A Puppet’s Lament

I am set adrift, a string of multicoloured Christmas lights tied to the stern of my tiny boat. It’s the rhythmic rocking of alcohol, the blurred vision. I lean my head against the wall and let my leg be trapped between his underneath the table. I play with the glass in my hand and he reaches over to fill it, catching my eye. I look away.

He’s supposed to be a friend. There are so many things about the situation that I would erase. White out. I ask him about his girl friend. He smiles and releases my leg. I’m boxed in the booth by another friend’s lanky frame. I lean back and let myself sink further down the vinyl. Would that I could be anywhere but here.

My nights are bottoms of beer. My days are queasy stomachs and pounding headaches. I get sick and then sicker and don’t care enough to medicate. I punish myself and then escape in wine glasses and drunken laughter. I have nothing and so I have nothing to lose. I am not sad. I experience nothing. My laughter is not my own. My smile is not my smile. I lay still inside my mind and watch the strings pull up a hand here, move a leg there; a puppet’s life.


Christmas passes in a blur. I live it without moving, without taking much in. There are few moments that break beneath my shiny veneer. I play the part convincingly and am not sad. I am shocked by my brother’s hands on my head as he stands behind my chair, palming me like a basketball. I want to curl up in his hands. I want him to crush me in his fist, grind me to dust and give me to the wind. I want to be particles that dance a distance and then settle on shoulders; on the bottoms of shoes; in gutters.

I want to be packed up and put away. But, the show must go on. The audience loves my painted tears, my half smile and half frown. Make me laugh, they say. Make me cry.

Make me feel something.

I carve stories for you from the muscle of my heart. I write the letters on my skin. I shed it all and am still shedding. There is always a layer underneath, always something more to tear into, something else to discard. A new part of me that bleeds.

I search for truth at the bottom of my glass and for hope in the lipstick smudges on the rim. I carry my weight like it’s already gone. I bail out my boat and wait to starve. I cup my hands and drink from the sea; waiting for the starless sky to swallow me up.

Waiting to see land. Waiting to feel sad. Waiting to feel something.

The Swell Season – Low Rising


12 thoughts on “A Puppet’s Lament”

  1. “I carve stories for you from the muscle of my heart. I write the letters on my skin. I shed it all and am still shedding. There is always a layer underneath, always something more to tear into, something else to discard. A new part of me that bleeds.”

    There was a reason I said we were blog soulmates. You often reveal myself to me. Your aching to feel makes me feel.

    I always feel better after reading your words, even when my heart breaks a lot.

    1. I second that, Mr. Apron.

      Bird, you break my heart in the most beautiful ways. I want to fix you, protect you, immerse you in bubble wrap so you never see the reminiscence of an evening in scaling fences… I want so much for you.

      … I’ll have to settle for playing your Lady Companion of the Most Noble order, battling thieving lazy assistant managers and panhandler’s (Knight and Shining Armour really didn’t seem fitting).

      Arm in arm, we walk together but alone. We laugh, joke and poke fun in sync, while both our tattered hearts with amateur patch jobs provide no other purpose beyond holding us back… allowing us to put a half-assed effort into anything and everything we do.

      Together, though, I believe we’re stronger 🙂 ❤

  2. Wow. Just Wow. This was amazing. Your words have been echoing throughout my mind all day. You capture that feeling so perfectly, a feeling that I never thought I would be able to describe, a feeling that nobody else should ever feel. This was wonderful and terrifying all at the same time.

  3. You’re amazing… how inspiring. I lived so long wanting to just “feel” and when I did… when I felt the love and the anger and the passion and the jealousy I did like it. I didn’t like the person I became. So I spent the past few years trying to find a balance on my own. I guess I’m ready to feel again – but to say I’m absolutely terrified would be an understatement. *sigh*

  4. Don’t wait. Life is all there now.

    Just don’t run so fast that it all becomes a blur, and you’ll find it. All of it.

  5. Wow. Simply fantastic. You said everything that I feel, but I could never express it the way you did. I am in awe.

  6. I’m new to all this web-logging business, but I was strolling down the lonely avenues of the internet, looking for a friendly face, and (luckily) I tripped over this post.
    It took me a while to get up, to brush the dust of my clothes.
    Ineffably beautiful.
    Thank you for existing. If your lament is that of a puppet, then whoever is pulling the strings must be a genius.

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