In every bar there’s someone sitting alone and absolutely absorbed
by whatever he’s seeing in the glass in front of him,
a glass that looks ordinary, with something clear or dark
inside it, something partially drunk but never completely gone.
Everything’s there: all the plans that came to nothing,
the stupid love affairs, and the terrifying ones, the ones where actual happiness
opened like a hole beneath his feet and he fell in, then lay helpless
while the dirt rained down a little at a time to bury him.
And his friends are there, cracking open six-packs, raising the bottles,
the click of their meeting like the sound of a pool cue
nicking a ball, the wrong ball, that now edges, black and shining,
toward the waiting pocket. But it stops short, and at the bar the lone drinker
signals for another. Now the relatives are floating up
with their failures, with cancer, with plateloads of guilt
and a little laughter, too, and even beauty—some afternoon from childhood,
a lake, a ball game, a book of stories, a few flurries of snow
that thicken and gradually cover the earth until the whole
world’s gone white and quiet, until there’s hardly a world
at all, no traffic, no money or butchery or sex,
just a blessed peace that seems final but isn’t. And finally
the glass that contains and spills this stuff continually
while the drinker hunches before it, while the bartender gathers
up empties, gives back the drinker’s own face. Who knows what it looks like;
who cares whether or not it was young once, or ever lovely,
who gives a shit about some drunk rising to stagger toward
the bathroom, some man or woman or even lost
angel who recklessly threw it all over—heaven, the ether,
the celestial works—and said, Fuck it, I want to be human?
Who believes in angels, anyway? Who has time for anything
but their own pleasures and sorrows, for the few good people
they’ve managed to gather around them against the uncertainty,
against afternoons of sitting alone in some bar
with a name like the Embers or the Ninth Inning or the Wishing Well?
Forget that loser. Just tell me who’s buying, who’s paying;
Christ but I’m thirsty, and I want to tell you something,
come close I want to whisper it, to pour
the words burning into you, the same words for each one of you,
listen, it’s simple, I’m saying it now, while I’m still sober,
while I’m not about to weep bitterly into my own glass,
while you’re still here—don’t go yet, stay, stay,
give me your shoulder to lean against, steady me, don’t let me drop,
I’m so in love with you I can’t stand up.
— kim addonizio
New rule: don’t take ex boyfriends home, because you will suddenly flip out and ask them to stop touching you and then start to cry a lot, and then they will throw up all over your very white walls. Your room will smell like sick which makes it very hard to get to sleep when they leave.
Good days good days good days. Get up. Buy flowers. Buy bread. Start feeding yourself again one meal at a time. It rains. Pull your hood up and walk through the cemetery on the way to work, and again in the dark home. Good thoughts. Busy thoughts. There are leaves piling up in the gutters. Your hair a bird’s nest, all your things a symbolic mess. Fall asleep with the light on. Drive home after another good day and suddenly the sadness is a heavy blanket. Climb into the shower and stand under the hottest water to steam it out of you. Sit naked on your bed with your hands covering your face as you cry, as though you can make all this unwelcome feeling invisible. The wrong boy texts you and says sweet things. Bad timing as a special kind of heartache.
In Praise of the Defective
When the best of it is prized from the dung
of the Sumatran common palm civet,
sweetened like a cherry in the gut
of this little island cat, I feel better
about not drinking coffee, sipping instead sweet
tea crude as a hammer. I feel
better that I never read much
Tolstoy, stopped at the bulwark of so much
French. I should begin
a second life. I should not dream
of my macrobiotic afterlife
in which I am what I do not eat
and the animals I loved enough
to eat grass, to pretend one thing was another,
purr and sing and chirp
sweet hosannas outside my bedroom window
where sometimes we made
love but never continuances
of our selves which we’d name
Hank or Emily while saving up for Harvard.
I feel better that none of me
works well at all,
that for twenty years the fog
has never lifted
from the landscape I mean to cease defiling
someday. Thank you
cards I should have mailed
and gifts given
and favors repaid with crippling interest
I grow to love
the way I once loved
shame. What will I do with my days
now that my nights
are sublimely alone
and how will I make use of this wound
I carried like a map
so that I would never, never
from DIAGRAM 7.4
Thanks to iatrogenicmyth @ I Eat Poetry
I got out of my pyjamas. I ate half a sandwich in a coffee shop with two of my girls, who were like “fuck that guy”, and then we made plans to wear hats to a party this weekend before I fly home. We talked about feminism and being meek and always believing that we have to say sorry, that it’s somehow always your fault. I bought a green skirt and I came home and put on red lipstick and then I noticed that my skin is finally starting to get better and then I changed into comfy clothes and went and ate sushi with my soul sister. I am posting this photo because this blog is getting very personal. Here is my face.
I’m home in bed and hating mornings. My new counsellor told me that I have to set little goals for myself. Get out of bed to get the mail. Go back to bed. Get out of bed and make myself some tea. Go back to bed. For the whole hour I was talking to her I cried into my hands and could barely look at her. She said quietly to me, “You just have so much love to give don’t you?” and I felt sick because it’s true, and no one ever takes it, and what a soft and silly thing to be ruined by.
I was back briefly on the weekend with my sister. My housemates can’t stand each other and the house feels so heavy. We went to a music festival and I shoved my sadness down. At someone’s place afterwards, we were all lying around with heatstroke and exhausted. He walked in and we didn’t even look at each other. I dreamt about him and waking up was like walking right up close to a wall and realising there’s no way around. There is panic and fear in me like a cornered animal and I remember always how affection, love, anything turns me into a monster.
The counsellor said to me, “You have used the word invisible a lot”. When I told her I wasn’t enough for him she said, “But he wasn’t enough for you” and I am trying to let that sink in, now. Yesterday after hours of sitting in my pyjamas I put on clothes and I walked up to the shops. Some of the trees had little seeds like paper lanterns. I got home and made pastries, and cried kneading the dough. I told myself I would run every day I was home because I need to be lighter. I haven’t yet. There was a wall. There is a wall. I am still an animal.
I can’t get my head around it
I keep feeling smaller and smaller
All over the world the beautiful red breezes went on blowing hand
- Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson
How to defeat DENIAL (M.)
Cross out his name from your mind, and cross out yours from his. He is not thinking of you. It doesn’t matter that you slipped into each other’s lives like routine, like a daily dream. So you saved him coins on parking? He’ll be happy to empty out his wallet. You were weighing him down, really. Don’t believe it means anything that your name is his favourite food. You can try to haunt his meals but he’ll diet, he’ll clean out his fridge. He is not thinking of you. Repeat it to yourself. Rinse your face from crying and repeat. Take a sharpie to your sad skin. Now write, on each thigh, each wrist. Hold them up. Left: He doesn’t want you. Right: It’s over. Remember you were not enough to change the tide. If you are thinking of him think of his smoker’s cough, his disappearing acts, his aversion to cats. Don’t remember lying in bed with him as he picked out his favourite of your curls. How he called you from the highway, kissed your face so sweet. Remember how he wouldn’t touch you sometimes, when your hands felt born for him. Shake them out. Don’t think about how just evenings earlier, he slid his arm beneath your sleepy weight and told you how it felt to fall asleep with you. Pulled you closer and said like it was truth: “You just fit”. Think, So what? I have been a puzzle all my life. Don’t remember buying your groceries with him. Standing at the deli and seeing him amongst the fresh greens, the grapes, the cheese. Take a ticket. Find your place in the line of women wanting to matter, wanting to save him. Look around. Let it sink in. See how long you would have been waiting?
My professor told us that he had a childhood friend who was with a woman for a long, long time, and he loved her very much, and they had children together, and then one day she just threw him out.
He saw her recently and she was struggling to explain to him why she had done it, why she had suddenly rejected the love of this man she had spent her whole life with.
“Let me try,” my professor said. “You didn’t want to be the only woman he had ever loved.”
“That’s it exactly,” she said.
Then my professor said, “We don’t want to be unique. We think we do, but really we want to be one of many. We don’t want to be the person someone has loved uniquely, the only person they have loved. We want to be the person they loved most out of all, loved most out of everyone.”
There is a stage in early childhood development
when a baby realizes for the first time that
they are not, in fact, part of their mother’s body.
That their heartbeats don’t float together
down the river of her arm or pass each other
like voices along telephone wires. One day,
when she leaves the room, the baby
will comprehend, for the first time, that they are alone.
Such a heavy thought for something so small.
And, yes, perhaps it is strange to describe myself
as your child. Perhaps it is problematic
to compare you—once my lover—to my mother.
You, who have painted my body
with your body. You, who have startled
the crows of my heart. You are not my mother
but we have lived inside each other for months.
Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch, but it is
the only way I found to describe it. One day,
long after you left, I finally realized you were
actually gone. The suddenness. The spark.
Learning a new word for without.
- Sierra DeMulder
I hate my writing and I’d rather be in love