Tag Archives: past

the worst of it

 

you watched me

on the big screen

shattering like a

tea pot and screaming

the worst of it

into a void that’s been

empty for years

 

you kept my

hands warm

through the worst of it

you let me see

all the shapes

in the clouds

and still kissed me after

 

and when I am

a woman again

you lay hands on

my hips like

a beautiful heirloom

every flaw is

some wonderful memory

 

my heart continually breaks

at every god

damn

familiar seam

and you are waiting

every single time

you are waiting for me

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half empty

I am busy drawing pictures

of someone I think I can be.

 

She is digging a home

behind my ribcage,

inviting her friends to a

mosh pit between my lungs.

 

I can feel her dancing to the left,

such a rhythmic beating in my chest

it’s almost comforting.

 

In bed I count the constant faltering

in my own breath, in between the

pity that is crawling from the

corners of my eyes,

she feels it,

starts up again,

climbs my insides like a ladder,

tells me to check the calendar

because this isn’t the

god damn nineties anymore,

no one is studying

the hush in my eyes.

 

You’ve outgrown your

corduroy shorts, girl

there’s a half empty

bottle of red wine

on the mantle now,

it’s keeping watch

over your sleeping past.

 

I am watching cars pass

from the window.

 

Every pair of

waving headlights

is a shaky revelation,

you are sun

you are heat lightning

you are

dusk in the graveyard

 

haunting, memorable stillness.

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My Grandfather and I

 

my grandfather runs Mayfair

he drag races his Lincoln

with the light-up interior

like a faded disco ball

 

when I was eight

we’d live on weekends

in the same diner

with the same wrinkled waitress

in a matching apron

straw soldiers in a deep pocket

brushed our table as she

poured more coffee

 

the smell always

wrapped me like home

in home fries and

Church incense

 

I’d beg for the same

silver dollar hot cakes

small stack

too much for a tiny girl

 

I was still tiny then

 

whole milk with chocolate syrup

plastered to the sides

my stomach ached with

the most glorious clockwork

 

my grandfather tucked

twenty dollar bills

into my small hands

he took his teeth out

held them like pearls

I screamed and turned away

I laughed and threw my arms

around his neck

 

his house is a museum of

taxidermy things

I ran my fingers through

the dust of a bear’s tongue

 

kiwis grew in the garden out back

he handed me one

I rolled it in my hands

tried to see the future

 

I cook for him sometimes

he reminds me how

I never stopped

dreaming out loud

 

we sit under stars

my grandfather and I

we drink chianti

and talk about the past

 

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Love, Breath, Red Wine, Skin on Skin.

 

When I was eight years old, my head swarmed with nothing more than bright flashes of television, landmines of toys on my bedroom floor, the sweet scent of my father when he arrived home from work, always a cocktail of cold and sweat and cologne when I buried my face in his neck. Life rolled by with homework and spans of playtime from three until the sun went down, my mother calling me inside from our cracked front step. At night the humming of the fan was a lullaby.

I never thought dressing and parading my Barbie Dolls across the sidewalk was something to hide until he swerved down my street on his bike, all I remember are the tires, the way he stopped and put two feet on the street to balance himself while he called out something in that childish sing-song voice, silly at twenty-five but nothing but daggers then. We all know the voice, we all run from it. I don’t know if this was my first encounter with darkness, but it’s the best I can remember. Things get twisted up, out of order when you’re trying to pinpoint your first moment of confusing unhappiness, the what and why of it all. Second, maybe, was being the new girl in a new state in a new school at ten years old, thicker now, the bulls eye of whispers and crumbled notepaper. You’re not laughing with me when I’m not laughing.

 

At thirteen a teacher told me “they’re just jealous”. His intentions were the best but acceptance was more important to the awkward teenager, it always is, whether they genuinely like you or not. Sulking was my only talent. Twelve had seen a total eclipse, wandering hallways counting linoleum tiles and feeling empty as the air after the bell gave its final warning. Shoving myself inside a locker was never an option, only drifting through the afternoon until I could close my eyes on a turbulent bus ride and bury myself in the couch and count the teardrops.

Fourteen seemed better, more promising, until the growth spurt that left me thin for the first time since that eighth year of life brought on more whispers, the wondering of why I was really in the bathroom. I felt free, strong-shouldered, until the darkness put its hand on my cheek and asked to stay a while. Life was more than television and my favorite smells now, life had become a series of fleeting laughter, textbooks and deadlines, more sadness than I’d expected when all I had was a dream and a ceiling of plastic, glowing starlight.

There was happiness, love even, but something else, too. Since I was very young there has always been something lingering just overhead, pointing its long, ugly finger and telling me to second guess everything, because someone like me doesn’t get to be right. My demon doesn’t maintain permanent residence, but he likes to pop in and check on me quite frequently.

Now I have love, breath, red wine, skin on skin. Sometimes there is darkness, but mostly there is the most beautiful light.

(I hope you enjoyed my response to the WP Weekly Writing Challenge. The above photograph evoked some difficult memories.)

xoxo

 

 

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