Tenderness lit

iii. stay busy stay busy

i stare at my traumas in the mirror and try to fold myself back together
it doesn’t help so i leave for work still a mess

staying busy helps
the woman in front of the host stand says he
no eye contact, and for the next half hour i feel as though
i am getting repeatedly kicked in the stomach

annie says, when it happens it feels like your soul got knocked
Back 10 feet from your body
and it takes longer each time for your soul to find its way back
to you

it teaches your soul it does’nt belong here
it teaches your voice to stay small
i keep busy despite the kicks to my stomach

i made up a poem and it goes like this:

stay busy, stay busy
you can stare at your traumas in the mirror later
stay busy, stay busy
you can stare at your traumas in the mirror later
stay busy, stay busy
you can stare at your traumas in the mirror later
and when the kicks to your stomach subside
you can spit in their many faces

iv. eating my own hair

lately i have been finding myself puking up trauma into the bushes
into the street
in front of any person who cares to listen

it hurts to share like this
it burns

i want to build a house big enough to live in with my girlfriend
and all our many sisters
we can teach each other how to braid hair, tie knots, and bare teeth
i want to build an armory
full of swords and knives and torches and guns
i want to be battle ready
i want a fucking revolution

i lose track of my body every time i look in the mirror for too long
i usually find it again later, a little different than before but still mine
i want to erect a monument
i want a landmark to remember myself by
i want to shave my head,
eat my own hair
and i want, for once,
to puke up violets

vii. debit card

i moved halfway across the country but the trauma found me again
it sniffed me out
it follows me everywhere like a sick puppy
it sends me anonymous postcards to every address i’ve ever lived in
and sometimes it kicks down the door just to yell

in my fists there is an abundance of roses
they’re covered in thorns and they leave my hands bloodied and sore
so i stand wringing them on every street corner in this city
all the time
my pockets are stained red

waiting for the bus my warped reflections sing me to sleep like my father did
in another lifetime
a fucked up lullaby
a childhood i never got to have
i am so afraid of that little girl and all my traumas in the mirror

when they found the debit card on the floor of a basement
and read dead-name to the crowd
i felt like i was melting
another puddle now, under parked cars in the lot
until engines revved
wheels turned
and i splattered towards the street