The woman behind the desk hands you
a stack of papers on a clipboard
all the standard questions:
Name, date of birth, serial number
Medications you are currently taking
Have you or a blood relative
been diagnosed with diabetes
heart disease, lung cancer, HIV?
At what age did you first abuse
alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin?
When was the last time you went
to the dentist? Are you sexually active?
Sign here. And here. And here.
The woman who calls your name
and leads you to her office
asks you all the questions
you just answered on the forms,
and all the questions you answered
on the phone when you first called.
What is your diagnosis?
Have you ever been hospitalized
for mental instability?
Do you hear voices?
Have you ever tried to harm yourself?
Cut yourself? Kill yourself?
And then, a new question.
"Why would you want to kill yourself?"
she asks, "You're so young!"
How do you answer that?
You weren't aware there was
an age prerequisite.
Back Porch Poem # 1
I want to kiss someone whose mouth tastes like ashes
I want someone to hit me
I want to burn my possessions in front of a Starbucks
I want to throw myself off a bridge – preferably into traffic –
Because I love her better than he does
I wish I had the strength and courage to truly hurt myself
I wish I could end this now, kill myself for real,
Instead of slowly, one miserable day at a time.
Back Porch Poem # 2
Barefoot and smoking on the back steps
Three small dogs on the other side of a chain-link fence
Warn me to stay away in shrill and furious yips
Their attempts to intimidate me are laughable
I could drop-kick all three if I were so inclined
Still, a part of me wants to reassure the furry triumvirate.
"Tiny guardians, I mean you no harm.
I will stay on my side of the fence.
I just want to smoke and feel sorry for myself."
The dogs keep barking.
I keep smoking.
I hate the summer.
use a new identity
more natural than necessary
abandon bitter thoughts
believe in everything
love those warm hands and words
and that warm face
love how I tremble, and, terrified,
find myself pushing him away
you act grateful
like it will bite
believe in beauty
wait for the
climb up & out
priced to own
& after a ten-month minute
it finally hit me
I was a bargain
Falter and Fade
I could disappear here.
I could simply cease to be,
And slip out of this existence
Like tripping over my own feet
Like feeling the blankets being pulled off of me
In the morning when you leave.
"Disappear here," you say,
And I know how easy it would be
To turn you into what's missing
To live my life in your long goodbyes.