My Epitaph is a Fuck You

You’re growing tired of me, I can tell, my feathers are fraying
angels without wings aren’t angels at all, I can’t sing a lick,
kick me out of Heaven into the hellish choir with Cuban cigars,
the smoke will give me asthma, I’ll breakdown, scream, beat my
arms black and blue like I did laying on the floor with stigmata.
Today is not my day, tomorrow never comes, and yesterday died.
We may well nosedive into the Pit and scream out our last words.
May as well carve my epitaph “Life was Short and Shit, I Quit.”

(After all, writing out these trite little poems keeps me alive.)

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Crazy Wears Blue

We were born in the gutter, carrion kings, star-spangled
splashes of gutter water reflecting the crystalline night.
Every time I touch you is a gasoline rainbow Exxon Valdez.
Each time we kiss, you suffocate me – your breath poison.
Hold me tender and crush my bones, devour my red red wine,
for my organs are rotting just for you, sugar fangs, and I
was born dying of nuclear radiation, deformed, demented,
shatter every semblance I have of normalcy, anxiety, you
are the only master I answer to, and life is pain, a bane.

Tainted Love

I love you, is that so horrible? So sick?

To dredge for pearls in your darkness.

To swallow your sins whole and digest
every ruinous torment you whore out.

I breathe black lung and diamonds of
shattered souls, spirit mica, ineffable.

Every night we meet is a Lourdes possession,
I’m a nun in latex and leather, crucifixes
peeling tattoos on my skin, holy? (Unwhole).

Two dozen rose years of riddles.

A throne of blood and bone.

Decay on my tongue, antimatter on the brain.

Kissing death is like swallowing coffee black,
his tongue is maggots and millipedes, vermin.

There are rats in his ribcage and moss on his skull.

When I lay in his arms, I count his vertebrae and
string his spine like pearls on a bone necklace.

Death is sweet, death is grand, death is sacred.

Smash the nonbelievers and those who shy from him.

I am Death’s Whore, Death’s Hierodule, Death’s Girl.

Master of all my intrusive thoughts, every bloody image
of ruin and vice and pleasure, not to feel is not death,
no, death is every memory simmered to ecstatic destruction.

They’ll be singing your name when the bombs fall.

When nuclear decay poisons the waters, your song
will play from haunted pianos, this is the End Times.

This is the Final Judgment, your pallid horse the
angry white mobs and police crushing skulls, oh Death,
Death Death, you will never escape your torment, and I
will remind you of your trespasses and cruelty forever.

Death Death Death, be my baby, cozy up to the blonde.

I’ve drunk your blood and deep-throated your venom.

You buried your heart in a pit in my breast.

VITRIOL, sweet Death, and let me in to the
rectifying stone, green lion, alchemical
bloody gold.

Thanatos Drive

I drink down death like caffeine.
I’m addicted to the abyssal kiss,
the gore and dissolution of black.
Whether by storm or by fire, taken
aback the divine psychopompic lips
of every demon I have tasted, Yama
and Hela, even angels are destruction,
and their prince ferries the departed.
Wanting to kill myself, I die dreaming.
A blood debt to my Yngling ancestors,
a soul debt to my angelic and demonic,
when the Grim Reaper swallows you whole
it feels like an orgasm of apocalyptic
proportions, that glowing tunnel light
is a birth canal into the karmic cycle,
I flee from burning things, I seek dark,
I seek velvety soft hair like razors,
I cup the rot breasts of Lady Death,
I dreamed as a child I dug my own grave,
and I’ve been filling graveyards since.
First goes the flesh, then the spirit
as you sleep so deep you are nightshade
berries and belladonna on the throat.

It is so brilliant to not breathe.

It is so terrible to live like this.

On Hiding Behind Okay

For the past month, I have been hiding behind okay.

What turned out to be a rare and serious case of strep throat the first week of April pushed me into a manic, panic attack ridden state with memory problems where I was messing up at work, forgetting basic details, and also my throat felt like knives and I had a raging fever but was too stubborn to heed my body – so I worked four full 9-5 days until the clinic finally called me, told me they got back the lab results, and that no it wasn’t allergies, yes you are seriously ill.

Then I went on antibiotics.  And I didn’t know it at the time, as the research just came out in 2015, but antibiotics can push bipolar patients into manic states.  So, already delirious off fevers and infections, I swallowed two pills daily that led to me becoming suicidal, violently unstable, a crying wreck with no self-esteem that thought she was a horrible person, and multiple panic attacks where I was inches away from walking into traffic or jumping in front of the Metro.

If you had asked me how I was doing, I would have said?

Okay.

I still went out with friends.  I went on dates with the guy I like.  Sometimes I had to cancel, and sometimes I went home in a crying wreck, curling up in my bed for a ball for hours.

But I didn’t miss a day of work.

I didn’t miss friend’s parties.

I didn’t miss my kindred dinners or blots.

I went to classes from 7:20-11:00 on Mondays without complaint.

I push, and I push, and I push, and I never admit that I’m not okay.

My best friend told me that apparently all my friends think I’m a badass, which never really dawned on me, but they’ve seen me wrestle with this monster that is bipolar type 1 with psychosis, paranoia, anxiety, panic disorder, and OCD.  One alone could put someone on disability.  I’m such a special snowflake I have six diagnoses.  And I work a my dream job doing hard work on Capitol Hill for forty hours each week and still have time to be a cornerstone for friends.

When I was at my sickest, and I couldn’t take care of myself, I still was taking care of other people.  Two Sundays ago, six of my friends opened up to me with their worst fears and problems all in the span of 5 hours.  It was therapeutic for me to help them, because I was so mentally weak and unstable, I thought maybe if I could stretch to listen to and nurture them, I could fix myself.

I still haven’t fixed myself.

After an entire month, I’m finally stable again, and my mania and panic attacks have worn off.  As in I-can’t-breathe-I’m-going-to-violently-kill-myself-and-blame-my-parents-for-not-aborting-the-worthless-cunt-I-am panic attacks.

I like to fantasize about my death a lot.

Oven head like Sylvia Plath.

Self mutilation like Van Gogh.

Pills, poison, jumping from a building.

It’s nice to know that at any moment, you can end your hell of a life.

And trust me, my life was absolute shit.

Sometimes I think suicide is stupid.  Sometimes I think it’s worth it.

Samael calls it selfish and shameful.

Michael just holds me and sings lullabies and runs his fingers through my hair.

Freyr became a tree with me, and I felt so at peace as a tree, feeding off starlight and rain.

Sometimes I wish I was normal, just for one, a single, glorious day, not a slave to my emotions or the turmoil and intrusive thoughts and delusions.

These gods and angels and demons, they could all just be in my head.

This universe could just be some sick trick a comatose brain is playing.

When you’re one of the crazies, you realize reality is fickle, and that you are never in control, not really.

So yes, I am okay.

But then again –

I am never okay.

When I was crying to my mom on the phone about to jump in front of the six o ‘clock train, she said I was too high-functioning to ever go on disability.  And it’s so fucking true. I’m too talented.  Insanely smart.  Too strong.  Not that being on disability means you’re weak, but honestly, with my diagnosis, most people are flat out homeless and very few have high profile jobs saving the world.

Most are probably just dead.

So I guess I’ll keep living, keep being useful, and try to take care of myself.

Because if I don’t, I’ll break again.

I’ll want to die again, return to the void.

Samael turned into the Void in one of my dreams, and he wrapped himself around me and I just dissolved.  Into nothingness.  That’s how I hope Death is.  Just erasing.  Nonexistence.

Because hell no am I doing this again.

I quit life next go around.

I will be nirvana.

Nothing.

 

Mania, O Mania

At first it was a brain on fire
cruel nights, razors, psychosis
gods talked and demons caressed
you are Eve, Mother Mary, Whore,
anything your brain tells you
you threw all your belongings out
the window, glass cut you, you tried
to hurl yourself out, only stopped
when a wailing mother dragged you
to a straitjacket, and stale hospital
beds, the ward couldn’t hold you,
the drugs drowned you, but your
madness still frothed to a foam
the voices and sobbing Devil were
sweet, horrible, murderous, splendid
the nurses were angels, your parents
were predators, you couldn’t remember
your name – Iris, Puck, Persephone –
you cycled through myth encyclopedias
a new delusion to wear each day,
Depakote and Seroquel and Clonazepam
they all sounded like veneral diseases,
but you swallowed the medicine anyway,
nurses checked under your tongue, a
gulp of water to make them go down,
you scribbled mania in rainbow pencils
lit the ward up with rabid laughter,
it took four years to find yourself
again, and truly, you never even left
the hospital, because inside, you still
carry the skinhead Buddhist monk on crack
the beautiful olive diplomat’s daughter
the girl who picked her wrist wounds
the words of the pagans and poets, you
are a walking mausoleum, and bipolar bodes
unwell, chronic, there is never an escape.

On Imposter Syndrome, Brokeness, and Beauty

I am, to date, my most successful at querying since I started at 22, so from 2015-2017 at a ripe old 24 years of age I’ve learned a few tricks.  I have three fulls out right now with stellar agents and three partials with top notch, six-figure-and-above dealmakers that would be dreams to work with.  If any were to offer, it would make my life, though the chances of course are slim.

It’s only been nine days since I queried my top batch of agents and I got three requests so far, with dozens more who have yet to respond.  I have never, in two whole years, ever been this successful.  Still, I wonder – am I imagining this?  Am I an imposter?  Does my writing, well, suck?

I know I’m young.  I’m barely out of college, still in grad school, and still developing my voice, or voices, seeing as I seem to have Multiple Persona Disorder when it comes to writing..  Agents have given me great feedback, but many times, they tell me they love the premise, or that I have a great concept, but that something just didn’t work.  The execution was rough.  I need more characterization.  The writing was lush and evocative, but I’m not quite there yet.  Needs more background, less background, more exposition, more action, less detail, more detail – rarely do two agents think alike!

My Firebird retelling has truly been a labor of love, and I look back at my ten paragraph queries from two years ago and the teensy awful 50,000 word manuscript it used to be and think, how could I have been so damn naive and unsavvy!  And oh god, how could I have sent this off to those patient as saints agents???

I’m not a natural at this, I’m basically a stick in the mud, who only learns when she gets hits on the head a lot.  Agents made my manuscript what it is today, and they made it that way through suggestion and rejection.  It’s the best it’s been, and while it’s not the best thing I’ve ever written (those projects are still unfinished 😉 ) it’s pretty damn solid by my own meager standards.  Which are probably not enough to get published at this rate, but at least I’m creative.

And still, I always think I suck.  That I got these requests on accident.  That agents loathe my writing and think what I create is trash.  That out of the seven requests I have out right now, they will all end in scathing rejections, even though that has never in my life happened.  Agents have only ever, at worst, given form rejects.

I’m just so used to being broken mentally, I think my writing is broken too.  That there is some piece of storytelling craft that I am missing because hey, I have OCD, manic depression, psychosis, and a host of other disorders, and under a CT scan my brain would have a shrunken prefrontal cortex and scars from manic and depressive episodes.

It ties into my extremely bad anxiety and panic disorder, bolstered by mixed episodes that combine the loveliness of suicidality with depression and crippling panic attacks/obsessive thinking and intrusive thoughts to self harm and mutilate, or just jump in front of that car, and the truth is, querying and putting myself out there is not mentally healthy for me.  It makes me unstable.  I’m managing a brand new job, a new townhouse with great roommates, a disorder where I can’t even look at alcohol, have to be in bed by 10 pm, not even drink frigging grapefruit juice, which I love, and one that ends with 1 in 4 people committing suicide.  Chances are high I won’t live past 25, and that was the date I set in my mind at the ripe old age of 15 when I realized life as a mentally ill person with snowflake diagnoses was, well, hell.

But I’m over exaggerating, and rambling, and because I’m broken, sometimes I can’t see beauty.

I’m as stable as I’ve ever been, making a great salary in a great city with a great boyfriend, working for an organization that is amazing and saves so many of my favorite animals and aids communities around the world, doing amazing work that helps people, when I may not ever be able to help myself, at least I stopped rhino poachers or saved endangered lemurs and birds or gave people with no livelihoods hope.

I am whole in so many ways, and because of that, I think it’s okay to take a break from this whole publishing quest.  I have half a mind to rescind all my full and partials and just become a hermit like the Tarot card, but I know that’s just a kneejerk reaction that is from my impulsive self-destructive craving for death and mayhem.  I have a huge Thanatos drive.  I have wanted to die so many times that perhaps a part of me has died already.  I die a bit every time I finish a story, it’s like another piece of my heart has been taken from me and eaten.  I serve my heart up on a plate for onlookers who judge its merits, when really, they’re judging my soul.  And it sometimes hurts.

I know you’re not supposed to take literary rejection personally, and I usually don’t, but sometimes, in my moments of weakness, I circle back to the thought that I’m a shit writer.  That all my successes, however small, so far have been flukes.  That my poetry is trash.  That I am trash.  I have such a low opinion of myself that sometimes I think I’d be bettering the world if I dove headfirst into the subway.  I have to stand far away from the oncoming trains, because almost every time, I have the urge to jump, even when everything is going right in my life.

Maybe it was the stress of my dad being hospitalized this weekend that made me reevaluate my creative aspirations, the thought that the person I hold dearest besides my mom could be ripped away from me by something as cruel as death, that spurred me to feel unstable.  Usually I’m the first to put myself out there, first to volunteer, to lead a class discussion or group project, I reach for the stars, and figure hey, if I fail, at least I can say I tried.

But it always circles back to the imposter syndrome.  I was trying to enjoy Girls last night, one of my favorite shows, when Hannah Horvath was interviewing a female writer, and part of it just made me cry.  All my efforts felt futile – Hannah is a struggling writer, always reaching so high but failing, not realizing what she already has, and maybe a part of me felt like I was, in a sense, this TV character I loathed.  Maybe I always see the glass half-empty.  And my mood swings be damned, I’m elated one second and terrified or a soul sucking black hole the next, even though I’m on five different medications, see a therapist once a week, abstain from even Mike’s Hards, have never so much as smoked or toked once, live a straitlaced boring existence where I do everything right, break and break and break again as I try to appear stable and sane, when inside I am mad.

Inside, I will always be damaged, but in ruin is beauty, and the cracks in my mind let the light slip through.  So persevere on I do, and no, I will never give up.

Only a sane person would.