I want to take my pants off in workshop

They’re suffocating me.

How am I supposed to write clothed
when all I want to do is strip naked
and start making love to you?

I write better poems
on your abdomen and thighs,
between your fingers,
and on the bottoms of your toes,

so what’s the point
of writing in a classroom
at a table
in a chair
bent over a computer
completely clothed?

Do Not Write Confessional Poems About Anything

My uncle called me. He couldn’t finish my first chapbook. It was too vulgar. My aunt whispered to me through my smart phone’s speaker that some things just weren’t meant to be written about.

She then asked me if I‘d been drinking.

I told her “only enough to make me vomit” even though I hadn’t touched alcohol in over a month.

One of my mom’s ALNON sponsors was in rehab. She was in her late fifties. She had two kids, a dog, a cat, and a wife. She had been skimming money from work to buy pain pills from the people they’d been prescribed too.

One of the author’s whose books I had just put together had sent me a message a few days before saying he’d fallen off the wagon. He was going into rehab. All progress on his work would have to be stopped till his release.

When my aunt hung up after a hurried promise of calling me soon, I went to my friend’s dorm room, sat on her bed and twisted open a Mike’s Hard Black Cherry Lemonade. I wrote a poem on my phone’s note app about what it felt like to vomit alcohol. I erased it when I could see the bottom of the bottle.

Part of an essay from one of my CRWR classes. Enjoy!


“Remind me not to take my medicine,” I told Elizabeth, as she pulled my shirt over my head. I burped. The taste of vomit filled my mouth. I swallowed it back down.

“Why?” She asked, putting my shirt in the wastebasket. She moved to help me remove my bra, but I batted her hands away. I unclipped it in the back and then covered my breasts with my arms.

“I’m not supposed to drink with it.” Elizabeth picked up the bra with her index finger and thumb, trying to avoid touching any part of it that had the orange-brown vomit on it.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine.” She said, shaking her head and opening the shower curtain for me. I stepped in, one arm still wrapped around my breasts, the other leaned on the wall, making sure I didn’t fall.

“You don’t understand.” I said as I tossed my underwear over the shower curtain. I turned on the water and listened to it hit the bathtub. It pitter-patted as I heard Elizabeth leave the room. I leaned my head up towards the water, letting it wash the vomit from my face.

You weren’t supposed to drink on antidepressants. There was a label on my pill bottle that read in big capital letters “DO NOT CONSUME ALCOHOL WITH THIS MEDICATION.”

I had stared at it plenty of times. I knew every direction on the pill bottle by heart. Take three pills with water once a day. I knew the side effects: the nausea, the drowsiness, the potential increase in suicidal thoughts. I even knew the address of the Walmart the prescription had been issued from. 3475 Parkway Village Court, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.

I’d even recited them once or twice to help me fall asleep.

I knew that you were supposed to take the pills with water, not with alcohol. I also knew that you were also supposed to drink water between shots.

I opened my mouth and let the shower water fall in it. Now I was drinking water, did that count?

I picked up the shampoo bottle Elizabeth had placed on the side of the tub and peered at it. I couldn’t quite read the letters saying its scent. Everything was a little fuzzy. If someone put my pill bottle in front of me, I doubted I would be able to read the warning on the side. That’s why I told her not to let me take the blue and white pills.

I didn’t want to take them too.

Every time I took them, I wanted to take the index and pointer fingers of my right hand and touch the back of my throat. Of course, that was part of the reason why I was taking them anyways. They’d thought I was beginning to lean towards anorexia and/or bulimia, though the therapist had never diagnosed either.

Perhaps she would have if my mother hadn’t been sitting next to me in her office, reminding me what I could and couldn’t talk about.

You just didn’t talk about certain things. Particularly not with a therapist. My mother always made sure I knew what I could and couldn’t say. Before I had my first one-on-one meeting with a therapist, she took me aside on the sidewalk and told me in a loud voice “DO NOT TALK ABOUT SILLY THINGS WITH THE THERAPIST.” She looked me in the eyes till I nodded.

When I lived with my mother for the summer a few years later, she took her Ambien with premium Bud Light every night before bed. That was something you didn’t talk to a therapist about.

I rubbed the shampoo into my scalp, letting the bubbles fall down the sides of my head and drip on to my shoulders. It smelled like coconut. I hated coconut.

Another draft for my CNF class. We’re playing with writing scenes using rules that have shaped your life.

A Preliminary Bibliography of Sexuality

American Indian Myths and Legends Selected and Edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz

On the island in the middle of the river, the man in the dress told the girl that he had a growth between his legs. He said the only way he could get it removed was to put it inside of her.

He put it inside her, and she screamed.

I looked between my legs. I didn’t have a growth. I didn’t understand why.

The Aretfacts of Power by Maggie Furey: “Aurian” “Harp of Winds,” “Sword of Flame,” and “Dhiammara”

The prince got on top of the bird girl in the woods. He bruised her spindly bird legs. He held her down, getting dirt in her feathers. She cried.

My mom checked the book before I took it to school. She flipped through the pages looking for “sex scenes.” She said she didn’t trust my dad. Said that he’d probably given us porn accidentally or something. I asked her what porn was. She rolled her eyes and told me she wouldn’t fall for that.

Cosmopolitan (Issue Unknown)

She had really pretty lips. They were pink. Painted pink with lipstick. It was a bubblegum pink. A pretty bubblegum pink. I wondered if she tasted like bubblegum. Maybe she smelled like bubblegum.

I leaned closer to her, trying to bury my nose in her sweater without her noticing. She was too busy reading. There was a list in her magazine that had caught her attention. It was titled “Orgasm Tips.” I looked over her arm and read with her. I was at a high school reading level, according to my teachers, so I could read this. Probably. My teachers had been telling me to push myself. They said to expand my reading material. The bubblegum lady looked smart, so her magazine was probably smart.

Her list said you should put your heels on the wall of the bathtub so that the water from the faucet would hit between your legs. It was supposed to make you scream.

I wanted to ask the bubblegum lady if she had ever done that. If the bathtub had ever made her scream. But she got up and went to the bathroom, taking her magazine with her.

Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle

Fumbling hands. Pushed up shirts. Heavy breathing. Alcohol. They didn’t know. They hadn’t known they liked girls. They’d said they hadn’t known. But didn’t they always know? Hadn’t I always known?

Draft of something I’m working on for my CNF class. What do you all think? I will, hopefully be adding more to this over time as well.