How to like it — Stephen Dobyns

These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Let’s go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Let’s tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Let’s pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Let’s dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street 
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasn’t been used since last winter.
The dog says, Let’s go down to the diner and sniff
people’s legs. Let’s stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the man’s mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights, 
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Let’s go to sleep. Let’s lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then he’ll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk he’ll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Let’s just go back inside.
Let’s not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again 
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Let’s go make a sandwich.
Let’s make the tallest sandwich anyone’s ever seen.
And that’s what they do and that’s where the man’s 
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept-
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.

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Buy half-price lingerie and model it in your bedroom for yourself. Feel like you have a secret because you’re wearing black, see-through underwear while talking to your teacher about your next assignment. Glance at attractive strangers on public transportation. When they look back, hold their gaze for a few seconds. Smile. Get their number. Get off the train and never see them again, riding the high of your mutual minute of understanding. Accept more dinner invitations with people who spark your interest, romantically or not. Keep yourself busy with the things your relationship used to keep you from doing. Practice a hobby. Learn a new language and feel how good it is to say “goodbye” in a new way. Fuck yourself in the shower. Begin to appreciate sex in a way you couldn’t before. Sing along to pop songs without guilt. Buy yourself flowers to tuck behind your ear. Laugh easily. Let the ache hollow out more room for you to grow. When you catch your ex on the street six months later, smile when they tell you you’ve changed. Consider telling them you are a wildfire that burned over the places they touched. Consider reminding them you cannot know every space in someone by running your fingers over them. For a second, consider asking them to take you back and then laugh because you are no longer the same person they held. You are a wildfire and the world is made of brush. Go ahead and burn.

— "What To Do After A Break Up", Lora Mathis

(Source: lora-mathis)

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Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”

— "A Good Day", Kait Rokowski

(Source: justsingyourlifeaway)

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(Source: holypoison)

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Nobody knows my sorrow like the rainbow-haired
sandwich artist at the Subway on State Street—
not my latest lover whom I won’t bring home
to see the groceries I haven’t bought, three weeks
musty laundry amassed across bathroom tile,
the life I haven’t attended to since October gloomed.

The gray horizon made a witch of me. I said horrible
things to the ones I love. Now, who will unbury me?

Each cheap take-out order, a declaration of
unbearable without limit: the cracking and whisking
of eggs, taking steel wool to the frying pan,
all these banalities made Herculean by the slippage
between illness and blues. I turn off my phone
to lessen the pathos of no one calling to say
this too shall pass, like in a good chick flick
where the damsel grows into a catalogue posture.

The gray horizon made a witch of me. I said horrible
things to the ones I love. Now, who will unbury me?

Nobody knows my sorrow like my sorrow knows
the square footage of my apartment, how many steps
it takes to pace from one end to the other—the flex
of calve and creek of joints, the plodding trudge,
its austere territory. I can still circle spots on my body
that want to touch the world and be touched.

The gray horizon made a witch of me. I said horrible
things to the ones I love. Now, who will unbury me?

— "Which Witch I’ve Been", Stevie Edwards

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