Shift of Focus

I’m going to be adding my artwork to this blog in addition to my poetry. I’ve been pulling myself out of a depression over the past year, along with finishing up undergrad and starting grad school, so my writing has been slower to come out. The poem I posted today was the first thing in months that I actually felt good enough to publish.

The whole point of this blog for me was to just share my creative efforts, and I figure since I seem to be expanding that into more areas, I’d go ahead and share. All of you that follow are here for the poems, but I wanted to give a heads up in case you don’t want to see artwork.

I post a lot more of my WIP and finalized stuff on my instagram, @almillercreative , so if you are interested in that versus more of a rambling type thing alongside the paintings, feel free to follow over there!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the additions. I’ll keep posting poems as I go and I’m working on another chapbook currently, but no ETA or firm timelines on that one because I can’t handle that bandwidth.

Thanks everyone for your support, likes, etc – it means a lot to me, and I’m so grateful for your time as I’ve been silent for most of this year.

I almost made it the entire month before I realized

What time of the year it was
The leaves are just now starting to change
From vibrant summer green to
Muted violets and browns
The temperature remains in the seventies and eighties
Climbing into the nineties some days,
Forcing me to wear shorts much longer than I wanted to
Even though the nights dip into the 40’s or 50’s.

I was able to make it all the way through the equinox
Creating new pieces
Writing bits of new poems
Feeling empowered and beyond your reach
While the birds kept serenading my days in the yard
Even though our garden is full of rusted plants
Collapsing on themselves in the need of a seasonal rest.
Pumpkins and haybales decorate my stoop,
Blending it into all the other homes in our subdivision,
Covering up the past with the promise of a modern farmhouse future.

I leaned into Halloween for the fun of it this year
Instead of the relief that it provides in allowing me to disguise
Every single bit of me, obscuring what I was with what I am now.
I almost got away with it, except the wind still smells like dust
And rotten leaves
Like the ones that decorate your grave,
Hiding you in the warm comfort of the earth
Away from the annual celebration of how I finally
Painfully
Fearfully
Broke away from you for the last time.

The good news is, it doesn’t seem like climate change
Is going to end any time soon.
I might make it all the way to November next year.

the reason i’m so desperate

to be needed
is because being wanted
never lasts and
i wish i figured this out
about 100k in psych treatment ago.

i could have taken a trip
some far-flung destination
five star accommodation
in the heart of everything
a tourist could want,
so i could fire up my laptop
and spend the time watching
friday night dinner again.

sort of how my life is now
except more interesting
and aesthetically pleasing
for the Instagram grid.

There is nothing beautiful about me

Nothing that is unique anymore
I’m no longer an adventurer
driving across the desert in the dark
Wondering how I’ll get through the monsoon
If I should pull over under the overpass
Hoping to be spared while the rain floods into the road

I’m not waking up and watching the frost burn away
from the wheat fields in my backyards,
Like so many bonfires burning away
Everything holding on to me
Keeping me from turning to ash

I’m not the woman who was mysterious
Driving to Newport Beach
With the top down
Like so many Midwest dreams coming to life
Running into the waves crashing into the sand
Alongside my brother
While the sun drops down from the sky
Behind the edge of the world that I’ll never see again

Never again will I be brave enough
Wearing torn lingerie while the time warp
Plays across the screen
And I forget everything I hate about myself
For a few hours
Pretending life is wonderful
And worrying about where I’ll end up
Later that week

I’m not capable of going to concerts
Without a major anxiety attack
When I used to not be able to go
Without meeting the band
And I can’t spend time after two am
In some afterhours bar
With beautiful musicians
Playing beautiful sounds
While I sing along
Or honestly anything that used to spark
The magic inside me
And I wonder if I’m already dead
If I’m already a ghost and you
Are living as a widower
I’m not a woman anymore but just a shell
Formed out of regrets and anxieties
Covered in half-closed scars from piercings
Thin ribbons of scars from all the moments I knew too much
Damaged ends of bleach and a bloated
Makeup collection designed to cover up
The holes in my identity in this season’s
Glitter metallic silicon-based shadow

Everything that made me interesting
Is nothing but Facebook memories
From two years ago (delete this post)
Three years ago (delete this post)
Five years ago (delete this post)
Nine years ago (delete this post)
(Delete your account?)
(Delete your existence?)

(Maybe it’s time to go back to the doctor)

obviously i can’t leave

i have a child & husband
no family threads to speak of
nothing that would miss me
but i also know
i don’t want to start again

the idea of rebuilding
it’s exhausting
rationally i don’t want to destroy
everything i’ve stabilized
all the progress
the lack of symptoms

but it’s just this time of year
after thanksgiving
before the end
and i find myself cruising Craigslist
looking at jobs
i wonder what housing looks like there

because we know this can’t last
why would you saddle yourself with me
i’m only going to destroy her
our marriage will implode
simply because i don’t know
suppression – only immolation

and maybe that’s the discomfort
the creeping silence
of a self that hasn’t been torn apart
shredded examined sifted through for lies
in far too long, falling headlong
into the winter of my discontent