Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To die to sleep*

You will end these miles on your knees,
scraping through glass and what glitters
that isn't gold like they said.

You will pick through it anyway,
hoping the next piece is solution,
absolution, peace.

Not long past a milemarker,
you will simply give way, flatten
your body to the ground
exhausted by all the false
expectations and trial of
working So Damned Hard.

As the shards pierce and mold your skin,
sleep will come and, with it, surrender.

May 2013.


Monday, May 27, 2013

So, once you achieve enlightenment, you don’t have to meditate anymore, right?

When I first stopped drinking alcoholically 7 years ago, I engaged in a process of change that was reported to bring about a “spiritual awakening,” to put me in touch with a Higher Power of my own understanding that would, it was also reported, solve all my problems.

I asked a group of these people who had experience with this change process the following question: So, once I have a spiritual awakening, I can drink normally, right?

The group laughed, I didn’t quite understand why—I thought it was a legitimate question—and eventually I read and began to understand why: “Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever.”

You can’t turn a pickle back into a cucumber.

This weekend, I went to Harbin Hot Springs with a group of girl friends. It was my first time to this “clothing optional” new-agey camping resort, and my friend recommended that I get a massage while I was up there. So, on Thursday night, I trolled through their offerings, and came across something called an “Amanae” treatment. … This was not a massage. It is, according to their publicity, a “spiritual, emotional bodywork release,” the intention of which is to let go of stored emotions in the body through the use of breath and a bit of “laying on of hands.”

On Saturday morning, as soon as I arrived, I went straight to my appointment. I laid on a massage table, the flowy-dressed, Australian(?)-accented woman put her hand over my heart, and thus proceeded an hour of on and off bawling and crying.

Let me say again, this was not a massage! But, whatever it was, things happened. Thoughts came up, and my throat would start to burn and she’d put her hand there without me telling her so. Her finger would press into my heart, and like juicing a citrus, out would pour tears. It was weird, but totally my kind of weird.

Thoughts came up about my father, about my work, about cancer. About G-d. The Why’s and the pain and the agony and the grief and the confusion and the frustration and the betrayal. All of it came up and, luckily, out.

I am again engaged in the specific process of change I began 7 years ago, and am again at a part about release, forgiveness, softness, letting go, and acceptance. I did more writing up there at Harbin, and on the last day, I asked my friends if they wanted to write down those things they wanted to release, to leave here on that (purportedly) sacred ground, and to write those things they wanted to embrace. Then, we’d go up to a vista spot, and bury them.

So, we did.

I put into the ground the things I want to let go, stop spinning about, beating myself up over, as well as those things I want to bring closer to me, to my experience, to my belief. I buried both, because neither of these are up to me—whether that which I release is really eased, or that which I want to call in (or call forth) will be. It ends up as G-d’s poker hand, getting to hold or fold whatever “he” wants.

That said, through all of the writing I’ve done lately, that crazy ass non-massage, and simply a lot of intention setting and reminders on my phone(!), I feel a little—maybe even a lot—lighter. I feel a little more at peace and ease. When the thoughts about my career or dad have come up since, I don’t feel as much angst about them.

And here’s the kicker. 

On Friday night I did a meditation around individuation from my father, about asking him to forgive me for not being able to fix those things he thinks wrong with his life, and for any failings or shortcomings he may think I have. I told him, in meditation, that I forgive him for his inability to fix that which I believe is wrong with my life, and forgive him the failings and shortcomings I think he has.

I did a bunch of writing in response to some questions in this book I have, and saw more and again how he was formed in this world, and his own trials that led him to the behavior and mindset that he has. I saw a primary “fault” of his as his unwillingness to forgive his own step-father for being unavailable. I saw that as my own.

As I was driving back from Harbin last night, in pinged all the texts that got lost in no-reception land. One was from my father.

My grandfather, his step-dad, died on Saturday night.

My dad told me when he came to see me when I was first diagnosed in September that he was finally finding forgiveness around his own father. My skepticism aside, I was glad to hear that he even saw his lack of compassion and was finding his own version of it.

So, I texted my father back. I was sorry for his loss, and so very glad he was able to find some peace with his step-father while he was still alive.

Who knows. Who knows what this means, if anything, for my own relationship with my dad. Who knows if my own work, my own realizations and shifting, and (final?) grieving around my hurt by him created the space that Ed needed to pass on. Who knows if that timely a communication was related in any way, following the requested months of silence between my father and me.

But I felt ease around composing my reply, around offering him the kindness of information that I’d been away and hadn’t received his text ‘til then. I questioned whether I was being co-dependent, whether he needed to know I’d been away, whether my intention was to ensure he wasn’t going to be angry with me for my delay. But, in the end, I decided it was a kind thing to do. It was his father, the only one he’d ever known.

With my obvious increased enlightenment and equanimity around my relationships that I’ve obviously attained over the last several days, the question came this morning as I heated up my coffee -- do I still need to meditate?

Well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide. ;) 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Left My Heart in New Jersey

As I begin to contemplate forgiving my dad for being the person he was and is, and consider letting go of my attachments to his and my own pain and suffering, I realize that there are other strings tied into this knot.

I realize I consider myself the glue of my family, and in looking at letting go of that role, to allow them to their own paths, to allow myself to fully own mine, I realize that I have reluctance to let go. My attachment to my role as “glue” means I have fear that to release it is to allow them to unglue, to fall apart… to allow myself to fall apart.

When we were growing up, my brother had an awful stutter, no doubt in reaction to the anger displayed at home. So, I became his mouthpiece. I became his interpreter, and we were connected.

When my mom fell into her deep depressions and the agony of her chronic migraines, I became the one to open her bedroom curtains and help coax her into the day.

And, perhaps, to the best of my ability, I tried to be the ultimate good daughter for my father, so that I didn’t anger or strain him beyond what he was emotionally capable of. Although, later, that plan was failing, and so angering him was easier to do, since placating him was nearly impossible.

So, the glue. Give my brother voice, and protect him from others who couldn’t understand him. Give my mom encouragement, and protect her from the world. And give my father the order and conscription he wanted in a household that he obviously couldn’t keep together by a rule of iron fist.

To release my role as his good or his fuck-up daughter, is to release these other roles as well. It is to allow my brother to have his own voice. To let him stutter. What kind of a sister can do that? Easily?

It is to allow my mom to have her insane work schedule that leaves her laid out two days of the week, to let her manage her life and her affairs, even if it makes me uncomfortable to hear about it.

The other thing is… this is the healthiest my family has ever been. Ever. My mother is medicated and in a happy relationship. My brother is thriving in his job and relationship. And, even my dad is in a relationship, semi-retired in Florida. Every one is doing just fine. I don’t need to be the glue anymore. I don’t need to be the puppet-master.

To consider releasing this role brings up the fear of losing them, though, because as attached as I am to that role, as ingrained as it is in me, what will our family dynamics look like without it/me? What will I be to them, if I’m not their savior or chameleon? What will I be to myself?

Will I be as important? As loved? As necessary to the world?

Will it feel like being unmoored, or will it feel like being free?

I can’t know until I try. But there is no reason for me to continue to play a role to an empty stage, or to, what?, try to get them back to play their parts? That’s not what I want either.

If I am not the savior, who am I? If I am simply a daughter and sister, how will I be loved or love them? What does detached love look like?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Riddle Me This.

I’ve been tasked with the following ("simple") assignment: Begin to feel safe in the world.

It’s been pointed out to me that my magpie-like attention to artistic endeavors (“Ooh, Look! Shiny!”), my lack of focus on any one interest is a way to offer myself protection. If I don’t take ownership of any one thing, then I don’t have to let you know how much it really means to me; I don’t have to let you see that I’m actually good at it; I don’t have to be vulnerable or honest about who I am.

So, I’ve created a system whereby I can never accomplish much, because to have actual ambitions --which, of course, I do-- means I have to try to let you in, and… to let you help. To let you see me.

It was pointed out that my ideas around lack of safety in the world also affect my ideas around and experience of money. It’s another (potential) place of ownership and esteem. If I don’t have focus there: if I don’t really pay attention, if I allow myself to float, then I’m not at risk of seeming inept, because I’m not really trying to not be "ept."

The problem, of course, is that neither of these ways of being actually provides the protection and safety I want. They’re broken systems. The pattern of self-abandonment as self-protection means, simply, that I don’t move anywhere, and I become frustrated and self-flagellating… which isn’t really a booster, fyi.

So, here’s the conundrum. In a reality where I have developed cancer and had the foundation of life and my existence called to the chopping block, how, pray tell me, do I trust in the safety of the Universe??

It was hard enough before. These patterns didn’t form in a vacuum; it’s not like I haven’t been working on them. But, now, you want me to overcome my fear of being harmed, visible, annihilated in light of cancer?

Come on, son.

So, you see my dilemma. I want to feel safe in the world. But I just had the fabric of my life called into question, the veil of safety between the reality of this world and that stripped from me – and you want me to trust what?? That things “turn out well,” that if I do the proper merry-go-round of prayer, meditation, self-examination, that life will “get better.” F that Sht.

Un- Non- Utterly Anti-Believable.


I don’t believe that “life” will get better. Because if there’s anything the cancer has taught me, it’s that living according to what you think is the “good thing,” waiting for the cash and prizes gleaned from being the “good” girl, with the “good” job, with the quiet, calm, friendly, dependable meekness, is a load of horse crap. LIFE doesn’t get better, because I do good things. I get better because I do healthy things.

That’s it. There’s no fucking guarantee. There’s nothing that says, This way to freedom and joy. The only roadmap are the things we know light us up. The things I’ve been too scared to share with and show you.

There is no guarantee that I will be safe. There just isn’t. None of us have it. As a book I read last night put it: “Most of the time we live in a tiny pocket of normality that we wrap around us like a security blanket.” If there’s anything that’s abnormal, it’s cancer in a healthy 30-year old.

How do I reconcile these realities, then? One, I am safe in the world. Two, the world is not safe.

My friend who brought this up (and I really like her interpretation of my “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” M.O.) said that I can begin to feel safe by taking small steps.

Um, like what?

I don’t know yet. But the crux is that my way doesn’t leave me feeling safe either. Jumping from thing to thing, having little focus and clarity on my life, my finances, my goals… dare I even have or say ambitions?... this manner of engaging with the world doesn’t work. I have to begin to trust it, to trust in it, or to trust my place in it – or simply to trust that these interests of mine are valid and worth validating, worth me taking the time to explore, and let you know about, worth my heading to SF to play bass, and worth my recording simple songs to put on facebook, and worth my acknowledging the paintings I’ve made in my apartment are good, and worth my accepting and proclaiming that I want to act, sing, be seen, be heard, and be, in the end, authentic.

To be authentic is to be vulnerable. It is to lay myself open to the lines of the universe, and the people in it. It is to stop being the hummingbird that never alights, and trusting that when I do, I won’t be shot.

I am safe in the world.
I am ready to heal my relationship to safety.
It is safe to be my authentic self.
I don’t have to be alone to be safe. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And Away We GO!

The first “blog-a-day” I wrote here was about Adam Levine. Forgive me. Or nod understandingly at the photo I posted with said blog. From what I remember, the blog was about engaging in my life, and playing bass. That first blog was written in the fall of 2011. And I have finally begun to play my bass.

I first came into ownership of this bass when I was 19. It was Dave Gillian’s. And because of the apocalyptic way he helped me cheat on my boyfriend and destroy many of the relationships I held dear, including the one with myself, he offered to sell me his bass for $5. (We were 19, remember…) So, I instantly accepted; and he realized what a mistake he’d made (in the offer, not the cheating) that he offered to sell me the case for it for $195. I said no thanks, I don’t need a case for it; and besides, (she added pointedly), you owe me.

And so, a vision, a hobby, a dust-laden, continent-crossing bass was born.

Although, now, I do wish I had a case for it…

Post-cancerland is really no different from pre-cancerland, but there are ways that either I’m being more persistent, or the Universe is being more collusive. Almost two years ago, I got in touch with Brad and Eddie about putting together a band that didn’t come together. Two years before that, I thumbed around a few times on it in the practice studio of Kris on his guitar and Matt on drums – neither Kris nor I really knew what we were doing, but the idea (and reality) of rocking out in a practice space was awesome. Before that, years before that, I played the same bass line over and over by myself in my room off the kitchen of 98 Richardson, our college house.

But, now, today, somehow things are different.

The band I’m now playing with is with two girl friends of mine, so there’s not a lot of pressure to be awesome. Plus it’s very easy to be a barely adequate bassist. And that’s all they need.

The band isn’t entirely my style (glam-rock), but many of the songs are funny and so, it’s encouraging me to not take myself too seriously about the whole thing. Show up, play what’s written, smile, laugh. Okay, sure, I can do that.

What’s more exciting is that the girl band is an off-shoot of this woman’s main band – which has guys in it. Real musicians. *Not that women can’t be!* but, it’s nice to know I’m going to have the chance to play with people who know what they’re doing, and can help teach me – the guitarist teaches guitar and bass. (In fact, that's what I'll be doing tonight!)

Because it’s not really my style, or what I see myself doing, or what I have in my vision though (singing at The Bottom of the Hill in the kind of rockish loud band that plays there), I reached out again to my other friend. And I guess that’s the difference – I keep on reaching out. I haven’t stopped giving credence to this desire. Instead, I’m following up, following through. And this other friend is a rock guitar and singer, has played in a myriad of punk bands, knows what catharsis it is to get loud, microphone spit, caught in the moment. I want that, and he’s willing to practice at his space with me. Just for me to get into the spirit, see if it’s really what I want, how I can do it. Someone to get loud with me. Someone who supports me, and who I know won’t judge me.

So, Bass. I don’t have a calling to be Flea, but more like the Ringo of bassists, and a chick singer in a rock band. And god damnit, apparently I’m doing it.

(First show, June 1st, 6-9pm at f8 in San Francisco…)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Defining Moment

See the problem with my default definition of “order” is that it doesn’t take everything into account.

When Jenny moved from the Sunset to the Richmond, we all needed a new place to have our parties. Having myself just moved from a room in the Sunset to a large one-bedroom in Cole Valley with backyard access, I knew it was time to do what I’d always wanted – have people over.

I did not grow up having people over, it wasn’t the house you hung out at, where there were snacks in the fridge, or cable. I wanted that. I still want that.

And, so, became my parties. The Holler-Ween Party; the Star of David Christmas Cookie Party; The Heart&Stars Pre-Val party, years 1 and 2.

With each, I planned, coordinated, organized, bought, decorated, staged, advertised to the throngs, and made events, evenings of note, fun, camaraderie (with just a few demerits about the music selection).

The spot-light borrowed from a neighbor to hang over the backyard where area 2 or 3 of tables and music were set up; the paintings I made explicitly for the theme, the candles and streamers bought, the inventive, creative, muse-ful decorating. It was with purpose and satisfaction, excitement and anticipation that I planned, that I created, that I had order.

This kind of order feeds me. When not long after, I decided to host and organize a group art show, the venue hunting, artist hunting, postcard and poster tweaking at 11 o'clock at night -- It was fuel. It was sustaining. (Except the money I put up for it left me rather broke, and landed me in a 12 step program for chronic underearners/debtors!)

The art show was a success. Art was sold, dj was paid, laughter and community was created.

The best compliment I ever received came after my very first party. The following day, my friend said to me, I left your party feeling warm.

! For someone who (and whose friends) can ooze social awkwardness and anxiety, to create a space where others feel welcome, warm, at ease, … well, this is why I do it. To create community, to bring people together, disparate groups of friends and artists. People who normally would not mix, I provide the shell, and they bring the heart.  

So, “order.”

When I define it on my own, … well, let’s just take the notes from this morning’s pages:

Order = Dad. Disorder = defying Dad. Authenticity = shame. How can order not equal Dad? Disorder not equal exhaustion, lack of resources, self-sufficiency. Dad = reliance, so reliance = unsafe. How to have reliance = safety? Things are picking up & they’re going to have to be laid to order, aren’t they? I’d like to have order, stability; it allows for productivity. Disorder does not engender productivity, but busyness and famine. Plant, seed, water, grow. No way but this.

My assignment is to begin to define order differently, not as stifling authority, but as a pathway to creativity and community.

I want creativity and community in my life, as my life. Therefore, I’m going to have to embrace a new regime, a new epoch of order. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"The point of meditation is not cash and prizes." Well, Sh*t.

I was with a group of people the other day, and one of the women was saying that her life has expanded, things have magically fallen into place, and she is at ease because of her practice of prayer and meditation.

I, don’t agree.

Or, rather, that hasn’t been my experience. Another woman said, after my own tirade response along the lines of, I pray, meditate, show up, do things, follow rules, be good, and life still happens. I didn’t get cash and prizes because I meditated 12 minutes instead of 5. Or because I remembered to pray several times a day for “whatever will be will be.” What the woman after me said was that it’s not about cash and prizes, it’s about noticing for just a few minutes that I’m not spinning the wheel that makes the earth turn. That whatever I do or don’t do, I am not Master of the Universe, and that thought brings her comfort.

For me, meditation is simply a few minutes in a day in which I can try to get quiet, and can try to use them as a touchstone of stillness throughout the rest of the day, as it veers off into “whatever will be will be.” Because, sometimes what that is, is not what I want.

I read a cartoon today on a friend’s facebook page with an exchange between a man and a monk. The man screams I WANT HAPPINESS. The monk takes the man's dialogue bubble, and wipes it off, saying, Take off, I; that’s ego. Take off Want; that’s desire. And gives the man back his bubble, so that it now reads only “Happiness.”

I went to my friend’s band’s show last night. In writing and thinking, "I want to do that," Perhaps it’s simply, "Do that."

Chances multiply as you reach for them, says a printed tag off a Yogi tea bag.

I want to sing in a rock and roll band. So, simply, Sing in a rock and roll band. ~ Ask my friend again, as I had in January if I can come practice with him. What do I have to lose? There are no cash and prizes from sitting on my ass with my eyes closed. The satisfactions in life come from action.

I don’t want to be a secretary. Take off “I don’t want,” and I have, Be a secretary. Because, simply, that’s what I am … No. That’s how I earn money to afford my life right now. It’s the reality of the situation, and I can try to adjust myself to what is.

People always ask what it is I want to do with my life, as I ask myself, since I complain about it ad nauseum to anyone who will listen. My answer is always the same: I don’t know. I haven’t found a profession I think, YES THAT’S IT!

But I have these other things that make me say that. Performing, acting, being on stage in a band. Yes. That is my happiness. It doesn’t erase that I am a receptionist; but I’m starting to see the job thing as just another thing to practice boundaries around.

If my job were another person, and I felt drained, unappreciated, uninspired around that person, I would work on holding the boundaries of who I am, so I don’t get swept into that mire. I would work hard on maintaining my center of being, and try to my best to be my authentic self, without diminishing who I am because I don’t like the person.

My job is a person I can’t quit right now. But I can try to become less enmeshed with it. I can get less swayed by its moods and tasks and chaos and mundanity. I can try to inject my own fun and quirk. This worked really well yesterday, until about 3pm.

But, it’s progress. I am not my job, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to show up to it. However, I have a much greater chance of maintaining my center if I do sit my ass on the couch in silence with semi-regularity. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My MFA Poetry Thesis, May 2012

 (hard to reproduce the format here, but you'll get the drift. continuing to share what it is I do and have done with you.)

The Intelligence of Memory
Molly Daniels

© 2012

For all of us who live to the other side of silence.

“Memory is like            a
               shifting          collage,
             a narrative                          spun out of  scraps     and
             constructed        anew            
                              whenever  recollection       takes place.”

                   Kathleen McGowan

he tells me it’s obvious i’m inexperienced. i don’t tell him pushing my head under his sleeping bag is disconcerting.

i accuse the boy i’m dating of leaving so quickly after sex that he forgot his shoes. he tells me i’d insisted the night before that they were mine, and wore them home.

they wheel another college student into the ward. he’s chanting, Do not go gently into that good night! and i think bemusedly, i could do this for a while.


the poem i want to write has the word nipple in it   it won’t be taut or blushed   just nipple, right there   because you know how it tastes   the slight give of density between teeth and under the ply of your tongue

 when they knock on my dorm and pull me out of bed, i have to take my retainer out first.

She drops a carton of cereal. It splatters against the baseboards. She pauses, and begins to wail as though the o’s are all the things she cannot manage. I reach to the sink with a sudden glass and open the tap. Oxygen bubbles cloud it. I hold it out to her and she shakes her soggy head, It’s dirty. I tell her it’s just the bubbles. She hiccups and insists, No, it’s dirty. I fill another glass.

 months later, a friend will tell me the only coherent thing i said that day was, i only feel normal when i’m drunk.

my breath comes short   and shallow in gasps of clinging—No—clutching—No—manic tantrum thrashes—No!   i cannot let this go   i need this   them   his   i need you to make me better   i need you to make me feel better   adore me   touch me   writhe on top of me   so in that suspension   i can feel alive   writhe on top of me  so in that suspension   i can feel alive   your breath comes short  and shallow in gasps of clinging—Yes—clutching—Yes—manic tantrum thrashes—Yes!  malleate me   pound me   beat me out of myself   so i can be in the quiet   beat me out of myself    so i can be in the quiet

the other patients will tell me they assumed it was heroin because of the jutting hipbones.

and because neither of us know what we’re doing, i don’t know my discomfort is his finger in the wrong hole.

 my first time is an apology. he puts on his shoes when he’s done.

 he comes over at 3am sweating booze. it burns as he pushes in from behind.

 the scent of day lilies cloys the air. they're supposed to rot in dirt.

this could be anything you’d forget   or anything you remember   this could be the thing you’d always remember   but isn’t at all how you remember it   this could be the  experience you wish you had   the experience you did have   or the experience you’d wanted to have   but now that it’s happening   you’re wishing it were different   wish it were more   you wish you knew what came next 

 i’ve skidded out on just-damp pavement. the cutlass nose-deep in a copse of trees. i can’t get my fingers to steady around my cigarette. the hicktown cops make quite a show of marching me into their holding cell.

 My mother taught three special topics courses at a university in the 90s. Psychology of Fashion (special emphasis on fetish fashion); Barbie on the Couch, a Psychoanalytic Perspective (final projects produced several mutilated dolls); and Female Serial Killers (surprisingly few; generally preferring poison).

 She tells me she realized if she twisted just one more inch, she’d break his arm. He stutters from the time he is verbal.

crocuses like periscopes through snow   skeleton stakes of tomato plants   a brick
patio swims in a decade of oak and maple leaves

 We sit on a bench outside the outlet mall. She wears black pleather pants. I have a cigarette. She’d rather I didn’t but she smoked when she was my age. The other two are inside some men’s store. She asks how my summer away was and a cute boy walks by and looks toward us on the bench. She says that he’s cute. That she’s been emailing with a nineteen year old somewhere in the middle states. That she was going to buy a plane ticket to go out and see him. I don’t remember where. I’m glad to have the numbing thrum of adderall to push the din of rage and panic back behind my collarbone. At the last minute she decided not to go. I tell her not to hit on any of the guys I thought were cute too. She laughs. I examine the filter. My dad walks out of the store. 

 my lips travel down his body and freeze to a sudden stop at his waistband. flashbacks blind my retinas and i cling to his thigh, barely breathing in the dark. he tells me that it’s okay, that we can just have sex, instead.

 my mom later tells me she came to see me once, but i don’t remember. she tells me i was zonked out on meds, and her voice trails off, and she gets this terrified look in her eyes.

 my dad’s first wife, i was told, ended up in bellevue. now she lives in brooklyn.

 when getting honest about the amphetamines, my mom tells me her therapist insisted she come see him 7 days a week, or be committed.

 my therapist leans forward in earnest. you do know you’ve had a breakdown, right?

 i meet with a student who tells me not to take split-level poetry because all the under-grads write about is date rape – so i don’t tell him about the drunken carride from two strangers, later finding an earring twisted into my shirt, or being turned away from four Korean hospitals because rape is not an emergency.

i read an article on how to snag a man which suggests that women think about something naughty when out because women won’t pick up on it, but the men will – so, i imagine licking pre-cum from a cock, which provides a lascivious revolt against public decorum and not undamp panties.

but, in the unwalled house of my memory, these situations sometimes mix – and the salt sours, the armor rebuilds, and the currency of reality cripples.

i can’t let you be nice to me    you skim and caress and   i can’t take it   you are gentle and whisper   and   no   not here   there is nothing breathing here   just do it   take it   please don’t honor this   please  i am going to break   Please   kindness does not belong in here

 i hold my palm against all the objects i’ve piled in the center of my room and ask them each where they belong.

 i’ve removed the velvet cloak from my stuffed bunny. with my now-shaved head, we are both naked and new.

 he sounds like an impostor every time he recites the blessing over the shabbat candles. as if crossing the border of religion frees him of his past, or gives him access to ours.

 he hurls his words: you look like your mother. that night, i simply shave it all off.

i’m on that electric walkway at the airport. its moving along beneath me, but i’ve lost my footing, and its dragging me, scraping me apart as others stand so calmly heading toward their future.

 the doctor stares at his clipboard, a few pages up-turned in his hand. he glances vaguely
toward me – i hear there’s something about your hair?

 afterward, he tells me he wants to take me out, like to dinner. i ask why. he tells me he likes me, wants to get to know me. i stop answering his calls.

 my dad grips the arms of a green plastic chair. his knuckles are white. i’m not angry at you, he spits, i’m angry at your disease.

i cannot let this go   him   them   what will i be without this fractured electricity whirling around my body   who will i be without you to bring me to life   how will i know myself?   in the morning   i remember the Beatles.  i hear them deep within my story  and as i listen   i remember:  I love the Beatles   i love to laugh at my own jokes   i’d love to embrace fully   without savage tongues  or suspended reality  i find myself to be a woman   scared   scarred  and  beautiful.  and it is this constant   this one  unalterable  truth about myself   that enables me for one unguarded moment  to lean over the edge of uncertainty   to spread my arms   and fall in

 huddled on the closet floor, phone clutched to my ear, my friend tells me: i’m thinking
of checking out a meeting.

this is the feeling of your arm tight around my ribcage   this is the feeling of your thigh soft beneath mine   i sense my consciousness escaping   it’s not safe to be here   exposed   from so much more than clothes   this is the feeling of your heartbeat  gentle against my back   this is the feeling of your lips   pressed sleepy at my shoulder   i want to detach   to run away from myself   to leave my body  leave just two bodies   base  discardable   this is the feeling of your hand twining firmly into mine   this is the feeling of my body melting into yours   but i   am human   and you   are human   naked and safe   here  i breathe

this could be the time you get it right   the time you remember there is no right   this time you don’t wish it were any different   and you don’t come back for more.