“Wanderlust Soldier”

The greatest mistake I ever made,

Was falling for you.

It was doomed from the start,

And we both knew.

I could see behind your eyes,

And I could see beyond your lies,

Just a wounded boy who wanted to be loved.

Inscribed upon your body,

And written all over your face,

A wanderlust soldier,

Who always felt out of place.

Still searching for something,

You’ve lived a hundred lives.

You’ve got a lifetime of stories,

As you near 35.

My wish for you,

From a thousand miles apart,

You find what you’re looking for,

And listen to your heart.

As Yet Untitled

My brain spills over,

With existential dread,

Thoughts running wild,

The hamster wheel in my head.

Another shot of whiskey,

To quiet these fears much too real,

Two sips to numb,

The pain that I feel.

To my dismay,

I’m just like them all,

The higher your standards,

The harder you fall.

Spent my life searching,

For what, I can’t tell,

But it’s not in that bottle,

My own personal hell.

When I think of my father,

His brain soaked in beer,

I think of childhood trauma.

And a household of fear.

In running away,

I’ve moved closer to fate,

Of easing the anger,

And healing the hate.

Though the wounds are still present,

And growth, it comes slow,

I’m a worthwhile person,

And I’m stronger than I know.

For My Mom, Who Dreamed of Getting Published

Recently, I have been working on a column for a major comedy website. Since I don’t want to jinx its potential publication, I won’t divulge any further information. Getting a by line on a popular website is a huge accomplishment in my writing career, such as it is. I didn’t go to school for writing, but I’d be foolish not to pursue something for which I have a natural talent.

In that way, I am most definitely my mother’s daughter. She was always reading something new, sometimes finishing a book a day. She took us to bookstores, libraries, and instilled in us an appreciation for eloquence and the written word.

Mom’s skill for writing was put to good use when my sister and I were kids. She told us bedtime stories that she had made up, created games for us using her imagination, and even wrote rhyming clues for a Halloween party scavenger hunt. However, her dream was to be published.

My love of words started early, thanks to a mom who was dedicated to making sure that her dangerously-premature twins weren’t developmentally delayed. For all the flaws my mother has, for all the resentment I may have towards her, I have to give her credit for all the energy and effort she put into making sure we were ready to start school. She read to us, taught us, played with us, and in general made sure that we wouldn’t be limited just by having been born so early. As a result, the opposite was true. I learned my alphabet at 3, and I could read by 4. When my sister and I started kindergarten at 5, we were far ahead of the other children academically. While she was proud of us for being so bright, tearing herself away from us was difficult on that first day of school.

My dad worked a lot, and when he wasn’t at work, he was drunk. Therefore, my mother did a lot of the heavy lifting of parenting alone. One child would be difficult enough, but they had twins. How she managed to do this with two children who had such differing personalities is beyond me.

She always believed in writing what you know. So, on that day she saw us off to our first day of school, August 16, 1993, she wrote a poem chronicling our early health struggles, her sleepless nights, and the heartache of being without us for the first time. Her aspiration was to get this poem published in a women’s magazine. You know the kind, the magazines that cater to “domestic goddesses,” with recipes and child-rearing advice, and writing submissions from readers that pay small amounts of money. She submitted her poem, and it was rejected for publication. To my knowledge, she has never tried again to get published. In my house growing up, before my parents were divorced, there was a copy of her poem hanging on the wall by the phone in the kitchen. (I’m really showing my age in that there was only one phone for the family. It wasn’t even cordless!)

These days, my mother still has her artistic hobbies. She makes earrings, takes photos, collects seashells, and delights in decorating her apartment with various beach-themed tchkotches. She seems happy, but I know that she always wanted more for herself. Every time we talk, she praises me for my ambition, resourcefulness, and tenacity. She was always easily discouraged, so she is proud of me for my dogged determination to create a career for myself doing what I love. She has always encouraged my talent for writing and would consider me successful even if this upcoming column is the only thing I ever publish. So, here you go, Mom, this one is for you.

“Favorite Mistake”

Thinking about where we were a year ago, baby,

Just me and you on a hot August night.

Your green eyes sparkled, and I could see through you.

We put everyone else away,

And it was just me and you.

Your smile, so mischievous,

If only I had known…

You made me feel like no other,

You know that it’s true.

Who knows who else you were saying those things to?

But I don’t regret you,

Our time was much too sweet.

The inscription reads, “Love Conquers All,”

Tragically, it is your downfall.

Another whirlwind romance,

Another temptation led astray,

And now I leave the past behind.

For a moment, your affection was inspired,

For a moment, I was your redheaded spitfire.

And you, you’re my favorite mistake.

“Walk Away”

You know how it feels when you can’t hold on,

That feeling you have when all hope is gone.

Nothing is forever, and it’s time to move on.

You’ve spent too much time hoping for what was futile all along.

You look at reality, and it was always so clear,

What took you so long to get yourself here?

There’s no reason to cry,

Just say goodbye.

Turn around and walk away.

Nothing will change as long as you stay,

Waiting for the time to be right.

It’s not meant to be,

It’s obvious to see,

There’s no reason to fight.

It feels as if you’re giving up,

It feels like hope is lost.

Your heart has been breaking piece by piece,

Giving it away at what cost?