I cannot cure my father's depression.
I cannot relieve my mother's traumas.
I cannot convince him that the wine doesn't help
him sleep any better - but will admit it is cheaper bythe box.
I cannot help her rescue herself as she rescues
another stray dog or another mother's daughter
as she tries to rescue one more lost victim.
I cannot pretend the nuclear war drills, keeping our eyes
closed until the light is over, compensated for
Ronald Reagan's Cold War Policies - i understood, even then
in grade school, it was related.
I cannot remember a time that i didn't feel this way.
I cannot deny telling the babysitter, at the age of five,
about my suicide plans - Heathkit wires.
I cannot understand the ache that brought them
nudity and pornography in jacuzis in the Valley,
in Mammoth Lakes, or in Kauai.
I cannot carry on like i will redeem myself
in my parents' eyes - i did not set up
the family dynamics.
I cannot pretend i do not feel shame when i tell
my date why she left my father - he was only
a few years older than me.
I cannot give back my father's surprise birthday,
twenty-four years ago, when i stabbed his girlfriend -
blamed him for her attacking my mother - spitting on him
as i left his house.
I cannot reside in this house of shame
that cripples my esteem; reduces my
vision to temper tantrums and
toy store euphoria.
I cannot sleep another night next to another
beautiful woman and let these decades loose
underneath shared blankets.
I cannot separate myself despite the years of
therapy, fifteen years of sobriety, or even regulation
I cannot make use of these tools; it is
not my fault.
I cannot escape my own gravity or break
the inertia and i have lunch with her
or i reach him on the telephone
and one more time i seek their
approval and her tired eyes are mad
with paranoia and his voice is
heavy with slurred despair and it is one
more time and it is another hoorah
and another diversion and i wont hang
up or walk away and i simply cannot
I cannot contain the two of them and
have room for me.