Careful: Expired Sunshine. Discard.

Tomorrow, well, today, I will write of a love

that is easy, one that is like sinking into the

fresh sheets of your bed after a long day, down

surrounding you, in an embrace so kind your

brain does not believe it is real, because, here,

is rest without a knife to your back; but today,

I will instead open the fridge that has gone bad,

and pull from its guts, the expired carton at the

back, and set on the glass table, my cracked pensieve,

in which I will receive testament of the communion

that was that day; here, is my steady hand, pouring

you out into the gaping hollow of my throat; now,

here, is my bitter mouth, vomiting the sourness of you

into the aging cavity of the pensieve; look, there

is the promise of us floating, placid across the surface,

my head is uplifted to look upon the surface of your face

in the sunlight, the shadows of the trees do not

touch us, this waiting does not touch us, the slamming

breathlessness of death is already forgotten, here only,

is the fragrance of you, the lost confusion of our friends

who do not understand the hesitancy that stays us,

but understand enough, the way we look at each other,

to call it love; I dip my head into the pensieve,

and I do not drown, instead, I breathe easy, like

the heat dappled upon our backs, my fingers

reaching out to smoothen the fierceness of your

singular brow: I have always wanted to touch you,

now, I do; here, is my hand in your hair, here, is us

sharing the old path of three, here is my hand on

your arm, fingers rested on the pale scars beneath

your wrist, you do not shy away from this, you

welcome this, you welcome my knowing.

 

Here you are, kissing me on the cheek.

There you are walking away, smiling.

Here, I am blushing.

 

This carton is empty now.

 

The pensieve is drying.

 

This memory is not bitter.

 

It is just empty.

 

K.N.O.W. April 1-4, 2019. NaPoWriMo Day 3.

A Prayer for A Damned.

I sat by a child once,

and together, we stared

through the glare of the light in a clear,

unmarked pane, into a field of beauty.

 

It was empty, this field,

lush with greenness,

not at all like the fields of my home–

where the grass was yellow, and dry,

earth dripping through, and even in

greenness its blades cut your feet–

this was a field of fairy-tales, really;

 

From our places, we could tell,

that to step out there, would be

to step in–to grasses so soft, our

feet would taste them like full,

dewy moss; the flowers would

waft with everything the stories

told us of: honeysuckle’s breath

gentle upon the skin of our cheek,

nectar’s sweetness dripping from

hummingbird’s beak, and this place,

this field too pretty to be true, would

be the perfect clime–asking no more

from the skin of our bodies, than the

strange dichotomy of warm summer

showers bringing relief, not desperation,

in August’s heat;

 

So, I held out my hand to this child,

and she took it, the window (for that

is what it was), transforming into a

tall door made entirely of glass, the

light bathing it so fiercely, no form of

the space we left behind, remained

visible to the eye,

and we stepped into the field;

 

The grass was as soft beneath our feet

as I had imagined:

the dark stains of the soil beneath it

did not mar our heels, and the petals

were as fragile, and fragrant,

as we’d dreamt them to be;

 

I took the child’s hand, and unfolded her fist,

smoothened its creases into a welcoming

plane, but when I pressed her hand beneath

the blooming bud of flowers, her fist curled

yet again, hardened into stone;

 

With each flower, and bud, and sweet fruit

I offered, her fist only grew harder, and colder,

fingers solid, and unbreachable, no space even

for water to pry;

 

She looked up at me, face guileless, and so unperplexed,

for all the trouble this seemed to cause me, that at last,

I paused,

and knelt before her, to ask—

 

“Why don’t you want to hold the blooms of the

world, in your uncurled palm, sweet child?”

 

But she only stared at me with a gaze of pity,

and hardened her fist until it felt that if I should

not let go, my hands, too, would turn to stone;

 

When I let her go, her hand seemed to soften,

I watched with mine own eyes, as its

brown flesh became new,

 

She laid her palms beneath the blooms,

in the practice of gardeners,

and the petals seemed to gain new life,

with each second of her touch;

 

Flowers bloomed into brightness, fruit burst

into fullness, and when she plucked them from

their stems, they ne’er bruised,

nor seemed to bear a mark of taint,

and thus we went, bloom, by bloom, her

dropping tender, sweet fruit into my own palms,

I eating my fill, and making myself a crown of flowers,

 

Once I’d eaten my fill, I stretched out my hand

once more, to gift her what she had given me,

but the second I offered fruit to her, her face

would crumple with distaste, and when I held

her hand to roses, the stone would form yet again,

growing rough, and cold, and hard,

crushing from sepal to petal;

 

Thus, we went a hundred days, twenty years,

fifty years, but no matter what I did, she would

not take from my hand, or by her own,

of what the field of beauty had to offer;

 

At last, I had had enough.

 

I looked down upon her little head,

and turned her face toward me,

fingers grazing the stone-broken scar we shared,

 

I held her gently by the chin,

and in will, for hours on end,

a battle, fiercely, we did rage:

 

bursting, soft fruit held out,

stone-fisted, peculiar smile laid out;

 

I huffed,

 

She laughed,

 

But no matter how I begged,

no matter how close I came

to being stone myself,

no difference did it make to her;

 

Finally, I let go, and waited to see what she would do,

and that confounding, frustrating child,

stepped through the door, and disappeared.

 

I stood, hands on hips, and watched in concern,

as she brought person after person,

to wade through the garden,

be fed by her hand,

and gifted crowns of

flowers;

 

yet, for each child, and vagabond,

and world-weary soul,

not a one would she eat from,

not a fruit would she taste;

 

It was one such afternoon, that she collapsed, when

the last of our strange, and frequent guests,

had been fed, and nursed, and watered,

 

I picked her up, and set her down, just

under the tree of showers, hoping

she would at least drink her fill,

but she only stretched beneath its showers,

and let it freckle her brown, drawn face;

 

I knelt, and raised her chin towards it, whispering,

 

“Sweet Child, why won’t you drink of the fountain?”

 

She sighed, and cupped her hand beneath it, and I

cried finally with relief,

 

But instead of sipping from her palm,

she raised it to my cracked lips’ surface.

 

K.N.O.W. April 1 – 4, 2019. NaPoWriMo Day 2.

Dead Things.

I do not know how to let things die;

hand, a curved cup around limp

leaves, wilted plant against fingers gently

moulding moist soil into a bed for dis-

integrating roots:

here is warmth,

here is comfort,

here is a shelter in the storm—

do not mind my battered body,

do not touch my bleeding fingers,

rest easy in the shade of my grief

(it will not touch you,

even my tears do not touch my cheeks);

 

You are a dead thing I have only recently

learned to leave buried.

You, a voice in the cool of the afternoon;

You, the burning hand of a Guyana sun,

sweat curling beneath breast under the

weight of school uniform,

shoulders pressed together beneath the

open shadow of concrete corridors;

 

Do I bury you, always, with the bitterness

of my grief?

Do I bury you, only, with the bitterness of

this loss?

 

I think only of you as you ought to be

remembered:

 

bat twisting on a dried field

crack of ball against bat’s breast

 

I remember you only, as you were:

 

What were you?

 

The iron band around my throat

I hold in reminder that I should

leave you rotting?

The rush of happy breath held

in the soft, and tender, curve of

your hand holding mine?

 

Garden-nurse, and necromancer,

let go your crafts. Ask only

for ash, of the burial ground.

Not sour, stained bones.

Not rotting flesh.

Not a skull to hold tears.

 

 

K.N.O.W. April 1, 2019. Monday. NaPoWriMo Day 1.

A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Much Today

for Tree of Life Synagogue, and the community that bears this

 

May you be gifted love, and comfort, in a world which

has sought to steal it from you with each generation;

May your heart be gifted the warm glow that lingers in the chest

after the tight grasp of a child’s hand;

And where grief has stolen that memory,

May you be gifted the soft memories of sunrises past, and present,

and to come, washing away a dark night;

May you be granted the assurance of safety that is coming home;

And where cruelty has stolen this memory,

May you find the presence of a friend, sitting beside you

in the willing sharing of a burden;

Where grief has made a home, may the hand of kindness grasp

your face with tenderness, and wipe your tears;

Where the silence you did not ask for, has taken residence in your chest,

may the lilting voices of those communing with you, ease it;

Where words are not enough, may touch, may the weight of a warm mug

being pressed into the palm, or the soft down of a blanket on the shoulders

take their place;

Where there is only a hole, a void that is difficult to fill,

An empty space, an empty chair, an empty bed, an empty jacket,

May you be given the strength to bear it,

until it becomes a room from which memories of light, of laughter, of joy,

of silly things that make the day pass, pour forth;

Where there is rage? May it not burn you, but burn away injustice, burn away

the things, the people, the systems that have made this world so;

May it not exhaust you, but revive you for the work that is to come.

 

May you not feel alone in this work, as you should not be in this mourning.

 

Amen.

 

K.N.O.W. Saturday, October 27, 2018.

Giving The Thoughts Their Voice

It has been a while since I’ve posted here. I am not sure there is any more cliche line on the blogosphere than that opening sentence, but it is the truth, and I can identify most of the factors that have led to that: the need to distance myself from such close contact with all the stories that were worsening my own mental health; losing my ability to express myself; being unwilling to expose myself to those who happened upon this space in search of poetry, and not the unwieldy emotions of an emotionally stunted girl; a lack of willingness to deal with said emotions; and sometimes, guilt, and frustration at being chained to emotional experiences that seem circular in nature, that are circular in nature.

Those factors have all significantly influenced my inability to word vomit in meaningful ways, but none moreso than the latter two. I suppose this can be considered me caving to the need to express how I feel, word vomits, and all. Twitter meltdowns can only do so much–something I have known since I first began to use it as a crutch, and people have never really been very present options–difficult to turn to them when they are the centre of your distress; are willing but inept at being there; or have become such representations of danger to you, that your entire being revolts at the idea of trusting them. Still, I am not sure that I would have cracked, if it did not feel so important to organise my thoughts, and see them all laid out, structured, and articulate, so that my feelings could stop pulling me in the distressing tug of war of, “You’re right to feel this way, but you’re also wrong. Every thought, and feeling, and every bit of anger, and hurt, is wrong. All wrong. Petty. Immature. Unfair.”

At some point, one has to weigh one’s sanity over one’s pride, and tendency to feel guilty over one’s right to acknowledge harm.

I guess we can say, that I am at that point.

It isn’t that I don’t know that I am entitled to these feelings; that I don’t understand that they are free to exist because I matter, too, but my God, is it hard to give them their right to exist when you once spent a significant part of your life convincing yourself that they didn’t matter; that they do matter, but that they should be ignored because they’re too strong a reaction, or the circumstances that led to the source of your hurt occurring, mean that you should be considerate of them, of that, of everything, and everyone, but yourself, because they need this–you, a forgiving, and open wound to be poured into, and ‘indifferent’ in all the ways that free them of accountability, and guilt.

God is it hard to hold people accountable when you’re terrified of hurting them, of destroying all the progress they’ve made, or the great place they’ve finally, finally gotten to…sometimes on the back of your own destruction. And I thought I could do that forever: always be some kind of bottomless container for people to pour their worst things into, because I was unbreakable, I was strong, I could handle it; it was only fair that I gave them what I did not need. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong. And the burnout was so severe, that I am still reeling from it. How does one spend only twenty two years on Earth, and burnout before one has even gotten to the ‘real’ stuff? But I did, and it was bad. It is bad.

It feels like a motor struggling to keep going; cutting out, and starting back up again, convinced that this time, it’s okay, it can keep going, it can keep pulling all this weight, and carrying things it was perhaps never meant to. And it sucks. It is horrible. It is like a never-ending well of exhaustion. Different from the depression exhaustion–that one is a dryness made of listlessness, and lack of motivation, and just…an exhaustion from existing, from trying to exist, from trying to convince yourself that you should do, and do, and do, so that you can have an existence when you wake up from…whatever this is supposed to be. But that burnout? That ‘I’m so tired I could cry from the sheer exhaustion.’? That ‘I want to give, but it feels like I’m pulling from nothing, like there isn’t even a vacuum, or a void there, just the absence of a bottom beyond this bottom’? That is an entirely different feeling. The knowledge that there is no further to go. That there is nothing else that can be pulled from that place within you, to give, because this is it. You are empty. There are no reserves. There isn’t a reservoir. There is just you, and this dryness.

I can’t believe that it has been at least one year later since it first happened, since I first realised that I had nothing left to give, and I still feel like…I…have nothing left to give? And I feel so unbelievably guilty for it. I feel like a shitty friend for not being able to laugh things off, and return to ‘equilibrium’; for not being more patient, and willing to push back when I know they aren’t okay; for not trying harder; for not doing more to show that I am still there; for becoming the very thing I hated most in my life–being the undependable person, the one always too late, or being too little, or too distant, or there, but not really there at all. And I hate it. Absolutely despise it. But I’m not okay either? I’m not okay. I’m angry, and hurt, and I want it to be known, and acknowledged, and to not feel petty, and unforgiving for the fact that there is damage, and I resent it. I resent that the only people I cared about, the only people I was willing to be destroyed for, to allow to hurt me, and see me in ways that I considered rightfully theirs, are the ones who are at the centre of the damage done to me. That I resent that they broke me in ways my uncle’s actions never could, or never will.

I am furious. I am furious that I am still finding damage. That I am still finding destruction when I think that I am healed. That I can stumble across posts on emotional abuse, and say, ‘This is familiar. This was done to me.’ That those posts, and people unintentionally screw me up for hours. That I am here right now because I stumbled across a ‘funny’ meme, and had a split second gut reaction where I wondered, ‘Had someone gotten a hold of one of our conversations, and posted it?’ even though I knew it was impossible; that I would never reveal something so humiliating as the time when I felt like I deserved to be hurt, or knew that you treated me like I wasn’t worthy of more, but I took it because I loved you. That I forced myself to laugh at the stupid, frigging meme, even though my body immediately began to spiral into hurt, and anxiety, after weeks of feeling nothing. 

I am furious. So furious. And I resent the fact that my inept attempts at explaining why I can’t stop throwing pithy, sarcastic comments that we all laugh at, are only the surface of what I feel. That I rarely use profanity, but every time I am accidentally forced to confront the sheer scope of the damage done to me, I want to say, ‘Fuck you.’; that I would genuinely not care if you walked off a cliff, and yet…I can’t, which is what I resent the most. That despite being so aware of all that has been done to me; that I will continue to find more damage that I will ineptly attempt to explain, while my frigging tongue stumbles, and I stutter, because my mind refuses to give me the words to say what was done to me, and to hold you accountable for it, I will still never be able to walk completely away, or turn off the care that still guides my actions, because it is automatic that I make sure everyone is okay; that I make sure they know no matter how angry, or disappointed, or disgusted I am; that I am still there, and available.

I do still resent the fact that a year later, even the thought of being emotionally close to other people, leaves my body strumming with tension. I resent that the very idea of other people, caring about newer humans, terrifies me, because I’ve seen myself destroyed, seen myself give until there was nothing left to give, and then been told by the people I’d done that for, that I was a fool to have ever done so. I resent that no matter what I say, or how I say it, I will always come away seeming like the one who has made mountains out of molehills, because I worked so hard to protect others from themselves, I forgot to protect me from me, and them. I resent that I grew to hate the parts of me that were my best selves; that were the soft, and gentle, and kind, but truly, most of all, I will perhaps never cease to resent that I will always be there. That the reason I will always find myself re-experiencing the same feelings, rehashing the same conversations, demanding an iota of the respect, and concern I deserve as a person, is not because I ‘can’t let things go’, or because “[I] forget nothing.”, but rather, because I will always be trapped in the same unhealthy patterns–where I cease to exist–because despite what you’ve always said, beneath the surface, the implied requests that I be there, sustaining, pretend that I need nothing, while given nothing of sustenance in return, is our implicit agreement that I cease to exist so that you can.

I resent not the giving, but the demand that I shrink away, shrivel up, and die, so that you might be free of guilt, and responsibility. That is why I put my foot down. That is why I became cruel, and unforgiving. Not because I couldn’t forgive it all, but because I was only worth the effort if there was no effort at all.

***

This made me feel better, surprisingly enough. It felt good to touch the tip of the iceberg, and give it a voice.