Hurt, in Black

This is a poem about the night I painted my writing room completely black, shortly after I admitted myself and spiraled out.

I hurt myself today

to see if I still feel

I focus on the pain

the only thing’s that real

 

Out there, just outside of town, the frozen

snow-a crystallized ocean in the moonlight and icy stars,

their white heat, their white bodies

still against the night’s sheet of winter.

The land a bald moon out the window, the birch trees

black past the fields.

I am painting. Strokes and rendered slides of the brush,

steady, steady focus on the many canvases…

dip, skim,

into “Space Black” the gallon reads.

 

The old familiar sting

try to kill it all away

but I remember everything

 

I paint my reflection onto the white walls.

My fiance and child somewhere in the house

maybe asleep. Or not there at all.

Bald white planet out my window,

I trace my eyes and lashes in ebony lashes across

my computer desk. The

white lampshades. The

white picture frames. The

white bookshelves. The

white ceiling and trim. The

white woman in the dark. Voices come at night. I am afraid to sleep.

 

What have I become

my sweetest friend

everything I know goes away

in the end

 

My history I remember smooths past me

in a narrative I watch with each brush stroke and stride.

The story, what is this story, I do not know, but

my hands are sweating like they do

in the essays that pour out for my next class

in the morning.

Memoir.

I paint faster. I feed the temperature.

I cannot see me in the mirror anymore.

But I never could, I calmly mouth the words

“I never could…” up to the corner where the walls

meet the ceiling. The

white is almost gone. It must go. The lighting

is changing, hiding me, I hear the dryer’s tumbling

has stopped. But the sun it can’t come out.

I can’t.

I take sanctuary in night. I paint the girl

from my childhood who dreamt of being a singer.

I paint the young woman who stopped feeling in front

of a mirror one Sunday after church. I paint the young woman

 

I wear this crown of thorns

upon my liar’s chair

full of broken thoughts

I cannot repair

Beneath the stains of time

the feelings disappear

You are someone else

I am still not here

 

high on ecstasy on the rooftop of a building downtown

in a city I couldn’t get lost in no matter how I tried-and

how she was afraid the control she had been losing

she would lose at that very moment, above the far-away

pavement. I paint how

she never lost that part though, just all the rest.

All the empty pill and booze bottles, amphetamines and cut coke.

I paint her father’s death. I paint her mania. Her depression.

And still, I cannot frame this piece.

I can’t figure out what all this black means,

all this vacancy. I just don’t want the voices

when my eyes get heavy. More.

I just don’t want to wake up and have to take care

of what I built of my life with these numb hands,

Because I am

Erasing.
I am painting

it away and darkness ahead, behind, and now, it’s all I see.

 

You could have it all, my empire of dirt

I will let you down

I will make you Hurt.

Writing and Music

There is just something that happens to me with music like this–acoustic and live, the way he spits out the meaning to the song vocally. It’s raining and gloomy today and I am in my element, writing and listening to this over and over. It started with an early morning walk in the rain listening to Radiohead’s National Anthem, and I ended up finding this when I got home. I am smitten. Guitar has always felt like some form of writing to me–if I could make my memoir a song, oh how amazing that would be to create. I was inspired by how acoustic guitar and memoir connect by a video I saw on Vimeo–a beautiful song played as a tribute to a friend who passed away. The song flowed like water, like the sea, like the stories of ourselves.

That Radiohead song is what got me thinking–because I love writing about music, to music, with music. I’ve written many poems and essays that include music and lyrics, like Beauty Walks a RAzor’s Edge (an essay about my best friend with severe arthritis set to Bob Dylan lyrics), Something Dark Like Jazz, She’s Come Undone, and oh there’s more somewhere.  Most all of my essays and memoir refers to music I grew up to, like The Oak Ridge Boys, Eddie Rabbitt, Deep Purple, Carly Simon, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Nitty Gritty Dirty Band, The Guess Who (Undun–and I saw them live and lost my damn mind at Rockfest).

Radiohead’s song “National Anthem” is truly art in my opinion. The backdrop, steady bass is the only sane part to all the chaotic jazz letting loose in the song, but eventually somehow that steady heavy bass becomes the insanity. It reminds me of how you feel like you are holding it together, and the very steady thing you tell yourself to make yourself feel right and true to yourself is actually a rhythm you dissociate in, like that bass, and your thoughts are that chaotic mass of jazz and trombone and sax. But then a moment hits you–you are walking in the rain downtown at five in the morning and you are suddenly just a bystander–a camera to the landscape, the feel, the smells, and your own solitaire body in the street. And that always brings a kind of calm, and then a bit of awareness. The bass I’d been guiding myself by for a little while was far more fucked up than the truth, and the truth is that I am a chaotic person–in an organized way-ahahahhah. Okay, let’s just say I am a late bloomer, I am 35 and only now figuring out who the hell I am and I am solid and confident. I know it’s a lifetime’s journey, but it’s nice to finally own myself. I am also awakening to parts of myself I never knew existed. I am also finally well enough to note my responses and behaviors and reactions and accord them to how I want to be and feel, and I adapt to what serves me. These are all big new things for me, so yes. The “healing” has been well on it’s way for a long time. Now I’m sort of… I wrote a sexy, dark poem the other day (Paramour, My Lover) for the Real Toads blog, and I am surprised first, by how quickly and naturally it came out. I wrote it seconds after I read the blog prompt, it’s the first draft, and I hit “publish” before I could think twice. And I am glad I did. My appetites are…peculiar, but in no way does my past cripple me sexually anymore. Nor fear. I am…hungry. There is something so freeing for me now that I am finally opened to what I’d always been afraid of–sexuality. And back to the Paramour poem, I am also surprised I am not ashamed or embarrassed to share it. It’s a part of me.

I have rambled long enough but it was nice. Take care everyone.

 

Music I’ve Been Writing To

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYSVMgRr6pw Read More

You a City

I’m standing on the roof of a four-story building downtown in a city.  I’ve just taken Ecstasy.  I don’t feel ecstasy.  I feel what I learned later to be verging on psychotic, panic.  I’m going to jump off if someone doesn’t stop me, if someone doesn’t touch me.  These arms aren’t mine. The sky is clear.  Alisha spins and spins, her arms out “Amy, oh Amy I love you,” her red hair flashing.  I tell her she looks like Satan.   I feel like the roof is going to tilt and my body will let itself slide to its death.   I’m too embarrassed to speak, the stars pulsating in time with the veins in my temples.
It intensifies.  I feel the depth pressure when I look over the edge and then run back to the center and fold, wrapping my arms tight around my legs.  Alisha is sliding all over in smooth colors.  She’s scaring me.  I am a bottomless void.  Nothing can fill me.  I take and take and take until I reach near death, until my body cripples under the pressure, and once that passes, I take again.  Read More

Fragile Things

image

At some point everything becomes clear. That doesn’t necessarily mean a good clear, but fact is preferred over fiction when you’re locked up in a mental ward. Again. And it’s snowing out–and worse–it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re thirtieth birthday is coming and you’re little girl must be looking for you. It’s all you can do to decipher the shell-shocked woman looking back at you in the tin mirror bolted to the wall above your sink. Here you get your own sink because this time, this trip into the bin, they knew it was much more serious than they had originally thought, and your “security” is upgraded. You have a thought you would usually have–that the upgrade only makes you feel more nuts–but at this point, you don’t feel nuts. You are nuts. I say to myself ‘I’m clinically insane’ and for a moment I believe it’s something to smile about. When the leading psychiatrist told me on New Year’s Day morning that I was clinically psychotic and suffering from complex PTSD, I thought about my mind–clearly–for a second, and I imagined a blue and orange brain-scan image showing clouds of lesions.  Then I slipped back into the room , in and out of dissociating, and the yellow walls were much too close and I could Read More

You a City

I’m standing on the roof of a four-story building downtown in a city.  I’ve just taken Ecstasy.  I don’t feel ecstasy.  I feel what I learned later to be verging on psychotic, panic.  I’m going to jump off if someone doesn’t stop me, if someone doesn’t touch me.  These arms aren’t mine. The sky is clear.  Alisha spins and spins, her arms out “Amy, oh Amy I love you,” her red hair flashing.  I feel like the roof is going to tilt and my body will let itself slide to its death.   I’m too embarrassed to speak, the stars pulsating in time with the veins in my temples.

It intensifies.  I feel the depth pressure when I look over the edge and then run back to the center and fold, wrapping my arms tight around my legs.  Alisha is sliding all over in smooth colors.  She’s scaring me.  I am a bottomless void.  Nothing can fill me.  I take and take and take until I reach near death, until my body cripples under the pressure, and once that passes, I take again.  I’m a train.  I need the ultimate climax in everything I do until I’m repelled by fear.  And it’s hard to scare me.  Alisha takes my hand and pulls me through the thick air and into the stairwell and kisses my cheek “Let’s go,” and I hold her hand and crash into another night.

I find myself rocking in the dark wet grass behind my apartment.  I don’t know how much time has passed since the rooftop.

…this is too much, this is too much

The night is warm but the grass cool beneath me.  I comb my fingers through it like hair and it waves and gleams.  I had demanded that “Jason” come outside with me because I was freaking out.  Again I’m a train rushing toward a peak I’m too weak for.  “Jason, Jason, Jason,” I can’t speak lovely enough in that beautiful fucked-up way back then.  “Jason, I need you to take me inside I need you to touch me hurryupJasonI’mnotgoingtomakeitJasonIcan’tfeelwhenpeopletouchme-did-you-know? I-want-you-to-help me talkmethroughitJasonmake lovetome.”  He takes me to my room and plays Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” and spends the next four hours talking me into a peak neither of us had ever known.  My body a city beneath his, an empty city with all the lights on.   And I find myself lost in the tone of his voice, “now I’m going to…” I’m a train again, finally hushed on a long, lonely track beneath the cold stars.