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



the impression of you

left cold aching on my thighs

flesh pushed into bones

your cold whiskey words

rattled inside my ribcage

an echo falling asleep

i should have known

dancing with a half-dead, always drunk ghost

would leave me haunted


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


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


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


The clouds were working in collaboration with my body today – rolling through my veins – nebulous and grey and overwhelming…

Everything about my being is always so overwhelming and I’ll overtake you if you don’t find protection, if you don’t stay safely tucked away in your past love {I know she’s still your shelter}…

My bones crack louder than thunder when adjusting to you and even when my eyes light up like lightning electrifying the sky, I’ll try so damn hard not to burn you down  {please go away and stay hidden beneath her trees}…



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


he first fell in love with the way she smelled, next it was the way her smile overtook her slender face when her eyes caught his. years after she left this earth ahead of him, he still traced the halls of their apartment for any faint lingering of her. In his final days, he smiled like he a knew a secret, like he knew he would soon watch her face light up as her eyes found his again.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


You make me want to write poetry about us and the complications of everything and I fucking hate you for it. My mind is always trying to twist all the feelings and words into a wonderful maze that poeticizes- beautifies the confusion. It never stops. We never stop and I feel so stuck with you in this winding labyrinth of why is it not working why is it not easier to fall for you the way my heart is falling? I just want to peel you off me like sunburnt skin. I just want to be free. My body is a mess. Everything is a mess with you and I can’t – don’t really want to -break free and there is no comfort in feeling you don’t want me to succeed.


©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


and since it’s all just temporary – does it really matter i can’t tell which way is up with you? i can’t tell if i’m trying to get to the surface to catch my breath, to get away from you or if with you i’m to give in, get pulled down, where my body struggles for enough air as everything around me becomes darker, colder…

and since it’s temporary, does it really matter that i want to do both, that i both crave your hands playing in my hair, crave your shoulder to bite, and hope to never see your mood ring eyes, hope to never watch you watch me again…

but it is so temporary… everything is always so temporary – every fleeting wish, every pitiful plea or schoolgirl sob… so i care nothing about what i should do, care nothing about the pain that lies ahead, care nothing for the boredom that comes from doing what’s right, what’s practical… because it’s all so temporary anyways…


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

this many times

it took me 27 times until i figured it out… that i need to fall fast or i won’t fall at all. i run for the edge of the cliff and my arms are reaching for anything, for nothing … i expect to fly and soar and never even think of gravity… because once gravity becomes a factor, i tiptoe back away from the ledge, and nothing seems beautiful or enticing anymore… and I’ll likely not even wonder what your embrace would feel like because i’m comfortable now, safely on this side of the ledge. and perhaps you’ll still be awaiting my flight, waiting to show me you can catch me. but once i reconnect with reality and science and all that nonsense, i’ll never take the leap. there’s only been a few i’ve been willing to test the theory of gravity on and i can only do it with eyes closed and arms widespread and a silly belief in my ability – in our ability- to soar through the skies, high above all the trees that always seem to tower so high above me


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved