this has the word “sex” in it

no real title yet, still a work in progress

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the curse of the zero draft

Confession time: I am a zero-draft writer.

I have never had to work hard at this. I read a ton. I have always read a ton. I have always paid attention to the mechanics of a sentence. But I have never toiled over words in the way that many of my peers have.

(Well, okay. Pablo Neruda showed me how evocative language could be when I was sixteen and crushing on a guy I met at a German competition, and I learned enough Spanish to deconstruct the poetry in the original. But that was solely because the boy had pretty eyelashes.)

You know what that’s gotten me? Goose friggin’ egg.

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new year, old goals

i first started this blog not long after i left the marriage that encompassed my twenties and overwhelmed my sense of self. i wanted to find my voice again. i also wanted to invite other voices to participate here, but so far that hasn’t happened. it’s possible my blog has never had the sort of focus that would create a space for other bloggers to contribute effectively. it’s also possible that my voice is the only dominant force here, to the exclusion of any unifying theme or format.

why do i blog here? i have a livejournal, but as friends abandoned that platform over the last few years, i did as well. LJ was good at a sense of community. i suspect wordpress is too large to do the same, or maybe it’s just structured differently enough that the focus is more on the writing than on the writer. that’s not necessarily bad. i feel less moored here. i feel as though i have less control over who sees what. maybe i should.

mostly here i do writing qua writing: poetry, stabs at short fiction, essays about whatever interests me at the moment. i frequently have The Feels on this blog. that can be an issue, because i like to write through my feelings, but i don’t always want to discuss the results with the people who read. i’m trying to remind myself that i don’t have to explain anything or reassure anyone.

wordpress is hosting a Blogging 101 course this month, so i’m going to try to follow along with the assignments. i won’t be perfect. i’m okay with that. all i’m doing here is practicing.


Fearful Symmetry

Friedrich Kekulé once said
he discovered the shape of the
benzene molecule, a perfect ring of
carbon studded with hydrogen,
by dreaming of a snake eating its own tail.
I am reminded of this story
every time I put my foot in my mouth.
I would like to believe in purpose.
I tell myself that this is destiny,
that my mistakes are not mistakes,
that the pristineness of my self-destruction
like the immolation of the phoenix
is an invitation to new beginnings,
to forgetting how broken you make
sure I know I am.
I would like to believe
that even thrusting combustion
out in all directions like
a frightened and flammable
porcupine,
even in this prickly state I am learning
atom by atom
how to live without your oxygen.
I burn bright
all by myself.


a promise for 2016

i have a habit-building app called Streaks on my phone. it gamifies all the little things you’re supposed to be doing regularly anyway. so if you have an exercise goal, for example, you can say you’re going to play tennis three times a week. if you achieve your goal for the week, you’ve started a streak. you keep it going by continuing. if you’re supposed to be doing something every day, and you miss a day, your streak starts over. but you can still look at all the days you accomplished something and feel good about it. so it’s motivating without feeling impossible.

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a confession

here it is: i know so many writers, really talented, amazing writers who will pull your heart out of your body slowly, in pieces, through your mouth and nose and tear ducts and whatever else they can coax a hook into.

here it is: i do not consider myself one of them.

of course i think i could be one of them, one day, if only i took my talent seriously, if only i practiced and fucking wrote every day or whatever it is that’s supposed to define you as a writer.

here it is: i do write every day. i write something, a tweet, a joke in an IM, a wry observation on facebook. i write a report for work. i write standup (in the past). i write poetry (in the present, because the slam community holds out the promise of validation, and i love validation more than i love the snooze button or looking at myself in the mirror or promising myself i can handle one more drink).

but i am not a writer. i am not one of them. i am not one of them.

i am not one. i am many. i am too many to know my own name. you do not start a life, a writing life, with too many names. how will people know who you are?

so one day, i will be one of them. and in the meantime, i am none of them, and i am too many of them, and their specters crawl under the covers with me and wake me into my own sweat.

here it is: i have stopped washing the sweat away. if i know what i smell like i have a name. i offer myself to the couch every day like a swinging censer. i am a baptism of words that do not get said.

every stitch i weave into myself gets dropped eventually. i am all the woolen yarn i have begun without ever becoming scarves. i still do not know if i can crook my fingers long enough to wrap myself around my own neck.

this? this is not writing. i don’t know what you are reading now. give it a name.


this is a work in progress

The precise moment you wish to stop
being drunk
is a train rocking on its track
and a conversation about you
that you are not a part of.
Close your eyes. Pretend it helps.
Pretend that in the morning,
when you stagger out of the cattle
car that swaddled your sweat
and emerge blinking into pain and
howling like the day you were born,
pretend you really did learn your
lesson. This time.
This time you swear you will change,
this time you swear you have been
anointed with fire water
for the last time. This time
the whirl of the room
will not be behind your eyes,
you will remember the steps
and they will remember you.
You will remember your name.
You will remember how you got
home. You will remember who is at
home.

The precise moment you forget
you wished to stop being drunk
is an easy yes and a smile
and a warm blanket
and a chair to sit down in.
And every single time
it feels like a blessing.


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