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.
PN: The rain inspired me. It’s mostly scattered thoughts I put together. Not my best poem, but my words are all I got these days so I gotta make do.
It was the flames of her hair,
That extinguished the stutter of my existence.
For you cannot smooth the stone
Without the violent clash of another
And a spray of
My words are as broken
As the way the sunlight breaks through branches.
The crevices pulse
And continue to breathe,
Long after the damage.
You did not have the guts
To catch the anvil
As it fell through.
My wings broke through violent purple clouds
And in turn,
Broke within themselves.
And you do not have the courage to look away,
You did not have the courage to reach for my hands,
As they shook in your lap.
And deceitful eyes met mine,
Face as smooth as ivory.
You will not understand
The spear that has pierced my bones,
Shattered my ribs.
Perhaps she will understand
Your loud fearful eyes,
But she will never understand
The catastrophic flames
That resided in the spaces between our fibres,
Flames that once sang so beautifully of home,
But will never reignite the song
07.22.13 Untitled Journal entry series
AN: It’s 3am, and this is all I can think of.
I once told you I believed in ghosts. I didn’t tell you I believed you should become a ghost to me.
07.18.13 Untitled: journal entry series
AN: another journal entry, raw and unedited.
My life is like a broken swing set. All that’s left is the rusted frame, leaning into the breeze. There was once a swing so grande, the neighbourhood kids would spend several sun-lengths gracefully flying from its chains. A couple fell in love. A girl said her final good-byes.
One summer, the swing set was abandoned, and that was the tragedy of life. The children grew up, flew away in gigantic jets. The couple broke up, and neither wanted a reminder of innocent times. The good-bye girl lit a candle and sent it across the water.
It was autumn and dust billowed over the abandoned seats like a whisper covered in dandelion breeze. Spiders build their webs in the tiny crevices and gears that once sustained the weight of optimism. The children grew taller, but the swing set grew towards the asphalt.
Two winters passed. The railing grew rusted and unkempt. The swing was ripped and scratched from the raspy nails of violent winds. That spring, the good-bye girl came back, only to take the swing down. The couple wed other people. The children had married and had their own; however those children had no knowledge of the swing set, and so grew without it.
The good-bye girl found the swing a stark reminder of painful days when she set a daisy on the empty seat. So she tore up the swing seats and left its dust for the elements.
Now all that’s left is the beaten frame. A rail is falling off, the spiders have abandoned their webs. The children are old and content. The couple were never happier apart. The good-bye girl was no longer part of the world.
How could it possibly be different?
Every fence looks like green meadows on the other side from a distance. I jumped a couple, found barbed wire and bruised knees.
So when I ask, “you, too?” I hope you know my eyes speak louder than any syllable that leaves my lips.
My absence means nothing to you, so how could I have the audacity to believe I am needed?
So when I ask, “you, too?” I hope you hold me so tight, our ribs explode in dust and from that dust, daisies grow.