I am a serial killer
from the lives I've interrupted:
an anarchy symbol
a wedge of cheese
a passel of descendants
and when I lay out my confessions
a storm of platitudes
rains down like razorblades.
Against my will,
From the back of my head
while I try to rest
the film plays on, a gag reel
I hear every misplaced word I've ever forced my lips to say
I see every time I made the choice
to do what wasn't right
And the guilt that ties me down
is a paradox of truths.
I guess you could say it's all
there is one last everything
They aren't there, like he said, in the shadows with their
creepy spyglasses and
notes about my favorite things
They aren't anywhere, and if they were
I'd be blind to their existence like I was
when he was there
initially and now the image
is a double exposure
Clear and shaded in the foreground by the ghosts of things that were
And still might be and fear
is not a thing that I'll allow and
attachment is a thing that I avoid and
letting go has always been
the easiest part of life
The only things that ever felt like were forever
were the things that tried to take me out
The cracked ribs the empty spaces where the things that we don't talk about
should have been
The endless fucking bouts of crippling anxiety when the only thing that I knew
was uncertainty and he asks me, this one, now
If you don't tell me
how will I know?
And I might have said, or only thought
(my head last night was hazy from the whiskey and the day)
In ten years, if you're still around, I might
Sitting here like nothing, autopilot hair bleach laundry pasta salad lather rinse repeat I am balanced on the edge
Of moving forward
Tasting the blood on my tongue
From staying still.
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
that never even were
There's so much grief that's been required of me
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
or sitting on the ice and staring down
at the shit below the surface
while I wished for something more.
that everything I thought I knew
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
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
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
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
You never know.
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
to have time to imagine things like fate
and deities and
karma is a privilege of the good, and the
universe is just a mass
of angry gas, but I have
to heed the warnings and I am
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.
I might be
a little bit drunk, but the fact remains
that he never was.
It never was.
I left this behind
the same way you leave behind
a pile of trash, bits of paper
Once upon a time it meant something and now
why the fuck you held on to it in the first place.
Did you need it for a return?
Proof that this thing existed?
Waiting on you, I know
you'll keep me warm
There's something about a rough edge
one that hasn't been dulled by the constant gaze
of an imaginary spotlight
Not sharp enough to hurt
just sharp enough
What are you looking for?
I don't think you'll find it there.
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
from my battered scalp
The exhaust fumes make big holes inside my eyes
What were you looking for? Did you ever find it?
No. I wasn't looking.
You were blind.
I was blind.
The lights were keeping score, tabulating risk
Halogen predictors of the future.
Why are you so quiet?
Go to hell.