Ironic & Risque: A Hot Minute of Poetry

“Trim”

I cut through the hair
between my legs
with an angry scythe

to await sparking under my body,
to await wildly burning nutmeg,
to await woodsmoke
wafting up
inside of me
as an aftertaste.

The pull of my body starts
on the outside of my thick
pink-brown fields
of labia.

All I have to do is wave
myself over your body,
like a wand
at an Ani DiFranco concert,
to sense the earth between the creases
in my thighs.

I want dirt. I
drag my vulva through red, red
road dust. I
drag my body.

I’m Samson in the bathroom,
holding blunt gum pink plastic scissors,
muscles crumbling.

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A Calico Winter Morning (kitty prose poem)

I watch the last tidbits of creamy yellow sunrise from the black leather window seat. White wood frames my observation tower. I see gently buttered mashed potatoes floating in my horizon. Light streams over the greying wooden plank fence, for me.

It is me and the morning, every morning. Though you leave in the darkness and return in it as well, I crouch comfortably each dawn. I lap at the creamy clouds with gelatinous, seamless, round iris meat glistening in my sockets. My little green half-globes float comfortably over the world.

I cannot describe myself with even a quarter of the vigor in which you do. I will not mention my dappled coat with the illuminated white spots, so soft that they appear as milk that even I would want to lap, nor the shockingly vivid orange or black markings that you so often lust after.

All I have claim to are my bright eyes, as they dart after the first zipping flocks of small brown birds taking exercise as soon as the clouds have stretched thin into the pale wall of yellow for the day.

Exercise My Mind (with endorphins)

I’ve always enjoyed exercise on some level. In the past few years, I’ve begun to enjoy it even more. It’s a rush of free endorphins for my crazed brain. It really helps in terms of keeping the mental illness wolves at bay. However, it’s one of the first things I let go of like a child’s hold on a helium balloon when I have a job (due to my anxiety). I haven’t been able to hold a “professional” job for around 6 months. That’s not to say that I haven’t performed what would be more in line with the category “gig,” but I think that illustrates the distinction. When I say “professional,” I mean to use it in a broad sense in order to include job descriptions such as “sales clerk” and the like.

That’s not to say I’ve never held a job. I graduated from college with a B.A. in English lit, worked as a special education instructional assistant for almost two years, and worked as a sales clerk for almost one year. I’ve also worked on a “gig” since. It’s not as though I have accomplished nothing. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

However, since I have been unable to successfully hold a job, I’ve tried to focus on doing things that enhance mental health. Examples: chewing on literature, writing every so often, attempting to clean/cook a little more, securing a form of therapy, trying community mental health groups and services, and exercise. Obviously I don’t get as much done per day as I would like due to my lower level of functioning, but I feel compelled to try. If I don’t try, I feel as if I am wasting my “unemployed” time (if I ever work again, that is – optimism is hard right now). It seems like it should be my “job” to try to learn better skills to take care of myself while I’m this sick?

When I am holding a job, I am so filled with anxiety and fear that finding time to exercise feels impossible. The time just sort of slips away into the void of anxiety. Since I now have significantly more time, I’ve felt pleased to integrate exercise back into my life. It’s been in my focus for several months now. My preferred personal methods of exercise include jogging (either on a treadmill or outside, with a LOT of music blasting into my ears), and exercise classes like yoga or occasionally step classes. When I have company, I like to hike, and most recently, boulder (indoor rock climb). I will state that I am making curvy-girl baby steps with the rock climbing. [insert self deprecating chuckle].

I like the way I feel during and after exercise. It affords free happy drugs for the brain and a sense of accomplishment all day.

Years ago, I made a breakthrough for myself about my attitude towards exercise. I feel that I need to focus on enjoying the exercise itself rather than losing weight or anything related. If I don’t, the exercise loses its enjoyable flavor and becomes a chore. I don’t want that. I need the positivity of exercise, especially now for my mental health. I reason that if I just focus on enjoying exercise, any unnecessary weight will come off naturally without me obsessing about it. That breakthrough drastically changed my experience with exercise into something wonderful. I don’t know if this outlook will work for you, but it could be worth a try.

I will end with my stumbling block. I am predisposed to obsessiveness and anxiety, so even if I don’t look at exercise through the lens of “losing weight,” I can still get caught up in looking at it through the lens of “doing or not doing enough.” I beat myself up if I feel that I haven’t exercised enough times per week or haven’t gone long enough per session. It’s rather damaging… It’s kind of a compulsion that I’m trying to work on bending. I feel like sometimes I have so much anxiety that it doesn’t know where to go, and simply falls wherever it can wedge itself in. That said, it’s still definitely worth it. I don’t know that I’m getting any better, per say, but it helps hold me together as I float in the wreckage of my own storm.

I finished a book!

WIN_20171117_11_36_12_Pro (2)In dealing with my mental illness, I have found it helpful to acknowledge not only the small, beautiful moments in life, but also the resolution of small goals. It’s important to give myself positive feedback, even when what I accomplished isn’t a major life goal. Graduating from college, receiving recognition or advancement in the workplace, marriage, and the arrival of children are obvious examples of what society sees fit to congratulate us upon.

But what if we delve closer? Building positivity and self esteem start at a much more base-line level than those major life events/successes.

When mental illness is really hurting (at least for me), sometimes constant encouragement is necessary. No one else can do that for me. When I am having trouble getting out of bed, it helps to praise myself for what I DO accomplish when I’m finally up and running. Examples of things that I try to recognize my own efforts in:

-Cleaning (ugh)

-Exercise

-Getting grocery shopping done

-Paying bills and managing money

-Writing or producing any creative projects

-Taking care of or providing comfort for another person (to any degree)

-Caring for my cats/providing them with (excessive) attention

-Spending money wisely

-Cooking (I’m a novice)

-Eating healthy foods in moderation

-Finding opportunities to donate to good causes every so often

-Picking out a perfect gift or creating a surprise for someone

-Doing a particularly witty job of producing laughter in other people

-Finishing any type of project

-Finishing books

Some days, it can be as simple as:

-Taking a shower

-Brushing my teeth

It all depends on how well I’m feeling. All of these are either things that I have a hard time doing while I am struggling with illness or things that I struggle with in general. I try to give myself praise for both. It’s hard for me to be loving towards myself. So often, I beat myself down. I feel that telling myself I did a good job is a great way to build confidence and self esteem.

It’s hard because negative self talk and guilt often get in the way. As in, “Oh, yes indeed! What a wonderful job you did cleaning the kitchen sink! …Are you aware that millions of people are suffering right now? You need to watch the news more… [continue guilt driven rant].” I have to fight back for myself and answer, “Yes, but this is the best I can do right now. I need to learn to be proud of it, and myself, so that I can even begin to have the capacity to BE a positive force in the world.”

As a current example of meeting a small goal, I would like to scream that I just finished reading Emma (Jane Austen)! My concentration is not what it used to be, due to anxiety and depression. Emma is almost a 500 page book, and I read it in a little over two months. For me, that’s pretty awesome. I’ve chewed on shorter books for 6 months or more. I’m pretty psyched that I made that kind of progress. I feel like I need to give myself credit for this success (especially as a depressed alumni English major).

Give yourself credit for small things, even if they only matter to you. They still matter (in the sentiments of a therapist I’m seeing). You deserve kindness and attention, especially attention to detail when you are hurting.

New Mama

New Mama

starfish growing new nails in cold sun
bumping against harsh blue truck bed paint
body whirling in warm washes of light
white apricot coming
so unlike a moth’s oldness
rinse the doughy baby
bathe in a tub next to the window
a window, not waxy stumps glittering falsely at tips
always true sun
come forth, burn
become.

Blood Beaches – Immediate Reaction Poem; Unpolished Blurb/Blob

Stepping into our graveyard,
the tail of someone else’s curls caught me.

A scent without a smell, masses of airborne dead herbs swirling…

It slinked over and pulled
hard –

thrust me into mirages
of your hair sprouting
from olive oil glazed skin
into quicksand of mane –
hay spun over honeycomb.

Your head –
a moon,
rolling like a lion’s thick-featured mask
on a sensual mast of neck.

I am at the mercy of your
blood beaches
on our skins.
Their textures eat me away
and away and away.

A Poem: The Cautious Lesbian

The Cautious Lesbian

The jars of olives, oranges, and lemons
sit neatly on the bar.
Blue on that woman’s jaw
rips my palms as I squeeze
handfuls of imagined grit.

Rawness –

always restrained
like
an
ugly
quiet
sin –

let go only
to reverberate
against the wall
of the enclosed cathedral.

 

Soft taupe wood on the bar
is glazed thickly,
like a candy –
holding olives, oranges, and lemons.

 

I feel the lime die
in ginger beer. You almost
passed me on the steamy sidewalk,
but instead
stopped,
your mouth an orchid.

I’m having trouble swallowing.
There is pussy on my tongue.
The warm web glistens
with juices as they pass.
My head crowns between
your legs.

 

Soft brown fluff,
a new knowledge.

I am listening.
I am listening to the band instead
of the screams of my body.
The candle blares pattern
through cut wire –

A golden hair pulled apart,
its tip shifting gently like light

scrapings of a drumbeat
beginning. I am beating against
the blue
haze over olives, oranges, and lemons.

The strings of the drummer’s shoes
twitch as I sink into the fraying roar,
sucking in
like a scalding moth
on the fierce lantern
in my silent,
whirring body.