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Before I had a car my life was small

miles from the city the only trips I took

was the 45 minute bus to school every day

and the rare trip to town with 

my elderly grandmother

life was simple

I read Poe, Plath, and Shelley in my room 

music blasting, curtains drawn

I was in my happy place

 

My wardrobe consisted of black on black

my teenage angst manifesting itself

I wasn’t depressed, I was lonely

Fourteen years old and

The only people who understood me

were the other outcasts at school

and the punk rock bands

whose posters covered my walls

 

I had the clothes

the combat boots

the choker necklace

red eye shadow

thick eyeliner

all I needed to complete my look

was the darker than night

blacker than raven

lipstick

 

I planned the day I was going to do it

I saved all of my money for weeks

we were going to the mall

I planned my route,I made a bee line

for the makeup store

I knew my grandma would be upset

if she knew what I was up to

 

Passed the brushes the blushes

the creams and the shadows

Passed the candy pinks and the ruby reds

every other “pretty” color

the only color I find pretty

is Raven black matte lipstick

I grab it quickly

watching for my grandma

quickly, quickly

I fumble my money

I purchase my prize

shifty eyed and

full of guilt

Pocket the tube

I rush to get home

 

After I eat my dinner and do my homework

I go to my room, shut the door

lock it just in case

Sit in front of my mirror

look at my face

take a deep breath

I carefully take out the tube

slowly twist

the smooth velvet

spreads across my lips

I feel like myself

only one problem

I don’t yet have the confidence

that is required

when you go in public

wearing black lipstick 

Poetry

Ode to the Lean Pocket, haiku written while I made lunch

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Rubber crust somehow

lava hot yet still frozen

is this really food?

My roommate forgot to throw his lean pocket package away and it took me back to every single time I have eaten a Hot Pocket or a Lean pocket. I don’t know why we put ourselves through eating these. They come in a little sleeve that is supposed to crisp them which really only succeeds in radiating the inside until it is boiling lava hot. Somehow you are supposed to use this radioactive sleeve to craft a holster so you don’t burn your hands. Then, despite the fact that you just burned your fingertips on this greasy pizza loaf,you put it in your mouth and bite in, instantly regretting every life choice you’ve made thus far. The lava drips down your lips and chin and settles on your shirt. At least now all feeling in your mouth is gone so you can stand the rest of this hot pocket. At least the center is nice and icy to sooth your burned mouth.

The last haiku I wrote on the kitchen whiteboard was lost on my roommates, but that one was about how no one does their dishes.

Poetry

Comfort Food

When we first met, and we would go hiking regularly
John and I when we first met, and we would go hiking regularly

when we met

I was a size 12

you were fit

on our first date

we could barely eat

our stomachs filled

with butterflies

now those butterflies

have flown away

we talk all night

we laugh, we cry

we fix each other food

and we don’t miss any meals

our love has grown

and so have our stomachs

our thighs

my hips

your arms

we get winded

when we go to the gym

we count carbs, calories

we run further

we sweat together

the pounds don’t melt

I stay voluptuous

you are soft

but I like you that way

because we are comfortable


My boyfriend and I have been together for almost four years now. I have struggled with my weight all of my life. I’m not obese, but I’m definitely overweight. John was once homeless in Arizona, where he ate very little and was underweight. He also suffers from body dysmorphic disorder where he sees himself as pretty much a monster. I don’t see this. I think that no matter what he looks like, he is beautiful and I will always love him. He has expressed to me how unhappy he is with his weight now. We have been working on it by working out and eating better,  but after we both got off work tonight we broke down and ordered pizza because neither of us felt like cooking. Now I’m feeling disgusting and unhappy with myself, which is where this poem came from. 

John and I as of last October, with Maria Bamford
John and I as of last October, with Maria Bamford
Poetry

Mothers Day in a Single Parent Home

when I was six years old

I made a beautiful card

it had a rainbow, the sun

a picture of my dog

the inside was simple

in my neatest script

i wrote

dear dad

happy mothers day


A note about this poem: Mothers Day is always a weird holiday for me. My mom is still alive, but I was raised primarily by my father. I would only see my mom on Friday nights and the time with her was not pleasant, to say the least. My father was both parents to me. He taught me everything I know, and he has been the biggest influence on my life. He still has this card that I made him. He pulls it out occasionally to show me, and he always gets the biggest look of pride when he does so. I’m glad that I made him proud of me. As I’ve gotten older, now Mothers Day means very little to me. Its a busy day at work because I work in a restaurant. I’m probably going to bring my grandmothers’ flowers and I might buy my mom a card. The problem with mothers day cards for my mom is that they never say the right words. They always say things like “Thank you for always being there” or “I know I can depend on you” and that just isn’t how I feel. I usually go with a card that is humorous or just says Happy Mothers Day. 

Poetry

Sidonglobophobia (fear of cotton balls)

other people see soft

plush, fluffy clouds of fiber

used to clean wounds

remove nail polish

keep bottles of pills safe

I see itchy, stringy, nasty

spine chilling

under my fingernails

pins and needles

sound making me cringe

making its way up my arms

under my skin

covering my muscles

feel like I could pull out

my fingernails

and my eyeballs

if I knew they wouldn’t stuff them

with cotton balls.


I have had a pretty bad fear of cotton balls ever since I could remember. I remember getting ear infections and getting my ears stuffed with cotton balls. I remember getting an abcess on my back and having to have that stuffed with cotton to keep it open, as it got a staff infection. I believe that this is what really set me off. Even now, writing this all down, I have to do my cotton ball compulsion of flicking all of my fingernails until I am absolutely sure that they don’t have cotton stuffed under them. There was even a Maury episode  (link here) of a lady who was afraid of cotton balls. Everyone made fun of her, and they even chased her around with a guy costume covered in cotton balls. Everyone laughed, except me. I felt like I was the only person who understood her suffering. Of course, I realized that I wasn’t alone. We never are, are we?

Poetry

Family Meeting in the Principals Office- 4th grade

Mountain of papers on his desk

Knick knacks

A cat-a-day calendar

Memo’s on post its

His walls have pictures

Of himself as a young football player

Beaming at the camera

And awards

And diplomas

My grandmother is sitting

Along with the councilor

Someone puts their hand on my shoulder

Has someone died?

Grandma speaks first

“Shawna…”

The tone in her voice makes me nervous

“Your mother got behind the wheel

After too many drinks”

I fear for the worst

I see my mother, in a coma

A vegetable

Or a body in the morgue

“She wrapped her car around a tree

She spent the night in jail”

A person gets three strikes

They let you off with a warning

Probation

Thirty days in jail

But the third time,

You are unfit for society

And they send you away

For a second I think

This might be worse than if she had died

Am I going to hell?

Poetry

My Mother

She knew she was sick

but she had a life inside of her

termination was put on the table

and quickly thrown off

somedays she didn’t know who she was

five years ago she knew

athlete

top of her class

catholic

prodigal daughter

now she is

lost

unmarried

with child

college dropout

schizophrenic

How could she care for a child

if she couldn’t even care for herself