Voicemail message

“I didn’t leave only to think of coming back. 
The way looking at the sun 
doesn’t remind me of starless skies 
and skyscrapers and smog.
This almost of mine,
this will pass. 
Do you yell back “don’t wait up” 
while leaving even if you know 
they won’t?
I’ve dusted my mantels twice today
and left the milk out by accident
and remembered the back of your neck three times.
That’s four too many.
Forgive me for this wreckage.
It’s all your fault but we’ve become too 
unkempt for honesty, so let me just say that
my lips are chapped and 
the oven’s still on and there are rats and
there’s no one else home and 
you’re gone but so am I, somehow, so am I,
I am so much of nothing, so much of incurable.
Do you still yell “I’ll be back soon” 
while leaving even if you know
there’s nobody to come back to?
I know you’re there.
I also know you aren’t.
Don’t forget to call your brother sometime.
See you soon. I guess, soon I’ll see.” 

3:27 am

The good and bad

I hope it’s all in you. Worlds and constellations and every pretty thing that could destroy you if you look too closely. After you kiss me, I want to have to pull out your poetry from between my teeth. Untangle it from the knots in my hair. Find it clogging up the shower drains.
I hope that I find it after flossing. Standing at the bathroom sink, running my tongue over the words “survive” and “together.” I’m all messed up bedroom hair and dog-tired eyes and your language is painted over me like neon signage. Let’s wake up to burning. It can be the toast or it can be all the bridges we weren’t going to cross together.
I think we began here. I think it all started in your holy hands and dirty, ugly tongue. Say things that change me. Write them on my body, I want to wake up to a different world inside of me. Take every awful thing and make it wonderful. Say “I love you” like a curse. Say it like a blessing. Don’t say it at all. Fuck, I don’t really care as long as you keep looking at me like that. Like maybe you see the beautiful thing inside of me that I already know exists. That maybe you appreciate it too and that appreciation can hold hands and walk into a fire together and it will be violent and devastating and we will love every moment of it.

I gotta warn you now though, there are ugly things inside of me. Dark things that look like whatever you were scared of when you were nine. Sometimes I’m unrecognizable because of them. I need you to love me through those times, even if you’re terrified. Even if your teeth are chattering from the cold because you’ve got them too. And I promise I’ll hold you through the awful. I promise I’ll never make you feel like I’m going to leave you behind. All your drunk and your bitter and your hateful. All the twisted things that keep you up at night. We’ll survive every damn winter together. I’ll hold your hand when the beasts are clawing at you. Let’s do this one thing for each other, here it goes: I have seen the good in you and the bad in you and I will try my hardest to always love them both. When there are days that I cannot love you like I should, I will stay. I will stay. I will straighten my shoulders, take your battle and I will stay

Glory

Time is a beautiful blessing. The truth in the concept of “time heals all” is undeniable, and right now, it’s overwhelming to me how sure I am of this. When I look around at my life, there are so many scattered pieces, there’s furniture where I don’t want it, there are people missing where I need them – but strangely, despite all of this, I have this feeling of calm in my chest. I don’t know how to describe it. My happy isn’t as temporary or fleeting as it used to be anymore, in fact, when I sit down with myself I almost always feel the brimming of an underlying joy inside of me, no matter what my situation is. I know three things; I know that my friendship with Isabel has grown, if not, flourished more than ever before – in the face of the arguments and bickering and annoyance that’s passed, and that gives me ease. I know that I am in longing for someone, but more than that, I’m so pleased to be missing them – and I don’t know if that makes any sense. It’s almost as if I don’t feel balanced and in control unless I am actively missing them, unless I am actively seeing myself accomplish so much without them, and that makes me proud. Finally, I know that everything I am seeing, and everything that I’ve been through, was justifiably by God’s hand and for that reason, I’m humbled.

so much has happened to me since I’ve started high school, there were so many upsets and so much miscommunication and assumptions and so much jealousy and bitterness and general negativity, and it’s so weird to be in it’s absence. It’s freeing really. I think forgiving yourself and asking forgiveness of others, whether they give it to you or not is the best thing in the world. It’s better than love and better than friendship, because it’s a freedom that only you can gift yourself. I am so happy. I’m so blessed. I dip here and there but it’s amazing to me, I used to be so sad, so down and away, and somehow I’m still me, and not that way.

Another mouth

You’re going to do

something terrible,
you’re going to kiss
someone else
with that mouth.
And I will not forgive you,
because I will not know
how to forget
that my skin is mine
but mostly it’s yours.
We were charting
another Atlantis together
on the map of my body,
And I’m taking it back now.
Your knowledge,
my secrets,
my gasps when you touch me
there, and there,
how these new worlds were
for you.
So you’ll kiss another mouth,
and maybe you’ll enjoy it,
maybe it’ll taste like new summer
or wild berries
or something you’ve never
had on your tongue before
but when you come back for me
with your hands wide open
I will not come,
I will not look for you,
and I will not forgive you

Things I wish Mama said

Everyone you have lost is gone forever.

If you try to call the dead, the phone won’t ring.
You won’t hear their voices.
The ground will shake like your wrists.
You will realize this sometime, when you’re in the bath and every nerve in your body is screaming at you to put your head under and count to a thousand.
You are more than a suicide note.
You are more than a suicide attempt.
You are more than cuts and bruises, and friends that abandon you and don’t even say hello in the hallways anymore.
People will leave you, daughter. People will leave you alone and shaking.
You’ll find solace in the most unexpected places, in the boys that look like they belong everywhere but with you and in the vinyl that whispers to you while the sun is going down.
Eventually you will find the people that will bend the sky down to you so that you can touch the clouds.
They will become your motivation, they will become the glow in the dark stars on your bedroom ceiling.
You will forget that they are plastic, and often mistake them for the night’s sky.
Memories do not always hurt, it’s okay to be nostalgic but do not drown in them.
Do not drown in anything but love, daughter.
Love every leaf, every lover’s vein.
And every single time you think you’re going insane,
you’re not.
Remember that the door is always closed, but always easily opened.
Remember that you can leave.
Remember that you can take the next flight out, start a new life.
Remember that the world is in your piano hands.
You’ll meet someone and call them love because they don’t know the difference between the dull and sharp edge of a knife.
You’ll write poems.
Lots of them.
You’ll write enough poems to fill the walls in all of the rooms in all of the houses you have ever lived in.
You’ll scrawl them on the tree stumps you find temporary homes in while walking in the forest.
You’ll engrave them on someone’s bones after they tell you that they would rather die a thousand deaths than go a second without your energy warming their cheeks.
For every accomplishment, erase five shortcomings from your mind.
Be yourself before you forget who that is.
Be, daughter, be who you want to be;
Be who you know yourself to be.
When the world is sleeping on your shoulders at 4 in the morning, don’t wake it up.
Take a deep breath, rock the earth into a deeper sleep.
Tell the walls your secrets because they don’t whisper.
Don’t tell anyone with a tongue something you wouldn’t want to end up floating back out of their mouths like a catchy song.
When you’re standing up on stage, waiting to start your poem, do not avoid eye contact.
Make everyone nervous with your metaphors.
Make everyone nervous with your passion.
You are the strongest soul you’ll ever be.
And when I die, shall we not meet again,
Remember that I am your mother, daughter.
And mothers, always know best.

Self help therapy session

When the time finally comes to be honest, I will have more to say than anyone would have expected of the small, dark girl with a voice that splinters. I will admit to the petty theft and the naked pictures. I will tell the truth about every scar. I will fall to my knees and beg forgiveness of all the people I ever encouraged to love me, only to leave their hearts lined up on a windowsill like empty beer bottles. Weak girls do weaker things. Sad girls want everyone to be sad with them. If we’re going to be honest, I’ll admit I have a problem identifying which parts of myself I don’t find ugly. There is a bathroom stall somewhere in Texas that reads, “my body is a love letter to everyone who refuses to have sex with the lights on.” I did not sign it. I was afraid if I did, too many people would have cause to write back. I don’t want to believe this is a hopeless world. When it is time to speak up, I will apologize for the production I have made of my loneliness. I will apologize for the coffee stain in the master bedroom and the black eyes and the six glasses of wine it takes to keep me from crying about my broken family: how we all have a single bullet sellotaped under our ribcage in preparation for a really bad day; how we have all failed at the simple task of accepting ourselves. I will make no qualms about warning you that some people have it so much harder than others, but leading a difficult life is no excuse for becoming a difficult person. If we’re telling the truth, I am obliged to confess that there will come a time when there is no one left to blame. There will come a time when we all will be left to confront our own sadness and when we ask it in the dark why it never ceased to plague us, it will turn the question back around like a loaded gun and it will inquire why we let it. When the time finally comes to be honest, I will admit I am the only one left to blame.

Motions of love

After a while of loving someone, you forget what ever made you start. You forget the snake pit that was your stomach for the two months before you even kissed. You forget that before they were yours, they were someone else’s, and nothing is as difficult to endure as that. Somehow, once you’ve loved someone for a long, long time, you stop loving them at all. Because it isn’t a feeling of love; it isn’t an act of love; it is only something that exists, but which you take no part in. You are no longer a participant in your own affections. You give it out freely. You cook them dinner and listen to the songs they like and cry when they don’t come to bed with you even though you like it better when you have more space. We do these things out of learned emotions. We respond how we have become used to responding. When they look at that girl on the street in a crop top, you run away. You spend all night ignoring them, remembering every time they’ve ever done you wrong, you cry your vision cloudy. Except, for what? It doesn’t really hurt. We make the decision to be hurt. We tell ourselves they were wrong to have done that, they were wrong to have done so many things. Where they have maybe left only a powder blue bruise, we punch and twist and hit on tables until it is dark as ink, until we have an excuse to be angry, until we have something to point to and say, “look, look what you’ve done.” Is love really this way? Are we all just pretending? Is the human condition so predisposed to adjustment that all things which we might call spontaneous are really set in stone? Are we all dried out? I, for one, have made a machine of my heart. I have written in the code so that when his eyes go there, my heart tightens; when he comes home late, I lose my voice; when he crawls into bed and tries to love me with his body, I try to love him back with mine. I don’t know if this is love, but I’ve got it down to a T.

Color

The sky was grey, and the water was grey, and if she squinted a bit, the horizon blurred, and then it was all grey – a whole world of grey nothing. And she heard a familiar calling, a calling that somehow she knew, was meant just for her. She looked up then, and saw them.

Without thinking, she stretched an arm out to them, grasping ineffectively at the graceful silhouettes, slowly circling out of view. Her fist was empty, and she thwarted once again, unable to understand why she could not hold this, why she couldn’t make it her own. She wanted to be closer to the sky, to at last be able to reach out and graze their wings, to finally learn how to fly. she was almost high enough, arms out – stretched and on her tiptoes, but still could not quite reach them.

They cried and sang that beautiful haunting song, and she felt tears on her face because they were just out of reach, and she’d be stuck here forever, away from what she wanted the most.

They were screaming now, calling to her to come fly, come fly with them, because it was so much better up there where no one can touch you, where no one can hurt you ever again. And she was reaching, reaching, balancing on the edge of the railing, and it was all so beautiful but just a bit too far, just a bit too out of reach. They were calling to her to let go, let go and you will be free with us, they will hurt you down there, come be where you will never be hurt again. And she thought yes, yes that is what I want. She opened her mouth and the song came pouring out, drifting up to them. Yes, this was the connection she wanted all her life, this was the control, and she lifted her arms up to them,

and stepped off into that vast grey expanse.

They say she fell.

But in that moment, she’d learned everything there was to know, about flying.

The Letter

I’m still finding you. It’s been many days since I saw you last but I haven’t given up on looking for you, I’m still finding you. I’ll admit, you’ve gotten very good at this game, and there are nights when I am positive I’d made you up, positive I never really knew you. There are nights I’m convinced I don’t deserve to know you. Nights when I purposely delay my search for you, when I’ve given up on myself and on it all. But then again I suppose you already knew that. I suppose you know how troubling the search for you is, I suppose you know how much I’d like to find you, how much I need you. And if you don’t, let me tell you. I need you the way any of us need air, food and rest. The way we need warmth on days this world has nothing but a cold shoulder to give. The way children need a childhood and adults need a memory. The way I’d like to believe someone will eventually need me. So please, I’m asking you to do better. Make my search more than hard. I’m still finding you. Make me deserve to find you, please don’t soften your game up for me. Leave me battered, and desperate for you. Show me nothing but chaos and step away, let me hurt and let me learn. Show me just how good you can get and I promise, I promise, I’ll show you just how adamant every breadth of life in me is on finding you.

Winter rebirth

 

I found something I’d written in my journal during a very difficult time, and it’s pained me to read, but at the same time, I’m really proud of myself for having come across it. I’m not where I was when I wrote it and that is more than a blessing. I think I’m getting better, and I think it has a lot to do with myself, more-so than with anything others can provide for me. Here it is.

“I don’t know where to begin this. The first thing that comes in mind when writing this is the  theory in psychology where you try to distract yourself from a certain pain. If you focus long enough on something else, you can stop focusing on the thing that is causing you the most hurt. with that being said, I have kept myself busy, more than busy. And yes, busy means sleeping and busy means scrolling through tumblr for two hours straight, busy means writing shit like this that’ll never amount to anything, busy sometimes runs into an encounter with laziness and those are the harder times, but for God’s sake, I’ve been busy. And when I tell you I’ve been busy, I mean I’ve been distracted. That’s all this is, distractions for whomever wants to label them. Most of the time when I say I’ve been distracting myself, the immediate response I get is, “from what?” and naturally, I say something along the lines of “stress” or “family issues”, because general problems are easier to describe and delve into because everyone seems to relate to trying to get away from them. If I had told the truth, if I’d told them the real motive behind my distraction, they would falter. They would stutter and try to come up with pertinent advice, they would wonder why I ever let myself so deep into this. They’d wonder why they asked. I wonder it, I wonder why my mind goes blank when I try to tell myself the best thing to do. I imagine talking to someone about it, a therapist – someone who would tell me to go do whats best for me. To find the healthiest option, the option that’ll make me happy again, or close to it. I’d listen, and end up driving home recklessly, with tears running down my face and palms bruised from slamming the steering wheel too hard. Driving home without a care as to what was happening, and angrily punishing myself with “why the fuck are you so empty?” Every time I imagine myself feeling whole, it’s with someone who makes me feel small, so maybe I’m easier to fill because I’ve shrunken the parts of my chest that aren’t there anymore. It’s easy to fill someone who makes themselves as small as they can be. I wouldn’t call this healthy but at least I feel something, right? I’ve also been missing you. But the second I speak to you, I wish I was still missing you. things don’t feel real unless I’m missing you, unless you’re missing me. Things don’t feel real until the possibility of losing you is and I’m still trying to understand what that means for me. My mind is sad. My mind is filled but empty, my mind has no edges, just sharp turns that run their corners against the inside of my head. The sound that makes is a gnawing one, one that resonates in your ears so long that you forget it’s there until its not. Maybe thats what I am to you, a sound that you forget is there until I am not. That would explain why you only seem to truly care when you think I don’t. I think I knew something was wrong when I would say “I’m going to bed” at 7 and not sleep until 4am. I think I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t tell myself what was. I just had this feeling inside of me that refused to go away, I’d wake up with the feeling that someone was pulling me in all directions and that the only way to feel okay was to go blindly with one of them. I think I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t decipher how I chose which one to go with. I began to go with the strongest pull each time and when I got up in the mornings and you asked me why I looked so tired, it was because exhaustion had won that round. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up for the first time in months. Maybe happiness will finally have the tightest grip around my throat. Isn’t that ironic? I can only be happy with it’s choking me, I can only find the urge to smile when I can’t find the urge to breathe. It’s confusing, I know. Everything is now. I can’t remember the last time there was nothing confusing in my life. I think the most confusing thing as of now is the fact that it hurts to tell people I am okay or it hurts to tell people how important they are to me. I have a hard time saying “I love you” to certain people, and to others, its the easiest thing I’ve ever said. But the logic within that is that it’s only easy to say it to people I don’t actually love, for the most part. Sometimes it’s easy to say it to someone I feel it for. But it’s gotten harder, I’ll hesitate to tell someone they mean a lot to me. I try to avoid saying “I miss you” and I try to disregard it when someone says it to me. Maybe thats why you feel like I dont love you sometimes, and I’m sorry. Then again I’m not. God, what the fuck, this is confusing. I’m sorry, but I want you to know that I’m not. I’ve been here for a long time. Stuck in the middle. I would consider these my good days because all I am is numb, no matter what happens. This was supposed to be a letter about missing you, but I decided to distract myself from that pain by calling out the pain of other things. I guess the theory proves true.”

I have God to thank.