Four Windows.

Published November 25, 2018 by April Fox

It just occurred to me that my house only has four windows in the entire place. That’s fewer than I had in my bedroom at the last place I lived. And I started to post something about it, basically like what the fuck guys, no wonder I’m in a funk… and then I thought about how that often leads folks to a presumption of ingratitude, wherein an acknowledgement of something that makes you sad is dismissed because look at all these other things that SHOULDN’T make you sad, and why can’t you just shove this heavy thing out of the way to give yourself a better view of the things we think are pretty? And that leads to the remembrance of all the times that people have said, not to me necessarily but just thrown out on social media, that either you are in complete control of your own happiness and are making a decision to be depressed because there is ALWAYS a bright side or that depression is some sort of noble badge you get to wear as a result of having weathered so many of life’s metaphorical storms with strength and grace, and both of those are of course utter bullshit.

Sadness is acute, and you are allowed to have that even when other things don’t make you sad. And depression is pervasive; it gets deep into your head and the reality is that sometimes you cannot see the good and sometimes there really isn’t any good (I swear if you tell me it’s good to just be breathing I will wish a swarm of yellowjackets upon your netherparts) and it’s not about where you’ve been, it’s not a sign of strength or weakness or malignant character, it simply IS. And sometimes there is help, and sometimes you just need to live in that. Sometimes you just need to have acknowledged that yes, there really aren’t enough windows in this place. Tomorrow I will get up and go to work and continue to find joy in many things, but for right this minute, in the midst of all the Christmas lights and joyful kids and central heat and air, let me please be sad about this thing, and let that be okay.

Drive

Published November 22, 2018 by April Fox

Pushing a decade or so ago, now

before we knew who

or what we were

you were traveling

Your words popped up periodically:

“Gas is stupid expensive here,”

“Do you know this song by Ween?”

“I’m lying on a picnic table somewhere in Virginia, looking up

but it’s cloudy and I can’t see what the moon looks like from here.”

So I sent you a picture from my bedroom window, looking out

The moon in a clear sky, small and grainy in the black.

When you returned you said it took you twice as long to get where you were going

because of all the conversation

I apologized and you said that it was worth it

just to see the moon from where I was.

Tonight I’m waiting

The moon is high above the highway and the brake lights on the cars ahead

remind me of the way we used to talk

about the fluid physics of time.

Tomorrow night, from somewhere in Virginia

you’ll step out of the car and let me know

you’re headed home.

Feel.

Published October 29, 2018 by April Fox

This is what it feels like

(I don’t know)

to be kept out, sent to the back,

inked with numbers like cattle

(I bought my ink with dollar bills

you sold your soul to make)

This is what it feels like, one tenth of a percent

to send my child out, brown eyes

thick lips, pants sagged and face

inked like you don’t know

he never pulled the trigger

White as I am

you can’t tell,

arms scabbed and ribs shining

like blades in the street light

You can’t tell

I held that belly, sunken now

in the palm of my hand when he came home

small as life

You can’t tell

I wear my whiteness like armor

(you don’t know)

protect me when I walk at night, keep me in the car

when I get pulled

my brake lights shot like Walter Scott’s but I’m alright

It’s just a warning

        Careful now,

                don’t get hurt.

I know this

My breasts

        (no matter how small)

my ass is a beacon, shining out

spotlights on the fact that I am there

to be taken

that you can have the thing that I have never

until right now

given up one hundred percent voluntarily because I know

from the time I was 14 years old

that if you want it

you’re going to take it

anyway

This is how it feels

(I don’t know)

to be safe in the world

This is how it feels

(I don’t know)

to be safe

This is how it feels

(I know this, now)

to be helpless, to lie flat still frozen

in the dark to wait

for the things that gobbled up the blacks the Jews the

mouthy women the men crawling on the street with needles in their veins

the infants pulled to term and shit out on the sidewalk

screaming with addiction while the pro-life movement dangles formula and warmth

above their heads, the cost of daring to be born

to be sacrificed to hungry priests to be grown up

cut and bleeding

on the bathroom floor

This is what it feels like

(I don’t know)

to be quiet, watching, waiting

until they come for us.

Again.

Published October 17, 2018 by April Fox

In the middle of the night

he is lit from behind, the glow of the hall light

shining through his skin and I want to ask him

all the things that end in

Yes,

the things that someone else with

better words and softer, paler edges

could spin into the silk of romance and something like

forever but the night

is heavy with the weight of day and though I can see him

my eyes are closed and somehow I can only ask for the one thing

that’s immediate:

water.

When his shadow crosses mine again he brings me all the answers

in a paper cup

and holds it steady till I rise to drink.

Shot Gun.

Published October 13, 2018 by April Fox

This is where they’ll find you

tattered and sore

what did you think would happen when you opened

(your mouth

your eyes)

your legs?

This is where they’ll find you,

painted on smile, don’t open

your mouth

(your eyes

your legs)

he’s always been a good boy

I heard he had a perfect credit score.

This is where they’ll find you,

battered and whole

hands tied feet bare

silent asking

What did I think would happen

when I opened

(my mouth

my eyes)

my legs?

This is where they’ll find you,

mask on, hands off, clothes buttoned up

tight

What did they think would happen when you opened

(your mouth your eyes your legs

your mouth your eyes)

the chamber?

This is where they’ll find you

standing

on the mountain that they built

This is where they’ll find you

when they close their mouths

their eyes

This is where they’ll find you.

Pull the trigger.

Keyboard Revolution

Published October 12, 2018 by April Fox

In a month or so,

we’ll all line up

heel toe heel toe

bootstraps high and tight

against our shins so as not

to betray the fact that we are

privileged

to be here;

we will stack ourselves in tidy rows and parcel out

our tiny pencils

we will color in the circles

very

carefully

(This is the Big Test that they told us

we’d all need to take someday. If you mark outside the bubble

your answers are invalid.)

Is your name at the top? Good.

Did you get your sticker? Excellent.

Don’t forget the perfect pout, or if you’re closer to the left

a countenance of precious outrage

One click

Two seconds

Fifty-seven likes and there’s the proof

you played your part.

And on one side there are guns, on the other

protest songs and the signs can be distinguished by

precision of the grammar and you know which one’s on your side and I know

who sits on mine and if things don’t go the way we want I

Swear

To

God

I’ll start a triple hashtag revolution

Man my keyboard

is on fire.

Forgot

Published October 11, 2018 by April Fox

Here are some things that I’ve forgotten:

the formula for pi

the recipe for chocolate chip cookies

the capital of Minnesota (perhaps I never knew, or cared)

the middle name of Paul McCartney

the way it felt to come down and stop and wait and hope my heart

would seize

in the split second that rested between my fingers hitting the door latch

and starting to pull

the smell of paper in the fire

how to take a word and lay it down

stack them, rushed and messy

fan them out like cards and give them voice

that hits your ears and fills your head

like rain that begs

to someday

be the flood.

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