Wringer

I put my body through the wringer

Told myself I was strong, I could handle anything, my body would figure out how to survive, and amazingly it did

Now I know that battles are truly won in the mind

If you want to be kind, learn how to treat your body kindly, then do what you have to do to do it

You may upset a few apple carts from time to time because peers like to pressure and their addictions are strong, but you are stronger

Let them weep and wail, it will be well worth it to spare yourself the wringer

Cup

This is it, the big one

The debridement of my most primordial wound

Dissection of what my parents did and didn’t do

Releasing us both from the impossible task of fulfilling each other’s expectations

Seeing them for the first time as the narcissists they are

Pretending to love me only when I made them look good

Spitting on me with their words and crushing me under the boots of their ego when I was hurting

When I needed them most they abandoned me

Like childish bullies, they took no responsibility for themselves or others

I’ve turned my face to them time and time again looking for love, searching in vain, coming up short

They refuse to see the parts of me that they don’t want to

My father told me I was flabby and looked like a monster when I was 15 years old

I subsisted on a high-glycemic diet stolen from my workplace because there wasn’t enough food at home, which resulted in weight gain and horrendous acne

I didn’t see my father for what he was; a negligent parent and an asshole.

Instead I wallowed in sorrow for my innate deficiencies, contemplated suicide because I wasn’t beautiful enough

Don’t worry Dad, I was still attractive enough to get raped enough times to lose count

As if you care

I can’t imagine treating my child the way you treat me

Lord, help these wounds heal

I am ready to move on, to break the inter-generational chain of toxic parenting

To write a new song instead of the broken-record of your critical dialogue

You can live your life in crisis mode, but don’t impose your crises on me anymore.

You imprinted your patterns of anxiety on my developing body and brain

I felt the need to gain the gushing approval of everyone around me

To be the smartest, prettiest and most accomplished in the room

I made many men swoon

I don’t need that anymore

Take your booze and do with it what you will

My cup is full

I depend on no man to keep it filled

High

I’ve spent most of my life high on fructose and other forms of sugar

That sweet drug with bitter side-effects on body and mind

Unassuming and ubiquitous, I didn’t suspect that my sugar habit was the mastermind behind my anxiety, depression, insomnia, acne, and menstrual woes

There was no medicine that could counter-balance the unbalance I swallowed and wallowed in

Though my habits were formed before I had a choice, I choose to continue my addiction bite by bite

I didn’t find my groove with marijuana

I was too squeamish to inhale or inject

Alcohol was easy, that hand-me-down comfort

Alcohol made me easy, made me almost forget to feel myself cringe when I pimped myself out- I only valued myself if other people valued me, my body was a battlefield between my ego and my low self-esteem.

Dear sisters, gather yourself before you gather sugar, alcohol and other drugs. Once you cross the threshold of being physically intimate, men act like they own you.

It is your birthright to be free, your birthright to feel bliss.

With feet on the ground, now I know how truly sweet it is.

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

Vanish

You struggle to breathe

Your lungs groan under the weight of a million cigarettes
Your body will not heal, nor will you allow it to
You prefer to smoke tobacco than to breathe, you tell me
Your liver is hardened
Fluid builds up in your legs, abdomen and lungs
You bleed into your GI tract
Again and again
Requiring dozens of blood transfusions
Until when?
You prefer to drink than to live, you tell me
Your blood harbors viruses and bacteria
Years of IV drug abuse riddle your veins
My eyes draw lines between the scars on your skin
And spell out your pain
Your body is massively obese
You’ve had just desserts
Your blood is dangerously sweet
The food on the menu is not nourishing
With vibrant foods, we could all be flourishing
Instead we are toxic
Now you’re turning hypoxic
Your own body gets in the way of breathing
Rather than a vehicle, your body is your handicap
Too much mass to move
Stumbling, you tumble into my view
Bullet wounds have torn right through you
Senseless violence, what kind of freedom is this?
We reserve the right to die at the hands of another at any time
I want to take all the suffering I see
Concentrate that energy inside me
And use it to wipe away cigarettes and liquor stores,
Smash opioids off the face of the planet, and while I’m at it
Take my magic wand and with a swish banish sugar from our lips
Eliminate weapons with one wish
I’ll water that seed of hope with the tears of those who know, so it will grow
And we shall be sheltered in our old age by the tree planted in our youth
We’ve suffered enough to learn how to thrive in our world- at least we’ve discovered what not to do.
I have a dream that tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, processed foods, and guns will vanish.
I realize that this is unlikely to happen for a while, as there are profits to be made and suffering to be had.
Taking into account the billions of healthcare dollars it costs to deal with lung disease, liver disease, drug addiction, diabetes and gun violence, let alone the immeasurable cost of lost lives and poor health, how can we afford to carry on the way we have been?
If a substance is harmful, let it vanish.
Why hold on to that which is no longer serving us?
We can do anything with our infinite human potential.
We alone can change our lives and leave the world better than we found it.
Let’s do what we can before we vanish
Do something today
There is no guide book
Vote with your dollars, your actions, your thoughts
Breathing in gratitude, I thank you

My Corner Drug Dealer

My dealer waits for me
On every corner of every town in every state
Their supply never runs out and their drug
temporarily makes me feel great                                                                                               Until withdrawal begins, though I’ve yet to withdraw for long                                                             My drug is everywhere and my dependence is strong

My dealer is every store
My drug is sugar
Sugar finds its way under my skin
Even when I think I’m not going to let it in
It is suddenly in my hands, then melts in my mouth
My gastrointestinal tract welcomes it
My blood carries it around
It causes little fires everywhere in my body through inflammation
It over-taxes my pancreas which struggles to produce enough insulin to handle the copious amounts of sugar I pour into myself
Sugar never stays long on my pantry’s shelf
While vegetables, the true heroes of this story
Wilt in the fridge in unsung glory                                                                                                You are neglected but not forgotten, dear salad greens

Sugar comes in an endless variety of colorful packages
At my corner drug store, it was on sale today
So I easily threw my vague intention to abstain away
It doesn’t take much
For me to justify buying another sugar rush                                                                                                         When it comes disguised with vitamins, fiber, probiotics and protein                                               and covered with velvety dark chocolate                                                                                       It is even organic, for Chrissakes                                                                                                       A wolf in sheep’s clothing

In the throes of my addiction,
I fool myself into believing that my affliction is not so bad                                                         I will stop after I finish what I’ve got
It is already bought, so I better use it
I’m just using it because I have it
Otherwise, it’s a waste of money, right?
A person’s gotta eat, and I need energy for my busy life

I know that in reality
My drug will finish me
It is only a matter of time
Until my body won’t be able to stand the abuse anymore
Sooner or later the drug will crash through my door
Crush me helpless on the floor
It will be too late to un-do what I spent a lifetime doing then
One mouthful of sweet poison at a time

My willpower is weak when I am stressed out and hungry
I wish that my corner drug dealer would stop tempting me so
If sugar was less ubiquitous, not so easily found
How might that boost your wellbeing, help you reach your health goals?
How much would it radically improve the health of our nation, our world?
How sweet would it be to see our epidemics of obesity and diabetes decrease?                Tell morbidity and mortality to go bark up someone else’s tree
We may never see in our American lifetime                                                                               An end to the societal sugar overdose
But I want to plant the idea seed
And see if it grows
Maybe someday I will quit sugar
If only for today                                                                                                                            Today was not the day                                                                                                                      But tomorrow still could be

Love and Ice Cream

Love and ice cream
Are my slippery slopes,
My legal dope
I use them in plain sight
To abuse my body day and night

Too many years
I’ve caught myself in the cycle
Of getting high every time I start to withdraw;
I let into my life another bowl,
another boo, even worse than the one before
The novelty wore off long ago
And I’ve seen the pattern;
I know where it is gonna go
It always ends in regret

Today I was hot and thirsty
For that cool creamy sweet treat
With chocolate chunks for me to eat
It was on sale and high in quality
So I loaded up my shopping cart,
imagining the pleasure awaiting me

Then I remembered
How bad I always feel afterward
How out of control, how unwise
I’ve given in to temptation too many times
And paid too heavy a price

So I put the four pints back on the shelf
Let them go home with somebody else
Victory was mine at last
At least for today

Then I got home and considered writing to an ex
An ex who is still sort of a friend                                                                                                             I love them dearly
But slow down, it’s a dangerous bend
They treated me unhealthily
Why would I expect anything different this time?

Feeding my addiction
Would bring me a quick, cheap high
Although I desire them so
Like ice cream on a hot summer’s day
If I over-indulged, the disappointment in myself
Would be here to stay

I’m only human
I have to eat and to love
But knowing how easily
I fall hard where others only stumble
It is worth it for me to mindfully look where I’m walking on the rocky road
So that I can stand tall when it rumbles

Drugs

I use drugs all the time
In a dizzying balancing act between
‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’
I grow and shrink
As my energy soars and sinks

I zonk myself out then pep myself up
With sugar and supplements: pills and gummies
Coffee, tea and alcohol rummy
It’s all legal but I wonder
If I am smart or a dummy
Or just trying to do my best
Or failing to do my best
Or just getting by
The best way I know how
Or the only way available right now