the first thing I showed him was the callous
              here look
and he licked it with his tongue
without questioning my need to
grip things so tightly
I’ve succumb to carpal tunnel,
arthritis, delusions of
grandeur and infancy.

has anyone ever talked to you about splitting?”
is what the doctor said to me once
after observing me mumbling to myself
in my room.

             sometimes i like to shoplift.

“Who is Catarina?”

sometimes I like to fuck the men with wives.

“Catarina is the girl who does bad things. I am Sarah. I am the good girl who does good things.”

sometimes I like to hunt.

“splitting is a phenomenon in which you  sort of leave your body to allow another persona to take over.”

sometimes I like to punish bad boys.

“like possession?”

sometimes I like to peek at Christmas presents.

“no, more like split personality.”

sometimes I watch the mirror dance in candlelight
            and wait for her to come
              I break men
like the swell that rises over bridges
engulfing islands with her mouth,
I break men with turns of
tides.


“the journal”

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They stuffed myself and three black women around a metal toilet in a cage designed to hold only stray cat. One was pregnant and kept asking the time and the guard always replied “Why does it matter to you? You ain’t going nowhere.”

Grace is being able to count the beats of seconds by secretly tapping your finger on your inner thigh while the pregnant woman pees right in front of you; spreads her legs and you don’t look but it’s hard not to. In here, they just let you bleed all over your panties. Women’s cells always smell like blood. I can’t make this up. (Call your wolves). I had an idea that it was close to 1 pm but I didnt dare say anything in case I was wrong about everything. I kept looking at my shoes and hoped no one here was going to shit in this toilet but I already knew that one of us was trying to forget her cramps and I was forgetting my broken body and the pregnant woman had a man to forget and two others had to figure out a way out and the pregnant woman slid off the toilet back onto the floor.

“I’m sorry guys. I’m pregnant. I gotta go a lot.”

We nodded.

“The women who robbed the men”

Court was fine. I wore a blue button up and my long black wig that made me look like a soccer mom or a very modest witch. I barely remember a single thing except I was convicted of a first DUI due to a technicality in paperwork. I had spent all my family’s money on a lawyer who spent all his money running late night TV ads which is how we got here.

Grace is the bruise the ankle bracelet leaves so you don’t have to smell the menstrual blood fill the metal toilets all day.

“Good news. House arrest. But you gotta sit in booking for a while.”

I nodded. I remembered booking.

“How to forget everything day 61”

I don’t remember this but my mom said that I borrowed my money
from my brother to hire the  best DUI lawyer in town. The one in all the commercials. I don’t remember this.  But how could I? I had hit my head once on a metal railing and then again against my steering wheel driving 45 miles an hour?My car was covered in battery acid and I still had to pay to get it out of the impoundment.

“Everyone hates drug addicts. “

I said this driving my car to the lawyer.

“You drove here?” He said. “They took your license. You aren’t allowed to drive.”

I looked at him puzzled like the way a puppy looks at the red ball for the first time.

“Don’t tell me anymore,” he said.

Oh but so hard not to. What I wanted to say was I’m still drunk from last night. I let it be and drove home anyway. When the will to live is low, you drive over bridges so fast.

And I lived through that.

How to forget everything  day 6”

grace is the way your bones reset themselves
inside of your chest on the way home from
the police station
and the bail provided by your ex.

“My phone is shattered,” I said aloud to him.

what was more concerning is the way I flinched
when the seatbelt touched me.
the bruise was black and thick
and formed.
it was a little hard to breathe.

“I can’t believe they didn’t take you to the emergency room,”
he shook his head like this was
the first time injustice ever
materialized in my own body in front of him.

I held my broken phone in my lap
and the bag of my belongings,
including my wig..
I had taken it off to show them I had no weapons.
(Tuck it in your cheek.)

“I didn’t want to take the blood test. The German guy said if I refuse the blood test,
I don’t go to the hospital,” I had a very fuzzy idea of the episode.
“I refused to blow in the breathalyzer.
Told them my breath wasn’t strong enough.”

They didn’t take me to the hospital.
I vomited in a metal toilet.
They put me in a special cell alone because I was a suicide risk.
I had muttered something I shouldn’t have as they
let me have a puff of a cigarette
before entering the jail.
(Suicide risk, I wrote on my hand later that night).
They charged me with a hit and run, second dui and
refusing the breathalyzer which is its own crime.
I thought attempted suicide was a crime
but they let me pass out on the toilet’s edge with
broken bones and a head injury smelling my own vomit all night
so I guess justice was served.

And I lived through that.

“How to forget everything day 3”

truthfully,
I had a dollar to my name and
that was it.
I had even lost my bob:
 begged my friend to 

shave it in a blackout
       I want this thing gone
so I had to scour the store for about
three cheap wigs that could
possibly be real hair,
a couple pairs of jeans,
some thrift store shirts that said nothing about style or quality or even
weathering seasons but the joy was the
low thread count
, the way she said “only fifty cents” and
you had that in your back pocket.   a big puffy
brown jacket that someone had donated
to me when I was probably shivering
in my seven year hoodie and
I know how to take a handout if you phrase it right. 

I was what you called the
 “life of the party” and no matter how
many bedspreads I ruined, I was always invited back and
honestly, lucky timing that year
hipsters were cool so I showed them my
pall malls and dirty nails and asked if they knew
what it felt like to empty your guts about anything real
or if their record collection was more about posturing,
fell head first down the metal fire escape as I asked him
but got right up like I hadn’t concussed several times that night
and told him I listen to more music than he’s ever heard of,
said to him
  I’m schizophrenic or at least
    hallucinating mildly
      generally at baseline
and then I threw up a little on the carpet
before I skulked out onto Hampton,
(turn the headphones up),
going nowhere,
sort of cackling.

 brown combat
boots—those were second hand too even
though everyone agrees shoes are something
a person needs brand new and
a compulsion
to spend my days sipping
those 7-11 brand 1.5 liters of
red wine.
the kind that are hard to carry with one hand
or finish by yourself but here I am
the next day, unslept, squinty eyed and crawling in the grass
in the public square dragging it behind me.
lips cracked and red,
phone probably dead
  no water..
I don’t remember crying but they said
I did it all the time. 

a place on my friends couch.
place on my mom’s couch.
no bedroom.
a breathalyzer on my car steering wheel
that only started with one clean breath which
was becoming more rare so sometimes I asked for help
  (Blow here, I’d point)
no real place to live.
about a dollar in my pocket
and a negative bank statement with
matching credit card debt but no
shortage of men and you know

          (Call your wolves) 


I fucking lived through that.
so I know grace personally,
like I wear it and absorb it and
I do pray with fervor.
I never forget where I’ve been.
and you think clutching a rosary makes me
a saint or insane but either way
you have never seen what asbestos can do to a structure,
the way mold just kind of grows on walls like that  so you
don’t really think about it and
I build altar.
I answered all of your questions like that
after awhile: long form
in poetry and short stories
and anecdotes and all over the place so your drawing a map
to connect my life and her life and you’re seeing
there’s no difference in your bedroom but waiting
to see how I write you 
at night
when no one is around wishing you had courage
to bang on  doors too.
wishing you had the courage to one day
drive your car headfirst

into a parked cement mixer too.
wishing your innocuous superstitions grew pulses, became
a poltergeist you leash to your bed.
wishing you had the courage to spit on a man’s face
for touching your leg
or learning how to tuck a razor inside of your cheek.
            (Pull it out and graze his face)
wishing you had the courage to tell
true stories too.

And I lived through that. 

 

“How do forget everything day 1”

all day long I do mathematical equations
      they say I’m calculating. 

in my head.
as I walk to the laundromat
shifting the hamper beneath me,
I think,

    that’s an understatement.

 

I think a lot.

I think.
I think.
I love probability
like
what’s the likelihood I’ll see you again
believing I both convinced myself in this reality
and believe I convinced you it was true
so imbued in my delusion
but then God came to my defense,
I watched some things begin
to sprout  like little poison flowers
growing out of the cracks
like refuge?
or the analysis like

 

what is it going to take to hypnotize
a small crowd and at what cost to my
well being and I was practical so
how much money will I  make?
and statistically speaking,
we have to look at patterns,
not just equations but
trends so then here comes
the past.

 

I turn the headphones up.

 

you gave me a bouquet of
weeds as I was drinking
my third cup of coffee.
you had picked them from
our backyard when I wasn’t
looking. 

you were smiling with teeth;
big, and I thought I loved
you.
I had gone upstairs to
change into a sundress
and tore something near my spine,
suddenly, like a rip inside.
I mustered up enough breath
to walk down the stairs,
back to you,
where you had been standing with the weeds,
where you had been telling jokes,
where you had been laughing and I said:
it feels like I pinched a nerve
and am having trouble breathing.
what should I do?


you looked up the staircase
on your way out
the front door and tossed a
I don’t believe you
as you were rushing.
someone else drove me to
the doctor and that doctor
confirmed it,
prescribed me Flexeril
for the pain and wrote me
a note explaining to my internship
why I wouldn’t be in that day.
I laid in bed, waiting for the
drugs to subside.

you came home
and attempted to justify
why you always felt
deceived by me.
I lay numb,
relieved of feeling anything as you recited
everything I’d ever done
that bothered you.
you weren’t sorry,
it’s Thursday and I feel
nothing for you
now.

I drop a pair of panties
on the sidewalk
on the way out and
someone calls me from
the corner.
I turn my headphones up

I feel nothing for you now.

“Thursday”

here is what I wrote down:

I had spent an hour walking one direction
without purpose or intent
only feeling the sun beat down on me,
me without water or
something to suck on
or a blanket to hold
and I was so thirsty.

 

without noticing, I was suddenly
surrounded by people at some outdoor
art show and I averted all the eyes
and tugged at my sundress;
the bottom always slipped up and
i could tell that they wanted to eat
my upper thighs,
see my tan lines.
  you are cold and dry
my tongue was dry but I was hot that day
so men were everywhere,
my lips were open to keep
my jaw from shutting
and I don’t know how I got to the
park that day but let me tell you
that when my jaw started to shut,
I said nothing to anyone in that crowd.
I took my hand,
cavalier about it,
gave a quick eye over my shoulder
  and opened my mouth with force
and continued not a break in saunter,
me terrified and looking for water
scared to shut my jaw.

you asked what living in perpetual fear
feels like and it is this.

 

“how guys save me in their phone #9”

 

Ive watched my nervousness

eat me daily,
clutch me with its
indecision   I am robed in
rosary, nodding, chanting throughout
the day but really I am
   fickle
is the first thing I write about myself
and I am always
holding something somewhere in
my body.
like a claw lives inside
my jaw line and now
I have TMJ

       what’s that? sometimes
they wait.

a psychosomatic disorder where your
jaw locks when you’re chewing
and you slowly start to choke.

well not everyone chokes.
I just started to choke
when it closed the first time.

“the drowning”

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