365 Poems in 2018: Week 5

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I've been in a strange head-space this week. 

I feel that some of what I've been feeling has been residual from last week's heavy emotions, while others stemmed from a few different happenings over the week. I may put together a 'Thoughts & Feelings' post about them sometime soon. I want to write about them. They are relevant and important and need to be spoken about. But I also want to give the dust some time to settle. For now, I will say that they had a lot to do with mental health and mental illness stigma, topics which are huge players in my life and which I have spoken about and will continue to speak about openly and without filter. For now, my emotions are a bit to raw to make coherent. 

These raw emotions are certainly found in a sampling of pieces from this week. I felt a strong push-and-pull among the themes written; some were desperate, some hopeful, some empowering, some sad. It's truly a reflection of everything I felt this week. As I discussed last week, and when I launched this project, I come to understand my own emotions through writing. It's how I work through what I'm feeling. Each poem means laying bare emotions out on the table. It's akin to cracking open my chest and letting strangers read what's written on my heart. I'm lucky to be able to share something so intimate and special with all of you, and I truly hope that what I write might touch you in some way; that it might might make you feel un-alone, like you have a friend, or like whatever you are going through can be understood.

And with all that said, I give to you: A Year in Poetry 2018: Week Five.


WE TERRIFY THE STARS | January 29

And if the seconds tick slower,
how long will it take
for our worlds to meet -
diverge - become one,
for us to reach and finally
be able to touch?

The universe has conspired
to keep us apart,
has stretched out days
and months, years,

Because together, we could
conquer it - and this, it seems,
these light years of distance
are all it can do
to keep us at bay.

I'M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS | January 30

We say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” as if, someday, that lost person might be found. As if we’ve just misplaced them. Lost sight, lost track. In a crowd or down the street, around the corner, or in the next aisle at the supermarket because we took too long picking out the apples and they wanted to check for sales on bread, or grab a bottle of their favorite coffee creamer before they all run out, and it doesn’t matter that you can’t see them now because you’ll just meet up at the checkout counter.

We say it as though this loss is temporary, maybe because that’s all we want it to be. A missing person. You’ll read about them in the paper and next week there will be a homecoming story on the front page, a giant picture of embraces and relief. And then it will all be over, and it can turn into tomorrow’s news, and no one will have to miss them because they’ll be where they belong.

We twist our language to suit our hearts. To calm and quell our aching. To make loss feel like it will pass. Like gone does not mean forever, and this Earth has not lost a set of footprints over its land.

And it might be kind, or it might be cruel.

JUST ONE LAST TIME | January 31

I would give anything
to have your hand in mine
just one last time.

I would cross oceans,
I would bend time,
I would scale each star God planted in the heavens,
just to see you -
to hold you,

just one last time.

FREE | February 1

I have thought many times that I could:

cut this heart open,
spill its contents to the floor,
let them spread
away from me,
as far as they can travel,

it would be easy - to crack
these ribs, bleed the excess,
flush this body of all the
hurt and hate I’ve filled it with,

and yet each time I hold the knife,
I throw it down.

For if I wash this pain from every
fiber of me,
if I set it loose in the world,
free to run as it pleases,

who else might catch it?

BIRDSONG | February 2

Birdsong,

6AM and pink skies
and gulls just rising,
wings spread over
purple clouds -
the sky a bruise
from last night’s
antics; cosmic
lover’s quarrels
that rain storm
clouds and rile
the birds into their
frantic song,

and the winds stir
the waves and break
the glassy surface of
the sea, and the gulls
dive in and out,
and in and out
and calm the sky,
coax the weary sun
from hiding.

THIS VACANT SPACE | February 3

I sometimes feel too big for this world,
sometimes too small -

in one instant, I cannot be contained,
and in the next there is such a vastness
around me that I don’t know what to do,
where to go, how to fill all that empty
space when there is only one of me and
she cannot grow any taller, any larger,

until she does and then I look to the
cosmos and wonder if maybe it would
be better out there, in the vastness;

at times the vacant space feels like home,
and at others,
it just feels lonely.

SUNRISE | February 4

The sun rises and sets
to the beating of your heart,
your breath is the wind that
moves oceans and brings
forests to their knees;

don’t you ever forget the
power burning inside of you,
for that light will never

go out.