18 Truths and a Lie

Spiders don’t scare me
but I fear the sea
and also big fish
but I am compelled to the ocean
like Renfield. Before I was two
I fought a dachshund for a sweet roll
and lost. The doctor was three sheets
to the wind when he stitched up
my face. To this day
I have a debilitating fear
of breakfast pastry.
I’m allergic to wool and cashmere.
I used to have no fear
except bridges; my eyes can’t tell
if I’m two feet up or twenty
but I wanted to fly helicopters
for the Coast Guard. Last night
I dreamed I wedged in too tight
while spelunking, which is a silly word
for a way to bury yourself and die.
Today two love songs made me cry.
Today my father-in-law got out of jail.
My church wants me to preach.
I used to say I’d never teach.
Sometimes I don’t know what to do.
None of these things are untrue.


This is what you need to know:
It is okay.
It is okay to doubt,
to fear, to worry,
to lose sleep over things you can’t change.
It is okay to turn your back
and walk away
or to curl up and close up
and say no — no more, not now.
It is okay to cry.
It is okay to feel alone among friends
and so damned crowded
alone in your own head.
It is okay to stop.
It is okay to feel anger
when you know you should feel love.
It is okay
you are going to be okay
and then
you can breathe again.

In the Beginning

I am not a God; I do not create.
I stagnate. I am empty. The greatest
art comes from a place of pain, so
here, God damn it — here is my
pain, here is my rage and my drowning
sense of hopelessness, here are my
tears and smeared mascara and stiff
neck muscles and nightmares, all piled up
at my feet — make something of that!
Combine these elements and animate them
into a muddy golem of despair.