unhinged i look up when i'm remembering things cause i'm searching for the image in my head

look up to remember
down to forget
unhinged eyes_cast_down 090223
jane ive always been jealous of people with a photographic memory. school was so much easier for them. 090223
unhinged was kinda easy for me. my brother still throws fits about how easy school was for me.

physics, calculus, and electronic music theory on_the_other_hand were not easy for me, no matter how photographic my memory. language, words, spelling, reading all super easy. just another reason why i should have been left_handed
ungreat the things i would give to have the gift my mother has. i would love to remember... 090224
unhinged i have spent much of my life, time and money, trying to forget 090224
unhinged and_then this_song
or smell
or shirt
reminds me of you
and a slide show of memories
passes by my open glazed eyes

the way you grabbed my hand
and massaged it
your socks, the way you sat on the futon
and your socks, the toes of them
peeked out

pushing clothes down the laundry chute
when i was a kid
my mother freaking about cleaning the house
'put your clothes down the chute; i'm not going to run all over for your dirty clothes'
and when i got older and i had to do the laundry
pulling clothes out the bottom of the chute
when it was stuffed full
pulling and pulling so hard
that when the pants or shirt finally gave way
i stumbled back into the washer and dryer
and the creepy drain underneath the stationary tub
old, black, dank
my cat would chase centipedes in the basement
the hum of the dehumidifier

i thought of the laundry chute
for the first time in a long time yesterday
when he took me to his new studio space after work
something about the look of the place
reminded me of my childhood home
milk chute
laundry chute
crawling under the coats in the front closet to get the mail out of the mail chute
chutes chutes everywhere

the last time i drove past that house
it looked old, run down
and me and my dad looked at each other
both with a little shock and sadness
the yard in disrepair
that my parents spent so much time manicuring
in the gross thaw mud time of spring
no green
just brown and grey everywhere
and it was sad
not the house i grew up in
someone else's
unhinged you reached in close
which didn't happen
the tequila in my brain dampening my flight response
'what are you doing?'
and your hand reached for my seatbelt
as your lips reached for my mouth
my lips met yours hungrily
you pulled away
'come back'
i pulled you back in
and you pulled away
the traffic light changed colors
again and again
until finally i said
'i think you should go away now'
i asked you to drive safely
and got out of the car
you rolled down the window and said something to me
'go away now'
and you got pulled over after
you left me on the curb
i felt guilty for pushing you away
when i should have made you stay
(turns out
you didn't remember
pulling me in first)
unhinged we were on the wharf
feeding beady eyed gulls
everywhere foreign smells
i could feel my shoulders pulled up to my ears
my feet shuffling
the reflex to disconnect from myself
still too strong
and then you grabbed my hand
and i was exactly where i wanted to be

people at the diner looked at me weird
maybe i looked obviously distressed
but where i come from
no one cares when you look obviously distressed
i put my sunglasses on when we were together
hoping to disguise the obvious ring of tears
in my eyes
my voice mostly didn't crack
i don't think i squeezed too hard

you dropped me off at the airport
i got my ticket
went through security
wandered all the concourses
called my mother
and finally there was nothing left
to distract me from my tears
i sat on the floor against the wall
in a stinky strange airport
near the bathrooms no less
and cried
no one cared

or maybe we just think we remember
(i used to convince myself all the time when i was a kid
a lost library book, anything misplaced
i imagined it in my head
exactly what it looked like, where it was
but there it was not)
unhinged or when i listened to recordings of my orchestra performances, if i sat on the inside, i could remember where the page turn was when i listened to it

but as i got older, i realized the value of destroying a memory like that
unhinged we were both flying to our separate lives far away so i waited at your gate
tears in my eyes
you told me to go away
i think because you were getting tears in your eyes
but i made it just in time to hug you
and then they called your row
i waited
until i saw your face pass from my sight
your lips set in a straight line
the beginning of a long journey
to your life half way across the world
i walked through the airport to my gate
feeling you get farther away
with every step

that was the last time i cried
on parting with you
i am used to it now
the gut_wrenching
it doesn't cause the same tugging it used to
tingling in the nose
the precursor to tears
cause you always come back
one of the only to
always come back
then again we share blood
that's what blood does
unhinged ( gutwrenching ) 090320
. . 090320
unhinged there was a boy in my computer class
when i was a freshman in high school
still not sure what it is
that attracts one person to another
i blushed to think of him

the last day of class
i walked behind him like i always did
to enjoy the view
still i am a sucker for last times
that one more poignant than others
because my parents were moving us
to a cow pasture town 45 minutes away
where i was convinced there was not
even one single cute boy
so i stopped for a moment
when he turned to the right like he always did
to cut through the library
my eyes the shutter
the way his baggy khaki cargo shorts
hit below his knee
his backpack slung over one shoulder
ambling to class
not caring if he was late
some cheesy kodak ad line in my head
and i walked to class
quick steps
i didn't want to be late
unhinged or the catfight in the lunch room
that same year
the gutter rat girls that lived near the mall
with their poufed bubble bangs
thick horizontal striped polo shirts
and frosted jeans
big hoop earrings
thick eye liner
girls i generally didn't stare at
because a long gaze usually resulted in
an insult
or taunt
barked from their gunky pink lips
my cousin was the one that fought girls like that
i just blushed
but that day
everyone stared
there was some commotion at the door
one girl was hopping around yelling
her hands at her ear
turns out she took one of her earrings out
and stabbed the other girl in the neck with the post of it
once it was stuck in
she tried to pull down
dragging the post of her earring down
and even the people who were egging on the fight
quieted down
when the teachers finally pulled them apart
and there was blood on the ground

we turned back to our sandwiches
and shrugged
i tried not to look at girls like that
unhinged dangerous

sitting on the side of the bed
laying behind
asked me what was wrong
'i already told you what was wrong. i told you to stop and you didn't'
i punched his arm
when i said the word stop
i wanted to beat him in the fucking face
but he was too strong
i should have told him to get the fuck out of my house
but i let him stay
he went away eventually

i lay beside him
tears rolled down my face into the pillow
he got a phone call
and left eventually

the next day i went to the locust street festival
and ran into renato
'hey what's up? you look like something is wrong'
'i don't want to talk about it'
'oh well...alright.'
i was at the co_op stall getting a veggie brat.
'those are really good' he said
'everything at the co_op is'
'yeah. true. well, i'll see you at work. gotta go' and he left
i couldn't figure out where they were playing
too many drunk people
too much noise
i walked back across the locust street bridge
to the east side of the river
crying behind my sunglasses
no one noticed
no one cared

i curled up in my bed
that still smelled like him
and wanted to be his fucking face in
unhinged beat 090324
unhinged (it won't go away; i just want it to disappear. more of a curse than a blessing) 090324
unhinged we had assigned seats in class
so he sat in the row next to me
just behind me a little
and his leg wiggled and wiggled
when i talked about him at lunch
me and my friends called him foot jiggle boy
our old math teacher
strict like a drill sargent
with a hungarian accent
was teaching us trigonometry
(how to graph sine curves
cosine, secant, cotangent
graphing calculators
i always pushed the wrong buttons)
and in the corner of my eye
all i could see was his jiggling foot
i sucked at trig

a couple years after we graduated
i ran into him
and he didn't recognize me
not even a little flash in his eyes
we kept walking in opposite directions
i said nothing
unhinged the action of goodbye
i was not with sam that night
the why of that evades me
i think it was because she
was upset that we weren't spending time together
so i told him i needed to hang with her
so many strings to cut
i had planned it for months
i bought a gold brocaded journal of handmade paper
the paper rough and pulpy
with little pieces of flowers
the genus indistinguishable
but the pieces on top
like they were stuck there after the paper was formed
and i went through my other journals
(mostly hand_copied versions of things i'd written here
afraid that maybe blather might disappear)
and selected each one
the parts of me maybe he didn't know
the parts of me i wanted him to know
the parts he held inside of me
when he held me so tight and wouldn't let_go
even back then
i recognized that we were like two pieces of the same puzzle
two sides of the same coin
some equally trite analogy for that
where you see yourself reflected in someone else
so i filled an entire journal
hand written with my words
and then filled an entire blank card
both sides
to explain it
we drove out to boardman
where he was the manager at a pizza shop
but when we got there
angelo was there with his girlfriend
i didn't want anyone else to be there
when i gave it to him
so i handed it over shyly
'i made this for you'
angelo looking with a sly smirk
everyone else never got it
assumed i wanted his ass cause he was a rockstar
when really all it came down to was
i knew exactly how he felt
and wanted him to know he wasn't alone
( roughdraft )
his music made me feel like i wasn't alone
at some of the worst moments of my life
just wanted to return the favor
he opened the journal
then the card
'damn dude. you couldn't just write 'i'll miss you'?'
his characteristic asshole way of shrugging it off
or maybe it was the heroin talking
angelo snickered
i shook my head
barely mouthed the word 'no'
he looked down at the counter, the journal
then looked at me
and the soft crumble in his eyes
that i knew i was priviledged to see
'no one has ever made me something like this
i'll read the card later. promise'
he took it out to the car
so it wouldn't get ruined in the kitchen

he always tried so hard to hide that look in his eye
but i think i might have been one of the few people
that knew it
his sad look
heroin_doll with the big brown eyes
always quick with the lies
so they can't get in
and then maybe you won't get hurt again
unhinged his blue green camaro
and older one
more angular
how before i lived in the cramer house
when i walked from the 62 busstop
outside the union
to the cramer house
someone had one just like it
same color
same year
and everytime i walked past it
i looked at the license plate
to make sure it wasn't yours
unhinged the cramer house
before i lived there
no job
dropped out of grad_school
living on the savings
from my college graduation
take the 62 from
the corner of prospect and capitol
to the stop outside the union, kenwood
walk three or four blocks west
one and a half blocks south
which sucked when it was raining, snowing
the way his head peeked out like a gopher
when he was opening the door
he was sweet, clean, straight
so of course i wasn't attracted to him
and the thought didn't even cross my mind
until one of the first times he got drunk
and all the other guys ditched him
because he wasn't a professional drunk like them
he was not just a little drunk
he was sloppy fall down liquid courage drunk
i got him a glass of water
made sure he didn't choke himself
with the stupid cape they tied around his neck
took his glasses off his face
and put them on top of his dresser
we were sitting on the futon in the dining room together
he kept saying 'i need to tell you something'
and i kept hoping he would be too drunk to remember he kept saying 'i need to tell you something'
so i diverted him
by taking care of him
but he followed me into his bedroom
when i took his glasses from him and spilled it
'do you know what i'm going to say?'
i grimaced a bit, but maybe he didn't see
since i took his glasses from him
'yes, i do'
'i thought you might cause you're smart'
he slurred his words, he couldn't stand up straight
'go ahead and say it if you have to'
'i do. i have to.' he may have tried to put a hand on my shoulder
but not in a sexual way
he was still a virgin
he wasn't like that
'i like you. i mean LIKE you. did you think that was what i was going to say?'
i nodded 'yeah. we will always be friends sean'
his mood lurched from excited, nervous to upset
'oh, i shouldn't have told you. don't hate me now. you are taking such good care of me. don't hate me for telling you'
first time drunk
'i don't hate you sean. we will always be friends.' emphasis on the word friend, a step towards the kitchen
because suddenly his bedroom
seemed like a bad place to be
'ok. good.'
'let's get you some more water.'
'yeah. more water.'

we ended up roommates
lived together for almost two years
and maybe it was unfair of me
knowing he felt that way about me
to live with him
he was the best roommate i've ever had
unhinged i was at the burger place
around the corner from my house
getting dinner
talking to you on the phone
waiting for my carry out
cartoon cats everywhere
a family establishment
and probably not the place
to have that conversation
'what he did to you is wrong.
the law says so.
you know that right?'
my lips barely formed the word 'yes'
tears couldn't come
i was already numb from it
we talked
and i kept my eye on the kitchen window
waiting for food to come up
or eyes_cast_down
trying not to talk too loud
in my heart i was
scared, angry

i left those mattresses on the curb
when i moved out of that house
within hours
someone had come
and taken them away
i watched them tie the mattresses to the roof of their car
and couldn't help thinking
i should open the front door and tell them
they didn't want to take that karma
home with them
unhinged child_elegance

she already has a snotty disdain about her
complaining about her milk at the restaurant
from school
from being the princess of the family
but i talk to her on the phone
for hour (s) at a time
and the parts we share
i'm reminded
unhinged dreaming, frames slide by my eyelids like snapshots. something old and european about it, the way the people are dressed (woman in a long pouffy skirt, cape), a horse, maybe a carriage. in a forest. the woman is standing at the foot of a casket that is being tipped out of the carriage, two people at the foot of it, trying to catch it before it hits the ground. she is looking at them, at the ground, curls covering her eyes.


scene change

everything is the same, but she looks up. straight at me. with menace. like she caught me taking pictures of her tragedy, crime.

my alarm clock starts sqwacking.

end scene
unhinged laying in my bed on prospect
late night telephone conversation
a compulsively bought plane ticket

flying standby to get there on time
back in the day
when it was still cheaper to fly from chicago
before the faa made flights out of mke cheaper
to relieve the horrible retardedness that is o'hare
(because sadly
it really was cheaper to take a bus
between milwaukee and chicago
and fly from chicago)
the flight attendant in milwaukee
gave me flight numbers of many flights
and when it turned out
the first one was delayed til after the second
i gave the gate agent a smile
and a number
at first he seemed confused
but when he saw what i was doing
he smiled back and said
'i think i can do that'
and i ran from one terminal to another
even though it was the same airline going to the same place....

she picked me up in the taurus
and threw the dug out in the back seat
while someone i hadn't seen since high school
sat in the front, wide_eyed
you need to be fortified to deal with those people

the look on his face
newly sober
when he saw me
surprised, but barely
the smile (the crooked teeth)
and the long awaited hug
that i flew all that way for
from our foreheads
to our toes
pressed together
brought in close
he wouldn't let me let_go

the vicodin she dropped into my hand
once again
the wide_eyed look from an almost stranger
it was a youngstown night after all
unhinged honestly
i_will_remember it all
etched on the back of my eyelids
the precious moments i had with you

(and then again
if i think hard enough
there isn't any detail
of almost any situation
i can't recall
it's strange really
the flashes that pass by my mind's eye:
my first high school cafeteria
watching my dad pull up
parking the car on the street
in front of the house
after work
the way my brother's brow wrinkled together
and the scar he got from pulling the iron down on his face when he was little
popped out when he was upset
the dinner in hawaii
where the three of us ganged up on mom
and she got really upset and started crying at the table
the day i found out i got into coyo
the day i found out college was free
(getting lobster)
waking_up to my brother crying in my lap

i could spend hours everyday
lost in the movie of my life
and sometimes i do
get lost in the rewind
of a few perfect moments)
unhinged kiss_me_in_my_living_room 090515
unhinged after that christmas where he woke me up
crying in my lap
we were both at our separate lives
far away
and he called to talk
cause he knew i had gone through it too
loving an addict that needed help
when really the only help would be
to cut them loose
because maybe the lack of you
would be the only thing to sober them up
i was sitting in the north facing chair
at the dining room table
staring into my bedroom
(the door was open)
i think it was the only time in our lives
my brother genuinely asked me for help
(not like the time i threw a rock at his face
in the neighbors' backyard a few houses up
and was surprised when it connected with his face,
his brow split open
so surprised i ran home without him
eventually he hung up
i got up from the table and walked around into my room
maybe ten steps
and the weight of my heart
buckled my legs
i had never heard that kind of sadness, defeat
in my brother's voice
and it collapsed me
my back slid down the wall
and i cried
glad my roommate was at work
so i could bawl openly
unhinged in_the_wake_of_lamentable_tides 090515
unhinged the second night we spent at my cousin's
while i was dogsitting for her
how even in her king size bed
you curled up in me so close
(like we were still sleeping on the couch
in your parents' living room)
that i couldn't breathe
i was so careful at disentangling myself from you
so careful i didn't wake you up
but that night i threw your arms off me
and went downstairs for a drink of water
when i came back to bed
you asked me if i was okay
and i resented you for it
you left without saying goodbye
our goodbyes always were left

(most of the time
there isn't closure
like the clean cut of a surgeon
amputating the dead piece
but the ragged demolition
of a diy home improvement guy
breaking down walls
to make the room bigger)
unhinged the second night we spent at my cousin's
while i was dogsitting for her
how even in her king size bed
you curled up in me so close
(like we were still sleeping on the couch
in your parents' living room)
that i couldn't breathe
i was so careful at disentangling myself from you
so careful i didn't wake you up
but that night i threw your arms off me
and went downstairs for a drink of water
when i came back to bed
you asked me if i was okay
and i resented you for it
you left without saying goodbye
our goodbyes always were left

(most of the time
there isn't closure
like the clean cut of a surgeon
amputating the dead piece
but the ragged demolition
of a diy home improvement guy
breaking down walls
to make the room bigger)
unhinged oops

can't_sleep but i guess it's time i should
unhinged the night you placed those words in my heart
there is still a corner of my heart
etched with your name
the innocence of loving someone so much
you would do anything for them

the show was at the plaza
i knew she would be there
( i_pleaded )
i avoided
but i was going to be there for you
because your eyes always smiled
when you saw me at your shows
and besides
it was right the fuck downtown
not the best place downtown
but downtown
she tried to talk to me
catch my eye
but i pretended like i couldn't see her
the best revenge on a histrionic actress
i pretended like i couldn't see her

the set up of that bar was stupid
long and narrow
so they put the stage facing the bar
but offset
in front of the bar
so all the people standing in front of the stage
got in the way
of all the people that just wanted a drink
but federal plaza used to be right outside
the funky ass seventies cement fixtures/fountains/benches
right outside the front door
the road didn't go through right there
so you could chill on the plaza
so close to the police station
that you didn't have to worry about cops
catching a whiff
ah the plaza
sitting on the plaza outside the plaza
on a summer night after a show
youngstown at it's finest
where i first learned to practice indifference
without eyes_cast_down
rather straight on

in retaliation
she took my usual spot right in front
and used that opportunity to grind all over another girl
and for the first time
i couldn't move
i always danced
i always sang
i couldn't move
in between songs mike pointed at me
and then lifted the corners of his mouth
with his pointer fingers
i shook my head
my arms folded over my stomach
trying to keep the tears in
mike walked across the stage to you
and you looked up at me
i shook my head
i felt glued to the floor
and even though i tried to
pretend like i couldn't see her
it was too hard to ignore
but i stood there anyways
for you
because i wanted you to know
that i would wade through shit
when anyone else would have walked out the door
to be at your show
for you
because i supported the people i loved
if my father would rearrange his work schedule
get guys to come into work for a few hours
so he could come to see my concerts
i could watch the girl that tore out my heart
and spit on it
grind up on someone else
the way she used to grind up on me (for you)
to make me jealous
because there was a quantum_entanglement between us
that compelled me in the worst way
to be there
for you

she walked up to me as you were tearing down
with a shot
she bought from the shot girl
the test tube almost slipped through my fingers
she may have said something
but i just stared at her
and almost choked on the alcohol
my throat muscles contracted around it
like i wanted to spit it out
but i somehow managed to swallow it
and walked away
(i wasn't angry until after she chewed me up and spit me out
years later
in harrisburg, mechanicsburg
and even then
i still managed to grab her hand
hug her)

you were standing on the left side of the stage
putting equipment into a rubbermaid container
and i walked up to you to ask you for
the cd i had told you i wanted for kt earlier
and you just pulled me close
and whispered in my ear:
'you are a special human being and i love you'
i exhaled roughly in your ear
tried my damnedest not to cry
'i love you too'

believe me
over the years
i have seriously contemplated
why i ever gave a fuck about you
but i recall that night
or i listen to your albums
and i remember why it was so damn hard to let_go
unhinged oddly
i don't remember why you were at my house
where we carrying stuff of mine from joseph's?
i didn't move in that house in july
but it feels like we were carrying things

we were walking to the walgreens around the corner
for some cigarettes
and passed a cool piece of furniture about half way down my block
you wanted it for the basement bar
when you lived near the airport on kansas
it was a sidebar/hutch type thing
with a couple missing drawers
but other than that
really nice
we dragged it down the block
and drank up the last of the beers

(or maybe we saw it when we drove up to my house
yeah that's it
and then afterwards went to walgreens)

no more beer
stopped at lemon
i told you how i felt about joseph
started to cry
went to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall
you protected me from the drunk guy
trying to hit on me
you threw a chair at the neighbors' house
after they threw waterballoons at us
back then
you protected me

but i'm not your girl anymore
it's been months since the last time i hung out with you
right now
i'm all alone and i miss you
what we used to be, but are no longer
unhinged more recently
you had a show that i brought sean to
it was not the best i've seen
technical difficulties with that damn loop pedal
maybe not enough practice

i didn't acknowledge your girlfriend
i wasn't in the mood
i am aware that i am part of the problem
but i have never been one
to spew fake niceities
talk to people i don't like
if she wasn't your girlfriend
i wouldn't have a word to say to her
and all the other scenester_bitches
she hangs with
that will never be my crowd
in fact
i actively despise them)

i stood a good enough distance away
that it wasn't blatantly rude to ignore her
she walked away
maybe to get a drink
and you slid over next to me

'so what did you think?'

'it was good, but you need more practice. show practice.'

you put your arm around me
'yeah i know, you're right'

'no_no , it wasn't bad. you just need more practice. that's all.'
you squeezed me
but just for a second
did i reach up to put my arms around your waist?
or did i just lean into your sideways hug?
just for a second
and then you let go too soon
afraid she might see

the difference between you and frank
frank never minded hugging me in front of his girlfriend(s)
frank never minded making me the friend his girlfriend(s) hated
frank never minded sticking up for me if he thought his girlfriend(s) were pissing me off
but maybe that is just your way
of trying to protect me
unhinged the way you smiled when
i found you there
asked me for a hug
like we had always known each other

the way you grabbed for my hand
when i sat down next to you on the bus
on the way to our first date
fiano we held hands for the first time on a horse and cart, around a temple we went. 090610
unhinged when we finally got to the hotel
a block from the ocean
riding in an airport van
because the rental car was filled with luggage
we were leaving you there
after a long ass day of traveling
we checked into our hotel rooms
me and you walked out on the lanai
and the urban flash of waikiki sprawled out below and around us
lights lights lights
a warm ocean breeze
even in the dark night
you hopped up and down the way you did before a lacrosse game
'i can't believe i am going to live here'
the excitement in your voice changed the way the humidity felt on my skin
i grabbed you and hugged you
'i can't either. i'm excited for you'
but i was already thinking of it
how it would feel to have five thousand miles between us
we had just got there and i was already sad

the day i left
i couldn't eat breakfast
because i couldn't stop crying
less than a week later
i got my first tattoo
because i was so fucking sad at the thought
of my life without you

you don't have that excitement in your voice
the island stole it from you
come back home brother
you need me, our family, more than you want to admit
unhinged (my sister was happier back then)
pregnant with her first child
also the first grandchild/niece of the family
all of us buzzed with excitement for nine months
my sister had morning sickness throughout most of the pregnancy

sitting in a restaurant
she ordered something easily digestible
took two bites
and then turned green
i was sitting across the table from her
and saw on her face
the exact moment her stomach turned
she laid the fork on the table
but by that time was used to quelling the nausea
closed her eyes
took deep breaths
laid her hands on her belly and said
'thanks a lot.' to the baby in her belly
'i can't eat anymore.'

her due date came and went
her belly stuck out in front of her so far
she forgot what her feet looked like
her doctor decided to induce her
because the baby was getting dangerously big

she went to the hospital at 9am january 4th 2002
she had my niece at 6am january 5th 2002
(yes, she was in labor for 21 hours even though she was induced)
we got a phone call early
the only thing my sister had the energy left to say:
'she has red hair'
my niece was 9 lbs 8 oz 21 inches
i first laid eyes on her at around 9am
her face was wrinkly and upset
she was stubborn even as a fetus
it was not hard to see
that she was perfectly content to be unborn
and the trauma and discontent of being in the world
made her decidedly uhappy
the red of her face from crying competed with the carrot red of her hair
the presence in her eyes was that of an old soul
the coincidence of the hour of her birth
with the death of my grandma a few years before
seemed not like a coincidence at all
i was too in awe to even touch her
but in those moments of standing over her
hours after she was born
the suicidal depression that was overwhelming my life at the time
went from a deafening roar to a mere whisper
with the miracle of her amazing little life before me
my own life seemed infinitely more important
in those same moments
my heart shifted from self_sacrifice
to unconditional_love

there was no way i could leave a world
that she was in
my arielle
my first cuddle_bug
my baby_doll
unhinged (a fresh one)

sitting at a picnic table
at the dockside restaurant
michelle pointed out how someone
must have used an electric drill
to put the tables together because
the screwheads were embedded into the untreated planks
watching the sunset by the kinnickinnic river
the allen bradley clock coming up like the moon in the dark
('the polish moon' he said when i said i always use it to navigate by when i'm on the southside
the biggest clock in the world
it's kinda hard to miss)
the man holding his three foot catch
while his wife took a picture
near the fish cleaning room
the bartender (who reminded me of my brother
with his long hair, bushy beard, nice smile)
and the host fighting over the radio
the bartender was listening to local hip hop
the host put some crap 80s
and everytime he went to the front
the bartender flicked it back to hip hop
thank god

st stanislaus (?) church
the mcdonalds signs in spanish
definitely a sure sign you're on the southside
of milwaukee

drinking for free
throwing tips as we go
unhinged made my way to the back of the bus
mostly empty
except for a young black kid
probably 8th or 9th grade
i look over and he is slobbering all over a cigar wrapper
(wait; is this kid doing what i think he's doing?!)
the strings of spit glinting in the sun
he puts the wrap between his legs
and i divert my gaze
next thing i know
there's green resting along the length of the wrap
i knew it
blunt rolling on the bus
balls kid
and he got off the bus before he was done with the job
the weed still precariously unwrapped
in a neighborhood where the cops are eagle_eyed and bored
hope he got to smoke the thing
unhinged urban beauty:
i was taking the bus home on a wednesday morning
from the south side
and tuesday night ladies night with my girls
the bus was going through downtown
i was watching the scenery float by when i saw
a mom and her little boy sitting on a building ledge
at a busstop for another bus route
and the mom reached over and put one of her headphones (earbud variety) in the little boy's ear
the ubiquitous white ipod earbuds
a mom keeping her little boy entertained at the busstop

waiting for the bus at a busy eastside intersection
after friday night meditation class
a veggie panini and fries in a paper sack
munching on the fries while i'm waiting for the bus
while they were still hot
a b-boy type with a hip hop hoodie and baseball cap
thick rimmed glasses
crossing the intersection
south and west
starts dancing his way across the bridge
throws his hands up in the air
jiggling his waist, hips, butt from side to side
at the oncoming traffic
spontaneous joy
and/or under the influence of some good drugs
unhinged the tree outside his window
under and over the street light
in the middle of the night
a rainbow tree
red on top
orange in the middle
yellow on bottom

today the rain
was pushing the leaves down
the tree lawns
the street
the curb
covered in a beautiful blanket
of red, orange, yellow leaves
this time next week there won't be anymore leaves on the trees
just in the street
the street sweepers will come and take them all away
the trees will be naked again
the howling wind click click clacking the branches together
the snow is coming
the winter is coming

but for now the trees are going down
in a beautiful glorious blaze
unhinged the leaves were making beautiful blankets
of mostly yellow
all over the grass, sidewalk
i was huddled and slow from the pain
the beer, the smoke
i felt the need to amble even in the cold
and you jutted across the street
i knew you would be faster than me
when i caught up to you, you turned to me
'when was the last time you skipped?'
actually i had been skipping recently
the fall was my favorite when i was a little girl
my absolute favorite part
kicking and shuffling through the leaves
'i don't know'

you grabbed my hand
and we skipped to the bar
i reminded you of the night we made snow angels
in the quick mart parking lot
the only good thing about the impending snow
that i will be able to make snow angels with you again soon
we had only a beer at the bar
no shots
i reined you in
the pain made me too tired for that place
all the scenester_bitches that i didn't give a fuck about
being nice to

we got home and you made us a drink
lemonade, cider, raspberry stoli
i took a sip and looked at you
'i don't know how i feel about this'
you were putting your hair down
you laughed at me

you still pretend like you don't smoke
so we had to take the dog for a walk in the park
to have a cigarette
it was misty wet out
the leaves had the glittery glint of the rain on them
the dog led the way like she always does
and we walked up and down the park
you put your arm in mine
and the three of us strolled through the park in the middle of the night

the vintage rhinestone bug on the lapel of my wool coat glittered in the lights
you pulled me closer to you in the chill
'your bug looks awesome right now the way it sparkles in this light'
the dog dragged us home
your boyfriend was awake watching tv
i went upstairs to bed
unhinged tessellations

unhinged i was standing at the southbound busstop near my place
sucking down a cigarette for the long busride to the southside
when a cop car sped past
lights, no sirens
then another one
then another, that turned left instead of going straight

'weird' i'm sure i said it out loud
i talk to myself in public all the time
i live in a quieter neighborhood in milwaukee
i'm not used to the lights and sirens anymore

i could see the bus coming a few blocks off
and two young black kids came running
from the direction that the last cop car went
one of them had his shirt tucked in his pants
they turned and saw the bus coming
ran up to the stop
the kid in the white undershirt's neck
was covered in sweat
the other kid, in a baby blue hoodie with some writing on the front
sat down on the bench even though the bus was in sight
i turned away from them
pulled out my bus pass
the three of us got on the bus
walked toward the back
sat down

the bus didn't even pull out into traffic
when a cop car came speeding up
and cut off the bus
everyone looked around
at each other
out the windows
the seconds it took the cop to get on the bus seemed like hours
and in those seconds
i knew exactly who they were after

the kid in the undershirt was antsy
the kid in the hoodie was sitting on the inside of the seat
the cop got on the bus
and i took my headphones out of my ears
the kid in the white shirt stood up
'you, don't move, put your hands up'
the lights on the back door were lit
the kid in the white shirt ran for it
the cop was still in the front of the bus
ran towards the back door (?)
looked at the kid in the blue hoodie
'put your hands up'
the bus was dead quiet
in any case, got back off the bus to run after the kid that bolted

the kid in the blue hoodie, obviously the smarter of the two
just stayed glued to the seat
eventually the same cop got back on the bus to get him
pulled him up from the seat
the lights on the back door weren't lit
the cop pushed the kid's face into the door and it didn't move
he yelled at the kid and the kid yelled at the bus driver
the lights came on and the cop pushed the kid out on the street

people got up with their cell phones
filming the cop arresting the kid
i couldn't look
the minutes seemed like hours
eventually i saw the kid with his hands behind his back, cuffed
the cop pushing him toward the car in front of the bus

the kid in the white undershirt had left his polo shirt on a seat
a brown ralph lauren polo
with skinny baby blue stripes
the snobby blonde college student sitting in the seat poked at it
'ew it's all sweaty. it's not THAT warm out'
the day had been unseasonably beautiful, indian summer
i made some comment about how i had seen the kids run up to the busstop
another young black kid looked at the shirt
'eh, they probably stole something'
a fratty college boy across the aisle picked the shirt up and got off the bus to give it to the cops
by that time there were other cops swarming

he got back on the bus
'there are a bunch of cops out there now huffing and puffing, giving each other coordinates'
shortly after, the bus pulled away
and all at once, everyone on the bus started talking
unhinged there is this midwestern phenemon
i've seen it in more than one state
a few big cities
but mostly the land is covered in farms
and in all that rolling land between farms
there are small 'big' cities
where the people come to town for groceries
to shop at the walmart
mostly trucks in the parking lot
flannel and overalls
work boots, carhartt, dickies

the mahoning valley was a fucked up oasis
in the no man's land of farms
that covered ohio and pennsylvania
youngstown was the 'big' city people came to
(not when i lived there, but she said
when her mother was a kid
shopping in downtown youngstown at christmas
was one of her mother's fondest memories
so much so
she still talks about it
the way the woolworth's looked at christmas time)
and like a lot of the little 'big' cities in the midwest
by the time i was old enough to notice
the farms were turned into housing developments and strip malls
subsuburban sprawl

i remember coming back to ohio
after i moved to milwaukee
she picked me up at my parents' house
and we wanted to go on an adventure
so we drove up the highway to youngstown
looking for him
we stopped at the pizza shop he worked at at the time
same franchise
different store
different strip mall
he had to go out on a delivery
'come with me'
we looked at each other
'come on. get in the car.'
his girlfriend's kid's carseat in the back
he set the pizzas on top
lit up a cigarette
when we got to the house
he stuck the cigarette in the car door
just like he stuck cigarettes in the pegs of his guitar
she yelled at him
'don't you think you'd get a better tip if you didn't reek like cigarettes?'
'dude, i didn't throw it in their yard. chill'
he came back to the car all smiles

after i moved away
the reunions were always all smiles
i almost forgot what we looked like when i lived there
i almost forgot that he was a heroin addict
i almost forgot to be afraid of the phone
his smile
his smart ass mouth
i almost forgot
. . 091201
unhinged you got out of my bed
in your underwear
and i realized in your state of undress
just how skinny, wiry you are
not so apparent from the way your clothes hung on you
i couldn't help but wonder
why you were so skinny
if coke had anything to do with it
unhinged (he called me not long after i wrote that 091201 for the first time in years to tell me someone hacked my email and was sending out weird shit. his voice is still the same)

i got on the bus and looked in the back
like i always do
the seat parallel to the back door was empty
where i prefer to sit
and when i walked to the back
i saw the guy sitting sprawled out across the back seat
big hoodie, baggie clothes
hood up, eyes barely noticeable
i glanced and chose my preferred seat
didn't hold the eye_contact
didn't want any trouble

i was in a bad mood on my way home
from a gig at the mall
someone had offered me a ride home
but i walked and took the bus anyways
even though it was ass crack cold
to prove i could take care of myself
because i didn't feel like talking to church people
cause i was depressed and felt like being alone

i saw movement out of the corner of my eye
hoodie guy from the back of the bus
was standing at the top of the back stairs
and when i looked him in the face
i realized i knew him
and a smile of recognition lit up my face
'oh! hey dude'

he sat down next to me on the left
talked at me
convinced me to grab a beer with him
and i wondered why all those months ago
when we first met
that i stayed with my ex
unhinged thom_yorke 's solo album
is playing in the bar stereo
drinking an extra special bitter
brewed in house

eating a veggie burger

'were you sitting in fuel earlier?

yeah. that was me. why didn't you stop in and say hey ma?

i was on a mission. a mission for some food'

i can feel your eyes on me
when i walk

'the over the glasses is sexy.

yeah yeah. the over the glasses gave me an over the boner.'

the boy with the dreadlocks
(is that a grill in your mouth or do you just stumble over your teeth when you talk?)
tried to steal a handful of cigarettes
when i offered him an open pack
( kindred on red )
and i pulled them back
tamped out A cigarette
and he laughed

urban flamenco
fades away to snowflakes and shining lights

'see you next week boodhi'
unhinged milwaukee is definitely part of me now
cause of you

wanting_silence on red

she wore a mala
'i want peace of mind
why you trying to get a piece of mine?'
turns out she goes to the
same meditation center

urban flamenco
fades to snowflakes and twinkling lights

teaching itty bitties

dancing to hip_hop in my free time

taking the 22 across the bridge
the 15 up to where i work and live
dancing to hip_hop in my free time

when i have the time

in your basement on kansas

'two fingers in the air just one time
sing it for me all
cause it's on your mind

unhinged the night i met him
he had the afterglow of an oxy_blanket

he was honest with me
even then
about all of it
what the tattoos meant

(and i understood the impulse
to get some new_ink
to commemorate the horror)

she called him
(in retrospect his eyes were hazy)
mad to hear my voice in the background

and i carried that bracelet around with me
in the dark parts
left it in the bottom of my purse
held it in my hand in the dark
even when i didn't really know him

six months later
the universe brought him back to me
even that first day

when even
it took six months
for my advice to sink in even
cause the first night we met
i told you to dump her ass

and it took us that long
to run into each other again

even back then
i knew
you were the one
unhinged even through my headphones
i heard you beeping at me
looked up
and the truck was pulled over
in the busstop

i hid behind my sunglasses
bit the inside of my lip
the words got stuck on the inside
i couldn't let them out

but distanced from it
you were as sad as i was
you have always had an easier time talking about it
but being near me
was just as hard for you

your pupils were dilated
but small
the way only those pills can do
i know it when i look at you

the light changed
but the car wasn't moving
i looked at you and your eyes were shut
like so many times in the beginning of our relationship
when you were scared
you shut your eyes on me

i poked your shoulder
'go dude. the light is green'
your eyes opened
your foot pushed the gas
i clutched the part of the door
made to hold on
i hate driving with you
especially when your eyes are

you got me where i was going
you probably would have stayed and took me back
if i would have asked you to
i brushed you off
but really i was clenched inside
trying so hard to hold it together
you were trying to get me to tell you i would call you
i didn't want to commit to that
i wanted silence
i wanted to get used to my life without you

'give me a hug'
i reached out to you
hiding behind my big sunglasses
and i grabbed on, tight
'i miss you'
your foot let go of the brake
and the truck rolled into the parked car in front of us
i turned and let go for a second
you mumbled something about how it was a good thing the truck wasn't diesel
i had no clue what the fuck you were talking about
and turned back into the hug
grabbed back onto you
'yeah, i miss you'

'i miss you too'
but not enough to follow through

i only call
when i'm drunk
unhinged the innocence is mostly gone from him now
he's a man

not like the first time he came home from hawaii
skinny and cocky
not like the second time
when he was heart_broken
or the third time
when he couldn't stop crying

the toll of getting through those things alone
was visible to me
(not just the obvious gauges
or tattoo pant of kabuki masks that scares little old japanese ladies)
when he was a little boy
his eyes glinted
the necessities of life hadn't entered his schemes
the mischief was always for the fun of it

he was subdued
especially around the crowd he hangs with
the brother i used to know
talked shit and threw punches with his friends
he seemed almost meek that day
to me in the park
he is used to being the center of his universe
the way he talked
he seemed a little sad and disappointed
that his universe was so small there

little fish

i got to show my brother
the bay from the golden gate bridge
and realize that's how my face must have looked
the first time

i don't miss my brother so much
he's doing fine without me
unhinged your_smile
sitting on the sidewalk outside the bar
drinking our beers
with one of my students and her boyfriend

i caught you smiling at me
like it was in the beginning
the smile that disappeared
during your illness
i remembered that smile
it unsettled me
and in my drunkenness i threw a
defensive and demure your way
you looked down, shook your head
but your_lips were still turned up at the corners

oren motographic_phemory 100521
unhinged almost to the last leg of my_walk
little dude
sitting on the curb
watching the construction workers
eat up the street
and pour cement


his grandma
with her cane
trying to get him away

crouched down
his hands on his knees
watching the machinery
eat cement
unhinged that girl in the coral mini dress
trying to kick start her scooter
the skirt


she stops just long enough
to pull it down
and a car full of young guys pulls up on her left
talking at her out the windows

and then
and the boys turn out of the parking lot
unhinged the stare_down
when i asked you what the money was really for
you flipped up your sunglasses
and we stared at each_other
long enough for my heart to skip

you gave me an orange tootsie pop
and it had an indian on the wrapper
'that's good luck'
i tore off the indian and put it in my purse

today i went to pay for something
and when i pulled out all my cards
the orange indian fell on the floor

i bent over to
unhinged dust_it_off

i called your phone and
you didn't answer
i had things to do
i let out a frustrated sigh
put on my shoes
and walked out the door

two blocks later
i saw you leaning out of your dad's car
flagging me back towards our places
i turned around

today as i was walking past your house
you called me

so many times before
i thought of you
and the phone rang

l o s t g i r l you kissed me so hard that i expected to taste blood on my bruised lips.

and then i woke up.
unhinged approaching_infinity 100822
unhinged my_turn_to_go 100901
unhinged i called your phone and
you didn't answer
i had things to do
i let out a frustrated sigh
put on my shoes
and walked out the door

two blocks later
i saw you leaning out of your dad's car
flagging me back towards our places
i turned around



i'm still caught
unhinged we decided to burn one at midnight
on new years eve/new years
and we walked to the busy intersection
i noticed a couple near the window of a bar
i inwardly cringed

we weren't on that status anymore

but being with you
on that night
made old sleeping feelings turn over
you turned towards me at midnight
unsure whether you could kiss me
it was an awkward exchange
but i turned my lips up towards yours
at the last second

pressed together for a lingering second
like our lives
our hearts
. eye debt I_c 110106
what_if we had been alone? 110107
unhinged hate to break it to you
but you still have panic in your eyes
when you're high

the dilated pupils
don't hide the fear
() (on friday, someone i work with asked me if i had one. i don't, but my memory is selectively both very good and visual. i feel like i know what one would be like, but jus missed the cutoff.) 110221
h|s|g I think it's hid in betwe em otio now if I could just get pas those blocks...
h|s|g Hid in between emotional_blocks, that is. 110222
unhinged pensive_association 110406
unhinged in_the_wake_of_lamentable_tides

i've been thinking of it

walking down the hill
from your apartment to the city
the lights sprawled out in front of us
walking faster than
the bus could catch us

half way between your place
and dinner
winding down the road
that went from there to here
you turned to me and said
'why would you be with someone like that?'

and i'm still not really clear
on that answer
but i'm trying
to do better

i feel the

that i am a decidedly different person
than i was
unhinged i was trying so hard
to leave you behind

(i still think of you often;
i walk around this city
ghosts of you

i got off the bus
lit a cigarette after work
and there you were
right across the street

we avoided eye_contact
but a week later
i had a text from you
about how you were leaving town

you must have still been thinking of me
the way i think of you
unhinged you called me
'hey i have shit to do
but i can swing by'

so i hopped in the truck with you
even though experience told me
i should know better

i buckled my seat belt
you reached for yours
'i only buckle up
if the passenger does first'

i felt better
after we crossed the river
less conspicuous

left on humboldt
left again on singer
that's where your dudes lived
your glazed eyes failed you

the bumper hit the bricks
you jumped out
left me alone

(i thought to myself
what am i gonna do
if somebody asks me to move this thing?
i don't know how to drive)

you came back quick
turn right on keefe
jump out at the light
bend the bumper back into place
with a pick axe

(i knew what you had
in your pocket)

took the back roads to the walmart
and again
you left me
having panic_attack s
in the passenger seat
unhinged the night him and one of his crackhead buddies
swung by and picked us up

and we ended up at the bar
i took you to
when anthony played
on a trip back here

but emptier

(i felt them staring at my ass
when i walked_away
looking at me
looking at you
questioning smirk)

that was the night
he dropped us off on
the corner of capital and humboldt

a vodka cranberry in your hand
you asked me to hold

that was the night
i got the scar on my knee
cause you asked me to hold your drink
as we were
climbing out of the back of a two door car
i bit my shit
and even with a bunch of it spilled down the front
when i stood up
there was still some vodka in the glass

and for weeks afterwards
you cleaned and bandaged my knee

so early
i didn't know the truth between
the two of you

but every time you brought him up afterwards
i wanted to spit
unhinged (i got a big pink stain
on my favorite cream colored scarf that night

you took it home and washed it

i remember i could feel my pants
sticking to the scrape
i knew i was bleeding
because the cold air against
the exposed fleshy part
had a strange tingle to it
even in my state of drunkenness

there were sweet things you did for me
just as sweet as any money spent

you told me i never compromised
you have no idea
how hard it was for me
to let you
take care of my knee that day
and all the following days

i did
i let you take care of me
when you could

but that unfortunately
was never
when you should)
  drawing paper, fibrous, a little coarse, fine-point ballpoint pen, common brand her handwriting was worse than mine

apropos...jagged words
unhinged the way you looked at your watch
(who still wears a watch?)
with that smart_ass side_smile
and said

'am i gonna have to remember this date now?' a mexican inflection to your english

i could feel my smile
stretching the limits of my mouth
'you just might'
unhinged even in a crowded bar
you were all i could see
i reached up to
gently grab your earlobe between
my thumb and finger

you had a hard time holding my gaze
but i persisted
my new_ink was still raw
the summer heat made that more noticeable

the bartender plunked a beer in front of you
and pointed over his shoulder
'from your friends'
and hugo was making that obnoxious gesture
to suggest you'd be eating me out later
only more obnoxious because being gay
i knew he found that somewhat repulsive
and i flicked him off
and went right back to seeing only you

you are all i see
unhinged waking up to

the cat passed out between us
his belly exposed
a face of complete kitty contentment
the undeniable happiness he had
on being
the marty cat sandwich
unhinged tess 110816
unhinged words
shorthand for the expansive scenes
painted on the inside of my eyelids

the aurora bridge
the water
the mountains
the houses
the clouds
the sun

meaningless if you haven't seen it
these words just shorthand
for the epic expanse
of the northwest

aaahhh seattle
unhinged harrisburg

the retelling of that point in my life
so panicked
so angry
so sad

but so_many_years_later
the first picture to float to the top
the parking garage downtown
two older black guys sitting on a cement seat
the structure made
sipping on some malt liquor

he walked over with the three of us
brazen (always)
and asked
'do you know any good bars near here?'
and the old men turned to each other
eyebrows creeping above the glasses
a once over glance at the four of us
with three girls
a tall skinny one
a small skinny one
a short thick one

a chuckle and a languid finger towards the door
'that way'

and the old knowing chuckles
that actually didn't know shit
followed us outside
a clever disguise I have so many things I could say. But what I will say is that I am so thankful that you have any happy memory of that night. 120611
a clever disguise Actually, I already said it.

unhinged wordless_conversations

new years eve/day 2012
i was on the phone with her
she was probably either standing or sitting right next to you
when you died

(i was sitting at the kitchen table 1700 miles away looking out towards the mountains)

my mom got quiet
'nikki i think he just passed...wait'
'you mean he's dead?'
'oh alan...hey i gotta go.' the tone of her voice closed my throat with tears
'ok. bye'

i sat at that shitty ikea kitchen table
and the dam cracked
new years eve fireworks were coming off the mountains

he died
he just...yeah, he died

i could feel it in my mother's voice
the exact second his life left his body
and i_cried
while fireworks went off in the distance
(z) (eidetic) 120809
unhinged fresh

a perfect august day in seattle
the sun slants down through the highrises
blue blue sky
pierced by mirrored glass

i sit on the patio of lola
4th and virginia
she brings out the sizzle plate
and sets it on top of it's wooden bench
pours the ouzo on either side of the kebabs
the smell draws envious glances

i pounce
as i almost literally drool all over my plate
watching the pedestrians hustle past
the sun shine in mirrored glass
onions, figs, haloumi
after the most beautiful movie

unhinged it was the last thing i did

at the end of a long day
i stumbled up that staircase

waiting for the phone to ring

waiting to know
whether you were

unhinged the sky was grey
the tree lawns were white

we took the back roads to the highway
you were in the back
in your carseat

'yellow auntie nicole'

look at the stars
look how they shine for you
you were still tiny enough for a carseat
and i turned over the corner of the front seat

'sure honey
let me find it'

they shine for you
unhinged that same night:


we were sitting on the sidewalk patio
the four of us
maybe after that african sold him the roses
and i was staring at the tv vacantly
trying very hard not to lose it

the three of you were sexually harassing each other
it was obvious the two of you fucked
he looked over at me
with the signature puppy dog eyes
and said
'but you never give me the fuckme eyes'
he batted the eyelashes for dramatic effect

i just shook my head
but i saw what he did to you afterwards
and i knew i wouldn't survive him
using me that way too
unhinged i was standing on the back landing trying to get my shoes on
i was crying because i was getting yelled at
but we had to leave the house

my mom was in the kitchen
(three stairs up from the back door)
looking down at me struggling with my shoes
asking me what was wrong

i was probably seven or eight
i couldn't find the right words to explain to my mom why i was crying
which made me cry harder
so that i started hyperventilating
which made my mother panicky
and she started yelling at my dad

'i told you. just blow in her mouth until she starts breathing again'

my dad came down the stairs
knelt down
and grabbed my face in his hands
'oh nicole. don't cry'
and he blew in my mouth
his breath made my lungs restart
i sucked up the tears that had
turned into snot pouring out of my nose

he pulled me close to him
despite my efforts to get out of his grasp
and wouldn't let me go
til i stopped squirming
unhinged snow_like_drifting 121016
unhinged the_ways_we_said_goodbye 121114
unhinged we were in the middle of fucking
i always shut my eyes
the trauma of my past
i didn't want to look in the face

i didn't really like him
he was good on paper
a professor
writing a book
cooked me dinner without meat
but i didn't really like him

we were in the middle of fucking
my eyes shut
i heard 'look at me'
i opened my eyes
his curly hair a frizzy halo
his hazel eyes intense
daring me to maintain eye_contact
he got off
i didn't
unhinged i walked into your work
it was busy
i had to move a chair to sit
in my normal spot

you may have noticed me before
but when you turned to smile at me
wry and cautious
my heart melted at the sight
(possibly gag worthy)
to know that the sight of me
makes you smile

that made me feel better
than anyone else has been able to
for a long time
unhinged then
at some point

the sight of me
at your work
started to make you nervous
the barest glimpse of
the corners of your mouth
quickly changed into you
on the right side of your lower lip

maybe it's cause work was busy
maybe it's cause my presence unsettles you now
(hiding something?)

the world may never know
unhinged it was summer
my little sweatbox of a studio
was like an oven
we went outside to smoke
trying to catch any small stirring of air
him and his girlfriend came out of the wine bar
to also smoke
(he was closing the place for the night)
you invited them both up to my place

his girlfriend was pretty but vapid
but also brash
(thought she was tough)
she clung to him
like i or the nonexistent breeze
would blow him right out of her hands
(i was slightly disappointed that
he had a girlfriend,
especially a dumb bitch type
we talked a lot when i went into the wine bar
but at the time it hadn't amounted to much
i went in there to hang out with him
when i felt like i would give in to you)

that night
i gave into you
you were uncharacteristically sober
at least opiates sober
you had just got back from massachusetts
you were happy
(you got to spend time with your son)
i couldn't resist

the four of us crammed into my little studio
he sat down in the same seat
he always sat when he chilled with me
after work
she sat in his lap
even though there was a second chair

we scooted over to the small kitchen
you leaned against the cast iron sink
the smile wouldn't leave your lips
a true smile
at the time
i thought it was just because of isaac
she was being ridiculously loud
talking about shit none of the rest of us
had any interest in
but he pretended to be interested
presumably so he could get laid later
you looked at me and smiled
i smiled timidly back

that was the day i really met you
not a reflection in dirty_mirrors
but you
the way you were supposed to be

it made all your wasted bullshit after that
that much harder to bear
unhinged your_eyes were sad
your forehead creased
your emotions were plain on your face

i could feel you staring at me
the unconscious habit of my foot
my hands fidgeted
the only thing i could think to do was flee

my own hurt
shut you out
part of me is sorry for that

part of me doesn't really give a fuck
how hard that was for you
to be another row in the same pattern
i've been waiting all my life
to break free from

for someone to love me
the way i know my heart is capable

you stood up
when i said i was leaving
turned your body towards the door

and did nothing
unhinged sitting at the bar at robert's show
so we wouldn't have to pay the cover
my back
to the stage
to most of the room

turned towards you
only you

at some point
we both stopped talking
held each other's glance

i didn't feel the need to look away
my mouth turned up at the corners

we are both old enough to be tentative
but young enough
to feel giddy in each other's presence

i want to kiss you
when your_eyes twinkle like that
unhinged you bristled
your lips twisted in a snarl

i didn't know what to say
my childhood reaction of silence
seemed like the only option

your eyes narrowed
you could tell i wasnt sober
something i did gave me away
you were uncomfortable
decided to stay sober
i felt like any asshole

we stared at each_other
tears in our eyes

all the options i had come up with
for staying together
didnt seem viable
someone had convinced you
i wasnt worth keeping
you knew i wouldnt stay friends

we stared at each_other
tears in our eyes

you had a jolting epiphany
'ive never even really told myself this'
your sober stomach turned
and you catapulted yourself off the couch
shut down the conversation
said you wanted to take me home

the anger made everything sharp between us
you were angry

with her

and once again
you were shutting me out
cause you were angry

with her

i flew down the steps to the car
my tears fell

i turned to you in the car before i climbed out
i wanted you to stop me
instead you 'didnt know what to say'

you didnt drive away until
i pulled open the door

my tears fell
unhinged (my heart broke that day in a way it has not been broken for years. once again i wasn't good enough. once again i was thrown out, abandoned. it triggered something in me that i had been able to hold at bay for a long time. i am finally beginning to repair myself. i still have strong feelings about all of it, about you. but mostly now, i find myself wishing you are happy. mixed with anger, anger that has taught me that i deserve better, that i am awesome and deserve someone who can appreciate and love me for who i am.)

i laid in bed
staring at the wall
my wrist itched

how the hell did i get this way again?
will it ever end?

it was unbearable
the ugly voice in my head
the self_destructive voice
the nagging voice
the addiction voice
came back with a vengeance

thoughts are just thoughts
i pushed them all away
'thinking little buddy, just thinking'

my heart cracked
it wasn't just thoughts
there were horrible feelings there too
the pain seeped over to the physical

i laid in bed
staring at the wall
tears streaming down my face
my heart cracked

a little voice almost drowned by all the pain said
'you know this will pass'
i decided to acknowledge my addiction
with a firm no
i will not hurt myself today.

it was a beautiful summer day.
the sun was streaming in my window.
everything felt so black.
i turned towards the wall
hiding from the taunting sun
cried until my eyes were too sore
the little voice said 'start running again'

several times per week
i ran up down and around my neighborhood
the season changed
so did my heart
birdmad . 150916
flowerock Beautifully written, I don't even know how to say... but beautifully dealt with as well is the best way I can think to word my feeling.

Some things I wish I could delete from my memory. I don't quite have a photographic memory, but somethings are burned in time and creep up behind my eyes unexpectedly. I feel sick, but it's passed and there is comfort in that, I'm still here and going strong.

Memories that call on all of the senses.
unhinged tonight

i was on stage

tonight my heart overflowed

(we covered jeff_buckley )

f uh.

no, my name is River Phenix.
i kept it in a box
and some times i sang songs.
unhinged the stark relief of a winter forest
the white snow

the black trees
the black road

the stark relief of
coming together for the first time in years
for a funeral
of a reunion of grief

crunching through the snow in the cemetery
so quiet in trying to hide
to stay composed
even in the face of death

we laid flowers on
both urns
(flouncing of tradition
that had just been approved by the pope)

my sister flung herself across both urns
and wept
the shock rippled through the family
as her sobs broke the silence
her husband nervously stepped forward
to pull her back into his arms

whispers mingled with the crunching snow
as we wended back to our cars
unhinged bach_goddess

i had to pull you to me
so close that you couldn't see
the open portal of my heart
reflected in my eyes
the fuzzy edges of all the beer
made me not give a fuck
that we were at a crowded bus stop
you were still trying to speak to me
even as i buried your face in my neck
words flicked in and out of the noise around us
i pulled you back to grab your face
dive into the pools of your eyes
i wanted to dive in
startled by the depths of my want
drunk enough not to care
eventually i stopped fighting it
and kissed you
but in a mistaken way
in a friendly way

i left my tongue to myself
so that i could deny that i wanted to hold you all the time
especially now
now that he was out of the way
now that you were sad
now that you were so anxious you vibrated

the bus came too fast
the bus came at exactly the right moment
unhinged i was reading some
strange young adult sci-fi
open to interruption

him and his friend
slide in the space
on my right

somewhere around drink three
his friend got up and left
he was trying to use lesser evilism
logic, harm reduction to justify
same old milquetoast story
i found myself raising my voice
in my insistence that it was time
to stop and fight
draw a line and then refuse to cross it
my voice raised before i realized it

he realized we had started to
yell at each_other
(something i find myself doing a lot
in the trump era)
and suddenly went quiet
i thought i had pissed him off
until i noticed the fuckme eyes

five hours later
i denied his invitation to go back to his hotel
and he silently walked to my busstop and waited with me
the lack of coercion struck me
not even an eyebrow or pouty lip
of disagreement
not even a hitch in the step
the modesty of our kiss
before the bus came

a sad commentary on my past
a bittersweet sorespot
that i can't get close to him now

fucking covid
unhinged the sibilant whispers
of a gentle voice
raised speaking a
gentle language
like water moving
over rocks
after a rain

the feline saunter
like a panther
on the prowl
in the stacks of shoes
pantherus retailus
in his natural habitat
unhinged the big bright smile
that blinds me with
all it's toothy brilliance
when auntie's face
flashes across his screen

resuscitating me
Photophobe I have to say over the yesrs this continues to be one of my favourite blathes. Thanks for this glimpse into your mind, unhinged. 221230
unhinged (thanks photophobe...i think this is my longest running blathe. i'm glad to have readers)

wordless_conversations on red

i try not to let myself
think of it so much

those last six days in hospice

but sometimes i really do need
to remind myself
that you are gone

i had somehow managed to take
third shift
with you
maybe so
we didn't need to talk

because i didn't want to
burden you with my tears
i cried in the shower

to think
your daughter the poet
had no words
for you
at the end of your life

there is still
a big gaping hole in my heart
where you used to be

the tears still
cut my face
if I let them)
Lycanthrope Thanks for sharing. Miss ya. 230117
Photophobe Brutal.

Thank you.
Sorry means nothing here, maybe. Maybe this is the most blather of blathers. Even more than a farmfish tri rhyming scheme or a dafreman rant or some way of telling you how wonder you are...
Photophobe wordless_conversations has always been the actual blathe. we know. 230128
unhinged actually on red
it's silent_conversations
unhinged the parts of seattle
i traipsed through

when you still responded
when covid was more of a party
and less of a fascist takeover
before i watched my dad die
the last breath rattling
when i promised him
i wouldn't let my mom
die alone and sickly

like a documentary
flicking on
the backs of my eyelids
when i was a girl
that gave her heart away freely

before the strongest string
as my lips brushed
his cold dead cheek

i can admit it
all the well intentioned trauma
you buried deep
all set free
with that reverse
fairy tale kiss

broken into

broken into

(happy almost birthday dad)
unhinged we were driving down the highway
this time
in rural AZ
in his girlfriend's SUV
to get to
the cheap smoke shop
on the reservation
to get cartons of cigarettes

i was in the backseat
staring out the window
as the pipe
made its way around
sometimes chiming in
sometimes staring at my phone

my mind kept interrupting

he dies
while you are gone?

we got off the 10
they dug around
for masks
before they went in

when they took longer than expected
i called you
'talk to me' my head hit
the back of the seat
my eyes closed

'about what?'
your dad had died from cancer
just a couple weeks before

'it doesn't matter.'
you didn't need me
to say anything else
you started chattering
about something stupid

my brother and his girlfriend
came back to the car
cartons tucked under their arms

'i gotta go'

your voice softened
my heart_pang clamored

in the dark
the desert slipped by
Photophobe 3 230409
what's it to you?
who go