I owned 3 wigs in high school.
3 wigs and a pony tail extension.
Wig shops downtown were always a mystery from the sidewalk.
The interior always some variety of mustard yellow, black, silver
and heavy with mirrors.
The endless rows of styrofoam heads.
The sweet chemical smell of beauty and the stale bitter smell of endless cigarettes.
Places where aging, poverty, illness, self-love and adornment converged.
Lucky for me I was naturally flamboyant
I loved all the big divas.
show tunes and the stage.
Old wing tip shoes, paten leather heels and men’s suit coats,
deep red lipstick, liquid eyeliner, leopard print.
So when my hair began to fall out
they came as an easy solution to hide the illness.
It’s really shitty to be 16 and have your hair fall out.
Always on the out looking in
balding was too much.
It gave me away, screamed sick
Screamed lost cause
But the wigs
the outfits that went with each wig
it was all day theater.
The art of passing .
Smoke and mirrors razzle-dazzle.
Ever crafty and resourceful
I reinvented my sick ass into something audacious
The illusion of everything is just fine
spun by a sick and scrambling queer.
Starving not cutting
which I tried but it didn’t work for me
like the slower blade of wasting
Since I was little
I’ve swallowed trauma
It lives in my belly
A time-release poison
Designed to kill
Feeds me restriction feeds me self destruct
It is why
despite being brilliant at everything I’ve taken up
I lose it
like milk through my fingers
I carve out people like portions of food
Restrict myself right outta living
Perpetuate the drought
The not quite suicide of hunger
The intricate dance with poverty and the necessity to eat less
fits neatly into success
lives on the lean edge of bone
right up under the skin
where the ends meet only to cut themselves free
The control I need
when money is outta my hands
Milk through my
cold finger hands
Bone first hands
On ribs for security hands
tenuous will to live
put back the food
Save it for the rain
that doesn’t come.
is a hook
20 years away from bulimic
but anorexic hangs
on my back
drapes around me a thread bare coat
if I could
if I’m honest
I’d empty it
like a bowl
not for holding anything
I’m hard wired for that next to the bone feeling
having a handle on it all
a hook to hang my baggage on
a living breathing argument
always the chatter in the background of my days
always worried if there’s food to eat
always worried if I will eat it
always worried if what I chew will actually be swallowed
if what I put in it will really digest
and if what I put in it will come out
if it will all come out
for a while after I stopped purging
I couldn’t bend over
without the contents of my stomach
automatically rushing up to my throat
I have recovered
but still I waste
hunger is handled
like a bank account
like an almost emptied
of water and