ghost story

when you hear your story on her lips
and your hands shake
because the story looks just like
you used to
and haunted
all the way home
your throat as tight as the hands
but the pain
still lingers
and you pray to god
that she found her way out
for good
because she can outrun
the echoes
that chase
baby, I promise
they only howl at night
you built this ghost story
more legend
and myth
than memory these days

songbird marrow

I need the sun
the hike
I need to stretch out every insecurity
on dirt paths
place my soles
in the whispered silence
ghosts of all the footsteps
before me
make me feel
clear out every brain loop
filled with
belly button fluff
unkind feelings
I’m less human
the more I sit at a desk
so give me sunshine
let me breathe
like the wild animal
carved into my
songbird marrow

out of focus

I’ve been avoiding writing lately.
Which means I’ve been avoiding confronting myself.
Instead of holding insights about my growth and mental health close to my humming chest,
I’ve been buying more things, watching more Netflix – anything to keep my gaze averted.

This is the complexity of being these days.

Knowing that, for me, I have to pull out any scrap of paper and write everything down.
Scribbles. Curses. Questions. Lyrics.

K n o w i n g  that my peace is on the other side of that paper.

Waiting to hold me in ink-stained hands.

But still I fight it. Fight what’s good. Healthy.

Indulge instead on old patterns that feel comfortable (but are simply numbing).

I look at the journal on my nightstand
and then I look away.

I’ve been wondering where the line is between discipline and rest
and self-love
and patience
and self-sabotage
and unhealth.

Is it even a line?

Maybe more like crosshairs out of focus.

A couple of dark weeks ago I confused depression for being powerless.

It was a dizzying stretch of days
that stretched
every inch of confidence and self-assurance
in my wobbly brain.

It was noticeable. Friends gently listened, confused, too.

The isolation of confusion and doubt. The heavy weight of what seemed wrong ­– projecting it onto anything I could reach.

Very soon after, though, everything started to come together.

Like rising bread in a warm oven. Comfort and sustenance that I had spent weeks mixing and shaping; building up into a simple masterpiece.

I find myself wide-eyed (with myself) too often. How did it actually work out well?

My anxious brain searches for the thousands of other shoes to drop and wearily considers that good things can happen to me, too.

As I get older, I’ve realized I have an extreme detachment to the joy that follows anything good. I can’t sit and bathe in that sunshine – my brain refuses to trust the opportunity.  

It’s a physical act of rebellion against my programming to stay open and accept without skepticism.

Finding my way back to words – to understanding piece by piece – has made me more conscious of what am I focused on?

slow burn red

slow burn red
a cigarette and
silent promise
to watch
to wait
no facial outlines
only the grip
on wire fencing
in the dark
in plain sight

slow tendrils of tension
in the quiet
night air
fear catches
like a struck match

feigned innocence
until one afternoon
he walks up the driveway
tries to come in the
back door

my hackles
sharp as knives
tell the stray wolf

go home

hide the tremor in my chest
because I’m alone
facing down
300 pounds
of ex-convict

just me
and an unaware pup
packing up the scraps of an old life
while my ex-lover drinks away
my final goodbye
in a dark corner of the city
the one that couldn’t fathom putting his lips
anywhere but on more bottles
the infidelity
that burned everything
to the ground

so now
in black ink
I check the box
on apartment applications
that calls my dog
a legal
to the dark nights
that hang
in the corners of my mind