Where Does Everything Go?

Where Does Everything Go?

Atomic displacement

A Feeling someone

left the room

just before you

got there

Not a scent

Not a wayward

strand of hair

lingering among the dust

not a thumb smudge

on a tumbler

A Feeling

Deeper than skin

receptors

vibration

that hasn’t stopped

echoing

When the Feeling

leaves

Where does it go?

Everything stays

Water to wine

wood to fire

Skin to putrefaction

All collected in the

balance

The missing element

unbalancing the scales

Something goes

Love to apathy

Hate to acceptance

Grief to nostalgia

to melancholy

to despair

to

to

to

nothing

Not every particle

walked out the door

Not every element

covalent bonding

Not everything

stays

The ones behind

know

not everything

goes

It’s Not About the Taco

It’s Not About the Taco

It’s not

It never is

It’s about the tremblings

at the stove

About did I get food?

Should I get food?

Can I afford to get food?

About a long day at work

Grateful?

Spiteful?

Do I have a job?

Do they know where

my money goes?

Do I still have a job?

Please

Remember

this is all in my head

banging pots

scraping metal

billowing

and

bounding off

dirty wall

over open flames and plastic tools

Don’t stalk in corners

Loud footfalls in hallways

Please

Announce

Don’t shout

I can’t hear

But I will burn myself

Down

I will fall

It’s about not

having the leg

strength

to bend and fix

one more thing

About not having the arm

strength

to push down another feeling

About not having the

throat

to stifle one

more scream

Because I

only have

one

voice left

It’s not about

the flaw and

the mess and

the mistake and

the collapse

not about

me

But only me

left

when

it’s done

Floating

For Jamie

They float in with the light

the ones who left

Not in reflections

Not in words

Gestures and turns

opposite from

everything I ever

planned

prayers condensed

still etched and smudged

Clean the mirror

and my face is still

only now

I don’t see before

Can’t remember yesterday

Maybe around the eyes

When I’m tired

I see then

Lights out

heat up

Looking for before

again

floating in

forever

Missing The

For my co-dependent leanings- reminders that choking halts organic growth. Let go.

Missing the view

onto a courtyard

from a hotel room

never reserved

Not regretting the

last glass of red

when the cork

is still in the bottle

Reeling from the

first fight

when a dozen

polite words

expand the history

that hasn’t been

Not forgetting a face

not memorized

Not letting go

of a hand

never taken

Not knowing

morning eyes

and midnight toes

Not recognizing

fine from fine

okay from okay

hurt from hurt

true from true

A memorized road

driven with eyes

closed

but needing a map

Remembering everything

because it

hasn’t happened yet

Uncircled

I guess I’m supposed to be embarrassed

Everyone else seems to be

For me

I don’t go to law school

So I missed the instruction

That

Over forty

divorced existence

In public

Is a crime

Only whispered about

And only slightly

Preferable

To manslaughter

Which I understand

I’m also meant to

Crave

Swirling

Wished-for revenge

Through my teeth

Like the glass of

Malbec I had to

Buy myself

You just haven’t

Found him yet

They pat and

Comfort

And cringe

ever so slightly

Under concerned

Eyes

And above

relieved shoulders

I guess I’m supposed

To be sad

That BBC and flannel

Was my real trauma

That checking an

Unclaimed box

At hospital admission

Was my real crisis

That an empty box

In the back of my

Drawer

Was worse

Than a backyard of bones

I guess I’m not

Dried from Rain

Staring from the

Introvert side of the window

Not really wondering

Why

Unlovable

Unlaughable

One in the crowd

Not seen for the

Roses

Or

Thorns

Not fit for the bouquet

Not good for forever

Maybe a season

Likely less

Watched me fall

Never raked me up

A dried addition

To a spinster’s

Kitchen beams

Waiting for the withered

Fingers

To match the

Inside

Not really wondering

Why

Unlovable

Unlaughable

One in the crowd

Not seen for the

Roses

Or

Thorns

Not fit for the bouquet

Not good for forever

Maybe a season

Likely less

Watched me fall

Never raked me up

A dried addition

To a spinster’s

Kitchen beams

Waiting for the withered

Fingers

To match the

Inside

Why

Unlovable

Unlaughable

One in the crowd

Not seen for the

Roses

Or

Thorns

Not fit for the bouquet

Not good for forever

Maybe a season

Likely less

Watched me fall

Never raked me up

A dried addition

To a spinster’s

Kitchen beams

Waiting for the withered

Fingers

To match the

Inside

Salt

Reach

There’s a branch

A net

A blanket

Held by a family

Waiting to catch

He’s dead

And much

too distracted

She’d try

If the cells weren’t

Unstable and mutinous

He’s just like me

Looks and despondent

Disposition

Godless seeker

All anchor

No raft

Swim toward

The chorus echoes

Behind masked

Faces

Blank in front

Of blank

Reach

For the Pagan

In your bed

Or the

Rope sent

From the heavens

What if you believe

In neither?

In faith was long

Ago burned by

Emulsion of misplaced

Trust, rendered fat

And a spark that

Refused to

Alight

Reach to

Yourself

Arms tight

Around

A poor

Sailor’s knot

And try to

Breathe

Through

Salt

Didn’t See

Who does your hair?

He asked me from the hospital bed

What size shoe do you wear?

Me.

Size 9. Maybe bigger.

How do you get it to stay like that?

Days of oil and a rubber band.

Why did you look away?

I didn’t.

No, listen, I need you to believe I didn’t look away.

That’s not me.

I don’t look away from ugly scars.

Blood doesn’t bother me.

Decay and shit and desperation.

I don’t look away.

Why?

What did you see?

Tell me.

What did I let you see?

Before you leave.

Please.

Tell me what you didn’t see.

Once Upon an Albatross

 

Red-faced

one way and 

another

I wait

and wait

and wait

The burn will blister 

and ooze

soon enough

Unexpected 

since I wasn’t the 

one in the fire

But the gods

do get a laugh

out of their 

distribution of

gifts

and 

grievances

So I wait

maiden 

to 

crone

mother

to 

dowager

virgin 

to

harpy

Face 

like acid

heart

like thunder

brain

a calvary

of untrained beasts

Who are they

charging against?

The battle field is 

empty

war declared

then abandoned

long ago

So I rage

against the

bare balustrades

and the

destitute dales

of my 

defeated mind

 A horse

A horse

my kingdom

for an escape

from this hell

And I’d kill the beast

with my expectations

without every

laying a hand

Maybe instead

turn and 

plan a path

alone

So Sensitive

So Sensitive

I will never be grateful enough for my anxiety and depression.

That’s what I remind myself.

My anxiety and depression function well. Top of the class—if there was a grading scale for such things, which there isn’t and there positively should never be. It’s mental illness, not a spelling bee or a discus event. Luckily, I do therapy and Celexa because I have zero skills for phonics or field competition.

I have high-functioning anxiety and depression. So I’ve been told and which probably appears in a medical note somewhere. Except in the notes of the therapist who told me I wasn’t depressed because I showered every day. Before he recommend that I work out more. After we’d talked about running. But he meant lifting. Bro. Then showed me his bicep and told me to feel it.

Didn’t go back to talk to that particular mental health professional. The ugly white patriarchy is snarlinglingly pervasive, friends.

The gratitude should come from the gift that I am able to shower every day. I can go to work and take care of my son. That could change tomorrow. That is not the life so many others with mental illness survive. They lose hair because it goes unwashed. Which might seem incidental when they lose jobs and partners and children and their lives.

I make it through. I’m not pretty doing it. But I’m lucky enough to manage. Do I cry at work? Sure. I’m somehow able to do it in bathrooms and storerooms and can bounce back quickly and no one is the wiser. Except when I get caught and then I have to explain. That’s a fun day.

Certainly, I won’t assume to define anyone else’s depression or anxiety. For me, the depression is feeling alone, unseen and worthless. Anxiety is feeling that everyone is watching and judging and that the worst of every second is imminent. And then feeling worthless. Yes. It is as fun as it sounds.

Work families are like home families. You spend enough time with people, even if you love them, personality quirks coalesce and then separate. Aggressively.

My anxiety and depression do not tolerate teasing. It’s silly. Of course it is. “Do not tolerate.” I sound like a boring behavioral guide posted in a low-end dog training course handout.

By “do not tolerate”, I mean I freak out. By the outdated and moderately offensive phrase “freak out”, I mean I cry and spiral into my dark place. Because someone teased me. Teasing that I know was meant in simple, silly, sisterly way.

Weakness revealed.

And the panic hits like a punch in the gut from a jealous, perceived-overlooked sibling.

I’m right, my mind screams. I TOLD YOU SO!!!! Every awful, negative, hurtful, self-deprecating, harmful, reductive, critical, crushing thought I carry in my head, every hour of every day, is real. That easy, breezy giggle meant to break up a tense and challenging work afternoon breaks me.

Ridiculous and unreasonable. What adult behaves like this? What about the grade school trope where we tell kids to laugh along with teasing? Laugh along and don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh first, laugh loudest and they can’t hurt you.

Anxiety and depression don’t understand that. They don’t really adhere to dinner table or playground rules of “they tease you because they like you.” At least that’s how my brain bubbles react.

They freak the fuck out.

A joke about talking too fast or looking like a lost sheep and I’m in so much physical and emotional pain that I get light-headed.

Personality like that, and it’s a curiosity why I avoid all social gatherings and friendships, huh? You should see me on New Year’s Eve. Hint: you’d have to be under my cover to find me and also I’ll be sleeping.

That’s okay. I’ve come to accept that. I’m not the butterfly. I’m the moth. Flying alone, bumping perpetually into the light that I love but can’t quite access.

I’m okay. I continue to strive to be grateful for my particular strand of anxiety and depression that keep we upright and moving forward, when I’m not flat on my back or sliding down my wall on my way there.

But there’s carpet to catch me. Of course, I’ll end the day with a rash when the pile is too rough.

Because I’m so sensitive.