Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Goop:

I looked up one day and couldn't see the future anymore

i searched my pockets

and finally dug tired fingers through pudding thoughts

looking for sharp edges and hard parts

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things That Go Bump In My Head

Of course I drink as much as possible. What the hell else is booze good for? Well, I used to feel that way. I used to buy big bottles, not necessarily good bottles. The drinker is an old monster, among other haunts…

The truth will set you free? The truth will also knock the wind out of you in a drab living room in Derby where I tried to sleep in a chair once but the sounds of belittlement aimed at me from the guy on the couch kept me awake.

Just another visit…

I had noticed dead foliage crumbling on his porch, falling from flower pots I had planted that spring. I sucked in a desperate breath of cold air and knocked.

He opened the door and stared at me. With glassy eyes and gray wispy hair curling around his ears, his jaw worked nervously -- fingers tapping patterns. He let me in.

We stood in a foyer with a staircase leading to one occupied room in a hall with others that sat preserved under a cloud of dust and neglect, touched only by his contempt for those who had once lived and slept in those other beds.

Downstairs his stuffed chairs and sprawling couch In the living room were all at perfect angles. I watched him brush off a pillow, then stare at the wall.

Where were you? he asked.

Nowhere, I said.

It snowed. Your car at your apartment was never cleaned off. After a few days I went in with the police to look for you. Where were you? he asked.

I wasn't there, I said.

I had split with him and on a whim I went to Daytona Bike Week 2003 with someone I knew only enough to say hello -- because I was free. I had fun and we bitched to one another about exes neither of us knew, drank beer, rode his bike, and I was happy in my sunglasses in Florida where I never expected to be.

Then I came home. I had to go see him. The break was recent and he was worried about me, he said. Come see me, he said. I will always be the biggest fool I have ever known.

Where were you? he shouted at me.

He shoved me against one of the chairs. I got my balance back and he shoved me every time I straightened up. I bounced off the corner chair again and finally decided to stay there. Screaming now, he demanded, where were you?

I went to Florida.

With who!

A friend's roommate.


I told him.

Where does he live?

I don't know.

I was back on my feet and leaving.

That's it, I said.

You tell him, I am really good in the dark.

I imagined him decades ago sitting in the sweaty hell of Vietnam and I thought, maybe you were then, but not now.

Anyway, Halloween is coming, and the monsters are out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, Boo Hoo

Why use a knife when the truth will do?

I've been feeling awful, cursed and hard

like a sinking stone

tied to my heart


Nearing midnight in late October, I waited for Halloween with a glass of Cabernet. I am doomed if I ever run out of this stuff; it gives me something to do with my pursed lips.

I woke up this morning and saw flashes of my troubled mind: I dreamt of chainsaws through a flower garden and handfuls of my hair torn out in my hands.

Once upon a time many Halloweens ago I sat in a friend's seaside apartment where the dirty-salt scent of Long Island Sound mixed with oily factory fumes. Restaurants down the row puffed fryer exhaust into the sky, giving us a taste of a beer battered, overcooked night.

What should we listen to?

Hey, what about Nick Cave's Murder Ballads? I asked. Nick just kills at will and sings with glee about the blood on his hands. I like Halloween. I like its monsters and demons. Some days they are closer closer closer than others. Sometimes they say beautiful things that I crave, and sometimes I am afraid.

As my dryer cranks a warm, cottony scent into the night my fingers wrap around a wine glass.

The days and nights at home are tough lately, but sincere. What can I do with feelings in my hands like marbles of blown glass?

What I want most in the world is to sit in a corner alone and feel relief, sometimes. Isn't that kind of abandoning everyone and everything?

A psychologist told me years ago that I just don't cope. Kendra, you have no coping skills, she said.

Well, isn't that the perfect way around everything? I thought.

Just An Autumn Day

Skipping through naked tree limbs, autumn's early sunlight shines brighter on my cheeks -- finally free of a damp, heavy summer. The air is powdered with brittle leaves as it tugs my hair. I wonder about love, like satin. I wonder about freedom, like a dream.

We can't hold everything in our hands all at once. I am back to the bits and pieces. Treat love gently, because it is raw and fierce and knows only elation or heartache. Chase freedom carefully because it is buoyant and impossible to grab.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts on scraps of paper in my purse:

He doled out time like ribbon candy, sweet and brittle and sticky on my teeth.

I laughed, but should not have laughed. I was sobbing -- little feelings dried up in damp tissues on the floor while I cried until I couldn't breath.

At the bar at night-into-morning I listened to Bob Dylan, drank a wine, and wondered over and over about the difference between selfish and wrong.


Halloween when I was a girl…

Night settled with crisp sounds of leaves in a lazy breeze and my imagination ran ahead on light feet.

I was a girl, a cat, a ballerina, a witch. I was alive and dreaming and racing for candy with my neighbors, faces painted in false red grins or masked like death or terror, lining up behind me as I pressed the glowing bell.

My haunts were not real yet. As I tugged a pillowcase full of candy through a cool autumn night I did not know that I would walk heart first into a hungry demon.


So much on my mind…so much.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just A Glimpse

The phone just rang and I considered smashing it. Instead I said, Newtown Bee…

A woman spoke and each word came with difficulty. I strained to understand. She made the phone call for her mother, who did not recall a bill they received from our newspaper.

I imagined an adult child with a disability who lived at home with a mom who probably needed her. I wanted to give her everything I had. I wanted her speech — just for a moment — to flow with beautiful sounds from lips shaped like cherry candy, sharing thoughts and laughter that came without effort.

I wished too, as I replaced the phone, that I could make their bill go away and their lives easier.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh, Just Imagine...

In a bar with lights a pale butter yellow

he sits with eyes sparks of blue

She says, I have such a crush on you

dance with me, he answers

The bits and pieces feel a little better

pressed together for a minute

They fill gaps perfectly

where nothing else would fit

I sit here with nothing to write about while I wait for Halloween.

A few of the haunts are early, straws dug into my god damn bleeding heart.

Wine is the wrong answer for this. A fast dose of Cabernet at noon may be a good balm for brunch and baby showers, but how can I soothe the heavy things that make me cry? I was swirling morning coffee in a paper cup today when someone reached past me for the sugar. Tears were dripping down my cheek.


I tell Jerry, I don't feel right; something is wrong. I have so many things on my mind, I tell him. He stares at me and knows that either nothing, or something really ugly is coming, and hides his head under his shirt. Laughing, I wipe tears away again. I tell him a bunch of other stuff that just leaves blood on my hands, so I won't repeat it.

Remembering my apartment and Ani DeFranco on the CD, I miss being alone. I have told him so many times how much I miss it. How can I say things that hurt you? I ask.


With my coffee ready, I give the girl two bucks. She hands me 50 cents before I squeeze outside where pick-up trucks line the lot.

Can I go back and edit things so all the edges are rough? So nothing is comfortable to hold or read or pass along? That's good stuff. Tailored beautiful things are perfect until you lean on them a little, and they tend to hit my last screaming nerve. I guess I have monsters of my own that live in my head. What a bitch.

I want to sink my fingers into something firm and press my teeth against its shoulder and stay there. Just stay there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A mid-October Menace, But So What

I had something raw in my hands

like clay

like the edge of your shirt

like your hair in my fingers

like love

Words in my ears

i wanted more

but fear like stage fright

and claws in my chest

and a fool’s desire

stole my breath

You’re intense you’re on fire

you’re in front of me

you’ll burn me

you’re perfect

you’re a demon too big for the room

you’re my poem

don’t disappear

Monday, October 17, 2011

This can't all be wonderful. Sometimes it's just thoughts…

Later this month as the shadows make monsters with wicked hands and indelible horrors get up and walk, I'll rip up the endless list of things on my mind and toss it with the leaves in autumn's wind.

I am crushed flower petals.

With their hearts full of maybe lust and maybe love

and maybes and maybe nots

they turned and the room was gone.

She waited for midnight when time teetered between now and then

and into that pocket she slipped a little hope

where she would go searching again.

I was covered in drying clay after a pottery class when I caught him at his song. He sat in a corner in the sun with a breeze from the bay sliding through his hair. He played guitar.

His shadow changed shape in the sunlight as he leaned into his strings or looked at me. Summer was coming and he was beautiful and I was free. I did not know yet that love could start and love could end and that I would not always be happy; I was still carefree.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I remember my friend MaryAnn's charcoal drawings on a page like swipes of death and anger in her heart -- ragged shapes that she would later frame or tear up.

She was on the floor with blackness and fury spread around her.

I said, MaryAnn? I want to see him.

Her hand stopped jabbing the paper.

MaryAnn? I wanted to talk to you first before I do anything.

OK, she finally said.

In a borrowed car on a summer night I went to find a guy she used to date. Next to his mailbox on a sandy Long Island lane I breathed in salty air and saw shadows falling across the bay. I thought of my friend MaryAnn, of desire, and I left a note there.


From inside a pocket of stolen time she looked at her demon. Don't lose me, she said.

I won't.

He breathed unfamiliar words against her ear and the world melted in beautiful colors.


My words are not so easy lately. I am going to drink a little wine and think about things that haunt me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I thought these words had a nice curve.

Nice Curve

Sleep is sparse along the ragged edge

trade coffee for rest

skip my dreams

and cry

or touch

things I want

maybe cut my hands

teetering here on the ragged edge

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My thoughts are everywhere tonight….

Oh, high school made me sick. What a pulpy mess: heaps of broken hearts, dashed dreams, and fields of sorrow all caked the halls before the first bell.

On the girls room wall I read, he didn't tell me he had another girl to take to a movie or take for a ride. Don't go out with him. He's a slut...

Their asses squeezed in tight jeans, girls leaned toward the mirrors and watched themselves pout and smoke.

He promised he loved me, she said.

Yeah, right.

Why? Do you think he lied?

I remember facing the breeze at dusk on a Friday night in Long Island. I was alone. I didn't want to be alone. I had a boyfriend, but he moved in with Danielle when our rent was up. Now what.

A slim $40 bucks and I went to a bar that night, and for the next few months we stayed that way. I worked in the day and drank up my lunch money at night. So what.

I went home one day and cancelled my apartment's phone. God, I wanted to call him. He showed up one day and I hid in the bathroom until I heard the gravel swish under his tires on the way out. I could have been anywhere. I could have been out for a walk or with another guy or on my way toward something that looked a little better than pale pink soap stains in the sink. I could have been anywhere, but I was there.

Late from work on a Friday I missed a chance to cash my check. I had to beg another $40 bucks from the neighbor next-door. I tried every beer at every bar until I decided to go home and read before my liver fell out.

With a few worn out bills in my pocket one weekend I stood in a book isle somewhere and realized, I could pick anything I wanted. I looked at the romances and spy novels. I saw vampire books and humor books and all the investigative crime things, and then I went home and dug around in a box I packed last semester. Ayn Rand. Took me a long time to push through some of her thicker stuff, but with a beer and a table lamp I read every night until I was a little better.

You haven't been over lately, my neighbor said.

Nope. Been reading.

Got a new boyfriend yet?

No. I got a book.

It takes a long time, he said.

Fucker was right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Isn't That Nuts?

I crawled inside a vodka bottle a few years ago. I would melt fresh ice under a heavy pour as soon as I pushed into the kitchen after work. If he saw me marching across the porch, nerves and desperation propelled him to the bottle first. Can I pour you a drink? he asked.

Mornings washed pieces if my life down the drain. Alone in my car sobbing, hung-over and vicious, I remember staring through the windshield while rain pushed November's reddish leaves across the Pontiac's hood. I thought, it's not as bad as the mental hospital…

It happened during a warm, grass-scented April afternoon. They took my shoes and anything made of glass in my purse including a little perfume oil that smelled like dust and earth and happiness. No mirrors. No doors. They stared at me while I slept, but nobody cared about another terrified girl I had met . Her mother spoke in her head.

The girl whispered and glanced to the side in fear. She's going to hear us, she said.

Who? Your mother?

Yes! she said.

I am sorry, I said.

She would wake with slash marks on her arms. Fingernails in the night had retraced and opened old scars.

Your mother? I asked.

I don't remember anything, she said...

Sitting there in the old Pontiac on a dreary day with a long drive and a head like a stone, I was crying again. I wondered about another woman I had met on the locked ward. Her husband would bring their children but she would crawl in his lap, as if she were the youngest and most wounded of them all.

They love you, I told her later.

They do. It kills me, she said.

Go home to them, I said.

I am afraid, she said.

Later she asked a nurse to monitor her that night, and strap her hands to the bed.

She did not trust herself, she said.

Somehow the vodka days passed and I was raking my yard and waving to the neighbor's little kid, wondering what pit I'd fall in next. About a mile away I heard a deep whistle sound over the Stevenson Dam and I knew turkey vultures would be lining the fences, waiting while the water churned.


A demon sat staring at the curves of my face. I remembered the stubble on his chin tugging my hair. Maybe I used to be crazy, and that's how this door opened and dangerous things slipped in.

Nothing is for certain or for sure; it all teeters on maybe.

I still think about the woman who would curl against her husband while her kids sat quietly because dad had probably said, don't do anything to upset your mother.

I know her life was a torture. I know she wanted out from under its weight. She was afraid to sleep without a nurse watching, so how could she care for a daughter and make her husband happy and not come apart?


I told the demon that my life didn't go right. It was never right for me to have kids.

What do you mean! You don't have any, and maybe that's right, he said.

I believe it is.

I remember a picture of my mother when she was just married. Her hair was long and dark and her face was beautiful. A pale blush and dark eyelashes. She smiled over her shoulder. I look like that, sometimes. The things that conspire while we are busy being mortal would have crafted for a me a heartbreakingly stunning girl.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Little barbed thoughts on a Monday night...

His fingers bent the strings just for her. Only for a second the world was just a song.

Wrapped together alone in the dark, the world was slower and soft.

Some things arrive by surprise.

She wondered how to take a vibrant life apart gently without wrecking its soul.

She wondered how to knot something new with torn threads.

With her chin on his shoulder she watched the world sit quietly and knew that broken things littered the way. If she went.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Something was in the dark...
She watched the world sit quietly, just for a second, over his shoulder. Music drifted.

They were close -- they were wrapped around.

Feet bumped together, a deep breath, fingers wound.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Are you crying? he asked.

Sometimes. She said, you have to fall apart a little to know how it all fits together.

Is there blood? he asked.

A little, she said, but I don’t think it’s enough.

Enough for what?

Enough to hurt, she said.

Why would you do something that hurt?

I have to walk through broken things to get there, she said.

Where are you trying to go?

I am looking for the way out, she said.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Am Already Haunted:

His fortune cookie pissed him off. What happened? he asked. Did they run out of proverbs? What's a proverb?

I laughed and held a mini teacup in my fingertips. Guessing, I said, a proverb is a little saying that's tinged with wisdom…or something.

Oh. Well, they ran out, he said.



I thought endlessly about yesterday's words: hurts -- like yours and mine -- we can’t wish away. I have ruined your smile and poked accidental holes in your happiness.

I looked at the worried shadows around his eyes. Do you want to take the motorcycle or the truck? he asked.

I think I just heard them say frost on the news. Let's drive, I answered.

We stopped at an empty farmhouse in Oxford and looked at its fieldstone foundation and old stone walls, then glanced at the lot's edges where lawns littered with swing sets and high priced homes encroached.

I would gladly sharpen a knife and pare away slivers of my soul to make such vinyl-sided ugliness sink into the earth.


A speck of a moon skipped through trees where I ran under falling leaves with Lily.

Halloween is coming, but I am already haunted.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My thoughts aren't always quiet

can you deal with the sobbing and crying

and the way tears smear on my face

Our arguments come and go

but never change

but don't read into things

don't do that

Breaking things makes me feel better

but you say there are just a few things you can't fix

like the crack of dawn or a broken heart

But what about hurts we can't wish away

like yours and mine

or the way I have ruined your smile

and poked little accidental holes in your happiness


In the woods I watched Lily run like time could not touch her

Every drink he ever had is carved on his face

love has slipped by

while days pass one happy hour at a time

and he remembers pool games and friends

the bliss and promise of a free drink shine in his shot glass

as he sips with thrill the day’s small gift

that glistens on his lips while he turns on his stool to peer at the past

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another bit, another piece:

He wrings rhythm from his fingers

under neon at night where beer flows.

Rain slips through the cracks outside

and she sits with thoughts of his touch on the strings.


Lily is at my feet and we listen to rain.

The forest had no answers today and I wait for the weekend.