Everything but You

I once kept a tally of every piece of pain

Its origin

Its affects

Until my memory just couldn’t contain

Every instance

Every faux pas

Every knife carved into my back

Widening the distance between who I was

And who I became

Obsessed with recollection

A running record of every word

Whispered in vain

No, I learned to be grateful

For a malfunction in cognitive files

I learned to compromise

Let go of concrete shapes

That had slipped from the ropes

Fifteen stories up

And instead

Compartmentalize a feeling

A remembrance of who you were to me

How you made my heart warm up

And spill over

Because I loved the curves

That made up every shape of your face

I let go of the “fuck you”s

Of the “I don’t want to see you anymore”s

Until suddenly I realized

It was more than a game

You meant what you said

You just couldn’t let go

Of me

Possessed by something you couldn’t feel

So I close my eyes

Wake up in an unfamiliar room

And pretend it’s all fine

My daughter asks me why I always look outside

I’m hoping someday I’ll see you

Finally coming to find me

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Dusty Floor

I’m scared of breaking apart

Becoming a shape I don’t know

I’ve been nothing but moving parts

Since the world decided I was grown

I’ve tried to latch on to shaky hands

Only to be tossed out with the waste

A mess of disconnections

That make my skin feel thin

I fake confidence in independence

Though I’ve never needed you more

You’ve never been anything to me

I once waited for life to begin

Learning that chipping paint

Might be all there is

No adventure

Just sweeping dust under a rug

Dust under a rug

Dust under a rug

But sometimes the sun beams bright enough

To remind me what happens at high noon

When I forget all about you

From the tops of mountains

So calm

I sing through my pain

Give me some reprieve

From sins I didn’t fully understand

And lessons I didn’t rightfully receive

The debts of my mother

And her mother’s mother

Should not be my own

I’m sorry I didn’t hear you

I want to ask you questions

I want to know exactly why

But not chasing you

Is a temporary relief

I’ll still think of you every night

Love Game

They tell me forever was a long time ago

And maybe I lost my mind

Maybe you loved me

And forever was too much

Grasping pushed you away

Maybe you were always as far as you seemed

But I always found a sliver of you

In my skin

Looking down at bloodied hands

I hid the forlorn dagger

Under your mattress

Returning to the scene of the crime

Where love existed

Even if one-sided

I swear there were nights we would fly

Until I had enough

Of needing you

More

And

You

Wanting me less

So I stood in front of your unobstructed bedroom door

Let you watch

I carved out sections of silky smooth skin

Broke hinges to bony cages

To rip something out

That would kill me from within

They say you complained of a pulsing

Before you went mad

And did what you did

Oh love

You are a dangerous game

Mud

I have sped up and slowed down so many times

Distance is only a sound

Of memories cutting through trees

Aiming for the ocean

But ending up in the stratosphere

Not a lofty goal

Just a mismanaged launch

That only brushed the edge of space

Before catching fire

And falling back down

Into a desert

Because the ratio of land mass to water

Was too good of an ironic twist to not try

So I rolled down scorching sand

Extinguishing flames

Only to rub grains of it into my now watering eyes

I shook off the excess

Each movement grating peeled back flesh

I made it to a hill

Overlooking the sea

But what I was told was that they never wanted me

Not near

Not far

Not here

Not there

They never considered me becoming a thing they would look upon

So I gave up my fight

Melted back into the sand

From dust to mud

Finally

I left this dry land

Burn

What’s it like to not feel

To watch people turn to salt

To live for only your own needs

Because I’ve grown six extra appendages

Just to juggle the tasks of daily life

And I listen to you cry about the inconvenience of my voice

Interrupting the flow of your solitude that has subtitles

Because you are sophisticated in your college sweater

That was paid for with loans

Co-signed by your disgruntled father

Who pictured you as an orphan

And stayed to make things right

Ordained by a priest who had one hand behind his back

Open for gold shavings

Because tithe is a command

Given by a god

Who created the earth

And the stars

And the galaxies

But needs gold

To move life along

In a forward motion

So you see me

With two anchors

Halting forward motion

Consuming resources with no qualitative product

Not seeing the regrowth on the bow and stern of a vessel built with bare hands

Against all odds

In a miraculous sparkling phenomenon ordained by a God

Who doesn’t require money or prayers or faith

Because He knows who He is without your simple acceptance

Without your words of praise

Without your guilt ridden persecution of those who already suffer the most

I stand as an example of what could be

If love was simple

Accepted and true

But love is a lie

Controlled by those looking to get more

Than they were promised

All I ever wanted

Was you

And for that

You despise my simplicity

I love your indifference

Feeding a feeling

Originating from the crib

And carried to the grave

I am nothing

You see me as less

So I worship your feet

One day

The world will be new

You will see my magnificence

As the smoke clears

I spread my wings

A phoenix symbolic of renewal

I will rise

Wretch

When the rest of us fall to the ground

You stand up and point out our flaws

I love you for that

For the rawness you carry with you

In bloodied hands

As you squeeze my neck

Because I’ve felt the pressure of knees on my back

I know how real power can be

You keep it controlled

In a sophisticated manner

That leads me to tilt me head

Never wonder

Except when it comes to your love

How you pour it over my shoulders

When I don’t expect it

To seep out from unguarded veins

Then pull it away

Like a blanket

Quilted for another

Left to sort out confusion

That will be seen on an empty hearted pulpit

Dedicated with blasphemy ridden vows

Because I breathe your color

And bleed your passion

I am a mockery

Of open wounds

Constantly undoing stitches

Just to get another visit

From compassionate hands

That feel bad

But offer nothing permanent

Because I was born into isolation

Where my withered corpse will be found

Bellow the ashes of guilt

From never being enough

To be loved

Even by wretches like you

Going Back

When the parade was over

All that was left

Was confetti on cracked cement

Dirty edges along imperfect curves

Children chasing runaway balloons

Horses being loaded into trailers

Jean jackets covered in frost

Heavy breath upon thin air

Hands in agreement

About which way to go

Towards moving vehicles

Headed towards home

Life was a book

With a beginning

Middle

And end

Now life is a painting

With nothing but infinite edges

Home is construction paper

Cut into incongruent shapes

But those floats

Still glide through living room walls

Bringing the comfort of tradition

Implied and written in red ink

One day I’ll take you back home

Where I learned to ride a bike

And that the winter was cold

I’ll remind you how lucky we are

As we scrape the bottom of buckets

Being sure not to waste a single drop

Until

I took pieces of Saturn’s rings

Sprinkled them across your bullet proof eyes

The scent of your neck

The smoke from your lungs

I shivered from the top of my spine

To the center of the arch in my right foot

Only to find words

Spinning around your mind

Spoken slowly

We pieced together what was left unsaid with eyes averted then directly attached

Debris inevitably collided

In the vacuum of space

Dancing into a binary star

Occupying the center of everything

Because love is an atrocious gift

Some of us are too stubborn to open

Others too stubborn to hide

I open my mouth wide

Gulp down my hard earned obstinance

To anything that resembles degradation

In order to see you surrender to honesty

And feel you cave in to my desire

As the leftover feelings of home materialize

For a moment

Pinpricks zapping behind both eyes

You dissipate

Back into the uncertainty of the moon

Leaving me sitting in silence to remember

Something that never happened

Until next time

The Caring Narcissist

The caring narcissist

His own best example

He gives how he pleases

Ignores what is needed

Congratulates himself

Disappointing acquaintances

Finds faults in lovers

For not being fulfilled

By his whimsey

And sacrificial time

Of course he may not be around long enough

To find this out

So many people

So little time

All he can do is try

Zero Expectations

I used to think you were so courageous

Sacrificing two days a week

I was bleeding from my pores

Still I thought your furrowed brow

Was inspirational

How we’ve been trained

To beg for more

How we’ve been conditioned to expect nothing

If I were a man

I’d have a medal

More weighty than my neck could bare

Yet how funny it is

That these noodle arms

Carry more than your brawny back would ever dare

Knowing torn ligaments take time

Worn down joints even longer

Now I think you were a coward

In the ugliest version of the word

In the sense that you ran away

Because it was hard

Because you weren’t comfortable

Upon my aftermarket duvet

I hope you feel your shame

As you bring in heavy breaths

As you kiss tan shoulders that have never been bent

My knees bow inward

From the weight of my daily routine

But how brave you are to go to work each day

Knowing Tuesday and Thursday

You’ll also be a father

More or less the same

I was an option

What more could I expect

The road less traveled

For good reason

What could come from jagged cliffs

Rocky terrain

And uncleared brush

Nothing but a glorious adventure

That I fear I can’t overcome alone

Dare I whisper

My own impotence

It isn’t allowed

Without shame from mothers of mothers

And sisters who knew better than to let babies live

I will dig a shallow grave

As I rest my head too soon

Knowing I have given all I had

And my heart was fully consumed

The wear of these burdens was felt in my marrow

Before men waged war

On my beauty for being something they could never fully obtain

I don’t find happiness in your scraps anymore

I fear happiness is something I can no longer obtain