city girl

Give me the living lights
of these high-rise constellations,
and not just the pilgrimage of 
a billion lonely suns.
Give me the astringent musk
of a dozen factory workers
on the crowded bus home;
let our lungs pass oxygen
like relay runners
on the same team.
I'd rather be kept awake
by the drunken testament
to life on the other side
of paper-thin walls,
than spend my nights
pretending the universe
is emptier
than it already is.

Mom, why do you swear so much?

Because it's the only thing I've got 
to prove I'm not a child
aside from thirty some-odd years 
and years aren't quite as heavy
as they like to say so I'm afraid
my soul might be so light
it will float away before
its time and leave me here behind 
counting heartbeats like the ticks
of a clock always keeping pace
unable to remember when last
it raced when last it broke the rules
I've too few sins beneath my belt
too little skin beneath my nails
and too much across my knees
that never knew the pavement's
kiss and so continue to insist
that I've not bled enough for 
this right of passage and these
silly words increase my pulse
and weigh me down enough
that maybe I won't take off
in search of the conclusion
to the story of my youth
but mostly

because I fucking want to.

A Random List of Confessions

A random list of confessions:

-I read books out loud when I’m alone. And by read, I mean “act out emphatically.”

-Sometimes I tell my kids “no” when they ask for a cookie, and then eat one when they aren’t looking. It’s kind of a power trip.

-I struggle to read fiction about violence lately. And cheating. And prejudice. And death. 

-I struggle to read or watch anything lately.

-In grade 9 I had a crush on my stage manager. Until now, I’ve only ever told one person about her.

-I think superheroes are the problem, not the solution.

-I’m pretty sure you don’t like me. You think I’m an annoying flake. Not you as in anyone specific, just specifically you. 

-I think you’re right.

-I’m still sore about not beating my ex-boyfriend at Mortal Kombat after he assumed I hadn’t seen the movies because I’m a girl. “You wouldn’t get it,” he said.

-I didn’t read most of the books in university and still managed a decent grade. Most of the books were about war and rape.

-I’m very sensitive. Half of me thinks that makes me a better person, half thinks I’m just weak.

-I think you think I’m weak.

-I know you think I’m a disappointment because I decided to graduate without my honours. “A waste of potential.”

-I think it was the right decision.

-I want to succeed as a writer so you think it was the right decision.

-I think it was the right decision.

-I don’t trust my own opinion on anything.

-In grade 3, I brought a snow globe I loved for show and tell. I put it in my pocket and it broke during recess. On the bus home everyone thought I peed myself and laughed, but I refused to tell them the truth because I was so ashamed.

-I talk about myself so much not because I’m full of myself, but because I’m so empty and I think your validation will fill me. Probably there’s a hole somewhere I should fix.

-I’m not sure if this is a poem about me or you.

-I’m not sure this is a poem.

-I think raisin cookies are better than chocolate chip ones.

Thoughts at 1 am

This is for the moms
whose vacations were taken
in the aisles of grocery stores,
at the tables of cafés,
in efficient trips to the shopping mall
or gym.
Whose nights off
meant eating out
or leaving the kids with Grandma.
Who see no end in sight,
no relief,
no breaks,
no peace.
Who hate to complain
’cause they signed up for this right?
It’s a sacrifice they have to make
and damn,
but they’re good at those.

This is for the people
who’ve found all exits blocked,
trapped in homes
that threaten to consume them.
With partners
or parents
or whoever it may be
that beat
and belittle
and go off like bombs
leaving nothing but ringing silence in their wake.

This is for everyone
whose schedules,
consistency,
and routine
were medical requirements
abandoned in the crossfire.
Kids and adults
panicking,
lashing,
crumbling
because suddenly their needs
come last.

For Asian communities forced to carry a weight that isn’t theirs.

For those without homes
and those with no one else to share them with.

For those who can’t work
and those who can’t stop.

For those stuck with their families
and those kept away.

For adults and children
with mental health conditions,
or disabilities,
or everyday worries and fears.

For seniors,
and in-betweeners.

For health care workers
and delivery drivers,
small business owners,
grocery store staff,
the helpers
and the helped.

This is for you.
Whatever that’s worth.

It isn’t a promise that things will be okay
because I don’t know.
I suppose it’s a wish —
a midnight thought,
an hour (probably more)
of lost sleep
imagining I could reach you.

All I can say is:
I will do my best to see you.
You deserve to be seen.
Your needs deserve to be met.

I hope you find safety
and peace
and justice
and connection
wherever you are.

And if you’re lucky,
I hope you find a good night’s rest.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Some Days

Some days
I give so much of my love away
that I forget to leave any
for myself.

Some days
I give so much of myself away
that I become a walking
human-shaped absence,
defined
only by the space
of where other people are not.

Some days
I have no one to give to
and in that freedom I expand
so far
that I lose
all
cohesiveness.

Some days
I cannot remember who I am
only all of the things I should do
and all of the things I have failed to do.

Some days
I make lists about myself
so that I cannot forget:
what I’ve done,
what I like,
what I want.

Some days
I look at those lists
and wonder
where that person went.

Some days
I am certain
that some crucial part of me
has died
taking with it:
memories
and dreams
and desires
and
and
and

Some days
I want to be struck by lightning —
not to die,
but on the off chance
that I might reanimate.
Or at least
feel that rush of electricity
down my spine.

Some days
I can pretend that I’m okay,
end this on a note about
hope.

Some days
I give so much of my love away
that I forget to leave any
for myself.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash