Loose

I’m loosing the notion that love has to be grandiose.
That it moves in broad gestures and flitting grins
and the sweeping magic of surprises.
I’m unclenching my fists from the hem of hope’s skirts,
letting myself slide back down toward earth,
stopping my saddling of clouds and
the promise I might find hidden in a breath
caught.  I’m unraveling the apron strings from
fingers knitted in hours and hours of waiting and worry
and want and wonder.  I’m sighing.
Sighing as I feel the burden of expectation slip away
and dissipate into dawn’s glittering morrow.
And I’m peppering my life with stars I would’ve wasted
with wishes and carefully watched constellations,
bringing their light into the moments when I’m most afraid
of the wrenching choke of being alone.

Self-Worth

I wish I could feel self-worth.  I feel valueless.  I feel like a disconnected cloud of pieces and parts that are here to be taken and used.  I can’t quite connect to the notion that someone may genuinely, really love me, without ulterior motive or aim.  But then I feel it and I have to remind myself that I’m real, that I’m here, that I am very blessed and that I should enjoy this experience, that I should give in to the huge all-consuming swell of hope and satisfaction that comes with every smile, with every little promise.  I’m trying to believe that what’s being given to me isn’t being wasted on me because all of the bad things that echo in my mind might not be true, that I might be something good.

The meaning of my first name is “worthy of love.”

Internalized

I internalize everything.

Every ounce of the stress and anxiety around me goes straight to my soul.  I take every reaction and every offhanded mention as truth.  I pull every ounce of upset around me up on my shoulders and I bear it.  I assume that it’s all my fault, anyway.

I deserve punishment.

When I was younger, I was always the one consoling my mom.  For whatever reason, it came down to me to be there for her.  Maybe I just imagined it that way.  Maybe there’s some tendency towards nurturing in my nature that I just don’t even realize is there.  Whatever the reason, I always felt like I was silently bearing both of my parents’ rages and upsets, irritations and frustrations.  I always felt like it was my job to put on a brave face and take it, to rationalize that it was my fault in some way so I needed desperately to make amends.

I naturally worry about what other people think of me.  It keeps me awake at night sometimes.  This crushing weight upon my chest met my hummingbird flutters of my heart, anxiety gripping my mind as I dwell on something bad I did years, weeks, months, minutes ago.

I do dwell.  I can’t not dwell.  I’m not sure why it’s so important to me to dwell, but I’m incapable of not caring.  I’m incapable of letting go, of serving myself, of being my own woman.

I’m not quite sure I’m yet a woman at all.

When faced with anger in someone else, my stomach drops to the floor, my throat tightens up and my eyes are pricked with oncoming tears.  I grow anxious, sad and overcome with guilt.  It doesn’t matter if it’s my fault or not; from then on, in my mind, it is.  It’s as simple as that.  I have failed.  I have not provided what I should’ve been giving.  And so I feel wretched.

And I dwell.  Once a seed of anxiety has been planted with me, it stays.  I worry.  I think about it at inopportune moments and I wreck my day with anxiousness.

I spend the rest of my life believing that I am worthless for whatever I did or didn’t do.  And for that, maybe I deserve to bear the anger, the frustration, the guilt and the worry.  Maybe?

Apart

The marks you left are already fading, faint yellow traces of our clutching and writhing.  As I step into the shower, the scent of you washes down my face and I inhale the very last bit of you before it can be replaced with distance.  I smile as I discover little hairs and crumbles of tobacco stuck to my skin like our final clinging embraces and watch them swirl down the drain and away.  Salty tears splash on my breasts as I lean against the tiled wall and wish you were there behind me.  I feel silly for feeling so alone, for being so damnably sentimental over everything about you, but I clutch my memories of you because I know the time between us is almost more than I can bear.  But bear them I will with a brave face, waiting as patiently as I can to bathe in your touches once more.

2007: Tripping

            Red lights snaking, sashaying in a curious sort of S-shape along the parched black pavement, everything ahead looked like glowing embers on the asphalt’s dying fires.  The sky was a rainbow of dusk, from reds to oranges and greens and the bluest of blues overhead, peppered with stars.  The sun was in its last hurrah, a tiny pad of light left peeking from between two hills in the distance, a red eye turned onto a world gone chilly.

            I was driving, my tiny car pulling eighty along the interstate.  Sailing past semis, I could see every inch of twilight bursting forth from behind hills and trees.  The onslaught of night was apparent, a welcome sort of embrace from night to all us weary travelers, our eyes still burning from the glare of the angry evening sun.

            A pile of brush was burning out its goodbyes beside the road, and I had to drink it up with my eyes—framed in red sky fading to green and blue, the embers were glowing red and orange between charred branches.  In the distance, trees disappeared into blackness, dark overtaking the mangled forest.  I sighed.

            Driving on, the red snake glowered at me, taunting me to find such beauty ever again among the pack, daring me to find nirvana in exhaust fumes and gas station corn dogs.  I smiled, my foot firmly on the gas pedal.  Laying back into the momentum of leaving, I let night wash over me and drag me on toward the little red x marked on the map unfolded in the seat next to me.

Fever

My head feels like I’ve been skullfucked, and all I want is human warmth.
Here, in limbo, I wait, with no shelter from feral lies and glowering.
There is just the sound of my own breathing, ragged, wracked with chills,
in terrible harmony with the sound that drifts through the papery walls.
I’m dressed in a cold that I may never shake, frigid air that burns at my skin
and begs me close my eyes and dream of better days, begs me give in.
Teeth are chattering and minutes slip by like ewes over a wooden fence.
Right now?  I am with you in Rockland.  It’s me, the grey-beige paint
over a concrete facade—I’m here, hands of chipping gloss unable to reach out
to take your touch, to soothe us both into steady compliance.  It’ll be okay.
January air creeps in through hate-worn cracks, voices sound like tribal chants,
pulling your mind into the singer’s personal madness.  I look down, I see,
and God as my witness, I want to help you to stay here in the silence with me.
But more and more, I feel the wind chill and factor out my own salvation.

2007: Whiplash

I write about sex as if it’s something beautiful, but it’s not.  It’s two bodies smashing together, doused in sweat and unmet expectations.  There is nothing beautiful about lying under someone who is rocking back and forth to some foreign beat as you dig and claw into their flesh to try to bring them back to your plane of existence.  No poetry is written in the sharp cries that untrained ears would call throes of misery.  Minds entangled in sex are not glorifying the person creating what pleasure may be painted on synapses—those minds are fogged in the glitter and flashes of chaotic nothingness.  Two bodies do not climax together, wrapped in sweet bliss or sonnets of yore.  Bodies lurch and arch and beg as throats croak commands and lies.

2007: Get On Down the Tracks

I hear the train rushing through this podunk town, and you immediately go rushing through my mind.  I remember dirty sex and the smell of campfires.  I remember how warm January felt as I pressed desperately into your embrace, your fingertips tracing words along my spine and your lips pushing lies across my skin.  We would suck down cigarettes for air, emerging from our mindless haze just as the Number Three was making its way down the track.  You’d line rocks along the rail and I’d cower behind you until the very last car rolled past.  You’d pass me a bottle and we’d stumble back for more of nothing as somewhere in the distance, a long and lonesome whistle would sound.
Every moment between us was a beautiful trainwreck, too horrible to celebrate but too spectacular to ignore.  And the wreckage haunts me even now.

A Few Key Revelations

I love nights that never stray far from seventy degrees.  I love the way that moonlight looks splashed across calm faces.  I love the rain, even when it’s an ugly day.  I love cemetaries and all the strange reverence we leave there.  I love mocking people whose feelings I will never see hurt.  I love imagining that I’m worth remembering, even though I know very well that I am not.  I love thinking that I’m the one who got away, when all along, I’m the one that was never chased.  I love the timbre of voices cooing in pleasure and laughter.  I love stupid jokes.  I love the deep bass of a man’s voice, and generally long to put my ear to his chest to hear it more purely.  I love being touched on the shoulders or the nape of my neck.  I love the dances we engage in every single day.  I love not having to say out loud everything I’d like to convey.  I love going.  I love breasts, and everything they do.  I love places where I can see the stars.  I love feeling that I’ve wrapped up everything.  I love a healthy sense of paranoia.  I love ice.  I love music that is melancholy, but with words that offer some promise.  I love being barefoot.  I love catching someone’s eye, even if I’m not very good at holding it.  I love being in love.  I love all the people I’ve surrounded myself with, in all their complexity and curiousness.  I love smiling all the time.  I love myself.