Twenty Five

Twenty Five

A year ago today, I published a poem along with text messages from my father, outing him as an abuser and an alcoholic who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. I was always there for him and remain unappreciated. I have forgiven him for what he has done to me. What I cannot forgive is what he said about my mother. And I learned from him, and took a step forward, and haven’t spoken to him since. Read “Father Dearest” here. I’ve spent a lot of time in the rooms of AA. Try as I might I couldn’t get my head around a higher power, and around having to give up drinking for the rest of my life at the age of twenty-three. I viewed it as an ending and as a compromise of my ideals. I first entered AA in January of 2014. I went to meetings, went to...

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Mister Nice Guy

Mister Nice Guy

I shouldn’t be scared. It’s the middle of the day; I’m surrounded by people. But there’s two men On this train That make my hair stand on end And the thing is, You just can’t really trust people. You just never know. Man number one Is stood to my left on the platform, As I absentmindedly sway To Frank Sinatra’s voice In my headphones. I keep catching his gaze Out of the corner of my eye. My peripheral vision is 20/20. He’s close enough That I can smell him- Stale cologne and booze And fear. No wait, That last one is me. I look straight ahead Because this is the type of man I am used to. This stranger With his extra-large eyes And overstated sneer, His nearly imperceptible nod Is familiar to me. I know him; I’ve met dozens of his comrades. But now there’s another....

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Trustworthy

Trustworthy

Maybe it’s an age thing Or a woman thing Or an addict thing But it’s a ludicrous thing To not know Your own mind Or to lack confidence In your opinions. I’m always Looking over my shoulder. Always asking What someone else wants, Or feels, or needs, Or double checking That I’m not bothering them To the point that I’m sure I am. I’m conscious of The way I eat: How and what and when. I worry about taking up space- How close my chair is to the table, I cross my legs on the metro, I avoid an occupied kitchen, Offer to sit in the back of the car, Even curl into a ball in my own bed. Where do I want to go? Anywhere is fine. Am I hungry? I don’t know- are you? I want to contribute without pressure, I want to help without demand. I concern myself with the needs of others,...

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Shit Misogynists Say

Shit Misogynists Say

A few months ago I was headed to work wearing a summery wrap dress I’ve had for years. My grandfather pulled me aside and told me that “men have a hard time concentrating,” and if I “raised my neckline” I might have less trouble with the unwanted advances I’d been receiving from my male coworkers. He meant well, and I know that. But he was wrong. [pictured: the dress that breaks concentration.] Here are just a few of the things I’ve heard from men while at work: If you just lost some weight, you could be a model. Why are you wearing that dress? You going out later? You’re not going to turn heads. You’ll break necks. You look so good I might just have to take you on a date. Him: Sorry, but you can’t just walk around looking like that without inviting some kind of...

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Behind My Eyes

Behind My Eyes

My sleep is plagued by nightmares. Some are so real I have to get up, Walk around, Check all the clocks, To convince myself It didn’t happen. I dream I’m drunk, Stumbling and unsure, I’ve lost my car, Can’t find my cigarettes, Can’t stand up straight. I fall into walls, Crawl across the floor, Inwardly Hating myself, Berating myself, Can’t remember where I’ve been, How this happened. I awake, Disoriented, Check my phone- Have I called someone, Texted someone, Taken photos- Where have I been?- Before I realize It was only a dream. A man lurks by my bed, Watches me as I slumber. He never speaks. I know I’m sleeping, But I’m trapped in my body Unable to move. I try to scream But no sound escapes my lips I dare myself to move But I’m frozen. Sometimes the man moves...

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