Monday, February 23, 2009


I remember watching my grandmother's hands "sew what?" She was crafting quilts. I was designing dresses-- miniature ones for the Barbies I never played with. I loved sitting with her. I loved her wit. I loved wondering amidst the clouds of smoke, the inhaling and exhaling, the Singer sounding like chipmunks on a pogostick, the movement of her hands, the seams, what it was that held her together. I remember Southern Hospitality but I witnessed Southern hypocrisy on a daily basis... like people from church who staked out the liquor store to make sure its members weren't drinking. She was afraid to go. I would've asked her why she cared, but I knew. People talk. So, talk. I'll listen. We're all sinners. But sin isn't solely an act against God. Firstly, it's a personal injustice. I make my bed and rest my head on a woman's conscious body, and I don't feel the smallest bit of regret. You can talk. So talk, but God doesn't cry for me. He laughs with me. He smiles when I take drives and write my songs. His eyes water with mine when he sees how wildly I give into love. This is living. And what is living other than loving? Most importantly--what is sin? To sin literally means to "miss the mark". So, sinning is living life but missing the point. And what purpose is there in life other than taking advantage of every sincere chance at happiness? Sitting in Texas Roadhouse having a talk about Obama and sodomy about the anti-Christ and Armageddon Sancy shudders. Sixty plus years of living in a world of don't, of restriction, of fear, of judgment, and I want to tell her she can breathe. That all religions are based in love, that I believe in God and karma, in faith and freedom, that change doesn't mean an ending only a beginning. That you can deny science but you can't deny evolution or heaven and hell. They all exist. I know this because we lived underwater. We swam with fins and breathed with gills. Eventually a fish decided to try this thing called "land"-- to face the pain of breathing air through gills so that his children could grow lungs. So that eventually their fins would turn into feet and they would be free. So that the 7 years of biblical tribulation remain figurative and hell is judgment. So that heaven on earth is a state of mind and salvation is acceptance. I would like to think society has evolved into something better. Signs of progress dance around my dorm room and hug in hallways where race, religion, nationality, and orientation mean little, where our only differences lie in our past,our future, and our passions. So, talk. I'm a lover. Talk of me. I've been a lot of things. But know that the way you see me is only a reflection of yourself. Talk to me. And I'll make you better. Because your quilt kept me warm and because I was a fish once too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bystander Effect

Do you remember the house on the hill in Smyrna--
your room next to dad’s office
and the view of the airport from its window--
or the time you fell and the stitches on your knee?
I remember your face
and Mrs. Applegate’s bloody shirt,
your small hands curled around mom’s fingers
while the needles danced in your legs.

They said:
“Unlock your legs when you walk, baby.”
But you never walked the same.
Thirty minutes abandoned by the woods--
Did you call for me?
Where was I?

Oh, but here I am--
sighing on a plane, thinking of  a pigeon-toed baby,
and how this is all a little late.
I remember you, sister.
Do you remember me?

The seatbelt light turns on.
There are airplanes crashing in Boston.
There are houses sitting on hills.
There are children crying in basements.
And I find it difficult to remember.

From the window,
from the house on the hill,
I watched you fall 
but I didn’t move.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Margarita Night

"Tarani, play catch-up. We've already had ten shots each."
15 minutes later I'm caught up.
A phone call, phone falls into toilet, Lauren laughing, I'm laughing.

Ally crying next to a wall after I cut her down.
"Fuck you, Ally."
Don't talk to Lauren like that.

Then I'm driving.
Then I realize Catie's in my passenger's seat screaming at me to stop.
I keep on driving past the Brassler's, past the curve, past the stop sign.
She's still screaming but fuck that.
"If you loved me you'd stop."
I pull into the bank. God damnit, take the fucking keys.

I start screaming and punch punch punch punch punch punch.
God fucking damnit. God damn. Why the FUCK am I so FUCKING MAD?
Why the FUCK did I punch my mirror!?!
Haha! Yes! I fixed it!
But still, Catie, GOD DAMNIT. fuck...
Whatever this is it really fucking hurts.

5 minutes later, Catie's house.
She's pulling the whole you-should-stay-here card.
And I'm not taking it.
Fine, her sister follows us as Catie drives me to my house.

I remember toilet, barf, naked on the floor.
Heather? God, Heather, don't look at me right now.
Please don't see me like this, Heather.
Heather, go away and don't look back.
This is about as far as I go.

Still naked. Drunkin' around the room.
World spins madly on, and I find my trash can.
Barf, barf, barf. Punch. Fuck!
Why does this hurt so fucking bad?
Fuck this. FUCK.
Heather, get mom.
Heather, get someone.
Mom, call 9-1-1.
My chest is ripping itself in half.
Someone is pinching my heart with a pair of pliers.
Please God, stop it. Fucking make it stop.

I think the whole fire department was in my room.
The paramedics walk me to the ambulance,
and the red lights are on.
Sirens? Fucking shit. What did I do?
"I'm sorry, guys."
There is someone dying in an alley because I was selfish enough to call an ambulance.

Hospital. Waiting in the hallway.
Mom? God, I'm so sorry.
If you think this is bad...God, you have no idea.
You would hate me.

Are you trying to come out to me?


And we talk and I quote poems and literature and I try to sound slightly sober.
I wanted to kill myself.
She knows it, I know it.
Should I commit you?
Do it. I want to die. Do it. It doesn't matter.
You're going to where your sister went.
No, I want to live. Never mind.

Before we left mom said something to the nurse about having suppositories at the house,
and I go "hah, yeah, we've got an assload."

Not funny? Oh, I thought it was funny. Sorry I'm drunk, mom.
Oh sorry I'm sexually confused, too.

Drive home from the hospital she starts laughing:
One of my daughters is crazy and the other one is a lesbian. Great.

I laugh, but I'm broken-hearted.
The anger fades, and I feel two feet small.
And I still cry thinking about it.
I don't want to feel like being who I am means that I am broken,
like I have some sort of a glitch,
but I know she thinks I am.


I woke up to the smell of sour apples.
What the fuck? Oh, that's what it is...
It's fucking sick is what it is.
I took the trash out.
Mom made pancakes.

Then she laid in her bed and she slept the day away.
She told Lenny, "I just want to wake up when everything's changed."

I can't change it, though.


Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Winter Walls

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.
The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.
It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me,
and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!"
I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the topIn each hand,
like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
-Robert Frost

Oh man, all the walls I build.
I meet people face to face only for a brief encounter and then focus on how I'm going to keep this wall up between us...and this winter I think a lot of mine have taken hits. There are holes. There are stories I tell that don't add up. There are things I've kept to myself that come bubbling to the surface.

In time the walls I build become more of a labyrinth, and I get stuck in the middle.
And I've lied. I lie in a frail attempt to stay detached from myself. I figure maybe if there's a part of me that I can't change that I can just bury it in lies. Maybe I'll get stuck in my own maze, maybe I'll become so lost that I forget what the truth is.
But I know I won't.
This is me trapped in the same spot by walls of lies.
It's zero progress.
It's nothing I want.

Vulnerability is never easy, but I think it's essential.

Lying is a habit.
I started telling Lauren the truth, but as soon as I started drinking I threw in about four other lies. I guess it's kind of like"I'm giving you the truth. But not all of it! I'm still guarded! So there!"

But what does that do?
I go to my room and lay there staring at the ceiling knowing that there isn't a single person who knows me.
I feel like the loneliest person in the world because I've spent all this time trying to protect myself from having anyone really see me for who I am--even if I'm not proud of who that is--even if I haven't been the greatest person this month, I guess I just want to be seen.

I think underneath all the lies, I might be a good person.
New Year's resolution? Less drinking, more productivity, more reading,more expanding on things, more delving, more truth,more fun, more depth, more connections, more finding me.

I need to find myself instead of trying to shut pieces of me down.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whatever You Want

sitting round the table
toasting to old love
wondering if we'll make it through this year
People say it's so damn easy
you just have to believe
well I'm sorry baby
i cannot see that way

it takes a lot to be untruthful
but more to speak your mind
so I say maybe
this might end in time

Whatever you want
whatever you need
Just pretend it's love
and we'll be happy again

We talk about our parents
and which one's won't pull through
the stupid mistakes
as family's come unglued
He said i used to love you
i don't know why I stopped
I'm sorry baby
there must be something wrong
Whatever you want
whatever you need
Just pretend it's love
and we'll be happy again

Yeah I like this
I could stay all night
Listening to you talk
Across the flicker of light
sounding like an Angel
"Whatever You Want" Lover's Electric

Last night Catie and I started on a bottle of Jack then we headed towards the garage to grab the gasoline. Two tipsy girls. A lighter. A five gallon container of gasoline. A pile of wood. Good combination? Maybe not...but we thought so.

Thirty minutes later, after I managed to scorch the yard, kick over my drink, and notice Catie's sudden case of the "texts", I decided to call it quits.

Apparently, her best friend was on a double date with Catie's asshole of an ex and his fiance. Great. I can see the crocodile tears coming, and I brace myself for the tsunami of estrogen that's about to flood Louisville.

Think, self, think. Got it. I burn the best cd's in the world. I'll grab an old one and stick it in the player in a desperate attempt to bring back memories of happier times. I press play and...
"Please come sit on my lap!"
"I'm good here! What do you want to say?"
"Sit on my lap!!!"
"No Catie! Haha, I'm fine here!"

No. At this point she's had three or four glasses of Jack, and I've sobered up trying to build this fire. I'm not in the mood for any human contact whatsoever. Boozie, on the otherhand, wants to cuddle. She wants to cry and blow her nose all over me. Any other time I'd laugh, give her a bear hug, and talk things out. But Jesus, I just want to get away from tears.

They are everywhere lately. The first two weeks I spent in Tennessee--nothing but rain. As soon as the rain stopped, Heather's episodes got a little worse. As soon as Heather's mania commenced, I had to see my father. Seeing my father meant childhood flashbacks, but more than that, it meant seeing him fail as a father twice. Not just for Heather and I but for the little boy he's supposed to be fathering now. Seeing my father also meant Mammaw's cancer. Mammaw's cancer meant Aunt Michelle's confused hour long lectures about nothing, nothing but shit. Aunt Michelle's lectures bring everyone's insanity to the surface. And everyone's insanity leads me home to my room. My laptop is in my room and all of a sudden I'm talking to Caitlin again. Good plan...that is until Marlene, pronounced Mar-LENNY, tells her girlfriend she's not comfortable with us talking.

So here I am...just hanky-ing around. I seriously feel like a hanky. I'm here for everyone to blow their snot on me. And here I am, having plenty of things I could allow to immobilize me, but I just feel like moving. Why is everyone else stopped?

Catie cries. Caitlin cries. Aunt Michelle cries. Dad cries. Mom cries. Heather cries. Miriam cries.
And all of a sudden my whole world is flooded, and I'm sitting here annoyed as hell wondering why everyone is so fucking emotional when we have every opportunity to create our own happiness.

As for being insensitive...I am. But if I was as "tender" as I usually am, I'd be overwhelmed right now. So, my skin's a little thicker this week. Bring on the new year.