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…
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.
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 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
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.