Posts tagged writing
Posts tagged writing
Fever spikes are like lunar magnetism, churning the waters of my emotions. I’m drowning in this tide of memories, pulling me down with the undertow of nostalgia…
I remember what it felt like to be twelve years old, being flooded with so many feelings at the same time that I was convinced I couldn’t actually feel anything. I would just lie on my bed, with my headphones on, wishing that I could cry. But, by then I had already cried so much that my tear ducts felt like they had turned to dust. I could have ground broken glass into my corneas and I would have been surprised if I could’ve even squeeze blood out of my eyes.
I had only been alive for a decade and some change… and I already felt so… empty. There’s a point where fear, sadness, and pain seems to melt away. They don’t actually vacate your body, but it’s sort of like how static sinks into the background. Despite what people may think, this is the most dangerous sensation… you’re not depressed or angry anymore. You’re just… perfectly still. You start to wonder if you’re already dead. You get comfortable with the idea of blinking out of existence, because nothing already feels like nothing… which feels like… nothing.
And you remember that when you were younger (no matter how young you still are) that you used to fight the numbness. That when you slammed your fingers in doors or fists through mirrors… when you watched the sharp edge dance across your skin, it felt like you were bleeding off some of your own misery. You would grit your teeth and quietly scream “Fuck OFF!” on the inside. You weren’t even sure who you were cursing at. Your abusers? Your parents? The world? Yourself?
No one really understood that all the times you hurt yourself, you were just trying to feel something. You wanted to prove to yourself that you were here… that the things that happen to you matter… that maybe — just this once — no one could sweep you under the rug. That you were making a record of your existence, keeping track of time served, in the form of scars and burns. To prove that some things don’t just fade away when you refuse to talk about them. To stubbornly demonstrate that not everything heals with time.
But… it was only a temporary solution. Eventually, it just became like a mechanical habit, but it really didn’t make you feel any better. No matter how many times you left marks on yourself… you’d always wake up in the same bed… the same room… the same world. Feeding your lifeblood to the void.
“Everything happens for a reason.” It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s too naive for me. It suggests that existence is safe and easy, because whatever is supposed to happen will simply happen…. and that’s not the nature of life. Life is uncertain and brutal. And after a long time of contemplation, I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing means anything… unless you decide to make it mean something.
For me, I knew that no one else had witnessed what I had been through. I was a sole survivor… and if I let my negative experiences cause me to self destruct completely, then the wrongs that had been inflicted on me would just be wiped from the slate. And maybe they would just keep happen again and again, to different people.
It wasn’t my fault, the things that happened to me. I didn’t ask for any of it… but to be in a position where I could do something that I was already hard-wired for— survive — and possibly make someone else’s life a little brighter? I felt like I had an obligation…
Because we live in a world where too many people turn their heads when they see things that make them uncomfortable. They close their eyes and pretend that things are okay. And I knew, even at my weakest moments, that was something I would make every effort not to do.
The ugly things that happen to all of us mean nothing… unless we acknowledge and empathize with one another. We make it meaningful by caring. And by giving it value, we are given the liberty to help channel it into something positive — even if that takes a lifetime to achieve. By being willing to play witness, we show other people that they matter. Even if the universe doesn’t care… someone does. We empower each other to assert that what happened to us was wrong. When we survive and learn how to thrive even, we prove to each other that those wrongs don’t define us.
We remind each other that It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to be human.
And sometimes being nothing — in the grand scope of things — isn’t a terrible or frightening thing. It just means that you have everything to gain.
Nothing means anything.
She always rubs her mouth,
like there’s a secret she can’t say out loud.
Tracing her own lips to prevent a smile, a frown, or a tear.
Sometimes her real smile peeks through, but you can only see it in her squinted almond eyes; dark amber, and soft, just like that bashful grin.
Sometimes a frown shows when no one is looking, followed by a wistful sigh and a simple wipe of the palm across that silent mouth, trying to push the bad feelings and words away.
Sometimes tears roll past her knuckles; she fails to catch them at the source because she’s scared to wipe her eyes raw, so she brushes them away after they’ve fallen in the crook of her pink lips.
She always hides her mouth,
as if she’s afraid to speak.
She never faces you completely,
like you’re not worth her full attention.
Averting her cold gaze, she walks with a haughty, empty stride.
Even when her striking blue eyes are pointed at you, her chin is always tilted up and shoulders set at an angle. Pompous but defensive, like a fencer ready to strike back.
Even if she gives you the courtesy of her pretty face, full-on and uninterrupted, one foot is always pointing away, ready to run at a moment’s notice.
Even though she nestles against a warm body, she thinks of another place, another time, another’s breath. She doesn’t make idle chatter because there’s nothing to talk about; so she sighs.
She never faces anyone completely,
as if there’s something she’s ashamed of.
She’s always tugging her fingers,
like a child wanting attention.
Fiddling bashfully with her manicure, she watches for any eyes on her.
Her nails are always decorated with playful but detailed strokes. She makes sure to fix them every two or three days so they’re always pretty like her smile.
Her bottom lip tastes like artificial strawberry; she knows she shouldn’t chew, but the nervous habit sneaks in whenever she looks at a turned back and feels the loneliness creep up.
Her knuckles pop slightly when she pulls them and she hates the feeling; her mom says it’s bad for her, and it leaves an ache in her hand and her heart.
She’s always tugging her fingers,
as if she’ll get left behind.
She can’t stop smoking,
like she can’t breathe without it.
Inhaling the sweet, burning ash into her lungs.
The fumes taste like candy and envelop her nostrils and her mind; she can think clearly now, breathe easy now, because air feels too thin in comparison.
The fumes sneak into her heart, and her chest erupts with fire; a fire that sears instead of glows, that strikes instead of soothes, and all the memories spill out like smog from her mouth.
The fumes settle and she sees ashes and loose blonde hairs at her feet; she cries because it’s an addiction she can’t curb.
She can’t stop smoking,
as if she’s trying to suffocate.
I imagined you standing at the river’s edge when we met
how different from your own vista
but then again, I’ve always imagined you close to me.
And when you asked unabashedly if I was falling for you
there you were, the sun bouncing off your toothy grin
even though I was mortified by your question.
And I wonder, when I finally tell you what I really wanted to say
where will you be?
I imagine us, pants rolled to the knees…
wading in the river deep.When poetry captures those moments of emotional vulnerability, you know there was something special there.
I no longer worship
the way your chest caves and intoxicates
every muscle in my being, as you turn
me into your sacrifice; the way your
muscles tense when my teeth sink
into the base of your ribs; the way prayers
resonate out of your hallowed collarbones
as you imprison me in the Limbo of
your mind. I no longer worship
the freckle on your lips that became
my altar; the sacred praises your
patience pleaded for; the offering
from the gods as your eyes turn to
gold in the sun. I no longer worship
the way your dimples bless, your kisses
resurrect, your curly hair possesses. My love,
the poems you wrote no longer haunt me (for
darling, there really is no cure for lost time,
and all time is lost with you). You can no
longer anoint me with beautiful, baptize me
with lies. Dear, I never told you how
sacrilegious it was that you had crucified
me on basement floors, your rugged
hands and soft thighs, nails pressed into the
bones of my wrists and legs, your eyes
pierced my bare flesh splayed across
the floor. Remember, my love
I am no Jezebel (and you, no priest)
but I will reincarnate into the incense
that consumes your lungs, for
you are my communion:
your body, my bread;
your blood, my wine,
and I will partake in you until
I am full.
Staff note: I dig it
Your blender is in the bin,
Along with the cards I had planned
To write. And the novelty
Notes sung by gorillagram
Lie undrafted by undialled phone.
In the window of a dusty
French restaurant a candle
Sits unchaperoned- if only for
In the florist’s stall
For you sits unaware
For I won’t call, no I won’t call.
This Valentine I just wrapped
You in your favourite clothes
We ate Krispy Kremes
Their satin limes and sugar greens,
Watching TV shows which
Laughing at something
Even the sparrows were jealous.
Natalie’s note: What a beautiful thing to return to.
I was blessed and cursed with too many homes
catching glimpses of what it meant to belong
in wrought-iron balconies hovering above
jasmine-tarred streets my grandfather roamed,
in souks they called me foreigner—
Western tongue too lazy
to lift their vitreous guttural tones,
a steel bird took me away, gazing
at clay cubicles enveloped in
a dusty Saharan embrace,
I said goodbye to one
Although Queen Street kissed my every
artistic fancy and coddled the core
of my individuality, her espresso burning
my throat in ways no viscous Turk ever could,
no vendors mocked my swallowed accent
but my ideologies were systematically probed,
you could not smell the jasmine
through the acre-high snow
but the stench of poverty
never tickled my nose
into sneezes of sympathy,
a steel bird took me away, gazing
at gleaming towers, geometric villas
engulfed in the greenery
I have always known.
I said goodbye to two
and Raml Station,
leave behind traces
of you, hold onto
bits of each home,
take them with you
sew together your
a location that
cannot be plotted
on a map, this is
your home, no strip
of land can fully
after your travels.
the woman walked out on the street without her clothes. they remind me of the camp, she said. and who could tell her anything? the neighborhood had gotten used to it. the local police disregarded the laws. what i found completely fascinating was how no one gave her any extra attention, other than to ask her if she was cold during the winter.
she was young, maybe around twenty-five. she was a round, little thing and was popular with the children. i later found out that they had grown up with her in the neighborhood. seeing her naked was completely all right with them. a few of them asked their parents if they could walk around without clothes, too. they were told that it wasn’t necessary for them to do that—it was only necessary for her.
someone tried to put a coat on her once, i heard, without asking her permission (in winter, and with a decent conversation, she would have allowed it), and she screamed the entire town into oblivion. the policeman who lived on her street had to tell the lady with the coat to please stop, you are distressing her.
the lady with the coat took three steps back and declared the town to be the birthing ground of the devil. she left shortly after and never returned.
things have been this way for many years. the naked woman goes to see her doctor every thursday. there are some people in town who know that nothing can be done about her, and so they avoid her route. it is easy to do so—she is very predictable.
i was at her house one saturday for dinner. she was the same at home. sometimes she wore slippers, at other times she didn’t. her body wasn’t like the naked bodies you saw in magazines or on the internet. it was covered in small cuts and bruises.
but she told me that she knew how to take care of herself.
it is important, she said, to know the difference between naked and vulnerable. and when she was out on the street, she was only one of these.
i want to cry in the middle of the indian ocean, enough to send you a hurricane, making landfall by you before tuesday. it will remind you of my temper, how my fleeting sweetness was still a constant temptation for you. i want to hang upside down on the monkey bars of my termite-infested preschool and have you kiss your cigarette smoke back into me—let’s make my lungs collapse from your love. i want to stay awake for ninety-six hours and count how many seconds i spend thinking of you. you’ll find the tally marks written all over my limbs, i’ll make you spit in every burning cut i made into my skin. i want to jump from the bridge you were born on into the valley where mother buried her soul. i just to need her to tell me you weren’t a mistake, afterwards i’ll charm her into a proper grave. i want to walk on the moon before morning, and bathe in a meteor shower before resting on saturn’s rings. i want to feel every atom imploding beside yours. i want to scream out every lie i’ve ever told you if only it’d make you stay.
Staff note: Excellent