sleepless

19.03.2017

above here is the spiraling night;
effervescent glowing
star tips forming lines
to new galaxies. a map
of phosphorescence,
beacons made cartography.

light is reflective, pooling
in the shadows of the trembling
mind, panic fused as a
grayscale portrait of
agony. the dark can only absorb.
i am torment through osmosis.

and it is bright here, carnival lights
highlight my plum heavy eyes
against my lids and better judgement.
sleep works to be elusive, dodging
the hoops, the vise-like jaw closed,
a tightrope cord against my neck.

jellied brain slogs on with storming
doubts, as a blurry dawn approaches;
my double vision is leaking tears.
striving to suspend my consciousness,
i bruise my knees on hardwood
looking for a star-god on useless maps.

each night i wish to join the cosmos
in sweet vacuous slumber, eyes
that flutter closed with the dusk…
not to spend the hours as if i were
the dead earth crust, ever-awake, and
spinning like a top among the sandmen.

haiku 1

12.09.2016

i am nothing but
a segregate sense of self
and a bunch of bones.

on meditation

9.09.2016

tendons tense. relax
into to place,
(breathe in)
capillaries fizzing
adrenaline veins.

crouch to be disjointed,
head wilting slow;
(breathe out)
a small dizzy spell
and coppery taste.

breathe the fuck in.
breathe the fuck out.
you can calm down.
(i doubt, i doubt.)

be still

8.09.2016

be still. night sky
slow, soft, sure in its ink dark,
stars winking out to swallow me
whole.

the tall grasses
sway in wind movement nonexistent,
moaning roar from water-cars
crashing.

the corpse flower
wafts pungent in the silky air,
catching my nose, my mouth, like
vomit.

and you are there.
black hole eyes staring
endless, palms outstretched.

disappear.

Stitches

7.09.2016

i suppose i must be burlap
if you are wool.
we play at being friends,
we rent our sentiments.
symbiotic tug-of-war.

sometimes you drain
like potatoes in a can.
thick-spun slime melting off
slowly, then all at once;
you don’t keep well.

the world smiles gorgeous
but not for this one,
this one right here
that stabs slivers of glass
into the backs of eyes.

and those hooks! they claw,
they tear scar tissue
anew, and i don’t scream;
you pass over me in shadow.
it is just this again.

i will endure it, endless,
forever cosmos wrapping,
twisting to pull me
into your black mouth.
awaiting the kill.

lost and found

6.09.2016

you send the beacon out.
I sit in the dark, watch the
blooming, bloody red light sizzle into nothing,
and still nothing comes. no matter, you say,
you know the way. you make your maps and
i listen to you, whether I mean to or not.
you go the wrong route, and i follow, I
can’t find the words and my eyes hurt, the ragged breathing,
My mouth

 

yawns wide, canyon-big,
but i can’t tell you
what I think; you don’t want to hear it now.
we should be heading home. we need to backtrack;
back crack from exhaustion, i am the chattle
carrying your precious cargo along a ridge.
rocks snap quick across the edge, skitter into dark oblivion,
and what if I fall in?
i step lightly. I stomp my feet.

fixing pretty

5.09.2016

Here are my nails, unpainted. My face, unprimed.

My hands are clean. My eyes are bleary, but shine. And yet

you find it less alluring than the smoky-look, the polish and

that damn red lipstick, smudging itself

ungracefully on my teeth.

I’m fixing it up. I’ve got paint.

I’ve got brushes for blush and concealer, mascara

that has not quite congealed, old pots of DIY kohl cat-eyes,

and I’ve got the napkin with your number on it.

Yeah. That’ll do.

The List

4.09.2016

I have a little book.

It fits in well; it holds in my hands and on my lap, and it never tells my secrets. The clasp holds tight and hooks my pen. The time has come to open, words creeping out as magnets separate.


  • Grocery shopping.
  • Chores.
  • Clean out that bathroom grate.
  • Bathe the dogs and air the bedding!
  • You still have coursework on the couch.
  • Meditate and practice yoga; don’t get so relaxed, there are about a million more things to do.

I write the date, scrolling through lists past and gaze forlornly upon what I did that same day so long ago. What I didn’t do. What did I not do?

And I write. I write important things. Send that birthday present to her, do NOT forget, you have flaked on her so many times before. And I write mundane things. Laundry. Now. Your socks stink! And I write little, silly things. Play a game. Make a friend. Knit a mouse with a scarf.

Sometimes I cheat.

I write some things I have already done, to revel in the pleasure of crossing them out, to be immediately upon the finish line. I continue to write them, out of habit and not obsessive thought, to see the day when I can have no lingering feeling of something I did not do. Did not get to. Will not get to. Why should I bother?

And of the (hundreds? thousands?) of lists I have made, I have never finished a single day. There is always more to do. There is always a better way, more to be responsible about, more fun to be had than I am capable of having with this list-making, body-aching anxiety of forgetfulness and panic attacks. The falling and not getting up, not today, not now, I just can’t. The perception of failure each new day should be immense. And yet, when I am crawling into bed at night with my well-worn book, looking over what I have done, what has been accomplished despite the time constraints and mind breaks and body complaints feels like I am winning a gold medal for something.

Am I beholden to the list? Or is the list beholden to me?

So here I am fighting through another unhappy winter. Sometimes when I feel like this, I force myself to surge energy through my body, propelling me (at least mentally) to a better place. Sometimes I don’t. I curl up in a nest and sleep a lot, read to distract  myself from the thoughts that scare me, and in general I do not like to speak to others or leave the comfort of my personal, protective space (this is usually my bed). I often wonder what I can do differently, or how I can make myself go out into the world when all I get is a panic attack in my chest and a head full of unwanted ruminations. It does not help that it is such a cold winter in the Midwest, and this limits my ability to take a walk in what I can consider a safe space. Not getting outside makes me feel lazy, which makes me depressed, which makes me feel unable to complete my school assignments, which stresses me out, which causes a panic attack, which makes me tired, which makes me not want to do anything, which leads to me looking out the window and wishing I could go outdoors for just a moment to catch my breath. And the cycle repeats.

I have been perusing my little zine library, because I have a few relating to depression (if you suffer like I do, pick up Maranda Elizabeth’s “Winter Survival Guide” zine. I hope they’re still selling it on Etsy….). But lately, reading about depression only serves to make matters worse. I used to love the winter. I don’t know what happened. I suppose that maybe it’s just that any season is no good without friends, and with the prospect of nothing going the way you want it to, and the feeling (however it may be misconstrued) of everybody breathing down your neck with a mouthful of flames.

I don’t know where I was going with this. I suppose just rambling for the sake of some peace of mind. I will hope that winter ends swiftly, and the grass turns green, and I will lose this unwelcome and sickening visitor like a shortening shadow.

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I got a new zine submission for the distro! It’s on my Etsy page! Submitted by Neo of Washington, this awesome 30-pager is full of short stories, self-described by the author as “short stories from a long wild life that I am excited to have lived and surprised to have survived.” It’s called I Know You Know My Heart #1, and it’s SO WORTH the $3.50. Plus, each cover is hand designed by the maker! And don’t forget to check out Neo’s blog at iknowyouknowmyheart!

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If you know anyone else who makes zines and is looking for a distro to host their work, tell them to contact me at paperdollcircusdistro[at]gmail.com

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On a less enthusiastic note, I’ve decided enough is enough, and I’m heading back to school. In the past, my record has been far from exemplary. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have a problem with learning. I love learning. I love reading, writing, participating, even math! (I will admit I hate doing group projects, though. This is COLLEGE, not a middle school book discussion. I don’t want to meet up with three strangers at a Starbucks and make a PowerPoint). What I DO have a problem with is anxiety. The….well, “episodes” I have are completely crippling. I finally went on medication this year that seems to be helping, at least in the short term, and I feel it’s now or never to return to class.

But how am I gonna pay for it? I don’t have a real job and of all the places I’ve applied, not a one has called or returned my call. I guess it’s just not a good market. I felt like I was pretty hire-able. I’m not a drug addict, a drinker, a no-show or an irresponsible worker. But people just aren’t hiring me. What else can I do?

Yeah, I know, loans. The thing is, even at 21 years of age, I’ve never gotten a credit card. Every time I apply, I am refused because, and I quote, “You don’t have enough credit.” Well no shit! I have also applied to FAFSA before but didn’t get anything. I’m trying again but I’m not optimistic.

I guess I never realized how expensive real life is. I feel sick recalling the day I spent $100 on new clothes at Forever 21. I wish I had been more money-conscious. Now I’m paying for it. Does anyone know where money can be made? And no, jokes about selling my body will not be laughed at or tolerated.

Luckily the candle business is steady enough that I have a couple hundred dollars saved up for the first month of my payment plan. But if I can’t come up with something more substantial by June….I just don’t know.

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