Through the pages.

I thought I had lost a leather-bound journal given to me by a friend in 2002. I thought I had lost it in a fire. but I didn’t. It was in one of the boxes of things I stored at my parents’ house. I probably stowed it away because it was too painful to keep around. It was given to me during one of the most difficult times in my life. And here it is. spine ready for a backbend. to show me its insides. and remember. This is the last piece I wrote before tucking it away. on a page marking a third of the way through the pages.

nothing for the weak at heart
pastel walls to soothe the nerves in blues
watch out for the claw traps
when you’ve just kicked off your shoes
powder puff in muscle tees
shined up shoes with wounded knees
try the chicken Bolognese
and listen for the wake-up call tomorrow
desert winds on parched skin
the babies snooze in tuxes
and momma in her sequined evening gown
strolls him around the slot machines.

Written Sunday, May 25th, 2003.

Leave little gifts for you.

My parents are moving into a smaller house so they’ve started the process of going through their things. Things they’ve accumulated over the past 40 years or so. As a lot of children do, I’ve stored things of mine at their place over the years so I’ve started looking through them. Some I’ve packed and unpacked between multiple countries from the time I was in elementary school. One treasured item I thought I’d lost in a house fire almost 10 years ago was in one of the boxes – a leather-bound journal given to me by a friend. I probably hid it away in a box because at the time I’d had it, I made some very poor decisions and treated friends (and myself) terribly. I needed to store it away for a while, to keep the writings at a distance, I suppose.

I am so glad and thankful that I still have it. I read through it quickly last night. Some powerful stuff in there. Painful. Painful and beautiful. I can see my determination to ‘sort things out’ and overcome in the words. I had this journal at a time when I ended up in an ambulance to the hospital because I’d taken an overdose of medication at home alone during a workday. I remember laying on my bed. Staring at the door and imaging my mom finding me there. I cried. And pounded on the mattress a bit, I’m sure. I became frightened as I imagined the strength of my heart beating in my ears weaken and slow. I leapt up to call 911. I didn’t want to die.

Most people who attempt and commit suicide do not want to end their lives. But consequence and impulsiveness oftentimes brings people to kill themselves. It’s an impulsive act. One that happens at a time when a person feels hopeless, overwhelmed, worthless, and perhaps many more terrible things. Or numb. But these, as all emotions on the spectrum, are fleeting. As are impulsive actions. But suicide is irreversible. It’s a permanent decision if succeeded. It’s important that that you or someone you know reaches out when feeling this way. If experiencing suicidal ideation, please please PLEASE reach out. If someone talks about thinking of taking their life, take it seriously. It’s a serious thing regardless of how they tell you. It may seem non-challant. They may bring it up jokingly. Take it seriously. Ask straight up if they have an idea of how they’ll take their life and whether they have the means. Assess their safety. Call 911 if you must to keep them safe and keep them on the line until help arrives. Do the same for yourself. Help someone or yourself get through those horribly painful times.

I’ve shared this video before, a TED talk given by a man, JD Schramm, who attempted suicide and miraculously survived a jump from the Manhattan Bridge. His words are beyond powerful and provide a unique insight. After committing himself to following through and surpassing suicidal ideation to action, he survived. He survived and had the rare opportunity to commit to rebuilding his life. His message to those who may feel suicidal is simple and true, “It gets better. It gets way better.” Take it from him.

I wasn’t planning for this to be a heavy post, but here it is. The unearthing of things. stuff. from years past does that sometimes. You realize that your body and mind have moved past or forgotten the reasons behind the associated sentimentalities. You realize that those difficult times when you felt that your situation wouldn’t get better, or the pain you felt has seeped in to your bones and won’t go away – you realize that those experiences leave little gifts for you. All it takes is getting through. These are some little gifts I found:

why does hair look so beautiful
when it’s carried by the wind.
trees fluttering leaves
like butterfly wings.
I want to go somewhere
naked and pure
that’s never been seen
I want to feel the earth with my toes
close my eyes when the wind blows.
I want to smell it on my skin
when I’ve returned home.
bring that feeling back.
the vision in colors and shapes.
I want to listen to the birds for a while.
share smiles with the sky.

Written Sunday, September 15th, 2002 @ ~12:30pm in Port Townsend on the hammock in my parents’ backyard.
*

you love me
because you want to.
esteem is found in self.
not eyes or kisses.
it makes sense
when you stop looking for things
that you’ve taught yourself to need.
you have to pull those thoughts like weeds.

Written Wednesday, September 18th, 2002 @ ~4:30pm, Metro #105 home.
*

Mom can’t find me
like this
fresh cuts and a belly full of loathing
wine and veggies in a grocery bag
dirty sheets, snowstorm on the t.v.
music playing in the background.
what would she have found?
broken, withered, silent.
sing me a lullaby, momma
sing yourself to sleep.
rubber kisses
icicle fingers and shiny rings.

Written Tuesday, December 24th, 2002 @ ~5:15pm on the Kingston ferry.

Pocketing seashells.

 

Some songs come from such a raw and tender place that they write themselves.  This, for me, is one of those songs.

 

Written, performed, recorded & mixed by Odawni AJ Palmer.
Photograph taken and developed by Odawni AJ Palmer.
Copywrite 2010.

 

:: Lyrics ::

Fear capsized this ship
into a black ocean
and the ocean swallowed me whole.
Under the waves
I’ve seen so many things,
so many things.

I’ve been pocketing seashells
wanting to share them with you,
share them with you.

“It’s too late”, he said,
“the damage is done.”
The damage,
the damage is done.
Is done.
Is done.
Is done.

 

Had to have known he was leaving.

***

:: Short fiction ::

“It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”  I stopped looking at him soon after he started the conversation.  I sat in a ball on the floor between the couch and the coffee table.  My arms were tightly curled over my head, my forehead rested heavy on my knees.  Hiding inside myself like a sea anemone startled by an unfamiliar touch.  I had taken a protective position, but words have the ability to penetrate regardless of how you choose to arm yourself.  Nothing could have protected me from this evening – when he left.

The sound of his footsteps were steady and slow.  He stopped at the top of the stairs for a moment, and then his muffled footsteps descended three floors of wooden steps.  I heard the door to the building slam shut.  I wanted to run to the window, yell things to hurt him as he walked away.  I thought of throwing gifts he had given me out the window.  I envisioned the red lamp sailing through the windowpane, smashing to the ground and scatter on the sidewalk like crystallized blood.  But I was frozen.  And I knew there was nothing I could say.

The smell of the laundry detergent on my clothes was suddenly too potent.  I felt sick.  How could he go grocery shopping with me this morning?  He had to have known he was leaving; that we were shopping for me, not us.  Laundry detergent, dish soap, toothpaste, bananas, milk… I don’t drink milk.  I’m lactose intolerant.

I felt foolish.  And suddenly had the urge to eat the rest of the ice cream he left in the freezer.

Written  Saturday, August 9th, 2008.

A year apart.

 

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:: Poems ::

 

emotional flat line.
pump my stomach for smiles that make sense
the growth process seems past tense
I’ve fallen off the fence
to pandemonium again.

 

Written Sunday, August 25th, 2002 @ The Blue Star.

***

 

I feel like I’m working overtime
and every minute depends on
whether I’m smiling
It’s not easy being happy all the time
It’s not easy being responsible all the time
I can’t always be easy to be around
I don’t always know what to say
or how to say it
I just want to pull out my hair,
put a gun to my head.
Scream, bite, run.
I’d rather be following my dreams
than trying to catch butterflies
with bare hands.
I’m sorry, but
I’m trying.
How much should I kick and scream
before I’m heard
or understood.
Compromise can be such a burden
and sacrifice degenerates sometimes.
It’s like I have to set time aside
to find time.
And I just don’t have it.
Because the alarm always rings past snooze.

 

Written Friday, June 27, 2003.

***

 

I’m developing an anxious tick
I find myself waiting
a lot of the time
feeling fine overall
so scared I’ll fall
back into the barrel
and have to wrestle with monkeys
bad purple monkeys
with a wicked sense of humor.

 

Written Thursday, April 29th, 2004.

***

Fast car, small dick.

 

blind date

pink roses,
blue door

apt. #4

red smile
crooked teeth

keyhole peek

fast car, small dick
cheesy lines
wandering eyes

fake number.
fake smile.

 

Written Monday, June 19, 2000.

***

Yesterday, today.

It’s come around again: the emptiness.  The vapid moments that sew the day(s) together when the haze moves in.  I’ve lost my footing on the slippery slope that’s been slanted by a lifetime of depression and disorderly moods.  In these times, I’m  swallowed by a lethargy that turns a mattress into a monster, a hungry hungry monster, and I sleep swaddled in sweat-wetted sheets for days.  The length of time that ticks-and-tocks in this textile sarcophagus varies – 2 days, 1 week, 17 days – and can only be measured in hindsight, when I wake to the world again.  I’ll continue to slip and to slide, but I’ll wake to the world over and over again.

***

***

:: Journal entry ::

Only a couple of days ago I had 3 great days.  My mind was clear, my energy up, my motivation was present, my future was left in its place, as it should be.
When does forced, faked confidence melt into something real?

Written Wednesday, February 2, 2011.

***

:: Poem ::

I feel invincible today
yesterday, not so much
yesterday I was wallowing in the absence of embrace
today I feel touched without having to be touched
today I feel love from a thousand different planets
yesterday, not so much
today it felt OK to kick off the sheets
yesterday, I couldn’t get enough
of the comfort of a blanket
warming my bones
to not feel so alone
for the feeling of home
when home can’t be sewn
it sprouts from the experience of a nurtured invisible
like art before it’s created
a seed tossed in soil.

Written Wednesday, August 25, 2004.

Deep; steady breaths.

***

It’s funny.
I see it now.
I have a choice
And I can decide.

Either you dance in the rain
Or hide from the sun.

It’s not about you or them.
It’s about me and mine.
No more right or wrong.
It’s faith and movement.

I know what it’s like
When you feel like your jaw’s about to break.
When your teeth are so tight you can’t breathe.

I know what it’s like
When the night seems too dark
And every shadow feels like it’s scraping down your skin.

But.

I know what it’s like
When fruit feels like sex
Juice on the chin and beads at the tips of your fingers.

I know what it’s like
To wake to a moment
And realize.

I know what I want.
I know how to get there.
Deep; steady breaths – I’m sprinting.

 

Written Thursday, 9.18.03.

Have heartbeats.

Do shadows have heartbeats?

Written Wednesday, 3.20.02.

Love go.

 


where does all the love go
when it falls away.
is it lying dormant –
waiting to be tickled from its bed.
waiting for silly girls to play.

Written Monday, 4.1.02.