Eight Days

I used to twist radio knobs right
to blare the same songs in my car
that I have to shut off now
because I can’t listen to lyrics
when I see your name between
every line.
And none of my poems make sense anymore
because your name rhymes with nothing
I need to say,
and the flow of my pen
is interrupted with the flow of my tears;
ink and water have never mixed well.
And I’ve stopped watching sunrises
creasing over familiar skylines
and kissing landscapes
the way I once kissed your cheek
because they remind me of how
I woke up to one once with you at my side.
You showed me how to live my life in vibrancy,
not that my world wasn’t coloured in before I met you,
but you changed it from watercolours
to Technicolor,
and now it’s all a mild shade of grey.
And while I used to look up at the sky with you
and be comforted by its vastness,
now I’m too preoccupied
with worrying about how small
I suddenly feel looking up at the sky
alone.

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Excerpt From a Letter I’ll Never Write

For Rysburg

I think the problem is that I fell too hard, too fast. I didn’t see the ground rushing up to meet me until long after I was broken.

But the sick part is, it felt okay to be broken by you. Bob Marley once said, “Everyone’s going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for” and man, was he right. It doesn’t matter that people tell you they never want to see you bleed because in the end, they’re the ones holding up the knife and crying over your wounds.

It’s hard for me to remember the exact moment when I realized you were trouble, but rest assured I knew from somewhere around the beginning, so this is as much my fault as it is yours. I knew you were someone I couldn’t rely on, and maybe I knew this the moment I realized how deeply I felt about you. My feelings, whenever they stray towards love, betray me, and the inevitable happens: I break my heart.

Don’t worry about it though, it’s not like there was much of a heart left to be broken. And I know I can pick up the pieces, sew myself back together and try again, but I also know that some of those pieces will be missing when I go to find them.

I just want you to be happy, and if the best thing for you right now is to be happy without me then I’ll gracefully say goodbye. It might be better for all of us involved if we just say goodbye so I won’t be mourning your absence while I’m in your presence.

I’m sorry I had to fall in love with you.

Thistles

I know brokenness. It has always been something I have understood. So when you stand there telling me that you are broken, what do you think is my first thought?

I think about the time I spent memorizing the freckles on your shoulder blades, and the time I spent staring idly at bumblebees, thinking of your favourite poem. I remember the way you looked at me when you asked me, “Isn’t it nice being stardust?” and the way our toes broke through white ice like it was glass.

I remember late-night hot chocolate runs, and the time I forgot how to breathe when I realized the extent of your beauty. I remember running my fingers through your hair and offering a silent prayer of gratitude to a God I’m not sure exists.

I remember early-morning bus rides I never wanted to take, and how it felt to first touch your hand with mine. I remember diary entries I tried not to write with shaking fingers and loopy handwriting. I remember daydreams that turned into nightmares and hours spent waiting for you that turned into millenniums.

I remember being broken once years ago, on a bathroom floor slick with blood and tears. I remember pounding my head against brick walls, screaming “I hate you” over and over again because those were the only words the voices in my head could understand. I remember what it’s like to watch everyone fly around you when your wings have been clipped.

But I also remember the day I first met you, and the day we first became friends, and the day you first kissed me, and the day you hugged me so hard that all of my broken pieces found their way home. And I know that someday, someone will do the same thing for you.

It might not be me.

The thought echoes through my head even now, writing this. The demons whose voices once whispered in my ear are suddenly awake with those words, and I’m trying, God I’m trying, so hard to tell them to leave. But my voice, along with the rest of me, is a little broken.

Glass Figurines

I can’t help myself
from turning into fragile glass,
making myself vulnerable
to passing strangers
because I crave
transparency;
“Look at me!
Look inside me!
See who I really am”.

But glass was
never a strong material,
and after years of
erosion and chipped shoulders,
I finally discovered
what it takes
to make me
shatter.

I’m still picking up the pieces,
trying to find ways
to put myself together again,
but I always seem
to come out looking like
a Picasso rather than
a Monet.
I’m still trying to find
the person I used to be
among the rubble.

The Truth About Happiness

The thing about happiness is that you can’t help yourself from wondering when and how it’s going to end. And you know it’s going to end, that itself is no question. But until it does, you’re paranoid and terrified of the how and when part.

Newton is famously quoted as saying, “What goes up must come down”, and maybe it’s because you studied Newton in the tenth grade that you are paranoid about your happiness ending. You know you can’t be so high without falling so low; Newton also probably taught you that with his third law.

But maybe we aren’t designed to be happy permanently, because how would we then be able to appreciate it? Look at Kim Kardashian: that woman has so much money and time and fame that she didn’t have to work for. And yet even she invents things to bitch about out of boredom.

It’s hard knowing that your happiness has an expiration date. Especially with our misguided belief that our sorrow does not. When the waves of depression and anxiety and fear and sorrow all hit us at once, it’s easy to believe that these waters will never be swimmable again.

But the sick thing is, none of this stops us from hoping for the highs and praying that the lows don’t come. It doesn’t stop us from reaching for what we know is the inevitable. We set ourselves up for this disappointment like we crave it.

And maybe we do.

Maybe we need the lows just as much as we yearn for the highs. Because without them, we’d forget that this is reality. We’d forget that we’re all just humans, and humans are allowed to hurt sometimes.

We’d forget how to appreciate our happiness for as long as it lasts.

“I’m Just Tired”

Those are the three words that are my freaking salvation. On days when the dysthymia feels like a part of my bloodstream and I can’t hold back tears or visible brokenness, those are the words I use, and those are the words I find most dangerous.

I’ve never been able to get through a simple, “I’m fine” without having it sound false, so I invented my own system. Whenever anyone asked if I was okay or if I was sad or upset, I would tell them I was just tired. It would explain my physical state and wouldn’t be too far from the truth.

Come to think of it, maybe it is the truth. Maybe I’m just tired; tired of a school system that judges me based on how well I can remember big words and “important dates”, tired of having friends and a family I rarely get to see because I work two jobs, tired of being so stressed all the time that I can barely breathe…

I think I’m just tired of being so damn tired.

There are days when I wake up and miss the comatose state I had just gotten out of. There are days when molehills seem like unclimbable mountains and puddles seem like unfathomable depths. I don’t even know how I manage to keep smiling some days, so it’s no surprise I can’t always maintain composure.

I’m just tired.

But no sleep can satisfy this tiredness. Even when I sleep, I’m filled with nightmares that wake me up in a fit of screams or tears (or both). Sleep is just another enemy to fight along with the endless piles of work and money troubles and boy problems and body image issues and I’m just. So. Tired.

So why don’t I let this off of my chest?

Because you’re tired too, most likely. You’re tired of your own demons and problems, and you sure as hell don’t need mine. If I vent to you or cry to you or tell you how I’m feeling – so long as it doesn’t involve tiredness – know that I’m sorry. I know you’re tired too. Vent or cry to me whenever you feel like and I will not judge you either.

Because I know the world is kind of tired of listening to you. It’s tired of listening to me too.

Ice Castles

I have practised
walking on ice
my entire life,
tried to learn
how to gracefully skate
over ridges and bumps
only to end up slipping
time and time again.
I am used to falling
through abundance of carelessness
on hard ground
with friendly strangers
who are all too willing
to pull me to my feet.

I have practised
walking on ice
my entire life,
and while I’ve fallen,
but no one ever told me
what to do
when the ice breaks apart.