--DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF
…In two days I’ll be in Napa. I love Napa. How could you not? I wish they had all the water they need. There’s nothing like running though vineyards with purple fruit hanging off the vines, staring you square in the eye.
…I’ve been writing a…lot…of poetry lately. Maybe it’s not that good. Or maybe it’s nothing. That’s the thing about poetry.
Here’s some of it:
S & M Breakup
Today the lake is into S & M,
all black-whip waves and inversion current.
The fish wear turtlenecks
while the squirrels don flak jackets,
scurrying in the trees like paranoid socks.
I know how weird that sounds.
That’s what you told me after you said
you didn’t love me anymore.
Sometimes there are no reasons, but still
I thought I might have Necrotizing fasciitis.
I thought that was the reason.
Look it up.
I checked my gut as well as
the faint mustache above my lip
that you once called a cute little caterpillar.
I checked my legs—
Jelly Thighs you used to call me.
I opened my mouth wide to see if my tonsils were still gone.
I wrote I Want You Back
with ruby lipstick
across the bathroom mirror
while noticing how crocked my pupils were.
Everything seemed pretty normal.
Afterward I drank a broken glass
to see if I could stand it,
to feel my insides shred,
trying to deal with something
other than you.
The sky keeps following me,
even when I’m in the bathroom
or our windowless shower.
The sky, it has a million lurking eyes,
not one of them a star or moon.
Under the covers at night
the sky shows up,
making the sheets and blankets glow.
My parents are worried.
They call me “strange” and “paranoid”.
They say I’m imagining things,
same as when I told them
what Grandpa did.
Better Off Dead
My skin is coming off in peels of leafy
orange rinds that smell of formaldehyde.
My nose won’t stop bleeding and my hair hurts
even after I’ve shaved it all off, leaving tufts that
clog the sink drain.
But that’s okay.
My eyes flip upside down,
turning into lava lamp glowing worms of goo.
That’s okay, too.
The furniture moves by itself,
like chess pieces randomly moved by some bored giant.
Then a wide, hairy fist is flexing in my chest,
reaching up and gripping, closing tight around my larynx.
I don’t think that’s good.
So I call someone I know who knows someone else
who’s in touch with these kinds of things
and we hold a séance at my house
where the woman in charge
takes my unsteady hand
and shakes her head
saying, “Believe me on this:
you’re better off dead.”
The dogs are outside hiding
and the kids have been gone for years.
Three ceiling lights are out,
Did you notice?
A casserole is molding in the fridge
while we’re eating breakfast or dinner.
Time is a flat circle we keep spinning in.
and inertia takes us where it will
as we go on
married and maybe content.
Reasons for Living
She wants to make love in a graveyard at night,
says it’s kinky and that she wants to be choked
or slapped around like Isabella Rossellini
in that Sand Man movie.
Hair pulling only goes so far
and new days keep showing up like
well-meaning Jehovah Witnesses.
But the graveyard, the choking and slapping—
those are real.
She says they’re something
to take the edge off.