motives. regression. undressing. use of metaphor.
this is how i write a sad song.
this is how i brew anger.
this is a disaster.
it’s little divorces
and little deaths.
when you could have spoken, you sat or you slept.
and you want me to pour myself into you,
fill you up, where you are empty.
but dear, you’ve cracked me.
you’ve become the death of my dreams.
this is how i write a sad song.
this is how i brew decisions.
don’t ask me any important questions,
because i’ll just tell you the truth.
to hope, from a distant planet
i have an std called ptsd.
the image of the memory becomes soft, blurry metaphors
it was five hours, i think, waiting, dorothy parker’s poems in my hand. what a solemn, silent wait it was in that small, secretive hospital room. the room was cold and small, secretive, and silent. it was becoming me, sitting there solemnly, dorothy parker’s poems lying like a pale yellow ribbon across my lap.
what was i feeling then? i was shocked, you see. i can’t remember a feeling at all. that’s the strange thing about it, me in that secret smallness. i was like a lion’s kill, taken at the neck- if that’s a feeling. a sort of giving over, though an adrenaline rich surrender, a thousand kind thoughts away from peace.
it was five hours, you see- the lion’s kill, taken at the neck, you see. dorothy parker, it was like she kept talking to me, just to keep me conscious. i could see her there beside me. the walls were green, and her dress would be a yellow ochre, black, and eggshell. it was as if we had been to university together, shared many nights over books or movies. i would have laid my head on her shoulder, if she were there, talking to me, a pale yellow ribbon in her hair. it was as if she were sitting there in my sister’s stead, the room so small, and our hands intertwined. we could laugh about the folly of man, but our thrashing dark eyes would rage about the folly of man.
and i was aware, more than ever, those five hours, that i was a young woman in a small, secret, green hospital room. i was a young woman, with a neck wound, waiting, solemnly and silent for a place to give it over- the story and the wrecking silence of it. then, a nurse would give me a name for this inhuman feeling. then, the feelings would keep coming, and i would bleed out finally, pale yellow on some hospital tile floor.
it’s difficult to put it plainly, see. this small room became me, for five hours, i think it was. i was a wounded young woman, or a dying zebra, alone.
when the wait was over, the door was opened. i wasn’t about to cry. dorothy parker slipped right on past the nurse, a calm half-smile, an acknowledgement. she glided back into the emergency room. she glanced at my husband where he was sitting in a heap of kind thoughts, and then she was gone into the old night of the city. i saw the yellow ochre flash through the glass door. she was gone into the old night of the city, her sweet little smile left on the pavement like a pale yellow ribbon.
and if there were a pale yellow ribbon, i thought, maybe i would bind my arm with it. and there were the terrific feelings, coming in with fluorescent lights, all loud, all too much. the fluorescent lights were offensive and the walls were white and the image of the memory becomes a blur. if there were a razor, i thought, maybe i would tear through my arm. maybe i would bleed on this hospital tile floor. ah, there were the feelings.
i knew, i knew when i was lying there, when the women with no faces were holding my hands, that it would all become a metaphor, a story, something very unreal. i would forgive these moments their horrible truth with poems and elusive construct. i knew, when the tears started down my face, the women with no faces, holding my hands, that i wouldn’t feel it as it really was ever again. for the sake of my soul, i wouldn’t feel it again. for the sake of my life, i would think of the solemn silence, the secret smallness, the soft smile of dorothy parker’s poems.
she disconnects, she dreams
i was married at the age of nineteen. it was august. i bought my dress from a department store’s after prom clearance rack for fifteen dollars. the marriage, the wedding day, the belief that i was in love at the time, it’s all very unimportant to me now. there is much that i can’t remember, one, because of the tumult of the months following my marriage, and two, because it wasn’t love at all. it was foolishness, and it deserves little more than a handful of paragraphs to disclose it’s inevitable, damaging death. we were married for about six months.
when we fought, we waged little wars. he became as a child, and i became as a commanding officer. he was so weak! i was so cruel! we never understood eachother. he was of a brand of people that i never imagined cohesive with mine. he was born in alaska, i think. i don’t remember his birthday or his middle name. i remember the rare times of mutual friendship, but i remember the fights more vividly.
once, i had locked myself in a room with intent to harm myself. once, he repeatedly slammed his head on the kitchen tile to prove his despair. once, i railed him for behaving like a bachelor. once, he pulled out a machete to hold himself ransom against my love. that night, he struck the glasses from my face, and i saw the front door. sometimes i can’t remember if these fights were all in one night, or if they were the most of the near six months. i didn’t leave as the heroine. that’s an important fact. see, i left with secrets. i left with anger. i left with a murderous resentment against the boy. i figured we were both so totally mentally unstable, that i felt i couldn’t afford the extra effort to make it “work.” some days later, i returned to get some of my things. seeing the holes punched in the walls satisfied my will to let it all go.
the image would always remain of the boy on his knees, pleading to some girl for her blind faithfulness. and i would write him into dark rooms, locked with loneliness sitting far away. loneliness would be enthralled with carving a brair block into a pipe, perhaps. when he thrashes himself against the floor, loneliness doesn’t notice, and the boy doesn’t bleed. i would recognize his face as an opposition to my very faith in a life lived well. i would write him into oblivion, only occasionally remembering that he really does exist with that very same pain. and let him have it.
the part of my life which comes after this so-called marriage- well, it is drenched in alcohol. it smells of cigarette smoke and marijuana. there is a girl with closed eyes, mouthing chemicals, surrounded by the dark faces of worsening children, estranged from the gods that be. a few of us rented a hotel room for the night, and i enjoyed the high. and i enjoyed the high for a few years.
time, to me- it’s just like that. memories are all blended in to fast-moving moments without definition. it was all out of body experiences, and i know that very well, for whatever reason it’s happening.
when i sit in therapy, the therapist, she meets my eyes.
i can’t help but love her. she’s beautiful, and she’s the kind of tall i want to be. she is married, and i suspect, happily. she walks with a speed and speaks with a soft, yet commanding intelligence. she’s the kind of untouchable i want to be. she walks with a speed which illustrates her worth to others, to us, the patients. she knows her softness is needed by someone such as myself, who is rigid- all logic, all rambling, unfeeling logic.
i try to recall details of some important piece of my life, and i simply can not be certain of what i say. it’s not the kind of patient i want to be. see, i want progress. whatever that means, i tell them, come dance or dismay, i want to flash through the door like a soft-smiling poet. i want to learn to speak the language of sober insight, exchanging crude oil emotions for mental strength.
when i sit in therapy, i deny the reflex of disassociating as best i can. something as small as a word, sharp like a needle, can prick my brain. it is then that she wants to set back away from it- as far back as she can, and if she can, straight out of the skull and skin itself, up against the back wall, or free to walk courageously out of the sharp room. sometimes i do walk courageously out of the room. sometimes i take something sharp with me.
i’ve seen the papers the therapists and doctors have on me. they summarize the complaint- there’s something on there about the marriage. it’s strange to me, because it’s like a dream i’ve had, recurring, dimming, some years now. and how could they see my dreams? what freudian magic have they conjured up to undo the cap of my conscious? what on earth have i told them?
it’s a dream of a boy, a boy in a dark room, a dark room with a man, and the man is carving a briar pipe. it’s a dream of a crying boy, a crying boy locked in a dark room, a dark room with a deep voice, and the voice is mimicking the ocean.
these days, i simply dream of a cold, wide white room. people are sitting in a circle, spilling needles from their mouths. there is one woman who sits with her legs crossed. she’s beautiful. she wants to give me a spool of thread and smiles the kind of smile i want to know. but in so far as i’ve dreamt it, i am only cold, shivering, and my mouth is bloody and painful- my hands are too eager to stop the blood to open up to take the thread.
a very long, indocile song about calling the suicide hotline.
relive it to break through it? perhaps? anyway, it’s kind of like listening to a tragic movie.
sufjan stevens and auto-tune were the only things that made sense today. or was it an album inspired by mental illness? either way.
there is no cure with a sermon, with “thou shalt,” etcetera. therapist asks me what i want to work on- think on it- get back to her in a few weeks. well, if i could champion passive aggression, if i could be the frontman in my own mind, if i could say more than “have at it” to those around me… but can you make others understand? we can not. workshop effective communication, and i think, “all the articulation of my capabilities will not bring me back.” i’m not taking those little white pills like i’m supposed to. therapist likens the issue to any physical problem- “you would take insulin if you needed it.” but hey! i would take anything.