It's not all about your appearance,
Which you're wrong for thinking is worth a store's clearance.
It's about your soft heart,
& how we can't be apart.
It's not all about your heartless facade,
Which makes your sweet moments all the more appreciated.
It's about your presence lighting up my day,
& how you've managed to stay.
It's not all about the promises we made,
Which are hard to keep when you say the things you say.
It's about your way with words
& how you strum my chords.
It's not all about how without you I'd feel a vacancy,
Which just the mere thought leaves me antsy.
It's about our pulling through,
& how our love is true.
You will never know it
Cause I will never show it
I can never point my affection
In your direction
For my own, but mostly your protection
And it breaks my heart
As thoughts of you and I break apart
It was nice to think of
It was even better to dream of,
but now it just floats down a stream of,
your tears, your fears, the darkness under unlit chandeliers
So I will never show it
So you will never know it
How I truly feel...
I know beautiful places we could have gone
I would have written you the most beautiful songs,
but I'm no faker
I'm a heart breaker
and a mistake maker
I won't speak to extensively
I'll just leave it at this, your sensitivity
Could never handle my intensity
So I will never show how I truly feel
So you will never know how I truly feel
Cause your heart I could never break or steal
Time is something that is always changing; yet it always moves at a constant pace. My story includes such a small period of time. In one day, there are twenty-four hours, and somewhere in those few hours of January 15th, 2011, my life changed in the blink of an eye. Within seconds, someone I love stopped breathing. It changed everything. But, my story begins a few hours before that.
Wake up. I always have to tell myself to wake up. I wake up and it is a beautiful Saturday. I walk into the living room of my house, where the sun is shining bright through all the windows and I feel like it is going to be a good day. I usually wake up on the weekend home alone, but this time I walk around until I find my dad and my little brother, Phillip.
Dad: “Phillip and I are going to a Valdosta State basketball game later today, if you would like to come.”
I immediately think of my best friend James. James is a part of my family. He got along with my dad and brother better than I did. The basketball game with them would be a lot easier to endure if James went along. He is the older brother I never had.
I pick up my phone and call James, to invite him to join us. He doesn’t answer. James always answers. His phone goes straight to voicemail. I remember a time in the past that I called James with a stupid boy dilemma. James was in the middle of football camp, but he called a timeout. He picked up the phone for me then. I am always James’ first priority, so something seems wrong. I call Drew, James’ best friend, and his phone goes straight to voicemail as well. Something definitely seems wrong. I try to convince myself that I’m overthinking. I always overthink and I always worry too much, so this could be nothing. James is just busy. He’ll call me back later.
An hour or two pass by without response from either James or Drew. As I am cleaning up my room trying to keep my mind busy, I receive a text message from my friend Emily.
Emily: “What’s wrong with James?”
Emmaline (me): “What are you talking about?”
Emily: “I see on Facebook that many people are writing on James’ wall, saying that they are praying for him. Why are people praying for him? What happened?”
Little did she know that I was asking myself the same questions. What in the world is going on!?
Emmaline (me): “Umm, I’m not sure. He hasn’t been answering my calls. I’ll try to find out.”
James was a huge part of the church community. He was the first person that brought me to the church I’ve been attending for the past three years. He was a mentor to me; if it weren’t for James I would not have found the faith that has saved me. After those texts messages, I decided to call someone from the church to see if they knew what was going on with him. Mackenzie answered my call.
Mackenzie: “James and Drew went out duck hunting this morning at a place called Ocean Pond, and James is missing. Drew is fine, but he doesn’t know where James is.”
My heart immediately dropped to my chest. The gut feeling I had been experiencing all day that something was wrong was rapidly increasing, and I suddenly couldn’t keep still.
My thought processes jumped to visualize duck hunting. I thought, when you go duck hunting, it is a little different from hunting ground animals like deer. When you hunt ducks, you spend the entire time on a boat. You don’t go missing on a small boat. James wasn’t playing hide-and-seek. James being missing meant that he was lost somewhere in the water. The odds weren’t looking very good. Maybe I’m worrying too much, but I’m being rational. Right? I put my phone down and slowly slid out of my chair onto the floor. I lay on the floor for hours, crying. My brother came in from outside and just stared at me. My chest was on fire; I have never felt so much pain in my life. The amount of emotional pain transformed to a physical pain that I felt in the pit of my stomach. The sun that made me happy when I first woke up now began to burn my eyes. I felt like I was sinking, but in reality the only person sinking was my best friend, drowning in icy water.
When I could finally stop crying enough to talk, I call my mom. My mom was not home this weekend; she was at the beach with some of her good friends from college. She did not take the news as heavily as I did.
Mom: “He’s just sitting somewhere in the marsh where the water is really shallow. Someone will find him. He’ll be fine, I know he will.”
I begin to feel somewhat better. I tell myself that this does not have to be a death sentence. James could be fine. I decide to call Mackenzie from church again and invite her and her mom to my house to keep me company while we wait for news.
Hours and hours pass by, yet still no news comes. The church and community decides to hold a prayer session at a local park for all the people worried about James. Mackenzie, her mom and I drive out to the park. Hundreds of people were at the park. All of them were there for James. All of us stood in a circle, teary-eyed, and prayed. I have never seen my community come together like that. Rival schools and teammates, people old, young, and teenage. Teachers, preachers, friends, athletes, fathers, mothers, so many people were at the park for James.
We went around in the circle and each person told their story of how much James meant to them. James was a brother to many. He was a mentor, a friend, a shoulder to cry on, a pal to laugh with. James was the one person that convinced a girl to graduate from high school. James was the friendly face that ate lunch with a boy that was alone and contemplating suicide. I had no idea that James meant so much to people other than me.
All it took was seconds, maybe minutes for James to drown. The water was below freezing. The gear that he was wearing was built to weigh him down in order to be able to wade in shallow waters. In deeper waters, he would surely and quickly sink. He drowned quickly, and within seconds he stopped breathing. However, it took search and rescue a month to recover his body. Days of worry and prayer turned into weeks. I had to return to school and try to go on with my life, as if I didn’t feel like it was all falling apart.
Finally, one crisp February morning, a search dog found my James’ body.
I was in my Advanced Placement Environmental Science class, and my phone rang from a number of different people. I went to the bathroom to return a call and found out that someone found my best friend’s dead body. I knew it wasn’t smart to hold on to any kind of hope that he was alive, but knowing he was actually dead made the situation suddenly very real. I tried to return to class, but I ended up sitting right beside the door, crying harder than ever. I had to go out to Ocean Pond, where I spent most of my time for the past month watching divers search for him. I had to go out there and see it.
By the time I arrived at the site, there was nothing left to see. James’ body had been recovered and I would never see him again. All that was left was a teary funeral, and abrupt good-byes that I wasn’t ready to give. To this day I don’t know how to say good-bye to James. I visit his grave, and I don’t know how to leave the picture of his face.
Losing someone you deeply love so quickly is probably one of the most difficult things to experience. I am so thankful that James left behind such a beautiful story, and such a wonderful legacy. The first day I met James, he told me, “Hey girl. You know, I love you. I really do. I would take a bullet for you.” When someone says those kinds of things to you without even knowing you for twenty-four hours, it feels strange. But, James knew time meant everything. He knew that all it takes is minutes, seconds, to change someone’s life forever.
The thing that is so astonishing about James’ story, is that he understood how quickly everything can change. When James was alive, a fellow student of his died in a motorcycle crash. James was devastated that he had not reached out to this boy before it was too late. That night, in a note on Facebook entitled “The Clock is Ticking,” James wrote a short paragraph that showed the depth of his understanding of life. He wrote, “Take time to love someone. Today, Tomorrow, For the rest of your life. Because when that unexpected day comes that they pass on, you'll be left wondering what you could've done better. How you could have made them feel more welcome, and show that you do care for them. Don't wait until it's too late like I did. Show the love that Jesus has for you to everyone you see. Let your heart break for what breaks His. Christ is enough. Let Him show you life. You never know who He may touch through you. It is so sad that it takes a tragedy like this to comprehend how our days are numbered. Only He knows. Keep your faith in Him. He will bless you beyond belief. Our job is right now. This very second. So often, God gives me a little nudge towards someone.. and I put it off until the next day.. and then the next and then the next. Stop stalling. God put us on this earth for HIS glory. Not ours.. and so many times, the things I do always point back to me and my stupid self righteousness. So do something with me. Everyone. If this just touches one person, I will have done my job. Don't stall. Judgement is a heart beat away.”
My addiction is spelled out in iron:
Words have been stomped into my fate by elegantly gargantuan feet of Greek goddesses and
in the metal lies every pretentious metaphor and ink-soul-splatter that will define the rest of my existence.
There is no going back
The poetry is here to stay.
the changes the letters have wrought are now normal.
I have become used to looking in the mirror and seeing none of my features for the quotes clumped across my forehead
knotted around the contours of my cheekbones.
My morning coffee will never again just be caffeine and warmth,
but a complex metaphor for love-("being burnt by what you also cannot live without").
Now, I only know what my soul looks like
after it has been typed into pretentious metaphors
and ever since that shivering Thursday afternoon I first picked up a pen-
I look at the whiteboard and cannot absorb the continuing inadequacies of various white men because the stanzas are scattered too thickly across my vision.
But I have adjusted.
I accept that every chemical reaction my brain sets off will have words, a story, line breaks, and lonely Friday nights spent editing my soul into prettier pieces
Working on poems and homework will forever struggle against each other on my priority list
And there is simply no denying the fact that behind everything is words and in front and after there are letters and when glancing sideways and upside down you will find quotes and little sayings and poems,
but it is all perfectly fine.
I will breath in each linguistically-caused tragedy with grace and gentleness
because words are the only way I feel at home in this madly spinning world.
I have never felt cozier snuggled with any human or bed than when I am nestled in the dips and dots and curves of language.
"So," you ask, "what seems to be the downside?"
well, dear reader;
if we are being honest poems aren't real therapists.
and they lend themselves well to madness and isolation
But I cannot bring myself to care...
If words were alcohol I would be that horrible mother they whisper about at the PTA meetings who comes home after work and chugs biccardi on the couch, ignoring her children as she runs around the house screaming and throwing things descending into a state of such lovely and intoxicating madness that she cannot resist another page, another pen, another shot.
If words were meth instead of meth sores I have little holes all over my organs where I have drilled down as deeply as possible, hunting for even the smallest hint of feeling just so I can lovingly string letters together like pearls and polish them until they shine with the brilliant lights of tragedy and love and hate and sadness and nostalgia and anger and lust and frustration-
all of these chemicals we fuel our pens with
because numbness is not an option.
I engage in this substance abuse because I am bloated with so much longing, filled with a desperate ache for all the beautiful things I have not yet experienced,
for those brightly lit 2ams and screaming laughter and being drunk and high and kissing and yelling and the because in this moment we are young and alive and breathing and crossing lines and who gives a shit about anything else?
I write in half-crazed scribbles, wondering,
"Maybe writing about friends and laughter at 1 in the morning as I am surrounded by only netflix and tumblr will make me feel better?"
I am always wrong.
It only makes it worse.
My words are glorious escape and icy blades of stark reality.
Clarity and obfuscation.
Pancreas-cracking pain and model-tall joy.
So if words cause me to ache, beat the world into pieces, sob, and ignore my responsibilities,
why am I so goddamn in love with them?
Because my words are mad
but people are too-
so one cannot look down their poorly-described noses at poems and smugly snort that it "doesn't make any sense"
as if they have brilliantly solved and debunked an art form.
They would be quite wrong.
The words are just a reaction and reflection of the world their letters were conceived in-
and so this fevered world and the expression of its insanity are inextricably linked.
(at least for poets).
the difference between poems and people is that humans are
in addition to the insanity,
horribly unreliable and capricious creatures.
They never stay.
They never stay
But metaphors will always be there to cuddle me in their warm arms on lonely weekend nights
Why writing? you ask?
Because when everyone is gone, annoyed, asleep, or dead and the whole earth has been blown apart;
every city destroyed and great moment reduced to nothingness,
I can still trace poems in the ashes.
I remember how it felt,
how it felt
when you went away,
when you disappeared
for forever .
We went our separate ways,
the outcome of
the greatest show on Earth.
I called it love...
Next to him,
I am floating,
It's a shame he doesn't know,
it's a goddamn awful shame,
It's tearing me apart.
He smiles at me,
someone help me,
it devastates me.
if you cut my brain in half
peel the depressive cavity first
scrape the poetry i wrote in sand
and you'd see a ring of white scars
looped around like the asteroid belt
squeeze the dampness from my
wasted salty tears so you'd see
the layers i so carefully stacked
if you cut my brain in half
an inch would be entirely filled
with the few things i actually like
like the concert tshirt you once gave me
and all the series i've read all the paperbacks
the smell of aging encyclopedia pages
indie rock records we used to listen to
and that deck of cards with one
missing queen of hearts
if you cut my brain in half
another layer would be swimming
with my words and late night musings
i had the audacity to keep stored
when most of them are really sharp
knives that might cut my brain apart
and paper thin prose and poetry
from where i bleed paper cuts from
words that spell out the word y-o-u
if you cut my brain in half
you'd probably see a museum of you
because i never liked myself enough
to put up one about me
and i am not interesting enough
to be scrutinized by an artist's eye
i just thought you are more
than the normal empty matchbox
of a person like i am
like how i see everyone else
I guess maybe there's something wrong with me,
Because no matter how hard I try I can't seem to hold something for too long.
And I mean I guess that makes sense literally too, because when given something physical to hold,
I become aggravated, and drop it.
So maybe this is a test, or maybe it's a game.
But, either way, I don't know if I'll like the results.
You are a subject, in which I find difficult,
And no matter how much I inquire about help,
I still do not understand you.
I believe that is what drew me to you in the first place, though.
So I pray to some god I don't think exists,
Telling him that I need to sort out my shit,
Because if I set this one down, I swear on my life,
I will not ever forgive myself.
You are precious,
You are rare,
But somehow I feel like you're barely here.
And as the days go by, and progress into months,
How do I know that you'll stay?
How do I know that you won't set me down, like I have set down others?
How do I know what you do in your free time?
I cannot question your motives, because I know I will be disappointed.
So I sit on my ass and count the days until you notice
I'm falling apart.
I never thought I'd have to see her like this so soon. So young. So cold.
I should have listened to her. I should have talked to her more. Seen her more. She always asked me why I seemed so distant from her, I always got frustrated and denied it.
Now she's the distant one.
We would argue often. About communication. Our feelings. Her feelings. She had a very hard life. A violent alcoholic father. She grew up untainted by her surroundings, but scarred. Chronic Anxiety and Depression. She would cry often, and get mad and angry for sometimes no reason. She said she didn't know why it happened; it just did, and that I couldn't understand. That made me angry. Even though she was right; I really couldn't.
I haven't had an easy life in the past few years, but it doesn't compare to hers. I didn't know what is was like to be as depressed as she was. To be as anxious as she was. She would always check up on me, because she always worried about me. I myself, just took it and never did it for her.
What a mistake.
I remember my 17th birthday. She was more excited than I was, and couldn't wait for me to finally see what she had done for me. She was adorable when she talked about it. I spent the day with her and she made me a homemade card themed my favorite video game, and a Key Lime pie from scratch. I love Key Lime pie.
How I wish we could make it together, one last time.
A couple days after my birthday, a package she ordered came and she was ecstatic for me to finally have it. They were custom made genuine dog tags. They had my information on one tag, and a personalized message from her on the other. Her message read, "KNOWING YOU HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE, AND LOVING YOU HAS MADE MY WORLD." I wear them everywhere, even to today.
But when her birthday came around, I didn't get her anything. Not even a card. She was really upset, and I felt guilty when she mentioned it, so I never did get her anything; I felt it was too late.
Whenever she was happy, she shined brighter than the sun. She smiled and laughed and was goofy. She would make up little songs about how much she loved me, and she would do anything for me. Now, I can only imagine how she felt when I left for the night, not doing anything for her.
I knew she had had problems even before she met me. I knew she was chronically sad. I knew she had always been a rock, but had slowly started to erode and needed someone.
Why was I so selfish!?
I notice her mother is crying. Hysterically. They were so close. Her mom was so nice, always inviting me over and cooking for me even when they didn't have much food. Now, she looks like an empty husk of what she used to be. Crumpled on the floor, covered in her own tears, mourning the loss of her world.
Her younger brother sits with their dad, hugging and crying on each other, as well as the rest of her family. You can almost smell the saltiness in the air from all of the tears.
I've cried as much as I can. When I heard the news, I was in shock. I didn't want to believe she was gone. But eventually I screamed, bawled and raged at my loss. She was the only thing that mattered to me.
Now I stand here, silent and empty. My mind is numb, and all I can do is stare at her. Eyes closed, chest still, but still so beautiful. I had to battle with myself to even come and deal with seeing her like this. I finally move my stiff hand towards her curly hair and stroke it, and slowly move my hand to her shoulder. I imagine her opening her eyes and smiling at me with one of her beaming smiles. But I know it won't happen, and that's when the tears come.
I'll never see her smile, feel her lips against mine, hug her small body again. I can never hear her sweet voice again, telling me "I love you." With a glow in her eyes.
Why didn't I show her how much she meant to me? Why couldn't I swallow my pride and be a little more caring and thoughtful for her the way she never failed to be for me? Why? I'm sobbing now. I collapse to my knees and rest my hand over hers. She's freezing. I rub her hands instinctively as if it will warm them up, but it doesn't.
I just want her to wake up. I feel as if it's my fault she's in eternal silence now. Apart of the world beyond, when I want her so desperately to be back here with me. I don't want her to leave me. I feel as if I can't live without her, she was the only one I'd ever truly loved, but in the end I failed her. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I should have shown her more instead of using only my words!
I slowly stand up still covered in my tears, and stare at her sleeping body. I watch as one drips down onto her expressionless face. I use my thumb to gently wipe my tear away, just as I used to wipe hers. Now all I can is do think about what could have been, what I could have done, and what will never be.
"I'll miss you." I whispering through my sore choked throat, and kiss her cold forehead.
"I love you."
and i was forced into the shadows
unable to use my voice
it was taken
arrested by the bitterness
and the hopelessness that
i would feel empty forever.
and emotional court was present
i was a the only witness, a witness unable to give statements
but i saw it all
i saw what you did to her
you tore out her heart
a heart already suffering from wounds
was fully shattered
and for once in my life
i hated you.
i couldn't bare the thought of your selfish
i wanted nothing more then to hurt you
but revenge, you see
is no way to fight back.
i want to see the guilt
and the shame
slowly tear you apart
so your left with no one and nothing.
and to the utmost worst
i want you to feel deep
because i've seen your kind
you continue to live your lives
under the impression that people move on from betrayal.
sanity is rare
but i can't spare yours.
for you are nothing more
then a killer.