Maybe

Maybe I'll just go to the party,
stand around alone in the corner
in a red dress
while everyone talks pink to each other,
politics and weathertown,
anarchists getting stoned
and drinking bourbon straight from the bottle.
Predicable.
And all I'll have to say in response is,
yea, yea, you're so right,
while I'm rolling my brain's eye
in the back of my head.

And maybe I'll just go hang out
with the butterflies in the basement
and they'll have intriguing things to say
about the subways they accidentally
got stuck on
and the sax they heard play on the corner
that sounded better than
a choir in a cathedral
or the people they met in French cafes
that wept over their ex boyfriends or
the healthcare they couldn't afford.

Or Maybe I'll stay all night,
stay after everyone's gone to bed
and dance with the monsters
in their kitchen cabinets,
talk sex with the ghosts
under their kitchen table,
and play Russian roulette
with the tea cups
until the sun rises.

Your Shadows: A Horror Story

For awhile I tried to
stuff all your shadows into my closet
to shut them up,
but they wouldn't stay,
too loud and pushy to live there
next to my dresses and flannel.
So I had to let them out
to howl in my kitchen,
to mock me in my brain,
leave scratches down my back and arms.

I tried to drown one once,
held one down as long as I could,
watched it struggle under my hands
but it just laughed at me
as it came up after.

They like to drink best,
smash the bottles over my knees
when they're done
to watch the blood drip down my legs
to my toes
as I hobble to the kitchen
for towels to soak up the blood
and grab bandages.
They like the way the drops of blood
taste on the carpet.

It's been eight months
since you left your shadows here
and the hissing in my ears never stops.
They keep me up til 7 in the morning
telling me ghost stories
when I wanted fairy tales.
I thought they would've faded by now
or moved on to another girl to torment,
but they've taken such
a sick liking to me,
dancing on my toes til they break,
tearing at my lips with their teeth,
pulling out my hair while I sleep,
and so they stay,
and stay,
and stay,
and thus I live with your shadows
every day turn to night turn to day,
a little horror story of my very own
to try to hide from everyone
including myself.

Explanations of a Bipolar Brain

I can't sleep again,
my thoughts
like the curls of tea leaves
in their scalding water,
my brain
that scalding water too,
dripping through my neurons,
connecting with my spine,
it rolls down my back like
Cadillacs screeching in drag races.

See my brain is bipolar,
body too.
I make messes in archways with angels.
I play dirty with my demons
that are willing to drown me
on a summer day in July
for the hell of it.
I've learned to breathe underwater.

When I bleed
it looks like colored pencils.
There are 3,4,5,6 ghosts
inside me all screaming
in different languages
when mania starts
heaving her way into my throat,
a rage comes up from
my graveyard feet
like the floods of Noah
I heard about when I was small
and believed in a god then.
See, I've played with too many monsters,
eaten too many sunrises,
gotten drunk with too many dimensions,
fucked too many hurricanes
to believe that a god like Noah's
would take the brother
I loved like rainwater
away from me,
brain cancer,
died at 25,
his body a dried fruit,
and he said he'd never date again
because there was no way in hell
he'd put someone else through this
circus act of dying.

My doctor says
that my bipolar
is like a faucet,

turned up when my father died
when I was 19,

turned up when my brother
was diagnosed when he was 20,

turned up as I watched him
become a dead man
for the next five years after that,

turned up again
as I stroked his hand softly,
listened to his death cry
rattle breath and
whispered in his ear,
I love you,
I love you,
I love you,
can you still hear me?
Are you still with me?
He did not answer.

Now,
my depression
looks like brownies
for breakfast and for dinner.
I become a swollen whale
as I stare out the window
playing that one Aretha Franklin song
over and over on my record player
until it breaks,
and I sit on my coffin bed
for days
that someone else has to tell me
have passed
because I don't remember them.

My mama says
I shouldn't smoke so many cigarettes
when I'm sad,
but I take long drags
all through the night
in hopes that the smoke
will outline the ghosts
of my dead family in the dark.
I take the pills,
one after the other,
lined up on my desk like foot soldiers
that I know won't save me
but may keep me alive another day.
I hate them,
but choke them down anyway.

Depression phantom,
manic phantom,
Megan phantom,
we all drink our coffee together,
let lies of "fine" fall out of our mouths
like stones.
We kiss boys in the dark,
kiss girls with the lights on,
mouth "stay alive" in the mirror,
cry snowflakes,
scream our sorrows
into the river.

But I laugh wider
I think
than most
for I seen so much,
the giggles are savored longer.
Grins sparkling
out of my mouth,
goddamn aware and thankful
when happy comes to sit
with me for awhile.

To Love an Addict

It is 5:21 in the morning
and all I can wonder
is if you’re still alive
or just another ghost
at my beside, wailing.
See, Ive known you
for 11 years
and I remember
when you used to wear your hair long
and when you cut it all off
because you were tired
of being called faggot
out of truck windows,
and I fell in love with you
the first second you walked into the room.

I was there the night
you took your first pill
and you said you liked
the way it made
your knees buckle
and your head fuzzy and
it made you tell me secrets
like you would probably steal
a pair of my underwear
just because.

And I remember
when you had no car
and no home,
so I drove you to my house
for months
and you chopped up
4,5,6,7,8, blue pills
on my sad little white desk
and snorted line after line and
I couldn’t watch
so I looked away
and begged you to stop,
please stop,
don’t take anymore baby,
though I would never call you baby
because you would've hated it,
praying that this time
it wouldn’t be too much
and I wouldn’t find you
not breathing beside me in the morning,

And I remember
the three times you kissed me
in the two years we fucked
was only when I sucked your dick
in my apartment
with the holes in the floor,
and you had a car then
and chatted up that girl at the party
with enough pills in your system
to give you what you called bravery,
but still didn’t want to go home
so you came to me instead,
woke me up at 3 in the morning
to fuck me from behind
without any touches
so you couldn’t see my face,
more easily to picture hers,
in the dark,
and you refused to sleep in my bed and
hold me afterwards
so you slept on the floor.

And I remember
when you got your own place,
and you stole my mental health meds
like I wouldn’t notice
and you said you had wanted to die
the night before
so you cut yourself
even though you knew it was stupid you said,
and promised me you wouldn’t do it again
but I looked for more scars
every day after that
because I knew you had meant that the dying sounded
so good in your ringing ears.

And I remember
when we moved in together
and the pills switched to alcohol
and I would wait up for you
to make sure you at least got home safely,
forcing myself to stay awake until 4 in the morning,
and you would stumble home
after wrecking your car
for the third time
and I cleaned up your throw up
in the sink,
on the shower floor,
on the blue and white shower curtain,
on the floor of the bathroom,
and scrubbed the whole house
with bleach to try
to get rid of the smell and the memory
of your alcohol falling out of your mouth
like my screaming cries when you weren’t home.

But still the drinking got so bad
you were a habitual hangover
that I didn’t recognize,
a walking death cry
and I didn’t sleep at all
the night before
my first day at a new job
but spent it crying quietly,
holding my mouth shut
as the tears ran down my red cheeks,
rocking back and forth
because I could hear
your throat
heaving until you blacked out
on the bathroom floor
and I prayed again
to gods I didn’t believe in then
that your beautiful eyes would
look at me in the face alive
the next day.
And I came home
every day for a year
hoping to not find your dead body
slumped dumb on the cold tile.

And I remember
the night you came home
and stumbled into my room
and crashed hard like bricks into my chest
sobbing, “Im so lonely, Im so lonely”,
snot and tears covering my red dress,
and I said,”Im right here,
Im right here,
Im right here,
Ive always been right here,"
like the wallpaper in your bedroom
that you forgot was there,
and I held you til you blacked out,
grabbed hold of your limp body,
put you to bed
and slept next to you for the first time in years
so you wouldn’t choke on your own vomit
and spent the whole night awake
craving so badly to stroke you back home
with my sparkling hands
and whisper, “I still love you, a different way now but still. Please come back to me dear one,”
but got up early the next morning
so you wouldn’t be embarrassed,
if you even remembered any of it at all
and pulled your arm off
from around my screaming sorrow bones
and we never spoke of it.

And I remember 3 months ago
when you told me
you were moving out,
a week before rent was due,
and you packed your things,
never said goodbye
and left me alone
in an empty apartment
with no curtains.

And I know now
that you wont answer my calls,
you wont respond to my texts,
and you’ve left me behind completely
like a piece of hair you cut off
when I first met you,
11 years ago,
And now I know
that it’s hard to love an addict.