Nothing

I want to grind her down

thin, like the wispy girl

she is inside.

Keep grinding

to common noun:

a thing with no name

until it is found

and given a proper name

owned

by the devoid

deafeningly silent

nothing

forgetting how

she was she

loaned

prodded for feeling

bloated by man

nature

the local health department

worn by the hour

each one meaning nill

but she will stay she

sitting stupidly still

waiting for you to fill

with your out-and-out

nothing

all of it, nothing

the incorrect nothing

thanks for fucking

Blow it Away

Dusty remnants

scented with love

and your expectations of me

to blow them away –

Dusty nothings –

collecting over time; replaced

more quickly than I can blow.

I think you just like watching me work –

keeping up with the mess, inhaling,

exhaling it all away – relief.

Panic.

Red, flustered, cheeks

Burning for

dust to fill my lungs

leaving no room for anyone else’s air.

Losing You Twice.

I grieved you once; it took me years. You held my heart more than anyone ever had, and showed me a life I never knew I wanted.

You gave me our daughter. The most perfect girl who I’ll never deserve; she is the only one who could show me a love greater than one I had for you. And then I lost you.

You were still here, but YOU were gone. You weren’t the man I knew, not the man I loved. I refused to believe and accept this loss for a long time, but eventually I started the process of grief.

Amongst the grief, I always held onto the belief that you – the real you – would come back to us. You would be the dad I knew you were, and see the person I became for our daughter and be thankful – proud. I swallowed that thought often, but it never fully digested. It was always the lump in my throat that kept you with me.

Grieving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done… until you died. I thought I had let you go. I thought I’d said goodbye. But, when I got the call that said you would never return, the lump in my throat turned into a cinder block in my heart, stopping me entirely – drowning me. The permanence of our daughter never knowing you – the man who gave her a love for nature, animals, rocks… a love for imaginative stories and a healthy dose of pride. The gift of perfectly curly locks and a way of peaceful sleeping that I only saw in your face before she came. All the little things that she shares with her daddy, that she’ll only know through stories. The permanance of my own selfish dreams being stolen for good; dreams of you coming back, and loving me again. Dreams of you and I laughing the way we used to, having the family and the home we talked of when you rested your hand on me to feel her kicks.

The second grieving started almost three years ago, and it feels just the same.

If I could talk to you now, I would say I’m sorry for my impatience. I would tell you how proud you made me in the months before you left the world. I would tell you how whole I felt during our last conversation, looking at the photo you sent me of the stars. Lastly, I would tell you that I’ve always loved you, and always will.

Chemicals

Unbalanced
I walk down the steps
and smell all of your
chemicals.
I want a taste.

Unraveled
I walk up the path
and think of all of my
chemicals –
mine to displace.

Untouched
I hover, tracing the flesh
that begs to be pure again –
the chemicals –
seep and surface.

Uncompromising
I smother the feelings.
It’s my turn to be
chemical.
Your toxic waste.

Photo: B.R.S.

Traces

Splitting and running
a thick, cold, restorative path –
Lead me out of here.
Twist and turn and fall
and drip to remind me of even your abandonment.

Solidify and then crack
for me to pick and peel away
like a child
Become a stubborn stain
so I realize the fun has ended
and it all begins again.

Grazing, scratching, seeing
you is all I need
to feel them –
the itchy, dirty, secrets –
showcased unfairly
and so stupidly plain.

Stop loving them so.

Migraine.

Your timing, forever,
inconveniently painful
Your lighting, fueled
by your 90 proof breath.

It goes away
And I always remember it
as tolerable –
mended by sleep
until it comes back.

Like a migraine
that I invited inside my stupid fucking skull.

Instincts.

All I’ve learned
while living to survive
has left me cold
and difficult to revive.
The tools I’ve been given
are now simply weapons
to cut down the unknowing –
but they’re my only possessions.
I want to live precisely –
to fit in with those I see.
I want to play nicely
and to let goodness be
but every time I try
to behave as I should
my instincts pry
outside me, forcing me as I once would.
If I ever learn
how to see as you wish
will it be my turn
to be blind enough for bliss?

Working Man

So strong, so noble.
Day in and day out
exhausted, you go
to work tirelessly at your
thankless job
so your girls at home can
have a roof, food, clothing…
what would we do without you?

Early morning rush
clock in and take everyone’s load.
You sweat, sometimes
you even bleed
for hours, hours,
all to find welcoming
as you walk in the front door.
Finally, it’s paid off, the
hard day’s work.
What would we do without you?

You do it all for us
you say. But, hey –
do lone men
get monetary assistance just for
being lone men?
Your life would be just the same.
So, what would we do without you?

With you, let me
wake up, rush to the neighboring
room
Fake bright eyes for good mornings
get dressed, let me make you breakfast
Is the working man awake? Let’s make sure
he has what he needs, and don’t forget
to wish him ease and give him gratitude –
He might just forget.
While you eat, let me
get dressed and ready, and make some coffee to keep me going.
I’ve got your snack, your water, your
lunch – brush your teeth!
You’re sad today, but we have little time;
give me your morning fears.
I’ll hold your tears until the day is done.
Now, chin up, brave faces
Mommy is always here.
Back to hustle, let me fix
your hair still in a tussle
it’s time to take you to your day
so I may
start mine.
Walk inside, keep the pace fast.
No sitting or restroom relief just
for seven and a half more hours –
you had the time this morning.
Times up, freedom rings
Time to get the little one
“How was your day? No answer –
Okay, I love you. What’s that you’re looking to?
Ah, of course, the ceiling. Let me take your bag, since you’ve turned away
from me without it anyway. Let’s drive home in silence.”
Back home, unload, “get your stuff up off the floor”
Time to start cooking – while I cook, let’s
go through your bag
Check off, sign here, don’t forget the note for tomorrow’s appointment!
Field trip next week, remember to pay, and tomorrow
is themed, so
find something grey
and a project due tomorrow that you have
hidden until today, but
it’s all okay – let me clean out your lunch box –
Oh, dinner. Cleaning as I go saves time.
Noble man, welcome home! “Can I
get you anything? No, I didn’t make it to
the store today – No, I – okay, I will get it done – could you
maybe not leave your shoes and belongings right
in everyone’s path? Okay, I’ll move it. No, what’s cooking isn’t what
you wanted, please, sit down and you’ll be served because it
is what you’ve earned.”
Dinner is ready, two plates made, but I cannot delay
with this mess I’ve made.
Clean more, oh you’re done, but you don’t feel up to cleaning your dishes just yet?
I can’t stare at it as it just sets –
I’ll take care of it.
It’s nearly 7, wash up little, and – you haven’t done your work yet?
Let me start some laundry before I help – I need
to find everyone clothes for tomorrow.
Time is ticking and I’ve yet to start my work – deep
breath – now, finish cleaning and the child must
take her allergy pills. Don’t forget – tomorrow is something
grey –
oh yes, Noble Man, – “how was your day?”
He must work early tomorrow, and has some simple requests:
wash his uniform, and, dear – spend time with us! You’re never here –
such a grump Mom is, never smiling or having any fun.
“Where are my keys that I brought in and set down myself?”
Time for bed – but the laundry still must dry
and I haven’t showered yet –
“You’re showering this late? I need you to lie next to me
so I can sleep peacefully” – “I need you to read to me, so
I can sleep, Mommy” –
I….
I’ll be right there, let me just wrap my hair – I know you both can’t
just give me time to blow it dry.
I’ll stay up and finish it all
and tomorrow, I look forward to doing it again.

Working Man,
what would I do without you?

Dark Cloud

When the dark cloud comes
It’s all I can see
Everything in my past
Is only dark and cloudy
My dark cloud talks
And tells me there is no light
It analyzes my walks
And assures me I’m not alright

My dark cloud looms
And builds into a storm
It takes no prisoners
And has perfect form
It eats me alive
Starting in my throat
Taking every piece of me
Making me its host

The dark cloud is forceful
in reminding me I’m his
He is never remorseful
He decides who lives
My dark cloud tells me
I deserve to die
But I know it’s just the dark cloud
Selling me his lie.

This dark cloud is convincing
Showing me images of myself
I become him without wincing
My home becomes his hell
I look into eyes
And feel nothing, see no one
He is my disguise
I am nothing, I am no one.

In bed with my dark cloud
He becomes my selfish lover
Strong and well-endowed
I sleep, but he stays to hover
He shows me what I know
But this sleep, it knows me better
It’s time for dark cloud to go
And I wake to better weather.