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Ryan Rylee Dec 2019
I smile as tears roll down my cheeks
The blissful moments I can’t seem to recall
Perfect memories become demons gnawing at their own echo
Passionate hugs tightened to a strangling embrace
The electricity in his eyes filled with cold determination
The racing of a heart in love, infused with anxiety
The touch of skin, rubber
Numb and painless
And the beautiful memories continue to haunt me
Written 12/8/19
Ryan Rylee Dec 2019
You saved me
My hand, in your messy blonde hair
Your chest, pressed against mine
Your arm, tightened around my waist

You saved me
Your laughter, joyful and effortless
Your words of truth, I so desperately needed
Your curiosity, intense and never ending

You saved me
Dried the salty droplets on my cheeks
Unscrewed the jar of worry in my stomach
Found the key to my locked journal of memories

You saved me
Redirected the stampede thumping in my chest
Suppressed the voices vibrating through my body
Glued the broken pieces of my heart
Written 12/8/19
Ryan Rylee Dec 2019
I’m fragile
Please don’t hurt me
Please don’t break me
I’m not like one of those manufactured Chinese toys
That looks exactly like all the rest
I was made by hand
Hand crafted
Painted with care
Please don’t trip over me
Please don’t drop me
I won’t be able to find my feet to the ground quick enough
And I’ll crack in an instant
Please trust me
Please know I’m telling the truth
When a plate breaks
And shatters into dozens of pieces
It’s never delicately placed on the dinner table again
Never gets the privilege of holding mashed potatoes and serving a purpose
Never even considered worthy enough to bathe in a soapy rack full of unbroken dishes
One last time
Because once it’s broken, it’s trash
And you can’t mend it
Please don’t let me be that plate
Please don’t give up on me
Some days I feel myself cracking
And I can’t explain it
One painful insult
One excluded invitation
One too many responsibilities to keep track of
Begins the fracture
And my brain desperately craves for it to spread
Throughout my entire body
Connecting to every other crack ever created
And I’m on the verge of falling apart
On the verge of breaking
On the verge of shattering like a china doll in the hands of an angered two-year old
Yet somehow the tears in my eyes
Now running down my cheeks
And dripping off my chin
Are like glue
They don’t mend the crack
But stop it from spreading
And once the glue drys up
And leaves a clear coating on the edge of my breaking point
It’s almost invisible
Hidden from the rest of the world
The secret that I keep with only my reflection
Anyone looking would never see it on the surface
Or guess it was even ever there
Unless you forget
And your carelessness chips another part of me
But you won’t notice it
As the fracture ripples down my spine
Finding and splitting every single one of my bones
Until
I’m no different from the plate on the floor
And then you’ll notice
But a broken plate is only a broken plate
Good for nothing
Except creating a mess
And cutting yourself on the pieces
If you aren’t careful
Please don’t be the crack that finds the rest
Please don’t be the crack that finally breaks me
Please remember
I’m fragile
Written 1/21/17
Ryan Rylee Dec 2019
Where they came from
I do not know
The caterpillars were first
Squirming up the walls of my stomach
Crawling down the sides of my intestines
Wondering and unsure
With no direction
No place to go
Some had lost hope
Some had given up
Others had simply spun themselves dizzy
They latched onto what they could
Devouring the mindless glances
Consuming the shallow smiles
Ingesting the first hello
Their compass was fogged
But it didn't stop them
They continued
Still unsure
Still lost
Inching towards what they couldn't see

Tired, they became
Stuffed with appetizers
Of floating dreams
And cautious hope
Taking a break from their journey
Resting a second or two
Mindlessly winding themselves with flirty laugher
Tightly stringing themselves with awkward conversations
Around and around
Hanging
Upside-down
Waiting
Hoping
Waiting
For something in return
A wink
A smile
A compliment
Something
Anything

You'll know when it happens
The wink that lets the first one loose
The smile that releases the second
The complement unravels the third
You feel them
They flutter around your organs
Tease your kidneys
Dance on your heart
Swing on your ribs like monkey bars in a jungle gym
They won't stop
Not even for a second

When he calls you on the phone for the first time
You try to contain them
Not let them out all at once
But you can't help it
They shake your insides
Until they get what they want
Until the rest are set free
Hundreds, maybe thousands
Bouncing in your stomach
Like a jumper at a 5 year-old’s birthday party
You want to run
You want to scream
You want to be at that 5 year old’s birthday party
Doing flips in the bounce house
You don't know what to do with yourself
The butterflies gave you energy you didn't know you had
You have to be quiet
You can't make it obvious
You have to be cool
But the butterflies just hit open the piñata to the party in your stomach and you're missing out on all the candy

They plaster a smile on your face
It won't come off
No matter how hard you try
You can't speak
You don't know what to say
You can speak
You say too much
You talk too fast
Your cheeks are rosy
Your face is warm
You're shaking just a little
You feel overwhelmed with emotion

It's because of the butterflies
They have taken over
They dominate your stomach first
Then swarm to your heart
There was a vacancy in your heart you realize
You never noticed it before
Until just now
Because you feel it being filled
Almost up to the brim
With what, you do not know
But there is a loss of emptiness
You're sure you feel it
It's pouring in like lemonade into a pitcher
You try to describe it
But you can't
First hellos
Shallow smiles
Mindless glances
Flirty laughter
Rosy cheeks
The remembrance of the lost caterpillars
The numbness you feel in your body
The happiness you feel in your bones
The butterflies make your heart dance with them

You realize you've never felt this way before
You've had butterflies
But never this many
All at once

But the butterflies
They scare you a little bit
They fuel off of his presence
His jokes
His laughter
You have to nurture the butterflies
Take care of them
Give them what they want
Or they'll starve
You will try to save them
But they will become weak
Frail
Fragile
And die
Taking with them
The rosy cheeks
The sweaty palms
The fluttering heartbeat
Leaving behind hollow wings in the pit of your stomach
Leaving the sorrow feeling of lost hope
Leaving a hole in your heart more vacant than the last
After the butterflies have disintegrated into tears
Before the caterpillars have reappeared
The feeling of emptiness
Saddened loneliness
Like you've never felt it before
You realize the risk you're taking
Allowing the butterflies to play with your emotions
You tell yourself it's worth it
He's worth it

You take a deep breath
And feel them flutter around
Bumping into each other
Knocking into your rib cage
Tumbling across your stomach

These are the butterflies
They control you
Consuming your appetite
Devouring your sleep
Distracting your focus
But you don't mind
You like them
They make you happy
Thrilled
Overjoyed
Intoxicated

You can't blame yourself for these butterflies in your stomach
It's him
He directed the unsighted caterpillars
He confused them until they couldn't take it
And he released the alluring butterflies that took over your body

So I blame him for the butterflies that are bouncing in my stomach

And he can blame me for the butterflies that are tickling his heart
Written 5/3/16
Ryan Rylee Dec 2019
Distractions
Cleaning
Planning
Working
Writing
Editing
Dancing
La­ughing
Going
Keep going
Don't think
Keep moving
Don't stop
Keep busy
Don't pause
Don't breathe
Hold your breath
Don't think

You life is in order
Organized
Full
To its potential
You're being efficient
Getting things done
Even things that don't need to be
You've replaced the meaning of sleep
With the bitter taste of coffee
Replaced the simple task of meals
With the sweat of exercise
Replaced the tears down your cheeks
With the absence of thoughts

You've moved on
You're moving on
No time to look back
No time for emotions

Until that one thing
It's little
But it's not what you planned
Just one thing
You could get over it
And move on
But you can't
It's still there
Won't leave
Looming in your mind
Getting louder and louder
Galloping across your eardrums
Ramming into your forehead
Until it breaks through
You hear it screaming in your memory
Rattling your skull
And finally
You take your first breath in days
And another
And another
Much too quickly now
Your chest grows and shrinks with each exhale
Tears streaming down your face
You want to stop
And move on
Like you used to
But you can't
Tears blinding your vision
Your head feels weightless
Your fingers tingle
Your lips are numb
Your heart can't be controlled
You feel dizzy
You close your eyes for just a second
And the dam splits
Everything that has ever affected you comes flooding in like a tsunami
Taking over your brain
Drowning your emotions
Controlling your movements
And you just sit there
In your parked car
Black streaks down your cheeks
Feeling useless
There's nothing you can do
Your head bowed
Your eyes rested gently on your bent knees
Hoping no one sees you
Knowing that it will leave a
Spotted wet stain behind
in your light wash jeans

It is then you realize
that there are some things
That can't be changed
No matter how much you try
To be an adult
You're still a kid
No matter how much you do
To distract yourself
The past will stay
No matter how much you plan
Things out
You can't control it all

Life will be unexpected
Isn't always easy
Isn't always fair
Isn't always what you expect it to be
But it's going to do what it wants
And you get to choose how to react to it

So take a deep breath
Think for a few seconds
And move on
Written 11/2/16
Ryan Rylee Sep 2019
A hollowed tree
Like the air in a haze of silence
Like a sunflower seed in the palm of your hand
Like a child anticipating Christmas morning

It starts faster than you’re prepared for
At first you’re falling
Terrified, uncontrolled, holding your breath
Eyes closed
Wind whistling past you
You’re shaking
Now you’re screaming
Thrilled
Heart racing
Teeth bared
You’re smiling now
As you catch yourself
Adhering to a branch
Swinging from side to side
Weaving through everything in your way
Intertwining with yourself
Braiding your own silk
Don’t stop for a moment
If anyone saw you they’d tell you to slow down
But you don’t know how
You’ve given up control of your body
You’re the creator
And the follower
Constructing your own masterpiece
Nothing
Else
Exists
Time is a fictional concept
The world is a cloud of fog
And you have never seen more clearly
The patterns dancing before you
Growing in magnitude and detail
And it’s exquisite
You hear the murmurs as people walk past
Admiring your quilted work of art
It’s all that’s ever mattered
It’s all that ever will matter
Past, present, future, as one

Now for the first moment
You take a breath
Proud
Relaxed
Content
Lucky to have been given this talent
Satisfied with your efforts
Blessed to be a part of something so great
So breath-taking
Twists of sweet silk wrap around you
Intertwined with your self-made comfort
Wrapped in your blanket of security
Tangled in your thoughts of happiness
Gum on the soles of your feet
Captivated by your own distractions
Bound by your expectations
Smothered by the necessity of love
Glue on the tips of your fingers
Trapped by the need for control
Suffocated by your pride
Choking on the admiration
Rubber bands constricting your neck
Bound by the fear of change
Knotted by the unwanted consistency
Imprisoned by your own design

Your legs strapped, unable to move
Your hands cemented to the transparent rope
Tightening around your wrists
Your hair becomes the sheer silk
Your clothes are now tangled twine
Encompassing the entirety of your body
Adhering to your ankles
Strangling your neck
Drowning your thoughts
Suffocating your free will
Vision blurs
World dulls
Sounds muffle
Struggling only weakens you
So you become stone
Paralyzed
Unable to move
Unable to breathe
Unable to find the motivation
The purpose
The drive
You once had
You’ve lost possession of your worth
Surrounded by beauty
Your stomach remains an empty glass jar

Suddenly
You’re swept
You’re spinning
Unwinding
Out of control
Trying to grasp onto a thread
Something recognizable
Reaching to hold on
Arms flailing
Hummingbird heart
As everything you’ve ever known disappears
Ripped apart
Torn to shreds
Every
Detail
Destroyed
And you’re left
Alone
Dangling
Gasping for air
Controlled by the wind
A single thread
Cinched to your leg
Dragging along
The crushed dream of what once was
Ache lingers
Birds flutter
Ants scurry
And you’re left stranded
Abandoned by your past
Unable to begin again

Like the air in a muddy cloud of noise
Like a sunflower dehydrated to a crisp
Like a hopeless child, brought to reality

Until one day
It will snap
And you will be nothing again
A take on the feeling of being trapped in something that once was great but blindly became unhealthy. Written 11/3/19

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