POEMS TO SLIT YOUR WRISTS BY

I’ve been pretty honest here (and in other areas of my life) about my battle with depression and anxiety disorder.  I’m honest not because I want attention (I don’t–part of me hates for other people to see weakness in me), but because I know so many other people struggle with these (and other) varieties of mental illness.  I think the more honest we all are about what is really going on in our brains, the less alone we will feel.

I’ve struggled with depression on and off for most of my life.  The anxiety disorder was gifted to me about three years ago.  I hated being on meds.  They made me feel dead, and I couldn’t string words together, which is a big problem for a writer.  In the interest of feeling alive, and being able to write,  I learned to manage my anxiety without them.

I haven’t had a panic attack in about two years.  The secret?  Kittens.  Lots of kittens.  Seriously, when I was in the middle of the full blown manifestation of the disorder, everything, everything would make me panic.  My brain was a confusing tangle of bunny trails of the most lethal variety.  Any word, any subject, any song, any thought, would somehow lead to bad associations, which would send me spiraling into panic.  Except kittens.  So I watched hours and hours of kitten videos, focusing intently on them, not letting myself think the thoughts that were so determined to make me crazy.  After a while, refusing to engage with the panic worked.  I stopped feeling it.  The world stopped being a terrifying place.  But thank God for kittens, man.  Thank God for kittens.

I’d pretty much handled my depression (or so I thought) until about four months ago, when it returned with a vengeance that seemed rather intent on blowing my brains out.  I didn’t let it.  I am nothing if not stubborn.  Once I set my mind to accomplishing something, I do it.  And I have set my mind to not dying of depression.  What I did in lieu of blowing my brains out was write poetry.

Now that I’m over that bout of depression, I can look at its rather sickening, dark fruits with objective eyes.  Some of it was good.  (Those poems have been submitted to journals.)  Some of it was bad.  (Those poems have been burned.)  Some of it was fair to middlin’.  (I’m posting the fair to middlin’ stuff here.)

I post these poems that came from the darkest recesses of my psyche in the interest of saying: You’re never alone, kids. Other people are out there feeling what you feel. You are not a freak.  You are not an anomaly.  You are a beautiful human living a sometimes difficult life, and sometimes, it makes you really, really sad.  It’s ok.  Even on your coldest, darkest nights, you are not alone.  Even at the holidays.  (As a side note, if you are depressed at the holidays, don’t watch Love Actually.  Love isn’t actually like that at all.  Nobody out there is living that movie.)

You are not the only person in the world feeling alone and and sad and pondering blowing your brains out.  Don’t do it.  You have such a pretty face.  And tomorrow, that one thing you’ve been wanting to happen, that one thing you’ve been dreaming about for years, could happen.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if you weren’t around to see it?  My daddy used to sing a song to me that said, “Well, it’s nice to be alive when a dream comes true.  Maybe you should stick around.  It could happen to you.”  Stick around.  It could happen.

What’s happening to you right now is only a chapter in your story, the part where the hero faces the darkness, the part that happens just before the blazing and amazing dawn.  Don’t turn it into the end.  That’s a really shitty ending.  I hate stories that end with beautiful people blowing their brains out.  Stories like that suck.

(Full disclosure:  I was a bottle of wine in when I wrote most of these.  I didn’t spend time editing them.  I’m just sharing them here as they were on my computer when I woke up the days after the bad nights because I want you to know even the sparkliest souls go black sometimes.  And I also want you to know that this sparkly soul is on the other side of this bout of blackness.  The sun is shining again.  Even the darkest nights are followed by dawn.)

 

RICHOCHET

Love,

when you placed that pistol between my eyes

and fired

your bullet burrowed

deep into my skull

bouncing between brain matter barricades

erasing memories

replacing them with carnage

It slid down my throat

burning

like the worst kind of liquor shot

sifting through soft tissue

leaving me torn

and voiceless

When it entered the great hall

of my ribcage

it shattered bones

pillaging the pillars of my heart

until it imploded

leaving a pile of meat

a puddle of purple blood

a vast expanse of nothing

 

MARRYING UGLY

I had always been afraid to let you love me

up close

afraid that maybe you wouldn’t be

the pretty thing you seemed

from far away.

And then I saw your ugly,

and though it broke me,

I loved it more than I ever loved your pretty.

I loved your terror

and your rage

and your trembling weak.

That was when I knew

I wanted all of you

to melt into

my bones.

 

I married your ugly today.

 

LUSTER (LESS)

Don’t you feel gray inside

organs bags of grainy sand

skin stripped bare of everything that made you shine?

Your options for rock bottom have multiplied

exponentially .

Heroin addiction is a best case scenario.

Time

has always been a hungry noose,

and you didn’t know until just now

its jaws were closing tight.

Last night, there was a hole in my dreams

where you used to stand

a torrential up pour

of quick sand.

 

PAINT JOB

Bad whiskey tastes sick sweet

like forgetting

and that’s enough to make me

drink it down.

I wonder if this pain

camouflages the real me

like flat black spray paint

on a cherry red corvette

or if underneath

I was always

this color of

dead.

 

MIRAGE

She spoke of the drug

that bled light into your bones

until it melted through muscle

shone through skin.

She told lies

knowing there

was no such pill.

She tried not to remember

but she did.

Even the pretty things

cut.

 

The river Thames

Mina Loy sitting beside her

while gray water rushed.

A stooped man played the cello.

 

In the cantina

named after a cockroach

the man

knocked his beer from the table

watched her catch it

awed by her reflexes

as he had never been

by her mind

though it was good

and thick

sinewy

ropes of hearty gray matter

twisted together

to create

a sculpture

only a scientist or a madman

would fully appreciate.

 

By the sea in Puerto Penasco

she ate her corn from the cob

slathered in butter

sank her teeth into it

as if the kernels

were pills of light

drank three glasses of wine

to wash it down

sat on the stoop

watching the sun droop into the sea

making gems of the tiles

and far away the water

where He

 

told her a story

of trolls that lived on that rocky island.

She watched the place he had pointed that day

sink

knowing someday

this beauty too

would fade

 

nothing more than

a dull, never-ending ache.

 

SPECTRE

I wake in the night

to the sound of your

disembodied

voice

knocking on my skull.

I fling myself open like

matching doors

carved from river wood

drawn up whole

already painted cracking blue.

I slept in the gap

between your tongue and teeth

for three whole weeks

before you noticed me there

nesting like a small rodent

or medium sized bird.

You spat me out with

that pat-too-ee sound only you can make.

The ground quaked your revulsion.

Sleepless

I stare into the not-yet dawn

listening to your ghost wail

threading my fingers through

his not-there hair

kissing

his invisible lips

tasting rotting citrus and heavy air

whispering

there there 

hoping he understands

even now

in the wake of the tsunami of you

the shattered city of me

craves your holy water.

That Innana corpse

you made of me

and hung up on your wall

has loved you all along.

 

P.S.  This song always gives me peace when I’m in a dark place.  It goes out to all the beautiful hearts that are breaking this winter.  May you find some comfort here.

Watch Sarah McLachlan’s Duet Of “Arms Of The Angel” With Pink That Will Leave You Breathless

 

 

 

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