“I wish we had known, when we left, that we were leaving.”

When I left the high school for the last time

on Friday, March 13

I thought we’d be closed for a week.

Maybe Two.

I told my students to enjoy the week off.

I didn’t bother saying goodbye to the students

I didn’t have that day.

I left a water bottle in my room.

I left a stack of papers, ungraded.

I left a sweater.

I left homework written on the board.

I miss my students.

I miss even the annoying ones.

I miss the busy halls and filled-up lunchroom.

I miss the hectic joy of graduating seniors.

I wish we knew, when we left, that we were leaving

Because now we’re gone

And the school is a ghost town

But the ghosts have all left.

 

what a time to be an introvert.

i never thought i’d be tired of being at home.

my god. is this what being an extrovert feels like?

i’m dying for touch. i just want to see someone smile

i just want to laugh

i want to go to a bar

a party

i want to go clubbing

and if you know me

you know

how crazy that sounds.

i want to run

i want to run to a place where we can be outside without a mask

i want to go back in time just 30 days

to when this all seemed impossible.

to when i doubted schools would close

to when i was still able to go out to eat

to when i still *wanted* to be alone.

read me aloud

read me aloud

read me a poem

make me a poem

and read me to sleep

take all my words

turn them to art and

music and dancing

will follow them soon

my diary is on your lips

top of your shopping list

pens and ink, paper

the necessary end

read me aloud

read me to children

read out my histories

and let them be loud

for you have a voice

mine is a quiet one

you have a mic

while i’m lost in a crowd

so take all my words

the good and the bad ones

say them with your smile

and they will be heard.

 

as accents die

I have always hated the Boston accent.

I think because a lot of people I don’t like have it.

including me.

 

I know the problem with hating local accents.

It’s classist.

I get it.

But I think I’m allowed to hate the sound of my own voice

when I’m angry or drunk

and I drop my r’s.

 

my mother says

the boston accent

isn’t an accent, really,

but an attitude.

“come ahn, ked”

“pahk ya cah” and all that.

it’s angry, it’s drunk

just like me

when it comes out of my mouth.

 

i already feel gangly and too big

too noticable

(though I’m only 5’2).

I already don’t like to be noticed in person.

I only like my words to be noticed

when they are printed

and handed over silently.

 

i want people to read my words

and hear their own voice

not mine.

i want to be invisible.

 

i hate my accent.

“you don’t even have an accent.”

everybody has an accent.

even when i’m not drunk or angry

people at college knew where i was born.

i’ll never be free of this place.

my tongue remains a prisoner.

 

at least my fingers are free.

out of bed

i know that i should get out of bed

but who’s keeping score, anyway?

who but I will know

if i spend today

unmoving?

 

“spend” today

like a day is a handful of coins

given in exchange for something else.

 

it’s sunday.

i shouldn’t have to do anything

but i should do something.

according to who?

well i guess, me.

i guess i’m the one who will be disappointed if i don’t

get up

i will think to myself.

you’re wasting the day

the voice inside my head tells me.

is it wasted if i’m enjoying it?

is money used to buy candy wasted

or spent?

taking a step back

a big tip in writing is to “take a step back” and wait a few days, weeks, even months before going over your first draft.

maybe the same is true for trauma

to forget it for awhile

to tuck it away in the folds of your grey matter

to bury it in the bottom of your sheets with chilly toes

and sit on it for a few days, weeks, even months

before going over it.

maybe you need to let it stew

let it sit

let it tumble around in your brain without your consciousness getting in the way

maybe you need to see it with different eyes

older eyes

eyes more wise and steeled with time.

strengthened by distance.

maybe you need to forget a little

to be strong enough to step back into your pain again.

maybe that’s why i know my grandparents’ stories

but not my own.

men

owen and jim are absorbed in whatever

jim’s working for like,

an insurance company?

and he’s getting annoyed at his boss asking him to order his groceries for him.

 

jim has the body of a man when he wants it.

when he’s playing dungeons and dragons

you believe he would really use a sword to kill.

when he’s just being himself

you doubt whether he’d know which end to hold.

for such a big dude

with such a well-kept beard

he’s rather immature

when he can afford to be.

 

i couldn’t tell jim this stuff. he wouldn’t get it.

he’d be too awkward

and then run off.

if i was in a novel

if i was a character in a novel

my “surface” journey is easy to figure.

i would be working to get out of this abusive house

and settle myself into a healthy life.

my “inner” journey

would be to get myself out of my abusive mindset

and ease my anxiety

and grow as a person

into a confident young woman

i’m still caught in the rising action, i guess.

the resolution is  a   whole     plot       line           away.

Eulogy

How can I write you goodbye

While feeling fingers on my wrist?

How can I write that I miss you

When you don’t feel missed?

 

How can I explain the loss

The fever and the pain that you’ve brought me?

Your family has fought me.

 

They thirst for my words, for my soliloquy.

They thirst to hear of everything you’ve meant to me.

I thirst for your kiss and your breath and your love—

I miss you—but that isn’t enough.

 

They want my tears,

my choking,

my grieving of the things that we’re missing

My kissing

of the ring that I’m still wearing

They’re not caring ‘bout me

They care not about you.

They care only ‘bout the sadness brought on by our youth.

 

A funeral is a practice of saccharine drowning.

Of comparing your frowning.

Of parading ‘cross the town

In lines

and lines

and lines of black

Would any of you visit if he were to come back?

 

What right do you have to mourn my Clay?

Who among you would have come to our wedding day?

How many of his precious words have any of you read?

An artist’s only worth a damn the second they fall dead.