I have vices that shame me

vices that glorify me

vices that whip a cocoon around me…

vices that see me and want to hide me and protect me … from me.

I am my vices

i am my own cocoon

i am me and there is no hiding me.

i am me…

even when i can’t stand to see me

even when i need a cacoon to protect me and hide me.

i am my father’s daughter…

i am a sliver of a monster you deposited in my mother to create me.

i am a monster using vices to hide the real me because the monster that is in me

i know i can never escape


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



our bodies are like magnets and when i don’t resist you its because i know i’m powerless against the pull we have towards each other

the way our lips feel pressed against each other

the way we move in unison

the way i infuse you and you invade me….

it’s too much to resist

so i give in and in the moment, it makes sense there’s no way to say no

so each time my body sees yours…

each time our eyes lock on each other and i feel my body aching for you to set it free…

i give in and i’m left wondering…

am i slowly dying or am i slowly coming back to life?



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



This is how you’ll do it….

  1. find yourself deep in the woods and stop. look up. look around. look at how the forrest makes space for trees newly growing and nearly dead. one feeds the other and there is no question about what comes next or if it was all worth it. drop those thoughts among the discarded branches and decaying logs. even that old stump rotting from the inside out has purpose and a place in those woods.
  2. put down that bottle and let your veins flow with the sadness and pain that needs to flow through you, to flow out of you. never question if you can survive this. you are a warrior. you are a sage with wisdom gained from all those other times you felt yourself split into two. felt yourself splinter into a million pieces. realize you are both caterpillar and butterfly. both ashes and phoenix. remember the beauty when you spread your wings again and fly. remember every birth is just another rebirth and you keep choosing life.
  3. tell your tears you need to keep your salt now. you are no longer able to water the earth. nourish yourself. let the wind chap your face and the sun caress your shoulders the way he used to, just the way you liked. and know this, remember this. that with or without the warmth of the sun shining directly on you, you will always keep growing. you are more resilient than the hostas that lined your childhood home. you have pushed life from your own body. you have had men – both welcomed and invasive, try to chip away the pieces of you they found beautiful and keep them like you are a souvenir. and you did not let them. just like you will not let this heartache be anything more than transient, anything less than necessary.
  4. breathe. again and again and again. put out the cigarette. fill your lungs with air that no longer smells of him. know this is ok. inhale the perfume from your mother’s dresser you needed to stand on a chair to reach. stand tall and proud.  exhale. you no longer need to hold your breath. you have bones stronger than granite, passed down generations for occasions just like this.
  5. look up to the constellations. remember you are never alone. use this earth as your guide. he was never your compass and you were never lost. listen to how the moon and the ocean dance at night. cast all this resentment, self-doubt, pity, out to sea. be tidal in your forgiveness. do not forget that sand must be tumbled without mercy, repeatedly, to soften.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


and when i see you i don’t see pink anymore… i don’t see the color of bleeding hearts in May and i think i forgot how to eat when we met so now my thighs are fading into a pale soft pink, so light you almost can’t see them anymore

i like how the rain smells in the morning without you and i don’t think i mind that i no longer can see the pink sunrise from your room …. it all just faded into the typical blue sky anyways… even on grey days the sky was becoming predictable

i don’t mind that the color of pink is yours, not mine – i never really cared for any of those too soft and too delicate shades – i like my hues less subdued and bold like the color of the sky exploding in protest going down for the night…

and i don’t think i like the color of you anymore…

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


I was better left undone in that pile of debris on the floor

left unswept and ungathered, left behind to tangle with cobwebs and dog hair

I was no sooner getting comfortable in my dusty ways when the door swung open

and nearly blew me away.

You act like a god with thunderous steps and expect me to reorganize for you

to crave your cleansing ways…

but I much prefer to lay in the dirt and

nestle into cracks and grooves ready to hold me infinitely

than feel as if the only place you want to find me is at your feet.

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



You just keep pulling strands of her out of your mouth-

and you never figure out

she’s not a real girl,

made of bones and dreams


she’s stained sheets

drying on the clothes line, waiting

for the wind to stop and

the sun to bleach her clean


she’s a haiku

with too many syllables, waiting

for someone to edit her and rearrange her back

into something beautiful


she’s papier-mache

drying into a piñata, waiting

for the bats to swing, knowing

they will never break her all the way

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


when she sleeps in your bed the first night, she doesn’t sleep –

she floats above sleep the whole night,

stiff as a board, ears so attuned to your chest rising and falling

to match it well enough you won’t notice she never fully gives in

a few hours earlier, she nestled her head on your shoulder

eyes memorizing all your freckles and faded tattoos, her fingers tapped softly on your skin

your hands felt like dulled sandpaper and they never left her body –

you rubbed the small of her back rhythmically until you drifted away

her dreams were minimal that night and in the morning, when

she popped up too quickly, you made her eggs and avocado wrapped delicately in tortillas

she could feel you lingering all over her –

in her hair that you grabbed,

the small of her back that you sanded…

she let the sounds from your speakers fill her ears as

she pulled on her lips that you kissed just moments before

and even as she sipped coffee from that handmade mug you picked up last year,

she still tasted your breath in her mouth…


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


I felt myself dip —

too deep, almost- into the cold,

cold stream, my breath caught

on the branches

above, dressed in pearly

white fur and sap

I felt myself plunge —

immerse my whole body, almost –  into

the frigid, frigid air, my bones

now icicles, my flesh frozen- molts

like a python, shimmering

like diamonds caught

in moonlight, I emerge —

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



it’s not infrequent i cringe

at myself in the mornings

the night before fuzzy like a plastic magnifying glass

i can’t seem to shake you

i can’t seem to hold onto me

long enough, strong enough

to fully break free

in the morning with sobriety pulling back the sleep from my eyes

i cringe at what i see, what i’ve become

and heavy is the weight of it all

so by nightfall

i slip back into you, back into drink

back into the safety of your plastic promises


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



i can feel your body walking

away from this world

soft steps across the calm lake surface

your horizon fading and we all watch

the moon and darkness overtake the skies

in the morning

when you no longer walk this earth

your footprints will blossom into a million wild flowers


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



somehow when he tells me how sexy i am

it doesn’t feel like a compliment

it feels like an explanation

like a justification for why he’s fucking me

for why i’m in his bed this time…

but i swallow his words the way i try to swallow him, that moment

choking against my tonsils

the confusion scraping against my teeth

he mistakes my moaning, my gagging for


he doesn’t realize that when i say

oh baby, when he’s saying goddamn woman,

i’m really saying

i think you’re sexy too –

and i don’t mean that as a compliment


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

hangover eyes

You always have hangover sad eyes in the morning

I’m left trying to figure out me and how to respond

Do I feel guilty for providing my body –

another one of your vices?

Do I feel shame you can’t wake with the same glint in your eyes

when the vodka is gone?

when you see me next to you in the morning?

Do I feel embarrassment

you find me sour like the hangover that plagues you all day?

Maybe I could take your sweet nothings you whispered to me while we fucked –

sew them into the lining of my purse

Maybe I could photograph the way your eyes lit up last night –

tint it into sepia for the faded and timeless effect

So when I’m filled with doubt and

my own bitter regret

I can pretend

this was a timeless affair

this was an aftershock for both of us

this was real


you are not always my favorite past-time…

there are those days

when the blue skies stretch endlessly

and i get lost among all the blades of grass outstretched and dancing

the wind carrying me effortlessly from past to present…

if I told you you were just a metaphor and all

the scars carried over from past lovers

was just an analogy for how

i crave my lovers extinct and distant

would you look for your own blade of grass to get lost in

or maybe

you’d try to make my bruises your home

or maybe you’d

just sit back under outstretched blue skies

and mistake my scar-tissued body for

the softness of fresh grass under bare feet



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved