Feathers in Ink

4.2016

 

I wish I could eat your heart like a beet

Bite let pink bleed fruit down my cheek

 

I lay there in the black and white

Your cheek against my back

You took everything and gave nothing

A wolf, you truly were

 

Sex was another world we entered

Violence, greed; they were safe here

Every rip and tear and bruise, a prize

 

That room had cracks in it

Sheets always twisted, bed bare

Hard and soft, it collapsed in the middle

 

When I awoke I never knew how to feel

Always cold or a memory of something like shattered glass

Something I would need to pick up

Eventually

 

I looked in the mirror at my body

Shrinking

Ribs and palms of flesh recoiling from one another

Distressed

 

Bathtub filthy my body felt coated with something like denial

Slick with it I let my hair clump into braids

The black clung to my back like serpents

Your children

 

I walk softly on the floor so as not to wake anyone

I’m not here, I’m not here

Wipe away my presence, hide my makeup bag

Once you said you hoped I had brought it

You say what it takes to get what you want

You so briefly wanted me

 

Your teeth, white tops with yellow roots

Rotten

Hidden beneath your pretty lips you don’t grin you snarl

You growl you

Eat me

 

Your hair. Heavy in my hands as I grabbed it

Petted it

Pulled it

Mine for seconds

 

Your eyes scared me

Weak coffee, almond and nervous

Frantic

Nothing

 

You loved to put your hands on me

Over me, grip

You held my hand sometimes, or held my hand in your fist

Oh the feeling of your hand felt like a lie

Or a slipknot

Or a noose

 

Some mornings I would pull mine back

Like a child playing games with traps

Crack down it would snap

 

I never bled for you

If I did I think you’d drink me dry and leave me

Cracked, rust colored and crumbling

 

You’d walk away wiping tears from your mouth

Sated

 

You hid from what was true in me

Wore your scars in the beginning like emblems on a stolen leather jacket

Emotions that aren’t yours

 

I shared mine, formed new ones, keloid tumors of

Lust and hate

Death

 

I saw the devil in you that night

When I lay back on cold granite

I knew God held anger in his mouth like foul breath

It came later

 

Spilled butterflies on the kitchen floor to wake me

Shake you

Oh I knew she was angry

You were not allowed there

With me or without

 

I knew

I violated

A trust that held the air like dust in a palm

Swirling above open fingers, visible only in the light

I knew

I chose you

 

I don’t want to say regret

Our threads were crossed before but I chose you

I knew

 

Forever

This, my ownership of you

I will wear it until I die

 

When my body rots

You’ll die with it

I won’t bleed

My insides will dry up like coal

(Please become diamonds)

 

Push me push me

 

I let you eat

I was hungry

Nauseous and bored

Damp with disappointment

 

Like a child

Fed only with skin

Velvet, lamb

 

You were everything I love

Dark, dead, lonely

 

Nothing feels fertile in me anymore

No cycle, only the moon

No menses

Ashes and dragging bone I see

 

Why couldn’t your head on my chest hear my heart

 

I never once listened to yours

 

Maybe I hated you

Maybe good is always drawn to evil

But am I good?

Was I on my knees holding you in my hands

Begging you with my mouth to cry for me

 

I kissed your ears and begged them to hear

The thoughts I was too afraid to even utter in synapse

 

Find another drug

 

I wish you would have ripped me open

Knife and teeth like a boar

Mount me

On your wall as a portrait

You never would

 

You didn’t cherish my face or any of me

I sat abandoned wrapped in cellophane on your dresser

Forgotten until the smell

Once pungent and glorious

Putrid dank and loss

 

Will you ever love

Have you ever?

Did you ever see light leave someone’s skin like its whole life it had wished to only to shine,

Were you ever the light for someone else?

Or just blackness

A well of ink

Eager to spill

Drip on floors and fingertips and in the corner of unsuspecting mouths

You, you stain

You filthy blot

You entitled shitty mess

 

Feathers need stay away from you

No

You need stay away from feathers

Or we’ll write your destiny with sharp tips

And use your power to share our words

 

If my lips bleed black let them kiss lined paper

And betray you

A Mother’s Resilience

Today, a woman with three small children walked past my mother’s house as I searched for the keys to unlock the door. She happened to be a patient at the midwifery office where I work. She found out this morning that she was having a miscarriage.

Her toddler clung to the stroller, his eyes focused on me like tiny espresso beans as they passed by. There were four little feet kicking in the stroller, their ages still numbered in months not years.

Her strides were long and deliberate, she didn’t look sad or distracted. It looked like just another day, taking the kids out for a walk in the summer humidity before the thunderstorm rolls in.

There is no one more deserving of the word resilient to me than a mother. I don’t mean to neglect fathers – it just seems that there is a special kind of silent struggle I see in mothers. To internalize. To push forward. To not fall apart.

It was by chance that I saw her unremarkable evening walk through the neighborhood, and it made me think of my mother.

Months into a series of operations to lengthen one of my legs, my mom had to go back to work. I was thirteen, bossy, and inconsolable. The preliminary operation was in November, and the expectation was that after a few months of adjusting, by February I would be back in school, and she could return to work.

That is not at all what happened. Every week with the fixator was a series of complications and disasters – insufficient pain management meant no putting weight on the leg, which meant no walking. Crutches made navigating middle-school hallways an anxious and exhausting nightmare. Switching medications led to drug withdrawal, mood swings, and reverting. I was no longer a thirteen year old. I don’t know what I was.

I required physical therapy several times a week, weekly parent teacher conferences, and unlimited attention. I sucked every bit of energy out of my mother that I could. I came to believe so desperately that we were in it together that I resented her for not being the one wearing the fixator. I accused her of being able to escape the nightmare, when I couldn’t.

There were so many nights that I was unable to sleep, that she programmed our phone to work as a walkie-talkie. I would call her, sometimes crying into the phone until she heard me, other times yelling into the phone like an angsty drill sergeant. She came into my room every time, eyes half shut. If I needed the rice sock for pain, she went downstairs and microwaved it. When it got cold, she reheated it. She rubbed my feet until I fell asleep. When I woke up, I nudged her and she did it again. Some nights I woke her up three times, like a newborn. She was back to that level of exhaustion, of constantly being needed. Only now, she had a strung-out thirteen year old capable of inducing guilt, using profanity, and pushing her away.

We went on like this for four months. Four months that she woke up to feed me, took me to physical therapy, left me as I wept and begged her not to go, worked until I paged her, came home to check on me, went back to work, came home to make dinner, finished the work she had left to do, and finally went to sleep. Then either I or a patient in labor would call her.

A mother’s resilience is unlike anything I am capable of understanding. Perhaps it is because I am not yet a mother. The fortitude to feel such desperate, raw exhaustion and pain and move through it gracefully seems to be innate in these women. They make it seem as if it isn’t a choice, but I know that it is. I know in my heart that when that cordless phone lit up lime green for the third time in a night, she must have considered smothering it or yelling into it, “I can’t do this anymore.”

But she didn’t. As cruel as I was at times, as unfair, as simultaneously needy and standoffish, she was my constant. She held me together when I couldn’t see the future anymore and every day passed by like the last.

It ended. We celebrated. I began to become a thirteen year old again, and a month later, a fourteen year old. I started talking about boys again, and wanting to be with my friends, and not wanting to be with her.

That may have been the hardest part. The joy of watching me get better and the pain of me not needing her anymore.

But I did. And I do.

Excerpts – 2013

9/25/13 – There’s so many blocks. This whole “love will conquer all” attitude toward sex is probably unrealistic. First lesson I learned about sex – having it with someone you care about doesn’t mean it will be good, and doesn’t mean you’ll feel something more or less. Sex is just sex, and love is just love.

9/25/13 continued – I had this thought today about where, if my soul was to meet my soulmate, it would be. I pictured an old jazz bar after midnight. Most of the tables empty, a few scattered men drinking scotch and listening to the piano. Women in furs smoking cigarettes. I would sit with my old fashioned, anonymous, alone. And then he would be.

Date unknown – I can’t believe I lost two grandmothers in two years. I hope they’re not lost wherever they are. I hope death is like going home.

11/10/13 – I wish the word Love only existed for two people. That anything else had a different name. Love should be something shared.

4/27/14 – Why do they call it being “beside yourself?”

 

Excerpts – 2014

Excerpts – Intimate archaeology into my previous diary entries as far back as age 13, for moments I find still resonate with me (and hopefully with you).

I’ll start here with a few from 2014.

1/5/14 – Life is impermanence, life is change. What if no one is watching? It’s nice to think about eternity, even if it just makes “now” feel better. It’s like trusting your parents as a kid. God offers the same comfort.

1/12/14 – I have to stop propagating negativity. I can taste it on my tongue.

1/17/14 – (Video Diary 1) I don’t look like myself. It’s odd – like I’m hidden in there under the cheeks.

1/23/14 – No med school for me this year. Holy shit. I have to convince people I’m worth something. That’s scary.

1/27/14 – (On my appearance) Everything seems to bust out of everywhere.

1/29/14 – I say to him, I’m scared this is a dream – I’m with you and there’s a puppy on my face. He said it can’t be a dream, I can smell the beer. Then I woke up.

2/14/14 – Let me make a mistake other than missing the opportunity to make a mistake.

3/18/14 – Sometimes being honest is selfish. I don’t know if this time was.

7/10/14 – Someone tell me what to do. I can’t choose – and if I don’t I may never grow.

9/2/14 – (On moving out of Mom’s house) I don’t want her to feel that she’s lost me forever, because part of me wants to be young forever too. Youth is a terrifying thing to give up. But there are parts of it oddly that I’m missing out on now.

9/10/14 – Don’t paint because you think you can do it better than someone else. It’s okay that sometimes you don’t feel like drawing, even if you want to. You’re not missing out on some finite potential or time that’s running out. Just make something when the time is right. But maybe buy a few canvases and some oil paints for when that time comes along.

11/12/14 – I have the sexual prowess of a starfish.

Black Wednesday

Good god I haven’t written in awhile.

My bourbon sipping mope-fest gave way to a scotch sipping boho-tryst when I moved in with some friends for a few months, out of ze home with ze mother and in with three amazimaniacs. So I remembered at one point that I have this lovely website that’s all mine, and I should write on it, even when I’m not semi-drunk and kind of crying.

I move into a new apartment this weekend, with some ladies who seem cool but could potentially have a sad0-masochistic knitting circle I don’t know about. Hopefully they’ll be wonderful, and won’t judge me for wearing a mouth guard to bed and/or sleeping with a pillow between my legs (my chiropractor recommended it, and since he’s the only man in my life that knows how to send shivers down my spine, I listen).

Thanksgiving is coming up this week. Oh god I get nervous thinking about all the pies. My family typically has a 1:1 pie to guest ratio, which means that even if you take the smallest slice you can, one step above scraping some goo off the side of the knife, you still end up horrendously full, burping key lime/pumpkin combinations that make you all at once sick and hungry again.

Then comes Christmas. Or for my Jew-ish family, a night of getting hammered and sort of doing Thanksgiving again. I always come out remembering very few things, one of which is that mixing scotch and eggnog is insanely dangerous. Like, man-baby spitting up all over yourself dangerous. A word of advice: unless you plan on wearing a diaper, skip the creme de Claus.

The best and worst thing about coming home for the holidays is the carnal shuffle of high school acquaintances. Everyone returns to the festering blister of local bars like a bad HSV outbreak, and for some unspeakable reason, everyone gets weirdly horny. Like, you’re drinking your 10th beer and surveying the crowd with utter hatred, but still undeniably and self-loathingly aware that leaving alone sounds more depressing then having arrived in the first place.

A sensual excerpt of Black Wednesday would sound something like, “The door opens, and another North Faced body crams into the sweltering bung hole, prepared to spend twenty minutes waiting for a Bud Light. After a particularly deep flask slug, you to scan the room like a Costco parking lot and wonder: will the pre-pubertaceous dime piece who wrote his number in my yearbook in 2006 finally be down to locker-slam me into sweet sweet huskie oblivion? Did I remember to shave my legs? Am I walking home?”

The sweet spot is the blessed 2-4 year age gap where someone may remember your sibling, but didn’t see you puke your blunt-guts out of a treehouse. The age gap is where the magic happens. Sweet sweet ignorance. I don’t know that you came in your pants at your first MORP and you don’t know that my nickname in elementary school was ‘potbelly socks.’ Call me.

To be honest, I’m still not sure I could ever date younger though. Something about a guy being my brother’s age or younger gives me the heebie jeebies. Particularly if they knew my brother. I don’t want my brother to ever wake up on Christmas morning with a text that says, “hey man let your sister know she needs an antibiotics dart.”

I’m getting carried away and mostly shooting the shit here, you know, me and my computer and my pint glass of foam (beer explosion, I don’t want to talk about it).

Happy Thanksgiving you filthy animals.

 

Inventory

Wrinkled sheets in an unkempt bed

Bras spilling out of half open drawers

A men’s golf sweater musty with cigarette smoke

Last nights scotch in flat water

Matchbook notebooks with 3 AM scribble

Dried flowers

Photos and post-its and buckeyes and letters

Twisted iron bed frames draped in gym clothes

A vanity covered in spilled bronzer and empty antique perfume bottles and

A card that says, “Fuck this shit, I’ll just become a stripper.”

Sea glass in a mug from a Temple garage sale

Framed watercolors and a decorative glitter purse

Bedside books and a ceramic bowl full of Arizona stones

Pumps and cowboy boots

Stacks of paystubs and concert tickets and to-be-filed

Postcards with kittens and old ladies floating on inner tubes

Half opened packages and pink tissue paper

Artwork on wooden squares leaning against the wall

Stacks of posters and textiles buried under clothes to give away

Cigar boxes and trinkets and costume jewelry

Condoms and lip balm and deodorant

Navel rings with missing beads

Belts with extra holes pushed in with a screwdriver

T-shirt sleeves and sewing scissors

Elastics with curly hairs still knotted to them

Retainer somewhere between decorative pillow and real pillow

Expensive camera with a dead battery

Hand-me-down bathrobe and a shirt to return

 

 

 

 

 

Buzzing Monotone

You know that feeling when tiny life events start to seem connected? You start seeing all of these coincidences that are irrelevant to anyone else, but they accost you and make you look up at the sky and say “seriously?” That’s been me for the last two years.

At some point in the last month or so, I could no longer withstand my incessant mind games; it’s a lot like playing a game versus computer, where you make progress up to a certain point but perpetually lose at the same level. I’m tired of the merry-go-round, so I’ve tried to stop thinking about it and most importantly, stop talking about it. I’m tired of mumbling “maybes” about where I’ll end up and what I intend to do. A few weeks ago I woke up with a chipped molar, and now my jaw is so sore it hurts to open my mouth. I’m clenching my jaw in my sleep, struggling with what I’m not saying and not doing every day.

As my sexy new mouth guard finds its way through the United States Postal Service, I sit rubbing my jaw with frustrated irritation. It seems my emotional shit finally hit the physical fan.

The “it” I couldn’t stop thinking about? The green-grass what’s-next. The where-you-aren’t-right-now. Part of it may be the realization that summer is almost up. My self-assigned expiration date of when to move out of my mom’s house is creeping on me like a drunk frat boy and I’m clueless as to where to go. My confidence about moving to California has wavered and I’m feeling comfortable and content at my day job as a medical assistant.

At the same time, I have this feeling that there is something bigger out there for me. Jetset Times (my travel writing gig) challenges me and motivates me, urging me toward a career in journalism or art. I fantasize about drawing all day and writing all night, meeting deadlines and brainstorming new headlines. But to travel for Jetset Times I need a flexible day job, which I have here in Chicago. If I give up this job, I may also have to give up traveling.

At this point, I’m lost. I feel complacent but motivated. I’m stuck but I’m moving. Like sludging through mud toward a destination I can’t see clearly. Bad dreams.

I have to get out. I miss the feeling of coming home to my friends and making dinner and even the smell of stale bong water and ash. Thinking of home as a clubhouse. Living in my hometown makes me feel like time is moving and I’m standing still. People are growing and I’m a potted plant.

I’m perpetually tired. I fall asleep drawing pictures from the day that are becoming more and more abstract, more tightly bound lines and prison hatch marks than the usual detailed summaries and cartoons. I’m tired, and I’m anxious.

It’s hard to search for jobs and “dream big.” I don’t know what my dream is. I’m usually good with goals: I make lists, I check off items, and I follow through. But when I don’t know what I want, I’m helpless. Like walking up a flight of stairs in the dark, I don’t want to lift my foot to a non-existent stair and end up a face planted failure. I need to know what I want and where I want to go.

Sometimes I catch myself wishing something bad would happen to me, like an accident, so that I would have something else to think about. Something in my life that I then have to work toward, putting all else aside and directing my energy. It’s the part of me that needs something physical to take my mind of the emotional. To focus on basic human needs. I feel scattered and pitiful when I know I shouldn’t be complaining, but nothing feels right. Where did this immobilized girl come from?

My jaw hurts. The refrigerator is buzzing monotone. I’m tired.