Thursday, October 8, 2015

An Open Letter

This poem has been saved in my notes on my phone since 4/6/13 because this is the last time I could look at this or touch it or try to finish it. I finished it tonight only after deciding to write again. I realized recently writing has been the only thing in my life that has kept me. It helped me find myself and find my way back to what was important through some of my most difficult times. I thought my voice was unimportant and small. It is not. It is clear and cutting and crisp and mine. The most important is that it is mine. 

I was scared to share this. I don't want to hurt my family. But I have been unable to speak my truth because I don't want to hurt them. So I was silent because the wholeness of my story might open other people's wounds and make them look bad. But who I want to be in the world is dependent on the truth that comes only when you find your own voice and decide to share it. 

An open letter to Crack
For every birthday
For every Christmas
And every time I tucked my own
Little body between
Ice cold bed sheets
For every unexplainable tear
And every emotional outburst
For every promise
Of new pants
Or shoes
Or a movie or a toy
For every time
I knocked on the door
And got no response
For every unread bedtime story
For every living room blue glow tv light
At 3 AM
For every time my hunger was met with a wait a minute
And for the time I walked into the bathroom
When blood was everywhere
For bare feet and quick steps
For dark
And for the backgammon set I played with alone
And for alone
This is an open letter
For every heartache I couldn’t explain
For every lie I told and
Still tell
For truth that gets twisted
For every time I wished to be an orphan
And pretended that my parents
Weren’t really mine
I have told countless stories
To explain being born to them
Constructed a life that
Looked a little more normal
In which you were not there
Your presence not missed
My fairytale included
Happy endings absent
Of you
But they were just stories
And you were real
You were constant
The only thing I could count on
To occur
To happen
Sometimes I will admit
When you showed up I would be happy
Then I wasn’t crazy
I could justify my stories
Plus I liked seeing my dad talk
And mom dance
I liked that I could get ice cream
For breakfast
And not have to do my homework
I like that I had no curfew
And my boyfriend could spend the night
You were bittersweet
I hated you but
Love that in your presence I could become
As invisible as I had come to believe I was
I could blend
No one cared when you were around
So this is my open letter
How mundane and ordinary
Your presence had become
How dreadful weekends and
How fleeting money was
And how I tried to hold it all together
In the small fist of a seven
Then ten
Then fifteen
Then twenty
Year old
How I'm still trying to hold it all together
And brillo pad dreams
Are fleeting
Like crack pipe highs
I know all to well
How hard it is to pry you loved ones
Out of your grips and this is an open letter
To you
Twitching faces
Glassy eyes
Wire coat hangers and sheets
On the windows
This is the calm before the storm
Of coming down
And withdrawals
How I leaned to tense and brace
How I know how to knuckle down and
My shoulders hunched in permanent position
Like ink marks that never fade
And stolen dreams I still crinch
At the words geeker
Because the image it congers
Is the shape of mother
Of father
And this is an open letter for secrets
You try to flush
Because even in your young mind you
Know drugs are bad
So rid of drugs rid of bad
But still you cant flush
There are no porcelain toilets
Big or deep enough to flush
A life that in punctuated
By you presence
I am so used to men calling my
House looking for my parents
That sometimes
I answer the phone with
An attitude
Just so they know
We are never here
I am never not angry
I am so used to having the baby
In my bed
That now I don’t even remember
That I am not his mother
Or how my ex boyfriend
Told me my eyes
Told him I was a crack baby
And when I asked
My mother she said
I never used when I pregnant
There is an elephant in the room
And it is you
The neighborhood boys
Laugh at me and want to fuck me
That same ex sold you to
To buy me food
And so
This an an open letter
Shame and guilt
And what I wish for you
I wish you a 100 birthdays
By your own hell
I wish you eternal damnation
Every time
You think about my family
I want you to spontaneously combust 
For every family you have destroyed 
I want to burn
and feel the pain of choice and dependence 
and to understand 
there are to many Me's who you have tried to kill
because you hooked the people 
who were to love us

At 28 I am still crawling out of the shadows
knowing I am worthy 
knowing I am loved 
that I am more than you
and that my parents are more than you 
and my family although bent is not broken 
and that the carnage left over is not just a sad story 
but the story of finding your way home 
and through forgiveness
and choosing laughter and happiness and joy over and 
over again 
because the 28 year old me knows that feed on the sorrow 
and my own story is one of resilience and rising 
rinsing strong and rising often 
but always rising and always loving 

No comments:

Post a Comment