You are always the outcast, whether by choice or circumstance. Dead boy walking, wolf among the flock, they always sense something off about you. You’re not the mass shooter but you are the kid with the shiv, sharp little blade or shard of glass at the ready in your hand. I doubt you mind it, though; you took to tricksters’ robes easily enough, comfortable in a skin that lets you move swift and silent, to twist away from danger or around for a bite, and are tricksters not always on the fringes? They’re in our blood, too, that ancient herding instinct that cries alarm at the faintest scent of danger. And you are danger, they know that, though they don’t know how they know. A thousand dead generations in their DNA just scream run. Tell me, ghost, specter, beast, monster, what instincts rise up in you when you smell their fear?
anyway i’m not that girl anymore, the one who could vomit up rosewater and butterfly wings, who got high on three part harmony and stayed up late to spill her soul out in ellipses and too much italics, she’s been gone for a while now and who knows what happened to her, drowned in the well i heard or maybe i’m just mixing too many metaphors but either way i guess i’m the thing she left behind that waited to be found again, come see me, invite me in so i may show you my corpse-smile, look at my broken fingers and splintered nails from trying to haul myself out, but even this is boring, good god, who cares, who gives a shit, i’m so done already, and i guess all i’m saying is i’m beginning to understand what floating in a well for seven days might do to a kid, you know?
my mind is a house full of hallways full of doors and some of them are open and some of them are locked and some of them are upstairs and some of them are downstairs and some of them lead to other hallways and some of them lead to other floors but none of them lead outside the house and none of the rooms have windows and sometimes i want out so bad i tear at the wallpaper until my fingers bleed but most times i forget there is an outside at all and maybe there really isn’t one anyway so why go to the trouble in the first place?
my mind’s a house full of hallways full of doors, etcetera etcetera, blah blah blah, you’ve heard this all before and so you already know how sometimes i go flying through like a poltergeist, tearing off picture frames and shattering mirrors, banging on the walls with my fisted hands, and other times i pace up and down the halls wailing like a banshee, pulling at my hair and rattling my chains, but nothing stirs, no one answers, it’s all just echoes down the corridor or in the empty rooms whose doors stand open wide ’cause they’ve got nothing to hide, after all there’s no one here to keep out or in, just me, just me to haunt this abandoned body
there are some things i can only write about at very specific times, like when the moon is just a sliver in a sky the color of my freshmen year of college or the afternoon sun is slanting just like it did that day in eighth grade, when i’m driving the old back roads home from a theater that hasn’t changed at all in twenty-five years or listening to a song i wrung all the emotion from while i walked endless circles around campus late at night, but even then i must hurry to capture the fleeting, fickle moment before it passes and i am left too weary to write another word, too empty to perform another grand resurrection of my old ghosts and demons and long beloved spirits, and in the morning or the next day when i go back to reread those scribbles i’ll just be disappointed anyway by how impossible it is to capture such ephemeral experiences, so i’ll think why do i even try, why do i bother robbing graveyards, and then i’ll ctrl+alt+delete my way out of all memory but today’s
Seven gates. Seven gates and seven items. Seven gates and seven items surrendered as payment to pass through until at last the goddess Inanna stood naked before Her sister’s throne; no dress, no crown, no jewels to mark Her as the Queen of Heaven, just flesh and bone and bravery. Yet still She was Inanna, even crownless, even when Ereshkigal struck Her dead and hung Her corpse on a hook for three full days. She knew what waited for Her in the underworld and yet She went there anyway in order to know Herself better. To follow Inanna’s path I too must pass through the seven gates, and thus I too must relinquish the seven aspects of my identity with which I define myself. But what are those seven aspects, and who am I without them? Will I like the person I meet beneath the layers of armor and artifice? I do not feel nearly brave enough for such a confrontation, yet I am taking my first hesitant steps along that path all the same. The first gate approaches.
I am a corpse filled with rot
yet look how I dance!