little observations

little observations:


how his fingers used

to be entwined

in mine

to guide me

to where his eyes

were taking him


and your hands are always

firm on my waist

not there to steer

but to just hold on

as though unable to

bear without

touching me


the way romance

used to be with him


like a scene stolen

from some script

he was writing

for us


and the way you don’t

really do romance

but there’s a warmth

in your smile

and your eyes

when you’re just looking

at me


how he used to promise

the world

and sometimes

fooled me into

believing he had



and you never promise


but you just give me


what I need


and I’m not saying

I couldn’t have

loved him


but the difference is

I love you

Before it got really bad

Before it got really bad

Dad used to be

chewing gum

visceral spearmint

in memory


he used to be pockets

of shiny quarters

a jacket sleeve

proffered to little hands

when crossing

the street


he used to be

feeding ducks

bits of bread

in the park


Dad was

a cheeky Puck’s grin

the ever-prankster


But when it got really bad

he was whiskey

Crown Royal bottles

lining the far kitchen



he was a shadow

formed first

in the furrow of his brows


he was the dining table


cracked flower trimmed


and unrelenting



a pocket

Of bruised fists


mom’s bruised eyes


Dad was his head

in his hands


Dad was a wide back




But if it gets better

I hope he can

be how he was


when I loved him


awkward breakups

We say goodbye

like strangers do
on the bus
when they’ve
for a only little

unable to touch
tense and unsure
eyes already somewhere

mind already thinking
of somebody else

we say goodbye

like there’s no history
of us
to leave behind

promises of reunion
hollow and untrue
the only truth between
us wanting to just go

and never looking back
afraid of being the one
who cares more
or too much

so we choose to not
care at all

We say goodbye

and though we wear
such pretty smiles
such convincing regret

we don’t mean
See you later


my heart has been

pried open to display

an empty interior

rusty and lacking;

misuse having done

all it could do

to me


I’ve been made

so lost

bereft of people

to love me



I feel the edges of me


and weak

but the more I’m cut

the further

the sadness spreads


and I can’t do this


I can’t keep bearing

all the little aches

of this beat up

little heart


all on my own


lady death

when I’m not so visible

you think you’re invincible



but it’s not that I’m

not around



I’m the outer edges

of shadow where

I observe quietly

letting you feel

letting you be


but when I come

for others

you build upon me

your burning pyres

your wept prayers


and all your fears

of becoming

a ghost

in your own life


eventually I’ll fade for you

I’ll eat your grief;

cut it up into more

manageable pieces

and inhale the worst


of sadness

when I go


clear your lungs

and heart

of tears


so that you’re able

to walk around


pretend at cheer


you no longer

have to pretend


and I let you

forget me

until we have to meet again

stealing souls

The truth is this: we go places, and only pieces of us come back. We turn into the frames of stolen paintings. We become easily ancient and bereft in this way, collecting dust and neglect like an empty vase on a high shelf.

To slow this decay, I steal missing pieces of other people, people being or pretending to be their better selves. I rob them of their alter egos in sarongs and flips flops, in high heels and tackily patterned shirts. I paste these snapshots of stolen history in random corridors in apartment buildings with rickety fire escapes.

Here these images stay:

Documenting when you were brave and adaptable

When you were better than you ever thought you could be

Standing against a sky so beautiful because of the color in your face, the light in your eyes

Or on a beach, daring to wear what you’re now scared of putting on

Not thinking of stretch marks and extra flesh gathering in places where you used to be unattainable youth

You grinning full-toothed pure happiness right into a camera once

Not knowing the feeling for what it was then; not seeing misery in the near distance

You with people you loved once

And lost touch with or just lost

You, full to the brim, of self once

Long ago

Who knows? Maybe all my petty thefts will turn it all around. Maybe they’ll give me answers to why people disappear themselves and slip away from who they used to be.

And maybe I’ll wake up one of these days with more than half-life heartbeats, and be brave enough to search for the missing pieces that are me.

sleeping better maybe

I’ve been

where I’d rather

not be

I’ve been

counting my lost hours

in the shape of

lost sheep


I’ve been


and turning

trying to forget

what hurt me


and what hurts me



and I’ve been trying

to not be alone



alone being a place

I used to live

alone being a sweater

I used to wear


a song stuck

inside my head


a wrinkle

in my smile


the dead look

in my eyes

reflecting the goodbye

in yours


and now

I’m closing my eyes

and nodding off


much easier

than before


How it is with me sometimes

It isn’t just because of loneliness. Lonely is the wrong word to describe the depth of it; lonely makes it sound teenage, tawdry. It’s more like despair. After you’ve earned it, it becomes you. You wear it as skin and other people can smell it on you, enough to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Initially, I love the easiness of not having to produce the right words, of not having to appear the right way because I’ve always been the wrong one, the bad one. I’m something you look at to compare how much better you have it, how much better you are.

After a while, it’s more difficult, more like wrenching body parts just to get through the barest human motions; just to be able to say at least I’ve stepped out of my apartment, and then it’s at least I’ve come off the bed.

I make tea in the kitchen, feeling eyes on me, scared of the shadows lurking in the corners of each room. I’m scared, but I’m lusting for the attention too, more sad than anything when nobody answers my calls.

But then I never pick up the phone the few times it rings, even though my skeletal hand starts to develop an itch for it, an itch to touch something connected to a real world somewhere, a voice that I might know, love or remember.

When other voices come out of the shadows to talk to me, I start to feel relief. Some of the voices are the past, and some of them are me.

Then it’s almost easy to think of drowning in the bathtub or just stepping off the roof. But the way for people with an affliction like mine to die is to just stop living. So I stop living, and hope that means I’ll stop breathing too.

My heart aches at every suicide note; I write these love letters to myself, and to people I don’t know.

Dear Mr. Policeman, I’m sorry you have to see this corpse of mine and Dear Landlady, I’m sorry I stopped paying rent and wouldn’t open the door to you, but I had to stop it all, don’t you see? 

Dear Self, I wish you didn’t get like this. I wish you could just get better like other people do. 

his slow suicide

see how he crumbles

into dust, this man made 

of stone


see the years erode his face,

wearing away

his show of strength


until he is flesh and bone

just like the rest

of us


who knew

more bone; flesh having given

way to wine


cups and cups of wine; he calls

goblets and guzzles


beads of grey sweat 

on his facsimile of skin,

above his quivering lip

beads of wine


But he roars still, imagines himself


when he’s been mouse all along


hiding in the holes 

of his childhood memories


and then scurrying away from us

Always, this man



never finding a version

of his life

he can accept


and his tears now fall

into the cavity

which used to hold a heart


wearing down what is left


there’s only chalk outline