roller coaster

buckled in for this ride
up down up down, cotton candy roiling in my gut and throat
no hands in the air to enjoy the wind
eyes squeezed tight on the wrenching drops to depths below
screaming as i plunge towards the murky blue cement pond
relieved in during straight parts and climbing to repeated summits

twists which elevate me from the duct-taped seat, i grip the bar with white knuckles
round loops, looking down at cigarette butts and trampled maps littering the ground
knowing i will always end down there with the trash
the ride slows, then stops with a hiss and a jerk on level tracks
i climb out with wobbly legs, unsteady steps
reluctantly boarding, no choice but to ride this roller coaster

wondering if i will ever cease this carnival ride
this rusted, shaky attraction ruling my days and nights
or if living with this disease will be forever
hopelessly doomed to rinse and repeat again and

again

and

again

roller coaster

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showtime

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

they coaxed her shower off the days of stink
she did as they asked,a friendly suggestion to rid herself
dirt and shame down the drain

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

toweling off in front of the toilet
away from the long bathroom mirror, looking away from the glass at the floor
getting all her clothes on fast

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

she sees her shape faintly in peripheral vision
no glasses on as she brushes her teeth, watching water and paste run in spirals
puts on deodorant gazing at the ceiling

now to her hair
who cares if it is styled, she plans to stay in
she puts her chin down and turns on the dryer
don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

she forces herself to think of other things
her love for green growing like
limes, Luna moths, fiddlehead ferns and granny smith apples

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do —

she catches her own eye in the reflection
in an instant, IT assesses her coldly
“fatter gut I see, what garbage did you put in your mouth today? that exercise won’t cover THAT
still wrinkles and scars, repulsive
never really a beauty, eh? face yourself, face the truth”

she looks away
the clean body now feels the shame of the unclean, damaged, broken
what’s the point? why spend the energy on this task?
to give IT a stage on which to shout at her?

when all she can chant in defense is
don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it
weakly from the balcony

 

and again

on my mind
for days
it won’t let go

i am alone today
i can get this done
i can stop it from being in my head
needling me
scorning me
hounding me
plaguing me
mocking me
chanting
broken record of chants
it will NOT stop

i give in
i know i might as well
this is the only way
i get the blades from their new hiding place
i know the routine
i know the ritual
but bigger letters this time
covering more skin

FAT
UNWANTED
IGNORED
A BOTHER
NO ONE

now i have unmatched matching legs
and ten words
in fresh red marks
and old purple scabs and scars
labeling me
judging me
describing me
telling me who i am
mocking my attempts to be better
showing anyone who looks
what i am

daring someone to take notice.

calm
trance
no more voice

blade thrown away, hidden
smeared red skin
clots running down the shower drain
no traces
only a fiery hot leg
with exactly 100 cuts
how ironic, 100

and again

for what it’s worth

a rag doll, dropped and forgotten, under a rusted fender on an oil stained driveway
one muddy tire track decorated her back from right to left

“There you are,” the little monster said and grabbed the doll’s leg
“Hiding in plain sight I see,” as IT dragged the her behind it’s strides

the doll, face down, rubbed roughly against the concrete sidewalk
her dress above her head, her white underwear stained by a muddy puddle splash

“Gross, look at your underwear!” IT chided.
“You are never clean,” shaking ITs head in mock sadness

no one saw when a button eye, threads finally giving way,as it rolled to the grass
the doll’s one eye watched as her other slowly faded from sight

“Can’t you see what you have done to yourself?”
“Don’t you know how ugly you are? Gross!”

IT crossed a road, tangling the doll’s head with cigarette butts, bits of litter and sticky chewed gum
“I wish you would take better care of your hair,” flicking a glance of distaste in the her direction

IT cut across a lawn where the big dog lived and dragged her though a fresh pile
When IT climbed the chain link fence, the doll’s an arm caught at the top

“Hurry up, we are late!” yelled IT, tugging her leg roughly.
The doll’s arm ripped at the seam and dropped to the big dog’s lawn, a new chew toy for later

“Now look what you’ve done, well, it’s your own fault for flailing your arms that way.”
IT kept moving, grinding grass and mud into her tattered clothes as her stuffing guts trailed behind.

The monster stopped and looked at the beaten rag doll
With one motion, shot a great arc, deposited it in the dumpster

“Two points!” IT cheered and walked on, “See, loser, you really don’t care about yourself, freak”
The rag doll looked up at a cloud passing, as it waited on top of plastic bags of rotten food

wondering what stink would bury her soon
to cover her shame

for what it's worth

what IT is

“you know I am right
I will win,” IT speaks softly in my head
like a secret from a child…or love whispers

“I am your personal acid bath
peeling away layer after layer of skin
making your bones white as snow as I bubble happily

“I am piranhas biting your flesh
schooling you in your failures
as you dissolve, skeleton resting on the soft Amazon river bottom.

“I am the black crows, waiting for a car to pass
swooping down to your flattened carcass of a life
pulling pieces of you to devour slowly

“I am the tornado
picking up your lifeless body
broken, arms and legs jutting at weird angles, tossing you into a corn field

“I am the quiet skittering black widow
patiently navigating your tennis shoe strings
just a little love bite, dear, it won’t last long.

“I am darkness in an underground cave
wedging your body tighter into a crevice
no water, no light, not hope of rescue

“I am your truth and destruction
your failure cheerleader
I will win, loser.”

IT slithers away while I watch
knowing another visit, another psychological beating
will happen again…and soon

unwanted

the blowing dirt sticking to hot, sweaty skin
and brown and black burrs clinging to socks

a finger and nail sliced while peeling an onion
and a tiny gray mouse scurrying among pantry boxes

a hangnail catching on paper and pockets, now bleeding
and tangled, knotted hair, a ball of defiance, which must be cut out

the shock of a stinging jellyfish on an idyllic white sand beach
a bee sting, leaving innards on a lance, piercing skin

the rancid taste of sour milk in Lucky Charms
and a red-hot, swollen spider bite

the squish of dog shit between toes in the summer grass
and a belly-up fish floating in a tank of algae haze

Small bits of food cemented to otherwise clean silverware
and frozen skin patches under a ski mask

Heavy layers of ice, amputating already weeping tree limbs
and a gorging mosquito slapped to a blood mark

sunburn blisters on tight fiery skin
and rotting chicken bone garbage perfume

This is who I am

unwanted

rinse and repeat

stage is set with anger and hatred,
sneers and rage ready for a queue in the wings
she waits, knowing the play of cardinal sins is quickly approaching

she is shaking…the words said out loud to calm do not help
desperate attempts to stop the onslaught go unnoticed
vermilion horror dance begins again

she promises herself this is the last time
her body littered with purple and fading pink
would have flaming, sore fresh marks

“FAIL”
“FAT”
“USELESS”
“UGLY”
“GROSS”
“UNWANTED”
“BURDEN”

Tokyo red lipstick smears as
she tries to stop the flow, her hand to the wounds as they come
one after another…maybe it will clot soon

strikes of indifference and disgust continue
hidden from prying eyes of course, all a hemline away from discovery
she makes a point not to swim anymore, damage made is safe here.

a furious legacy redrawn over and over
she’s helpless to stop the vicious strokes to her torn flesh
battered body of crimes, using any handy tools of carnage

when the show is over, she watches red swirls
disappearing down the tub drain, shower water beating her body
carefully soaping stinging wound areas in order to “Keep it clean” as requested

cutter

rinse and repeat