Way back yesterday, we
spun ourselves mad in the
cold old dark, searching
blind for why and
the sea would end
wondering how you walked away and simply
Way back before when we were small
and looked up wistfully at the potbellies and sagging breasts that loomed
like storm clouds above our heads
we spun ourselves
in search of attention and the feeling
of falling over
spun ourselves into the crumpled
of bones and dirty laundry
that would carry us into
Way back yesterday, we thumbed through magazines
spun the laundry damp and poured in things
to make it soft, caressed the edges
of our cookbooks like the
faded faces of lovers
we maybe should have kept
if nowhere else, tucked away in our pockets
creased with age
and worn with fear
Way back then when we were smug and sure and everything
was set in stone and cigarette smoke made shapes against
the sky and we touched
every single leaf and we tripped
quietly and laughed
at all the branches making letters
in the woods, spelled out
every single thing
we knew was true, we spun
laid down in the grass
never knew that one day
one of us
who wasn't yet
would walk into the sea
I suppose it looks like I should be drowning in the proverbial sea of alcohol and tears but let me tell you Hank had nothing on me a few years ago and in the interim, although it seems as though I'd been saved and pulled aboard a life raft crafted from his very skin, the truth is I had carefully and willfully frozen the surface over and I could see not long ago, the agony that I should feel and I confess to having ordinary human compassion and concern for one I thought was hurting (and admittedly, that was my mistake, but if those things make me a fool, I'll run the risk each time around) but I was able to stand above it all and walk away
And perhaps I should apologize for not reading the guidebook The Modern Middle-Aged Woman's Guide to -- never mind but the truth is, when it's been a life of synapse hating synapse and of fighting every day to keep myself and stay alive, I don't have time for mindless reading I'm so sorry I don't care.
I don't have time to grieve for things that never even were
There's so much grief that's been required of me now
There's no space left to mourn the ending of some fanfic autobio.
And if I reached out for a hand -- not the first and by far not the only -- and let my hedonism rise and shift to something like the taste of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning dark and sweet and lingering forgive me if I choose this over drowning or sitting on the ice and staring down at the shit below the surface while I wished for something more.
It's possible that everything I thought I knew was true was false.
It's more likely, in the interest of objectivity that it's probably a goulash of sorts true, and not, and quite a few things that had had the truth scraped away in order to show the skeletal frame of deception.
It's certain, with very little margin of error that I don't give a shit.
"You can't just turn it off like flipping off a light switch."
But you can, if the bulb's been burnt out anyway and you were only able to keep a hazy field of vision by making light refract from somewhere else.
It's already dark flipping the switch just closes the circuit.
It's possible that I'm a little bit high, taking a pause from responsibilities to let a few words creep into my head and out again --and none of this means anything at all.
That's the one I'd gamble on.
I can look at the clock, now, and predict when the next touch is coming when I'll shift from blurry background prop to something perfectly but not at all sharply focused when I'll connect with this unfiltered life.
I can look at a few simple words scattered across a screen and tell exactly where I'll be when I close my eyes at night.
I can tell myself with prejudice that this is well-deserved.
I can watch the muscles of his forearm jump as he leans forward and know without a doubt that this part is.
It's possible that everything I've said here is a lie
He talks in his sleep now and then, a soft growl low and deep, that wakes me up for half a second like distant thunder that reminds me that the storms are there but miles away.
I'm too old and cold and tired to have time to imagine things like fate and deities and predetermination; karma is a privilege of the good, and the universe is just a mass of angry gas, but I have learned to heed the warnings and I am grateful to have listened when the sirens all went off and I am not ashamed to find myself here sheltered from the rains that weighed me down and nearly made me drown.
Whatever's in the distance has become quite self-contained If it depletes itself or feeds itself and propagates again is of no consequence; there is shelter here and peace within my walls.
There ain't a single drop of sorrow in this
I haven't felt a thing for two years now
(up until last week, and that was mostly physical
--and we don't need to talk about that, do we?
you weren't there.)
The house is hazy and there's a whole new type of woodsmoke dripping
from my veins
Who knew you could make so much room
in the front seat of a Mazda 5?
Let's be quiet about this
hide in the dark from the shit you're too small and I'm too big
I'd set it all on fire but I'd just have to clean up
"You can own the stage
but the lights and glares
will not make you real."
--Margot and the Nuclear So and So's wrote that line
and it always felt like pulling me into a centrifuge
Spotlight dead center, focused on me
trying to pretend to give a shit about the covers and the
Super Cool Radio Rock (soon to be) Hits!
out of my
Feeling like the Cheshire Cat
invisible aside from the big
and the psychedelic fur.
I pulled out my phone before I knew, started to text my friend
I don't think I love him anymore.
Saying it felt like sacrilege
and I wiped the screen clean
and shoved reality off to the side
one more fucking time.
Sold all the way out and still don't have shit
and here he is
walking behind me all the way up the street
just because I'll let him
You can own the stage
and it don't mean shit
if everyone around you
is only a prop.
There's a mannequin in the window, watching you. What's it thinking?
Not anything. Mannequins don't think. They just stare.
Remember the one thing you said, did you mean it?
Of course I did. I never will. I never have. Did you?
One day they'll drop the bomb on us. I hope you're here with me.
There was never a point, was there? All the pencils, dulled with use and whittled down to eraser stubs, the pink dregs of mistakes huddled in the bent metal grip like refugees, bits of foil in your gums, chewed up by anxiety --
And the papers, long forgotten, formulas and spelling rules burnt up in time's incinerator
(I didn't coin that phrase; look it up)
And there goes my mind, spiraling back again
To the safety of lost album covers and songs they never played on the radio till they were oldies
And the speakers at the gas pumps tear my ears away
Everyone says you can't do that; That aloe is impossible to kill. I can kill damn near anything.
Pert near, my grandma Fox used to say: "Supper's pert near ready."
She was the softest person I've ever known And probably the toughest
I remember the apple tree in her yard.
I wonder how she walked and talked and breathed when her little ones were gone.
I want to make apple butter, sit in the kitchen and watch it cook down to thick, brown Paste
Feel the autumn forcing its brittle way into the heat.
I want to reconstruct the farmhouse Stack it plank by plank, haphazard Crawl back up into its lap, settle deep into the sawdust and woodsmoke and the crumbling edges Of the floorboards and the softened stairs, sagging in the center
Find the places where the ghosts are huddled Whispering to me that the aloe can live pert near anywhere.