Day to Day Poetry, Day to Day Writing, poetry, Short Fiction

#15

My new therapist is an ex-tv producer
who used to hold business meetings with reality show directors
and actors, and marketing geniuses
only to curl herself in the washroom and cry.

She would take walks,
a cup of coffee in each trembling hand,
just to get away.

She doesn’t mean to tell me this,
she always asks, “What about you?”
But I’m an expert at misdirection,
this is how I know

how my other therapist loved musicals,
but her husband hated it, so she went alone,
how she pored over two volumes of Persepolis in one night,
because it reminder her of me,
how she fretted over which rug to put in her new office,
how she felt overwhelmed by having a new office,
how she thought the panhandler outside sang too loud
and disturbed her clients,
how she thought the retirement home she brought her mom to
was sad,
how she killed herself shortly after
we stopped seeing each other.

Both of them said I’m always on time with payment.
I don’t want you to listen to me for nothing.

She loves asking me ,”Why,”
And I want her to know,
That it’s not the external that matters –
not the job you can’t have, not the money you don’t have,
not the relationships that broke you.

That’s the easy part.

It’s the living with yourself.
It’s the waking up in the morning and forcing,
with all of your strength,
to get out of bed,
to sludge on to the tasteless coffee,
to slither inside clothes you know doesn’t define you,
to look at the person in the mirror you no longer recognize,
the growing older, the years wasted
trading your soul for the practicality of adulthood,
if you work too much, you get too sick,
if you play too much, you go insane.

In this routine, interpersonal world of
commutes, and plastering smiles while out for drinks with friends,
and sideways glances that tell of wishing I am not here,
it’s the mind, my dear,

it’s the dead, unbeating heart that
performs the final act,
that delivers us to the gods.

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Day to Day Poetry, Day to Day Writing, poetry

#14

I will wait for you, darling
For the crinkle on the sides of your eyes to rise
along with those cheeks and lips
smiling at me,

as if there was still hope
left in our world.

Until then I am all verb, no adjective
passing through time
counting down to the second
until you let me in

again.

I will wait for you, love,
give you the space and distance
the size of a galaxy
that you need,

if it’s my non-existence you want,
you’ve got it babe,
I’ll stop existing for you

what I’ll do for you is limitless,
there are no absolutes in this heart of mine
if forever is what you want,
I’ll give it –

I will wait for you,
even if it doesn’t end,
even if I am forever pounding clenched fists
against an unbreakable wall,
this is my sacrifice,
my overall meaning

fighting for nothing,
waiting for nothing,
hope is the communion I take
for the madness of my sins.

This sadness is the only thing I feel,
my only purity,
the last
of my  humanity.

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Day to Day Poetry, Day to Day Writing, poetry

#12 Ghost conversations

I spend my days writing words you will never read –
I spread myself out in social media for you,
hoping you would come across at least one of them
and read and marvel and wonder why you wasted all this time
not wanting to get to know me –
I am but a click away from baring it all,
my body and words burnt permanently across the internet
silently screaming for you to right-click and save as a keepsake
taking up a megabyte in your terabyte hard drive that
you built in the wooden floor of the apartment we once lived in
which you abandoned so that you can enjoy this new life
I am no longer a part of.

I made it easy for you.
Didn’t scream, didn’t fight; just folded my legs underneath my knees
and kept sitting;
my fingers trembling as I continued painting a canvas
I was mentally un-dedicating for you.
Kept watching Netflix while I listened to you packing your bags in the hallway
hoping for a second of silence to tell me you’re hesitating,
that you’re thinking twice about walking away.
But like everything else in your life, once you decided something,
you stuck to it, and kept going –
not a single pause for the days and nights we spent together
holding each other like we were the only people in the world.

Are you reading me yet?
Am I getting through that stone-cold armour even the apocalypse
can’t break through?
I dig through our memories until it rings white noise in my head,
our image a sea of blurred white dots against an ocean of static –
We are old news; a corrupted save file I can no longer reload,
and yet I keep trying.

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Day to Day Poetry, Day to Day Writing, poetry

#11 Lugubrious

I spend my days folding into myself,
shoulders caving in to keep my heart hidden
further and further I go deeper within
so I can disappear
in this chaotic numbness residing
in every inch of my being.

I am no longer whole,
eternally carved;
I can’t stop un-clenching my fists,
I can’t look anybody in the eye.

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Day to Day Writing, Epiphanies

#9 Candid

It’s been two years since I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder  and I’m not sure what I’ve done with it, except dance through a cacophony of doctor and therapist’s appointments with only various prescription bottles to mark the success of the event. They line the dresser in my bedroom like a parade. On good days I take them religiously and keep them in my pocket. On most days, I throw them away.

If I am doing well, I accept the diagnosis with intense conviction, the same one I held on so firmly to that made me end up in the hospital in the first place. This forces me into self-analysis – reflecting about the flaw inside of me that keeps me from having the confidence to do anything with 100% certainty because I don’t know which side of me is in the driver’s seat: Mania or Depression. Before I absolutely do anything, if I’m well, I have to ask if it’s sustainable in the long run. Can I actually work three jobs whether or not I’m well? Probably not. This seems like a simple answer in moments of lucidity but those moments for me are few and far between. It’s either, Yes, I ABSOLUTELY CAN WORK THREE JOBS, I CAN DO ANYTHING vs. Who are you kidding? You can’t do anything. Finding the mid is a battle I constantly have to fight. Jumping from one extreme to the next is incredibly exhausting.

Some of my closest friends romanticize my mania, and it’s disheartening. I only hang out with most of the people I know when I’m manic. Mania is a fickle mistress; it is the burst of energy I need to survive my day to day. It keeps me employed, keeps me social. When I’m manic, parties become so easy; I just sit back and she does the talking for me. My creativity flows out of me in a deluge of half-finished stories and beginnings to novels that never end. A sprinkle of uncontrollable brilliance that keeps me painting and writing until the early morning. My boyfriend sleeps while I write, read, paint and repeat. When he wakes, I show him what I’ve created, and he says he’s proud of me.

But one step over the edge and I lose all control. The mask slips and she completely takes over me. I start forgetting. I don’t remember what I did last night, the week before – I start to miss days until days become months I can’t recall no matter how hard I try to piece it together, gaps in my memory I have no control over. My friendships end with that look on their face that I have come to know so well. I can pinpoint the exact second that look takes over – that moment of sudden, dawning realization that even after x amount of time, there is a side of me that up until that moment, they have not seen. One that is unforgivable – as if all of who I was before up until that moment was just pretense. And inside, I’m fuming. An insurmountable amount of rage tripled by my manic heart and a voice screaming inside me – I told you, I told you this is who I am, you JUST didn’t listen.

One time, in group, I asked,”How can we seek new relationships without feeling like we’re scamming them? Do I just say, hey, before we get to know each other, you should know that I’m crazy, insane, neurotic? How much time is an acceptable amount of time where admitting that you’re insane isn’t a social faux pas anymore?  For every person that you meet, if I don’t say I’m insane, does that mean I’m lying?”

The answer they gave me was that we are all trying our best, every single time.

That seems like a lie.

I can’t exactly tell that to the person/friend/lover I pounced on because I couldn’t control my rage, because I hadn’t slept for a month, because I woke up standing in the middle of my job not knowing who I was, or where I had been for the past couple of hours. Seems like, to any other person outside looking in, seems like I’m not trying at all.

I still have not been able to develop the language I need when people tell me the things we did that I can’t remember. People I don’t know come up to me like we’re old friends except I don’t know what name I gave them, or when we met.

At the hospital, I spent most of my time walking other patients down Spadina avenue, especially those who weren’t allowed to walk by themselves, or those who were just afraid. I learn about their lives, listen to the story of how they ended up here with me. One beautiful girl whose sole mission in life was to look like Mariah Carey and spent hours upon hours in front of the computer looking at her pictures, once told me that she had long accepted she would never be married. I asked why.

She looked at me, and as if breaking some terrible news to a child for the first time, said, “I think you’ll find – people like us – we’re never going to have normal relationships. People will either pretend to understand, or won’t even try. Sooner or later, they’ll get tired.” Then, as if it was an afterthought, continued with forced optimism –  “But maybe you’ll get lucky – maybe you’ll find someone normal, and they’ll still get it… you know?”

Accepting your diagnosis is accepting the terror that your mind can betray you, any minute, any second. That every day you are in control is a race against time – build as much as you can now so that you don’t lose everything when it happens. It’s all about timing. And damage control.

But most of the time, it feels like my life is an old, beaten book I am desperately clinging to with furiously clenched fists.

I know the story, it’s so familiar to me, but it’s written in a language I can no longer understand.

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