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.

i’m not sure what it says about me

that it took five years of marriage
before i stopped believing
that you loving me
was just another joke
set up by the girls watching
from behind the trees
so they could jump out and scream
“GOTCHA AGAIN YOU STUPID FUCKING IDIOT”
one more time.

But today
today i was able to believe it
wholeheartedly
down to the very darkest places
where i hide myself
wrapped up in the safety of my voices
wearing me out like a rosary
protecting me from the outside
and i opened the door a little,
letting the rays of light in,
feeling their ghosts dissolve
without worrying if the fading laughter
was a punchline to some whispered cruelty
that I’ll never know the set-up to.

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.

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

Poetry is a game

for the young at heart
that still possess
ragged cliffs of emotions
and passions
not yet dulled
by the years of tides
of sorrow beating against them,
the salt of which you can still taste
in the tears that fall
from the frustration caused
by creating an emoji response
for something that you’ve trained
yourself not to feel any longer.

Welcome to your 30’s.

Punishment for Living, Pt 1

I.

Walking outside.
“Hey,
Fuck you fat bitch.”

II.

7th grade
Wearing my brand new
Minnie Mouse sweatshirt,
I desperately pretend
Not to hear them say things
And then
“just so you know
D—– just hawked a loogie
All over your back.”
How do you tell the secretary
You need to go home
Not because of illness
But
Because of humiliation?

III.

Waking up
To hands around my neck
“I just watched an episode
Of Bones
And it said I could kill you
But it would be impossible
To prove it was murder like this.”

IV.

Walking outside
With my daughter
“Hey,
Who was desperate enough
To fuck you?
Fuck you, fat bitch”