ASH MAKERS

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I sit lost between lines
Where logic and insanity
Like to play tug-of-war
Watching as tormented
Setting the world on fire
I watch in silence
For fear my tongue
Might be made of fuel
That I might contribute
To the devised disorder
I ready myself to watch
As those who dance
Among the flames
Get consumed
By the distraction laid
Content they are fighting
For selfless reasons
For righteous reasons
For dutiful reasons
And too late
Finding themselves
Standing in a pile of ash
Useless to anyone
But the devil himself

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SHIT HAPPENS

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My phone kept chirping.

I didn’t want to look at it so I  left the phone on my nightstand and left the bedroom.  The rest of the house was dark so I flipped light switches on as I walked barefoot over hardwood floors that creaked with each step.

I hate it when these melancholy moods hit.  I focus on my existence. The lights came on because of me.  The floor is creaking because of me.  I am still here.  And not everybody wants to cause me harm.

Why did life have to be so complicated?  Why did I have to second guess everything every waking second?  Always picking apart intentions, motives, body language, and words.  Constantly fighting my first instinct to hurl accusations at every person I know as if I already know the most obscene lie would be the truth?

Because bad things happen that’s why.

I shook my head.  I hated that his voice was still in my head.  He used to have a face but nearly three decades of trying to forget him had erased it from my memory.  He was simply a force, a blurry outline of movement, and a voice.

Why are you crying?  Shit happens. 

Thank you for that lesson.  It is a lesson I can’t unlearn.  I learned a lot in the 46 minutes that were strung together like shards of stained glass.  I wish often that I had bled out in your car but as fate would have it you got fired for bringing a car back in with a ruined passenger seat.  You deserved it.  Whoever bought that car also bought my virginity too.

My body healed. Not every rape victim can say that.  I didn’t get a disease.  I didn’t get pregnant. Can I call myself “lucky”?

But I couldn’t fix what was invisibly broken.  I felt like such an idiot.  A failure.  A fool.  A piece of trash.

However, I decided that night that my life wouldn’t skip a beat.  I didn’t miss going to either one of my jobs the next day or to my normally scheduled night class.  I made sure not to act strange around my parents or those I worked with.  I worked super hard to move past… the mistake I made.  Because for years I blamed myself for ever having trusted him.

It took time to realize why compliments made my heart race in a bad way.  Or why I panicked when someone walked away from me when I was trying to speak my heart.  I still have issues with trust.  I can’t take anything at face value without picking it apart.  And an unsolicited hug puts me on edge for days.

Shit happens.

It sure does.  He was right about that.

I could hear my phone still chirping in the other room as I checked to make sure all the doors were locked for the night.  I got a glass of water and turned the lights off as I made my way back into the bedroom.

I pick up my phone and sighed.

I can’t look at social media with his voice in my head.  He makes everything about me so that I can blame myself for not being good enough.  So I can feel small and ugly.  So I can feel stupid and pathetic.  So I can find reasons everyone will soon give up on me or leave me.

I have to wait until he sleeps.  He sleeps more these days and when he does I feel like a survivor.  I feel I can see the truth of things as if they are shining beacons of light.  I feel like a valuable piece of the puzzle and I don’t worry about the shit that happens because I know I can survive anything.

But when he is awake…

Shit happens…

 

 

 

 

INSIDIOUS SHADOWS

And still
To this day
I awake
Prepared
For battle
Even after
All the trying
The kicking
The screaming
The struggling
The fighting
For years
Upon years
I will wake
Sword in hand
Ready to fight
Some days
I think I win
A glorious victory
Bathing me
In rainbow colors
Washing from me
The inky shades
Of doubt
Of horror
Of pain
But the shadows
They don’t die
They cower
And hide
And they wait
For the night
To slink around
And settle into
All your pores
They stretch out
And caress you
Whispering lies
With a cadence
That lulls you
To sleep
Where they tinker
With thoughts
Rearranging them
Where they dig
Up old memories
And prepare them
To wage war
Where they wait
Anxiously for day
To wake you
So they can watch
How you react
To their insidious
Well planned attack
Some days they win
Most days though
Especially now
Since I can see
How predictable
And insecure they are
I’ll prepare
Before I close my eyes
To kick their fucking ass!

TARNISHED GOLD

I reconciled myself to you

Felt the misery and the joy

Your pain and heartache

I yearned to take from you

I brought my golden thread

And I set out to sew pieces

That were dangling there

You were ragged and torn

But an original rarity

Beauty far beyond each fray

I stitched the neglected parts

The heart and the soul

But they didn’t feel right

With the golden shine

Your pieces didn’t feel

Very much like home

I then told you to wait

The gold will tarnish

And I showed you mine

Threads no longer gold

But burnt and bloodied

Our history comes back

It will make its mark

But the pieces will hold

We may be tarnished

But we are also gold

CRAZY EYES

The world thinks I am mad

Crazy stamped inside eyes

As blue as the morning sky

The label is a straightjacket

I wear each day, every night

And I wonder if they know

How tight I had to stitch

Each thought to its master

How diligent I am stoking

A fire that so quickly dies

Do they know, or care at all

How far I have had to crawl

To get away from the pain

That constantly trips me up

I am that girl, the crazy one

Don’t dive into those eyes

They’ll make you crazy too

I PLAN TO LOVE YOU

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It was in the sincerity
With which you spoke
I first found myself
In love with you
The way you laughed
At the ridiculous things
The way you found inspiration
Inside the mundane everyday
Or the way you exposed
The literal nature
Of absolutely everything
It was in the passionate way
You spoke of your ideas
Gave them life inside music
Or art, or words, or film
And then it was in the way
You looked at me
As if to say I was okay
That all the things
I always thought
Were wrong with me
Were something to love
And then finally
I fell in love with you
For all the way you loved me
And now I hope
A lifetime is long enough
To show you the million ways
I plan to love you in return

FOR YOU… ALWAYS

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The edge of the bed

Grew warm as she sat

Listening to water run

Just another day

She barely whispered

She lived in shadows

She was the slight breeze

That moved the trees

Not even a gust

She was invisible

Transparent to most

And yet she existed

In the periphery

Giving the trees a voice

Giving the birds a lift

Giving the world life

Unseen and behind

All the scenes

So again she will rise

Just another day

To be the slight breeze

For a world that

Will never really care

 

 

 

FISHNET BLUES

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Feel my words
Read them
Let them flow
You the leaf
My words
The breeze
Sustaining you
Inside your whirlwind

But they won’t

I want my thoughts
To wrap around you
Drown you inside
A silent comfort
And caress your soul
Making your heart
Feel completely whole

But they won’t

Although my words
Are pure of intent
They aren’t dressed up
Or beautifully lit
They don’t saunter by
Or wink and say “hi”
They sit in the background
I won’t beg for your eye

No lipstick
No blush
No eyeliner or mascara
No fishnets
No pushup bra
No pouty skirts
No kiss me lips
Or gigantic tits

Apparently
My words
Just Aren’t
Naked enough

 

*Based on a recurring dream I used to have about being left behind for something better.

FACING MY HUMAN

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I cried this morning
Angry at myself
For my selfishness
For my wanting
So much from life
What right have I?
To want at all?
What right have I?
To feel I deserve?
I want things
I will never have
And those things
I do get! I abuse.
Because I’m a brat
Worse than entitled
I believe I am good
And I want to be
Sincerely
But I want more
Always always more
And I am bad
Rotten to the core
As I grow, I fold
As I run forward
I fall further back
I am human
And being human
Completely sucks
The Devil himself
Got that point right

TO END WITH A KISS

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She was stuck inside a feeling
Of extreme want with no escape
Her desires were a constant
Warmth threatening to burn her
Branding her insides intimately

Composure was becoming hard
The more they talked, his voice
The more they learned, his life
The more she wanted, just him
She craved being a part of him

The way he looked at her, intense
The world, the universe got lost
Inside this most beautiful gaze
And all she wanted was to fall in
To sink into him and float carefree

But she was afraid of
Being touched by the melting of time
Being consumed by the ardor she felt
Being lost and abandoned once again
Being left more broken than she was

“Don’t touch me.” she whispered.
“I am afraid your touch will end me”
He reached for her hands, then hips
“I can’t think of anything better
Than to end with a kiss from you.”

WHAT I NEEDED… WAS YOU

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I think I got lazy somewhere along the way

One step sideways and further off the track

The mountains, they grew taller overnight

And the rivers are drying up, no relief in sight

I have an ache somewhere

It’s been leading me in circles

Something just isn’t right

It’s a circus inside this skin

My feet don’t know where I am heading

And quite frankly neither does my heart

I’ve been floundering for quite some time

I’ve been using up all my quarters and dimes

I think maybe there is freedom to be had

So I continue to wander through thistles

My thoughts are barreling toward the sky

Afraid of the fall but hoping instead to fly

I have an ache somewhere

It’s been leading me in circles

Something just isn’t right

It’s a circus inside this skin

I think I must have found a magical oasis

Because when I finally stopped moving

You were standing there as if waiting

Having watched me in all my flailing

I finally found a quiet place of comfort

A place I know I can finally sit and rest

All I ever really needed to feel home

Was to find you

THE PICNIC

 

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I keep coming back

 

To the same place

 

Where words swallow

 

All other meaning

 

They chain me down

 

And torment me

 

Like armies of ants

 

Foraging my thoughts

 

For any bit of strength

 

And my brain is on fire

 

From all the scavenging

 

There is no logic left

 

Only this pathetic girl

 

With no more words

 

HELLO DARKNESS

 

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It is hopeless to run

 

It follows always

 

And I am tired

 

I will walk into it

 

Let it consume me

 

I will become a part

 

Of all its stories

 

I will be the lie it created

 

And I will become one

 

With this cold darkness

 

That has always been

 

Waiting for me

 

That has always been

 

A part of me

 

ONCE AGAIN

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I woke from sleep

With new eyes

And noticed the storm

Once again, Once again

Destroyed my world

My favorite world yet

I really tried this time

Flyers were dropped

Warning signs posted

News bulletins flashed

The crime scene

Was pre-marked

And taped off

DO NOT TRESPASS

CAUTION EXPLOSIVES

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK

And the storm came

And once again

And once again

And once again

I wake up and the world

Is my drawing board

To recreate and rebuild

THIS BATTLE IS MINE

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What keeps me alive when all I feel I should do is die?

This battle I have promised to fight.  I did not sign up for it.  I didn’t go looking for it but it found me nonetheless.  It finds so many of us.

I forgot my meds.  A tactical error that depression will pounce on.  I forgot them one stupid night and I end up fighting for my life again.  Not only do I end up fighting this battle but those I love end up fighting too.  You wouldn’t understand if you don’t have depression.  It’s a real cuss because you need people and then you make the choice to push them as far away as possible.  You instinctually push them out of the way as if you are the speeding car, or an oncoming train, or a barreling bullet.  The smarter you are about depression and the lies it tells the smarter depression gets at telling them.   Depression finds a way around all your safeguards.

What keeps me alive is the promise I made.  I have promised those that I love to fight.  No matter how much better off I think they might be without me when I am depressed I have promised not to listen.  It is hard.  VERY hard.

I will fight for me even when depression tells me I am worthless.

I will fight for you because without me who will understand you.

I will fight because fuck depression.

This is my battle and mine alone.

 

 

 

 

FORGOTTEN TRUTH

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He stood in the hall staring at his bedroom door.

James was used to living alone. He preferred it.  He cleaned up after himself better than most but he loathed having to pick up after someone else.  Every relationship seemed like an endless chore so he made up his mind a long time ago.  He would live a longer, happier life alone.

There was a familiar car in his driveway when he had arrived home and it made his heart quicken in fear. She had a love for BMW’s and always kept them in pristine condition.  Beautiful spotless works of art.  Her current car was a magnificent silver.

A woman never affected his emotions the way Ashley did and right now he was worried.  Of all the people in his life she was the most important.

Fate had thrown them together far beyond the reaches of their memory, and to simply say they grew up together would be an understatement… they survived together.  In high-school they crushed on each other just long enough to be awkward prom dates.  Since then, he plays the field and she does the whole family thing.

She’s always had a key to his place but it has only been used once about 3 years ago.  She had made up an imaginary emergency, left her job to drive to his home over an hour away, and collected a piece of equipment he needed delivered discretely to him at work.  When she arrived at his office she texted him.

MEET IN MEN’S BATHROOM DOWNSTAIRS MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWED

She was wearing one of his trench coats and a hat that sat low enough to cover her face.  In response to his confused expression she said with a silly smirk, “It’s a very cloak and dagger operation that needs a very cloak and dagger outfit.”  She had a way of making the most mundane things fantastically dramatic.  Truly though, if she hadn’t helped him, he would have received a pink slip the next day.  He owed her so much… but then again they owed each other.

So why is her car out front?

After entering the normality of his quiet house he came to his bedroom door which usually hung open but was shut.  He stood there with a sense of déjà vu threatening to make him sick.

He reached for and slowly turned the door knob and there standing in the center of his room she stood.  Naked.  She was dripping wet with a puddle of water gathering around her feet.

The strong smell of cigarettes hung in the air, which was strange because she doesn’t smoke.  The cigarette smoke. He had experienced this before. His mind reeled trying capture the reason for the familiarity.

What has he forgotten?

She stood facing the open windows.  Sunlight reflecting off the drops of water that clung to her skin.  She was holding her hands in front of her.

Seeing her now, standing silent and still, zoned out to the world, he knew something was horribly wrong.  For some reason that was eluding him he was afraid to say her name or touch her.  He feared she would crumble into pieces like an ancient statue.

Standing there he looked at her. He realized how beautiful she looked.  She was strong and fit. No longer the fragile little girl he played with when they were younger.  Yet he knew the truth, she was still fragile.

He stood there trying to tease the nagging memory from its crevice when she turned slowly to face him.  He wanted to close his eyes out of respect for her. But mostly because he was afraid of what her eyes might hold.

Her face was expressionless and her eyes were vacant, but only for a moment.

As if a switch had been flipped her face came to life and out of her mouth came the most disturbingly agonized scream.  And then he noticed her hands. As if beckoned from an old deep tomb the memories came flooding back.

 

UPSIDE DOWN AND EMPTY

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I’ve danced with many monstrous demons before

They are a strange lot, the whole bunch them

Pieces of shit with their tail between their legs

Cowards that slink about in the darkest of shadows

Scratching surfaces just to cause an infectious itch

Tainting our air with their fowl and poisonous breath

Shitting all over sidewalks laughing as we step in it

Visiting our dreams, violating our brains as we sleep

They warp the answer to our prayers to cause doubt

Stepping back to watch our struggles as they laugh

I’ve danced with many destroyers of light, of good

And each one had a mark, a defining symbol of evil

An upside down heart traced on their empty chest

Where once there must have been love and joy

Their choices left them cold, dark, bitter and empty

 

PAST ECHOES

Her reflection held no meaning.  back-1822702_960_720

She knew the hours were passing by because the sun was starting to melt into the horizon.  She was told several times not to be caught here after dark.  She didn’t care though.  Not tonight anyway.  Tonight she didn’t want to care about anything.

His voice was a constant echo in her head.

Every day, since she found his note on her bed, the echoes led her to the edge of this river.  He was here somewhere.  Was he watching her?

So many questions had plagued her nightmares.  Every nightmare ended the same way.  Here at the river.

They would always be standing waist-deep in the water staring at each other.  He wore black and she wore white.  They never spoke.  Eventually he would slowly lower himself deeper into the water until only his eyes were above the surface… staring at her.  Then he would scream and disappear at super lightening speed into the murky dark.  She was left standing there in her white nightgown reflecting the light of the moon.

When they were younger they always played at this river.  They would swim for hours and then lay in the sun until they felt like they might catch fire.  It was a game to see who could last the longest before jumping into the relief of the cool water for another few hours.  She usually won.  He thought the game was stupid.  He said she must like torturing herself.

One day, as they were racing to jump back into the water, she tripped.  He sat next to her and they laughed for minutes before he took her face in his hands and kissed her.  Neither of them had ever been kissed. He was her best friend but the kiss changed everything.  What started as one curious kiss turned into heated want.  Everyday they would swim and kiss and laugh and kiss some more.  Until eventually they started exploring other feelings and other sensations.  They were inseparable.

They were inseparable until he had to move 600 miles away with his dad.  They had 6 magical summers together and then… he was gone.

A month ago was the 10 year anniversary of him leaving.  She came home to a note on her bed that said: MEET ME AT THE RIVER. It had to be him.

In her search to find him she had discovered nobody had seen him since he had left 10 years ago.  Where had he been?

Now she was coming to the river every night. A river she hadn’t visited since he left.  It wouldn’t feel the same.  It didn’t feel the same.

Besides the summer after he left was when all the murders started…

Save

SHIVERING BONES

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Soft fleece obscures
Infinite space beyond
And tufts of steel cotton
Dot a silvery horizon
The sun soaked clouds glow
Like stainless steel eyes
As winter peers down
Flaking frosty tears
Over a landscape
Squirming with life
Writhing and thrashing
To maintain its warmth
Until spring awakens
And thaws the ice
From shivering bones

DON’T BE A SELFISH DUMBASS

Ok I haven’t written here in a while. This isn’t serious or even a dream recollected.  This is simply stream of consciousness.  Just a bit of ridiculous because life has been far too serious.  Enjoy!

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The sun burns today. 

My feet have long gotten used to its heat but today they are melting like wax on the smooth round rocks beneath them.  The riverbeds dried up years ago and the songbirds died not long after.  I remember when the sky was full of water.  I remember when it fell and evaporated off our skin.  That was when skin looked young.  When we WERE young.

The sun sits perched on treetops most of the time now.  It dips below the horizon just long enough to gift us with the cool air of the universe.  A quick breeze really.  Normally the cool air would last an hour to a half a day.  The Earth hasn’t spun right since the day my grandfather died. 

You see he was a god once.

Well not really a god but he was recognized as the foremost expert on rotational sequencing.  Some say that made him a god.

He made sure all the planets in the solar system stayed in sync.  Keeping order was his gift and he used it selflessly to keep us all alive.  He used to teach me the secrets that kept us all connected to this rocky foundation.  It was a delicate balance that took focus and skill. He was the most skilled rotational scholar in the universe.  And if you knew how big the universe was your brain would freaking explode with all the possibilities it held. 

He was teaching me to follow in his footsteps but Kirk ate his brains.  Kirk is an asshole.  He believed that if he ate my grandfather’s brains he could take over the rotation of the Earth and everyone would be a slave to his demands. 

Anyway, to make a long story short Kirk ate my grandfather’s brains and got food poisoning because he wasn’t as good at being a cook as he was at being an evil genius.  So my grandfather died.  Kirk died.  And now we are all going to die soon because Kirk was a selfish dumbass.

Moral of the story…

Don’t be a selfish dumbass.

THE MAGIC OF YOUTH

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I’ve watched her grow taller

Her voice changing

Her sense of humor developing

Her individuality blooming

I’ve watched her struggle

Her temper calming

Her anxiety evolving

Her wisdom growing

I’ve watched her excel

Her confidence expanding

Her fears changing

Her ideas inspiring

I’ve watched her every day

Through every season

Through every trial

Through every accomplishment

Learning to breathe

Learning to adapt

Learning to love

Learning to be who she is

And teaching me

What it means to live

SOUR SUBCONCIOUS

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The air was sour

Mouth hanging open

Old booze

Mixed with more

Old booze

Turning everything sour

Kisses

Drunken and forced

Sour…

It was all sour

But then there was a moment

When the ceiling opened up

And the sky reached

For my consciousness

And all that was known

Of that sour boy

Got filed away

In a dissociative drawer

Boldly labeled

DO NOT OPEN

 

 

I THINK ABOUT YOU (ALL)

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I had a terrible dream I can’t really write about so I wrote this memory and poem instead.

168 people died the morning of April 19th 1995 as I drove past downtown Oklahoma City to go to work. I was late that day. I worked for an oilfield chemical company and all my co-workers were out front looking towards the NW. They originally thought something in our own warehouse had exploded and had come out to see what happened but then felt like it was something that had to have happened elsewhere. None of us could see anything so we went inside.

It was just a short bit later my mom called and asked if my father-n-law was ok. She told me what had happened and when we all went outside to look toward the NW again their was a black cloud growing over downtown.

My father-n-law was fine but something he told me has never left my thoughts. When the nearby, Alfred_P._Murrah_Federal_Building was bombed,  he left his building and once  outside he looked up and plates of glass were drifting down from the sky.  Large heavy panes of glass were catching reflections as they drifted in the turbulent air around all the buildings.

Since that day I avoided visiting the memorial.  I didn’t avoid it because I was afraid of feeling the emotions it might evoke.  I didn’t visit because I felt like it was a place for the families and the rescue workers who wear scars inside their hearts for those who died.  And maybe because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about the what if’s and the why’s and the who were they’s.

My ex-husband has moved downtown.  He resides near this memorial.  My daughter and I helped move him and before we left she took my hand and said, “let me show you the memorial mom!”  I let her take me and we sat.  She told me about the chairs and the names and how there were little kids who died.  She had learned all of this on a field trip she had gone on.

I sat and held her hand and felt… so deeply grateful to have her sitting next to me.  And also… I can’t stop thinking about all the what if’s and who were they’s.


 

I imagined myself in your shoes.
I don’t know you
I’ve never met you
But I have read about you
And through the years
I’ve wondered how you are

The news that day was tragic
No
Beyond tragic
Beyond horrific
No words can express
The devastation we all felt
As a community we watched
Helpless with tears flowing
Those men
Those women
And then…
The children
The babies

It took more than two decades
To visit the place so many spent
The last moments of their life
But I sat and wondered things
I can’t write
I won’t write
Out of respect for the people
Who miss the dead very deeply

I sat looking at the memorial
At all the chairs, big and small
With real names inscribed
Representing the lives lost
Under concrete and metal
And I imagined their ghostly outlines
Sitting in their chairs, looking at us

I watched a woman pass
She was in a wheelchair
With grief dancing on her face
She has been without someone
For quite a while and I wondered
What did she look like that day
She was much younger back then
Was it her boyfriend?
Her husband?
Her… I can’t even bare it myself

And then I think of you again
The one I know has images
Seared so deep into your brain
Branded so deep into your heart
They will never ever be erased
No amount of drugs or booze
Can help you forget that day
And again
I can’t write
I won’t write
What I know you must have seen
What haunts me
Me…
Just a person
A faraway witness
To the nightmare you encountered
The day your unit got the call

I wonder
Did you find faith that day?
Or was your faith destroyed?
To watch so many families grieving
Over the loved ones you uncovered
I can’t imagine
And I try so hard not too
But like I said
I think about you on that day
And what all your days after
Must be like, feel like

And this day as I sit in the quiet
I say a prayer
Not only for the surviving families
But for you
The many many yous
That did your job with heart and respect
That carry the memory
Of the many you tried to rescue
For the many that you couldn’t

Every day and forever

FEED ME

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I am cold down deep

And in that place I hide

My home void of life

I sit confined all alone

Content to waste away

But then…

Your arms reach for me

And hold me so tightly

I can feel your warmth

And subconsciously

I press into your heat

The cold I’ve maintained

Relinquishes its reigns

And all of the sudden

I am starving for you

For that spark of fire

Like a dark midnight

Begging for starlight

I find myself wanting

No…

Absolutely needing you

Please don’t move

Stay and feed me

That burning passion

That energy called life