I work at an AIDS hospice and three people I loved dearly just died.
The edge of life and death is the place where I feel the most alive, but it also haunts me.
I like to read in graveyards, the goddess Kali is my favorite, and my ex-boyfriend got mad at me all the time for talking too much about “darkness.”
My therapist and I have explored the possibility that I am bipolar. I have to be very careful not to self-sabotage with drinking too much, and I am currently working with my addiction to intensity. And so this poured out of me:
Hello darkness my old friend,
Your breath has haunted my tender ears, closet monsters of little girl years.
Bone-chilling demons creeping out of my head,
running for safety in my parents king-sized bed.
But I got “too big” for Daddy’s protection,
growing limbs, forced into “dark night” possession.
A goddamn itch that I want to scratch, but edgy fingers can’t find a match
to light the swarm of incessant buzz—
an ancient beehive of “just because.”
I was born.
Chosen for this,
falling down into Hades abyss.
I close the blinds tight with terror-filled eyes,
agitated mouth with desperate cries,
“Stop the noise, dear God, please stop!”
I try to run faster
leaving trails of face-planting disaster.
An offering of the womb, this angsty soul,
that I beg to calm down so I can feel whole.
Oh God, take me back, take me back into safety,
where my mama said,
“There’ll be days like this,” my mama said,
rubbing my unborn head, with her healing hands
phoenix belly rising,
hearts beat in sync—
I don’t have to think about saving myself.
I cry for a moment of peace,
and if I’m “life sentenced,” at least,
give me courage each day to not turn away,
my aching heart.
I look for distractions
in a drink, a hero, moments of fleeting satisfactions.
A bag too heavy to kick,
but at 3 a.m., ashamed, guilty, and still sick.
Silence of the night hangs heavy in the air.
Vulnerable. Alone. Choked up with fear.
But today is the day we are facing off.
You and me, darkness,
a “serious talk.”
I laugh with absurdity to address you head on,
E.T. ready to finally “phone home.”
Your finger to mine as we glow mighty together.
My sunflowers die in this hurricane weather,
blowing through bones like an old best friend,
the difference now I understand…
my life is not going to end.
As I search for something to soothe the edge,
I scoot “self-sabotage” far from the ledge.
And in a distant echo I hear your voice,
“My sweet little girl you have a choice.”
Sit down in my lap, gentle cheeks toward mine,
I came to balance and beat measured time.
Because you won’t be held down—we’re in this together.
Just take deep breaths through the changing weather.
You will be okay. Feel your feet on the ground,
and if that doesn’t work, just look around…
at the tree that stands solid when all the leaves die,
the roots are deep so you can let out a sigh.
The currents may shift and feel out of control,
but always trust your lighthouse soul
to lead you through the raging tides,
lay down in the grass with nowhere to hide.
Your freedom is found through the wind in your hair,
leaning back on a swing—creative imagination to share.
Remember her with joy and laughter,
this wild spirit is not a disaster.
Take her tender hand and hold her tight
because, dear child, we were always worth the fight.