Tag Archives: personal

Found Poem: WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU…

30 Apr

I get these fliers like once a month from one of those shady “we buy houses” places, and I’m honestly getting tempted to call them. So I did a little blackout poetry to try to dissuade myself from what is probably a bad idea.

Transcription

ATTENTION ALEXANDRA:
I want
I have been trying
Unfortunately,
I am not sure of the condition inside
needs some work.
ask them
be willing

You can choose
you want fast
I don’t care.
Please take a moment
Please try
I hope that
we can work something out…I am
you

Regular Poem: Essential Workers

27 Apr

haven’t punched my red cross card yet
i’m saving it for when i’m
sufficiently lonely and restless

but considering
quik trip is still open
i don’t know when that might be

because even before
sometimes when i’d get lonely
i’d make up a reason to go to quik trip

because quik trip
exclusively employs attractive polite cashiers
who want to engage with people

just yesterday that nice pretty boy ringing me up
talked to me about my dog and the weather
and smiled and made my day

three months ago that nice pretty girl ringing me up
talked to me about her favorite gatorade
and smiled and made my evening

a year ago that nice pretty man
mistook me for someone else and talked to me about relatives i didn’t have
and smiled and made my week

several times over the course of a few months last year
the beefy blond found me at the fountain drinks and told me
he was glad to see me and that i always make his night

(it’s a pheromone
i think
that makes me especially enticing to gas station clerks

whatever it is it’s a mutual appreciation
a reprieve
an anonymous pleasant interaction)

i’d feel guilty about it
except it’s so brief
you can wash up before and after and pose very little risk to anybody

i’d feel guilty about it
but from everything i’ve read it seems quik trip is an ethical company
compensates their employees well and looks out for their best interests and even has a gentleman’s agreemant with other gas stations to not encroach on their turf

i’d feel guilty
but i don’t
i need certain stimulation and i think they probably do too

Regular Poem: Hypothetical Casting Call

26 Apr

that before time
back when i had regularly scheduled extracurricular activities five days a week
all kind of blurs together in my memory
just as the days do now
with no discernible time markers or dialogue tags
a block of indistinct happenings both before and now

i’m going over vague events and trying to piece them together
as fully as i am able
to extract some joy from them–
in remembrance create hope
that similar things might occur in the future
when the fuzzy now time is over
when the malaise of this current season dissipates.

an anecdote i suddenly remembered today that made me smile:

the hottest soprano in praise band

(she is not my soprano
i’m alto b and she’s soprano a
but c team was on mic for the evening
so we were in the front row of the worship center sitting next to each other
because she likes to make fun of me for texting so much during rehearsals
and i like to make fun of her for balancing her checkbook during rehearsals)

and i

for some reason i do not recall
started talking about musical theater and that quickly devolved
into a flirty fake argument about which one of us
would be the better sandy in a production of grease

well you already know from the exposition i provided
that she is both very attractive and a soprano
what you don’t know is that her singing is like if there were a disney princess who was voiced by a ’90s country-western-pop-crossover diva
what you also don’t know is that my singing is more a ’30s cabaret alto who might voice a disney villain

(when her assigned alto is indisposed and i fill in
or when my assigned soprano is indisposed and she fills in
or when soprano c is doing keys 2 and alto c is out of town and we’re the people available
or whatever other circumstance forces us to sing together

we blend so well
sound so good together
and look so good together as a bonus

[in my opinion alto c is the hottest alto
but my proclivities for 60-year-old women with sharp jawlines are not ubiquitous unfortunately
so in popular opinion
i’m the hottest alto])

so she’s the obvious choice
for this not real production

but the way she was issuing challenges to me and waggling her eyebrows and flipping her long straight blonde hair and laughing to expose her slim pale throat
made me realize she was adamant that we should have some kind of manufactured rivalry about it

just for the fun of it

and she was so flirtatiously competitive
that it made me want to be equally flirtatiously competitive
and belt out the correct lyrics to the chorus of “hopelessly devoted to you” after she had botched them

(don’t worry
rehearsal was over by this time
so we weren’t being disruptive
as we sang at each other
increasingly ardently
in a showdown at the metropolitan baptist corral)

it concluded when i capitulated by saying
“i’m more of a rizzo anyway”

and that seemed to satisfy her
because a sandy is not actually a sandy
without a rizzo to be contrasted against

Regular Poem: Trauma Response

25 Apr

somebody told me the other day that i’m
so empathetic

in context it made sense
and yes
i do tend to think of myself in that way

but i immediately started questioning it
anyway

because
it seems like the sort of characteristic
that should be universally evident
and yet

who else might describe me that way
and who else wouldn’t in a million years even with a gun to their head

it’s one of those innocuous things
that serves as a traumatic trigger for me

‘nam veterans have fireworks and/or wet shoes
and rape survivors have their attackers’ faces and/or smells

i’ve got sudden movements in my periphery
and comments about my personality that people in positions of authority have denied are true

i shouldn’t so freely equate myself with people who’ve endured so much worse
but then i look at my discolored and highly scarred forearms
and think maybe trauma is trauma is trauma
and it effects the psyche in similar ways regardless of severity
and also
just because i knew the reason i was being attacked
doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary and didn’t hurt

oh
oh shit
maybe that’s why
the gaslighting sticks with me more than the physical pain
because i didn’t and still don’t understand the reason for it

i can reconcile why an autistic schizophrenic man might tackle me to the ground and punch me repeatedly in the face
but i can’t reconcile why nobody with any power to do anything about it didn’t believe me when i told them he was dangerous

i have no ill will toward that man who punched me as i jump out of my skin when someone a few feet away extends an arm very quickly and jerkily even though his erratic actions conditioned me to this heightened response
i have nothing but contempt and rage and deep sadness about those people who dismissed my concerns when someone calls me perceptive and i question that analysis because those people’s actions conditioned me to self-reflection and self-loathing

look
i know i’m too much up my own ass
spend too much time thinking about
my own problems and my own personal attributes–both positive and negative–and how those attributes are both utilized and perceived
but

trauma responses
respond the way they do
in whatever iteration they do
for a reason
and that’s just science

Regular Poem: Confession: I’m Very Stupid in So Many Ways and Also I Would Totally Bang Ann Coulter

23 Apr

no thoughts in the brain
is a pretty neutral state
blank and somnambulent and executing rote tasks by muscle memory alone
until it stabs you in the back
or in the brain as it were

and suddenly

what was once blank
is now fully lit with halogen bulbs and lurid in the harsh glow not to mention horrible to see and experience

it can be just a flash of something
not even a second long
precipitated by
a scrap of fabric with a suggestion of a meaningful emblem on it
or
a familiar smell carried in and then abruptly away on a breeze
or
just anything tiny and terrible to stimulate just the right wrong neural pathways

goodbye clean white uncreased 8.5×11 letter paper of the mind
hello new england clam chowder of the mind

what’s even in new england clam chowder
an inscrutable amalgamation of colors and flavors and textures
and ain’t that a kick in the head

a kick in the mind as it were
that kick starts every angry thing

next month i’ve gotta renew my driver’s license
i haven’t yet read the materials regarding such which the kansas department of revenue division of vehicles sent me a while back
so i’m wondering if i can keep my motorcycle license without much fuss

i’m much more likely to be able to remember how to kick start a motorcycle
than i am likely to remember
the relevant details as to why
i’m so angry all the time about these flashes of nothing and/or everything that keep sparking like a flame catching on the stray dry strands of a damp log on a bonfire

i’m better at general statements
than supporting arguments
i’d love to blame this on my incredibly vivid dreams and how i sometimes have trouble distinguishing them from real memories because of the way they feel and the way they stick
but
i know actually
i have a patchy long-term memory
that specializes in themes and images and phantom feelings

not very useful for passing driving exams for vehicles one hasn’t personally encountered since ann coulter was writing about how obama would be the new jimmy carter
not very useful
except to rile myself up with no scaffolding for the platform at the top of the in-construction skyscraper that is my rage

Regular Poem: Cycles

22 Apr

it goes in cycles
durations negotiable
durations be damned

not one hundred percent sure what we talked about over the course of our hour and a half phone convo
there was a lot to cover
in these trying times

but i do know this

we are branches from the same root
kindred
understanding of each other in a way that is unfathomable by others
and unfathomable in a certain way by us too
not exactly a yin and yang because we’re not opposites

we complete each other not because we provide what the other lacks
but because we arrive at the same conclusions
through different thought processes
the same amount of asshole filtered through different brains
so same so different temperament socialization etc

i feel better right now than i have in months
i’m not happy exactly
but i’m not
actively
sad and angry and feeling like burning down a building and punching somebody and crying all night in my car before driving off a cliff the following morning

i don’t like that you’re going through it right now
and you didn’t like that i was going through it
last summer
and two and a half years ago
and [ad infinitum]

one or the other of us is perpetually going through it
and we are a constant to each other regardless

it goes in cycles
and it is what it is
and it is unrelenting

at least we have each other
and all our other chosen assholes

Regular Poem: Covenant Peanut Butter

21 Apr

Not to put too fine a point on it and not to as paul would say
Think of [myself] more highly than [i] ought to think

But you know how i feel about old testament prophets
And you know how i feel about mowing

And there’s no good reason on God’s green earth
Or even hell’s half acre

That my ancient battered lawnmower whose wheels are halfway to falling off and whose blades have probably never been sharpened in the fifteen years its been clinging to efficacy
Should have started today after spending the winter in a shed with no heating and no door

Not only did this old girl fire up and get the job done
But she also purred to life on the very first pull

It wasn’t exactly like when elijah was living with that widow and her son died and she was like “why’d you come here to eat my food and murder my son” and elijah laid himself out on top of him and cried out to God to revive him
But it wasn’t not like that

Not all miracles are so dire and dramatic after all
Some miracles are just little things that ought not be possible

But where’s the covenant peanut butter factor in
You’re asking or maybe not as seeming non sequiturs that really only make sense in my own brain and the way i associate ideas are kind of my thing too

(Well not this time babe
Thematic relevance and from the very same chapter of first kings)

It may have been the same evening year before last
That my best friend and her husband helped me change the oil and spark plug on this same old mower

That they wanted a snack and went to raid my cupboard
On a rare occasion that i had bread in the house

And she said
Surely this can’t be the peanut butter i bought when i lived here

(She was my roommate before she got married
And that was three roommates ago)

But it was indeed against all odds that peanut butter
And two years later (counting from that evening) or eight years later (counting from when we last lived together)

That peanut butter is still to this day in my cupboard far from depleted or rancid
In fact i successfully ate a generous helping of it on a waffle two weeks ago

(Before the widow’s kid died
There was the famine in the land and the infinite flour and oil miraculously extrapolated from scraps

Her house did eat many days
And the barrel of meal wasted not neither did the cruse of oil fail
)

I’m not saying i’m an old testament prophet
I’m just saying that for all my myriad curses i’m also

Infinitely
Blessed

Regular Poem: On the Grind

20 Apr

she’s always on her grind
always got a scheme going a new project an old project always a project
usually for money but sometimes just for self-edification
some blend of physical and mental
that takes planning and vision and muscle in equal measure

a self-directed self-starter
on her grind
making that money
making those connections
(she’s gonna make it after all
throws a beret into the air and
freeze frame
)

i often find myself in bizarre situations with her
driving an open lonely stretch of turnpike
listening to her monologue about
events that she doesn’t give enough exposition to really understand
and conspiracies that i don’t exactly buy
and/or
standing with my back straight and my hands in my pockets with my head cocked in thoughtful listening mode
in foggy parking lots and chilly equine rescues and stuffy living rooms and dusty gutted hotels mid-renovation

when she introduces me to other characters in these bizarre situations
they without fail nod and say something like
oh right
that girl

a foundation has already been laid they already know without having seen me before
i’m the sidekick
and they trust me because they trust her and she trusts me

it’s so fascinating

we’re all protagonists in our own lives
but there’s so much to be learned about yourself when you analyze
what kind of supporting character you are in somebody else’s life
especially if that person lives her life in a completely different genre

she’s the plucky heroine of a pulled-up-by-own-bootstraps adventure
and in her narrative i’m her mentee
whom she sees as a younger version of herself
to be nurtured and cultivated and remade
into the best version of both of us

but in my narrative
(well in my narrative
i’m all white trash gothic and heavy-handed poetry)

she’s on her grind
like a powerful river
smoothing the rocks beneath her by willful and persistent erosion
always surging forward with an ultimate goal
obstacles surmounted in crests and bends

and i’m on my grind
like a grindstone
the free-standing electric kind with a sandstone wheel
i can sharpen or i can blunt or i can polish and i’m very good at it
but somebody has to flip the switch somebody has to connect the power and start me to turning

on my own i am inert collect dust
look like a pretty relic
some specimen in an antique shop
although i’m not antique
i work

i still work

just plug me in and see
just plug me in

Regular Poem: Appropriate Activities for Dads and Their 12-Year-Old Daughters

14 Apr

for the life of me i can’t remember
what my dad’s undercover alias was
i’ve probably got his cab driver’s license from like 1993
where he’s got long hair and a beard and serial killer glasses
clunking around somewhere in a box full of switchblades and shotgun shells

that’s the id he’d use
when we would go to car lots
and test drive convertibles and sports cars
on particularly boring saturdays
and i always got to pick whatever name i wanted
because i was a kid and they weren’t gonna check the id i didn’t have

it was a cheaper activity than bowling or the movies
and more entertaining than mowing his buddy’s farm for extra cash

i was thinking about this today
because
i was thinking about how
i’d like to be part of a small time conman duo
nothing mean spirited
just little clever scams here and there for fun and profit
’30s dust bowl drifters style

Regular Poem: My Brother’s Birthday

11 Apr

my official present
was a cast iron dutch oven from a fancy bbq store
(because he’s a very good cook who likes that sort of thing)
but as i slid into my chair in the dimly lit italian restaurant across from his 70-year-old rich lady mother-in-law
and everyone else began conversing about things
neither of us were in on
i realized

my real gift would be
entertaining the mother-in-law so he could have a nice family dinner
which is of course
my specialty
my special gift as it were

topics included
the horrible poetry reading i’d just been to with her daughter
backyard chickens
my new weird job
facebook
puppies
puppies on facebook

actions included
ineptly scrolling through our respective photostreams to find the specific pictures we were looking for to illustrate whatever inane stories we were telling
condescendingly shrugging about stuff we didn’t understand

i can almost always accurately assess a situation
about six to one half dozen to the other adjust myself to that situation seemlessly
it’s rare but
some situations are tailor made for my skillset

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