Mixed Media on Panel
All the poets that you love listening to
love lying to you.
I’m not that egocentric to make you believe that I’m not one of them.
I lie all the time,
mostly up here.
See, I’ve been doing this for a little while
and I’m starting to understand things:
poetry is not about telling you the truth.
It’s about telling you the version of a story
that gets the most reaction,
the one that flows the best on the mic,
the one that has all the lines
that the audience is going to like.
See, maybe the truth
isn’t supposed to rhyme so well.
Maybe it doesn’t have to rise to a crescendo.
never sounded like sound bites
and name dropping.
I promised myself I wouldn’t write poems about poetry,
but I woke up at 3 AM the other morning
and started spitting out all these lies that I couldn’t roll off my tongue
and thought that maybe at this hour
I could write a poem about honesty
without having to choreograph the hook at the end.
I woke up at 3 AM
and I’m having trouble remembering how to spell the word “wouldn’t”.
Four years ago, I featured at a youth slam in Jersey City,
and tried to show some children how poetry is supposed to sound cool.
Jessica sat in the front row
thinking I could teach her about spoken word.
I lied to her, in metaphor, for a half hour
only to hear the silence of a fifth grade explosion;
Jessica explained it to her thirteen year old peers
how rough her father’s beard stubble felt when her was drinking
and how a foster family is just a fresh coat of paint over stucco
when you’ve been running against the wall.
She didn’t actually say all this.
Not like I can.
But I could hear the inhalation of truth
in between breaths of her poetry.
Her name is not really Jessica.
I don’t remember what it is.
But for a moment, I can make you care about her,
even if she’s not real.
Don’t ask me.
You wouldn’t know the difference anyway.
I don’t write poems about honesty.
I’ve written three poems this year to make me sound cute to girls,
but not one about the medication that I’m taking
because there are some things
that I don’t fucking talk about.
Why am I 33 years old and still trying to sound cute to girls?
A couple weeks ago,
two friends asked me how my roommate is doing.
I use the word “roommate”
instead of referring to her as the girl I’m afraid of falling in love with
because she is the most beautiful overturned school bus that I have ever seen
and I slow down sometimes to watch the trauma.
And because she knows me.
Like how she knows that I look in the mirror too much,
and I always eat the last peanut butter cup,
and I fuck girls with my poems,
and use the word “roommate” too loosely.
And the poet in me
should’ve told them she’s doing just fine,
but I hadn’t memorized all the lines yet.
My best friend is not doing fine,
and I can’t fix it.
The students in my class
like me because I say the word “bullshit” during my lectures
and let them out early.
They don’t see that fear has me losing focus on the bullet points
when I’m thinking about how many slit wrists I’ll return home to tonight.
My roommate’s not suicidal
But it sounds sexier than saying
that she closes her eyes sometimes
when she’s changing lanes.
Because it keeps me driving to work
instead of holding her all night and crying.
I need somebody to talk to
but poetry helps you meet people who want to fuck poets.
Who do you talk to when your best friend is biting off her cuticles,
while other girls are sharpening their nails?
I need to go to bed now.”
I’m sorry I lied.
I’ll write the rest of this poem tomorrow,
when I can differentiate what’s none of your fucking business
and write poems with hooks that rhyme.
It doesn’t matter what you believe.
I’m tired of being the strong one all the time.
Chad Anderson, “Liars, All of Us” (via pigmenting)
Potential roomie emailed me back last night to set up a time to meet on sunday morning, to talk about the big empty lot by their (our?) house, to envision how we would plant our future garden, to investigate me and my intentions. I confirmed the time, offered to pick up coffee or tea (their preference), to bring treats for Pixie. My offer was warmly welcomed but declined gracefully in a way that impressed me. I just emailed to cancel tomorrow’s interview in spite of my gut feeling that we would probably make okay roommates. I continue to hold out for the sunny, garden cottage in-law suite of my dreams ($850 or less! if you hear of anything). I guess maybe I don’t feel ready to move yet.
I feel like a freight train ran over me two weeks ago and that since then, I have been painfully dragged along the tracks, tangled in its undercarriage. This morning I woke up at motherfucking 6:45am and laid in bed too anxious to fall back asleep. At 8:00, I went to warm, sweaty yoga, which sucked partly because I’m a weakling and partly because the last time I went to yoga (Thursday), I had a meltdown in standing forward bend and had to step out of the room to sob uncontrollably for 5 minutes, and I was scared that might happen again. After a painful but tear-free practice, I stopped for coffee and accidentally ordered too many beverages because I was overwhelmed by the number of people in the small shop, then awkwardly walked 8 blocks to my next appointment juggling a water cup with no lid, an open can of coconut juice, and an iced coffee. I spilled a lot all over myself and didn’t give a shit because it was 80 degrees and beautifully hot in the sun. I marveled at the fact that I still somehow manage to maintain a life for myself in San Francisco, California. I haven’t woken up from this dream yet.
Anyway, the point of what I’m writing is that I today, I passed an exceedingly pleasant Spontaneous Amy Day which consisted of doing nothing responsible and mostly pampering myself in ways that I will sorely miss once I become an unpaid intern this fall and have to resort back to eating ramen with black beans for lunch while watching the People’s Court in order to take my mind away from my reality.
But the real point of what I’m writing is that Amy Day was significant for several reasons, not only because I gave myself some much-needed and rarely-awarded self-love, but also because I allowed another human being (my mind-blowingly good masseuse for the evening, Monk) to touch me. (Which sounds a lot more fucked up than it is. Or maybe it really is that fucked up.) When I was lying on my stomach and Monk was karate-chopping the shit out of my ass muscles (yes), I felt my skin jiggling from my mid-back to my mid-thigh and I was okay. I didn’t feel any less human or any less valuable for one of the first times in my life. Not only that, but at the end of the hour when he was cradling my head in his soft hands to get those acupressure spots on the back of my neck… and lifting my chin and shoulders to open up my chest… I felt… cherished.
I’ve gained like 10 pounds in the past few months and yet today, Spontaneous Amy Day, I felt like someone really cared about me anyway, guys. This is so big.