to me, insomnia is just another word for creativity… a way for the words stockpiled in my double chin to finally be freed… i overuse ellipses when i’m sober…. and apparently when i drink too. they are like a metaphor for my brain… because it never stops. no thought is ever complete but a series of ideas and hurts and wants strewn together endlessly … relentlessly. and i’ve gotten a little lazy in my capitalization and i’m wondering if this is what it’s like to find your voice… to let the words come out unedited and punctuation a way to stream it all together, poetically, haphazardly – delicately insinuating whats beneath the surface… whats beneath my surface? that’s too personal a question to ask and i don’t think i trust you {or myself} enough to reveal the real sides of me… because maybe the facade isn’t as protective as i thought and maybe if i keep typing – you, someone, anyone … might figure out what’s really going on… and then what? what if the real me is too messy for you to handle? my eyes are magnetic, i’m magnetic i’ve been told, but that’s the facade, right? because when i don’t sleep and my hair is more rat’s nest than wild curls and my intense need for reassurance…. constant reassurance is not really that endearing but a glimpse at what i can offer… a scarred heart half beating, a thinning body shaking in the morning… the food leaves my body almost as quick as i can shovel it into my mouth … so i short-hand that now … its really just a matter of practicality and when i smoke too much at night, theres no one here to judge so it never really happened, right? the way a tree may or may not make any sound when it falls and no one is around to hear it… no ones around me to hear me fall so do i even make a sound now? i don’t know… i know the way my lungs feel more like a heavy metal urn than life in the morning, the way your eyes fill with regret when they see me lying next to you… the way we both make secret, repeated empty self-promises when you leave… i know the way i rationalize your distance, your departure… the way i rationalize why i keep saying yes to you even though i know better… because at this point in my life i do know better, the way i know sleep is important and smoking is bad for me, and the way i know i don’t need to say yes to the next drink, the next fuck, you offer… but i want it too, right? that’s what i say at least. and my answers, my responses and apparent unending acceptance of you are but a few of the thoughts that circulate through my brain and keep me awake…. but truth is – i was real fucked up long before you came around and i really don’t care if you try to take some responsibility for my old vices popping back up… because maybe that guilt keeps you away… and i do want you to stay away because at some point, i’d like to finally sleep again and eat again and no longer wonder why you didn’t fall fully for me like the way you started to… was it because your fingers got caught in my tangled hair too many times? was it because my vices fed your own and you know you’re not strong enough to get better with me in your life? was it because the way i twist words and string them together did little to move you, to wake you? maybe it’s because you knew from the beginning you were only interested in slivers of me but i offered all of me, too much of me – my body and my scarred half beating heart on a silver plate like if i served enough of me up to you, you might eat me whole and i could finally disappear…


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

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




i’m in love with a life i used to live… and at the time i had no idea how perfect it was. I was trying to escape it, trying to improve it or perhaps simply just alter it, ever so slightly… the way you twirl a crystal in the sun to see all the magnificent rainbow beams dance around your room… that’s what i was trying to do – that’s what i’m always trying to do it seems. i get too distracted by what’s ahead, by what’s not working that i simply miss seeing the slivers of perfection and beauty right in front of me, right in me. and now, with my binders and words and doodles from that time so many moons ago, i realize how much about that life i loved and didn’t know… and i won’t let it bitter me… it sweetens me and softens me and helps me sway in a slow-dance at my sister’s wedding sort of way…

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

goodbye, mister


i felt the tide swing the other way and you were gone, even though you never really said anything and when i said space please you said no… but you’re gone and there’s that thing happening again and i can’t tell if you think i’ll just keep riding the wave in the rickety ol’ fishing boat but i get sea-sick really easily and it’s even easier for me to find reasons to flee… this whole time i’ve been tracking my escape routes and so i’m gone too and i really don’t want to do this anymore and i don’t think i can even tolerate seeing your stormy eyes because i’ll want to get closer and see if i can understand, can i reach you, do you even look for me or do you just assume i’ll always be there waiting? which would make sense because those are the kinds of guys i seem to get hooked on… the ones who just expect me to always be standing there, always be forgiving of everything, always be forgetting about me and my own hurts… so i tried to do different this time and opened just a little, just enough to review my escape routes because that’s the kind of vulnerability i can’t do (and i told you that from the beginning) but i also do this thing where i pick these guys who somehow can’t hear my words – my so damn painful to say out loud words that ask nicely, sweetly, pleadingly, to please don’t hurt me in that one particular way they all seem to hurt me… and you are starting to make a habit of hurting me just like that and instead of losing my voice, like i’ve been known to do… i’m leaving you behind


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

sweet rain ramble

4.13.17 … 2am or so…

My brain hurts and it’s awake and some piece of me is like – shouldn’t you be asleep right now? Shouldn’t you be tired? And I am tired but the sweet April rain is distracting and the way his arm weighs me down is distracting and I just want to finish poeticizing everything around me so I won’t worry about the words that I miss and I won’t worry about letting some slip away as they fall into the graveyard collecting at my feet…

I want to inhale everything about this moment where the weight of him reassures me of his desire to be with me because in the morning I’ll wake and find reasons why this wasn’t real and the sweet April rain will be carried away by the morning hustle and the rain will only smell like rain again. Like street cleaners will sweep clean the poetry of last night and he’ll take his blues eyes back and I won’t know what to do with myself again except keep collecting words for the graveyards always at my feet…


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

mid-night purging

This one is an act of vulnerability as it’s really just drafts and late night free-writes as I stumble through trying to shed some old shit, triggered by liking someone. True to my nature, my liking this person waxes and wanes like the moon, so while it comes across as somewhat neurotic and manic, it’s really just capturing the different shades I experience in liking someone. I’m only going to very minimally edit this from its original draft to preserve the act of being vulnerable in a way that is incredibly uncomfortable for me… you’re welcome …

2.???.17 (some time in the middle of the night, when I should have been sleeping next to you…)

(Bob Dylan – to fall in love with you) 

It suddenly all makes sense. so damn painful in how obvious it all is… I haven’t let anyone sleep over, stay in my house, come so close – too close, because that’s where I stumble and get mute. When I can physically have someone within reach but I don’t know how to connect and reach back. so I move around my own home – tiptoeing like a goddamn mouse because if he woke and looked at me, he’d see there’s something wrong with me, and of course I’d be unwilling explain anything. Really I’m just too damn frightened and anticipating rejection, confused eyes looking back at me as I stumble in my inability to explain what’s wrong with me. This is all the same damn shit I’ve been doing since I was 5, tiptoeing in my own damn house, down those front steps as I watched him stumble not quietly enough as he packed his bags and tried to sneak out of my home, out of our lives. everyone slept in their beds, all within reach but no one noticed I couldn’t sleep … that my mind was a landmine and every time a soft, sweet dream started tugging at me, my mind exploded, shaking free from it’s grip. I lingered wearily on the couch for hours on end, filling the space where dreams were trying to occupy with shitty reruns of Geraldo and Cops….


(Lumineers; Bob Dylan, Rhye – Open…; Bukowski poems, Nalina paintings…)

I’m scared and sad and have no fucking clue how to tell this person whom I’m really falling for what’s going on with me as we tiptoe towards/into each other. I really like him… I think. And when I add ‘I think’ to that last sentence, I have no idea if that’s accurate, because a piece of me, not sure if it’s a big piece or small or just a piece, feels like I really do like him… a lot, almost too much; and some other piece, equally unclear of the size or relevance, wonders if I’m making this up? Or am I protecting myself because he’s gonna hurt me, or I’m protecting him because I’m gonna hurt him…??? I mean it’s all possible and frankly it’s all probably true to some extent, but I don’t know what to do … so damned paralyzed in this hellish fear spot that I feel like I’m going insane … again… like I am suddenly 12 and sitting high as fuck, tripping my goddamned ass off, staring in a freakish manner at my best friends wondering if they can see how much I’m falling apart, and not because I’m 12 and all sorts of drugged out already, but because with the drugs I no longer have the strange tenuous grip that I had had for awhile. That with these drugs that make you see things, they will suddenly see into me and I’ll have no more masks or hiding spots. That’s how I feel right now… that when I actually let someone start to look at me, see me… even just a little, he’s going to be able to see how fucked up I really am, how closed off and shut down and unrepairable I am, how fraudulent all this ‘work’ I’ve claimed to have done is… because if it was genuine, legit, healing, I wouldn’t be spiraling while paralyzed like this, would I? I wouldn’t feel like all the different fucked up versions of me crashing around inside of me like a goddamned orchestra lead by some angry fucking chimpanzee that thinks sign language is really absurd for a chimpanzee to be expected to learn and use effectively, especially to conduct a fucking orchestra. That’s how I feel right now… and when the old lady calls me a pussy for not being too warm and points out how my anxiety is seeping out of me, spilling onto her carpet in her room at an hour I should be at home, on a beautiful day I should be outside, I really know no other way to describe what’s happening


(bonnie prince billy – the way)

 I did not fall in love with you. I didn’t. I fell for you, but almost like a stone skipping across the lake, then falling to floor like all the other stones. That’s how it was with you – you tossed me around, skimming calm lake waters – I had a fake mythical experience of pretending gravity did not apply to me. So when I fell quickly and landed with a thud on the cold lake floor, surrounded by so many other pretty smooth stones, I was slightly stunned but also not. Because it wasn’t love, and while I could see falling in love, I don’t think I ever imagined I’d be staying on top of the calm lake surface.


© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



*an early draft… many revisions to come*

Ok, so here’s the deal. I’m 16 and my body is gangly and I keep waiting to see if my breasts will swell to anything more than ant hills and I met this man, this wonderful, sweet man willing to love me up as my world was still smoking from exploding for so many years. Too many years really. So he swept in and helped put glue on the cracks he could find, but it turned out there were too many cracks, most of which were more like canyons carving their way through my young body, and we got lost in all of them. 


And then suddenly I’m 22 and my world is still smoking. And I find myself meeting another sweet man wanting to get so close. He says he loves me right from the beginning and oh please, can’t I just let him in? He brings promises of building bridges over those canyons, he wants to build them he swears. So we get to work, or so I think. But soon the canyons swell with rivers threatening to flood everything around me and he forgets all about the bridges and I watch as so many more pieces of me keep floating away.


So here we are now and I’m nearing 37. I’m trying hard, so damn hard, to really own my geography – with all the steep cliffs lining canyons, river beds parched nearly dry. They are all part of me, flow through me softly now, because I haven’t let anyone get too close for so long. So now I am tiptoeing towards 37 and I am trying to soften my leathering skin, being awed by the parched canyon floors that snake through every nook of my body, lined with dust-covered bones collected of the men who’ve come too close. I want the sharp steep edges to soften like sand tossed around the sea floor for centuries. Because it feels like my life has been exploding for so many years that I should be made of the softest, finest grains that draw you in – you sweet, sweet man …


© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved