Puke Poetry

Heart like a hand grenade, fully-automatic weapon for a mind.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The last two weeks.

A week and a half ago I hurt my shoulder while avoiding a dog that ran in front of me on the bike path that takes me all the way from my apartment building in Seward out to the nice borderline-suburban house of a fantastic woman where I do yard work and clean the house and take on various projects indoors and out and play with her monstrous half-Russian Mastiff half-Pit Bull named Kingsford, whom I love deeply. If I hadn’t been a stoned retard it might not have even happened, though not in the anti-drug commercial way where you DO DRUGS and do something gawdawful because of the DRUGS and forever regret it. It was just that I had spent the hours before going out there with Ian and Ian is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s small like me, and heavily tattooed with all of these awesome old school designs and wears raggedy clothes and a baseball cap with the brim turned up. He’s from Milwaukee, too. Ian is my drugs buddy. Most days that we can mash our schedules together he’ll come over to my apartment or we’ll run errands in his turquoise station wagon missing a ton of parts and smoke bowl after bowl with the windows rolled up. Sometimes we’ll stop at gas stations and he’ll return to the car with his waistband full of Butterfingers and gum.

That week Kim (the woman who I work for) was out of town and I was kind of house sitting. I was only going to stay there a couple nights, but work a ton the other days while the house was devoid of other people and the dog – it was just me and the three cats - Harry, Cowboy, and Bark. So I was riding out there in the evening, still before the sun went down – it was early July so the sun wouldn’t end up bowing out until after nine anyways. Me and Ian and my best friend/probably life partner Mary had gone to Punk Rock Church with my dad’s rusty old road bike latched into the rack on the top of Ian’s car. On the way there, Ian and I smoked a bunch of weed in hopes of enabling our tiny bodies to be able to eat more food. This was a weekly ritual. Punk Rock Church isn’t so much church as it is church people at this church in Uptown feeding people generally delicious dinners for free and setting out boxes of almost stale bread for us to take home and not have to dumpster. They didn’t even preach or hand out pamphlets to us. I explained to Mary that they were acting as they think Jesus would (feeding the poor, blah blah) and so we would be inspired to also live in a similar manner, a manner that necessitates a deep seeded love for our Lord Jesus Christ and the big, sometimes-benevolent-sometimes-vengeful man upstairs. That’s dumb and sneaky, Mary responded. The punk rock part of the name stems from the large percentage of punks that attended this weekly feeding. This week it was slightly-too-sweet sloppy joes, potato salad oozing with mayonnaise, green beans, corn on the cob, salad, and upside pineapple cake with ice cream. We inhaled what we could.

After dinner we got my bike down off of Ian’s car and I took off one way and they drove the other. I rode down Lyndale to 29th and turned down until I came to Bryant. Like always I stopped and drank a bunch of water before latching my bag up and flying down the entrance path to the Greenway. It had been pretty warm earlier in the day but now with the sun dipping down around the edges, the breeze was refreshing and it was a really nice ride. I found the perfect gear to ride on after a lot of mid-ride fiddling (my dad’s bike that I was now riding had been sitting in my parent’s garage for ten years and was completely without of grease and had some rust here and there) and I was flying. The best part about riding the Greenway is how nice and flat it is which compared to Minneapolis’ relatively uneven and hilly surface streets is a miracle. There were a lot of people out that night. People who spent all day at desks and came home at night to change into spandex racing suits and zoom along on their $2000 Treks with douche-baggy aerodynamic helmets on, people pushing their kids in strollers, couples out holding hands and being revolting, huge families walking three abreast, people rollerblading (as if they hadn’t gotten the memo about rollerblades being totally lame), and as I would run into later, people walking their dogs. Along part of the path, past Uptown, a set of train tracks runs parallel to the Greenway and that night there was a train going through and to my delight I was going faster than the train. My thighs were burning from the resistance of the pedals, but every rotation rocketed me forward and I felt incredibly powerful. I soon found myself racing the train, loving how the wind felt on my shaved head and bare shoulders and marveling at some of the huge tags painted on the sides of the cars. I wondered fleetingly if there were traveling kids on board that train; Minneapolis was crawling with traveling kids now that summer had hit. The train was blocking traffic that I was able to zoom through. Entranced by the speed I was going and how little I was wheezing I looked around and realized that I had no idea where I was. I’d made this commute a ton of times by now and all of a sudden I was crossing a bridge I’d never seen in my life. I was still on the trail but had I magically transferred to a different one? The woods were denser than they were closer to the city and I crossed a sparsely populated street. Fuck, I am lost, I’m pretty sure I said out loud.

I slowed down and at a break in foot traffic hung a u-banger (a really gross sounding way of saying “u-turn” that I can’t help but use) and started heading back. With the train blocking the streets I must have missed my turn off. I thought it was hilarious. I was so zoned out and full, or maybe so zoned in on riding my bike and beating the train and the fire ripping through my thighs and the air catching ever so slightly in my throat that I’d completely overshot my mark, by over a mile I came to find out. I was getting into my stride again, peeling carefully through the foot and two wheeled traffic when a dog on an inappropriately long leash bounded in front of my bike. I had about five feet to react. I jerked my handlebar to the left where I would not hit the owner because they were fifteen feet behind their dog. In doing so, my backpack, which was holding my rather formidable laptop, my hardcover journal, several books, and a u-lock, slid and slammed into the back of my right shoulder, causing my hand to jerk off the handlebar. While managing to stay on my bike and correcting myself and not hitting that goddamned dog, a ripping, tearing, burning pain spread through my shoulder and I yelled out loud. I might have yelled FUCK! but I’m not sure. The pain in my shoulder was making my eyes water and now the rest of my arm felt light and floaty and like I wasn’t making contact with the bike at all. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. I pulled off to the side by a white wire bench and hopped off my bike. I slid my now regrettably heavy back pack off and clutched my shoulder still wincing and displaying my extensive curse-word vocabulary. Glaring at the backs of the oblivious dog and its oblivious owner I rolled my shoulder experimentally to no non-excruciating-pain avail. I slowly shook my arm, praying as much as an atheist can that the feeling would come back in my arm. After a minute or so it did and my shoulder agreed to just throb, so I carefully put my back pack on and mounted my bike and took off, checking carefully for roving dogs.

The next morning when I woke up I couldn’t move my shoulder from my side without tears popping out of my eyes, like my arm was a lever for the waterworks. After a handful of ibuprofen and a half hours consideration I decided I shouldn’t just ignore it and should just suck it up and go to the clinic campus and get it checked out. I called Kim and told her what happened and told her I was going to the doctor but don’t worry I’d still get out to her house the rest of the week to water the flowers and feed the cats and maybe vacuum later in the week if nothing else. She encouraged my doctor visit and told me to call her with an update when I have one. Thus far, being relatively independently employed has resulted in some fantastic bosses. I rode my bike down the Greenway to Bryant to 29th to Lyndale to Franklin, doing my best not to put pressure on my right arm and moaning a little every time a bump in the road jarred its way up to my shoulder, and caught the 2 bus to campus. On the way I called Mary and told her about the incident; Maybe they’ll give you loopy pills, she said. Maybe they WILL give me loopy pills, I thought. At that point they could have given me anything to stop the pain in my shoulder and I would have started a religion around their greatness. I called my mom to tell her that her eldest daughter was minorly retarded and probably injured and I just thought she should know. She wanted to know did I dislocate my shoulder and I sure as fuck hope I didn’t was my answer. She sure as fuck hoped I hadn’t too, she assured me. Call her with an update when I have one.

Two hours, two nurses, one doctor, three x-rays and a lot of painful poking and prodding later I had a sling on my right arm, notes for work, and a prescription for oxycodone. They did give me loopy pills after all. I rode the last leg of my journey home, through the Mall, across the footbridge, through West Bank, up 20th, down the little short cut path to 9th and home on 21st. All I wanted to do was sit down, put a bag of frozen stir fry veggies on my shoulder, eat a couple pills, and cry.

My bosses all agreed that I shouldn’t be working, partly out of concern for my well being and comfort and partly so they wouldn’t be liable for contributing to my injury and so I had an empty week gaping ahead of me with a ton of unfinished house products, a half eighth and fifteen loopy pills. I quickly found out that oxycodone, plus my daily meds (two different kinds of anti-depressants), and weed made me feel amazing and buzzy and melting-into-the-couch-y, and made Dr. Phil and Oprah fascinating and come evening instilled me with a manic need to be productive.

And now I’m sitting here on a Friday night, almost two weeks later with a conclusive verdict on my injury. Earlier this week I went to a nice better-groomed-Santa-ish sports medicine doctor who told me that he thought that when I ate shit off the front of my bike a few months ago I displaced some cartilage in my shoulder and consequently tore my rotator cuff in avoiding a canine collision last week. That is great, just great. He told me to lay off work, quit using my arm, ice it, and here’s some hydrocodone (Oxycodone may as well be horse tranquilizers, he told me). Before I saw him though, his nurse took me into the examination room and asked me questions and took my blood pressure and temperature and weight down. I think she was Haitian and I liked listening to her talk. Until, after a long pause during which she stared at the computer screen, clicking away mysteriouly, she looked up and asked me if I’ve been sexually or physically abused. My mind blanked and I was physically and mentally taken aback. For therapist and lady-doctor appointments I prepare myself for that question – apparently I felt an unreasonable sense of security in describing my shoulder injury and not expecting a question like that to come up. Shaking my head rapidly, a little dazed, I said Uh, not recently? She looked up at me and asked me if I had been in the past. Staring at my toes and reluctant to answer I said yes and when she asked if it were sexual or physical I muttered Sexual to my knees. Ok then and she left the room.

At this point I have been on drugs, high or just buzzed, for almost two weeks and I have enough to last me another day or two. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time even though I’m missing work, which kind of drives me crazy. I’ve painted two walls in my living room (with limited motion of my right arm of course) and two walls in my bedroom, patched pants, worked on random sewing projects and started making a quilt. I’ve also read a ton. In fact right now I’m battling with myself to keep writing because I have Valencia by Michelle Tea sitting open at my knee half read and damn if I don’t want to dive back in. But this special combination of mostly prescribed-to-me medications has made me feel like writing for the first time in months.

Monday, June 09, 2008


list your achievements:
fill in the blank.
there's a lot of gaping line space.

well, dear reader, evaluator:
i feel a little more alive today
than i did yesterday,
and that's something.

i left my ghetto fabulous
hometown in a sprawling
city's clothing
near a year ago.
it's been the best decision
i've ever made.
and that's something.

i've survived rape, abuse,
control, deception, and shame,
and i will someday
have my revenge
on the source of these
battle scars.
and that's something.

i've gained eight pounds
in weight and muscle
since i dropped below 107
last august.
i'm still small,
but i'm strong and
more than able.
and that's something.

i wake up every day
and remember to breathe
and am finally condfident
in my capabilities as a living being.
that's something, and really,
all i need.

Severe Weather Watch

my three cats
they stand confused
by the wind whipping
the trees around
like they were rubber
they're staring intently
through my raised
first floor screens
posted in a line
on the back of
my and their
favorite armchair
watching, tense and alert
like they're waiting
like they've caught the scent
of something, and it's telling them
that something is coming.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

in search of

i've been finding myself
searching for your face
in every crowd, in every door
on every bus and street
i don't even know your name
and still i've got this
unbridled hope and ball of nerves
sitting home in my stomach
they all ask about the
cuts and bruises, scars and tattoos
no one's seen the blood
under my fingernails yet
lucky since i don't know where it's from
and maybe someday i'll see you
in passing and your words will be
a breeze across dripping sweat shoulders
and maybe you'll tell me to get ready,
the storm's comin.

Friday, May 16, 2008

so we slipped between our sheets of words
and i lost you somewhere in between
i ain't pretty when i cry
cause it's what i look like on the inside
which is where i told you part of me is dead
and you nodded like you knew
and i said let me keep my secrets please
i know you won't look at me the same again
they never do
but i whispered them straight to your mouth
we shared that breath that was a knife
between my ribs
and i said i'm waiting til tomorrow
to see if you take off and run
i won't be mad because i already know
it's nothing new
you told me don't worry
"i'll be here in the morning"
but that's not quite what i meant

i breathe free next to you
and i'm sorry that might stop

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Explain to me again about absence?

The ugliest stories you can tell are thinly veiled truths and the rooms we leave gaping aren’t waiting for new residents because they’ve been there longer than we know, lurking, biding their time because they can, because we have none. We hid ours and induced amnesia hoping for the greater good to glow brighter than the moon since we could only breathe together once the sun hit the dirt. But one look at our wounded and bruised feet and paths will tell a story older than anything and emptier than nothing. We reflect and absorb love lost and love absent - radiate human condition inhumanly well. I never promised you anything and you always floated up near the ceiling skimming the limits of the space provided and finding none because of it. The last time we really looked at one another for what we were and weren’t – what we’d maintained all along and what we’ll never express – for the comfort of flaws and imperfections – has been just beyond reach for a few months now and I don’t know if fonder is what I’m growing.

Natural Reaction

i've got grimy, stained windows
to watch this story through
but all i'm watching now
is all of the corners come loose

you learn how to whisper
when you're cold
how to make yourself heard
and when to encourage oblivion
you learn how to slide
in and out of focus
second and third thoughts
but never home, cause you've got none

i lost you
somewhere out there
breathing in dead air
and sunrises
dancing til you fall apart
staring, staring, silently
til there's nothing left.
nothing but the words behind their eyes
but they'll burn eventually
we all have to blink sometime.


i woke up this morning
knowing the opposite of full-well
where i was going or what i was doing
just certain that one time or another
had come
and i
carried half of my life thus far
strapped to my back
and the other half hung from chains
themselves heart-held
and i found the cave
i'm predestined to dwell in
the cliff i dreamed about
two years past four still
and i'm walking blind with no light
but my hands are telling me
the stories the lipless walls and eyeless dark
never could.
and my chest went from cavern
to scream
in one tear drop
one moment left for
someone elses cards to read right
i'm echoing like a secret spit into
the night sky
before anyone could stop it.
we've met before and we know
what this breath held open door means
we ease through collapsing sides
and sighs sing us to sleep
before we know what hit us.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

i do recall

i remember
the shallow breathing
sound of your sleep
and the security that seeped in
sitting there next to you
i remember
the secrets we were supposed
to keep
and the spectacle we made
of what was supposed to be sly
every time that reckless
happiness crossed your face
the light behind your eyes
when you looked into mine
the impossibility of
the situation we crafted
i remember
talking to you
when you were sober
it's been awhile
i remember
you not letting me
hide from pain, blockade my brain
every now and then
i remember
a certain night, a certain party
and a certain first of many
snuck next to a certain garage
i remember conceding and compromising
and i remember
walking away.

i wondered who we were fighting
all that time
but now i know that i'm in bed with the enemy
because that enemy
is me.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


to that part of me, that part of my brain, whichever part of me that's dead and that's cold - the part of me that's not quite right - the part that doesn't make me an old soul, just too old for my age - the part that's always boiling, always seething, on the edge, ripping and tearing - the part that's permanently shut down, locked out - that part, that part of my puzzle...
leave. just leave.
i can't breathe and i can't trust or get close - i can't open up or let myself fall - i'm blind, not healing, just rotting, just stewing...
just leave.
if i could pinpoint the location, i'd be there with a scalpel in the blink of an eye - carefully remove every last molecule - it's just not fair to anyone - i'm not feeling anything...
just leave.
prophecized when i was a baby - two words and eery accuracy - he looked at me and said "ice queen" - and here i stand, as stone - every inch of my skin, drop of blood, heave of my chest - everything is icicles - nothing's real...
just leave.
what do i tell him when he asks? because he's going to. - i've got no answers - truths are just as distant to you as they are to me - remedies remain mysteries and my lips are stitched...
there's nothing there.

leave. just leave.