Monday, June 28, 2010

It's a Sickness

I see you looking at me with your odd-shaped eye.
I hear your black voice fall on the back stairs,
faint but particular,
weak but distinct.
The clatter of falling bricks
rises from the pavement--
I'm anxious, I've dropped everything I carry.

Your face doesn't change in the sudden chaos.
Your eye, still odd-shaped,
is deeply blank, a stone.
My skin trembles;
I know what it is to shake,
like a snake in a field,
shadowed by hawks.

I am like the man from Morel,
unseen, in love with the presence
of you. Invisible to your odd-shaped
eye. Invisible or feeling your
indifference. Suspended
in the iris of your still,
stark eye.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Put me in a tight dress, pull the strings
to make it tighter. Bind me in boning,
constricting fishnet hose. Feeling
my skin pressing against the fabric, it
works like a concrete casing, holding me
in and intensifying the sense I'm about
to explode. I can feel my pulse more clearly--
My feet begin to hurt on these heels.
The sensation of existing is sharp.
My stomach flutters when I breathe because
breathing has become more difficult,
suffocated. My skin becomes kinetic
with the restriction of my movement.
An anxiety attack is a panic at needing
to flee and being unable. An anxiety
attack is an excitement, no different
from falling in love--it is exhilarating,
and I am grateful when I am bound.

Friday, June 11, 2010


It feels like I've been doing this forever--
have I? How many times have I seen
the sunrise exactly? I don't remember the
first one precisely, but maybe there wasn't
one. It doesn't feel forgotten, either. What
I can't explain is how I got here. Everything
before this is all black, but clear. There are
shapes there, but there is nothingness there.
I remember names but I cannot feel their skin
or hear their voices. I still love them, but they
do not appear in dreams to tell me things
like how they hurt or where they sleep.
I think they used to. I think they used to
come to me because they were real--
weren't they? Aren't I? It feels like
I've been doing this forever--have
I? How many times have I driven this
part of highway? It seems like I've never
been anywhere else. It seems like I've
been everywhere all the time. I look out
across the skyline of my city. I was born
here. It looks weird. It's as if I've been
looking at it every day since--since when?
When was I born? I don't remember the first
breath precisely, but maybe there wasn't one.
Maybe they're all the same breath, different
same breaths in a row--maybe they're not
in a row, I don't know. Where is this going?
I started it three days ago I think. I don't think
I had any idea.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Summer Evening Song

Sunday evening in summer, the sunset sinks slowly,
heavy, in silence. The only sounds are sprinklers
and the occasional car passing by. No one is out.
Somehow the glow is a baking cold, a feeling of dead
grass in patches on the lawn. I am glad no one is here
to see me like this, sweaty and stumbling, my arms
awkward at my sides. I can feel the darkness coming.
I am dizzy drunk with the idea of death. Don't worry--
it is a seasonal sense of dread that brings me back
to this place, strolling alone writing broken-hearted
songs. Renewing my vows that I will once again
live through this.
Hang on,
hang on,
hang on.
Like a leaf clinging to a branch, slightly scorched,
withered around the edges from the heat,
I will slowly burn down
til I become so small I can be reborn.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Weather

Something sinister.
I see something sinister.
Flashing or lingering,
depending on the day,
the hour, the light--
that moment at night
when the heat gets too
still, and my throat
gets dry. The fan cracks
my lips. My wrists get
limber with the press
of the pillow. My body
feels boneless, dripping
on the bed. I cannot move
my mind quick enough to
stay ahead. I hope this
something sinister was
a hard, hot dream I had,
for I have so much trouble
between waking and sleep.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I might as well be a fool
if this is being a fool.
I quite like this, so how
foolish can I be to be
this? I could cut it off,
become cold, and never
possibly be a fool;
But then how foolish
would I be!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Separate But Equal

I drove to my parents' house to celebrate Memorial Day with a pool party. In honor of fallen soldiers, we listened to loud music, some people drank beer, and my sister floated in the middle of the family pool with a cigarette dangling from her fingers.

"You ashing in the pool, Kate?"

"Sure. It's not going to hurt it!"

My parents' house is in a relatively rural area about an hour from the urban area where I live. As I drove from my place to theirs, I watched the landscape go from downtown to suburban shopping centers to scattered country businesses like gas stations and trailer retailers. Around the midpoint I saw a billboard advertising golf course houses for sale. My first response was to scoff slightly. I am not the kind for golf course living. I am the kind who associates herself with noble poverty. But then I had a thought. A week before, I'd spent some time on a golf course for a work function, and remembering the houses that backed up to the golf course, I thought, "What's so bad about golf course living, anyway?"

I didn't suddenly want to live on a golf course. I did, however, have a moment in which I understood just how much I defined myself as not being the kind of person who lives on a golf course. There's a difference between simply not being into golf course living or even just never considering it on any level and my mocking reaction. I thought about making a joke about the billboard to my companion, another individual probably even more defined by his anti-golf course nature than I. I didn't make the joke, however. In that state of mind, I recognized it as just making conversation by parading about our mutual disdain. Instead, I got to thinking about personalities.

While at my parents' house, an old family friend asked me about work. I'm extremely unhappy with my job. I said as much and asked if we could not talk about it anymore. Then she asked me about my "aspirations." I've never had much of a stomach for this requisite conversation, but I figured that at 31 I wouldn't have to have it anymore. People who aspire to live on a golf course also aspire to work hard at certain kinds of jobs to get there. As a lifestyle, it's the antithesis of freedom. People who live on golf courses shoulder all kinds of responsibility--mortgages, giant electric bills, home owners' association dues. This is why I'm ultimately not a golf course girl. I'm constantly trying to arrange my life in such a way as to have as much freedom as possible. Maybe that's why I feel the need to turn golf course living into a judgment call. Honestly, if someone wants to take on the burden of such a lifestyle, I'm sure it's got nothing to do with me. Perhaps I feel in some way like it's a spotlight on my desire to take on as little responsibility as possible.

As if that is a bad thing.

People who live on golf courses aren't a threat to my freedom. My freedom isn't a threat to their golf course lifestyle. We see ourselves at odds only because when one person sees another person living a different kind of life from the one that they themselves have chosen, it brings to mind several possibly uncomfortable questions. Questions about why we each want the things we want and whether or not we even really want those things. Maybe we want those other things. Maybe we don't. Maybe we don't know what we want, and maybe we need to be pro-this and anti-that to hide from that fact.

After all, it seems like there are a lot of up sides to golf course living. I'm just pretty sure I don't want to do the things I'd have to do to live there.