The Lists That Never Made Sense
c/w: references/alludes to drug use/dependency
I used to make a lot of lists,
always scratched into their surface in angry, uneven letters.
They were the only things that kept me present. That kept me here.
I always had a pen on hand. Meaning I literally always had pen on my hand because my hand was the only thing I always had in hand besides a pen.
I only kept one pen with me, the one with the clip I could bend to a 90-degree angle and back without it ever breaking.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
It was a metal clip. Long. Flat. Sharp.
Sharp enough to cut a clean line.
Lucky for me, it also wrote clean lines,
so even my erratic writing kinda sorta made sense sometimes.
I think the biggest problem was that my list-making
only ever lasted as long as the high did,
and the fact that the ink would start to smudge as my body temperature began to rise.
So, as my lists slipped away, my mind did too.
It always came back during the come down,
but the writing never did.
I can’t help but think of that as a good thing.
The language that bled from me in such altered states was language I could never share.
Not then. Not now.
Funny how it was actually the poison I kept putting in my body that kept me from destroying it completely.
That lost language radiated levels of toxicity that were unmatched by anything medicinal.
Sometimes I can still feel it burning under my skin,
waiting to devour whatever part of me may be sacrificed for it next.
That’s all I ever was. A sacrifice.
I never thought I’d escape the grasp that language entangled me in.
I never thought I’d neutralize the poison I used to cut the ties.
But I traded those uneven surfaces for a notebook. And I traded my trusty pen, the one with the clip I could bend without ever breaking, for a colorful array of pens
already missing their clip.
Lia Nizen is an author, poet, and educator residing in Wilmington, NC. She works as a CNA in her community and teaches part time while she pursues her double major/double minor in psychology and creative and poetry and education. As a disabled woman, Lia has always found refuge in writing and she hopes to help others find the same strength and safety she has. You can find more of Lia’s work through her website: www.LNpoetry.com or on instagram and twitter: @therealLNpoetry. Be sure to check out her new book In Absence of Death, We Mourn The Living while you’re there!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.