Do you know what abuse looks like?

I started this post as the introduction to You Lured Me In. What Changed?, but when I realized that the introduction was becoming longer than the poem, I decided to make a separate post for it.

The poem came out of the aftermath of a relationship that went from mutually beneficial to abusive in a short span of time. A common misconception about abuse is that it only occurs in romantic relationships or between family members. This was not a typical abusive relationship. It was in no way romantic, and neither my friend nor I wanted it to be, but she and I had known each other since kindergarten, and there was a lot of history between us. I lived with her for most of a year in 2014-2015, and near the end of that time I decided that I couldn’t live with her anymore. At that time, things were still fairly good between us, but she had started smoking (again), which I have had a strong aversion to my whole life, and she was planning to relocate when the lease was up. She wanted me to move with her, but the new location would be very inconvenient for me and though I considered moving with her, in the end I decided not to. Read more

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

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

Secret Garden

This is a poem I wrote in 2003 or 2004, before I began dating my work. It was untitled, but I think Secret Garden is a good fit.


There is a place I went a couple of times
It was my secret garden
Someone mowed the lawns and planted flowers
But I never saw them
I like to go there
When the sun is overhead
It trickles through the leaves
Splashes on the grass
Makes it glow like living emeralds
I want to go back
But the sun shines differently in the winter
And I can’t make myself leave the things they want me to do
So every once in a while
I turn away for a minute
I close my eyes to see that green
And let the tears fall like a November drizzle, until
Duty once again tugs on my sleeve