What Month Is This?

It feels strange to be here, like walking into the room that used to be mine as a child and finding things I had forgotten I left behind. Why didn’t I throw them all away before leaving? Why did my parents keep them? Why is this blog still here?

I am so deeply depressed that none of this feels real. None of these words are mine. I cannot write myself a better life. I never could. What was I thinking? Who was I pretending to be when I believed that these little rhymes mattered? My family tried to warn me by their detachment. They’ve always known my treasures are worthless. I let them sit forgotten, gathering dust, waiting for me to return.

It’s too much to process. I’m not up to making big decisions today, so I’ll back away and close the door again. I’ll clean this up some other time.

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A Poem? Not a Poem?

Let’s try this again.
I’ve written, deleted, written more.
Deleted more.
This is my life. Nothing sticks,
no matter what I try.
I’m not finishing things,
not accomplishing anything.
Write. Delete.
No record I was ever here.
Do I really have so little to say?
Or do I simply lack the voice to say it?
I tried to sing along to an old song
when I was driving yesterday.
My throat felt tight and closed.
My voice wobbled, unable
to find and hold the note.
I used to sing all the time:
school chorus,
community theater,
around the house.
Anywhere and everywhere.
Always a song.
And if not a song, a story.
Not any more.
I bury my stories deep.
I silence my songs.
And the silence has stretched so long,
that I’ve forgotten the words to my life.
Has the tune faded too?
I strain to hear it,
to hum it,
but there’s nothing there.
Am I disintegrating?
Have so many pieces of my self
fallen away
that I’m unrecognizable?
Is this why I can’t write?
I feel as though part of me
has been switched off,
and I don’t know how
to turn it on again.
Even as I type,
my throat feels constricted
and sore.
I cannot speak.
Whatever I have to say,
my body holds tight
and won’t release.
I fear that if I ever
find that current,
that energy,
that life force again,
it will shatter me.
What’s left of me.
It will blow me apart.
Would that be a relief?
One last burst of feeling,
followed by…
What?
Nothing?

Maybe if I knew that answer,
I wouldn’t feel
so empty,
so lost,
so tired,
so alone,
so discouraged,
so hollow,
so done.

My Summer Vacation

If I were a writer, what would I write about today?

The silence at the end of that question stretches long. I wrote some bullshit that I deleted about how I ask myself that, but the answer is always nothing. No. The truth is I haven’t bothered asking myself anything. And if I were to ask myself something, it shouldn’t be, “what would I write about,” but “am I a writer at all.”

I certainly don’t feel like one anymore. I did for a while, when I was writing every day. It didn’t matter that I have nothing to publish. I still felt connected to the words and the work. I had hoped that as summer ended, I’d find myself drawn back to both.

Writing isn’t the only thing I’ve been neglecting though. I had started exercising, taking morning walks at a local park. I needed movement and nature to ground myself in this world, even as depression sucked me farther from it. I used the summer’s heat as an excuse to stop walking, the depression as an excuse to stop writing. Despite that, I managed to keep living.

In July, I learned that an old friend was having gastric bypass surgery. For some reason, that prompted me to finally make some changes to my diet and start shedding some weight myself. I joined a weight-loss group on Facebook for support. That became my new obsession—another reason to stay too long online, reading about other people’s lives and struggles, ignoring my own. I started losing weight, then panicked. I wasn’t prepared for it to actually work! I didn’t know who I was without sugar, without whiskey. I didn’t belong outside the plus-size corner of the store. I stopped eating to lose and let my weight stabilize.

That’s where I am today. I have a list of things to start doing again: eat right, exercise, read books, write. All the things I thought I might do this summer, but didn’t. I’ve been online, checking Facebook and Twitter, watching what’s happening in the world. Wondering what it all means. Meanwhile, I’ve got a stack of unread books next to my chair just waiting for me to come back to this world. The immediate. The concrete. I feel like I’m flitting around the edges of life, lost in cyberspace. Can I find a way to ground again? Will writing help?

If I were a writer, what would I write about today? How would I say it? Do I still want to play with rhythm and length and form and rhyme? Would I rather chat like this? Pretend I’m talking to the friends I don’t have? Would you like to hear the story of my life? of my weight-loss journey? of my failures to make good decisions? Will the gods read these words and accept them as prayers from a lost soul? Will the Muses gather closer and whisper in my ear? Will someone, somewhere, read what I write and nod in agreement, forging an invisible link between us, a tiny spark of energy flowing into the vastness of space, making us both matter to each other, even though we never meet? Is that enough? Is it a start?

So If I Miss It So Much…

That’s what you’re thinking, right? That’s what I’m thinking. Why did I stop showing up? stop working at it? stop prioritizing it?

Welcome to depression. The deep part. The silent part. The part that makes you groan when you wake up another day. The part that doesn’t want to reach out for help, because it doesn’t want to be drawn into the light. The part that knows this part of me is beyond help. Beyond words.

Exercise has no power over it. Sunshine can’t warm it. It’s stronger and colder than all of us. And it’s so entwined with my soul that I don’t remember where I start. Or end. Or whether I was ever separate to begin with.

So, yes I miss writing. I miss feeling. I miss looking at the world and finding beauty, even in endless questioning and edgeless loneliness. Those things are not this. This thing is something other, and yet wholly me. Maybe it’s the Truth of who I am. That which I’ve been writing about all along.

Mood and Weather, Both Bleak

INDOOR SONGS

no walk today
no woods, just rain
no pond, no sky
just indoor songs

no getaway
locked in my brain
no answers why
life takes so long

when angels say
they can explain
I want to cry
but tears feel wrong

instead I pray
ancient refrains
old words that I
hope keep me strong

no walk today
no breath, just pain
no outward sigh
just indoor songs

I Forgot to Write Yesterday

DEAR MIDNIGHT, STAY

midnight held his breath and slipped away,
closing the door behind him with a soft click
he left me dreaming of a different life,
and I was happy for a moment alone

midnight left the room, left room for day
to slide into my bed and curl around me
easing under covers warmed in darkness
cooling touch on fever, passion lit, love grown

midnight’s love never-lasting, alive
only while I dream. day is death’s chill stabbing
my open heart, no dream, a waking knife
its sun-point sharpened, whet on stolen moonstone

let me sleep, just sleep, dear midnight stay
let me live my dreams, there is no afterlife

My Constant Companion

NEVER AND ALWAYS

When we were young, I could outrun you,
But you were never far behind and
Always caught up when I stopped for breath.
Arms wrapped around me, you clung so tight.

So I let you stay, and we both grew.
I believed you’d never be stronger
Than me. Somehow I would always win.
Each day together renewed the fight.

Older now, we sit and talk of death,
Though I have never lived. So consumed
By you, I held back. Always afraid
I was wrong to want more. You were right

To challenge me. Life I never knew
Was always there, as I caught my breath.