I see you, out in the world

I see you, out in the world
flickers of you, flashes of you.
I see your hands on other people’s bodies
I see your shape, under the wrong face
hints of your smile, your wink, your dimples
oh, those dimples.
I see these different parts of you,
I see

you/not you
I wonder what you would be doing if it was me who died
If it was you who was left behind to cope.
Where would you be, in all of this mess?
How would you be?

Who, even.

I saw a man in a red pickup truck behind me last night, driving home.
A man who had a long, scraggly grey beard underneath your mouth.
your hands on his steering wheel
(your truck was blue; I never saw you in it)

the other day I looked up from my desk and saw the body I used to hug
it took every ounce of willpower to not stand up and walk over to not you.

(re)possessed

I am sitting on the damp chair (everything is damp)
It is 3:41 in the morning and in the space where my car usually lives there is nothing but a half a piece of paper towel
I am smoking and I am smoking and I am smoking and nothing is going to soothe this I fear
The woman who comes to repossess my car at 3:24 in the morning says, “I don’t want to embarrass you”
I am not embarrassed
I am defeated, again.

She says, “you have your health” I snicker
Do I? Do I.
“You have a roof over your head”
yeah and a house in foreclosure.
“Just call Nissan in the morning” she says, airily.
Just call.
She says this as if it were actually that easy.
Just call Nissan.
I try to explain that it isn’t that easy.
That I have widow brain and I am bipolar.
At the word bipolar she perks up.
“Do you need to call someone? Are you going to be okay.” wanting to absolve herself of further responsibility
The answer to that is obviously no and no. No I am not going to be okay.
No I am not okay.
No I am not okay no I am not embarrassed but I am desperate.
How am I going to get back to sleep.

It is 3:55 in the morning and everything is damp.

i do not know if I can take being loved this way.

Yesterday was my birthday.
I turned 53 years old.
I spent the entire weekend with people and missing people who clearly love me and who I love so much.
I spent the weekend

I spent the weekend doing familiar birthday things,
Going to the Lyndhurst craft fair as I have done for decades
(maybe half the artists this time, different layout, timed ticketing, all due to covid restrictions)
stressing out from all of the unknowns
(known and unknown, thank you D. Rumsfeld)
wanting so much for normalcy
(but what is “normal”, anyway? I certainly don’t have a fucking clue)
feeling so much that I have to explain even though I know I don’t
It seems like all I have been doing for the past three and a half years is explaining and explaining and explaining because honestly I
don’t understand any of it.
Just when I think I do I get caught off guard and none of it makes sense again.

I suppose I’m not explaining to others so much as to myself.

I miss all of the things that we talked about, all of those things that we never did.
All of the ways we responded to each other, all of the good, all of the terrible.
The contrast, I think,
the contrast is what’s killing me now.
i do not know if I can take being loved this way.

I can say things out loud and
I can say things out loud and not worry about feeling stupid for saying them.
Being made to feel stupid for saying them.
I can say things out loud and not worry about
I can say things out loud and not worry about being instantly and immediately criticized.
I can say things out loud and not worry about who might be on my side.

I know
I know for sure
I know now that you loved me but I didn’t then. I never knew for sure. I never knew from one minute to the next.
You would rescind and retract your love like the outgoing tide.
Snatch it away from me,
away from my

craven, grasping, grubby little paws

I want to forgive you for saying these things to me.
I want to forgive you for this so much.

How can I miss you so much and still be so angry at the things you did to me?
That we did to each other.

I told your sister once that I never really had an accurate sense of your feeling for me, not that I felt I could believe anyway. That I always thought you thought I was stupid and not enough and too much all at once.
That now I can look at the last things you wrote, and know.
I can look at all the small lovelinesses you left behind.
I can look at those things and know that they are real, they are proof.
Not soon enough to be able to enjoy with you, no.

The very desperate need to hold onto them

((craven, grasping, grubby little paws)screaming to the sky to talk to you
for you to hear me

I am trying so hard to do everything I can to be well.
I am still so
I am still so unwell but I don’t feel crushed by having to hold up every other damn thing anymore if only because I have given up on everything it seems)

I can look at the small lovelinesses that you left and see them for the huge gestures that they were. Everything is relative.

I can see the unexplored and forever unknown possibility of us becoming better to each other, to ourselves.
Knowing how difficult it was even in the very best of us
knowing I would not be this person if you were still alive
proving my progress to the memory of a dead man
wanting so much to escape your critical eye, your devastating words
and yet wanting to show you that I am okay
I am not okay.

Yesterday was my birthday.
I felt loved, and cherished, and adored, and so sad for what we never had.
If you could see how people treat me now.
If you could see how people love me now and aren’t afraid to say, to show.
I know you would, too.

why does learning this shit hurt so much

So if I’m right about this, all of the manic spending that I did, all of the things I did to treat myself, all of the retail therapy that I did that never filled any kind of hole, all of the evidence of this that is sitting in the house that I am losing that I am having so much trouble sorting through.

And now that I am not living in that house, now that I am trying to do my very best to figure out how to dispose of all those things, and it is so difficult and making me feel so empty and so useless and so all alone like I am worth completely nothing, perhaps it is because I am not

That all of those things that I collected, that I bought in moments where I felt not enough, maybe it is that I feel that I will be even less than not enough if I get rid of them.

Spending money on those things when I didn’t have it to spend but I bought them anyway because it was self-soothing and now that I have no money and now that I have to get rid of them even though buying them made me feel worse it feels like that was the only remedy I have available and now I am disposing of that like it didn’t even matter, like it didn’t even help ever at all.

you got one life, blaze on. 11 march 2021.

¹ “blaze on” by phish

clear, warm(ish) night, listening to music over headphones, productive day, visiting with some of my favorite people and meeting new ones. there’s some stuff rolling around in my brain; I’ve said some, but it seems too harsh, too cold to say, but it’s true.

my husband died and I was able to become who I am now.
he died so that i could live.

I can barely even say the words without wanting to smack my own face in horror, but it’s true.

I think I’ve said it out loud to maybe three people, each time thinking my own skeleton will exit my skin when I say it. I feel like I am daring myself to remain conscious, like maybe I’m dreaming.
I’m not dreaming.

I mean this is horrible shit, right? I’ll tell you something else truly terrible: on more than one occasion but fewer than ten, I confided to best girlfriends that

fuck this this is terrible.

“…no place to go but everywhere…” ²

I’d said to these women, these women all married like me, in various states of dysfunction in their own marriages and relationships, all bent and dented and damaged and nearly broken. Like me.

“…I’ve been waiting for you, in sunshine and rain… won’t you look at you now, you mad molecule…” ³

oh gods.
Oh gods.

“The problem is all inside your head, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free…
…it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways” ⁴

goddammit.

I’d said to these women wtf knows how long before he died
“If he could just be gone. I don’t want him to hurt, I don’t want him to die. I don’t want anything bad for him, not pain, not suffering. I just want to stop being in so much pain.”

and now he is and now I am. Now I am

I am becoming something more than I thought I could.
I would like the dissenting voices to kindly shut the fuck up, please and thank you.

“…I just want to say I love you
And make sure you feel it every day
’cause if today had been my last chance
It’s just something I wanted to say…” ⁵

I feel like you know,
in this way that my tenses and my conversations are still fucked up three and a half years in
I feel like you know
like you see
Tonight, especially. Now.
Like right the fuck now jesus fuck.

“Well I don’t mind sleeping alone
If it means I don’t have to play your crazy games no more
You’re the most precious thing I’ve ever seen
But I ain’t gonna let it slide when you’re mean to me
I know the love that I deserve…” ⁶

Deserve is a word I take issue with.
Earned is better.

I know, but I don’t really know.

¹ https://open.spotify.com/track/2f26s2OTd5PospyTITUR0n?si=RHDDOjtxRiqb-_hFCFs0aA&utm_source=copy-link

² https://open.spotify.com/track/0ErpHxNt1kTyCQGlh43wr1?si=0J9etAiGQ1uDfhNc4TJnAg&utm_source=copy-link

³ https://open.spotify.com/track/0lhou8W3tdUpLBwEEVpO4s?si=eX_u-E_VTki88NpRpYF1Qw&utm_source=copy-link

https://open.spotify.com/track/2fFfb1YL9Qx0EYx6jnVXON?si=o3ToLSEwQqeHgI_V2vgsrg&utm_source=copy-link

https://open.spotify.com/track/54rQxr2XJZ4vf0mRyGsqAo?si=T6QCJ3DvRk2wJEPJdSv2xg&utm_source=copy-link

https://open.spotify.com/track/646NxfLugCOxvB8V2bpHu2?si=ksNzleLdSDuWglnSGGomtA&utm_source=copy-link

1130a 31st february 2021. the impossible day.

i have seen the edge.
walked right up to it, lookedover.
i have looked into the abyss and it welcomed me.
its maw is deep and wide
and it welcomed me.
come, it said.
step over the edge.
or don’t
but i am here for you when no one else is. i will wait for you.
I know you will be back.

teeth bright and sharp
white and cold.
keep hold of what’s good.
that’s all there is to save me
that’s all there is
flashes of all the good things

grasping at anything to pull me back from this edge.
grasping at them
smashing them into my brain
shoving out this other
look away. look away.

518p 2d march, 2021. On defeating suicide.

That’s what it is, that’s what suicide is
It is literally the only and one solution to
“I don’t want to feel like this anymore and I know that I will
I don’t want to feel like this anymore and the only surefire way to not ever feel like this anymore is to kill myself.”
That is the only surefire way.I don’t want to feel like this anymore I hate feeling like this I don’t want to feel like this anymore

my voice grows shrill inside my head and out and it amplifies as my heart rate amplifies and screams

I don’t want to feel like this anymore.
There isn’t any other solution to not feeling like this anymore to *not ever* feeling like this anymore.

nothing is helping nothing is helping nothing is helping

it is going to keep being bad, isn’t it
it is going to keep hurting
yes.
yes it is.
people are going to keep being stupid
you are going to want to scream and hit and rage and you cannot
it is going to keep driving driving you down lower and lower and lower until you cannot breathe.

you might not want to feel like this anymore but Mojo.
Mojo and cookies.
Weed.
The full fucking moon and a sky full of stars.
Kissing.
Art.
Music.
Kissing.

There will be kissing Saturday.

so if I’m getting this right the idea is not to wish for it to stop feeling this way because it will always keep feeling this way
I mean it’ll stop for a while but then it goes right back it always has and it always will
it always always will.

no the idea is to not think about how terrible it is feeling and to only think about ending that but to think about all of the things you don’t want to end
Mojo.
Mojo and cookies.
Weed.
Those are all things I can do by myself
Those are all things I don’t have to depend on anyone else.
but kissing.
You can’t do that alone.
You need at least one other person for that.

You can’t go just yet.
You’re not done yet.
There are still so many good things.

1012p 1st march 2021

I miss you.
I’m trying so hard to not miss you and I know that isn’t the point
I am trying so hard to be independent and stand alone on my own two feet even though it is clear that I cannot

when it seems that I have finally gotten my footing underneath
after that terrible summer
i have gained my balance and then I meet you.
you who sweeps me off my feet and takes my breath away in one fell swoop.

I know that you are coming back I know that I have nothing to fear and yet all I have is fear.

I take smiling pictures of myself to prove that I am happy, prove to whom, prove to myself? but the smiles don’t come easy.
crooked smiles, nonetheless.

I think about what you might be doing while I am sitting here and I know that doesn’t serve any good purpose but I do it anyway.

I watch the waning moon rise higher in the frigid sky,
fingers turning white with cold.
clouds moving with the slow scud of a Star Wars sequence,
branches in front of my windshield frantic and terse.

It is finally too cold to sit out here any longer but I am not yet finished.
I do not feel anywhere near able to sleep.
I am missing all of the missing tonight.
All of the missing who mean anything.
Even the ones I don’t want to miss.
The ones I would rather the missing be inequal.
I wish they would hurt like I hurt. I wish I knew they did.
That isn’t very gracious.
I don’t feel very gracious.

614p, 26th february, 2021. hope.

a photo of me with my unwashed, tearstained face, in front of a wall with a laser-cut rising sun sculpture, a photo of me as “Rosie (the Riveter) Revisited” by my husband in 2002, and an exhortation to “cheer up honey pie” .
there is no filter on this photo.

I am driving and I am listening to the President and I am crying
I am crying and I am crying and I am crying and they are huge ugly tears
“A dose of hope”, he says and the tears flood down my face “a dose of hope” he says

Hope is something that I never ever had.
It was never even on the list of things to look for.
Hope was for the foolish and the losers and the suckers.
the idea of hope was as painful as the reality of unrequited love, a crush that goes nowhere, being ghosted by someone you really, really thought you liked.
Hope was not for me, not ever.

but maybe,
maybe now it is.
maybe I can have some for myself, just a little.
I’m not asking for much.
Just a little.

Hope.
The taste of it, the texture.
rolls around in my mouth, between my fingers.
hope.

I draw my hand back, my heart back sharply from the edge of this hope
too sharp, this edge, too unknown.

My chest tightens, my jaws clench, my fingernails dig into my palms.
breath shallows, and hitches as my eyes darken, kohl smudging my cheeks.

“Guess what!” the President says, excitement clear and bright through the speakers
“We landed a rover on Mars!”

hope.