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

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.


light emanates from strange quarters. my light came from binge-watching the last half of the second season of Orange Is the New Black. somewhere in the middle of the intrigue and vileness, i began to feel again.

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depression, part three

i priced out my suicide this morning, after a sleepless night, following a stupid fight born of my overreaction to something small. i’d grabbed my keys and had already marched down the hallway, pushed the elevator button to get to my car, before i realized (again, and again, daily it seems these days) that i had nowhere to go. i know no one here well enough to show up on their doorstep at midnight. i know no one anywhere well enough that i feel comfortable crying in front of them.

so instead, i lay there, stomach churning from only having eaten leftover mac and cheese, and i wondered what the hell was wrong with me and why i hadn’t seen before that these escalations were so clearly my own. i despaired of ever being well enough to have a real relationship with anybody, or even a real friendship, for that matter. i understood that i was making the people around me tired of being around me.

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depression, part 2

in the aftermath of robin williams’s death, some psychologists are cautioning the media not to portray suicide in positive terms because it can encourage suicidal ideation. they’re worried about copycat suicides, about people who were already suffering looking at williams’s decision and concluding that they, too, can escape the pain. i can say from recent personal experience that this is probably accurate. i can also say that i understand his decision.

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i wake up. i look at the clock. i try to remember the last time i woke up, and the time before that, and the time before that. all in the same night. all in the same twenty minutes, maybe. definitely after i last went to bed. i count how many minutes until my alarm goes off again. i lie there. i sleep a little. i lie there some more. i wake up.

i count how many minutes until my alarm goes off again. i wake up.

i count how many minutes until i should have been up already. i wake up.

i count how many minutes until i should have left for work. i wake up.

i think of an excuse. i perfect my story. i lie there.

i lie there.

i think about the bills i have not paid yet, the questions i have not answered, all the people in this day i can look forward to disappointing.

i cry.

i wake up.

i put a foot out, feeling for the ground. i try to remember the last time i brushed my teeth.

i look at my hair, greasy and matted into strange patterns. i cringe as i pull it up. not enough to wash it.

i try to remember the last time i cared about anything.

i brush my teeth because my gums have started bleeding on their own. i contemplate the heart disease i have surely developed by this point. i wonder if this is why i have had heart palpitations for the last year. i start planning my reaction when the doctor tells me it is inoperable. i count how many months i have left to live.

i log on.

i try to focus. sometimes i succeed. mostly when people talk to me.

my cat yells at me. i step away from the screen long enough to give him food and shut off the coffee machine that i still haven’t used since my roommate set the timer for me two months ago.

i debate what pants i would be wearing if i were wearing pants.

i debate whether i should put masking tape over the camera on my laptop so my colleagues don’t see me in greasy hair and pajamas.

i try to remember a time my back didn’t need popping. i try to imagine what it feels like to have actual pain and not just emotional pain. i feel like a wuss.

i see a picture of my nephew and burst into tears.

i look at okcupid. everyone is stupid and no one interests me. i look at the messages i have yet to answer. another thing to feel guilty about.

i try to focus. i send a funny gif to a coworker, because that at least keeps me somewhat on task.

i wonder what would happen if i just laid here, if i stopped responding to everything, if i stopped eating, if i stopped even bothering to get out of bed. i have already lost fifteen pounds in a month. i wonder if i could lose the rest.

i start thinking about quitting time. then i realize it doesn’t matter, because i’m going to do the same thing i was doing before quitting time anyway.

i click links. i copy. i paste. someone asks me questions and i answer. i try to plan for tomorrow.

i am not going to have enough money to get through the rest of the year. i don’t know what to do about this. i try to plan for tomorrow.

everyone i love is far away and no one cares enough about me to find out what is going on. i don’t love anyone. i don’t care that anyone loves me. the only thing that exists is this bed and this couch and netflix. i don’t need love. i can live on indifference.

i turn on the tv.

please no one ask me how i am doing. please no one ask me how i am doing. please god somebody anybody ask me how i am doing. no wait.

i turn off the tv.

the day is over. now i can do whatever i please.

i keep my laptop open. i turn on the tv.

hours later, i go to bed. my laptop is open beside me until i can no longer deal with its bright light. i snap the clamshell shut and prop it against the side table.

i lie there.

i wake up.

little green

i am no one’s priority. i come on too strong and i care too much. i creep people out. no one wants me. most people, if they get too close, wish i would go away.

these are things i know about myself; i don’t need to be talked out of them. many of the people i have loved the most in life no longer speak to me. i am an alienating presence.

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