seeing myself, or seeing the portions of myself I can —

not like extremity but like facade.

 

(Are we in love? Are you in love with my performance of character?)

 

I am on the train, heavy eyelids, heavy backpack, full weight of responsibility hanging off one shoulder.

I am so, so tired.

 

Depression is curled up in my lap, purring, happy to be at home.

Despite 450mg of deterrent flowing through my veins.

I think this is forever sickness.

 

(Do you imagine my purple thighs grape jelly kissed? Blueberry jam?)

 

I am so sick of instability, of the up-down.

Of my brain waves, my neurotransmitter cocktail, tilted hellish, spilled.

It’s in my lap.

 

Am I holding onto it or is it attached to me?

I don’t want to be this but I can’t let go.

11.8.17

When I was a kid I wanted glasses

 

This was read as school age hypochondriac, finger on the pulse of her own anxieties or like

You just probably want attention or like

You probably just think they’re cute

 

I think I always just wanted to be pretty

There’s this scene from Princess Diaries where the main character takes off her glasses and becomes a princess

I think I wanted the glasses just so I could take them off again

 

Prove that the underneath wasn’t so bad after all

Prove that the grass was greener,

Or at least that the color of my eyes was a little more blue jay than storm

 

But my brain didn’t know how to process this

So I named the desire glasses, and never thought much about how glasses are like a disguise

And that I’ve wanted one since I was old enough to know what it was

 

And though I’d argue that a girl in a prom dress is more camouflaged than a kid on Halloween

I think that particular kind of costume never fit quite right

 

Femininity never fit me quite right

It was a skirt that I was always yanking down to hit the tips of my fingers, like the dress code required

Or a bra that didn’t round out my chest in the prescribed way

It was seven days, always seven days, of a reminder that I was not living up to my own definition

 

But yesterday, my dark roots and acne told the mirror that they thought I was growing into myself

The mirror laughed, like only that kind of glass can — in glittering, shimmering waves

 

I was not discouraged, because though we are old acquaintances we have never seen eye to eye

I have since stopped trying to internalize our relationship

It has never been about me, it’s always been about angles and lighting and the physics of perception and I have given up on math

 

I don’t want to be a Woman

I want Woman to be me

I want Woman to walk in my shoes

 

Feel the friction of the ballet flat or stiletto on the back of Her heel

Feel the dig of the brassiere and the dig of the stares

Bear the awareness that She is object or She is nothing

 

And then I want to break Her, until Her criteria crumble like the powder in a compact

Falling into my lap, only to be shaken onto the hardwood floor

I want Her to mean nothing without me

 

She will bear a unique name that sounds an awful lot like rain hitting an umbrella overhead

Suspended from impact

Although a glance at my unshaven legs may still elicit the bitter hiss of some 1950s propaganda within my own mind

 

I decided to major in gender studies instead of self-deprecation

Stop spending ice cream money on cigarettes

Think about things more controversial than mirrors

 

The girl in the Princess Diaries let femininity limpen her hair and cover her legs, take off her glasses

She gave up her own sight so that she would be easier on everyone else’s

 

This week I got my first pair of glasses

My eyes are open