The Phone Call

I spoke with my childhood abuser last night.

Out of mania, or compulsion, impulse, or maybe just the simple need for closure, I sent him a Facebook message yesterday asking him to please talk to me.

My childhood abuser is my cousin. When I was 12, I was raped and repeatedly sexually abused by this man, then 38. For years my family swept my trauma under the rug (they still do, for the most part).

Yesterday something pulled me to message him. I’ve done this before. I’ve texted him, called him, have pleaded for him to acknowledge me in my adulthood for the pain he’s caused me. He has never responded to me; until last night.

I received a phone call and I knew it was his number. My heart kind of froze. I thought for a split second about not answering it, but I did.

His voice was eerily comforting. I almost… missed him. I felt relieved to hear his familiar lowness, the scratch in his voice.

He thanked me for the message, that he’s happy I reached out. He was happy to see me at our cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago. He cares about me, he loves me. He wants to talk to me and give me that acknowledgement.

My logic told me to be cold and angry, yet I found myself asking him (as I’ve always done before), “How are you? Are you okay? How are the girls? You’re still working for the same company? Thank you for calling me… ” It seems the effects of Stockholm Syndrome were still present.

My body was shaking from the adrenaline, yet I felt nothing. There were no emotions on the surface, nor deep down. There was nothing to pull out. No anger, no fear, no sadness.

He wants to set up a time to meet with me and talk. I want that, too. I want so badly to hear from him, face to face, what he did.

Why Do We Run to the Bridge

I said thank you for the flowers over and over in my head. They were pretty, red and full like the ones that were gathered on the bed for our anniversary.

I plucked one entire flower from the stem and sat on the concrete. My body was shivering from the cold. White-knuckled and quivery, I clutched the petals tightly with my fist, staring off into the blurred street lights. All the while the voices faded in and out, buzzing with a familiar static. He came up running in jagged motions. My eyes clicked shut.

Peeling me off the ledge like a child clinging to her father’s leg.

Then we were interrogated by some officials. We’ve been here before… smile and thank them for their civil concerns. Reassure them of your safety. Don’t make any sudden moves.

Go home, shower, lay in her arms. Remember what this felt like years ago? Remember how you love her lips.

Wake up, voices coming through the walls. It’s freezing.  He looks exhausted.

I a m exhaustimg

The Pretty Blue Bows

Every now and then
I miss the lull
and low buzzing of a good high.
Wow!
What a thrill after you
plug it into your arm.
Liquid lightening climbing
through the empty spaces of
yourself.

All those spaces that mommy
dearest left deserted
void, cut up
like coupons in the garbage.
And father wasn’t much
help at all
taking it away himself
with a heavy load.

That incipient surge
that belts out,
all the while
making the eyes tumble
backwards,
staring off into
the tiny cranial stars
making up
tiny cranial constellations.

Of course I couldn’t
slip the steel into my
own arm at first.
He would tie such beautiful
tourniquets
that would make girl scouts
wet themselves.

Pretty rubber blue bows.

I was kneeling on the
bathroom floor,
bending over like a virgin.
Spreading my legs out
and panting out loud.
I couldn’t tie a pretty blue bow
but a decent one I did.
Minutes carried on and
I heard the child within myself
scream
before I got the guts
to inject it.

I guess it does make me
feel a little bit sad now.

Anyhow,
my hands were wet and
slippery.
I didn’t know what the fuck
I was doing
but knew what would happen
if I wasn’t doing it.
In it went and off I went
into this land where I
drool on the outside
but blissfully float internally.

Anyone that tells you that
drugs aren’t worth it
has never ridden the heroin dragon
over snowy peaks of china white.
And how lovely you become,
about thirty pounds lighter
than August,
eyes about five shades darker,
lips beautifully cracked, bleeding,
unkissable.

I am the Reverend
of my own ritual.
Delivering the wine into
my thirsty throat,
but the bread never comes.
I just kneel at the pew
and worship.
Prayer makes to forget .
Prayer is better than sleep.
The more saturated I become
the cleaner I become.

It takes away the sin.

I forget how I’ve been
torn apart limb by limb.
I forget the men that came by
the apartment to see me hazy-eyed,
panty-less
propped up in a cheerleader’s
costume.
I forget how he said to smile
and they exchanged money.
above the bed.

Here I go… nodding off.
Prayer is better than…

I forget how old he was
when he sat me on his lap and
pulled my hair back,
pushing into my prepubescence.
I forget how they all denied it
when I came crawling
out for help,
still raw.

Sometimes when I’m praying
I begin to feel that
I am more beautiful
when I am soggy with poison
and bruised from a grip
and broken into.
Kissable.

But then I begin to remember
when all of the fairy dust wears off.

TV Screen at the Gas Station

touch the handle,
it’s gritty
clean your hands

push the card in,
pull it out rapidly
like the screen tells me to do

rapidly

a man in a grey Camry
pulls up behind me
I note the license plate number

and repeat it over
and over
and over

pump the gas

I unscrew the cap
and guide in the nozzle
the TV turns on

Are you talking to me?

23 dollars
maybe I can get coffee
from inside where the

cashier is playing music
and it sounds like
it’s Turkish

I could win the lottery
if I bought a scratcher
but the only problem

is I don’t trust men
on the television screens
that try to con me

Roadkill

it was Friday
that I came wheeling down the
5PM freeway
which was lit by limited sunlight
and everyone was pushing on their brakes
my head was thick
I remember the saturation

suddenly above us there was
a still-warm ungulate beast
lay sprawled in the middle of the
yellow lines
the baskets of eyes
were wide and dark
unrecognizable
poor deer

I wanted to stop among
the traffic and peel it’s
head off the concrete
maybe I could
sit while it slipped
away
but the cars kept
buzzing and
the drained
employees of America
were too eager
to sit down
to gluttonize
to tear off their ties
and fuck their wives

meanwhile I drove all
the way home
wondering if it
had died suddenly
or if it had to wait
until the blood drowned
its brain

Ballerina

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I am the ballerina
in the music box
bending and twirling.
when you need me,
twist the spindle.
I’ll dance.
Pretty pink shoes
revolving counter-clockwise,
the same way every day and every night.
When you’re done, close the lid
and I will tuck myself quietly
beneath my own body,
folded up neatly where I belong.
Tucked away in my own
felted cave
alone with the rings, the copper
and silver metals.
I am quiet and undisruptive.
I will keep myself contained.
Hidden I stay
in the little juke,
always tired,
always wearing thin.
Until you lift the lid.
Happy I am, again.