College Poetry Journal – AKA When I Thought Words Had Meaning

While I was going through my closets trying to find shit to give to goodwill today, I ran across a journal I kept between 2005 and 2007, my sophomore to senior years of college. Some of this stuff is pretty great.


Ben says that he’d rather amputate his cock than an arm.

He says it only gets him into trouble anyways.

I say that if he had been systematically denied any manifestation of a sexual self by a misogynistic culture he’d feel differently (as I do).

He says that, in a culture that makes him a misogynist, it would be a relief to no longer be an oppressor.

I read this to Ben. He says he still feels the same. With standard Ben practicality, he stated that he does lots of things he enjoys with his arms, and only 2 things he enjoys with his dick. Then he said “Man, you sound so fiery and idealistic.” Then he sighed.



I come, at heart, and in my entirety
From the gutter.

Who could have asked for a better jumping off point?

Everywhere else is clean and sparkling
And when I’m overwhelmed with the fresh-smelling, bright-shinning world

I know where I belong.
Even if I never go home.



Every night my boyfriend checks the locks
He checks because he thinks that the danger is outside.
He doesn’t seem to think locks can also keep you in.

My mother calls, I wait for voice mail.
You never can tell.
She’s detoxed again, was out of control.

My mother calls and tells me to look at the moon.
It’s beautiful and we look together.

My mother at Christmas tried to fight me on the front lawn.
I could feel the neighbors watching.

My grandmother calls, I wait for the voice mail.
You never can tell with that one either.

After the fight, I was driven back home.
Tell my grandma I love her.
Tell my mother I’m sorry.

Call me, and maybe I’ll tell you I didn’t mean it.
Maybe we’ll look at the moon.

My phone, and your phone, and the moon between us.

Let her. Let her turn out like her mother.
That bitch never listened.

Let her.
Don’t tell her.
Let her fail.
And she’ll learn.



I wanted to work hard
So hard I ached

I wanted to drive home with the sunrise at my back
And tobacco in my lungs
And my shitty radio
As loud as it could go

I wanted to be good
But only because I was good

I wanted to sleep the whole night
Naked with my love

I wanted to be smart
And I wanted people to think I was smart

I wanted to be important to myself.

I always wanted crazy hair
And thrift store clothes
An old truck
A little red car
An old clunker

I wanted to be fiercely independent
And I wanted to move away while I was young

I wanted it all



I am the nothing that has no seat in this house

Hurtling across the west coast
I am the nothing
Alone on this plain
on this train
on this greyhound bus

I am the nothing inside of me
That prevents me from you



He never chases me into the yard

I was not a child who was afraid of the night
And I was not a child who was afraid of the dark

Old rooms in old houses are dark
Old rooms used for storage of unwanted things
Old dark storage rooms are to be fled from

Overgrown yards of old houses
Covered in moonlight and mongrel dogs
Hold no danger for running little girls

I bathe in moonlight



I’m sorry that I laughed

When you said that your people came from dirt

I really should be nicer to ignorant white women

If your people came from dirt
It was dirt they stole from mine

Sorry again for the outburst
You were only talking

Just a minority moment
Where I get to blame you
For everything that went wrong