Dirty Laundry

I desperately want to trust you.

You started in my brain as a white sheet, wafts of laundry detergent and still warm from the dryer. Maybe you’ve got a stray sock hidden in one of your corners. And back then, the sock seemed so funny, and god, how we’d laugh about it.

How’d it even get there, silly girl?

Then that damn sock grew and folded into a lacy thong – someone else’s, yes I know it’s not mine, don’t take me for a fool. My tongue dries up, hangs heavy in my jaw. I turn the thong over and over and over and over in my hands, trying to find an angle, any angle, at which it still looks like what is was, the sock, it still needs to be the sock.

But the sheet has already been soiled by someone else’s pleasure, the hands that console me covered in the same.

Understand me when I say that we can’t turn the clock back, the sock back.

Fix this before I need to because I can’t.

Please save us from ourselves.

cigarette requests

brown corduroy button-ups, a bunch of sunflowers tied with red and white string, casting lines but not getting any back, an odd dream, pillow-printed skin, cigarette requests, fulfilling them but not telling, summer apartments, pantry shelves, hazelnuts, red wine, Taco Tuesdays, sleeping in, sleeping it off, sleeping the days away, ceiling fans, the fine line between receiving mixed signals and over analyzing everything, wanting to collapse that distinction, coping anyway, broken cups, broken blinds, broken hearts, a tiny tuft of laundry lint, borrowed tee shirts, mostly empty movie theaters, the cool cement leaf smell of literally every garage ever, the first frost, morning fog, panic attacks, bathtubs, bath-time, bathwater, a book terming Seneca’s suicide “a decision to open his veins.”

4 days off meds

i like to do my crying in hot bathwater,
to fill the tub with glassy blues and greens,
then me,
all questions and itches and bloodrush fantasies.

like when i see people,
i’m obsessed with what they think of me:
my legs and my broken arm and my humor,
those flailing comments in recitation,

why i like glasses and hate skirts,
why i have a ‘pager’ on my belt,
why i don’t wear makeup,
why i like girls but not boys,
why i got with her,
why i broke up with her,
why i got with the next one,
why i started smoking,
why i stopped,
why i take medicine to numb up,
why it kinda makes sense that i avoid people these days.

does everyone think i’m an asshole?
my roommate tells me he does.
i’m insecure but i’m trying.
does anyone see that?
i’m dying to know.

like sometimes i think i know what
death in a plane crash feels like.
the crush of bodies and bones and seatbelts,
an even flare of warmth,
dull-deaf roaring,
then snap-dissolve to white.
but those are just dreams, i think.

i’d rather die in this bath anyway, so
i shave and try not to cut myself,
though a nick here and another there
have me bleeding into the wet.

i wonder if i’m fucking insane
or just another narcissist.
maybe not. maybe both.

triangle

your red dotted sandals
were on the grass
(i saw them before i saw you)
and i smiled because that
bright childish pattern is exactly  my type

i settled down a few yards away
(spread books and papers around me
to convince myself of worth)
then i looked up
and that
is when i saw you,

all square jaw and big eyes and
i haven’t seen you in three months
(but maybe you’ve seen me?
i’m not sure)

I try not to look, to play it cool,
but i can’t help to watch you laughing,
braiding your hair, shimmering confidence
in the hot sun

i imagine you kissing her lips
knotting your fingers in her hair
and i feel sad
but that’s okay
it won’t happen anymore

but i still want to forget
so i lock in on work
(prostitution in india, one hell of a bore)

and then i see feet.
i look up and it’s you

i’ve never heard your voice before now
and the tone sounds different than i imagined
a little lower and pitchy

you ask me to dinner
you have some things you need to say

i’m shocked and nervous
is this reconciliation?
perhaps.

so i say yes
tell you i hold no ill will
that it was brave for you to come over

you nod your head
(the braids move forward and back)
and blink at me with those wide eyes

you seem confused, teetering on some edge
looking back now,
i think you were seething

and
i’m not so sure i want to go to dinner anymore.

 

seething/soothing

yellow spit drips
from your lips
down into the basin
as you pause
between hacks and coughs
and deep vulgar retches.

you stink of vodka and fruit juice
and i’m worried sick,
dabbing your neck with a cold paper towel.
“my mother used to do this,” i say,
but you take it from me,
wring the water out in your fist,
and flush it down with your vomit.

i put my hand
on the small of your back,
but you slur “don’t,”
so i back away
and leave you shaking on the tile.