They don’t call us victims anymore,
they call us survivors.
Like a turn of the phrase will make it all better.
Like the words actually matter.

Like in Harry Potter, no one
will say the name …”He who must not be named”

But in reality, I doubt I could be friends with a guy named….
And I would never name my son….
Let alone ever dating a guy named….

We use words incorrectly like girls who use toothbrushes on their throats
instead of on their teeth.
Like we say “bulimic anorexia nervosa”
instead of “help me”
Or “May be a danger to herself or others”
instead of “hurry”
We call it a “class 3 misdemeanor with intention to harass and intimidate”
instead of a “please, don’t let him hurt me anymore”

Maladies are like bad wine.
The worse they taste, the more time we take
putting a pretty label on them.

Don’t make light of someone’s situation just
Because the phrase stings your throat.
These are words that fight back,
They won’t roll off your tongue,
They’ll ride it like a cheese grater.

Euphemisms everywhere are on their knees begging
Say My Name.

Don’t call us victims
Don’t calll us survivors,
like we did something right,
like anyone else would just lay down and die.

Did you think I never cried?
Because I did. A lot.
And like Alice for a time I swam in my tears,
But like Jesus I learned that you can be reborn
Of the same waters you create.

Holy water won’t heal like unconditional love
So we replace words like bandages,
Pacing the halls as hospital drones,
Experimental pharmaceuticals are our shiny new toys.
We wear bed sheets like ballgowns,
Waltzing to the beat of heart monitors and iron lungs,
Harmonize with the screams of your terminal neighbor
until they close the curtains
and call the priest.
Xanax zombies, we live in our sleep
Don’t wake us up or we’ll pull our own plugs.

What forced this abstraction to huddle in a corner?
Seesawing back and forth, I padded my own cell
With gin and tonics, this black hole
I like to call home.

As a supernova I shined too brightly.
How could that last?
I am too big to fit into myself
So when I collapsed I took the whole damn world with me.

By the time my light reaches you now, it’s already 2 million years old
the leftovers of a celestial supper.
But count me with the other stars fighting for a spot in the sky.
Count me with the survivors.