Basement

If I were a guy

I wouldn’t have to choose which pregnancy lives and which dies
I wouldn’t have to lie
To keep my body balanced precariously over a precipice of shame
I wouldn’t have to remain silent about my pain
If I were a guy
I wouldn’t widen the depths of a woman’s trauma by asking her about the depths of her trauma
I wouldn’t judge a woman on the depth of her trauma
If I were a guy
Life would be simple and easy
You ask me about every fuck and every fetus, like it is your business
It is not your business
Do you really want to know about the countless rapes I’ve endured
Not just at the hands of guys
Girls and women, my own mother was the mother of all trauma
Do you want me to describe what it feels like to have your inside pried open and the most vulnerable part of you wounded, scraped raw as you sacrifice the new life you desired, the miracle at your core from another night as a whore
Left to wonder forever unknowing what might have been, who they might have been
It was enough for me to cut the ties
From guys I didn’t want in my life
I cheated on every last one of them, a string of infidelity leading to you
Why do you want to hear that, what would it do?
Maybe then you’d know who you married
But I’m trying to build a new life, live my best life, start anew with a clean slate, move with you to a new state
I don’t want to lie anymore, don’t want to hide anymore, but let me be myself or I’ll show you the door even though it will break me even more
Try as I might by inviting drama into my life, I am unbreakable
You try to crack me not knowing that I’ve been practicing for this my whole life
I’m sorry you are a part of my web of lies but let’s make the best of it I don’t want any more terrible surprises, even as I plant these words like a bomb under the floor.
Triggers are an invitation to see what is in the basement
My heart is in the basement but even our basement has a plant growing where the concrete is cracked
I’m trying to be that plant, don’t hold me back

Pretty Poison

Pastel petals bloom

Through the display case we swoon

Crystalline icing swirl

Dazzling eyes of boys and girls

Powdered sugar snow

Melting in our mouths is all we know

We are blind to our impending blindness

Wrapped up in celebration and intended kindness

Bakery boxes tied up with string

Filled with treats- our favorite things

Warm flaky crust seems like a must

We willingly plunge our teeth into hidden filling

We don’t foresee that we’d better wake up soon

From our creamy dreams, spoon after spoon

Digging our graves, one gulp at a time

Swallowing pretty poison, spending our dimes

Our wallets grow thin as our bodies grow fat

Sugar causes illness, what do you think of that?

Our organs try to keep up, but our pancreas can only take so much

Diabetes sets our body on fire

In a burning house, tragedies transpire

Our vision fades, our kidneys fail

Our heart cries out, do we hear the wail?

Our arteries harden as our muscles soften

Bite by bite, we build our coffin

Our brain is addicted, our mind turns bitter

With rotting flesh, we lose toes and fingers

An ugly site and a sour smell

Only we can liberate ourselves from this hell

It isn’t pretty and it isn’t sweet

Let’s eat real food and keep our feet

Sex, Money, Dishes

Tell me you’ve never fought with your partner about sex, money, or dishes.
Sex
I used to fight endlessly about sex, mainly because I didn’t want to have it but my partners did, so we’d fight and fuck, then I’d cry and be blinded by images of destroying my body or their body just to stop the rape and the torture of not feeling safe in my skin. Amazingly, we all survived and now I have a loving partner with whom I have gold-medal sex; you have to experience it to believe it, it’s like I’m cashing in on some sex fund which I invested in long ago. Happily I don’t fight about sex anymore- I’ve got a man I’m attracted to inside and out, and he loves me the way I want to be loved.
Money
I used to exchange sex for money. It seemed like there was always too much sex and not enough money in those transactions, or transgressions. Even those back-alley deals were more straight forward than my relationships in which sex was exchanged for the illusion of not being alone, for food, housing or ‘safety’, though I learned that the cost to my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing which false relationships exacted was not worth the dinners, drinks, gifts of lingerie, attention or the roof over my head. You might get raped if you travel alone, but if you travel with a man you are guaranteed to get raped. Live within your means because fine dining won’t taste good if you are eating with a strange man, believe me I know. If you have to learn on your own I understand, however if my years of pain can help prevent a moment of your suffering, it will have been worth it.
Dishes
Rare is the man who finishes the dishes. Common are the men who stack the dishes artfully in the sink until there is barely room to turn on the faucet. I have noticed this pattern during my co-habitations with men. I’ve done too many dishes. It especially irks me when men drown sponges in the rinsed yet still not washed dish pile, unperturbed as the sponge decomposes into a musty mess. Men seem deaf to the silent cries of the forgotten dish sponge. Day after day, I rescue the sponge, wringing it out and restoring it to its rightful place safe on dry land, in sight. My man shows his love for me not only through our award-winning sex, but also through money (ie, responsibility for personal  finances to contribute to our future together) and dishes: ladies and gentlemen, my man did the dishes tonight, thus allowing me time to write the words you read. If a man loves you he will want to learn your love language, which you must teach him with patience, positive reinforcement, and more patience.
I grew up doing the dishes, in poverty, and sexually molested by family and friends. My sister would beat me when she got in trouble for not doing the dishes with me after we were told to do them, but the alternative would have been getting beaten by my parents for not doing the dishes, so I was going to get beat no matter what I did. I wished that someone would do the fucking dishes with me. A girl can get lonely amidst the dissolving suds.

Our Mother’s Face

We thought we could improve perfection, Mama

When we drew lines across your face
Highways of asphalt scars connecting the
Clusters of concrete wounds on your cheeks
High rise buildings offering every luxury but you, Mama
We dig into you without asking, Mama, pounding into your bedrock
Even as you gently rock us to sleep each night, as if our actions are alright
We are the ones who refuse to turn out the lights
We don’t hear your wisdom, Mama, which you sing softly even now
We boast loudly but when do we listen, Mama?
We are shaken to the bone when we drill into you, Mama
Between fracking and petroleum, our hearts are in pandemonium
We make ourselves ill when we poison your blood
Dumping debris into your waters
We choke as we pollute your lungs
Pouring smoke into your atmosphere
We share a single circulatory and respiratory system with you, Mama
Our shortsighted deeds will always come back to haunt us in spades
We drink from your abundant cup, rarely satisfied that we have enough
We pretend to be separate from you even as we depend on you for our every breath, from birth to death
We think we know best but we haven’t fooled the rest, only ourselves
We act big, but we are dust on your mighty shoulders, Mama
Our mother has the most gorgeous face
Deep blue-green eyes and a sparkling smile
Bathed in rich brown skin, holding the miracle of life itself within her
Her beauty cannot be improved by anything man-made
To thrive, she needs only to be loved by those she loves unconditionally, by us
This is her divine lesson of self-love
Caring for the Earth is caring for ourselves
We spring forth from the Earth’s womb, are nourished by her breast, and remain connected to her indefinitely by an unbreakable umbilical cord
Though we mistreat you, we love you and we need you, Mama
You are the only oasis in the vast desert of the universe
We feel calm and content when we are close to you, Mama
Words are not your language
We must show our love for you through actions
Spending quality time with you
Living simply and sustainably
Voting with every transaction
Passing legislation to protect you from destruction by our hands
We have injured you too many times in the name of profit Mama, which only robs ourselves of true wealth: clean air, water and soil
We can’t buy more of you in any store, Mama
When we hurt you, we hurt ourselves more
You wait patiently for us to learn, even as we pillage and burn
You demonstrate how to love more completely, Mama, but that does not excuse our transgressions
This Earth Day, may we pause for reflection on our self-centered predilection
May we hold you in the center of our heart, where you always belonged from the start
Though at times we get distracted, more of your children are treading softly on you each day, Mama
May I be one such child of the Earth, and help others so inspired do the same
Your health depends on what we do today
May we lift our faces to you and see our collective dream come true

Emergency Room

Emerging from the emergency room, gasping to find my breath, I weep.

I finished my last shift in that hell-hole, and I thought I would cry tears of joy, but instead I am crying tears of raw emotional release.
My patients called me an angel, but many of them were also angels to me- holding my spirit buoyantly with their sparkling eyes, a much-needed balance to my co-workers who seemed mostly dead inside.
Crushed inside the machine
Their eyes see only the screen
Their skin knows no fresh air or sunlight
As they toil day and night
In a crowded, chaotic space filled with alarms
Long ago, they replaced their charms
With rigid motions, mechanical minds
Without windows, they don’t notice the passage of time
When did they become so cold and bitter?
It must have been little by little
The fire in their hearts was starved of oxygen, their spirits wore away
I hope I keep my heartspirit intact, at the end of the day
Flashback to a line of gurneys in the ambulance bay
My attending grilling me, I didn’t know what to say
Broken bones and chronic pain
STAT CT to look for a bleed in the brain
Patients sustained on turkey sandwiches and diet ginger-ale
We wait on them, they wait for us, but we are all stuck in this jail
Trapped in a health care system which is systematically inhumane
No wonder so many of us don’t feel quite sane
My vision is blurred by tears
I’ve finished one more day in the middle of many hard years
Of sacrificing my life, enduring unfathomable strife
Just to help others survive another night
I want to get off this roller coaster, but I’m strapped in
Though I am sick to my stomach and deafened by the din
I return to my breath, breathe in new air
I have the rest of my life to move on towards
Tomorrow night, I’ll be back in the wards
With renewed gratitude, I leave this emergency beast
I walk past patients waiting to suckle the mechanical teat
Finally allowing room for my own emergency
My meltdown of tears isn’t enough to drown out the blaze
Which burnt me out long before today
I struggle to justify
Why I put myself in situations that make me cry

Wild Thing

I do things that I know I shouldn’t

I do the impossible, people said I couldn’t

I do wild things, you thought I wouldn’t

But I did and I do

I’m gonna keep on living how I see fit for me, not you

Your discontent has nothing to do with me

So don’t cry to me that I aborted the pregnancy

If you’d been half a man worth half a damn

Maybe I would’ve reconsidered

But you made it easy

I’m a wild thing

My body is mine and mine alone to keep

I am not an extension of you, you goddamn creep

Now you know, I don’t play when you mess with me

I’m wild and I’m going to stay that way

I won’t be the victim of your domestic abuse

I’ve already ridden that train and I know it goes right to Insaneland

You can stay there, I’ve hitchhiked elsewhere

I’m a wild thing

You are not allowed in my organic garden of Eden

You are too bitter to taste the sweetness my fruit

 

Poetry

Poetry won’t stop leaking out of me
My hands get a tingle
My mind sings a jingle
I search for paper on which to scratch
Anything within reach
Backs of receipts, napkins, old scraps
All other activity falls to the wayside
Until I see the poem before my eyes

I write about the unspoken suffering of my life
Of being brutally silenced
Since infancy I was trained not to cry when I wanted to cry
My feelings were an inconvenience to those by my side
I came to understand that my needs were not important enough to be expressed, and if I made the mistake of even showing how I felt through my face or my body, such truth was beaten out of me by those closest to me
Far worse than the violence was the mental abuse
and even worse than the mental abuse was the neglect
Sometimes I felt invisible and other times I felt like I wasn’t invisible enough
I wished that I could fly away
The shouting was so loud, where could I hide?
I locked my door but they always burst inside
No boundaries
I cried in secret silence everyday
I learned that I existed to be what others wanted me to be
I delivered what was required
Though inside me raged a fire
The primordial desire
To be free
I’d give anything to live just for me

When I became grown, I left home
But my well-trained brain followed me wherever I roamed
Autonomy is foreign to me
I met many lovers but they always chose me
Because I pleased them easily
I never returned the favor
Of serving up the criticism they so abundantly showered upon me

Joyfully, I recently discovered that the suffering of my life has a name;                                                            Narcissistic Abuse
There are healthier ways to love, ladies and gentlemen
I want more harmony and less harm done to me
I am trying to create a life that I want to live,
One where I give from my heart instead of feeling like a marionette jerked around by the malicious hands of fear

I want to tell others how I feel and what I am thinking
Speak from my heart
Release my throat chakra
Weave a tapestry with the golden thread of my truth
Relentlessly I work at this nearly impossible task
Like a seed below the soil, the only place I have to grow is toward the sun
But healing my mind feels like building a castle on quicksand
My efforts collapse, fall and fail every day

I must remember to give myself compassion, the way I try to give my abusers compassion
I have succeeded before in speaking my mind
With every break-up, no matter how clumsy my wording or how long it took me to work up the courage
I want to tell my exes that when I hurt them by finally breaking up with them, it was because I was trying to reclaim my life and honor both of us
God, have I suffered at the hands of men
When they hurt me, it was because they were trying to get a rise out of me, or hurt me out of spite
I want to tell them: Get a life, you jerks

May they stop terrorizing me and find inner peace swiftly

I feel awful about the things I’ve done that I didn’t want to do
Especially the things I’ve done with men
The sex was violent, violating, painful and humiliating
If only I could forget it, but even my body remembers
I think I will always see men as perpetrators, even though not all of them are
An overwhelming amount of the ones I’ve known are
I struggle to shake them off me when they’re ready to rape me yet they’re nowhere to be found when I’m ready to abort our unplanned pregnancies
That excruciating physical and emotional pain is just for me

The bloody landscape of no man’s land

I understand that as an adult survivor of child abuse, I attract abusers
I’m developing a repellant
By noticing patterns and breaking them
Prevent problems before they start
The best defense is a good offense

I still worry
Worry that my heart will always feel broken
Worry that the countless times I was raped will catch up with me in the form of STDs or infertility
I worry that I will always live in fear
I worry that I will always worry
I worry that I will feel sad and mad all my life
I worry that I will continue to suffer though I shouldn’t worry about that because suffering is guaranteed and worrying will do no good
Life is pain
That’s the rule of the game
I can still win the game of life even though I was born with disadvantages, for my advantages are greater still
I have hope and heart
I’m writing a happy ending to my story
I am writing with a golden pen of glory
I am writing unstoppable poetry
Until victory, always

Thank you.

Rain Dance

I see gray sky outside my window
Heavy on my eyes and in my heart
I want to stay hidden away
Don’t want to get rained on today
Stubbornly, the world outside waits for me

I can’t stay inside forever
I can’t avoid the ever-changing weather
After futile resistance, I accept that I will get wet
As I have countless times before, even when I felt like I was drowning, I will have nothing else to do but breathe through it
Until I breathe myself dry

There are tears yet to cry
I will get wet again
And it is ok to get wet
It is ok to remind myself that it is ok to get wet
Water is life

Every day I am thrown into the river
Swirled and tumbled against rocks
Yet I survive
And come out of it better yet

Afraid as I am of getting wet, I’ve gotten wet many times before,
Downright drenched
Soaked to the bone and far from home
Yet I was all right
I’ve made it through even the stormiest of nights
Inside me burns an eternal light
I have nothing to fear
The rain of life only brings personal transformation near
I am grateful for inner growth, painful as it can be
I am grateful for the rich soil beneath me
Formed from the detritus of my life’s trauma
From which I burst forth, a green herb
Holding infinite potential
I am earth and rain and sunlight transformed
I am young and sweet and nourishing
I am life

I see the gray clouds outside my window
And know that beyond them, the sun is shining through the brilliant blue
I see the gray day
And rise to meet it
Welcoming all that comes my way
So go ahead, rain down on me
I can handle even hail, snow and sleet
I’m keeping the faith
For my mind is learning all the time
That I can dance anywhere
Today my dance beckons the heavy clouds
Let it rain