Crimson Fishbowl

you tripped into a glass
before midday, again, today,
in the crimson swell of the translucent bowl,
clinging to the bottom,

picking up pebbles only to rearrange them
remove the proof, not the fact,
bottles piling up by the back doorstep,
Tetris level up,
playing the game
by cheating yourself,
clean glasses glimmer the more they are washed,
but those soap suds aren’t fooling anyone,
only blinds the mirrors; broken,

can’t hug you without it hurting,
black eye from blacking out, face first on the clean tiles,
broken rib, from a drunken fall only remembered in
jigsaw pieces of others’ recollections,
you’ve always been good at puzzles
and crossword calculations,
cryptic conversations
implying but never straight talking,

HEY GOLDFISH.

there’s a glass jammed between us,
distorting thoughts, diluting laughter,
fingerprint stains pressed against the glass
but not breaking it,
this has become a staring contest
and we’re both losing,

you’re hooked to the red, intravenously it would seem,
stewing in the undercurrent running through your veins,
swan dive into the crimson, trying to numb the horizon,

the splash of a tail only teases a surrender,
floundering in your sentimental perfect –
of what your life was supposed to look like by now,
gurgling down the drain but never emptying,

hey Goldfish,

I’ve seen you drink your words more than
you’ve poured unwanted memories down the sink
and pulled the plug,
please pull the plug

you’re sputtering in the crimson,
I’m left tap tap tapping
at your glass eye glare,

it doesn’t count if you put the bottle down
for only one afternoon,
to resurface only long enough not to drown,
picking at endless plates of crackers and fancy dips
that you can’t pronounce properly
ceviche, chicken liver pate,
pickled poached peeled olives drenched in oil and urban decay,

grit your teeth,
mutter another half-seared, half-baked, half-marinated truth,
behind that rose tinted empty glass
you’re sucking dry
again and again and
again,

you say it doesn’t hurt but you can’t keep a straight face,

HEY. Goldfish,

those crimson-scarlet-crims- waves, splash
but never wash over,
no drawbridge drop-down,
safety-net sanctuary,
just stifling, dirty potatoes, frozen vegetables and beef mince
an empty pot, somewhere,
some white bread by the microwave,

cracks near the rim but not the base,
the baseline is safe,
you know this all too well and it’s time to shift,
the water is getting murky and it’s getting harder and harder to see you
I don’t know how to tell you
that you’ve swam too deep,

rotting fish bones surfacing,
beady eyes bobbing,
while you’re drinking in pollution,
mildew condensed onto the glass confines,
never clean, never empty,

HEY GOLDFISH.

every mother’s day taunts me,
reversed roles, freaky Friday
are you safe,
how are you,
how are you really,

tell me something you think you can’t tell me.

hey Goldfish

I draw a spotlight upon you,
only from a distance,
you’re too busy fishing out
another excuse for your negligence,
talking over me
over and over and over,
telling me that you’re okay
before I even ask about your day,

Hey, Goldfish.

toss another bottle in the ocean,
the message drowns in the swell
of half eaten crackers and discarded jigsaw pieces,
shattering in the undercurrent,

you say the bottle doesn’t judge you if you lick up the last drop
the bottle doesn’t tell you you’re not doing enough in this world,
or that you’re dull or foolish or out of your depth
or that you’re too much, too loud, too wide, too scattered, too messed up

but what you’re ignoring is that the bottle also does not tell you that you’re beautiful
or talented
or loved or appreciated or necessary,
that you could be a gem amongst the world’s roughness,

it turns you into a poison drop in the ocean,
increasing the potency with every sip,
and you’ve been disciplining me for your demons,

drip, stains in the carpet, drip, smeared eyeliner, drip, sad books, drip, fake laughter, drip,
poor you, drip drip, all the years, drip, wasted, drop, drip, drip, this is terrifying, drip, I need a garden, drip, drip, dribble,
bleh, what, oh where were we…

you say, with two hands full,
one with a glass, the other a bottle,
that you’re in a bad place,
but you haven’t crawled out of that shell for over a decade now,

there’s an echo lingering in the screaming silence,

HEY, goldfish, fish, fish, ish…

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