You Lured Me In. What Changed?

Content warning: This is about an abusive relationship. It’s not particularly explicit, but if you are easily triggered, you may want to skip this one.

I wrote this on July 29, but I waited a while to post it to make sure I was ready.  This seems to apply to a romantic relationship, but it does not. If you want to know more about the story behind this poem, please check out my post Do you know what abuse looks like?


You lured me in
Building on our shared history
Memories and nostalgia made you safe
If only I had known
You offered me protection
An escape from my frustrations
You offered me companionship
I wouldn’t be alone
I never expected it to be easy
But you made it easy at first
What changed?
I thought at first you did
But maybe you were already changed
Maybe the scars you gained in our years apart
Reshaped you
The scars I couldn’t see
Maybe all that really changed
Was your veneer cracking
Your twists and damage showing through

Thank goodness I was never in your power
Never dependent on the things you offered me
I may have seemed so to you at first
But even if I had been
I like to think I would have found a way
To escape

At the first sign of my independence
You became cold
Did you truly believe that I was the cause of your pain?
Did you in some way believe I was yours?
Your doll?
Why was my independence so threatening?
I am not your enemy
You did that to yourself
I tried to play your game
But I am done
I will not be your verbal punching bag
Your feelings are not my fault
And every time you tried to explain
It became clearer
That your rationale for blaming me
Was not rational at all

If you must twist yourself in knots
To feel justified
Have fun
I am walking free

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Aeschylus Wrote

I was inspired by a quote from Aeschylus, which I found here: Aeschylus Quotes

Written August 4, 2016.


“My will is mine,” he wrote.
“I shall not make it soft for you.”
And I, across two thousand years
Feel fire in my blood.
How can I be
As sure
As strong
As honest
As those words taste?
They stand so tall alone
Spread wide
Like branches
Like wings.
The beauty of the hero’s might
Woven into black on white.
How can I make them part of me?
How can I be
That thought?

For S

I make friends in weird ways. This was made abundantly clear to me as I prepped this poem for posting. This was written on September 21, 2009 after S, a then-acquaintance, went on a rant, in large part as a result of a mutual friend having a melodramatic pity party. S, for whom this poem was written, has been on the short end of the stick a lot. I didn’t know how much when I wrote this, though the tip-of-the-iceberg problems I heard about during the aforementioned rant were pretty intimidating on their own. Two years after writing this, I found things coming full-circle with another rant, and the perfect time to share this poem with her. S is now my closest friend, and we have shared a lot: international travels, strange edibles, learning, teaching, dressing up, dressing down, pants-free zones, and so much more. With much love…


You say you want to get off your knees
You are tired of begging
A little bit of help, a little bit of Understanding
The world seems to say they cannot be yours
I want to hold the world back for you
But it washes through me to batter at you
As though I am an insubstantial ghost
I want to be your anchor
I want to hold you back
As you look over the edge, prepared to jump
You do not know me well enough for that
I have faith in you
One day you will look over the edge
Not at death
But at a chance to spread your wings
One day you will soar

The Speaking Tool

This was written after attending an open-mike-type event on October 10, 2008. One of the performers did a really nice spoken word piece about women. I think. I don’t remember the topic particularly, but I remember getting caught up in the way rhyme was used in the piece. It inspired this poem, which is not much like my other work, but is only a tiny bit like the spoken piece that inspired it. It does work better aloud though, in my opinion.


It wasn’t what you said that made me cry
I’ve heard it all before a thousand times
Sometimes in rhymes
Beating on my ears
It was the way you made the words dance
And entrance me
New beats that don’t align
Twist the same thing into some new thing
That surprises
Your words
Dragged my words across my tongue
Dragged me along
Who cares where we end up? It’s all about
The way we walk the whole while we’re walking there
Talking there
Talking is our locomotion
Motioning us to take a stand and stand up
Who are we standing for?
Sitting for?
Who monopolized my mind
Into their own personal, extra special, all-the-same box?
Who allowed me to allow myself to forget
That language is a tool?
Take it out of that dusty tool shed
A tool is only a tool when you use it
And you make use of it to make me think
To take me to the brink
Of knowing
But you make me talk my own walk
Those last few steps across the line
You make me make this mine
It may take time
But because of you
The way you do
This word-game tap on my mental shoulder
Because of how you use the rhyme
And reason
And timing
I’ll talk across the line
And I’ll be free

You distract me when you’re gone

Written February 28, 2008. Yes, right after Feelings that are not mine! That does happen occasionally, though usually with poems so close together, one or the other isn’t worth posting. This is about an almost relationship, during the time when I thought it was going to become a relationship. It still amazes me how true this poem was.


You distract me when you’re gone
It’s silly
Really
I have no problem focusing
When you’re sitting next to me
When you’re gone
I want you here
Everything reminds me of you
And I spend more time staring into space than working
It’s silly
Really
You should be more distracting when you’re here

Artist-hood

This one was written on July 25, 2016. There were a few years there where I didn’t write, at least not for myself, and there is literally nothing in my poetry journal between September of 2010 and this poem. This is my breakthrough, I-can’t-live-like-this-anymore piece. I’m rusty, I can tell, but getting back into it. The more I work on this blog, the more I realize how much writing is a part of what makes me functional, and how depressing it’s been to live without, having grown away from it as I did. Thank you all for being so supportive in my journey of returning to myself.

There are a few more of my old poems coming, and then it will all be new work. Most of the time I try to let things sit for a day or two so that I can polish them, but sometimes I just get too excited. I hope I’m not overwhelming anyone with too many posts. Happy reading!


It’s hard to be a starving artist
They said to me
Are you sure you want to put yourself through that?
They asked, and I let them
I let them change me

Years later, I feel lost, drained, numbed
I hold on
To moments of art like lightning flashes in a fading storm
I don’t want to put myself through
The pain
The anxiety
The frustration
Of Starving-Artist-hood

And yet…
As she said so succinctly
I’m not sure I can keep putting myself through
Non-Artist-hood
Soullessness doesn’t look good on anyone

Feelings that are not mine

Written February 26, 2008. I consider myself to be an empath, which to me means that I am easily emotionally influenced by my environment, and that I take on other people’s unfinished emotional business. Sometimes said people find that helpful, which is one reason they seek me out as a confidant. I sometimes think of myself as my friends’ external emotional liver. If you think it sounds like woo-woo crazy, don’t worry. Sometimes I do too.


I struggle to be myself
Some days it seems that everything
Every little thing I think or feel
Comes from outside myself
Feelings that are not mine
Catch me up in a whirlwind
I can’t even breathe
Would you all just stop for a minute?
I am losing myself in you
Too many feelings
Tear at the core of me
I want to help you
But I need to breathe
I need to find me
I need to be me

What You Mean to Me

I didn’t title this one when I wrote it, but I think it deserves I a title. It’s one of my longest personal/diary pieces, written on October 2, 2007. This is about a wonderful person who I connected with unexpectedly. Have you ever met someone you were convinced was enlightened? I think he might be. He has some of the clearest eyes I have ever seen on a human being. Jeff, thank you for being you.


I tried to tell you several times
Exactly what you mean to me
I don’t know if you heard what I meant
Threaded in between the words I said
Maybe you did
You’re good at listening to me
I wanted you to understand
That I’ve never met anyone like you
It seems we only just met
And yet
It seems as though I’ve known you for a lifetime
Somehow when you smile at me like that
Listening with more than just your ears
You open up my soul
Like the sun opens up a flower
And I’m not afraid
I know that you will come and go without trampling the grass
Without plucking the growing things
It took others years to find my secret garden
I don’t know how you got there so fast
But I’m glad to see you there
I’m not in love with you
But I think someday I will love you
Just as I love all my family
In you I see a road stretching out ahead
A road that is beautiful
A road that is terrifyingly new and strange
A future that has not been built on history
It just appeared when you walked into my life
So I will walk with you
To the end of that road
Where a wrinkled old woman
Smiles across a table
At a grey-haired old man and says
“I have known you for a long time”
And the old man smiles back
I tried to tell you what you mean to me
Several times
I don’t know if you could hear what I meant
But you probably could
You’re good at listening to me

I see things that aren’t there

Written February 3, 2007. Just prompted by staring at my ceiling.


I see things that aren’t there
But I know better than to tell you so
In the lumps and swirls of paint on my ceiling a dragon swoops
From the knotted wood a little face peers at me
I see things that aren’t there
But I know better than to tell you so
I do believe in Wonderland
In magic places left to see
I see things that aren’t there
But I know better than to tell you so
Maybe I believe because it makes it easier
Not to give up
Not to back down
But I believe
And you cannot take that away
I see things that aren’t there
But I know better than to tell you so

A figment

The first one of my poems that has a date! It was written on September 1, 2006. It is now granted the title ‘A figment’. This was inspired by a philosophy class.


You know what I’m thinking
Of course you do
After all, I am only a fictional character
A pattern in your mind
And you make me what I am
You chose my curling hair our of the many
Picked it out and set it on my head
Do you care how I feel?
You made that too
But what if you weren’t in perfect control?
What if
Just what if
The rules you so carefully built
Had a crack
Not a gaping hole
No spreading abyss
Just a gap
Thinner than one of my mind-made hairs
Through which I could begin
In my own little way
To comprehend your world?