Posted in Poetry

Above it All

Above it all,

I am a coward.

And I don’t mean it because the dark makes me breathless

Or because my brain conjures up

A thousand and one ways I could die.

 

I’m a coward because I cannot face my flaws.

I’m terrified of losing people

And because of that I keep them at arms-length.

 

I don’t like being reminded of my flaws,

I don’t like having flaws.

I don’t like second and triple and octuplet guessing my every move,

And hurting people because of that.

 

I’m a coward because I hurt you

Because even now I can’t explain why

Can’t talk about how tight my chest gets

How stupid I am for forgetting it all.

 

And I can’t even say I’m sorry.

-L.

 

 

Posted in Poetry

Fragments

I know that life and circumstances

Have made you into who you are,

Pushing pieces and shrapnel until they fused into a weapon.

 

I understand that you are a part

That you’re not whole

And what it costs for you to exist fractured as you are.

But it’s hard to love like you do.

 

Pulling and pushing and tearing

You turn everything into shrapnel

Mincing and grinding the world into something you can understand.

 

Because possession and desperation are not love,

Cannot be.

Should not be.

But that is how you hold onto things.

 

You sink claws and teeth

Until there’s nothing left

Until there’s just you and your poison

Coursing through a tired system of lies

Whose only crime was to try to love like you.

 

Buy who could love like you?

Who could love you when you think love equals pain?

 

And I understand that circumstances shaped you

In part

Into who you are.

 

But I also know that the ocean can soothe marks on the sand.

It can erode the sharpness out of rock and shattered glass.

 

You never had someone teach you how to not be glass,

But you held an ocean in the palm of your hand.

 

It didn’t drown you,

You wouldn’t let it.

But you consumed it.

 

You made it impossible to love you

By poisoning the waters that were made for healing and soothing.

You drowned in bitterness the one thing that could hold your fragments together.

 

It is hard to love like you.

It is impossible to love you.

-L.

Posted in Poetry

Thoughts on ‘Keys’

I. It is not often that you wonder about what you do not have. You do not have a home, you do not own a car. Your hands have never hold a key in a way that wasn’t transitory.

II. Homes are not for those who wander, and you have never done anything but. There are times in which you wonder how your feet can carry you miles and oceans away when there are still pieces of your body that linger and stay.

III. The first time you held a key it was a sign to move forward. You did not have a choice. Keys were rust and metal sticking to the back of your throat. Transit meant fear and blood, rooms and cars, bullets and wounds. It was here that you learnt the true meaning of oxygen and water.

IV. The last time you held a key you could not breathe. Your lungs were made of saltwater and smoke. Sand ran through your veins like the careless passing of an indifferent clock. Time moved backwards and then forward. You lost hours upon hours, upon hours counting back the salt you never wanted to give back to the ocean in your chest.

V. It is not often that you wonder about what you cannot have. You cannot have a home, cannot own a name or a place. Your hands, so used to touch and let go are being taught that sometimes to linger means to hold, and sometimes you need to hold to let go.

VI. Names are for people who stay, and your body is so used to running it seems to slip a bit further away with every word you say. There are times in which you wonder how your body can stay afloat when the ocean in your chest is filled with rocks and corpses.

VII. The first time you hold a key is as an afterthought. You are an afterthought, only barely there and almost unrecognizable under the right light. Transit still makes your bones ache and your blood ask for something you cannot give it anymore.

VIII. The next time you hold a key it has a weight, a meaning, a taste other than copper and stale tears. You do not run anymore. Your scars and wounds have taught you that you can endure, that you are a rock and weathered canvas.

IX. It is not often that you think about what you have and what you are. You are a key in someone else’s hand, a choice, a sign. You are home, when houses and cars have never been anything other than transit.

X. You are home. Oceans and sandless clocks can never dictate your future, because you held hands with someone who gave you a key and invited you over. You are not afraid of the salt you’ve yet to give back to the world, because now your wounds are protected, covered. You are not afraid of a body that wanders far because you have a heart that stays and belongs.

You can stay and belong, that is what keys are for.

-L.

Posted in Poetry

To my High School Self,

 

I know I will never be as brave or as afraid as you were.

I know I will never have to hold myself up the way you did.

I know because of you that tears taste like stormy oceans in the morning,

and that I have fingers that claw and tear people apart

just so they don’t have to brave the cold alone.

 

I learnt with you the power of words

– and of silence.

 

I’m sorry that loneliness was your teacher,

and and that your hands never met warmth.

I’m sorry that there are stories you’ll never share,

I’m sorry about the ghosts and the mirrors and the darkness,

God so much darkness.

 

I’m sorry that you could not be braver or more afraid.

I’m sorry that you had to carry dead bodies with you,

holding hands in a chain of despair

for all the versions we had been.

 

I’m sorry that hands and lips and thoughts–

I’m sorry that you cried, and I cried, and you cried and I laughed.

 

Hair is softer than we thought it was,

lips are warmer than we thought they were,

and salvation is sweeter and bitter at the same time.

 

Love was love was love was love was a lie.

 

You bit through your tongue so you wouldn’t have to lie.

I remember the taste of blood in the back of my mouth,

like a foolish lover that wouldn’t let us die.

 

Oh, how you loved to die.

You died everyday for a year.

The bodies piled up, and up, and up, and up.

Dead bodies wherever the eye could see.

And you held hands with them all.

 

I know touch–

I know fingers and hands and arms,

I know things you never knew.

 

I wish you had known that arms hold the way fingers touch-

gently, nervous, loving-

that you can love someone without losing the lie.

I wish someone had told you that love is love is alive.

 

I wish life had given us flowers and giggles and an adventure after the other.

 

I know you wished for arms that hold like fingers –

careful, scared, beautiful-

that you could’ve loved someone without the lie.

I know you believed that love could be alive…

if it wasn’t with you.

 

I’m sorry that it was never with you,

I’m sorry that you had to lie.

 

I’m sorry, above all, that you died,

that I’m holding your hand the way you used to-

frightened, sad, and lonely-

I’m sorry that you never loved you the way I do,

that you never could.

 

To my high school self,

I know.

I’m sorry.

I love you.

-L.

Posted in Poetry

Sin

 

You suppose you knew you weren’t okay when you couldn’t breathe.

No. That’s not it.

You knew you couldn’t breathe when you weren’t okay.

Yes. That’s it.

 

You remember the first time you saw him,

He was standing there looking like fire had nothing on him,

Like even the ocean couldn’t soothe away his burns.

You thought your hands would bleed if they could only touch him.

 

Or, you thought of all the things you couldn’t feel.

You couldn’t feel the rain and the winds in his eyes,

You had long since forgotten how pain tasted and laughter burnt.

You were used to the punches, 

You had never been anything but sharp edges and turns.

 

You were a lake in the middle of a forest,

as unreachable as a monster and distant as a nightmare.

You had died with all the words you could not speak,

You thought you wouldn’t touch him.

 

But you did.

Or rather he did.

 

You never knew how much you could hurt until him,

until his words and kindness and eyes caught you.

You never wanted to look away, but staring felt like a challenge.

Like he would burn you alive if you’d only give him the chance.

 

You knew the moment you met that he would hold your heart in his hands.

You remember how fear tasted the first time you saw him fall.

That day you also remembered disgust.

You hated yourself for the weakness he brought back.

 

But then he touched you and the world went away,

He touched you and it was like something was pulling you away.

You would never be the same you once were.

 

In his lips you found salvation, and damnation, and fear.

You’d never been more afraid than you were that day.

Because in his lips you also remembered you had to walk away.

 

And who were you?

Who would you be if you went away?

You weren’t the lake or the forest anymore,

The roots of nearby trees had carved a path inside your body

That no amount of saltwater could ever hope to fill.

Your lungs were two bags of empty salt,

And your heart had turned into a withered seed.

 

Who were you if not the monster in the lake?

Who were you if not the nightmare of the forest?

Trees could not feel and water could not see.

 

You would never stop feeling and seeing him as you walked away.

 

Who were you if not saltwatered tears and lust?

 

Who were you if not a shadow of the night?

-L

Posted in Poetry

Arms

When I look at my arms, I don’t think strong.

I think not there yet,

I think this weakness is wrong.

 

I’m a loose thread that has been pulled apart for too long,

I thought maybe if I kept pulling, I would someday manage to forget.

When I look at my arms, I don’t think strong.

 

My arms are an open canvas, a bleeding song

And I can’t wait for them to get soaked in red, and yet

I think this weakness is wrong.

 

My fingers tremble, ache, long

For a single blade of color to wash away the regret.

When I look at my arms, I don’t think strong.

 

When I close my eyes I see flowers blooming like a dying song,

I see carefully written words and a withering silhouette,

I think this weakness is wrong.

 

When I think strong, I think of shaking hands when I was 16 years old,

Petals cascading from my lashes and the taste of blood, lips wet.

When I look at my arms, I don’t think strong.

I think this weakness is wrong.

L.

Posted in Poetry

Fears that I have Lived

You don’t conquer a fear, you face it.

Every day for the rest of your life.

Sometimes you do it head on,

others you politely ask it to move aside.

 

Most days, you stare at it right in the face

and you know this will be the day.

This is the day you’ll be paralyzed by its knowledge of you,

by what it knows and what you don’t yet know.

You’ll stand there, frozen,

while everyone else walks by  and wonder,

“Why aren’t you moving?”

 

Because while you face fear, others can’t see it.

As you stand there, frozen and motionless

fear can see you, can feel you.

It traces your thoughts into clay like skin,

sinking fingerprints into a glass that was never taught how to be glass.

 

You were never meant to be clay.

You were probably steal before the fear came.

Glass and sand and pretty fingers with well-kept nails.

But the fear saw you and it wanted you.

 

So you stare at each other as people come and go,

and they wonder “Why aren’t you moving?”

but fear holds you for ransom so you cannot speak,

cannot see beyond black pools of loneliness and anger.

You can’t see beyond the chasm that is yourself.

 

Because fear wants you in the only way you can want yourself,

it wants to feed off you,

wants you to understand that it knows you because it is you.

 

Fear owns you like you have never owned anything before.

 

You cannot conquer fear,

you become it.

You welcome it with open arms and loose wrists.

You twist it into words others understand

until it’s just another part of you.

 

You don’t conquer a fear, you face it.

Every day for the rest of your life,

confronting it for who it is.

Sometimes you do it head on,

waving your hand against your reflection in the mirror,

others you politely ask it to move aside,

twisting careful feet in sheets to get up in the morning.

 

You don’t conquer fear,

you become it.

You own it.

It owns you.

L.