they say today is the start of something new
each hour filled with the promise of change
and the possibility of becoming something different
yet I am stuck
my skin belongs to someone else
on loan from a company that no longer exists
but still charges a monthly rental fee
it is a new year, a new page, a new book entirely
but I’ve not quite finished the final pages of the last one
I keep reading the same paragraph over and over
trying to make sense of words that are in no particular order
that don’t lead me to the conclusion
but rather into a maze dripping in letters
from a language I can’t understand
I know you could translate for me
but my body isn’t ready for that journey
there is so much more to see
in this ephemeral life
i’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
I am awake
blinking, bleary, morning-after
basking in shadows that taste just like sunlight
and clear water days unimagined.
I am awake
pink, yellow, gold with promise
planting impossibilities in my garden
and scattering magic on my tongue.
Dappled emeralds coated decaying pine needles
Ninety bones for one night
She counted them out
Enough for two galaxy viewings
One hundred and eighty
They thudded against thick stationary paper
“Can I buy a few sheets?”
A nod from behind the counter
Misplaced whiskers floated in the foreign breeze
Forgotten skin drifted in the sunlight
She laid down two more bones
Snow stuck to her over-heated skin
Running in rivulets to her breasts
Thoughts dripped from a frozen lavender tongue
And she scrambled to gather them up
Ink slid over the fancy stationary paper
The world was so quiet
She thought for a moment she could breathe
a maple leaf sits in the center of the churning atlantic
not wondering how it got there
not caring where it goes
how beautiful it must be
to be the only autumn leaf
but not know you mean the end
My soul is so tired.
Like the tree in my front yard that was struck by lightning
it creaks in the wind, just barely standing, constantly threatening to fall.
It asks me from it’s curled up ball in a dark corner
“when can I go home?”
and I know it doesn’t mean when are we going home to the tree struck by lightning
and the great windowed eyes of a house that feel like I don’t belong there.
I know it means that it’s tired and dragging through dirty watercolor
water days just isn’t doing it anymore.
I saw a shooting star for the first time last week and I didn’t know what to wish for
because I couldn’t remember what the point of hope was.
My therapist asks me how I’m feeling
but that’s a really hard question to answer when you don’t
feel anything at all anymore.
See, somewhere along the way I forgot what it was to be me without the capital D
depression. It’s so easy to let it be my personality instead,
like slipping on a wool sweater that you hate because it’s so itchy
and you know you’ll be scratching all night but hey,
who cares? You’ll blend in with the wallpaper and someone will bump into you saying
“oops, sorry, didn’t see you there”
and you’ll realize your presence and your absence have the equal effect
of absolutely nothing.
Somewhere along the way I forgot how to ask for love.
I forgot how to unfold rose petals under my eye lids
and lap the moonlight from dreams I can never remember.
I forgot how to smile with the songbirds and grab your hand in the sunshine
that I can’t see through the blindfold.
The world is so focused on telling me that I matter
but the only thing inconsequential here is me.
I can tell by the way the wind blows regardless of if I see it
and the way my voice crumbles but no one notices because
I’m hardly there anyway
and the way passersby’s eyes slide right over me.
I can’t remember the last time I was content
and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
It means I’m not done yet.
I may be nothing now. A butterfly still caught in the cocoon,
a half-told story, a sad girl sitting in cold bathwater but bathing in candlelight,
a tomorrow that isn’t promised.
I’m not promised.
But I’m not done yet.
A single feather lost
from a collection of pillows
floating across sunbeams
buffeted by turrets of dust
dappled in the same sameness
of every tomorrow and yesterday
no more wasted invitations
no more sighing obligations
As a child, you imagined that clouds were solid and that tomorrows would always come. On Sunday mornings, you’d watch planes drag lazily across the sky. You couldn’t understand how pilots could be so skilled. How do they dodge the clouds, mommy? Shut up and stop asking questions. You’d nod but you’d still wonder about those amazing pilots. Skulls and crossbones mean pirates and poison, but it seemed that mommy forgot which bottles were which because her pirate juice, the one that made her words sound funny and her snores loud like thunder, it was full but the poison left a dried ring of froth around her mouth. Tomorrow didn’t come for mommy, but she must be living on a cloud now. On the top, you know, so you can’t see her, but she’s still there.
A lawyer now, you lost the magic of solid clouds and pirate juice. You know our mother left you. She couldn’t help it, they say. She was ill, they say. You know, they say, pointing to their heads and turning their fingers around imaginary locks of hair. You nod, pennies filling the back of your throat and dwindling from your bank account.
Sunday mornings are quiet as death now. You imagine death is actually quiet. No more screaming babies on the subway, no more overheard arguments through thinning, half-eaten drywall. Just quiet. And dark. Like those sensory deprivation tanks, only you can’t be deprived of senses if you don’t have them. Just like your mother believed she couldn’t have her life stolen out from under her, ruined by a child she never wanted, if she didn’t have a life.
The sky is deceptively blue today
And bugs whine in the Indian summer heat
(Is it still an Indian summer if it happens every year?)
I woke up late
Which is to say I woke up at the same time I always do
Which is to say I have no reason to get up in the morning
Which is to say I do but I can’t see it with this heavy
Blanketing my fogged thoughts
So I sleep instead and try to remember dreams
That I wish I could write into reality
Which is to say I could –
I’m a writer you know –
But I have this nothingness surrounding my peony heart
It’s a numbness I guess, but also
But simply nothing at the same time
I wonder if I really am a writer
Or if that, too, was a “phase” just like they said my sexuality would be
But now in this time that should be autumn
I feel like it’s the end of something
Because endings are just so much simpler
Or maybe it’s just October 13
And nothing is so significant after all
My depression settles like a blanket over my head,
warm and suffocating and familiar. Some days,
it slinks around behind my brain, hiding
from the sun of the good days. Other days,
it sits in my skull like a stone, daring me
to smile, lest it remind me no one cares,
Today, it hangs over my head, a darkened room
only lit by the splinter of light carving a path
from the hallway.
Today, I am too hot and too cold all at once.
Today, I am too much and nothing at all.
There is nothing kind about pretending to love someone
long after you’ve forgotten what their voice sounds like
on sleepy, coffee-scented Sunday mornings.
There is nothing authentic about excuses dripping in guilt.
You know this.
Yet somehow, you’ve decided the rosebush blooming next to your door,
the one that caresses your doorstep with blood-red petals
even when it hurts to let them fall,
“The thorns hurt,” you say, but you haven’t seen the thorns in years.
What really hurts is knowing that you planted the rosebush there –
lifetimes ago, it seems –
but now you can’t bear to look at it
because it reminds you of the time you almost died.