YO MAN WINN-DIXIES ARE THE SHIT WALK UP IN THERE WITH A FUCKIN CARD LIKE YO BOUT TO DISCOUNT THIS SHIT HOLLA ONE SIDE PARTNERS NECK DEEP IN FUCKIN POULTRY TASTY AS FUCK HOLLA OTHER SIDE HOMIES DRENCHED IN FUCKIN MERCH AND SHIT FROM HALFWAY ACROSS THE WORLD YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET SHIT FROM HAWAII OR ENGLAND OR INDIA BUT WINN-DIXIE FUCKIN IMPORTS WHATEVER THEY WANNA IMPORT YOU KNOW WHAT THEY DO THEY HAVE THEIR OWN FUCKING BRAND OF EVERYTHING YOU WANT A TURKEY? WINN-DIXIE YOU WANT A DELICIOUSASS POUND OF COOKIES? BAKE THAT SHIT RIGHT AT THE STORE YOU WANT A FUCKING BROOM? MOTHERFUCKERS LIKE ONE TO TWO DOLLARS YOU WANT ONE IN PINK OR BROWN AND IT’S FORGIVING AS SHIT YOU NEVER SHOPPED AT WINN-DIXIE BEFORE???? NAH MAN YOU GET A FUCKING FIRST-TIMER DISCOUNT YOU KNOW HOW RARE THAT SHIT IS WORKERS ARE NICE AS HELL TOO MAN MY DAD IS FRIENDS WITH ALL THE HOMIES UP IN THERE GOIN “HEY PAUL” OR “WHAT UP BERTHA YOUR KIDS OKAY” BECAUSE THEY’RE FRIENDLY AS FUCK CLEANASS FLOORS BITCH KID SPILL SOMETHING??? WORKERS AT THAT SPOT LICKITY SPLIT YOU CAN’T EVEN SEE THE PUDDLE YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT SHIT DONATES TO CHARITIES A YEAR? SHIT DONATES HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR TO CHARITIES YOU KNOW WHO ELSE DOES THAT???? NO???? THAT’S BECAUSE WINN-DIXIE IS AMAZING MOTHERFUCKERS IF YOU AREN’T SHOPPING THERE NOW YOU FUCKIN SHOULD BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS FUCKIN WACK DO YOU KNOW A STORE THAT SELLS FUCKIN EVERYTHING AT A LOW-ASS PRICE FOR THE WORKING CLASS???? YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT STORE FUCKIN LOVES THEIR CUSTOMERS???
When I was 5 I put on my brother’s glasses and
my mom’s shoes and
my dads tie and found my mother at the dining room table crying.
I went and stood right next to her and said I was trying
to make her less sad and then
she told me she was mad at daddy because
he was hitting me and Sam.
I told her, but it’s okay! It doesn’t hurt so bad, I told her
look! No boo boos on my body, look!
I’m okay! And she said, yes,
my little girl is all grown up,
an adult in the body of a five-year-old.
When I was 7 my mom would stand on the sidelines
as my brother’s head cracked and bled
and my dad tied rope around the door knob of my childhood bedroom
and my mom cried and cried and screamed
stop! Stop! And then she let my dad
make my brother bleed and then
she let him lock me in my room and then
two or three days later
my dad would remove the ropes and
my mom would come in and wrap me up in a hug to tell me how
sad it made her that daddy had hurt me and I told her
it’s okay, mommy! It’s okay! And I rubbed her back while
she rubbed me in places for mommy to never touch and
she cried into my shoulder as I sat on the carpet of my childhood bedroom which
was covered in my own urine and feces.
When I was 8 my mom and dad called up to me and Sam,
had us down on the couch for a family meeting, said,
we are getting a divorce and then
my brother was in tears and my mother
was in tears and I said, hey! It’s okay!
And I held my mothers hand and I
rubbed my brothers back and
my dad just kinda sat there as I cared for the two of them.
When I was 9 my dad came to me and said,
was your mother cheating on me with her boyfriend when we were still married?
I said, what? Of course not! She loved you, she loved us. And he said,
okay, thanks, I trust you because I know
that your mom would tell you secrets when
she would come into your room at night.
Then when I was 9 my mom got married to a new man;
she said that she loved him and that
he would treat us better than our dad except that
he ended up being just as bad.
And on their wedding night my mommy cried
after she yelled at me all night because
my dress could have gotten dirty even though
I was unbearably careful not to get my red adult lipstick on it’s ivory white,
she said she wanted me to sleep in her bed.
So mommy and me slept in a king sized lovers bed as
she cried into my shoulder and I told her it was going to be okay and
Because of Winn Dixie played on TV until we both fell asleep and
I was still wearing mascara and
she didn’t notice when it streaked tears on my cheeks because
it was never about me.
Mommy had a baby when I was 10 and he was so cute and
I locked myself in the closet at the hospital and I cried and cried and
I screamed at my mother for ruining his life
and he hadn’t even been breathing for more than 24 hours but somehow
I already knew that he was fucked and
my mom was so angry with me until
at home the next few days I told her I was sorry and then
she cried into my shoulders because
she was sad and had that thing that mothers have when
they have their baby and then become extremely depressed.
Mom comes home with stories from work,
how she hates this person and how
this client is awful and how
this employee sucks and
it’s all work, work, work, and then
yelling when I try to say I can’t handle hearing about work anymore.
I am screamed at for getting sick, then
mommy gets sick and I am on my hands and knees at her bed,
begging her to let me help her feel better
because if I don’t she will stop loving me and
without her love what would I be?
When I was 13 my mom and I fought more than talked.
She tried prying me open because
I had shut myself up tight and all I ever did was silently nod my head
and sometimes say “mhm” and “oh”
to simulate a person who was listening
but my mother needed more of me and
I needed more of a mother and
mommy always ended up the one who got what she wanted and I
always ended up crying alone at night.
When I was 14 my mom took me to a Taylor Swift concert and
in the car on the way there she was silently sulking so
I kept trying to cheer her up and finally it worked and then at the concert she was angry and sad and
I worried the whole time about how I could help her feel better and
I let her touch me in ways which were not okay so she would smile and
then I finally enjoyed parts of the concert until
we got in the car again and I realized I had
used the bathroom in my pants.
When I was 15 I was so used to
being nothing more to my mom than an ear for her
to scream into or cry into that I would constantly forget
to listen to my body and my head.
When I was 15 I never ate and used the bathroom in my pants and
my mom didn’t even notice that I spent most of my time
in bed because unless she was in it with me
the beating in my chest didn’t matter.
When I was 16 I lived with my dad and
my mom would put me in the middle of their fights as
many kids who have divorced parents understand but
my mom would call me in tears to say that
my dad didn’t want me in his life and
as a teenager I believed her because
that’s my mom and I knew so many of her secrets and
why would she lie? And she would call me
and she would cry and
I would tell her it’s okay! It’s okay!
The same way that I always had and
then we would hang up and I would slice open my skin
because what else are you supposed to do
when your mom is using you and
your dad doesn’t want you to live?
When I was 17 and 18 and 19 and 20 I tried to kill myself and
my mom was in tears and she would sit at my bedside and I would say,
It’s okay! It’s okay! Look, the cuts aren’t even that bad,
I’m going to get better and you’re going to be okay and
the boo boos are so small!
And she would cry and I would hold her hand
and I would comfort her as if she was the one
who was laying in a hospital bed with
a stomach that had just been pumped and
stitches up and down her fucking arms and legs.
When I was in treatment centers for
starving myself and slicing myself open and filling my body with poison pills over and over and over again
my mom came into family sessions and
she would cry and say she was always there for me and
why don’t I ever talk to her?
Why don’t I go to her for support?
And I would say,
It’s okay! I love you! You’re going to be okay, we will get through this!
Until the day when I decided that
we wouldn’t because I couldn’t live this life in which
she was allowed to steal my soul over and over and then
get to play the victim for support so
I yelled and screamed and told the therapist
how things really were and my mom’s palms were bleeding because
she always bled when she touched me and the therapist
blamed the thorns which were born onto me
and said that I needed to try and have more empathy.
When I was 17 I lived at my moms house;
I was somehow convinced that it’d be better
than my dad’s because it was the lesser of two evils and
I don’t know if that was true but I know that my mom
had me wrapped around her little finger and
when I moved out of her house she cried
and said she did not think she would be able to live her life
without knowing I was at home with her and
I felt a small pang of guilt because
I held her hand for so long as she told me
she was going to die and she made me believe that
without my hand I would send her to her grave except that my hand had always been coated in thorns, she just
liked to bleed because bleeding meant
she’d get other people’s sympathy.
After I moved out my mother figured out how to fucking live without me
and today she will have to continue to fucking live this way day after day
and then she’ll have to figure it out forever because
I never want to go back to being that girl
who was forced to stuff her head filled with cotton balls
so she could drown out the noise of her mother’s ache after
being shot up with her own poison novocaine.
I was constantly in need of eyes which would see what was happening to me.
I needed her to say no to my dad and then
take the rope off the door and
call 911 when my brothers head would bleed and
I needed her to smell the feces and then
clean it up and protect me and
I needed her to listen to me and to take her hands off my body
when I told her to stop and I needed her to notice
that every single time a tear from her fucking broken eyes landed onto my skin
it created a welt and the welts have never healed
and I needed her to be there but she wasn’t and
now I am permanently scarred because
of the way she used my baby brain as a sponge as if
I was the one who would be able to soak up all of her pain
and then just be able to put it away somewhere safe.
Now here I am, crying because
I am writing ANOTHER fucking poem about
how my mother looked the other way
when I was in excruciating pain and how
I do not have a time machine.
I only have these words and maybe that’s why
all my poems go on for six, seven,
ten pages long;
it’s the only way I can explain that my mom and my dad and
my family and friends were such utter negatives in a life which had the potential to be so positive and how
I have to start from square one because
I never got to have a childhood;
I spent too much time being a mother to my mother and
not enough time wearing diapers and
learning how to walk because
I already knew how to talk when I was too small to know that
being touched and being fucked and being hurt in ways that felt
so bad that it physically shut off your brain
wasn’t okay and
maybe I just have no other way to explain
how much pain my whole entire life has been filled with
unless I go on and on
without knowing when the words are going to stop.
As a child I was a parent and
as an adult I am a child and
I don’t know how to find the in-between.
I am in a weird sort of limbo where
I am trying to keep myself together and I am
trying to keep the adult in me clean while
also crying when I spill milk at the table and
sucking on my fingers in my sleep.
I still hope everyday that my mother
can find a way to be happy, but I know
that her happiness is not going to be found
through touching or talking or stealing my life away from me.
When I was a child, my mom called me her therapist and then
when I grew up I got my own therapist
who I now want to call my mom and
I am endlessly confused and conflicted;
all I know for sure is this:
I am shattered into small pieces,
each holding a memory.
My mom belongs to so many of those parts of me
and I am trying to figure out how
I can throw them into the fire without
being engulfed inside that same flame.
JUST ANOTHER EXTREMELY LONG POEM ABOUT MY ACHING FOR A MOTHER (han hyland)