Wednesday, October 19, 2016

In loving memory of my salad

I'm aware that salad is not finger food.
But oh, how crisply carrots crunch upon the tongue!
How delicious lettuce greenly lies!
And cucumbers --
                  to speak of cucumbers is to speak of paradise

Home seems still so far away;
Perhaps if I pick off a leaf here,
                                       a sliver there,
I can cool my parched throat
                  without doing my poor salad too much harm

All the world is bright about me,
And my heart is light as crisp cool greens
                   I'm halfway through my salad
                                       I think I ate more than it seemed

As finally I mount my doorstep,
                 Turn my key and slip inside,
                                       I set the box down on the table
                                       Ready to taste the treasure inside

I open the lid -- but what is this?
No leaf of lettuce to be found!
                  O woe! Ah me! O misery!
                  A tear wells up within my eye

I meant to take a little taste,
                  To ease my walk,
                  And yet it seems -- o dreary thought--
                                       I ate up every bite!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Unwelcome Visitor

I’m so drowsy; I need tea. Coffee!
Something with sugar and milk and caffeine
But that little dragon is curled up on my chest
digging in needle-claws
just above my heart

He loves caffeine even more than I do
He likes to take the energy my mind needs
Keep it all for himself
And I draw a breath in
I can’t let it out
he's crushing my lungs

Sometimes, if I let him feed, he grows
Then he holds captive not just my heart
Not just my lungs
But slithers his long neck and tail beneath both breasts
all the way around to meet between my shoulderblades
in a python's embrace
my ribs are cracking

I feel his heart beat scorching against mine
heat and tightness that won’t be dispelled by indrawn breath
or gasping cries
I scream sometimes
and cry
I beat my forehead on the steering wheel
and the gentle thuds do nothing to drown out
that little dragon
who whispers to my heart all the fears he reads there
“He’s mad at you”
“She’s never liked you”
“Why did you ever let them see your story?”
They hate you
They hate you
And don’t you hate you, too?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Post-Breakup Slam Poetry (everyone's favorite!)

An acronym for you
Don't you see all
I do? I simply
Can't believe you don't
Know how
Hard I worked against
Entropy, against your
Apathy. But no, you just...


That fucking flower
I should have seen it coming
Months and months ago
When Valentine's passed with no sign from you
It was a week later
You gave me a rose,
Said "I would have given this to you sooner,
But I knew if someone saw me
Carrying a flower
They'd want to know why and where and who."

Fool that I was,
I left it here
Thought it one more
Symptom of your
Thought I'd see you more
When you had the time.

So I waited
Summer came,
Still only saw you once
A week --
If that
But I left it there
You lived an hour away
I knew I couldn't see you
Every day

I fell into the pattern,
Miss you
Miss you
Miss you desperately,
See you briefly,
Return to equilibrium,
Miss you again.

But I left it there
I internalized it
Thought I was being

I held on all summer
You moved in
20 minutes away
I was so excited
To finally be in your vicinity
And then:

Me: Are you busy?
You: Not really. Why?
Me: I'm nearby. Should I come over?
You: I just saw you yesterday.

I think I will cite that exchange
For years to come
As the final blow
That felled my faith in you.

I just saw you yesterday

I just saw you yesterday

I saw you
once per week

I called you out on it
You told me that I asked
More time
By far
Than anyone you'd ever known

I didn't think I was
Your chore
A once-a-week obligation
And a whiny one at that.

I must apologize
For burdening you
With my free time and affection.

Forgive me
For loving

I guess you still don't want
To carry
That fucking flower

So don't worry; you don't have to anymore--
I can carry it myself,
Or give it to someone else,
Someone who understands:

"I saw you yesterday"
Is not something you ever,
Get to tell a girl that loves you.


The one time I wished you well (albeit angrily)
I want to talk to you
About Islamic law and Burke
About my wonderful new story
And my wonderful new work
But how could I remain
With such a narcissistic jerk?
Goodbye, Hunter
I hope you discover your fatal flaws
Before it's too late

Have fun finding someone as patient
And as understanding
As I have always been.
You, my friend, are FUCKED.

Because I'm pretty sure
I was the best you'll ever have.
Hope your career is still fulfilling
When you're fifty and alone.


An early-morning realization
It is 1:35am
Nearly a month
Since we ended
And I just realized:
You knew exactly
What you were doing.

Any goodwill I've felt
Since I left
Has been predicated
On the assumption
That you didn't realize
How much it hurt me
Not to talk to you for
Days at a time,
How keenly I felt
A week's absence
From your side

But as I lay in bed
Conjuring up undead memories
Of what few good times
We'd had,
Of the occasion or two
On which you were actually
There for me
And cared for me
I remembered:

The last night
Of our week in Florida
When you held me
And awkwardly
Patted my back
As I cried

I told you then
What I don't think I said
Before or since
About my horror
That seeing you would again
Be a once-a-week occasion
How I dreaded
That endless wait
For a single text back.

I told you how it hurt
On so many levels
To be held at such a distance
And you curled around me
And murmured vague niceties

But I was right.

Even after you saw
Me shaking, trailing tears
From my aching eyes,
Even after I told you
I couldn't bear the separation
You snapped back to the status quo
Of me missing you,
Texting you, the void,
Bending heaven and earth to see you
Just once a week
And you --
Putting me off
Shutting me down
Knowing good and well
That you were my hell.

So I take it all back
Every sympathetic thought
Every moment I've wasted
Worrying for you.
I take back my resignation,
My naive assumption
That you did the best you could.

Because even though you never hit me,
Neglect is still classified as abuse.
I leave no asterisk
On our breakup
No footnote protesting
That you tried.

I truly, deeply believe
You couldn't have done less
To care for my well-being.
And I couldn't be happier
To have your narcissistic
Type-A-for-Asshole attitude
Out of my life for good.

It used to bother me
Knowing you'll look back
And wish
You'd treated me better.
But now?
Realizing how deliberately you
Ignored my needs
For your own convenience?
I think regret
Is a just punishment for neglect.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


They like to tell the story in chapter 2
Of how God took me from man's side
Molded stolen bone and flesh into man's image
A nice little helpmeet
To end poor Adam's solitude
They rarely tell the story in chapter 1
Of how on the sixth day God made us both
How God created man and woman there,
Two humans, equals,
In God's image

They like to tell the story in verse 12
Of how I ate forbidden fruit
Then fed it to my hapless husband
How we all fell
Because I sinned
They rarely tell the story in verse 6
How hapless Adam stood nearby and watched,
Waited there to see if I would die
Before he came
To taste it for himself

They tried to tell my story throughout history
To show my daughters they are weak like me
That they must bow and let their husbands rule them
Accept oppression
For their own safety
They've tried to quell the stories throughout history
Of how my daughters' strength made all my children strong
And how the broken curse has set them free
God's well-loved daughters,
In God's image.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I've Missed This Blog

Hello, blogspot, my old friend!
It's been quite some time (almost a full year? Goodness!) since I posted here. I had actually resolved to leave this blog to gather dust, a chronicle of my youthful years, but not to be posted in anymore. I moved to wordpress, which many assured me was a much better blogging tool, and started two more "professional"-looking blogs (Meet the Adventure, a blog with such tight quality control I've only posted in it twice, and Beth's Daily Story Challenge, a flash fiction blog that's a bit more sporadic than daily now). But I was sitting at desk, bored out of my wits because homework obviously doesn't exist on weekends, and I realized something important.
No matter how much professional content I may be trying to create, there is always going to be room in my life for a personal blog. A space where I can relax my writing style and post something goofy or messily intimate and not feel as though I need to edit again and again before I can allow anyone to see it but myself. A more honest, intimate space, more journal than public forum, that I can share with others and say "Yes, this is a part of who I am."
This doesn't mean that I'm going to post that much more, or that many more people are going to see this. I'd be surprised if anyone beyond one or two of my old friends will keep up with anything I post. But that's alright -- sometimes I just need a space to post a list of silly phobias, complete with mildly inept illustrations.
I'm allowed to be goofy, and silly, and mildly inept. Those are all part of my personality, along with the creative yearning, the staid professionalism, the elements of myself that I would put on my resume.
Hello, Unicorns -- I'm Beth, and I'm back.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Insomnia: The tragic true story

Mondays are hard.
I wake up at 8 AM to work at the library, then head to classes until 2:30 and get a bit of a break before I go to work again at 4.
Tomorrow is going to be especially hard because, on top of the usual 8-5 schedule, I'm supposed to be at rehearsal from about 6:00-9:30.
Why does this matter?
Because, my friends, this is one of the WORST nights for me to have insomnia.
Here follows an account of a very frustrating night.

12:00: Finally decided to go to sleep.
12:02: Hm... I wonder if my director will let me lead projection exercises.
12:05: Maybe I'll email him.
12:09: Okay. Sleep now.
12:10: I wonder what exercises I'll do?
12:11 I'd better look some up.
12:15: I am the very model of a modern major-general ~
12:24: ... I've been meaning to look up stuff for that Bible study for awhile.
12:25: Okay, tomorrow I'll... Ooh Westminster Shorter Catechism!!!
12:31: OKAY. SLEEP. ZZZZZ. No more phone.
1:15: I should turn a book into a play... That would be cool.
1:17: I'd better text this idea to myself.
1:47: Stooooop... It's bedtime now.
1:51: Maybe if I turn off the lamp...
1:54: Stupid air conditioner... I AM SLIGHTLY TOO WARM. I CAN'T SLEEP LIKE THIS.
1:58 Maybe if I listen to Alexander Scourby reading the KJB...
2:01: This app is really overpriced!
2:13: Maybe if I sleep in my chair...
So comfy.....
This is it.
This. Is. IT.
2:25: This still isn't working.
2:30 BLANKET FORT!!!!!!

Okay, Beth, this is really weird... It's fine way beyond "overactive mind." Waaaaiiiit....

It was at this point, within the shelter of my blanket fort, that I finally came across the missing piece of the hyperactive puzzle. Checkers HAD given me Dr. Pepper instead of root beer at 10... Turns out that Dr. Pepper, in addition to not being my favorite soda, is also CAFFEINATED.
So now, as I lay in my fort waiting for the caffeine to wear off, I write a perhaps ill-advised blog post and listen to soft music. It is now approaching 3 AM. I can only hope I will survive tomorrow...

Thursday, September 25, 2014


This is, in some ways, a hypocritical post. I'm often leery of amateur poetry, especially deeply personal amateur poetry. But for today I'm taking a step down from my high horse and sharing two poems that I wrote, separated by a span of about two years. This is a post about change, about growth, about sorrow and happiness, loneliness and life.
When I was in high school, I experienced a phenomenon I'm sure many people have encountered: selective invisibility. Throughout most of my adolescence I was present but not there, seen but not noticed, in but not a part of. And the worst of it was that my isolation was neither malicious nor even intentional -- I simply went unnoticed.
This is a poem I wrote when I felt this invisibility most keenly.

I am invisible
I cannot be seen
Cannot be heard
Cannot be touched

I am invisible
I am alone in this crowd
Even my friends forget I exist
There are other friends dearer than I

I am invisible
Why do you ask a question,
Then turn away before I answer?

I am invisible
Clearly I matter little
You don't care what I say
You'll never hear what I think

I am invisible
My lips may sing
My mouth may smile
But there are tears in my eyes

I am invisible
I stand on the brink of tears
They glisten, one escapes
No one cares to see it

I am invisible
You see me, speak to me
But only for a moment
Then I am gone, ghost of your perceptions

I am invisible
Can't you even listen for a moment?
Can't you even care for a second?
Don't you want me to answer your question?

I felt this way for three, four years, maybe more. My life almost as far back as I could remember was a gray haze of loneliness.

But then I came to college and suddenly people saw me. When I talked to people they talked back, when I smiled they smiled, when I was upset they noticed. I soon had friends I could talk to like I'd talked to almost no one before, and I could hardly believe my good fortune. I went back and read the poem I'd written what seemed an age ago and decided that a sequel was in order. Call it a reprise, a rebuttal, part two -- it expresses the human I am today, a contrast to the shadow I was yesterday.

I am alive
For the first time,
For a lifetime,
I am alive

I am alive
Joy and sorrow surge
Ebb within my soul
And in their motion set me free

I am alive
Cicada-like I've slept
Concealed beneath the loam
Now I rise and rejoice

I am alive
No longer unheard
No longer untouched
No longer unloved

I am alive
After eighteen years 
After lonely tears

I am alive
And now the world will hear my song.