you shall love your crooked neighbor

careful not to say that i don’t care 
or haven’t, or can’t, or will not again 
winter didn’t die, she was murdered 
and you are the culprit, I am the same 

and i’m careful just not to say that i miss you 
cause sometimes, i guess i still miss myself

(Source: Spotify)

aspacewanderer:

Oh, my:

Some nights get worse than others
and I start thinking about your mother
and she’s here with me as far as I can tell 
as if the world revealed its secret
and it’s asking me to keep it
like a kid that hears the ocean in a shell 

stories like passwords | emma healey 

An abusive relationship is a closed loop. So is a professional network. So is the patriarchy.

A man who’s “no big deal” can still ruin your reputation. A man who’s “no threat” can still leave marks. A man who “doesn’t matter” can still set fire to your life and then walk away whistling.

on expectations | date by numbers

Don’t let someone else set your pace. When people post baby photos, job promotions, engagements, race times, diet plans, re-blogs, retweets, redesigns, renewed leases, renewed vows, re-done bathrooms, torn out kitchens, torn up contracts, taped up boxes, and tallies on life’s smallest achievements, don’t let someone else set your pace.

Don’t let them rush you. Don’t let them restrain you. Don’t let them tell you that it’s too late or you’re not ready. If you need sleep on a Friday night, take it. If you need a drink or four on a Tuesday night, get it. If you need to keep going, do. If you need turn around, turn. If you need a break from life, block as many of the mind-cluttering websites and people you can. If you need to get back into high gear, absorb all of the music and fun and suffering you need to get you there. Don’t let them say you should be further along. Don’t let them say you should be happy with what you have. Don’t let their expectations of you cloud your expectations of yourself.

Your finish line is different. Your half-way point is somewhere else. And when you become obsessed with what people expect of you, with the image you think you need to project, you lose the ability to surprise them. You lose the ability to surprise yourself.

Reset. Figure out what it is you want for yourself. And the next time someone tries to set your expectations for you, smile, walk away, and say, “fuck that.”

in due time
if i keep myself intact
i could wave to you
through a window
as i drive past

made a good impression
my dear, i learned my lesson
so i’ll flee before 
admiration will likely pass

and for years to come 
in the mornings
you may think i’m
the best thing
that you almost had

in due time
if i gain some self respect
i could smile upon
the day that we first met

but i’ve made some
swift revisions through
whiskey blurred visions
and i promised not to ever
ever look back

and for years to come 
in the mornings
you may think i’m
the best thing 
that you almost had

come to think of it,
oh, how i would like
to see you now

but i couldn’t face the day
that you would say “my dear,
i’m checking out”

in due time
if i keep myself intact
i could wave to you
through a window
as i drive past

in due time | phox

(Source: Spotify)

"Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven," Hans Ostrom

They call each other E. Elvis picks
wildflowers near the river and brings
them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.

In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports
Levis and western blouses with rhinestones.
Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers

and T-shirts, a letterman’s jacket from Tupelo High.
They take long walks and often hold hands.
She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.

Emily’s poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,
Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard
Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.

Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon
he will play guitar and sing “I Taste a Liquor
Never Brewed” to the tune of “Love Me Tender.”

Emily will clap and harmonize. Alone
in their cabins later, they’ll listen to the river
and nap. They will not think of Amherst

or Las Vegas. They know why God made them
roommates. It’s because America
was their hometown. It’s because

God is a thing
without feathers. It’s because
God wears blue suede shoes.

(Source: jubilantics)

will v-day be me-day too? | langston hughes

Over There,
World War II.

Dear Fellow Americans,
I write this letter
Hoping times will be better
When this war
Is through.
I’m a Tan-skinned Yank
Driving a tank.
I ask, WILL V-DAY
BE ME-DAY, TOO?

You can’t say I wasn’t with you
in each battle.
As a soldier, and a friend.
When this war comes to an end,
Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car
Like cattle?

Or will you stand up like a man
At home and take your stand
For Democracy?
That’s all I ask of you.
When we lay the guns away
To celebrate
Our Victory Day
WILL V-DAY BE ME-DAY, TOO?
That’s what I want to know.

Sincerely,
GI Joe.

aubade: some peaches, after storm | carl phillips

So that each
is its own, now—each has fallen, blond stillness.
Closer, above them,
the damselflies pass as they would over water,
if the fruit were water,
or as bees would, if they weren’t
somewhere else, had the fruit found
already a point more steep
in rot, as soon it must, if
none shall lift it from the grass whose damp only
softens further those parts where flesh
goes soft.

There are those
whom no amount of patience looks likely
to improve ever, I always said, meaning
gift is random,
assigned here,
here withheld—almost always
correctly
as it’s turned out: how your hands clear
easily the wreckage;
how you stand—like a building for a time condemned,
then deemed historic. Yes. You
will be saved.

(Source: poets.org)

an ex-judge at the bar | melvin tolson

Bartender, make it straight and make it two—
One for the you in me and the me in you.
Now let us put our heads together: one
Is half enough for malice, sense, or fun.

I know, Bartender, yes, I know when the Law
Should wag its tail or rip with fang and claw.
When Pilate washed his hands, that neat event
Set for us judges a Caesarean precedent.

What I shall tell you now, as man is man,
You’ll find in neither Bible nor Koran.
It happened after my return from France
At the bar in Tony’s Lady of Romance.

We boys drank pros and cons, sang Dixie; and then,
The bar a Sahara, we pledged to meet again.
But lo, on the bar there stood in naked scorn
The Goddess Justice, like September Morn.

Who blindfolds Justice on the courthouse roof
While the lawyers weave the sleight-of-hand of proof?
I listened, Bartender, with my heart and head,
As the Goddess Justice unbandaged her eyes and said:

“To make the world safe for Democracy,
You lost a leg in Flanders fields—oui, oui?
To gain the judge’s seat, you twined the noose
That swung the Negro higher than a goose.”

Bartender, who has dotted every i?
Crossed every t? Put legs on every y?
Therefore, I challenged her: “Lay on, Macduff,
And damned be him who first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’”

The boys guffawed, and Justice began to laugh
Like a maniac on a broken phonograph.
Bartender, make it straight and make it three—
One for the Negro … one for you and me.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

Anonymous said: "I want this, but my career comes first, always. You'd have to be willing to do what I want to do." My response was a stunned silence and whatever sound a heart makes as it deflates. He hasn't been in love before or had much relationship experience, but he is really sweet when we're together. That line though. I mean, really? How can you expect someone else to just agree to drop everything? What about my dreams? You know? If a guy you were into told you this, what would you do?

datebynumbers:

This man may be ignorantly short-sighted or just young, but at least he’s honest. A few years ago, I operated under the same pretense. I avoided true commitment because I wasn’t comfortable with the idea that at points, I would need to forsake my priorities for theirs. I wasn’t able to articulate that at 24, but that was the underlying sentiment. It’s been a curious journey to see how much that has changed since then, how much more fun it is to be there for someone else than just out for yourself. 

Imagine if he’d rephrased it, “I am so excited to have a supportive woman like you in my life, and knowing you’re there at the end of the day will make pursuing my dreams so much easier.” 

Semantics, and you’d be in his arms tonight. 

Outside of all the checklists and nice-to-haves, what I’ve come to understand to be the most important thing to have in a relationship is the assurance that through thick and thin, they will be there. On your best day, on your worst day, on their best and worst days, you will be there. Because there will be promotions and opportunities and big moves and bigger checks, but there will also be sickness and death, depression and grief. And through every perfect wind and wicked storm, you need to have someone on deck who will be willing to weather it with you. You do it together. Not someone who goes below deck during the storm and reminds you that you’re second to his career. Because if he can’t take the time to battle the occasional storm with you, he’ll come above deck to find the doting girl he put second can no longer stand to put him first. You can weather a storm alone, but weathering it with a helping hand resting easy below deck results in the kind of bitter resentment that will sink the ship anyway.

I’d like to say that if a man said this to me, I would have the courage to leave. But circumstances are unique, the heart is a hopeful organ, and when you just want to be there for someone, could there be anything more difficult than walking away?

One of my favorite sentiments around serious relationships is that your only goal should be to just make the other person as happy as you can, to be there for them, to support them, and at the end of the day, because you’re there for them, they will be there for you, too. 

But sometimes, people just don’t have the bandwidth to be there for other people. Maybe it’s timing, maybe it’s personalities, maybe it’s just life, but when someone isn’t able to love you the way you want to be loved, you can’t hate them for it. You can’t hate yourself for it either.

So perhaps the best response is one of equal honesty, “I want this, and I am looking forward to supporting a partner in all their dreams, but only if they are willing to make that same commitment to me.” 

Be easy on yourself, love. People grow up. Circumstances change. And when we’re lucky, we learn from our fears and our mistakes. Don’t let this make you angry. Let it make you sad and disappointed and maybe a little leery, but don’t let it close you off. Life has a way of blooming if you’re receptive to the rain. 

to my oldest friend, whose silence is like a death | lloyd schwartz

In today’s paper, a story about our high school drama
teacher evicted from his Carnegie Hall rooftop apartment

made me ache to call you — the only person I know
who’d still remember his talent, his good looks, his self-

absorption. We’d laugh (at what haven’t we laughed?), then
not laugh, wondering what became of him. But I can’t call,

because I don’t know what became of you.

— After sixty years, with no explanation, you’re suddenly
not there. Gone. Phone disconnected. I was afraid

you might be dead. But you’re not dead.

You’ve left, your landlord says. He has your new unlisted
number but insists on “respecting your privacy.” I located

your oldest son, who refuses to tell me anything except that
you’re alive and not ill. Your ex-wife ignores my letters.

What’s happened? Are you in trouble? Something
you’ve done? Something I’ve done?

We used to tell each other everything: our automatic
reference points to childhood pranks, secret codes,

and sexual experiments. How many decades since we started
singing each other “Happy Birthday” every birthday?

(Your last uninhibited rendition is still on my voice mail.)

How often have we exchanged our mutual gratitude — the easy
unthinking kindnesses of long friendship.

This mysterious silence isn’t kind. It keeps me
up at night, bewildered, at some “stage “of grief.

Would your actual death be easier to bear?

I crave your laugh, your quirky takes, your latest
comedy of errors. “When one’s friends hate each other,”

Pound wrote near the end of his life, “how can there be
peace in the world?” We loved each other. Why why why

am I dead to you?

Our birthdays are looming. The older I get, the less and less
I understand this world,

and the people in it.

When you hate yourself and feel terrible, it makes it more likely that terrible things will escape your mouth. But at the end of the day, being depressed does not excuse being mean. Mean is a choice.

…

Nobody is all good or all bad. We wouldn’t put up with crappy behavior from people if they didn’t have good qualities, and crappy behavior can come in very charismatic and appealing packages. So our sense of fairness and loyalty and what it means to be a good friend gets turned against us while we work hard to see the whole person, but they keep right on being mean. “Why are they doing this?” doesn’t matter. Their depression doesn’t matter. If someone is treating you badly, and you make them aware of the problem and ask them to stop, and they keep going with what they were doing before? That is a strong indicator that you should re-consider having them in your life at all.

…

Please do not sink all of your time and energy into figuring out mean people. Your kindness cannot fill them up, but their unkindness can drain you dry.

Maybe this person will get better, eventually, and maybe they’ll stop being so mean. You do not have to hold out for that day. You can waste so much time waiting for that day. It is okay to say “I hope you feel better, but I can’t be around you when you make mean comments like that, so let’s take a break.” It is okay to hit the “block” button on your chat program and your phone. It is okay to make that a unilateral decision. “I’m sorry, my feelings have changed, and I don’t think it’s a good idea if we are involved.” You are not responsible for knitting anyone back together or waiting out the mean times or spending these precious days worried about someone else.

When you hate yourself and feel terrible, it makes it more likely that terrible things will escape your mouth. But at the end of the day, being depressed does not excuse being mean. Mean is a choice.

Nobody is all good or all bad. We wouldn’t put up with crappy behavior from people if they didn’t have good qualities, and crappy behavior can come in very charismatic and appealing packages. So our sense of fairness and loyalty and what it means to be a good friend gets turned against us while we work hard to see the whole person, but they keep right on being mean. “Why are they doing this?” doesn’t matter. Their depression doesn’t matter. If someone is treating you badly, and you make them aware of the problem and ask them to stop, and they keep going with what they were doing before? That is a strong indicator that you should re-consider having them in your life at all.

Please do not sink all of your time and energy into figuring out mean people. Your kindness cannot fill them up, but their unkindness can drain you dry.

Maybe this person will get better, eventually, and maybe they’ll stop being so mean. You do not have to hold out for that day. You can waste so much time waiting for that day. It is okay to say “I hope you feel better, but I can’t be around you when you make mean comments like that, so let’s take a break.” It is okay to hit the “block” button on your chat program and your phone. It is okay to make that a unilateral decision. “I’m sorry, my feelings have changed, and I don’t think it’s a good idea if we are involved.” You are not responsible for knitting anyone back together or waiting out the mean times or spending these precious days worried about someone else.

(Source: captainawkward.com)

some fan-freaking-tastic advice about toxic relationships for your wednesday: part V 

This isn’t comforting, but I think literally anything that you do here is going to cause a fight. “Hey, can we take a break from talking about Bob tonight?” to just changing the subject “I want to hear about your research. Or that TV show we like. Or, what are you reading lately?” ==> you are challenging Bob’s place at the center of her life ==> You are activating some triggers that Bob has planted about how other people will try to control her and no one can control who she loves !!!!!!!!!! (except…Bob) ==> It plays into Bob’s hands and isolates her further from a voice of reason.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do these things. Someone who can literally only talk about one subject to the point of repeating stories over and over during the same party and relating literally every other topic to that subject is irritating to be around. As another person at that party you’re within bounds to say “That story is as hilarious the third time as it was the first time! Actually, not really, though. Let’s get your drunk ass home!” In the day to day, it is okay to set boundaries like that and continually enforce them. You don’t have to talk about the Bob thing as a whole, maybe just keep it focused on her behaviors. I try to maintain a two-or-three-redirects-and-we’re-done-for-the-day rule for boundary tromping conversations.

I want to address the thing you say in your letter about your own past with a relationship like this. “Am I just reading into things too much, possibly because of my own bad past relationship?” People always want to write off a past history of abuse as unfair “bias”, like, “Well, she’s just saying that because of her own history, so she’s biased and unfair, you can’t expect her to be truly impartial.”

Like “impartiality” and “fairness” is the greatest thing we owe one another when we witness a friend being harassed and browbeaten by someone.

Like abuse doesn’t follow recognizable & predictable patterns and our perception of it must be reinvented from scratch each time we see it happen.

Like our own experiences as witnesses to those patterns somehow make us less believable, less reliable.

Like all of this mistrust of our experiences and pressure to be impartial isn’t deeply, deeply gendered.

I don’t know what will happen to Alice and Bob, but I do know what what you survived made you more able to see what is happening to your friend and gave you more insight and authority. I need the idea that someone who has survived an abusive relationship is somehow less able, less likely, or less reliable in recognizing abuse when it happens to others to die. In a fire.



Come ride my horse made of equal parts fury and disdain for abusers and the culture that enables them by trivializing the experiences of victims.

some fan-freaking tastic advice about toxic relationships for your wednesday: part IV (buddy wakefield edition) 

what happens is, people mistake passion for love. and sometimes, one person falls in love with another person and the person that loves the most, they feel like they’re at the mercy of the person who loves the least. and it causes this person to sit on the edge of their bed for months at a time with the wind knocked out of their heart, dealing with rejection and not knowing what to do with this all-consuming feeling that is overwhelming. this obsession, this infatuation, this burning, desperate thing that some people call love when in fact it’s just a burning desperate thing.

and here’s the deal - you don’t have to do anything with it, except observe it. this fact that you love someone or you want someone, this is not a tragedy. this is a part of the law of nature. but do know that for things to ever get better, you must pass through it. you don’t have to judge it as pain or pleasure, or hate or love, but you must observe it. let it get as big as its going to get, as overwhelming as it may seem. you’ve got to pass through it. 

you don’t give love in order to get love, you give love in order to become love. and it’s okay to keep loving that which you think is rejecting you. i promise it’s for your best. i know how of little worth that statement sounds. 

i know the last time i was in it, my heart got really bruised, worse than ever. somebody in my family said, “buddy listen, you have got to forgive and forget.” and i was like, “ohhh, suck a dick.” 

because i find forgiveness to be the most phenomenal of concepts, but no one in my family ever modeled it so i didn’t know how to implement that tool. in fact, no one in my community was modeling it and as i look further, no one in my government actually models it either. 

and so, forgiveness. what a fantastic concept, right? 

i saw a therapist during this time. the only one i ever paid to see - there were two in college who were free who i was determined were gonna make me straight, but they weren’t helpful. kind, but not helpful. but i did pay to see this one.

i was like, “there’s got to be, like, textbook 101: how to get over this shit.” and i went and saw him and said “listen, boss man. i am in pain. i am deeply in love and it is not reciprocated and i want to die. every day, i think about eating a shotgun and i need to know an effective way to cope. right now.”

and he said, “you are in love?” and i said, “yes.” 

and he said, “who taught you what love is?” and i said, “i guess my parents did.” 

and he said, “how many times did you say they were married?” and i said, “eight. four each.”

there was a long moment of silence and i went, “touché.”

this poem is about forgiveness.

______

listen

______

"forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past."

(Source: m.youtube.com)

some fan-freaking-tastic advice about toxic relationships for your wednesday: part III 

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