Steam and Mirror Wishes: Shattered

shattered mirror

I have spoken on my blog in the past about my Poetry Friend, and mentioned that generally before I read anything at CHOCS or share it in any way, I like to ask her to go over it. Typically she gives me suggestions and I cut a few lines here, add a few there, change a word, re-arrange, etc.

The poem that I posted: Steam and Mirror Wishes, I posted prior to asking her to go over it. Last Sunday, I sent a draft of it home with her. This is what I got back.

smokeandmirrorwishes draft photo

Frankly, she destroyed it. Which is good, don’t get me wrong. I am aware that there is no room for improvement without criticism/the slaughtering of your darling brain child, but it hurt me to suddenly hold in my hands this shredded draft of the best poem I have ever written. Self-professed and backed by the opinions of a couple of amateur friends.

She also told me something I never thought I would be honest enough in a poem to hear: “Some parts of this were a little bit self indulgent. You have to think of your audience.” Previous to this, she always asked me for more, more, more of myself.

The summary of this experience is this: you all will be receiving an edited version of Steam and Mirror Wishes very soon. I have been ultimately humiliated and crushed by this in the most personally improving way, and I will be contemplating how “you have improved A LOT,” can be, and is probably best, directly followed by, “destroy it all.”

Thank you.

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Steam and Mirror Wishes

mirror

You stand naked in front of

The mirror

In a warm, steamy bathroom.

You’re supposed to be clean now

Because you showered.

You speak in the second person

Because you can’t bear to address

The nude self you see through the fog

To an audience.

You remember when you used to play

With toy rainbow steamboats

Green

And yellow

And red

And blue

And faded from long soaks in lukewarm bathwater,

Because like for your sister now,

Apparently it was too hard for you

To put the bath toys

Back in their damn basket….

When your mama would bundle you out

Of the tub with a monsterous fluffy towel

You would smile and

Your countenance glowed rosy.

 

You reach up with a washcloth and wipe the fog from the mirror–

 

Your countenance is as gray as stone.

The deep, dark pits under your eyes

Swallow the light of sunsets

Into their black depths.

You are sick

And your pimple-covered face

Is splotchy red

Where your blood rises to the surface,

Where your skin wounds itself.

The marks,

Like the birthmark on a baby’s forehead,

Appear because

Not everything

Is quite right,

Or happened the way it was supposed to.

 

Your eyes drown in their hoarded tears.

Your wide, naked pupils

Distract from the way

Your irises grasp helplessly

To reflect the light,

Your countenance is gray

Like stone.

Your heart is a heavy stone

Buried deep in the earth,

Immovable and hard,

Dug up and thrown against

A brick wall

Again and again and again.

 

Your lips have sores,

They shift and crack

Like tectonic plates

And bleed molten lava.

The skin peels off

Because you thirst

And you do not drink.

The world is cold

And cracks your fiery skin

You are the core of the earth.

 

Your swollen neck engulfs the lines

Of your undefined jaw.

It hurts to tilt your head.

You wear a long black coat

Over the freedom of your curves.

It’s weight comforts you,

As if someone is always there.

 

Your nails are decorated

With a child’s inexperienced attempt

At coloring inside the lines

But he colored to carefully,

And then he decided

He’d rather color on the wall,

So he left blank borders

And uneven marks and textures….

Or is it not

Incomplete innocence

But partial destruction?

When people see your hands

They can tell you bite your fingernails

And scrape the polish off with your teeth

You wanted

Once

To destroy yourself.

 

Your neck bleeds

Down into your chest

And up into your cheek.

Your breaths rise

And you billow up until you stand

As a gray cloud

Shrouded in the black coat of night.

The stars drown in your hoarded tears.

One day you will burst

And rain down water

And someone will drink it

And quench their thirst.

 

Your face is splotched with red

Like a baby’s birthmark

Because you are young

And if you were beautiful

You would have too much.

Your neck is bruised.

It is not gray

It is purple and red

And green

And yellow

And stained

With honesty and exhaustion.

 

The whirlwind of passing time

Sweeps you away

So few weeks

Days,

Moments,

Do not let go of even one.

Hold on to them, grasp,

Embrace them,

Sink your teeth into them like the freshest fruit

And let the juice of beautiful moments

Run down your chin

And stain your collar.

 

Love like you feel pain,

Powerfully,

Urgently,

With great attention,

So that it contorts your face

And rends your heart.

Breathe moments

And they will sustain you

Suck life from Time’s breast.

 

Can pressure join two things?

Can Time join two things

And make them into one

Like the sunset

And the sunrise?

Within Time

The sun does not set

The sun does not rise,

It simply cycles

And you and the world simply turn your backs on the light.

You hurt when you realize that your life is but a season in the passage of Time.

 

Breathe the things that make you feel alive,

Drip words like lava from your lips

Hurt honestly

Cling

To what you can grasp that is truth.

Wait patiently.

One day soon

The sun will come

And the night will burn up

One day someone

Will rain down water

And you will drink

And quench your thirst and

Taste that sweetness fully with your tongue.

Time will join

Sunlight cycles,

Pressure will join

Tectonic plates

For now your countenance like stony dawn

Is gray

Wait for sunrise patiently

And love like you feel pain.

 

Afterword: I felt like I could post this today. I read it at CHOCS (our favorite coffee house) for the first time at open mic tonight. It has been weeks in progress, and I suppose I’m mildly satisfied with it. The reception at open mic was good.

Interestingly, this was the hardest poem that I have ever tried to read on stage. I’ve never wanted to fold into myself more than while reading this poem. I need to talk to my Poetry Friend about it and see what she  thinks as well. Anyway, enough rambling on. Thank you for reading.

The image is not mine, but the poem is my original work. Please do not use without permission.

This is Ours, Yours and Mine

holding hands

I haven’t been writing as much as I would like lately, because much of what has been going on in my life that is not work, church, or suffering through the social nightmare that Coffee Hour after church has become (Don’t worry, more explanation to follow) has been spent with my…boyfriend. I wrote a post about him a little while back, actually, but I deleted it.

In my previous relationship, there were some serious boundaries that got crossed. Not the parentally problematic ones, he didn’t touch my boobs or anything. Matter of fact, one of the biggest problems was that he respected his parents too much, more than he respected me. He told me going in that his parents would not even have consented (I was 17 and he was 16 at the time,) to him asking me out if he did not essentially intend to marry me. Okay, so hearing that right off the bat from a guy I had been super interested in for LITERALLY four years–lame, I know–was super flattering, heart-poundingly-romantic and what have you.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”-Genisis 2:24

So, if we’re going to be practically engaged the moment we start dating, you’d better be willing to act like you intend to marry me. Now this of course was not the sole reason for the relationship ending, which it did at the end of September 2017, but it was one of many major problems: he broke my trust by telling his parents something that I had told him in confidence. This along with several other indicators that he was putting his parents ideas about things and how they should be done, their opinion, and their involvement in the details of the relationship ahead of my comfort and need for safety and respect. Out of respect for him, I won’t detail the actual incident of trust breach on the internet, because it was catastrophic to my spiritual life, my relationship with my priest and confessor (a VERY important and sacred one in the Orthodox Church,) and my relationship to his family as well as numerous other people in the parish. I don’t want to be a prick, so this is all I will say: I was violated spiritually in one of the worst ways possible by this breach of trust.

What did I learn from all this?

Very much. I told my mother not long after it happened, “do not expect me to even tell you I am in a relationship, let alone anything about it, EVER AGAIN unless I am engaged.” I know it seems harsh, especially since my mother was not at all involved in the trust issue, this is simply an indicator of how much damage was done and baggage created. I knew going into future relationships, I was going to be very private, as one of the problems in the last one was simply the involvement of his parents as well as other members of the parish, adults, mind you, who were shipping it.

In my current relationship with “S” as I have nicknamed him for the internet, we like to describe it as something that is “just ours.” Now ultimately, of course, it belongs to God as well, but as far as humans on earth that have any say in it, any right to judge it, decide if it is good or bad, or otherwise become involved, the only ones are myself and him.

I guess this post boils down to me trying to explain why I deleted the last one, and it is because I felt like I gave to much of us to the world. Maybe this is selfish, but it’s okay–even healthy–to be selfish sometimes.

As far as stress at church goes, that could very well be an entirely different post, and I think it might. To outline, it is:

  1. Not belonging in Church School anymore, despite the best efforts of Mr. J and Mrs. A.
  2. Yet still not being able to integrate myself into Coffee Hour, because I don’t have kids/enjoy right-wing political discussions.
  3. Baggage from the spiritual nature of the violation I experienced in my last relationship.
  4. The presence of this person at church/his friendship with S, and the tension building which will inevitably lead to the ex finding out and screw up their friendship.
  5. Feeling like I can never be around enough, do enough, or keep in touch with my friends, and that I am so far away as far as what I’m doing in life right now goes that I can’t relate to their problems.

There it is, the teaser for the next post, and thus my soft commitment to eventually write it, if I don’t eventually regret spilling my guts in this one as well.

Thanks for listening.

Did You Know that if You’re Quiet, You Can Hear the Sounds of Your Screams Echoing Back to You from the Void??

void 2

I actually said this today–the title, I mean. It was a legitimate expression of how I was feeling at the moment, but I began to laugh the moment it escaped my lips. Even I can’t take my angst seriously (which of course is a point to be angsty about, who doesn’t hate to be made fun of, even by themselves?)

“Damn it, I would pay so much money to have the chance to go back and say that with a straight face!” My mom and little sister took it pretty well, although I could kind of see the pained expression on my mom’s face when she realized the place inside of me from which this notion came, and a cringe in response to the “damn it.”

I’ve been experiencing some pretty upsetting writer’s block. I know, I know. So original, an angsty teenager blogging (holy crap, she’s writing, guys!) about writer’s block. I have to get some of this out of my system, and the only way for me to truly get the honest words I know I need to say but have not yet fully formulated to come out is to begin word vomiting mundane shit about my day and posting it on the internet. I don’t have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, anything, anymore, because I realized that all they were doing was eating up time that should be used productively, say doing stuff like…writing crappy blog posts. This means, conveniently, that I will not have any platform to promote any of my blog-y stuff, something which I have dabbled in in the past. The last time I made a post, which I’m pretty sure was some poetry or something absorbed from another blog I halfheartedly tried to start on Blogger, I was shocked to see a bunch of people responding to it! I mean, it was like, people from, like, places actually read my stuff! Someone I don’t know personally even commented!

So thanks, readers. I don’t know if any of you are going to stick around for this, as this post kind of represents a “Lets-Write-Some-Shit-Every-Day-And-See-What-Goes-Down” resolution on my part. If I make a big deal in my own mind about committing to a resolution like that, I’ll royally screw myself, so we’ll just keep it subtle and below-board for now, kay? Point of interest: when I typed “committing,” just then, I typed it three different times and misspelled it a new way each time before finally succumbing to the sweet temptations of autocorrect. How do I have a job?

Yiruma radio on Pandora is pretty great. I’ve been asking myself lately: how do our tastes form? Aren’t they just kind of assimilated from the people around us? How can we tell if we truly like something, or we are just conditioned to enjoy it? Isn’t everything a matter of conditioning? Or are there some things that some people will never be able to learn to enjoy? Let’s take an example. You are Judy, and you are thirteen years old. You are in the eighth grade, and you’re just now starting to realize that you have a sexuality. So during recess one day, you notice this guy: let’s call him Joey. Your little eighth-grade-girl brain is like, “damn, that Joey kid is a stud, I want to hang out with him. I wonder wether he likes me?” So you start doing all kinds of dumb stuff to find out if Joey likes you. You ask Joey’s friends (under penalty of death if they tell him you asked, of course) you look out for signs that he likes you, you even get your girlfriends to ask Joey if he likes you. Of course, for Joey, answering the question “do you like Judy?” is shooting himself in the foot either way. You see, everybody subconsciously knows this, yet we do it to one another all the time, even as young adults, people!!! Why do we freaking do this?! If Joey answers with “yes,” well, then, he’s just admitted his feelings for Judy, thus making him vulnerable to her emotionally, and also exposing himself for an absolutely brutal onslaught of teasing. On the other hand, though, Joey answers “no!” and everyone in the vicinity is going to assume that this denial is simply an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable situation that honesty would bring, and that Joey does indeed cary a torch for Judy and is doing his darndest to keep that confidential information. So the teasing is simply doubled, because now Joey is trying to hide it, and awwweee, he’s embarrassed! He must reeeeeaaally like her!

Anyway, as little Judy, wether or not you manage to find out if Joey likes you back is a moot point. You want hime to like you, so your little brain cogs start turning. What does Joey already like for sure? So you, from various reputable sources, acquire the name of Joey’s favorite band, and you begin to fully immerse yourself in every album they have ever released. It is all you listen to, all you talk about, you won’t give it a rest, and now all your friends HATE Imagine Dragons (or whatever, this was totally not sort of pulled from a real life story about a real life girl in the eighth grade whom the author may or may not have been on very *close* terms with 😐 ) It doesn’t matter, though, because what are friends, really? Joey finds out that you are totally into Imagine Dragons, and then suddenly he wants to spend time with you, and a fresh, new romance can truly blossom to whatever extent they do in the freaking eighth grade. Voila! Judy will now associate Imagine Dragons with her first crush for the rest of her life. What if before this adventure, Judy would never have listened to anything like Imagine Dragons? What if, in all honesty, Judy doesn’t really like Imagine Dragons? Here her tastes are being formed by a person she wants to relate to. Our tastes are formed by our parents, our friends, people on the internet. Wether it’s music, movies, clothes, makeup, books, lifestyle, the influence had to come from somewhere. So all of our tastes, those are just made up of little pieces of the tastes of the people around us. The part that makes them truly ours is that each of those people had to be valued by us in some way. Our tastes are just made up of little bits of the things people we care about care about. Our relationships with other people define our personalities. We cannot be somebody outside of an interaction with another living thing.

This is an idea that has been bothering me recently, because someone who’s opinion I value greatly, a youth leader, actually….

We have two youth leaders at my church, a married couple, who for the sake of blog posts we will call Miss A and Mr J. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me using their names in blog posts, but I don’t exactly want them knowing I have a blog, because then they would read it, and I’m weird about that. They actually have one of the best marriages I have ever seen, and I’ve seen lots of crappy ones. The idea occurs that it might be a nice blog post for me to interview them and find out what their tips for a good marriage are. I will put that on the blogging itinerary. Anywhozle, Miss A told me once in a very emotionally heavy advice session that I was finding my identity to much in other people and that I needed to step away and find my own identity and my relationship with God. So all of this is just part of me trying to work through that.

So, to wrap up, because this is really effing long and I apologize sincerely to those of you who did not sign on for this: I am very angsty and have come to the conclusion that the writer’s block is not helping, and that the only way to break it up is to write shitty blog posts. Our tastes are formed based on the tastes of people we care about, the question is how much this forms our personalities, and I need to interview Miss A and Mr J about why their marriage works so well.

Thank you readers, for putting up with my crap. I love meeting new people, so feel free to drop a comment and I will do my bestest to respond and hit up anything interesting you have posted recently. I promise, I’ve been consuming plenty of media recently, so there should be some good reviews coming your way, which I haven’t done in awhile.

Blessings!

Image is not mine.

The Sky’s Sorrow: A Poem

Rainstorm
I can hear the thunder roll
just outside my window
No threatening booms yet
just a growl
a warning
uttered soft and low
shaking the walls
I collapse onto my unmade bed
and sink into my exhaustion.
Exhaustion rides on your waking back
Like a feather pillow
something warm and soft
distracting you
desiring you
drawing you deep into itself,
whispering breathily
“stay, stay.”
I can hear the rain begin to fall
just outside my window
epitaph, oh epitaph of sunshine
the clouds weep
why does the sky sorrow?
Perhaps it cries under the burden of the earth.
perhaps the earth rides
on the waking back of the day
and whispers breathily in it’s ear,
“stay, stay.”
But the sky weeps
and says to the earth,

 

“Behold, I must go.”
Please do not use my work without permission. This is my original poem. I hold no rights to the photo.

Pumpkin Head: A Poem

pumpkin head
My Poetry Friend–this is what I call her, but she is much more than that, a mentor, teacher, support–tells me, and I am paraphrasing horribly, that you should not try to explain or justify your poetry to anyone before you read it. Don’t stand up in front of the mic and say, “hello, my name is Erin and I’m an alchoholic. Imma read you this poem I wroted, but it’s like, a rough, rough, draft and, like, I need to go back and put periods. Also, I wrote it when I was like, twelve, so don’t, like, judge me or sumthin.” You get up on the stage and you read your poem, and own it for what it is and where it is, just like you must own yourself.
***
 Don’t hit a man while he’s down.
Hit a woman while she’s up
And if you knock her down
She’ll get up
Again and again and again and again and again,
She loves you so much
Halloween is the time when people set out pumpkins on the porch,
Skulls on the ground.
Skulls smash like pumpkins
Dropped from the roof she tried to jump from.
She has jumped from it in her dreams
Again and again and again and again and again.
I have a bruise on my side
She would float like a cloud
If she really jumped because
She’s spread so fucking thin.
I know what cheap cigarettes smell like
But they make more smoke
Than makes up this cloud
With night terrors.
Maybe if you would wrap your arms gently around her
She wouldn’t have to clutch hers around me and claw at my chest
Then go outside
And tap that cigarette pack
Again and again and again and again and again
and again:
She calls you her Jack
And she is your Sally
But you don’t get to give her stitches.
Her blue eyes are skies and oceans
And anything blue and poetic
But she must cry blood,
Otherwise all the blue would be cried from her eyes.
Maybe if you cut her
She would bleed all the things she wants to say,
But instead she has to cut herself
And listen to her cries.
Pumpkin seeds.
Her blue eyes reflect that skull on the ground.
This poem is my own work. Please do not use without permission or share without giving due credit.  The image is not mine, and I take no credit for it. Thanks.

Light and Shadows: A Poem

sunlight and shadowsSunlight overshadows the water as it sweeps from behind the clouds.
I can’t touch those green hills
because I’m too far away.
I’m too far away when I’m lying on my back
in the grass on the green hill
touching the ground with all of me.

I am still for the first time in hours,
really still–not sitting-in-a-car-still–
yet still–
Life is like watching the world rush by through a car window.
Everything happens around me.
Nothing happens to me.

My eyes used to be able to touch things when they looked.
Now when I run my ads over the needle-bearing branches of that fir tree,
It’s like touching my reflection in a lake.
It doesn’t look real, but I see it,
and I want it to be real,
so I stoop
and my finger breaks the surface of the water.
It doesn’t resemble me anymore,
just ringlet waves
and light shadows,
cold and deceptive.

I look at my life through a car window
because I am so far inside myself with everyone else
I can’t get far enough outside myself to be with myself.
I am outside my life looking in, inside myself looking out.

My mother always told me not to watch too much TV.
That I needed to balance my screen time with my real time.
It doesn’t really matter now, because life isn’t real anymore.

As the sun moves through the sky,
the shadows sail in through themselves
and out past themselves,
and in through themselves–
at noon they are lost inside,
and as the evening stretches, it stretches them inside out,
and night comes.
Night is when the shadows simply engulf everything,
they internalize, and become so small….
I think I am a shadow.

Shadows never feel.
They get stepped on by people,
crossed over by shadows, but
never touched by whatever casts them.

A little boy runs after his shadow
stretched inside out by the sunset.
Each step is more pointless than the one before,
because he will never catch it,
unless one day, swallowed by the night,
it catches him.

The sun sinks down slowly and I walk in a graveyard.

Gravestones have shadows, and gravestones are shadows.
I am a shadow.
I can’t touch the gravestones with my hands,
because they ripple away under my fingers.
I just want to feel
the cold hard stone,
the sharp surrender of a rock slate
to a letter engraved,
and the water droplets left sitting,
because it rained today.

If I could feel something,
It would be gratitude, because I can’t feel pain through the numbness.

Shadows are gravestones are shadows are the dead.
I stand stretched thin before the ancient fresh soil of my own grave,
trying to decide if
I will drive my shovel in.

All of my poetry is my original work. Please do not use or share without giving due credit. The image is not mine. Thanks!