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a return to form says the review in the paper
as if today has a bearing on some yesterday long forgotten
the form is beside the point
the return a curse rewritten
something tired and already said
a return
a rerun
a curse rewritten and best left unread

Tonight I break my silence. This is my open letter to you.

You will always be remembered as a vapor
the heat-wet rising to fog the mirrors,
blurring distinction:
When I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw you, too.

But that’s not true
I saw a mirage and what I wanted to see
Last I looked I saw nothing ajar, nothing amiss.

Sentimentality is lost on the broken-hearted.
You fog me no more.

A word, self-righteous angel
If you write the Anthology of You
There are consequences
Demon-meaning
In essence
It’s time to drink down the medicine:
If you play with Ouija
Don’t complain about the smell of dead people

It’s been brought to my attention that I have a knack for convincing the good people in my world I’m competent until it’s much too late for them to do anything about it. It was brought to my attention recently when I mentioned to a friend that I was changing jobs and she said she wants to change jobs, too, but she doesn’t feel competent in anything that’s open on the market right now. I laughed at her naiveté and told her that competency has nothing to do with it. I personally am not capable of carrying out the duties of my current job and I failed miserably at my old job…I spread my incompetence around like a STD but I’ve mastered the art of appearing to be quite thoughtful and able to do many tasks. Now you can, too!

• You need to go to LensCrafters or some asshole hobbit eye doctor and get thick rimmed librarian glasses.
• You should put your hair in a bun, no matter your gender.
• In the course of a conversation, pick something you know about (however little) and pretend to have a strong opinion about it. They will wilt in your knowledge because if you are vehement, you clearly know what you’re talking about. For example, when I was 19 or 21 there were elections going on that I knew nothing about but I was in college and wanted to appear knowledgeable. Or simply repeat someone else’s vehemence (is that a word?) as your own conclusion. I listened to a pundit sarcastically say that Pat Buchanan wanted to nuke the borders to keep the illegal immigrants out. I repeated this in political conversations numerous times at my university and got raves for really knowing my stuff.
• Mention research or statistics. Peoples eyes go dead and they bow down to someone who knows research or can read it. Even if you haven’t touched the research. Spout facts and the people will be believe in your ability. TRUST ME! Note: you don’t even have to spout facts if you don’t want to. Most people will not question you. For example, if you start talking about standardized tests, and you say, “statistically speaking, there is no way for everyone to “pass” a test based on a bell curve so “rigor” cannot be determined by an invalid test,” who is really going to challenge you?
• Make bulleted lists when you go into a staff meeting or when you write a bullshit blog. Be sure to have enough bullet points to seem comprehensive and give pointless details to make the bullet points seem especially important. For example, use “for examples” frequently. Note: Titling your lists as “how to” also gives credence to the idea that you actually know how to do something.
• Shake your luminous hair out with a pensive look on your face. You know how to look competent…you’ve made it this far, right?

intimacy. the little imp you don’t want when you have it.

• his thoughts weren’t worth my penny, I decided (much too late)
• if you want to keep him, don’t let him take you to Hot Springs
• I’m needy
• I’m weak
• I’m bull-headed stubborn
• if you want to get rid of him, talk about your own problems
• if you like him, you can sit through any story no matter how many times you’ve heard it or how vulgar and unbecoming it is
• if you like him, he will not like you
• if you agree that neither of you will play games, accept that you’re both playing that game
• I’m accommodating
• I’m sweet
• I’m a good listener
• weed is never a good conversation starter
• weed is an awkward topic of conversation if you’re not into weed
• telling me you tried to sell weed to an undercover cop and that as a result, you think you were “framed” even though you admit to doing it is cause for concern and perhaps a reasonable moment to challenge him on his “it’s not my fault” mentality
• sushi is okay
• shorties don’t do it for me
• kawai (spelling?) means cute in Japanese
• Republicans scare me
• tall men are unreliable
• tall men are reliable
• I don’t like body odor
• I like sexy texts but most times, sexy texts ruin a relationship
• I don’t like to hear about maps in the Middle Ages
• I have a birthmark on my face
• I have freckles
• not everyone is gay-friendly
• straight guys can be insecure
• men are robots
• men are funny
• I fall in love with laughter
• I don’t like rice balls
• as it turns out, I like blue eyes after all

“you know what comes next,”
I say to him with a sad smile
it’s a smile I think he’ll come to know well

>>>>>>>

on my lips
a song from yesterday
words not quite audible
not quite decipherable
the melody doing the work
working the doing
working the words
slowly forming
on my lips

In Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” one of the lyrics goes, “oh I’d rather feel something than nothing at all.” Well, then. Clearly, they’ve never felt the peace of feeling nothing at all because although not a pleasant experience, if you can get that numb, it’s something that one really would prefer at times, especially during breakups.

They need to get a little dead inside.

*****

Nails down to the quick
I’ve made them weak
with my neglect
I should have listened to the wives’ tales
I’m without talon to pick or perch
and it will take more time than I’ve got
to make them right again

caught up in the stream
of things
the streamers I made as a 10-year-old
still hanging from the rec room ceiling where my father tacked them
a long ago place
never touched
and now a new place
that takes me back to when I was 21 and how much I couldn’t enjoy my life then

I took my leave because there’s nothing left to do. I thought I’d be more upset, saying goodbye for the last time and knowing it was finally, truly the last time. She moaned in agony. I patted her shoulder and left. I mumbled “I love you” on the way out.

I thought
I’ll be glad when she’s dead.

The guilty thoughts—wishing my aunt dead, not paying enough attention to her, not caring enough, thinking her a chore—I take them out of context so that I suffer more. So that I’ll suffer longer. Because she’s dead after all and I’m not. I tell myself that I wished her dead, as if I wished her dead in a vacuum. The context is she was dying. The context is she suffered and I wanted it to end. The context is I was selfish, but most people are. The context is my thoughts and reactions were completely understandable for a caregiver over the long haul. Death sucks, you do what you can.

The context is
she had cancer,
motherfucking, no-cure cancer.

The context is
I wished her dead, yes,
but. the thought. did. not. kill. her.

SOB with me

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