Tag Archives: self identity

This is How to Live with Yourself

How do you live with yourself?
I don’t mean it like that.
What I mean is, how do you live with yourself
when your self gets up in the middle of the night,
leaving you alone with the ceiling
and all its chipping paint?

How do you live with your self
when she roams with a will of her own
and comes back to you from god-knows-where
smelling like beer and someone else’s body?

Each time she returns
she’s wearing a new face
and you have to peel your old one back
from the toothpaste-encrusted
mirror.

Do you charge your self rent?
Do you let her crash on your couch
for free?

You call her a beatnik and try living without her,
locking the doors and vacuuming the carpet
and pulling her hair from the sink.
You throw faces at the mirror
but none of them stick.

And after a while you grow lonely
and leave the kitchen window open
for her to climb through.

Like a stray cat, your self comes
and goes as she pleases. Forever leaving you
she finds her ways – miraculously, defiantly –
to return to you.

So you feed your self.
You hold her and warm her.
Otherwise her face looms in every window,
cheeks sunken in her skull
like some ravenous shadow.

And sometimes when you feel her emptiness
you panic
and turn on all the lights in the house

only to find her in the kitchen
pouring herself a glass of water.

I’m tired tonight, she explains,
after you ask why she isn’t off
on some new adventure.

Learn her name, then.
Call her what she is:

your gypsy,
your everything,
your midnight wanderess who digs around in dumpsters
and brings you back a personality.

And when she finds you in the bathroom
throwing faces, hurling them like baseballs,
she pins your arms to your sides
and tells you enough is enough.

This is how to live with your self.
Look at her, where it matters,

in those kaleidoscope eyes
which you have only now realized
seem too colorful and sad to be your own.

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