The house

I’m trapped in this house. A house I hate. The bricks are crumbling. The door  inconsistently open.
All things are welcome. Good and bad.
All things are banished. Bad and good.
And if you find your self anywhere in between, who the hell knows? could be open. Could be closed. Could be somewhere in between.
The door may be decorated. Inviting. Or it could be strategically left unlocked. The smell of lust and adrenaline seeping out of the cracks. Tempting those who are near. Victims of this fucking house. This evil ugly house. Masked with the blood of its victims. Myself included.
I want nothing more than to watch that house burn. Turn into dust. Become the wind. The air. Complete the cycle. Purified. Reborn. Cleansed of all things filthy.

A girl can only dream..

Some days I walk out of the door. Temporarily free. Not giving a shit about the house or anyone who’s ever lived there. But I am weak and can’t sustain my existence outside of these roach infested walls. So I come back.
One day it’s going to burn. It has to.

Should I be worried that I don’t care where I am when it’s consumed by flames?

Outside, front row. Inside, part of the show. No matter

It has to go..

 

 

 

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your soul and mine

Today I am here exactly when I need to be here. 5 minutes early. 7:55.  A bus blocks me from my usual entrance. The sun has not yet risen and they are happy I’m here. The instructors. The teachers. The bus driver. I’m the final one. We can leave now. They are relieved they no longer have to wait. Eager for action, they rush me on board so we can take off.

Today we’re having a field trip. Who cares where. It’s an escape from the mundane day to day routine. I’d much rather be on this bus to an unknown destination than stuck in that damp brown dimly lit building. Listening to the mumbles of regurgitated stories and false interpretations. Fighting the impulse to close the windows and wander to another land. Middle school classrooms. No thanks.

I spot Eliot on the bus. I am so happy. Thinking about it makes me happy. Really happy.

It’s 7:58 and we are on the road. Through the woods. Over the bridges. To those familiar concrete cities. They are sunny and white. Sterile. There are no trees in sight, as if anyone’s even looking. I have to wear sunglasses for protection. Instinctively. Or, at least, as instinctive plastic eye shade can be.

We get out and take our tours through the museums. Nothing strikes me as unusual. Or interesting. I’m subconsciously in limbo so I let them lead me. Obey their rules. Submit to the talking clipboard. I suppose I blend in. Calmness shielding me from the danger that is recognition, lucidity, what I do not want right now.

With each stop, we get closer. Nearer. The sky is blue with just the right amount of cloudiness. Reflecting sunlight. Through the wilderness and desert. Green pillows of rolling hills. My chest flutters. I don’t know where we’re headed but I know its where we’re going to be. Where we need to be.

We come to a halt. We’re here. I know this area better than my classmates. Somewhere in New Mexico. Or is it New Orleans?

This place is magic. A beach. White crushing waves meeting the clouds in the distance. Blending together as one. We’ve reached infinity.

Time to shine. Show them around. I feel superior cause I’ve been here before.We’re on my turf. And they need me. Without me, they’d be lost.

I’ll let them get out ahead of me. Explore and dip their toes as I gather my things. My stuff. As I fumble, shuffle, and fight it. They are free. Breathing in that salty sub zero contradictory air.

Last time I was here, I swam in circles.Trying to get away. Away from land. Swimming in circles. My strokes became effortless and I began whirling around. And just when I thought I was lost, I found a tunnel. I stepped through. Getting familiar with the motion of walking again. Teaching myself to use my legs for  stepping, not kicking. Heaviness.

The tunnel led to an escalator. I hobbled down the escalator and looked to my right. Fish tanks. I looked to my left. More fish tanks. I looked up. Fish tanks above me. Why are there so many fish tanks? What a strange place.This tunnel through the ocean. Why do you need fish tanks in the ocean? Or could I be misjudging this tunnel of fish tanks. Of course they look like fish tanks. I have been fooled. There never were any fish tanks. Quite the opposite.

The fish were actually holding me captive. Cutting off the door to my world. The dry world of air and land. This tunnel is a human tank. This is what I get for testing boundaries. This is what I get for swimming away from land. Swimming away from security. Now I am walking in captivity. I start to panic.

Nerves. Firing. Blood. Flowing. Eyes. Twitching. Eyes. Opening. I. am awake. I. am on land. I. am safe. It was just a dream. Just. A dream. I told myself. 

But. I. am here again. Waiting to get off this bus. I’ve been here before. And this time its snowing.

I want to get off this bus. I can’t get off this bus until I gather my stuff. My stuff. My things. My baggage. My phone. My phone case. My bag. My shoes. Tie my shoes. Do all these things. You can’t leave the bus till you do all these things and grab all this stuff. Your stuff. You must carry it because it is yours. Don’t leave your stuff on the bus or else you may never see your stuff again. Your stuff will disappear. Your stuff will become someone else’s stuff. What are you without your stuff?

Ignore those thoughts. Let them pass. Feel them move through you. Entering. Exiting. Gone.

I don’t need my phone. Get off the bus now. Get off and explore. Be where you need to be.

Someone is on the beach digging a hole.  There is no sand. Only icy bluffs. But it is a beach. It is a beach because there is ocean and there is waves. She’s digging through the ice. Drilling. She’s humming a familiar tune. She needs my help. Digging. Deeper. Deeper.

I am death, cried the vulture.

Gil Scot Heron. I know that song. That poem. I can’t remember the words.

Remember the words, Grace. She needs your help. Something something something-taking babies from their mamas. C’mon c’mon you know the words.

A bell rings. An alarm. Ding. I remember the words. That’s it. It has to be.

So if you see the vulture coming, flying circles in your mind.
Remember there is no escaping for he will follow close behind.
Only promise me a battle, battle for your soul and mine.

 

 

The lion

imagesitting on my perch

the same perch where I first saw this lion

timid, gentle, soft, loving

so incredibly strong

I could feel it. I could smell it

i saw the lion battling these traits

for he sees them as weak

run away and pretend they don’t exist

show them what a true lion you are

show them your strength

puff up your lion chest

mask what lives beneath

protect the beautiful pulsating love that pumps through your heart

keep it safe

do what a strong lion must do to survive

protect what is sacred

and that’s how I knew that my senses can be trusted

for I feel warm

i feel safe

when I was on my perch

and the lion was near

 

 

 

 

the shape shifters pt. 3

everybody dies grace, it’s just like shedding skin

but i’m not ready to die

i’m in a room. it reminds me of those who are not ready to let go of the 70’s. campy. golden. shiny. animal print. the decor is over the top. ridiculous. is this what hell is like?

he is working out my kinks. at least that’s what he tells me. massaging my lower abdomen. i see the light radiating. flowing. glowing. bright. i see my sacral chakra opening up. before i even knew what chakras were. but is the light coming in or is he sucking it out of me? am i paranoid for thinking this?

my paranoia is blocking me. my inner light. closing the channel. a battle between my higher self and this earth being i am stuck in. when i let go of my paranoid thoughts, the light flows. i can’t tell if its inward or outward. it feels good.

eyes closed. deep breaths. sitting in the middle of the room, but i no longer feel stuck there. i’m moving faster than i’ve ever moved before, through a tunnel. mostly white with metallic and neon details. everyone else in the room is moving with me. they’ve jumped into my mind and we are going somewhere. i feel their excitement.

“you’re doing great, keep it up,” he says.

i feel the breath escaping me. i am a balloon. deflating. dying. and then, just before the last bit of air escapes, a paranoid thought. a flashback.

“I could use some fresh vitality and youth,” she says, licking her lips. smiling and looking at him. then looking at me. 

eyes still closed, i smell something nauseating. a crisp, piercing scent of a pocket that has been hiding beneath the earth for ages and has just opened up. i am headed straight toward the smell. i must open my eyes. i must get out of this tunnel. i don’t want to go any further.

not today. not here. not with them.

“grace is more difficult than we expected,” he says.

perhaps the paranoia is intuition in disguise. whatever it is, i trust it. i have no choice. it’s acting like an alarm clock buzzing in my ear. abandon ship. i do not want to get stuck wherever they’re taking me. i’m not going to shed my skin in this awful place.

the shape shifters pt. 2

it’s so glad to meet you, she says
in beautifully chopped english
i felt it the love, excitement
the same way you thank a gift for being present
she arrives at her launch pad
getting ready for take off
coordinated arm movements
gathering energy from the air
she doesn’t need us to help build her wings
for she had her own
i walk away and talk to the trees
i come back to her launch pad. gone
where did she go?
i follow the moonlight
fantasizing, dreaming of this divine being
dancing on the moon
waiting for me to sprout wings
and meet her there
one day we’ll dance together
fly together
until then, she waits
for her long lost gift
to find its way back home

tree dwellers

this place. it’s like my home. but the sun never fully shines. it only peeps out of the corner of your eye. too distant to notice its warmth. close enough to admire its beauty. it’s dark, but we can see. dimly lit in a way that highlights favorable traits. and hides our flaws. carefully tucking them away in a place where they can simply be. exist without facing scrutiny.

this place functions the same way as the world we know of. we drive cars. have jobs. take our children to parks. play softball. a place where inhabitants are half asleep. glazed over with the similar hue of old friends chuckling over a glass of wine, reminiscing. we trust our neighbors. we trust outsiders. we trust the ones in power.
i am not a fully convinced. i live in the trees. watching these beings. carefully taking notes. testing their limits. testing my limits. reporting back. i look like them. i talk like them. i can walk like them. although i prefer flying. they have no idea what i really am. and neither do i. mirrors don’t exist in this place. i have to assume i blend in. sometimes i question if they even notice me in their semi conscious state.
i enjoy interacting with them. connecting. i go to the park sometimes. run around with the little ones. i can’t quite explain the feeling i get when the little ones laugh. they laugh for seemingly no reason. but it’s contagious. i don’t understand why, but when they laugh, i laugh. i feel good.
i’ve taken a liking to some of these tiny creatures. deece especially. she’s littler than most of them. dark skinned with pigtails. she wears overalls and plastic mary jane shoes. running and stumbling around the playground all by herself. she doesn’t look like a child. more like an itty bitty adult with baby proportions. we don’t speak the same language. we don’t need to. we both understand the language of the playground. running around. chasing each other. laughing. she reminds me of myself. a part of me that was left behind when i crossed over. maybe it’s her fiercely independent spirit. totally comfortable showing up to the playground alone. not caring or even thinking about whether or not she’ll meet other kids and make friends that day. she’s too busy having fun and feeling invincible. or maybe it’s her name. deece. the name my brother gave me as a 2 year old unable to pronounce “grace.” when she laughs, it feeds a starving part of my existence. one day her aunt showed up and i had to slip away. back into the trees.
it’s difficult for me to slip away when the adults are there. if a child sees me jumping into the sky, its no big deal. kids see things all the time. imaginary friends. misinterpretation of situations due to their lens of innocence. but adults. they’re different. if there’s only one, i can get away with it.  nobody will believe them. they don’t even believe themselves. they’d rather go back to sleep like everyone else. but when there are multiple witnesses, slipping away is more difficult. being discovered might result in losing my privileges.
deece’s aunt saw me. so i had to be cool. pretend i’m one of them. shallow conversation. obligatory greetings, introductions, and goodbyes. playing by their rules. walking into the woods. using these clunky feet i have. and when i’m certain nobody is around, go up.
one of my favorite things to do is jump over cars in traffic. what are they gonna do, try to stop me? by the time they’d turn around and do a double take, i’d be so high up there’s no way they can do anything.
im in the middle of jumping over cars when i spot a tree in the distance. or did the tree spot me? this tree has a golden glow to it. the way a campfire lights up your face. it’s massive. tall, thick, strong. the perfect playground. i have to check it out.
i love this tree. the branches are so high up. i feel like i’m a mile in the sky. high enough to go undetected by the sleepers.  perched on thick branches i can trust. i discover something so wonderful about this tree. it’s an apple tree. the best apples i’ve ever tasted. crisp, juicy, and just the perfect balance between sweet and tart. i see a sign posted. nailed into the tree. “Property of the U.S. government.” fuck that. more like property of planet earth. as i munch away, i throw a bunch of the apples down to the ground as people pass by. they have no idea this is an apple tree.
free snacks. compliments of the U.S. government.
i have to be careful as i toss down these government apples. i don’t wanna bop anyone on the head. this has to be well calculated and perfectly timed. i keep a careful watch of the ones walking by. most of them are in small groups or pairs.
and then, a break in the pattern. a child. a small boy. alone. looking for something. looking for someone. he’s lost. i have no choice but to offer help. down i go.
he’s looking for his mom. says he last saw her at the safeway. she went inside to grab milk and eggs. next thing he knows he’s here. roaming around aimlessly in the forest. there isn’t a safeway for at least 400 miles. of course i don’t tell him this. he’s not ready to know. we’ll call her and i’ll help cover up the holes in his story. bringing him back. to sleep.
i ask for her phone number.
415… something. it ends in 99. he doesn’t remember the rest. alarms start buzzing in my head. this number is familiar to me. 415. san francisco area code. it makes sense. safeway. they don’t have safeways here. they have safeways in san francisco. i have to bring him back. i have to go back. i have to go back to san francisco. i finally have an excuse.
how else is this kid gonna make it?
we prepare for takeoff.

the shapeshifters pt. 1

‘go downstairs and say goodbye to johanna’
was that an order? 
i obey.
‘awww you’re so cute, you’ll be fine. go to sleep’
please don’t eat me
don’t worry
‘you’ll wake up feeling new, refreshed.’ she chuckles
are you mocking me?
face. shifting. pointy. dark.
will i ever escape this vast empty playground of misled dreams?
‘welcome to hell’
she looks older
i don’t think i’m ready. why am i scared,
to say goodbye
to this woman
i left a piece of my soul in that place
was it johanna? or did johanna eat it
thoughts racing
sleep is impossible. she knows that
‘awwww are you meditating?’
are you mocking me?
‘go upstairs and have an omelette’
are you mocking me?
or are my demons playing a game
turning me against sweet johanna
perhaps she’ll never know
how happy i was to meet her
and how much happier i was,
to say goodbye

the camp

I’m stuck in this place. a camp. there are others. at this point, we don’t have a choice. we want to get out. we’re all waiting.  i wish i wasn’t one of them. i wish i wasn’t here. but i got myself into this mess. this is the path i chose.

this step is necessary. a nightly gathering. one of us is chosen to be the subject. we don’t know who it will be. each night, a new person. exposed.

on a massive screen. projecting a movie. the movie of the chosen subject. their memories. their fears. demons. secrets. projected on the big screen for everyone to see. not to be mistaken for entertainment. these movies are mandatory exposure therapy. cleaning out our wounds. letting them air out so they can heal. grow a new skin. new life. born from the overcoming of pain. escaping the camp.
of course, this is the ultimate goal. not everyone makes it through. not everyone is freed from the cycle.
i don’t want to be next. crossing my fingers. hoping when the night comes, my movie will be quick and painless. not sure if i’m better off here or wherever they take me when its over. unsure of what awaits me there. i don’t want to be like the others. Ari. the subject of last nights movie. tall, handsome, charming. or so one would think. he almost had us fooled.
we now see him for the snake that he is. slithering through online dating profiles. selecting his next prey. based on their resemblance of her. the woman who said no in a sea of yesses. she was not impressed by his surface level credentials. she saw through him. she saw nothing. an empty shell. stuffed with useless compliments, attention, ego. she saw dependence on shallow validation. his self worth too heavily reliant on the feeling of being wanted. she did not want to be consumed by his emptiness. she did not want to be used as stuffing.
so now, Ari slithers and swipes. chewing up and spitting out those who remind him of her. trying to prove a point to himself. see, i don’t need her. i already have her. i have a hundred hers. constructing a false reality. a reality where he is no longer longing for the unattainable. he has it. he has conquered it. throwing i love yous around like hellos and goodbyes. preying on those with the same emptiness. instead of filling the emptiness with vital self love. he sucks it out of people. temporarily feeling invincible. but it is temporary.  unsustainable,  and self destructive. and that’s why he’s here. with us. stuck in the camp. the cycle. waiting.

coming in and out

moments where you enter the cloud that is time. unfamiliar territory to the inner self.
i am immersed

i feel good. i feel home. i do not feel guilty.

she is a channel. we’ve met before

admired each other from a distance
like a long lost sister

somewhere along the way, we got blown away. lost the battle with the air. our seeds planted on opposite sides of the forest

be patient

we must wait
for our trees to grow tall. strong. resistant to the wind. working with the wind. we are so tall
reaching above the forest bed. we see each other

maybe one day our leaves will blow away together. and land. turning into. dirt.
turning into land

dust

somewhere on the east coast. with my dad. we’re in an empty parking lot. full of cars. but no people. where are the people?

across the parking lot. i see an entrance. the building is dark, open, and cold. lights flickering. i hear sirens in the distance. chaos. but thats in the distance. i am safe here. we enter. through the sliding door.  past the security guard. he is friendly. has he been expecting us?

the building is a grocery store. we are here to get groceries. we are safe at the grocery store. i know its temporary. a new threat pops up on my radar as i enter each aisle. my amygdala is wide awake. preparing my body for whatever awaits me. each corner i turn, a new danger. looming over my shoulders. they’re watching me. its only a matter of time before they reveal themselves. from behind their computer screens. snatching me up. laughing at me cause i thought i had them fooled. dragging me away from my dad. we were only here to buy groceries.
where’s the kale?

be cool. i push my cart through the dark. pretending to grab things. pretending to be calm. pretending to shuffle through the shelves looking for peppermint tea which i ran out of yesterday. pretending i don’t know. 

time to check out i guess. nobody is working the cash register. only guards at the front door. do we even have to pay? i wiz by the empty registers.

out the door i go. with my free groceries. looking out across the parking lot. the air is dry. sirens still buzzing. away from me. distant chaos. piercing through my ears. the noise travels deep into the part of my brain that stores abandoned responsibility.

i look behind me. a storm cloud. dark. grey. almost black. it’s beautiful. i am not afraid. I’m comforted by it. nostalgia. flashbacks of my childhood.

tv chatter in the background. talking heads. telling us to go to the basement and stay away from        windows. looking up at the clouds. i feel the wind start to pick up. goosebumps. smelling the wet pavement. pitter patters in the distance. excitement building. i’m standing on the back porch with my sisters waiting for it to pour. in swimsuits and goggles. 

in front of me, the sky is brown. ugly. dirty. polluted. that must be new jersey. i hope the storm moves in that direction. cleansing the sky. washing away all the ugly. pushing out the filth. restoring it to its original condition. free from pollution. free from harmful toxins. free from humanity.

i walk across the parking lot. toward the brown sky. where i need to be. i’m on top of a hill. no, a bluff. something in between. i have to get to the road at the bottom. i surf down the hill. dust clouds following behind me. rocks crumbling. just like that day at the beach in san francisco. only this time, freedom was not waiting for me at the bottom.

a dirt road. i look to my left. a dusty corvette. parked. playing music. to my right, my blue VW beetle. and Eunys. i dance in front of the corvette. a friendly hello. i don’t want them to view me as a threat. i am harmless. it works. the corvette moves along with no trouble.

but now i am stranded. how am i gonna get anywhere? Eunys is working on my comatose car. loading up the secret compartments beneath the vehicle. taking it apart to make room. preparing for our journey. the tires are cracked. where are we gonna go with all this stuff if the wheels don’t work? i’ll go up the road and look for help. answers.

a stranger stands in his yard. in a daze. looking up at the sky. in denial. like me.

fake small talk. shallow conversation. half ass attempt at human connection. it feels obligatory. we talk about the weather. we are both uninterested. he only stands outside to keep people like me away. I feel alone. longing for something. longing for home. onward.

soon it will be dark. i think I’m being followed. twigs cracking behind me. i see the creatures. they are galloping alongside my path. whizzing around me. taunting me. circling. they are much bigger than me. horse like. but larger. their bodies are massive. faces look like baby pigs with huge teeth.  i am outnumbered. they’re closing in. i should be terrified.

the fat one stops in front of me and looks me dead in the eye. i am frozen. why am i not terrified? the creature moves in. i smell its breath. damp. drooley. it has the mouth of a horse. with big chunky teeth.  squishy hairy lips. i wanna touch them. i reach my hand out. they are so soft. fuzzy. the creature leans its head toward mine. i rub my face against it. like a pillow.  i am deeply comforted. my new friend smiles. big, wide, and ugly.

i feel safe. i feel protected. i feel loved. i feel home.