scrolling through

a photo of him
grinning with a friend
interrupted her afternoon
of apathetic
time wasting
doom scrolling
through
political soundbites
cartoons
status updates
announcing mostly
the mundane

and nestled between
all of 
the nonsense
there he was
a snapshot
he
next to a gorgeous gal
strands of his hair
catching the wind
eyes squinted against the sun
smiling for the selfie

and she was 
given the unwelcome
reminder
of 
the lost friendship 
the absence of
being seen
to the depths 
of her core
by someone
once considered
Real and
True

making her 
also feel
Real and 
True

she didn't linger long
the disconnect
the indifference
made this
an easy
pass

good for him,
living life...
she thought
remembering all the things 
she had wanted to do
to explore
to discover
to talk over
to dream about
with him

she kept swiping
through
knowing
they only loved
the idealized
versions they had created
of each other
and that
made it 
oh
not so bad

but damn
if losing his companionship
as a confidante
didn't still 
Sting
something Fierce



Unmuted

my love
has always been
quiet

paw prints
left new
on freshly fallen
snow
shadowed cutouts
upon
the gauzy glittered mat

the chill waft
of the 
incoming storm-soaked wind
cooling the beads
of summer sweat
on the shoulders
of the worn

the sizzle of the
kindling
feeding the 
small fire
constant and
dependable
the gift
subtle
yet generous

perhaps
this is why
i am flummoxed

peace 
meets peace...
and the world
turns upside 
down

the passion ensuing
the blizzard 
brilliant and dangerous
phenomenally blanketing
all in crystalline 
splendor
paw prints lost
tenderly forgotten
during kisses
long
urgent 
and soft

the warmth of hearts colliding
thunderous crackles
the branches shaking 
to keep from roots
dislodging
as torrents
pelt
the peasant ground
we splash in muddied puddles
laughing
in hysterics
because
why not

your hand in mine
flames flickering
upward and 
outward
silver slivers
tinted white
golden blue sparks
splintering the darkness

there 
is
a blaze

and we are 
the old
the dying
curling into
smoke
burning to ash
ultimately
rising 
anew

my love
has always
been quiet

until with you

July 3rd and I can’t sleep

I miss them all

despite the tears
broken words spilling out 
into the vacuum of indifference
guttural cries
in the dark
alone

the cat dismayed
at such overly dramatic displays
of the 
Once Again
coupled with the
I'll Never Learn

i do miss them

not with the longing
of what is lost forever
nor the sentimentality
of all the previous love's 
hazy rosy eyed gazes

i miss the moments
that were brand new
sparkling
gleaming like chrome
before familiarity
before we disappointed
one another
when we were
unreal
not of this realm
this mortal plane
no
we were
celestial beings
odd outsiders
crazy puzzle pieces
fitting in a way
quite unlike
the others
i miss the stars
in our smiles
i miss the way
a small touch could set
our skin on fire
i miss the quiet breathing
of sleep
next to my awake
the songs we hummed to
the conversations 
during
long rainy afternoons
i miss
the hops in our laughter
every day being a better day
because we were in it

together

i find i miss them most
during the quiet nights
my solitude,
my haven
the silence
reminds me
that i am alone

so
i miss them
those who took my time,
my space, 
my love,
and nurtured it
until it was no longer
worth the effort
yet
i am made only that 
much more aware

i miss the Me
i always was
in the beginning
the most

Don’t Forget

"Don’t forget where you came from"
I haven’t
I won’t.
Every time my boys cry
I remember
My little brother 
Not even 7 
Quickly wiping away tears
Because he was being called a faggot
A sissy boy.
A “little girl”
Those last two words hurled with a sneer
Because we all knew, having feelings was relegated to the card carrying vagina members
And that was shameful
Pathetic.
Uncles and his own mother
MY mother
Drug addled and bitter
Insults as poisonous darts
Piercing my gentle younger sibling’s soul.
No.
I don’t forget where I came from
When I call them to me
My weeping children
Upset
Bothered
Sad
Angry
Feelings are everything and sometimes can only be expressed through tears.
I hold them close. 
I ask them to use their words.
Sometimes I am just as frustrated as they are.
But I’ll not shame them.
Ever.

"Don’t forget where you came from."
I fucking remember.
I learned how to swallow the torrents of pain which threatened to
Break through the dam of my lids
I’m tough
I’m untouchable
Crying is for the weak
You’ll never break me.
I am Stronger Than All Of You.
When my mother called me a whore after I had been raped at 12.
When my grandmother told me I “shouldn’t have been out that late” after being assaulted and almost gang raped at 16.
When anyone I had ever put trust in proved to be unworthy of that privilege.
Yes. I remember where I came from.

I came from The Vicious Cycle.
I came from the Women Who Accepted The Very Least And Counted It As The Best,
I came from the Long Line of Toxic Masculinity Disguised As The Norm
I came from the Over and Over and Over 
And Over AGAIN
Because That’s JUST HOW IT IS.

I remember where I came from.
My great-grandmother doing her best to shield me from the Bad Touch Uncles. Failing. Begging me to not anger my grandmother because she could not stand to hear her beat me. Shamed because it was a mirror of her past behaviors.
My grandmother crying in silence when she got the news her mother had passed. Becoming stoic in less than a second of being noticed. After all, she had to be “strong”. More guilt than grief for she hadn’t been kind to her ailing mother. 
My mother nursing wounds in private which occurred decades ago because trust wasn’t her strong suit. Self-medicating in the worst way; escapism was easier than the thorny shit reality left to face. Homeless, drug addict, write off.

I remember where I came from.
I came from a great great grandmother who was married to a 27 year old man at the age of 12. A woman who had her first living child of a dozen at the age of 14. A woman married to a man who liked his little girls a little too much, which did not exclude his own daughters. A woman who never knew an easy day the way we know easy days.
I came from a great grandmother who took her 3 little girls, left her husband and the boxcar they were living in to search for something better. A woman who started fresh in Chicago, working several jobs, never taking a husband until her girls had married on their own for fear of what they would suffer at the hands of a strange man. A woman who worked hard her entire life to leave something of substance for her girls. A woman who failed at being kind to her daughters, whose love and desire to protect became unyielding suffocation and unnecessarily harsh discipline.
I came from a grandmother dedicated to never being as cruel in punishment as her own mother was, yet failing because she unfortunately had her mother's temper. A woman who decided that after all the heartbreak, she would rather spend the rest of her days alone. No one could hurt her if she didn't allow them into her life. A woman who raised her grandchildren in hopes to fix the past mistakes she made with her own. A woman who was sorry, but had not any inkling on how to apologize.
I came from a mother with a heart so huge and compassionate, you’d never see it past her stony exterior. A woman with enough demons to stock a second hell. A woman who has not yet forgiven herself for things everyone else has already forgotten. A woman who could have been a good mother, had anyone ever given her the chance and  belief. 

"Don’t Forget Where You Came From."
People toss that around like it means money. Stature. Material Bullshit.
I remember where I came from.
A long line of women
Who could have been 
EVERYTHING.
Were they not women.
Women
Who were weak when they should have been strong, mistaking what it was to be either.
Women
Who loved and were never loved back
Women 
Who woke up every day… wondering… Is This Fucking It.
Women who tried. 
Who stopped trying because it just didn't seem worth it.
Women fierce and soft
kind and cruel
quiet and loud
Women who have taught me
albeit inadvertently
just how important it is
to live life with
compassion and forgiveness.
How important it is
to know my worth.


I carry a piece of each
In random memories of their grimaces, frown lines creasing foreheads.
Black & white photos of forced smiles.
Candid polaroids of true joy.
Spontaneous thoughts and ideas of how to be better.
Song lyrics out of the blue which they would hum during the 
few moments when they were happy
(a character trait of which I am happy has been passed down through the generations)

I'll never forget.
I am well aware 
of
Who I am.
Where I came from.

stir-crazy

my fingers twitch
an itching under the tips
a nervous searching
for the smooth feel
of the skin
across your cheekbone

they tap
impatient and out of sync
a restless dance of
digits
unable to sit
still

my mouth
a continuous
phantom tingle
tickling
my lips
so i keep them
pressed tight
to dismiss
them missing you
because
they are not kissing you

the memory
of that
the faint brush
tender touch
of lips
lingering soft
but urgent
against yours
sharply inhaling
the exhale
of
your breath

wistful
the days
slowly yawn on
while
i yearn
for that
blessed moment
when
we were one

nonsense

after all this time
have you ever known me
the answer is saddening
but not surprising
for it is
unequivocally
no

but how could you
even if
i am whom i’ve always been
a quick scribble
the key half broken in the lock
soft drizzle through sunlit clouds against the blur of blue
a platypus

i speak
words tumble out faster than thoughts can catch
confusion
misinterpretation
a picture taken in the dark
without flash

i have attempted conformity
normalcy
complacency
rigidity
resigned myself to abnormality

(what a misnomer)

unapologetically and with zero malice

i am who i am
whom i’ve always been
fine wine and cheeto dust covered fingertips
technicolor costumes
against grayscale scenery
loud, unafraid
quiet, guarded
polka dots on plaid
silk sheets
sandpaper

mostly nonsense

and you’ll not be the one
to make heads or tails
of me

the rain

it’s raining and i miss you.
i wish you knew how extraordinary a thing that is.

the rain talks to me
softest pit-pat of drops against the glass pane
like
a gang of cats jogging across hot summer pavement
too quick to count
slightly silent
save for the rhythm
a staccato in unison
what a paradox

but it’s singing to me
and i think of you
your voice
(sweet songs kissing my ears)
your words
(drowsy mumbled love notes late at night)
and echos of
your laughter
(the happiest of dreams)

it’s raining and my arms feel empty
(where are you)
my hands restless
(i need to touch you)
the gnawing ache in my stomach
(i am empty)

my body is in a frenzied disparate hunger
one which cannot be easily sated
appeased
quelled

so

alone
i listen to the wind
whipping water
at my window
imagining
it’s you next to me
speaking to me
singing to me
whispering to me
instead of
the rain

Damned

I didn’t want to talk to you.
Receiving your messages before, I shrugged them off.
Curtly. Succinctly.
And I owed you nothing. Not a damn thing. I didn’t have to call you back.

But I’m not built that way.
I’ve spent far too many nights reaching out to empty bottles and lonely walls echoing my wretched breathing and the staggering pace of a sickened heartbeat.
I’ve played the part of functioning human while all were none the wiser to the inner cataclysm that just seemed to be on a never ending loop of emotional implosion.

No. I didn’t want to talk to you.
But I didn’t want you to be lost in that all too familiar gaping void of isolated solitude, either.

Begrudgingly, I did what I had promised myself I would never do again.

I let you back in.

Gods curse my caring heart.

Imprisoned

Pouring regrets,
mistakes,
guilt,
into this
rocks glass

*neat please*

it’s the way…
the road
to perdition

a constant
hell
of one’s own making

exoneration
is a
pipe dream

as lucidity fades
culpability
becomes
a
faint tendril
disintegrating into
the dawn

forgiveness
teasing
with the
rising
of the sun

self-delusion

as it
diminishes

returns
to the
blurred
and sloppy
self-loathing
as the
exhaustion
of BEING
becomes a dense,
thickened, hairy
weight
on the
soul

all that is left
for respite
is sleep

only to
repeat
on the morrow

Dominoes

The ones I loved
The ones I wanted
The ones I lusted

All could give a
flying fig
for me

a history of

chasing men
who had been
nothing but
back alley
beggar boys
sneakily dressed
in much
fancier clothing
just
(faintly squint)
a tiny bit
too large
for their
diminutive
frames

all whilst
my woman’s heart,
devotion,
and
hunger
had remained
far more feeling,
staunch,
and ravenous

And like dominoes

I kept queuing
them up

Each had
been
placed
and
balanced,
precariously
forming that tenuous line
of repeated
fowls and
heartaches.

the fickleness
of the foolish

a test of my
patience

Until I
came to realize
this was
far more trouble
than it
was worth

weary sigh
head tilted
my finger gave
the smallest
poke
to the very first
pip

and

The quiet rhythmic
clacking

soothed

the
*click
*click
*click
of each
falling into the
other

closure,

leaving
a flawless
mess…
a pile
of ivory rectangles
pieces
with no
discernible match

Gingerly,
with care
and reverence

I placed each tenderly
within the case

This was a game
I no longer
cared to play.