grit

i think the dragonflies are trying to find me

bring me the grit i’m lacking

they’ve been circling me for days

as i’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon

of beach sand and tears

hiding on my perch

they keep flying right up to my windows

i think maybe they want me to join them in flight

maybe they know i need to find a way to fly

to spread my wings and let the dust of everything

fall from my bones

fall off my body like sand

i think the dragonflies are trying to find me

they won’t leave me

and i’ve never felt so alone

 

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

 

the eve…

i’m turning 37 tomorrow

so today

I’ll try to make life changes

i’ve been meaning to…

 

i’m gonna clean those garden beds

up real nice and remember

to use my sunscreen

 

i’m going to practice sketching

eyes and leaf skeletons &

maybe even bones since i now have a

collection of them outside my own body

 

my own aging body…

maybe i can study these bones

before i turn 37 & maybe

wisdom & peace will present

itself as if i’m reading tea leaves

 

i’m gonna make my own tea.

pluck all the mint from my own garden

and muddle those leaves

just like i read online

 

and maybe with my sketching

done & bone-tea-leaf readings

finished, I’ll actually sit

 

and soften so I can start

reading  Hemingway again

He must have thought

in ellipses too, like me, because

he’s always going on & on

it’s so poetic. I want to be more poetic…

 

maybe now that tomorrow i’m

turning 37, I can be

more poetic & less of me.

less of a smoker & a

strange lady with too much

sadness in her…

 

i wonder if someone tried to

read my bones like

garden-fresh tea leaves, would

they see all the sadness there? Has it

infected my bones, too?

 

My heart has been a cavern

for sad shit like that but i never

thought about where else the sadness was infecting…

 

maybe the sadness worked its way

into my bones, making

its way into my bloodstream

and is wrapping

itself into my dna

 

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

ritual

 

i can’t talk to you anymore.

i chased a sunset i could never fully see tonight. the exploding tangerine and soft columbine pink popped out behind those mountainous clouds just enough to remind me of the beauty i’m always chasing, the love i’m always hunting. I never find where it starts.

when i got home i took a warm bath and lit my new candle i didn’t buy for you.

i louffa’d my whole body and finally soak-washed my hair. shaved my legs and used that lotion i can never remember to use. my whole face is waxed and i’m not worried about missing eyebrows.

i just can’t talk to you anymore.

my nails are painted red again. i took my mascara off all the way. i scrubbed you off me, left you in the dirty bath water to circle the drain, off me.

 

 

 

©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

survive

 

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

descend

Her eyes are silver slits of pooled mercury

gathering in his hand

slipping through the cracks of his fingers –

she slides down his arm

and begins to descend into a mess

trying to escape herself

She can only be contained

in glass jars she wants to break from

and shatter.

He says he finds her mess beautiful –

he does not want to contain her

and this is the most beautiful thing

she’s ever heard

His words now gather like pooled mercury

in the base of her ears –

he’s the only thing she hears now,

everything else just falls away

When her eyes wrap around his words

and his words wrap around her body,

they boil to the point of explosion

and shatter

 

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

precipice

You leave me behind in my sadness alone, completely alone, because you can’t handle conflict and you won’t do it so you’ll try to wait it out – you seem to think there’ll be an end in sight and perhaps there’ll still be an us when you come back, perhaps there’ll still be a me to come back to… but each time you tiptoe away and leave me hanging on that precipice of us – all by myself, you must not see all the tiny rocks of me falling… falling and falling away from me, out of me… and so I can’t promise you anything or that there’ll be anything to come back to if you keep leaving me alone in my sadness. Because you’re causing it and I’m falling apart for no good reason, and while you asked me not to give up on you, on us… while you reassured me you’re trying to work your way to me… i still feel all alone on this cliff i climbed – thinking you’d be there waiting … but instead you’re with her.

 

 

© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved