i’m a boy watcher

funny that it isn’t
that
different
15 year old me
standing at my locker
talking about boys
with my girlfriends
51 year old me
standing in my front yard
talking about boys
with the divorced neighbor lady
nothing has changed
while everything has changed
& i wonder if those boys
still
have the power to crush
my heart
& i wonder
do i still have the power
to grow a new heart
& try
again?

keep your distance

what’s wrong with me
it oozes
from my skin
i am different
they can tell
you can tell
there is something
wrong
with me
take a couple of steps
back
keep your distance
i might be
contagious.

spring is here & i am spending a lot of time digging in the dirt. which makes me happy.
so why am i so sad?
i was hired to work at this nursery which was super exciting for me because i love plants & was excited about learning even more about plants & landscaping. they hired me without even meeting me. there was an online application & a personality test. i was sure i failed the personality test, but the owner seemed excited about me & hired me.
then there was an orientation. i went & thought i was okay…. but there was a bit of a cold reception….. guy told me he would call me to schedule me in. that was over a month ago. first i was all like, it’s just the unseasonably cold spring. but then it got warm. then there was mother’s day. then on my trip to a different nursery (because i can’t bring myself to go to that one) i noticed how fucking busy it was now that spring is suddenly upon us.
but no job.
and i really can’t help but to take it personally.
now i just feel sad…& pissy.

football season

he is like lucy
with the football
assuring me
he is totally
one hundred percent
here for me
everything
will be okay
so i trust him
i run forward
& the earth falls away
& the wind is knocked out of me
& i am flattened…again
as he lets me know
it’s my own fault
while he places the football in place
again
& tells me
i should believe in him.

i am so hoping that i have broken the pattern. that i am no longer going to run up & try to kick that football. that i am able to walk away and keep on walking.
the man is not my friend.
he is not my family.
i cannot pretend otherwise, or i will get the air knocked out of me
again.

congestion

my nose & my chimney are clogged
is it me?
how do i get things
moving
without filling a house with smoke
or a handkerchief
with snot?

that free verse moment was brought to you by a congested head which is too tired & too muddled to continue its thought….
i keep forgetting i am a powerful amazing goddess…instead only seeing my lumps, bumps, and grey hairs.
however!
i have begun…or rather stopped…stopped pretending. in my relationship with the dad. i have stopped playing the game with him that we are some happy family despite the years of betrayal & my having divorced him. once literally and a dozen times more figuratively.

“hallmark moment” one of the many inkings to be found in my new book the invisible exhibitionist!

i have found that i have this desire to want to make people happy.
what the fuck, right?
okay, it might be a good desire…except for the fact that one person cannot actually make another person happy. and also the fact that i will then try to grant their wishes at the expense of my own happiness or comfort. and, sure, when it’s my kids, yeah, i can make the sacrifice on occasion…but when it’s my ex-husband? the one who is quick to turn on me? the one with the laundry list of grudges towards me? the one i cannot trust any further than i can throw him?
fuck that.
so i’m not playing house with the ex anymore. seriously. i’m stopping.

the beautiful artwork at the top of the post was done by my lovely daughter.

the invisible exhibitionist

the invisible exhibitionist was, in part, my response to social media. being a highly sensitive introvert, social media was especially difficult for me. why was everyone happy but me?
so instead of posting selfies with perfect hair, i inked how i saw myself, warts & all. instead of photos of my delicious meal or fantastic vacation, i posted free verse that glorified all of my short comings as a mother. as a daughter. as a friend & lover. 

i didn’t want to show everyone how well i was doing, i wanted to reassure others that they were not alone in their struggles.

the invisible exhibitionist is available through lulu.com or contact me for an autographed copy. 

image is “feral” one of the self-portraits from my book

no, you’re emo….

my heart is cold
& smells 
of rotting flesh
the turkey vultures
circle
sensing
my surrender
my heart is cold
& black
with defeat
it feels like a stone
in my chest
pulling me 
down
as i 
fall.

how was your mother’s day? 
why the fuck can’t i not sink into a terrible place on this day of mothers?
let’s not think too hard about it. let’s just have a drink and wait for the day to end.
i know it’s a hallmark holiday. i know it’s petty…but i can’t help but want to set fire to the father of my children and watch the burnt flesh fall off of him when i think about all he had to do was help the kids make me something/buy me something…some token…some little fucking whisper to say i am valued.
but no. impossible. totally impossible. even in this day & age where he likes to pretend he was baptized by dr. phil.
i know that on father’s day i will buy a rosemary plant (because he loves rosemary plants & killed the last one he stole from me) & put a ribbon on it & have the kids make cards & give it to him as if it were their idea….
and i imagine again the warmth that would come off of his flaming body….

i really don’t know if my kids value me or not. i really don’t. and maybe that’s another one of my shortcomings. another one of my flaws. maybe i fucked it all up. i mean, the two oldest are sixteen & fourteen and they can’t even be bothered to bring me something to plant? even after i told them where to go for it?

but i do like to pretend one day they will grow me a pot of marigolds and maybe bake a chocolate cake and say, “hey, thanks for being a good mom. thanks for sacrificing everything for us. we value you.”

ps. my kids did go & get me flowers to plant on the day after mother’s day…of course by then my mental collapse was complete.
my poor children.

of course i was spinning out on mother’s day

sometimes 
you have to dip your toe
back into that
pool of pain
sometimes
you have to take a sip
of your sweet misery
sometimes
you have to
dive in
wallow
swallow
drown yourself
baptize yourself
rise again
& face another day
forgiving 
yourself
but never 
quite
forgetting
who you were then
who you are now
so you never
have to do it
again.

on this seventeenth mother’s day, i obsess about mother’s day number ten. on that day we returned home from a trip to manitowoc after visiting a friend, the dad hurried ahead of me to our apartment. i was unloading the car, herding our four minions, oblivious.
however, once in our apartment, i happened to look out the window to see the dad throwing something into the dumpster. this struck me as odd because the dad never took out the trash. 
so, being in the midst of a fucked up relationship where things were constantly being done behind my back, i went out & looked in the dumpster.
there i found a bouquet of beautiful flowers and a letter from the dad’s crazy stalker girlfriend. but instead of being addressed to him, they were addressed to me. 
would he have thrown them out if they were for him?
the dad had never gotten me flowers (or anything else) for mother’s day because “she’s not my mother.” i was actually touched that his crazy stalker girlfriend had gotten me flowers. beautiful flowers. despite the betrayal involved in her fucking the dad as we tried (again) to be a family.
he could have let me have the goddamned flowers. 
i would have liked any flowers on mother’s day.
but once again my mother’s day was in a dumpster….

queen of the imposters

it’s my grandma saying
“you’d be so pretty if only you dressed like a girl”
it’s my parents saying
“writing is a nice hobby, but what will you really do?”
it’s that boyfriend saying
“you might be sexy if you started jogging and lost some weight”
it’s the father of my children saying
“why do i have to work why you do nothing?”
the father of my children
questioning all my decisions while offering no help
the father of my children
insinuating i’m doing it all
wrong….
but they don’t even know
they don’t even know what they have done to me
that they have become a little voice in my head
telling me i’m an imposter
when i wear girl’s clothes & pretend to be pretty
i’m an imposter
when i say i’m a writer
i’m an imposter
when i feel sexy
i’m an imposter
when i try to mother my children….

a friend of mine was talking about how the judging voice in her head was “the white lady.” this made me wonder what the most disruptive voice in my head looked like.
so i meditated & journeyed into myself to confront the one who whispers “imposter” whenever i try to do certain things.
i couldn’t find anyone. no one came forward. i called & called, but no one answered. i assumed they were hiding from me.
but then last night as i lay in bed after being screamed at by my ex-husband who was visiting for our son’s birthday, i realized, my imposter voice was there…they just didn’t realize i was talking to them. they are oblivious to what they are doing to me. they think they have done nothing wrong. they see themselves as completely innocent.
this made me realize i need to start being oblivious to it as well. just drown it out by proclaiming, “i am not an imposter. i am a good mother. a good writer. i am pretty & goddammit, sexy too.”

breaking waves

the ocean of me
is trapped
in a bottle
kept on a dusty
shelf
i am the crashing
waves
the storm soaked sea
i am a siren
who has been
silenced
i long to shatter
the glass
of that bottle
escaping his hold
but
he has made me
afraid
of making a mess
he has taken
my boat rocking nature
& left me
feeling
helpless.

contemplations on why i am unable to break the bind that my ex holds me with. i don’t want to be with him, and i wish for a world where i never had to see him again…. but as the father of my children, i have to try to be tame towards him.
but it’s more than that. i feel like he has somehow silenced me. it’s one of the reasons i left him. i am muted when i am with him. i am not allowed to be mean…to be my feral self. he is able to turn me into someone i am not.
but why do i let him do that to me?
that’s the million dollar question.
if i can tame the chaos of my life to meditate on this, i will.
i truly believe, that if i can break the bind he has on me, i will be a better mother & a more confident person.
it’s been almost twenty years of this. such a big part of my life ensnared. it was better for awhile, when i only had to see him on drop offs & pick ups…but since he has been unemployed, he is insinuating himself into my life more than ever…& i let him? why do i let him?
why am i afraid to tell him “no”? why am i afraid to stand up for myself?
i just want to be free again. why can’t i figure out how?

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