Shock

“To heal a wound you need to stop touching it.”

— Unknown

 

Five years later there are still shards of her left under my skin

I couldn’t bleed them out no matter how much blood I poured out of myself, down the drain

Trauma’s shock can only erase so much from your memory

And I keep trying to drown those memories

But they always swim to the surface when someone asks why I flinch so much

I wish it could be understood without words

As if I could transfer my memories to their eyes

If only I could give away the pain on a USB so I no longer have to remember

My body still recoiling from her knuckles painting masterpieces of black and blue onto my skin

Everyone says I should have used my voice but I hadn’t found it yet

They don’t tell you about abuse until you’re 6 feet under with flowers growing at your head

Because the fists kill the flowers in your mind

And you couldn’t bear the winter cold anymore

I mapped the blueprints of my death

While they all ogled the angles of bones poking from under my skin

Starving will only let her plant her nails deeper

No one tells you how to forget

But they can’t forget the look of your shattered body


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Psychiatry

Psychiatry as a field is a teenage girl trying to find herself

It was worse 50 years ago but that doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows now

Slipping pills down our throats to try bringing back our will to live

But many of us still have no cure

Five years later and I still jump at loud noises and back away from the touch of someone else

My mind plunges to the deepest depths of the ocean

Then soars past Earth’s limits

The pills that tried to keep me listening rather than dreaming of places that don’t exist

Flared up the voices that weren’t there

Made the bugs crawl under my skin

And my friends wanted to know what drug

In case there was a euphoria they hadn’t tried yet

Together we all spent thousands of hours between the walls of therapist offices

Trying to piece together the words of the looming darkness

So we would stop letting poisons seep into our lungs and injecting them into our bloodstreams

We just wanted to stop drowning at sea where we felt no one wanted to save us

And the insults thrown at me at the very place I was suppose to receive my education

Weren’t half as bad as the ones I listened to on repeat in my own thoughts

Different combinations of pills were slipped down my throat trying to figure out how to make all this stop

But it’s still better than it was 50 years ago

And most of us still have no cure

Trouble

Too many of our dreams died between classroom walls

Hissed within hallways the lack of worth we held in our palms

I was queen of detentions

Spending half my career there while still getting accepted to a 4 year university

The 80s were long gone but my friends and I lived like those movies

Trying to kill the pain we harbored on our skin

Eating away our minds

Friends spending lunch getting higher and higher in the parking lot

We smoked cigarettes in bathrooms

Nearly burning down the prison filled with people who used words like knives

Fists like bullets

Trying to take us out one at a time so there was more to whisper in between the very classrooms we drafted our suicide notes

We lived on the drug trail made for addicts like us

Nicotine, alcohol, any drugs we could get our greedy hands on

Staples in diets of people like us

What can an underfunded public school in the suburbs really do for students trying to warm the bones that froze over in thoughts of bleeding until there was no more blood left in us?

Our minds had already quit on us as we took turns in psychiatric wards

We smoked in the dugout

Under bleachers

Trying to outrun death so our parents wouldn’t find us in the rafters

Because the illness eating us away took us first

I mean the hushed whispers told us we were better off gone because we were worth nothing

We all became nothing, I mean you start believing them eventually

The school couldn’t stop them since they were varsity athletes and we were the dirt on the bottom of their shoes

I mean we were just the druggies

No one needed us anyways

One Last Time

I would collapse my veins to have you love me one last time

But love isn’t an essence they give you in a pretty bottle

To swallow down, making the world brighter

Love is lenses that soften the colors around you

Allowing the humming of the birds sound more beautiful than you ever noticed before

They always talk about the constellations in the sky but never the ones in your lover’s eyes

I was ready to spend the rest of my existence  on this tired planet mapping out the constellations you held

Your favorite color was red and I’ll always remember because my love for you was a burning red

And your soul was stuck feeling the moods of the deep sea

Just like me

I always watch the clouds because they hold in the memories of afternoons we spent

Rocking on the swings of the town playground

Acting like the little kids it held recesses for every day

And I still wish you would float back to me just as the clouds float with the wind

Not knowing when my fingers will memorize the edges of your frame again

Is swallowing a poison nobody warned me about

Seeing her try to keep you when we know you are floating back home to me

Is a comedy show not bad enough for me to leave

Let me love you one last time

By one last time I mean until the last breath escapes my lips

Because you are the only chemical my collapsing lungs will take in

Why don’t you stay a little longer this time

18

After Patrick Roche

18.)

I burned my lungs black trying to forget

No drug can pull this everlasting cold out

Even the alcohol that has become a perfume on my lips

17.)

I lost

The love that I was suppose to keep

The existence I’ve been working so hard to keep

16.)

Loving someone when you’re drowning is fiercer than what you’re sold on the street

I knew it from the time I first locked eyes with him

He’s the last molecule of air left and I’m breathing him in

15.)

His murky eyes are the last thing I want to see before I leave

He’s my favorite everything

How do I keep someone who wants me to live even on the days where I don’t want to exist?

14.)

I’m losing

I told them to look for me passed out on the floor

Only a shell left because I don’t belong here

My parents can’t even tell my sister what is happening to me

She’s too young to understand

I hope she doesn’t catch this parasite that eats people alive

13.)

The bruises fell off eventually

Washing them off in the shower only made it all worse

She tattooed them on so I couldn’t forget her name

12.)

I’m sinking

They teach you about diseases in health class

But not the ones that eat away you happiness

Numbing you down so all you feel is winter

11.)

Food is a poison that I refuse to take

They’ll like me better if I’m light as a feather

10.)

I don’t know what love is but I want to fall into it

9.)

I want to live forever

I want to touch the sky so I can see my friend again

8.)

They said he died of cancer

7.)

6.)

5.)

I have so much living left to do

4.)

3.)

2.)

My little sister comes home with my parents

I want her to succeed

Even if that means I fail

1.)

0.)

When my mother was pregnant with me

She must have hoped well

Not that her oldest almost left by her own hand

Because someone decided she wasn’t enough

Art of Forgetting

Your name rolled off my tongue like a sweet perfume

But I’ve forgotten the taste of your love already

The day you untangled your heart from mine

It bit me with a venom that I can’t bleed out

And I didn’t have the words to tell you what you meant to me in time

So now you just have fragments of words that no longer make sense

And the photo of us still lies on my bureau

As I try to put together the puzzle of why leaving was the answer

My eyes are the color of the open sky on a summer day

The day you left they were the color of the deep sea

I hope that haunts you every time you try to bury my memory with her

I’m still stuck on you because I was silly enough to believe you were the last person I would gift my heart to

I’ve taken myself apart and put myself together again every night

Trying to find the cracks our love slipped through

And I can’t seem to forget being tangled up in you

You once told me I taught you a lot about who you were

About how to be free of what people thought

I hope you kept it all

Every note on every topic I covered

I hope I taught you enough about love

That when you find it, you can’t stop thinking of me

Then you will feel the loss I do

Replay

Watching you fall in love again

Is watching a movie you experienced in black and white

Turning to color

A story I already know the ending to

Because I played ours over and over again

The film reel refusing to give me a rest

Allowing you to fast forward

While I hit rewind

I already know every line you’ll whisper in her ear

You gave me the script before you could transform it into honey

Into a sweet drug to make her melt for you

To make her fall for the freckles mapping out your back

The eyes a brighter blue than the waters down under

Your laughter wrote the symphonies of our story

No one will bother watching it

Once the VHS tape stops rewinding and replaying in my memory

It will start collecting dust on my shelf

I know your copy is already covered in cobwebs

You’re recording a new story now

Shouldn’t I?

1.)

I’m always up when I’m alone and

Down when I’m with someone

Maybe there’s a correlation

2.)

I gave you more than you deserved

More than you wanted

Maybe that’s why you set me free from the cage you kept me in

3.)

I am good enough for myself

That’s all I need

That’s all I will ever need

4.)

Being called beautiful on social media

Doesn’t compare to laying in someone’s arms

Their breath on your neck

5.)

The memories keep rewinding like a VHS tape too stubborn to stop

The scars fell off as you fell away

You didn’t want to stay long enough to watch

6.)

I can’t get the memory of your fingers in mine

Out of my head

You’re trying to bleach the memory of my heart breaking out of your head

Because you know you did this to the girl with the fire in her eyes

And the “I told you so” in her walk

7.)

Your soul is intertwining with someone else

So is mine

I can’t bear the thought of you memorizing the taste of someone else

8.)

I knew the ending before it began

She will look gorgeous by your side in that white dress

I should’ve loved you less

I gave pieces of me away to you too easily

I hope you kept them

The Woods, An Origin Story

My father watched his father drink their money away throughout his childhood and adolescence

While his mother worked double shifts as a phone operator

And he spent 4am working milk trucks, bread trucks, anything to help make ends meet

His knuckles bled red and his nose contorted unrecognizably with punches

He had to protect

His father smoked his lungs to dust

They never had enough money to stay one place long

Tenement, apartments, homeless they went through it all

My father went home with bruised knuckles night after night until they had to send him to a Catholic high school to straighten him out

But they never spoke of the bruises that came within the walls of their living room

Because my grandfather was sure to leave them with more in a drunken haze

Some days I wonder if my father wishes his mother became a Catholic nun like she wanted to be before

Rather than marrying his father after being swept off her feet

A stubbornness has been passed down like a language

In place of one we once harbored

My father’s family came during the famine and it was never easy

Maybe that’s why we are filled with a fire that will never be put out

 

Before my grandmother lost it, after the divorce

My father took her out for drinks

She told him “I started out with a piece of Wood and got 5 splinters”

If only she could see what her grandkids are stirring up now

Learning the Meaning of Without

When you told me you were leaving

My first thought was “at least there are less ways for me to let you down now”

As my heart fell to my knees and a lump surfaced in my throat

Making it impossible to argue or even breathe

But I knew it was better this way

My eyelids fell heavy with memories and the silence screaming

There was no way for me to look you in the eye while you broke my heart

And I’ll never admit to your face that you made me cry

We both knew going into this that it wasn’t going to last

Yet there were moments we both wished it would

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it

Being young means living in the moment even if it makes you wish broken hearts could mend in the absence of a lover

My heart wishes yours the best of luck on any adventures it may lead you

I already know who I am alone

Walking away won’t dull my laughter

My smile still struts across my face without you

I dearly want you happily living a life you’re proud of

 

You were gone in the blink of an eye

All I have left of you is a fleeting thought that maybe you’ll be back for seconds