Up

Sometimes, my thoughts become so small, so insidious, that they slip between cracks in my brain
becoming trapped in the earth beneath

It’s here that the light is so very far away, and i know that i am a thing from the deepest darkness
made of hard clay and sand

My senses fill with ancient life, and i’m full of death and the taking of it, the taking and the making of life
persistent in the ever blackest earth

I shift dank fragrant soil towards the sun, the softest, tiniest glow, from the hottest brightest life
and i will myself up up up

Away from the deep cold lands, away from my old evil, from the dirt of knowledge that i’m a grave
My will leaves me for the sky

Up up up, through the crack from which the promise of gold beckons, a blur in the night
showing roots pointing to a better place

I know that i am the thing in the deep, but i reach high, scales and caked fingernails
poking through like a dandelion on the sidewalk

The sun bakes my scales into skin, my clodded earth now eyes and mouth
I walk clumsily because i’m always looking up

IMAGE: istock

Poem From a Woman*

sittin’ in my jammie-jams because hey
at least i got up
and that is a THING
and as i gather myself for whatever i can put into the day
sitting on the red couch that i always wanted
-who knew it’d only cost me fifty bucks?-
i look to my right to adjust the ponytail-loopy-messybun
that’s designed to keep my hair somewhat cute
with a minimum of hassle and no brushing
BONUS
and i catch sight of my ankles
and the tops of my calves
the mirror is floor length – not even my biggest one
i have them all over the house
because my house is small, broken down a bit
a dream house built for a grandmother-in-law that i never knew
decently built in the fifties but now in need of repair
sorry house but mine comes first
and the renos have been a nightmare
so for now what you get are mirrors
because back when i thought you weren’t good enough
i was binge-watching HGTV
and they all said mirrors make spaces look bigger
and i am so bigger
too bigger
and i knew i needed bigger spaces, even if it was an illusion
so my little crooked house thanks me sarcastically for the band-aid
by showing me my cankles and tree-trunk calves
-but wait now-
i’ve been tapping my pontoon feet on my old hardwood floor
listening to Amanda Palmer while jigging my body on the red couch
as i pull bits of my hair here, there
pleasing myself with the arrangement
i watched so many videos
and tried so hard
but i could never master the casual flare of the messybun girls
i gave it up long ago like it did the makeup toots
-holy christ so many hours of that!-
i discovered i was almost as unskilled at drawing on my face as i was on paper
and my Twin and i realised i’m not that girl
and she even gave up collecting makeup we never used
and i discovered that i like a defined brow
and lipstick
and a bit of blush
and that’s pretty much it
just as i like my weird loopy-ponytail thingwe
i’m staring at myself in my smartass floor-length mirror
looking at my ankles, my calves
feeling the hot acid accusations being thrown
hearing decades of admonishments
i turn into it
and i am become the mirror
and in it we are infinity
i can see me all going back
further and further and further still
and i see that i have made these ankles thick
and i see that i have carved these tree trunk calves
they are me – they are who i am
they are who i want to be
i put down the magazines as i have turned off the makeup gurus
and the hair tutorials
and the home decorating channels
and the goddamned celebrity interview programs
and the accursed diet mavens
-omg god could they fuck the most off already?-
i stand up and move into my kitchen where there are more and bigger mirrors
i face them – daring their judgment
standing on my hideous stained linoleum with walls in desperate need of paint
clownfeetthickankleshugecalvesthunderthighsfatassmonkeyarms
tootalltoobigtoomuchtooloudtooweirdtoopoortoodirtytoolosttooalone
and i turn
and i leeeean into it
the images repeat, each folding into the next
i grew this big because life worked me out
i grew this tall because my children needed shelter
i became this loud to drown out the hate
i became this weird to survive poor, dirty, lost
and alone
i always wanted a red couch and i found one for fifty bucks
i filled my house with mirrors because i wanted my house to feel BIGGER
i filled my house with mirrors because i wanted it to SEE
my house is exactly as it should be
the decorations are not tricks or masks
they are adornments
we are all of us decorated as i intend
i had thought i was just beginning to create myself in my own image
but as i look from breakfast-sausage webbed toes that are so well suited
to both gripping the earth and swimming in deep waters
to my Amazonian body
to my tattooed lips and brows
to my wacky-ass hair conglomeration
i see that i am fearfully yet wonderfully made to my own specifications
standing there in my faded pink, Paris-themed pyjamas that make me feel cute
i look just as i should just as i want just as i wish
i have been creating myself all along
and no fashion or lifestyle or home improvement magazine
television show or internet channel
could have even come close to doing this spectacular a job of it
i square my fantastic football shoulders
and walk into the kitchen
i’m hungry
I believe a grilled cheese and ice cream are in order.

~ Mine, November 2, 2020

* Decided last night i was going to post “poem from a girl”. This morning as i went to do it, this piece came flooding out of me. I almost like it, and i no longer hate the other one. There’s an obvious lesson in that of course. It’s a lesson that i am, and will continue learning.

IMAGE: Christian Mack




poem from a girl*

The sweetness that comes with remembrance of youth was never mine
Instead a tree overladen with bitter fruit
bowed to the ground and scattered about with rotten flesh
To taste of it is to be spirited away to Nowhere, Neverwhere

My body flows through with its potent poison
numb and heavy and dully moving for no reason save because
Twisted roots bequeathing its sick mythologies
filling me up with wrongness and setting my feet on the wrong path

Oh, but where i walked there grew green things
My calloused feet yet kissed the earth and warm things drew close
to drink in my beauty and rest awhile in my light
They whispered secrets before they flew and i marked where they went

A simple song of a little wild thing, sung in fairytale keys
She turns her bright chubby face towards the horizon
Her upturned nose as dear as her tremulous voice
She stops when i stumble and beckons me on to the glow in the distance

~ Mine, September 29, 2020

*Sat on this one for a long while. Couldn’t make myself trash it, but couldn’t get myself to post it, either. Poetry is a loaded subject for me to begin with, although not for reasons of my past in a direct way (indirectly, everything is), but when any writings pop up in my drafts folder that aren’t from me specifically, i struggle. This one makes me cringe. Frankly, i hate it. I think i know who wrote it, and she’s 8, and i find connection with the younger parts difficult. I decided to post it because i’ve been trying to connect with them, to shed the disgust that came on me due to what was done to me, not who and where i was age-wise at the time it was done. I can see the distinction intellectually, but to live with it as truth and function on the daily from that understanding is quite another thing.

IMAGE: qi bin

A Day in the Life

As i arc ’round the sun, swinging
like Bakshi’s Spider-man
speaking laconic and sly too early
grinning and breaking my bones
drowning in my own sea
My toes can’t reach the bottom,
so i make macaroni and cheese while
Doc Ock nullifies my ache
in muddy greens and go-go music

Rounding the bend i see them, screeching
squealing like happy little Piggies
Awkward pause, that heart-drop moment
and i am the Wolf, interloper
eating smirks and snorts
chewing my own tongue
choking on bricks and mortar
A grim existence, grins like whips
Grandma blows the house down when she gets home

Consumed and consuming, too full
to be refilled, bellying up for
Nothing, acrid air and flesh like dust
seeping in like night
settling in like decomposition
hop, hop across the floor, petit jeté
lying in wait for the sword through the mattress
Drinking welts and eating bruises
Hercules and Rocket Robin Hood feed me breakfast

IMAGE: Enrico Mantegazza

September

Sitting with him in the dark
parked on the side of the road
I sit rigid
with my eyes so wide
Trying to swallow the dark
and still wear it like a blanket
He cracks open a can and hands it to me
I drink it in 3 or 4 draughts
It fills my lemon-stomach
and gurgles in the quiet
He passes me the other thing
the stuff that loosens my tongue
One rail and in 5 minutes i’m spilling
the things in my brain that gurgle too
The voices
Icy swords and hot daggers
Lollipop lullabies
Zigzagging like lightning
Roiling the sea and Oh
My Ship full of Fools
They’re all crying out
to me and to each other
punching holes in the night
The words dry my tongue
and crack my lips
Falling out like old driftwood
Splitting open and spilling dust
Motes in my eyes
Silt in my lungs
He cracks open another and hands it to me
I chuff out my breath like a bellows
and he tells me it’s going to be all right
I drink in his pale, silent beauty
and try to see the world from his eyes
To hold his hope in me
with the same fierceness that i’m holding his hand
More of the Devil’s potions and powders
More of my knots are untwisted
He gently asks who i am
and i tell him i don’t know
I don’t know

~ Mine, September 23, 2020

IMAGE: Trevor McKinnon

Never Have I Ever

Squelched ocean sand between my toes
or picked my own mussels

Gone houseboating down the Shuswap
and sunbathed on the beach

Crowd-surfed at a concert while
others hoot and holler in celebration

Run through mud and rope-climbed walls
with fellow plucky survivors

Bungee-jumped or whipped down a zip line
or jumped out of a perfectly good airplane

Visited the lands of my forefathers
nor broken bread with those who yet live

*****
Felt completely at ease in a group
even if they’re all people i love

Stood in a line up without worrying
because i know someone must be staring at me

Gotten dressed up for some event
and been completely satisfied with my appearance

Had an argument where i wasn’t terrified
or a discussion where i didn’t feel attacked

Not worried that a man might want sex from me
or a woman was going to hurt me

Felt truly safe around other people
or utterly let down my guard

This is not poetry.
This is a bucket list.

IMAGE: Courtney Moore

Singing in the Dark

Heart of my heart i went down to the water to see you
But i couldn’t
I got lost in the eddies and captivated by currents

Mind of my mind i climbed up the mountain to hear you
But i didn’t
The wind was so loud so i picked a few wildflowers instead

Flesh of my flesh i delved deep in my dreams to meet you
But i shouldn’t
The dreams are lovely and terrible and i find it hard to leave

You are the water that threatens to take me
You are wind that will blow me straight off the cliffs
And you are the dream that will hold me in sleep forever

Song of my song i wrote this to sing for you
But i wouldn’t
And my throat ached at my resistance

Pain of my pain i reached out blindly
And i would
I sat still in the dark tonight and sang it to you

You are the one who gave your life for me
You are the reason my body yet breathes
I will sing to you now and always

I found you here and here you ever shall be

~ Mine, September 03, 2020

IMAGE: Pawel Szvmanski

Alone

Is this a poem?

I’m alone every day
Smiling at everyone
They can’t know
And that’s all i know

Is this a poem?

I make friends
These are my friends — i made them
You can’t see them
They’re only for me

Is this a poem?

You look at my face
You hear my voice and you think you know me
I’m a Russian doll, friend
You don’t know a thing

Is this a poem?

I can’t write for shit
You’re reading how i talk
Every day all day
To people on the internet

Is this a poem?

It most certainly is not
I tap it out all the same
I live my best life
Regurgitating every thought

This is not poetry

~ Mine, August 24, 2020

Time

Time creeps
Your eyes fixed on me
I can smell you
So strong i can taste it
Fear
Hate
Time swells
Lonely and lost
Ugly and stinking
You smile like pink frosting
Sweet
Pretty
Time ebbs
You’re wretched
Drenched in lies
Swollen with the overflow
Want
Need
Time flies
I’m here alone
Your cupcake was shit
I’m not even hungry
Full
Empty
Time bleeds
You’re all over me
I feel your heart
It ticks and trips
Dead
Gone
But i’m still here

~ Mine, August 23, 2020

No More Parties?!

So, today isn’t gonna be the day i start, either. *sigh*
I’ll try again tomorrow, but today my heart is just too low. My energy level is practically zilch. I think the best thing to do is give it 1 more day. The stress headache from Tuesday’s therapy is still thumping away mightily, and i’ve been hit with a fibro flare-up, just to make things that much more fun.
Discernment and flexibility – i haz it.

I suppose if i’m not gonna be Little Miss Getshitdone, i should at least write. My head feels like it’s packed full of cement though, and with that jackhammer going on up there too… i’m blanking out. *sigh *

Perhaps some pandemic not-prose-don’t-make-me-say-poetry? Hm.

**********

Party Poem: External

I show up late to the party
Most of the people are gathering their coats to go home
Piled up on the bed in the spare room
Minglings of perfumes and colognes
Can i take your coat?

I sit down on the biggest couch
It’s the best chance i’ve got at not sitting next to anyone
Unfortunately only the drunks remain
So a guy sits down almost right away
How you doin’ tonight?

His breath is so toxic i grimace
It was involuntary and i zero in on his reaction
I needn’t have worried at all
He’s busy charming the pants off himself
Do you know anybody here?

I mumble out that i know the hosts
He launches into a frantic and slurred tale
My friends are his old college buddies
They’ve known each other forever
How do you know them?

I tell him the woman is my sister
This was the wrong thing to say as it gives him an excuse
Drawing close with his whiskey and garlic laced breath
He acts like he’s considering it
So you’re the younger one right?

I blush and begin to sweat
This means i look red and juicy like a steak
I probably smell like meat at this point
He thinks i’m flattered
Can i get you a drink or three?

I suddenly blurt out Excuse me!
I’m absconding to the bathroom at top speed
I pray that i won’t trip over anything
I’ll go to church tomorrow please if it could be empty
Hullo, anyone in there?

I avoid the mirror and sit down
I already know what i’ll see on my turgid face
The flat-out wide-eyed panic
I quietly convulse in a sob or three
Hullo, anyone in there?

I force my voice past the stone in my throat
I let them know i’ll be right out
Swiping furiously at my eyes
I look at my hands and remember i put on mascara
Oh geez are you kidding me?

I fix up the mess as best i can
I knew i should’ve worn the waterproof kind
Using toilet paper and water i work quickly
Keeping my head down i walk out and apologise
I hope everything’s okay?

Now the panic is bubbling up
I don’t know why such a stupid thing just came out of my mouth
I make my way to the spare room and then dash to the front door
Made it a full 20 minutes this time, i say
Why do i have to be like this?

Party Poem: Internal


Swinging door sucks in the cold
Pulling me in with fingers of air and flesh
Flushed skin and frantic smiles
Boozy air with a note of sweat
Smile, dammit, smile!

Pillowy couch threatens to eat me
Perching birdlike i puff out my feathers
Staccato bursts of laughter
I ruffle fluff and side-eye the room
Oh no, don’t sit here!

Open mouth saying smelly words
Fevered lips and hungry teeth wet with a swollen tongue
Yellow paste from cigarettes
My belly hitches and my pits itch
I’m overheating already!

Eyes like hungry mouths move over me
The stink of him and the pounding air
His words like syrup left out with no lid
Too thick and sticky he drowns little gnats
I don’t want this, go away!

My responses trickle out like an old creek
Tripping like i once did at hopscotch
I draw to one side with a lurch and a terrible squeak
I am that one shopping cart
Back up buddy, you’re too close!

My face fills up like a balloon
I’m hot and stretched thin and ready to pop
Full of unspent air and held breath
Hot and brittle like candy
Ohmygod he’s leaning in, nonono!

My legs kick out from me violently
Like a newborn colt trying to stand
The music crawls inside my head and punches
My soft brain cries as it guides me
I must get away right now!

Quiet relative coolness and the good kind of dark
Unlike the dark outside the door full of grave shadows
I pant like a dog at summertime’s peak
My guts wringing me with anxious hands
Someone’s at the door!

I’m too little for this but so big
I can’t fill the space but there’s no room for me
I’ve got to leave but i don’t want to go
I want to go home but must first brave the gauntlet
Stop it now, everyone will see!

I’m 5 and the floor is lava
Wild bears and dragons surround me on all sides
The hot air pulls tears and breath and sweat
I’m melting as i make for the door
Don’t anyone try to stop me!

Booming bass like ship cannons
My guts float up and grasp the base of my throat
Food and bodies and booze invade my nose
Rubbery legs cross the space to freedom
I’m out i’m okay i’m safe, breathe!

~ Mine, August 19, 20, 2020