It isn’t obvious now

with my careful office attire, perky posture, expensive pen,

the way I cross my legs, the sound of air-conditioning

as I listen to you behind my polished desk

that once upon a time, in time’s cold center

I was that hot mess, floundering single-parent kid

no swing-set, no Girl Guides or swim club in the evening

I didn’t sit down to do my homework at a kitchen table

I ate take-out on the floor watching TV, drawing dragons

in the margin of my school books, my family of absence and debris

I hated the self-satisfied order of education

the whittled perfection of the pedantic rote

preferring to blister and burn in rejecting everything

sitting high on roof tops with un-brushed hair, watching

ants march to work with their shiny, shiny shoes.

When you wonder, if I understand your kid

fighting another kid, being bullied, throwing spit-wads

or telling you they’re attending math club when smoking

with their friends down the park, dabbling with destruction

in the divine slippery eagerness of youth

yeah I understand too well

climbing out of windows to go clubbing at 14

starving pain until you lose sight of how many cuts you’ve made

the way when you are broken, you break some more

just to feel it, to feel something, anything !

How the wildness inside of you is feral and untamed

biting the hands that feed as often as it seeks

succor, for what is succor but oblivion from the future?

Yeah I understand it too well, when you wonder

if I get why you’d have an affair

how you felt ashamed and delighted

when he pulled your long skirt over your hips and whispered

cheap, tacky words, even as you with your PHD

and finely honed life, edited his brute syntax

not fully understanding the attraction of rough sex

in the drizzling afternoon

watching dust motes lift, from your perpetual pile of books

with each inelegant thrust

something gorgeous about the loss of control, perhaps.

Yeah I understand it too well, when you wonder

if I can appreciate sitting by her bedside

watching her die and the calm of death before

the clamor of grief, its endless, aching chase

how everyone leaves you alone and you cannot abide silence

or noise, or one more fucking comforting word

but only somewhere that doesn’t exist in-between the lines

wanting to live more than ever in that moment

angry in a way that words can’t shape

so you smoke a cigarette, killing yourself with irony

find a bar that offers cheap booze and dark booths

and when he asks you your name, you give a fake one

laugh coquettishly

although it’s been 20 years since you did that kind of thing

when you wake up in his bed and realize

your underwear is stretched and you’ve not claimed the body

blue as your nipples in morning light, dead when you are not.

You ask me if I understand

and I say … yeah I really do

dirty-cheeked child sitting on the top of garages

teen sucking face with cold eyed boys when she’s gay

young woman watching from the ceiling, a rape exam

angry-eyed girl spitting in faces at protest marches

woman fanning hot-flashes watching babies wheeled past

the goad of the everyday.

Isn’t obvious now ?

With hose and glasses, the accoutrements of a tamed life

the paraphernalia of honed illusion

I’m looking with you into the globe

where we both float, exhibits for a lesser God

who mocks our attempts to thrive

with exultant flick of wrist

I’m holding your hand as you dive into universes of past and future

like a thirsting fish measuring regret and fancy

sorrow and joy, the incense of mortality

and its meandering loneliness

surely, therapy is

something like this

2 Replies to “The goad of the everyday”

  1. You have broken places
    And mad decisions
    You come to therapy
    Seeking wisdom that might
    Show the way
    To heal the broken
    Explain the mad
    Tidy the messiness
    My dear, such wisdom is not
    Built of an untrammeled life
    And the therapist knows, or should
    Their kinship with a certain cat,
    Assuring you you’ve come to the right place
    Because we are all mad here

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