The Affair of the Paper Airplane Therapy 02.24.14
I conducted an interesting experiment on myself tonight. So I had a pile of looseleaf paper on my lap and an incredibly overwhelming amount of emotions slamming into me all at once. I remembered how I used to make paper airplanes to relax me whenever my mind was racing or I was nervous. So I wrote a short quote on one of the looseleaf, folded it into an airplane, and shot it across my room as far as I could. I did this with the rest of my pile of looseleaf, the messages growing increasingly longer and more personal. At the end of my pile, I found myself feeling so much better. I don’t exactly remember the order I wrote them. But these were what I found written on each plane in the closest order I got.
I’ve been having trouble writing anything lately, mostly because it ends up being angst-ridden and cliche post-breakup lines, and I never like my writing to be strictly about one subject.
Last night I had an anxiety attack and I was doing a lot of drawing at the same time and the following line was the only legible line on the page. Everything else was random rambling. It’s a strange experience to write during an attack.
She had a tea cup chin. It curled across her jaw.
PN: I still don’t think this is a finished poem. I scrawled it out on the bus yesterday and “completed” it today.
You and I have different definitions of strength.
Today I rolled out of bed
To the motion of my stomach
Rolling in the tides of sadness.
I clenched my fists
And let my jaw
Go stone raw.
And all I could think about was your hands
And all I could think about
Was the traces you left all over my skin,
Like a deer subtly leaving tracks
in the snowy wood.
I can’t help the oceans and galaxies
Occasionally leaking out of me,
Star by star,
Salt by salt.
I hope they scream into the night
I hope you hear them
I hope they find you and beg you
To come home,
Even if they are also far, far away
From what I once was.
You and I have different definitions of
Heracles fought the Hydra,
A person can chop cement in half
With bare hands.
I can get out of bed,
Clench my jaw in time with my fists,
And sway with the howling wind,
As everything I thought i was becoming
Detaches from the stem
And swirls in the air,
Far into the darkened expanse
Of troubled skies.
01.05.14 The Icy Sea
PN: I’ve been having a really difficult time lately, so I wrote this poem for myself. It’s definitely not the best poem I’ve written, but I don’t really care because it’s important to me, and it’s therapeutic to me.
A checkered table,
A dusty cafe,
Two chipped mugs of
That was the first time I ever saw you.
I was silent as morning mist,
Entranced by your disquiet eyes,
The mountain tops of your knuckles,
The way the teacup hung
Loosely in your grip.
I was silent and I could not breathe,
I was quiet in my curiosity.
But you loved my silence,
You loved it.
The silence was a euphoric sign
That we were blanketed in the comfort of company.
There was a time when we sparked,
Two stones clashed
And we set each other ablaze.
We carried each other into the unknown,
Foolishly fearless, but incredibly in love.
We were as invincible as the most powerful gale.
Often I found myself overwhelmed by the people I once was.
I trembled under the towering gaze
Of the stormy seas of failure,
The violent tides
That washed white noise into my ears.
I was afraid;
I felt springs leak through the gaps in my ribs
I thought for sure my ugliness would draw you away.
But you lingered like the single buoy,
Holding me afloat.
You told me I could swim
And you would be right there if I found
I could not.
You embraced the shadows within me,
And you were brave enough to stand firm
As the wild animal viciously roared,
And the wind screamed through my hair.
You were the first person
I ever, truly believed in.
The first person
Who understood that I couldn’t always be
This animated, perfect person.
And I couldn’t always be normal
And I couldn’t always leave the darkened forest
Of my despair,
No matter how many times I set it ablaze.
You were the first person to accept
That I was what I was,
And that I was a self destructive mess but I was also
A hurricane of beauty.
But distance rumbled in the turn of your gaze,
And I knew I was mistaken.
In a trembling attack,
Your eyes grew cold.
You told me I was toxic to you,
That every time my bones shook
I was a danger to myself and to you.
I was a poison,
And the poison leaked from me
In large clouds of black smoke
That gripped our necks firmly.
You were no longer a buoy but a large,
And I began to drown
In the increasingly icy sea.
We were sinking,
I had nothing to cling to.
We were two rusty anchors,
Held to each other by a
Weak, thinning rope.
We were drowning in the blackening sea
With nothing but your icy skin
To freeze us in place.
A blinding, snowy road,
Two figures trudging through the roiling dust
And unbearable cold.
That was the last time I ever saw you.
Silence enveloped us most of the way,
And I believed for so long
That you loved this silence.
But there was an echo,
And a gear turned and creaked
Somewhere beneath my skin.
You were no longer in love
With the way I silently studied
Your mountaintop knuckles,
With the way quiet would consume me
As I drew maps on your skin
Or found rest on your shoulder.
You were no longer in love with me,
Of the heavy, heavy anchors within me,
Of holding my trembling bones and telling me over and over
“I believe in you I believe in you.”
The rope that held us together snapped,
And I continued to sink
Into the darkened, black, sea.
And you were no longer an anchor,
But a soaring, beautiful creature
That swooped itself out of the stilled ocean,
Into the endless sky,
Never to be seen again.
And as I felt the rocky crevices of the sea floor
Touch my wounded back,
Traces of Earl Grey
Swirled on the tip of my tongue.
AN: A piece I wrote for a 5-minute writing exercise in my writing class last night.
Nostalgia is the smoke that curled from teacups, and faded in its ascent of the atmosphere. It is a place: the dusty cafe filled with scratchy tunes, the reflections in sidewalks after heavy rainfall, the way some trees let go and the way others stayed the same. Nostalgia is the cookie crumb pile of dirt near the basement windowsill, remaining from the July night you climbed out your window to see the stars. This is nostalgia in the simplest, cruelest forms: earl grey tea over milk and vanilla, darkened, speckled skies, rain on sun soaked asphalt, the flames of leaves sweeping along serene dirt roads. Nostalgia is not in the people but in the traces and ghosts they left behind.
10.22.13 The Altitude of The Coffee
PN: when you’re a barista in a coffee shop, you meet some pretty interesting people.
The other day, a man came in,
Told me he loved the raw taste of beans.
He told me that
coffee beans that grew
In the highest altitudes of green, green hills
Were the sweetest of all.
And those that grew
In the shade of the valley,
Were the bitter ones.
The world was going to end,
As my brazen eyes met yours.
We danced over the shaken earth
as two careless souls.
I thought the gentle brush of your crimson fingertips
Would keep the storms beneath my skin at bay.
And I knew in the way
you saw me,
that it was far from the way I saw you.
And I was to know you as
And I was to be known to you as
Because I was just a puny,
For which to crush with your
The leaves fell around my feet,
like the forgotten corpses
of a thousand sun rays,
and your deathly existence
was already long gone.
but I remembered you, Apocalypto,
in the ashes you carelessly left behind.
I saw the places I couldn’t breathe
Even when your strangling gaze
was nowhere near me.
I saw places I wished to go with you,
When I was in love with your destructive beauty,
and I romanticized
the corrupted air
that you breathed into my lungs.
I was a slave to your fog
and you knew it,
and still you persisted.
I could have died, still innocent, still smooth in face
and smooth in soul,
Long before my brazen eyes met yours.
But you gently tugged away my dignity,
the lion-hearted girl
And I was no longer a roaring forest fire,
but a flickering candle,
running on her last, waxy breath.
And you fell in love with the Sun,
She as destructive as you,
Apocalypto and the Sun
Rang more gloriously
Apocalypto and Nothing.
And you knew it,
and there was nothing I could do,
but swim through grey fog,
in the dreams of forgotten Nothings.
nanowrimo tip #26:
encourage yourself to write by only taking as many breaths per day as your daily word count
09.25.13 “A Good Day” inspired by Kait Rokowski
PN: So I saw this slam poem on depression and I was so moved and it inspired me to write my own version about social anxiety. So here’s my version. I might turn it into a slam poem myself someday.
Today was a good day.
I smiled at a stranger,
answered the phone
said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in all the right places.
A good day.
My eyes wandered in all the right places,
the butterfly wings that brushed along the walls of my stomach
My friends are proud of me.
Not in the bragging sense
where they can go to parties and counter
"my friend is the top of her speech and debate club"
"oh yeah? Well my friend said hello to a stranger."
There were times
where I could not leave the confines of my room,
when every word that sailed my way
was a dagger that dug deep into my skin,
times where I was a sinking ship, with a single, desperate sailor,
yelling for everyone to go away as I save myself.
These were the bad days,
When I pushed everyone away and I could hardly bring myself
to answer the phone,
smile at strangers,
meet new people.
Every voice of “get over it,”
"she’s snobby because she can’t hold a conversation with me"
was a constant tick
in the ceaselessly buzzing mechanisms of my mind
and the flames roared over the plains
in a white noise storm of worthlessness,
and these were the bad days.
My friends are still proud of me.
But I get up,
I go out,
I smile at strangers.
My hellos and good-byes fit perfectly.
And I answer the phone
and I tell my mother
"it’s been a good day."
09.14.13 Anecdote: On Hair and Feminine Beauty
As a young child, I was always told that having long hair means to be a proper, feminine girl. I was told to keep it long. My mother also told me to sit still, to be silent, to let people push me around because to stand up for myself was to be a bitch, to please sit down and learn how to sew until my fingers stopped swelling. But I was not the perfect girl I was expected to be. As time pushed through the soil, I was given an anxiety disorder that society dismissed with a “get over it.”
As my hair grew, so did anxiety. It grew to the bottom of my ribs in long cascades, planting roots in my skull and screaming to the world that I was a proper girl just because my tresses were dark vines around my face. My long hair told a boy that I was weak, easy to consume in selfish pursuits, and that my emotions were invalid. That to stand up for myself, to say something louder than my existence was to be a bitch. But my mother told me my hair made me alluring, that it was the proper thing to do, to have it that long. My friends told me it made me desirable.
I grew tired of expectation, I grew tired of being this desirable, feminine trophy that was only needed to sit still, to be quiet, and to look pretty. I grew tired of anxiety, seeping through the bricks and whispering my worthlessness in each heavy lock of hair. So I cut off the thick locks that consumed everything I ever wanted to shout. I cut off the phrases of “don’t be such a bitch,” “stop overreacting,” “you can never be what you want to be.” Society looked down on me in disgust. My friends didn’t recognize me. My mother stared in disdain and told me I was no longer a proper girl because my hair now only fell to my jaw.
But it’s funny how the length of strands that grow on our scalp dictate who we are to the world. That just because my hair no longer falls over my shoulders in shining silks, that I am less of a girl and therefore less of a human being.
09.09.13 An Anecdote on Religion and Goodness
AN: So currently I’m taking a Short Written Forms class as part of my program and today we had to write our own anecdotes. I was too shy to volunteer to read mine to the class. I wrote this on my inner struggle with religion, being a former Catholic myself, so this is kind of autobiographical in a sense (although none of the accounts expressed in this narrative actually happened. I made it up to prove a point.).
I used to be devoutly religious. I believed that all the goodness and righteousness in the world was contained in every brick within the stone walls of my parish. We were lectured time and time again, about how wrong and impure the outside world was. My entire world was the rough mahogany brick, snow white Sunday dresses, and the stern, steady gaze of our pastor.
One day, I was in the supermarket with Ma, and I saw a strange sight. By the apples, there was a tall man, heavily tattooed and clad in leather, standing beside a golden-haired little girl wearing a bright pink dress. He was holding her hand like a father would do with his daughter. My ma spied the man and the girl, and a look of contempt crossed her face.
"What a disgrace," she spat. "Tainting our Lord’s children with the devil’s art."
As if on cue, there was a clattering sound of falling fruit, and we turned around to see a clerk, struggling with a cart of kiwis that had fallen all over the shiny linoleum floor. I automatically tried to run forward to aid the man, but Ma gripped my shoulder, for before my foot fell forward, the tattooed man was already on the floor, gathering fallen kiwis and passing them to the grateful clerk. Eve the little girl followed in suite, looking over each furry kiwi like it was an undiscovered species in a jungle. The tattooed man smiled kindly, took the girl’s hand, and continued on his way.
"Now that fruit is tainted," Ma scoffed. "We shall not buy kiwis today. Come along. We’re late for afternoon mass."
But as I followed her out of the marker I couldn’t help but think, maybe the kiwis were the ripest fruit in the world.
Back in the head where I see red
Meet me down by the whale watch
Oh morning come bursting the clouds, Amen.
Come on, oh my star is fading
Come on down to the other side
In pastures blue and green
I will probably lose my mind
you’re the sky that I fell through
Well he called the whole thing such a wild mistake
Call it what you want
09.02.13 Sing for me in the Darkness, Love
Sing to me,
Through the bars.
I can no longer remember the days
When violets sprung from my ribs.
The snow fell like ashes,
Like sinking burning airships
That traversed through my storming hollows.
But the world did not end,
And I thought it was because of you,
But all along
It was because I needed to learn to
Carry on without you.
Perhaps we were always strangers.
I can no longer remember
Spouting rhetoric about the beauty of your lips
As they curled against mine.
Perhaps I never knew you,
And I only desired the delusional
Meadows I spied in your fibres,
Green, green fields that I was never
Meant to brush with swollen fingers.
You are not home,
So I will cut the blood-smeared flags
That taint my skin in a strange glow,
And I will ask you,
Ever so gently, so daintly,
For fear of the storms raging in the spaces
Between veins and skin.
I will ask,
"Sing for me in the darkness, love."
08.16.13 Untitled, Scattered Thoughts
I was never meant to flourish within the narrow confines of the flowers I grew from.
08.14.13 Drunk Writing Series: “Folded”
PN: Vodka and poetry are always a good mix.
I need the crackle
Of vodka against my lips.
A crash and a bang,
Exploding in the confines of my
I cannot keep remembering
The way his heart beat through his chest,
Strong and resilient.
And if I had been granted
Knowledge of what I know now,
I would have reached over
And broke his fragile ribs
And crushed his beating heart
Between my raging, angry fingers.
Instead, the vodka consumes me,
The liquid numbing my rushing veins.
My fibres quake,
And burn along the edges.
I cannot keep remembering
The warmth of skin against skin.
The way his eyes squinted
With a tilt of his lips.
I cannot keep remembering
The way he fought
To remain in the spaces between our
How he continues to linger
As smoke lingers
And entwines with
The murky fog beneath my skin.
I cannot keep remembering
The memories that are only
Blank spaces in the folds of his mind.
And yet I do,
I do, I do, I do.
So fold me up like
An old useless map
of places that no longer exist.
Because I cannot keep remembering
The moments when I thought I mattered,
Yet the moments that are merely seas
he has already traversed,
Many, many times before.