These Ways You’ve Hurt Me

telling time with a clock
that does not hurry
inventing words
that belonged to me
promising with currency
your hidden heart flows
loving dearly with violence
felling with fingers folded
square as stone
moving away
speaking out loud
about private centers
that centered me and gave
me paths to the surface
cutting them off
leaving me bent chest-
crushed rubble and
wanting my softness
finding small reasons
for big apocalypses
losing my end times
in selfish tiny beginnings
haunting me to this day
letting me go
where I could hurt
to want to hurt again
please hurt me

#NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 2


I’m not feeling melancholy or sad. I slept all day which left me feeling disconnected, but otherwise I feel fine. I opened a small notebook in which I have been jotting down ideas and fragments of prose and poetry as they come to me, and the first was the fragment “Another way that you have hurt me is to tell the time with clock that don’t hurry.” Yeah, the grammar is horrible; maybe I meant “clocks” or “a clock that doesn’t hurry”? I can barely read my own handwriting. Anyway, I found more fragments and thoughts in the pages that seemed to collect “All The Ways You’ve Hurt Me” and though I may not be melancholy or sad, maybe my subconscious has been?

When I started the poem, I thought maybe it would be about multiple people and various incidents, but the act of writing narrowed it down to two and then to one specific person with some fictionalization (or maybe in poetry it’s just metaphor.)

In a poem like this, it would be easy to abuse abstraction. It can be difficult to turn feelings into concrete images. I feel like I succeeded in imagery over abstraction, and as usual I found in the geological metaphors for my feelings. At the end of the poem I was worried that all I had was a list poem without turn or surprise, but I surprised myself with the cliche “please hurt me.”


I’m really not feeling melancholy or sad, I promise!

[weeps quietly in a corner]

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.