A Puzzle Piece Poem- What does my DID mean?

You look at me and see
One whole piece
But what you don’t understand yet
Is you’re looking at me: 3, 5 and 13

Welcome to DID.

D is for dissociative.

For most, It’s when you finish the chapter to the new book and have to go back and look, to reread it because you weren’t paying any attention in the first place.

For most, It’s the moment you catch yourself behind the wheel of your car and you have no clue how you got so far

For some, It’s the moment you fall and skin your knee and tears start pushing out from your eyes until you realize. you feel alright, even though youve stopped feeling altogether

For me, It’s the moment when I had to find a hiding place in the bathroom, angry voices tangoing back and forth in hot and unforgiving Spanish, it’s me at 5 looking down at my wet dress from the plummeting sadness begging for my dad to come home to save me from the sounds of an alcoholic monster. Only to look up and find her- my first friend. The southern belle with the little pink bows. My best friend who no one else can see – this is DID.

It’s the moment my new best friend told me “honey everything is okay.” And then I stopped feeling that day because she started to feel for me.

It’s the moment when he walks into
The room and i know he’s coming for me
Yet all I can do
Is pretend to be asleep as he peels
Off the sheets and splits my little
Legs open like his Christmas doll.

It’s the lull of the eyes
When a hand flies to meet my
6 year old cheeks because my bedtime was at 8.

It’s the rate of my heart beat
When i hear my father has died
On the streets of LA
Probably with a heroin needle in his arm, anyways …

This is DID.

I is for identity.
That’s easy enough… But…Who is me?

Identity is the funny little cloud that has been following me around, shifting, twisting, sometimes white, on Sunday’s black, lightning licking out of me with anger and confusion.

It’s the constant trust issue because i never know if it’s going to rain, or snow, or be bright.

It’s the moments I wake up in someone else’s clothing in the middle of the night.

It’s the reason why I’ve been a Catholic, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, and a slew of other worshipping devotees.

It’s the reason why I come to and find coloring books scattered around me like a beloved book fair.

It’s my hair how’s it been red and black and purple and shaved.

It’s how I have ten different names

This is DID.

D is for disorder.

It is the carousal of diagnoses, medication, clip boards and hospital gowns.

It’s being on lock down after I tried to end my fragmented life.

It’s groggy mornings when my eyes won’t open from my slurry Seroquel state.

It’s seeing shadows and voices and feeling men’s hands running down my thighs in the middle of a flashback.

It’s checking into rehab, withdrawing from pills.

It’s the thrill of going to group therapy and trying to explain that THIS shit is DID.

My DID.

My DID is a novel of childhood, trauma, rape, incest, brainwashing, addiction, suicide attempts, lost relationships, lost money, lost time, lost me, my selves and I.

If you must know, no it’s not all bad.

My DID is an intelligent narrative of poetry, calculus classes, a published book, a theatre admission to Juilliard, it’s the reason why part of me can drum and the other part can’t use chopsticks.

It’s tucking myself in at night with stuffed animals and sippy cups. It’s wearing cowgirl boots on Monday and a combat boots on Tuesday.

It’s always having someone to talk to.

It’s being the most colorful crayon in the box and knowing even if I’m broken, I can still color the entire rainbow.

You look at me and see
One whole piece
what you might understand now
Is you’re not only looking at me: we are system of multiplicity.

This is DID.

Heliotomb

I am inside a child’s leviathan helicopter pit.
You know, the one you used to climb in and get lost.
I am in a lambently familiar, yet lonely bubble of my thoughts.
The place where my warm breath clouds around my small body,
where no one can hear my voice.
Not even the children.
I’m watching the world.
No one even thinks about gazing towards the helicopter.
Red bulb of juvenile intrepidity.
Heliotomb.
No gears, no steers, just a wonderfully stationary vessel.
Lift me up and up and up.
How fast the fuel runs dry
and death eats at the mind-
soothing each brutal and savagely arrogant
thought within myself.
I will plunge into the ground.

Casket

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I had a dream last night about my father’s funeral.
It is a luminous day, much like the Easter Sundays
from my childhood memories.
Dozens of white chairs cover the grave-lawn.
Black veils cascade themselves down the women’s faces-
swaying dolefully back and forth with
the delicate push of broken breaths.

Outside of the mausoleum, my uncle is ready
to read the letter to his brother.
He is wearing a familiar black suit and smells like after-shave.
It’s windy outside, so I offer to hold the booklet of dedications.
He tells me, “I’ll need your help to get through this.”
I touch his shoulder and inch closer to him.
My uncle begins to read.
His voice is loud and strong.
The family is standing around him.
As I flip the page, I look outward to the crowd of people
and stare in amazement at all of them that came.

My uncle’s voice weakens.
I notice that he cannot continue.
I bring the booklet to my eyes and read the
remaining dedications to my father.
(I am wearing a black dress that would have made him proud
of his beautiful, grown-up daughter.)
I realize that I am just reading words on a sheet.
They are dry, mechanical, forced.
I look towards the casket and feel alone.
Was he even listening now?
Who were all of these people?

When I was a child,
my grandparents and I would visit his grave
every Sunday. I would sit by the olive tree with my
children’s book of poetry and read out loud
to my father all of my favorite excerpts.
I felt him sitting next to me, separated
only by a thin film of dimension.
I’d tell him all about school, my dogs, my
first lost tooth, how I was scared to ride my bike,
how I wanted to play catch with him.
I’d ask him for advice and hold my breath to
see if I could hear him faintly whispering back to me.
And even though I had never heard his voice,
I knew he was there, screaming, trying.

Now, in this dream, I stood by his casket.
The shell was empty. He was gone.

Slowly, one by one, the family disappeared.
I was left with an empty casket.

Fatherless.

Blow, Baby – parental discretion advised

On regular days, Rue stood at 5’1. She was a mutt in her own beautiful way; her mother was very French, right down to her cunt. Her father was some kind of German- Dahl.

But on Thursday nights like this one, she towered to 5’9.

Rue twisted her damp braids as she leaned against the glass of the phone booth. It was nearly midnight. Maxwell would be calling. The street was emptier than usual, she thought to herself.

11:59.

phone

It had been raining for 5 days in a row. The gutters were flooded with filthy water, pushing wrappers and a used condom down the street. She wished she had brought her coat.

Ring, ring.

Rue gripped the handle of the phone and wavered.

Ring, ring, ring.

She had never missed a call from Maxwell. He had a quick hand and an even quicker temper from what she heard from the other girls. But tonight, on this Thursday night, she let it ring until it exhausted itself.

Her breath fogged up the booth. It didn’t matter, anyway. She had already made up her mind. By sunrise, she would be collapsed in the alley way behind the after-hours club, sprawled beneath the flickering No Smoking sign. One quick injection and it would all be over.

Rue lit a cigarette and picked up the phone book. With an exhale of smoke, she closed her eyes and threw her finger down on a page.

mouth

Hannah. Stephen Hannah. 4673 Juniper Street Apartment 103. She picked up the phone and sank to the wet floor of the booth, cross-legged. She dialed her unknowing friend.

The sleepy stranger answered.

“Hello?”

“I’m going to kill myself tonight,” said Rue in a low voice unfamiliar to her own ears.

Silence.

She twirled the steel chord in her hand.

A deep sigh ahhhhed from the receiver. “On a Thursday night?”

Rue’s eyes glanced at her watch. 12:06. “It’s Friday now, man.”

“Fuck. So it is,” replied the stranger named Stephen. “Who is this?”

“You can call me baby, baby. Listen, I need a drink. I need to get out of here. I’m two blocks away from you.”

“You can’t just fucking call a stranger at 12:06 and request a fucking drink and expect them to join you.”

“Well,” she answered blowing smoke from her lips, “you answered. You shouldn’t answer calls in the middle of the night if you’re not ready to jump at an emergency.”

“What kind of fucked up game are you-”

“Do you get high?”

The stranger paused. “What?”

“Do you get high? Do you want to?”

“Fuck. What the fuck… baby? Okay, fuck it. Where do I meet you?”

A smile stretched along her face. On last drag, smoked down to the filter. In a low whisper she said, “Apartment 103.” Click.

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The stranger opened the door in a tattered blue robe. Rue held out a bottle of whiskey. “Drink?”

“I’m dreaming,” said the stranger as he partly opened the door. In she went. She slipped off her heels and found her way to the kitchen. The door closed behind them. The apartment was lived in, to say the least. He must have been some kind of writer. There were papers strewn about, clippings from magazines and encyclopedias. The sofa had multiple ink stains on it from calligraphy pen spills. Rue pulled herself on top of the kitchen counter to reach the cabinets.

“Hey, hey- watch it… what the hell is your name anyways? Hey get down!”

She looked over her left shoulder. “I told you to call me baby. It’s nicer this way. You got glasses up here?”

“Yeah, on the right.”

Rue brought down two whiskey glasses and poured them full.

norlan-whiskey-glass-action

“Jesus. Alright, baby. You got my attention. What do you have for me?”

Rue pushed the glass in front of him. “Is that all I’m good for? What ever happened to talking? You know, getting to know a person before you get blown?”

The stranger took a gulp from his glass and she did the same. “Alright, you like music?” asked the stranger. “Never mind. Hold on. Just, sit down over there.” He motioned to the orange sofa in the living room. The one with all the ink spills. He disappeared into the dark hallway. A record needle scratched. Crackle. Cue Sleepwalk, Santo & Johnny. “What’s good, baby? What’s this talk about dying on a Thurs- sorry, Friday night.”

“I was only joking, mister. I needed to get the hell out of there. Maxwell was coming to find me. He would have killed me anyways, you know, if he just saw me standing there.”

“What the fuck kind of joke is that?!” yelled the stranger, spilling some of his whiskey.

“Hey, calm down, honey. It’s not a joke. I really could have died tonight.”

“Who the fuck is Maxwell? Your boyfriend?”

Rue stared down at her drink. “No, man. He’s my…boss. He’s my boss and I was supposed to work tonight, but, fuck it to hell, right?” She took a long, loving swallow. The stranger’s eyes followed her silhouette from her tangled hair to the bottom of her pink fishnets. His face softened. “Hey, let’s talk about something else, honey. I found you in the phone book. You must be single. No way a woman would let you live like this.”

The stranger drank. “No woman. I don’t need a woman telling me what to do. Women are trouble.”

The record was on repeat. Something about the apartment was comforting to Rue. Suddenly, she pulled out a little bag full of white magic from her purse, along with a razor blade and mirror. Methodically, she placed each item on the coffee table between them as if they were offerings. She hummed quietly to the song that was playing for the third time.

Eight exquisite lines of cocaine begged to be consumed in front of their faces. Rue bent down, bowing to the stranger, and took a long inhale. She looked up at him with big, blue watery eyes. Her nose was powdery and pink. With a $100 clutched in between her teeth, she melted onto the floor and crawled over to him on her hands and knees.

“Blow, baby,” said Rue groggily.

The stranger bent down over her and sniffed up a couple of lines. The room begun to buzz. “Jesus, baby. That’s some strong-” Her lips fell onto the strangers lap. He took her chin into his hand and stared into her bloodshot eyes. “You’re high baby.”

“Blow, baby?” said the groggy girl with pouty lips.

The room continued to vibrate as he fucked her mouth. The song played 10 more times.

Sometime between her first orgasm and the sound of the garbage truck’s squealing brakes, they fell asleep on the carpeted living room floor.

Gently, Rue began to wake up. The stranger slept peacefully with robe undone. She checked her watch one last time. 7:09. The sun was threatening to rise. She rolled over and gingerly kissed his shoulder blade.

Quietly gathering her shoes and purse, she hit the last couple lines of coke. She took her watch off and set it beside a napkin on the coffee table which read, “I’m so happy I called you. -Rue Dahl”

Out she slipped into the morning dew to meet the flickering No Smoking lights.

The Girl in the Fur Coat

She walked in rather flamboyantly,
The girl in the fur coat.
Her hair was dirty blonde with strips
And wisps of earthy brown.
She was the type of girl that
Would have or should have, or
Probably had, green eyes.
It was too dark in the cramped up bar.
She had small little rips in her black
Stockings, running up her thighs.
The girl in the fur coat smiled
Vivaciously, knowing that everyone in
The room was looking at her, yet
Didn’t seem to give a damn either.
As she ate the cherry from her drink
I took a swig of tequila.
The room was hot.
My dear old friend was talking to me
About some legal shit,
And I took a bite into my lime.
The girl in the fur coat spun around
Wildly, as if she was drunk by something
Other than alcohol.
When she sang, it bellowed from a
Recess in her chest- a sound she procured
After heart-breaks and shower sessions.
I could feel the bass exploding inside my organs.
I took another shot and thought,
“I’ve gotta get a coat like that.”

Cobra- a Group Writing Assignment

Dear child, dear you:

Grown from a mellifluous poison.
How strong you were on the trapeze…
turning, twisting, suspended for so long
above the cavern of your inevitable demise.

Remember your disguise?
And the glass scintillating and splintering
on your bedroom door?

Combat.

Like a serpent weaving through a
labryinth of a marred childhood.
This saurian idol has wrapped
its black, cold form around
your ankles, your knees, your own tongue.

Its venom filters through your marrow;
like his, like hers, like ours.

Dear child:

You are your golden snake.

Noose Ribbons

I am interested in the intimate
moments before the body
dives and sways, supported and
suspended by tragic threads.

How red and blue the face must go.
Doctor, coroner,
is there a lapse between the
jump and finis that our protagonist
regrets his boy scout knot-tying and
his mid-life wife pill-popping kick?

How curious is this?

I wish I could cut and collect
all of their ribbons.
I would sew a flag of their
suicides.

A Eulogy to Two Forgotten Animals

I came across two dead animals sprawled on the road this morning while driving to work. Tires swerved and swiveled around the corpses in quick attempts to keep their tires free of wet fur. My body went on autopilot as I controlled the car. I began to imagine what had been going through their minds seconds before impact. Did their small bodies freeze in fear? Were they conscious after the rolling wheels had crushed their skeletons? Was it quick and painless, or slow and excruciating?

Here, I had several moments of silence. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was anyone on that road doing the same? Probably not. Leather suitcases, pencil skirts, scalding coffee in hand…all while paying mild attention to the radio’s reports of traffic jams and celebrity blunders. The whole world kept on spinning. Yet, here on this road were two lifeless bodies, repulsive and mephitic. How many hours would pass before someone would come and collect their carcasses from the roasting asphalt? Did anyone really even care?

And what of the hit-and-run murderer?

The world keeps going and moving and breathing and living. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, someone will notice that we are about to dart across the road before we see the big black truck barreling our way. If they love you, they’ll pull you by your scruff and hold onto until you calm the fuck down. If they pretend to love you, they’ll scream, “Watch out for that truck!” Then, there are the people who you trust with all your fibers who lead you blindly straight into the road.

But the world keeps going and moving and breathing and living.

Yes, these are the things I mull over in my head at 7AM.

My girlfriend and I went to San Francisco for the weekend. We had a great time. On Friday night, we participated in a pubcrawl to 3 different bars and 1 nightclub. We met a lot of fantastic people from around the world. Saturday we walked through the steep hills to visit Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and other places. We had a lovely nap on Saturday night. Sunday we took it slow en route to the Golden Gate. We headed down the 101 and stayed in Paso Robles. The weekend holiday was concluded with wine tastings and deep conversations. Well, actually it was concluded with a lazy Tuesday, in our pajamas, watching TV and snuggling.

I returned back to my house yesterday. My aunt was at the dining room table and we almost immediately started an argument while my grandma slept in the other room. Long story short, tonight I am driving my dogs to my ex-boyfriend’s mother’s house. She will keep them there until I find my own place and move out. I’m sad, but I know that the dogs will have a much better time there with people they know and two other dogs to socialize with. Plus, I am not the best caretaker right now.

Last night I woke up repeatedly from night terrors. I would wake up drenched in my own sweat, unsure if I was actually awake or not. I had a recurring nightmare…I was laying in bed, I would “wake up” and Morris was standing above me, holding my arms down, laughing. I would try to scream, jolt myself awake, anything. Then, it would repeat. It wasn’t until Goldie came out in my dream. I remember looking down at “my” arms, and it was her. Finally, I actually woke up at 3AM. I spent the next hours staring at the ceiling, red-eyed and dead, as I listened to the voices whispering amongst each other.

My doctor is taking me off of Seroquel. I’m down to 50 mgs now. I can’t tell if this is completely due to my dosage cut, or if it’s situational depression. Perhaps it is an insidious mixture of both.

I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow.

The Battle and Blessings of a Devoted Nun

small white buckets of velvet sit
high on their earthly stilts,
proud of their purpose,
whatever that may be.

along the bedside of a pumped up priest,
chanting relentlessly on worn out beads
and bleating to a God that hasn’t listened
since that night in 1992.

I chant, too. On nights like these.
though I know the difference between
a steel crucifix and the holy ghost.
I chant for you, Wife,
so that the aches I give you may leave your bones.

both of us coil in life, like
snakes, split-tongued and tempered.
when you sleep I hear your dull rattle-
humming and hissing.

I adore your ridges, your stuck claws in the ground.
I am able to lick each nail clean from the socket,
gently ripping you from your familiarity.

Wife, may you buckle beneath my loyalty,
overcome by love and love and love.
For you have grown knowing nothing else
but to scratch and bite.

I am no causality.
and if you bite again, well, I love to bleed.

lying still, save the rise and fall of your stomach,
I keep my eyes fixed on your collarbone.
I’ve always loved the dark rings on your skin,
the way your chest juts towards the sky.

chanting here I speak now in low whispers,
my throat cracking with elongated aaaas.
funny now, God must have left the sheets,
as I find myself spilling this soliloquy to you.

I’m worried that you’re awake,
listening to this raw moment of truth.
then again, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before
drowned in whiskey and smudged in mascara.

how content I am to exchange nothing
but silence and mutual dreams.
like a nun, devoted to said steel,
I bend here on my knees, devoted
to the god between your legs.

come morning when the yellow hood
has yawned and collapsed over buildings,
I will taste your mewling mouth and
delve into our third sacrament.

for now, we sleep beside those small white buckets
of velvet that sit high on their earthly stilts.
I am proud of your purpose,
whatever that may be.

the air has cooled.
I hold you here,
still chanting through my heart,
still holding yours.