Grief Pickles

On the days 

when I forget 

to eat anything 

but my 

weed laced oatmeal, 

sometimes I still have 

Grief Pickles. 

When my depression 

or my disordered eating 

grabs a hold of me 

and prevents me from moving, 

I can lift a Grief Pickle 

to my mouth,

the temptation

to feel again

too great. 

In a moment, 

the tiny sweet gherkins 

yield to my teeth, 

meaty matter crumbling 

into itself 

along the structures 

that created it, 

and I remember 

my Grandma. 

I remember 

every Saturday night 

when she would 

consider it 

something special 

to break out 

a frozen pizza 

and some 

potato chips 

and some 

tiny sweet gherkins. 

Not a balanced meal, 

nothing like her 

homemade roasts 

or goulash 

but she thought 

it was special

(probably because 

it took less work), 

so I thought 

it was special. 

I bite into a 

Grief Pickle and 

I remember 

my Grandma, 

who kept the house 

at 76 degrees 

for two years 

after my 

Grandpa died, 

never thinking 

that she could 

change it to 

what she liked. 

I remember 

my Grandma, 

who played 

strategy games 

as if she didn’t 

quite fully 

understand 

everything 

she could do 

to screw 

other people over, 

until the time came 

that she didn’t quite 

understand 

strategy games 

that deeply at all, 

not for the benefit 

of others

 or herself. 

I remember 

my Grandma, 

who would 

subtly rib 

on my weight 

by suggesting 

things like, 

“perhaps you 

should check 

the weight limit 

on the chair.”

I remember 

my Grandma, 

complicated, 

human, 

trapped 

just the same 

in a society 

and a family 

with such profound 

generational trauma 

that we don’t 

speak of emotions 

much less feel them. 

I remember 

my Grandma 

on the hospital bed, 

looking lost and tiny, 

a wrinkled fetus 

abandoned in the 

slow gradual breakdown 

of the prison 

that holds 

our consciousness. 

I remember 

my Grandma’s 

hand, small 

and soft and spotted. 

I take another bite. 

Feel

I don’t feel inspired to write. 

But here are words, 

evidence of slogging. 

A pace of clacking 

set to the the 

music of numbness. 

I don’t feel inspired to write. 

I feel a clog in the 

underside of my chin 

and above my left eye 

and probably somewhere 

in a ventricle. 

My therapist once told me

 that these are called emotions 

and I am to sit with them 

and name them 

and feel them. 

They are leaden 

and mucus slimed. 

I don’t feel inspired to write. 

But suddenly I am allowed to feel. 

Grape Powerade

The grape Powerade
hit my tongue
and I wasn’t
hit with taste
but with memory,
long nights
in July heat
on the second floor
of an old factory,
packed in zany socks,
white heat,
and scorecard metal,
blades singing electric
and metallic
and I was hit with grief,
the truth about my crooked back
and my escapist knee,
and wicked obesity,
truly now,
wholly now,
holding me
back from a thing
I want to do,
the memories of sweat
and smiles
and jokes
and dominance
and fear
and fury
and a gentle stomp
that I’m not
capable of anymore
because I’m afraid of breaking
and now I’m breaking
and I think I’m ready
to go under the knife.

Before the Before

Life turns around quick
because only one moment
separates people from
a “before” and an “after.”
Only one trauma,
one car accident,
one slip up
and your whole life
can change.
And life is a
series of moments
like this,
forks in the road
where decisions
were made
for us
and we have
to learn to cope.
This is where
empathy comes in,
and the more
you know empathy
before the “before,”
the softer you’ll land.

Delirious With Sputum

 

I had a doctor’s appointment.
They gave me antibiotics.
It’s been more than a month
with this sinus infection
but I just kept hoping
I was gonna kick it.
But I’ve been in pain
and I was already there
for something else.
I winced when she
touched my neck.
Later that night
I massaged it,
and panicked when
I felt how incredibly
large and swollen
my lymph nodes were.
As I caressed,
tension released,
and I started coughing.
Delirious with sputum,
I researched
what was happening.
Turns out
lymph node massage
is a thing.
I massaged
until my skin
felt loose.
My double chin
had been storing
extra human goo.
I poked and prodded
the result,
staring at myself
in the mirror.
Was I manlier
with my skin
hanging loose?
And then I pulled
on myself,
enough to
tear my heart,
enough to
rip a seam
where I had
sewed myself together.
I often joke about
being 23 weasels
in a human suit
(It’s supposed to be 24.
Oscar is on FMLA,
he’s working through some shit.
It’s why I limp
unexpectedly sometimes.).
I pulled at the corners
and I saw behind the mask tonight.
The pilot, he feels trapped.

What I’m capable of

I can taste my skull
When the mint begins to rot
At the inside corners
And the edges of my teeth.
I can can feel my tendons
Gently sliding through
Stroking past each other
Buried in the meat.
I can sense my skin
Bristle under the sun
I can feel it augment
Tingle like it’s bugs.
I can think my brainmeats
Writing on these words
Making all new thought heat
Burning just for fun.

My love

You are stitched
from strands of pure gold,
my love,
and all your broken places
show where you’ve been
bruised and bumped before,
that just adds character.
You are twisted silk,
my love,
tangled with an acrobat
of deftly managed
quite queer feelings,
that is how we all maintain.
You are the waves,
my love,
tossed upon the shore
and teased at the surface,
your soft pale blues
that turn to black,
that is because
they don’t know
of your depths.
You are not lost
or unwelcome,
my love.
This forest is filled
with friendly trees
as family.
We are not menacing.
We want the best for you,
my love.

Sheep black by stain

 

I know that I’m not supposed to talk about being crazy.
I know that I’m not supposed to talk about my family.
Or politics.
Or religion.
Or suicide.

I know for damn sure I’m not supposed to talk about my gender and sexuality.
A bunch of anonymous people know I’m not supposed to talk about my alcoholism.
Or my autism.
Or my PTSD.

These are things people get judged for.
These are the things that cause family members to turn into black sheep.
Some black sheep come by it honestly, just melanin, all natural.
But most are stained that way by the vile oily sludge of judgement.

I know these things make people uncomfortable.
You think I don’t know that?
I’ve always known.

I think a little discomfort is a small price to pay, to relieve some sheep of their Sludgement Day.

Dreaming

Dreams are very powerful for me. I have vivid, imaginative dreams, a woven tapestry of realities and falsehoods that make me question everything when I wake up. A drinking dream shatters me. Dreams catalyzed my coming out process. A dream is how I knew I was pregnant.

It’s not something I talk about often. But it’s niggling at my soul, a little catch in the back of my mind. It’s a hurt that’s coming back after being repressed, so that means it is time to process it.

Vulnerability is a risky dialectic of connection and rejection. I know that there is a chance that saying what I have to say will bring closeness and help to salve an old wound. There is also the chance that I will alienate people and start battles I don’t want to get into.

Ultimately, however, the decision comes down to whether there’s someone else out there that might read this and find some peace from it. And so I move forward.

In 2010 and 2011 I was going to school and living in Grand Rapids with my boyfriend at the time and one other girl. I was a shitty roommate to her and I regret that, since she and I had planned to move in together and my boyfriend just kinda never left.

One night I sat bolt upright on the goddamn futon, having had a dream that I was pregnant. I tried to remember when my last period was. I asked him, he didn’t know either. We hustled to a grocery store and got several pregnancy tests, and the first one came back positive almost instantly.

I couldn’t have a child. I am not meant for child rearing. Especially not as my life was. Especially not as my descent into alcoholism was going.

But I didn’t have health insurance. Or a spare $900.

So I turned to the internet.

I don’t recommend anyone try to induce a miscarriage or self abortion or whatever you want to call it. I combined three or four methods and hoped and prayed.

Vitamin C stings. Parsley tea smells like horse piss.

But it worked, over several days. I started to bleed. And bleed. And bleed.

I felt nothing but relief then.

It hurts now.

Sometimes I think about the child I might otherwise have had. Somehow I imagine a boy, and I’m pretty damn sure he’d have curly blonde hair. I wonder about the way things might have gone with my boyfriend/ex husband, who wanted children later on. I question whether I would have cleaned up my act, whether I could have saved a few years of the depression institutionalization yo-yo. I know this sort of thinking is useless though.

Not much can keep me safe from my own insecurities though. About what this makes me, whether I’m a good person. You can be pro-choice all the live-long day and still struggle with internalized hate. I feel so alone. I don’t know anyone else who’s done this, because no one talks about it. So I stay inside my head with all my thoughts, and they percolate into vile piles of self loathing, and little story lines for dreams.

I take a prescription medication now though, one that prevents dreaming. I also have an IUD.

Frack

A man
once told me
the inside
of my skull
was like
a funhouse
filled with mirrors
so the
slightest
little laser
impulse
of emotion
would
bounce around
and
I r fractured
u refracted
split like concrete
served like pie
little slices
teeny splices
page at a time
all stories are lies