08 October 2014

fin

yours
was the only goodbye i needed to say
and the only one where i didn't get the chance.
i still miss you.
yours
was the only thing i wanted to be
and the only thing i can't.

24 August 2014

from your valedictorian

I don't think you understand
what it's like
to be me.
I have never been anything
except for an envelope
"To the parents of:"
stamped across the front-
my family's version of a fortune cookie
written in the language of
"How many A's did you get"
and whether or not my teacher wrote
"Excellent student"
or
"Pleasure to have in class."
Because they mean different things
and one is always better than the other
(and I have always been the other).
There is no life outside of academics for me:
 number two pencils and standardized tests
are all I have come to know.
I can't balance a checkbook,
but I can balance chemical equations.
So while I will never use that again in my life,
I do still have a number to carry with me,
more proof that I've succeeded.
Sometimes it feels less like I've triumphed over the test
and more like the test has won against me.
I feel like a slave, minus the ball-and-chain,
plus the desk-and-chair.
I have no knowledge of the world.
I have no way to acquire it.
I can name historical figures and significant dates
and write you a four page essay on how the Boston Tea Party
impacted the American Revolution,
but for the life of me,
I don't know what I would write on my resume.
School has defined my life-
academics has always been what made me special-
but soon
I'll be graduating.
So who will I be then?
Someone tell me
that they understand what it's like
to be me
because
I don't think I do.

17 August 2014

sundown

The sun and the sky part
in the most beautiful farewell I've ever seen:
bleeding together,
 even as they pull apart-
rays of light stretching like fingers
extended in a lover's caress.
Her light
gently strokes his face
streaming across is like tears
neither willing to let the other go
until she sinks
below the horizon
and all he has left of her
is her image
imprinted
behind his eyelids.

14 August 2014

a stuffed dog, a child's make-up kit, and a doll

I kneel beside the small vanity, unable to fit in the petite plastic chair. The paint peels and fades, ghosts of teddy-bears and princesses the only things that remain. The mirror reflects my image, distorted and warped; I can barely make it out. What would I see, if I could? All I can see is her. She used to sit here, in this petite plastic chair, brushing out her short locks; they would have transformed into long tresses, had she had more time. But she was beautiful, nonetheless. I swipe my hand across the chair, stirring the dust that has collected over years of neglect; it's cold to the touch, just like she was when I found her. Long gone, yet her presence still lingers here. On the small vanity, the make up case lies open, just the way she left it. Turning herself into a princess as little girls so often do. She didn't need it, wouldn't have needed it as she grew. She already was a princess, my princess.

I gaze across the room at the tiny bed she used to sleep in, where I'd sing her to sleep and read her favorite stories, where I scolded her for jumping and squealing in delight. The sheets have never been made; they lie in a tangled heap at the foot of the mattress, and it looks like she could have just tumbled out of dreams into waking. I can still see her bedhead, spikes and curls; she looked like a wild child and she loved it. Her pillows are strewn about, half on the bed, and half off. I think I can spot the tail of her favorite stuffed dog peeking out from beneath the bed-skirt. She refused to sleep without it; I can remember how peaceful she looked, snuggling with that dog, tucked into the blankets, sleeping soundly, deep breaths rumbling her frame. I can remember, also, her clutching her dog in one arm and her blanket in the other, as she came into my room seeking comfort, or maybe just a glass of water. Interruptions that the more selfish, less loving side of me used to resent. But I'd give anything now, anything, to wake up to her sweet face one more time.

If I'd been more alert, if I'd checked on her sooner, would things be different?

02 July 2014

just another goodbye

This sadness is seizing me, taking over my body. 
I feel it deep within my chest. 
Something is missing there.
You reached in,
twisted,
and took something out that's not supposed to leave. 
My body no longer knows when it's supposed to breathe,
eat,
sleep. 
It doesn't know how to be okay anymore. 
Everything still runs,
but it's slowing,
like a wind up toy losing steam. 
I'm out of energy,
trying to compensate. 
Pretend I know how to feel right again,
even when my body doesn't. 
But you have what makes me tick-
you're holding all of me. 
All of me. 
All of me
is yours. 

24 June 2014

seven months in fifteen days

"15/we sat here and you kissed me so softly i didn't notice my heart stop
22/the rain pounded your car windows, a layer of water between us and the parking lot. we added a layer of steam. 
7/i didn't expect to see you, but it was exactly what i needed to make it through the day. 
31/you made me cry every day that week and this was more than i could handle. i missed you more than I thought. 
1/you made up for it. 
23/you proved you know me better than anyone else. 
8/why do you make me promises that you don't keep? you made me feel worthless. 
14/ive never celebrated this holiday before this year. 
24/your "good luck" meant more to me than anything else that day. 
27/i missed you so much. 
17/i never knew how much i meant to you until your dad introduced me to your sister. 
30/this was the first night i actually believed you'd stay with me and tough it out. i woke up deliriously happy. 
2/this was the day you told me you were leaving me. you said "maybe" but was it really that much of a surprise?
6/this was the last promise you broke. 
10/this was the day you said goodbye. i haven't stopped saying goodbye to you since."
-you said i could keep you. 

12 June 2014

so this is goodbye

I wonder if you read that letter.

I wonder if you even remembered it, even brought it on the plane.

I wonder, if you did, if it mattered to you...?

If you soaked in every word, eyes hovering over each scribbled letter, trying to imagine me saying it to you, lingering over I love you...

...or if you skimmed it halfheartedly, just enough to find the gist of it, before folding it back up and stuffing it back into a carefully sealed, carelessly opened envelope...

Did you remember it?

Did it matter?

Do I?

28 May 2014

buzzed

Disappointment stings
more than bees;
the only difference
is that we expect bees.
And yet
if we expected
disappointment
we wouldn't feel it.

14 May 2014

Since I'm late for #transformationtuesday...

Lately, I've been lacking inspiration. I've just been so worn out between school and extra-curriculars (and I got into a car crash about a month ago and I've been dealing with the aftermath of that....) that I've just been too tired to write... It's been hard posting twice a week.

A lot of the poems I've already posted come from the files I already have on hand, and though there are nearly 100 of them, I only feel comfortable posting a few. As I go through and try to choose which poem to post, I find that most of the ones I have on hand are a) incomplete, or b) from several years ago.

Which brings me to this post. Reading these old poems makes me wince; I've been tempted, on a number of occasions, to erase them and pretend they never existed. But I don't. I save them so that I can see the way my writing has evolved. I'm not a ground-breaking, philosophy-spouting scholar; I've always written as a form of self-soothing. But I do find it interesting to see how I've grown as a writer.

For example, this


was written when I was about 14. Looking at it today, at age 18, I want to bury myself in sand and revoke any association with it.

Whereas I wrote this



the summer between my junior and senior years of high school at age 17. Actually, they're written about the same person.

I go over what I've written about the boy I'm currently in love with, and I can't even begin to speculate what my files will have on him in 3 months, let alone 3 years. It's kind of cool to realize how gradually and yet how incredibly experiences modify writing style.

Has anyone else noticed a similar phenomenon?



11 May 2014

throwback to this time last year

Rejection.
People think it's when someone tells you they don't want you
or need you
or love you.
And, well, it is.
But it's also where they show you that they don't.
It's where you say you could call me
and they say I know
and then they don't.
It's where you ache with the burning desire to hear about their day and their activities
and you listen to them talk,
watch their expressions,
laugh in the right places,
and they don't even bother to ask about you.
It's where, yeah, you've got other friends and you're happy,
but they've left this hole where they used to be
and you've been unable to fill it up,
and they didn't even have a space for you in the first place.
So, yeah, rejection is "I think we should break up,"
or "I guess I just moved on,"
but it's also
"She's my best friend," when that used to be you,
or a playful, "No one" when you ask who keeps texting them
because their phone keeps ringing
and it's like it's laughing at you because look-
he chose to talk to you, but you're only one of his options,
and you're definitely not the first
and you're definitely not the best.
So you just smile weakly and hope they don't notice that they've broken you so completely,
and you wonder, why do I keep letting him in?
It's because every time he comes back, you're hoping he's accepted you
when really you're just finding out all the different ways he can reject you.

08 May 2014

x

I was broken when I met you;
 in all directions lay shards
of my fragile, glass soul.
Oh, but how kind you were,
how sweet,
 how gentle-
the softness of your touch
as you helped me gather them all
into a box.
I remember each brush of your fingers
against each fragment;
I once had memorized every callous.
And then, oh,
the shock of you leaving-
the thought of you gone-
I couldn't help but drop the box
that held the shards of my heart.
This time,
 I picked them up alone;
oh, how slowly I worked,
how the dust embedded itself in my skin.
Months later,
I was whole again,
glass dust dissolved,
a heart in one piece-
ignoring the cracks.
I can't say I miss you,
because I'm glad you left.
He makes me feel
less like glass
and more like diamond.

07 May 2014

evening run

My feet pound the pavement, echoing around me; my heart pounds in my chest, filling up my ears. Thoughts of you litter my mind like trash on the sidewalk. I stop to catch my breath, only to lose it once more because in this place, I can only feel you.
I remember the words that spilled from your lips as we walked these streets together, the way each house looked in that moment, glowing in the afternoon sunshine.
This fence that so often finds itself a target for runaway cars has been replaced, just like me.
Remember walking by here? The gaping hole, the only thing between us and the drainage ditch a line of yellow tape, limply hung in a gross misrepresentation of a smile that more resembled a grimace.
Still, we couldn't have cared less, flashing grins like IDs as we continued down that stretch of road, vehicles flashing by in a blur of color and a blast of wind. It's empty now; just me and my thoughts. My pace slows as I approach the intersection, pressing the button and half-smiling as I recall you teasing my inability to do so; it beeps in response and startles me out of my memory. Has it always been so loud? It didn't seem that way with you by my side.

The light turns and I run through the crosswalk, yet I can't help but remember your casual grace as you sauntered through, cool and confident like a runway model. You even looked the part, with your finger-mussed hair and inviting smile. It seems a million years ago that you sent that smile my way, a glint in your eyes that I couldn't quite place, though it made me flush with excitement anyway.

05 May 2014

future

1. We are, all of us, children: eyes bright, with the pointed face and awkward limbs indicating a growth yet to come. Our desks have grown comfortable and the hallways have grown home-y and we are at the top of the food chain, and yet we are about to leave it all behind.
The prospect of moving on is not one we are familiar with; it is what we have been putting off, but no longer. They thrust it upon us, with forms to fill out and papers to sign and numbers to memorize.
They tell us to choose an elective, and when I did, I never thought that a word, circled, on a sheet of paper, could save my life.
2. I have grown up learning that I have what is known as potential: I display excellence in academics. But I have been taught more about getting good grades than I have been about science or math or history; I have been taught more about being exemplary in the eyes of the system than I have learned at all. They tell me I am talented.
They tell me that I am going places, but they never tell me where.
3. I am alone, and I sit on the edge of the bathtub. The bottle I hold rattles when I shake it; the paper in my other hand is crumpled and smudged. I have always believed them when they told me that my future was bright,
but not anymore. I see no future. I am alone
and worthless
and there is nothing for me.
My potential has run out and my talent has faded. I am the ashes of a campfire, and I am so tempted to let the wind carry me away.
I put the bottle away. But I hide the paper where only I can find it.
4. The next day, at school, my band director says something to me. He says that he is proud of me, words I have only ever heard from my parents and which have long ago lost meaning. But I go home, and I look at my hidden letter, and I tear it to shreds, because suddenly, the thought of never feeling an instrument in my hands again, of never making music again, of never making my director proud again, is too much to bear.
5. It has been several months since they began asking me the college questions. What will I major in? Where will I go? And the truth is, I have no idea. They tell me I can do anything- again with my potential- but I know that's not true. I am an utterly unremarkable student with mediocre intelligence and an unusual ability to bullshit teachers, but that will only get me so far in life and I doubt its abilities to get me into college. I am at a loss. Everything I thought I knew is slipping away.
I write another letter. I find another hiding place.
6. You inspired me to practice more, so I can be an amazing clarinet player like you, is what one of my freshman writes in my yearbook. I saw you playing the clarinet and it made me want to play it, too, is what another tells me at a sectional. And somewhere along the lines, the words music education major floated to the front of my mind.
7. Why music? You could excel in math; you could thrive in science. Why music?
Why music? Because music has shown me beauty in places I'd never expected,
and has spoken to me in languages I'd never known;
because music has kept me alive when the breath in my lungs couldn't.
So now, here I am, a child with eyes more dull than before, with limbs more proportional than they had been, yet again at the top of the food chain,
with more forms to fill out and more papers to sign and more numbers to memorize:
they tell me to choose a major and this time,
I am fully aware that a word, circled, on a sheet of paper can save lives.

28 April 2014

realize

Today,
it hit me
that I may very well be in love with you.
I live my life between each of your smiles;
I watch hours pass with each minute I wait for you.
I can feel
a hollowness in my chest,
a magnetism that pulls me to you.
When your lips touch mine,
when I feel your heartbeat against mine,
my soul comes home.
My hands were made for yours,
my head meant to rest beneath your chin.
Wrap me up,
blanket me with your body.
Today,
it hit me
that I am so very much in love with you.
(I just thought you should know.)

23 April 2014

snapshot in words

Your lips used to mesmerize me,
and your gaze could hold me captive;
everything about you sent electricity through my veins.
I could look at you for hours and find new things to notice,
obscurities and idiosyncrasies to file away in my memory.
And, god,
with all that,
imagine the things I could write about you.
The curve of your smile.
The spark in your eyes.
Your warmth.
Your charm.
But they fade,
they dull,
they can never compete on paper
with what they are on you.
And especially now,
now that you're but the whisper of a memory
and your voice is a silent echo
and your face is a washed out reflection,
I could never capture your beauty
(the same way I could never capture your heart).

19 April 2014

blood moon

This morning at 1:56,
we lay together on my roof
watching the eclipse.
It was cold.
We had five blankets
and two pillows
and we left our shoes on,
but still, we were freezing.
With my back pressed to your chest
and your arms wrapped around me,
I whispered,
"What are you thinking about?"
But you didn't reply.
Slowly,
your breathing
evened out.
I watched as the moon emerged from behind Earth's shadow,
and listened as you began to snore.
At that time of night
(morning? night?)
everything is quiet
stagnant.
No cars passed.
The hum of appliances ceased.
Only your sleeping noises broke the silence.
Only the rise and fall of your chest shattered the stillness.
I wanted to fall asleep with you
and let the sunrise wake us,
but I knew you had to be home.
And so I wanted to wake you then,
and ask you again what you were thinking,
but you sounded so peaceful
and I knew you were tired.
I turned back to the stars.
Without my glasses, the moon
looked foggy,
and its light watery,
as it crossed the sky
and found sunlight to reflect.
And I watched.
I didn't know how long I'd been tracking its progress.
I reached over you and you jerked awake
like you'd been underwater, holding your breath.
You asked me the time
and my phone screen lit up just in time for me to watch
2:27 turn into 2:28.
You lay back down
but you told me you had to go home.
Your eyes closed.
Your muscles relaxed.
So tired–
so tranquil–
I shook you awake.
You told me again you had to go home
but neither of us moved.
We didn't budge
for a long time after that.
It almost felt like you would stay on the roof
with me.
But today at 11:49 I woke up in my bed,
without you.

13 April 2014

aa

i've never been good at the whole
affection thing.
in the past i found i gave too much,
but i was just giving what i wanted to get
(though not for a lack of it;
but the more i get the more i crave;
call it an addiction)
lately, i've been thinking
that perhaps i don't give enough.
i know i act aggressive
but it's not because of you.
i've just found it easier
to hurt people
before they hurt me.
(i think of it as self-defense, but sometimes
i see it more as an affliction)
just give me a moment
let me walk twelve steps
i can be okay
our lips pressed together
can be a seal of approval
i can be good enough
i can prove it.

08 April 2014

your lips

curved in a smile,
pressed against mine,
saying i love you

are poetry in and of themselves



03 April 2014

guess i should thank you

I'm grateful for the experience we had. You're a part of my past, but my present is that much happier because of our relationship (even for the way it ended). I won't forget you, but I don't love you anymore. I did, though, and it taught me a lot. So thanks.

I fall in love with things-
The sound of my name,
painted
in the color of your voice-
the softness of your words
and how they could cut through a room,
and deafen me.
I fell in love with your eyes,
a forget-me-not blue
that has never been forgotten.
I fell in love with the sound of your heartbeat,
the rise and fall of your chest, the way it could lull me to sleep-
there were nights I'd lie awake,
my ear pressed to the pillow, wishing I could hear it.
 I fell in love with your hair
in the afternoon sunlight,
and the brightness of your smile,
like a sunrise at the end of the day-
it was something I could never understand.
And I never understood love
until I loved you.

30 March 2014

jealous


I hate to admit to being territorial, but I am. I'm embarrassingly insecure, and it's a problem. I get jealous, I lash out, and I write poetry then save it on my computer with swear-filled titles.

methods

I want to hang a picture of your laughter on the inside of my brain,
and preserve it.
I want to make my eyes into mirrors,
so that when you look at me, you could see what I do
and I want to travel to places in your mind
that I honestly have no right to.
I tear myself away from the depths of your eyes
because I am afraid of falling into them,
yet I can't help but keep returning to the edge,
dipping my toes,
testing the water.
I am so in love with you:
the simple way your hands grip your pencil;
the way your feet meet the pavement with every stride;
the color of your eyes in moonlight.
I long to press my lips to the dimples in your cheeks,
to give your fingers a home among mine,
to find all the different ways I can love you.

27 March 2014

gray

I don't know that I believe that
doubt
has a shadow
or that we can go beyond it.
Doubt seems more like a haze
a gray fog
like somewhere along the line
someone forgot to add in the silver lining.
It casts no darkness,
just blurs light
and obscures paths.
It makes me question if I have any before me.
Mine seems to have ended
miles ago,
on a summer night where I scrawled into my journal
help me
and everyone around me was blind.
Ever since I've been stumbling
blundering
along.
The sun is shining
because of a friend's words
because of a beautiful boy's smile
but still this
doubt.
And how does one protect oneself
from seemingly harmless vapor?

04 March 2014

yours

is a language I am dying to understand.
teach me how to conjugate the Latin of your smiles.

03 March 2014

mapmaking

Your body is a landscape
I am dying to explore.
Every mountain and valley
that creases your skin
is a natural wonder;
I hereby declare you a national park
to be preserved, treasured, and admired.
I want to catalogue
all the different ways and colors
your eyes can flash.
Let your voice flood my ears
like a river filled with spring-melted snow;
I will happily drown in the run-off of your words.
Allow me to memorize the shape of your jaw line,
press my lips to your skin
and blaze trails down your neck.
Can I climb the mountain of your mind?
The elevation makes me dizzy;
it's harder to breathe-
still, I want to climb higher.
Which elevation will give me the best view of you?
I will go to any lengths to find it;
I will spend forever trying to map it.
Let me be the cartographer of your soul.