bkgrndbirdThe following ‘fragments’ of thoughts came in a message the other day and I asked permission share because there is an urgency here that applies to the way life is lived here in America everyday.

A depression—or a series of small but relentless and irrefutable episodes of tiny depressions—will overwhelm in places where we feel the most alone.

You are not alone. The pressures and disappointments—the longings and the nostalgia—the struggle to be in your own skin—you are not alone. 

I found these words satisfying and healing and connective and that is why I wanted to put them here for you. Whether you need them right now or not—here they are.

Thank you to the author of these ‘fragments’ for allowing me to share—and the rest of you—you take care out there.


seed1Unedited Fragments (edited version II)

woke up unfrozen in ten years back time,

walking in circles around

a bottomless pit of need, grinding molars and incisors flat,

ego bruised, unrested.


what accomplishments? i feel fake,

a survivor clinging remnants of the wrecked medusa

of a would-be career,

and these gleaming speedboats

yachts piloted by calvin klein models-

craft white as bleach creekbed shark teeth

circle around in the waning sun.



will i be able to stand on my own two feet?

will i sail-walk on the water?

will i drown in the water?

will a big shark take me for a ride?


how long before i get to plant

a thing

in some ground mommy

a dogs age since held with care

soil warm not attall

held by someone

other than myself

body chemically rusted shut acidly pissed from ignoring itall

this time.


i miss sylvia, my grandmother who loved me.

i wish she was around to see me all manly

and full of all these crusty man regrets

that never get aired out-

me and my boys have a lot of good reasons not to respect our fathers

not much there to miss little to nothing human to reconcile with

but we learned soo well how to stuff

our emotions beneath

our work boots / keep on truckin.

where i’m from its only ever foaming out over a train a fire a shot the bottle.


I just watched times goin by unsloshed on the hoppy drink

from a purple haze all saucy with youth,

failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk

everyone around me- to a friend, to a lover, running the jagged path,

there in an eyeblink went ten years.

Hey now a slew of my close friends from my 20s

are still finding oblivion the daily meal of FUBAR

harder and harder to reach packing snow


cross electricless space

ninety degrees

mores of east coast/midwest,


canyon deep familial love,

the kind you can only have

when your bedrock is pocked, cratered with

bad jokes

bad poems

good poems

dead friends

smashed plates



kitchen explosions that burn off your eyebrows

sex magic

the plague from Canada


sweet music time for it all starlight.


i used to smoke vanguards

and basics

and top

and wind up sucking vapor from a ventilator in ER

b/c chronic lungs-dead poems no future

i cant wait do it now


think of a trick to shock and amaze

transform oppression impossibility

and human suffering into beautiful possibility.

teach me to not quit i have to keep learning this

and i forget unlearn to next forget and forget

keep relearning.



because when fighting powerful

entrenched evil institutions

so unlike my youthful dreams of freedom,

the adult dream of collective freedom fails

does not fill me with optimism

or a sense of possibility

but a kind

of grim acceptance

of the material fact. rewards can only

be reached, in half measures, puttering, across

the hostile moonscape, desert of logistics,

fighting guns and dogs

with pebbles, bloody paper.


i am trying so hard to stay here

in this hostile and lonely place

to engage the enemy

of all of us in this

capitalist warmongering

racist beast

the prison system,

amidst impossible tumult,

on ground that wont stay fixed.


i cant walk on the water

float and survive for awhile on my belly fat,

eat onesself if necessary.

i try to explain the feeling of loss

that is a tiny death when i lose track

of one of my boys

thinking they are in the rearguard of my army,

and suddenly they shock me mad max

out of my complacency

with a racist or sexist outburst

on social media.


steel myself against good news.

my greatest antiracist white allies,

always riteous,

looking after the soup kitchen babies

they’re gonna have white children

in a black city

but suddenly plan to move away

because the drunks and the ghosts of drunk dead friends and the schools are so v. fucked up and the lead levels so high cause

they can plan to sell the house the garden

they can move on up

to a farm, a whiter, less perma-fucked enclave.


i renew my antiracist tirade to the void.

feel all smelly with self-riteousness

spectacularly failing again and again,

my body goes on

and wakes up

and i shower

get dressed

take selfies

i get to eat

and drink,

and worry

about my computer breaking

and how the dollarstore underwear

has holes after one week

how everything is always breaking

and being maintained and mended over and over

yet always full of holes,

but I get to have my medicine

and my woo and my queer sex

and maybe someday therapy

maybe blossom

into my own beautious manhood

wracked with the vile aspirations of others


because i have somehow but not really

but almost

escaped working class addiction,

working class early death from

construction accidents,

instead i can have my own

big city heart attack death

on this shattered raft

that i never wanted.


fucking jesus probably felt empty

walking on water.

feeling empty because

i am scared of all the things

i think i want,

these big adult goals are so wracked with anxiety,

unlike my youthful dreams

that were all about freedom,

exploring the cosmos… endless possibility.


i dont want to let go of any of my

youthful dreams either,

and i am not unappreciative

of the richness of this

adult life of minutiae.

i am in a body.


and it just needs needs needs

but i like to forget that…

can’t remember how it feels

to wake up feeling safe

in the oasis of someones arms

who can handle every part of me.


more of my real friends

can hold up tiny little parts,

sometimes substantial parts of me

and it makes my steps lighter,

and that gives me an army of real friends

that makes it possible to put on my

shit kicking boots,

i still have these dreams,

raw jerky art,


somewhere behind the smog,

there are campfires next to rivers,

somewhere beyond the strangle

of streets

and life in the matrix

of dreaming,

a hope for love,

a knowledge that it is out there

across the desert,

across the sky,

across the ocean too.

About michelleembree
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  1. sshellow says:

    This is amazing, Michelle! Did you interview a bunch of people? Such rich statements. Wow. You are an interviewer extraordinaire. Love you, Sarah

    • They are rich statements. I agree. These words were sent to me privately and I asked if I could share them anonymously because others might really need to read them right now.

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