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ayesha roleyes Jun 2018
you love me.
you say it all the time.
“i love you”
it’s my fault i don’t believe it, isn’t it?
it’s my fault i don’t trust you.
i’m being dramatic, paranoid, unfair.
always ungrateful.
i can never appreciate you
can i? you
clothed me and fed me.
every once in a while, you offered support.
and let’s not forget:
you love me.
you love melovemelove m e
you’ve said it so many times it’s
lost all meaning you
love me. just like you
love expensive lipstick and
love good food and
love pretty clothes.
“i deserve to treat myself”
you did. do. always.
doesn’t matter what the treat is

how can i complain
when there are people out there whose parents
beat them
(you didn’t.
you hit me. lots. but it wasn’t bad and i was young and i don’t remember, it
doesn’t matter),
tell their children how much they’ve failed
(you didn’t.
you didn’t need to. your
cold shoulder and cold eyes and cold words said it all,
froze me in place.
but it wasn’t bad and i was young and i don’t remember, it
doesn’t matter),
throw their children out of their house
(you didn’t.
i left,
before you could convince me
i was wrong about myself. but
it wasn’t bad and i was young and i don’t remember, it
doesn’t matter.)

you tolerated who i actually was,
adored who you thought i was.
that’s enough, isn’t it?
it is more than enough.
it has to be.
it’s love.

i shouldn’t complain.
i won’t complain.
i can’t complain.
ayesha roleyes Aug 2017
i am sometimes too proud to ask for help.
the words stick
like peanut butter in my mouth,
and i wash them down with self-assurance,
thoughts of “i can handle it” and “i’m going to be fine” even if
i can’t, i’m not.

but you –
you take one look at me and know.
you support me with
quiet words and quiet actions,
build me a foundation of kindness.
never asking for anything but
a promise to take care of myself, and
even though i break that promise,
again and again and again,
you hold steady, hold me steady; a gentle rebuke
my only punishment, paired with
a warm smile and warmer eyes.  

i don’t say this enough, so i must: thank you.
thank you, thank you, thank you.
because i recently came to realize that there are more people out there that care about me than i thought there were
ayesha roleyes Aug 2017
my soul settles when the sky weeps over the world.
the rap-rap-rap of the rain against my pane
soothes my mind, a balm to any pain.
is it the comfort of knowing that nature cries, because
if nature cries, surely i can, too?

rain gets a bad rap, i think
as it rap-rap-raps against my pane,
because it is destruciton and relief
it razes and raises.
mimicking goldilocks and the three bears:
too much, too little brings death,
but when it's just right.
when it's just right, it fosters life

why do we equate rain with sadness?
pieces of the ocean rap-rap-raping against my pane
drops dropping into puddles, pulsating
water, the element of change;
water, the element of growth;
water, the element of life.  
push-pulling its surroundings,
creeping into places it shouldn't,
movable, mutable, implacable.

rain, rain, don't go away
as a reminder that even the tiniest of drops
will erode the largest of statues
i love you, rain, please come back
ayesha roleyes Aug 2017
if only i could
try turning my own brain off  
and then on again
i wish there were a debugging tool for my soul
ayesha roleyes Aug 2017
my hands tremble.
if you were to attach
zils to their sides,
you’d hear a tambourine
shaking away,
though you wouldn’t find
any discernible beat.
my heart and
my breath
compete to see which runs faster--
the tortoise and the hare, except
there is no tortoise; only
two extremely motivated hares.
all moisture has
evaporated from my mouth,
leaving a vacuum. a
vacuum my voice can’t
travel through because sound
needs a medium, and fear--
ensconcing me,
coiling around me
like a constrictor does its prey;
its tendrils
poking and prodding and pushing,
trying to find chinks, holes, so
like an octopus
it can squeeze through
no matter how small the defect,
how small the weakness,
and wrap itself around
my heart, entomb it, and
bleeding me out from the inside--
doesn’t count, unfortunately.
my lips are a vice, the
first line of defense against
the fear; my teeth,
clamped together, my
second, each tooth a
dutiful soldier standing
behind a wall,
watching and waiting for
the enemy to come over.
gravity tugs, pulling
me down, and my legs
fold, weariness a pin
poking holes and letting out all
the air, forcing me down
faster. my eyes blur, the
fragmented, washed-out
world i see--objects
smushed together
until they aren’t anything anymore;
colors bleeding into
one another until
everything is the same--
reflecting what’s in
my head. i close them and
the world is gone--except
i can still
hear it, taste it, smell it,
and i sit there, head
between my knees, as
i wait for it to be over.
ayesha roleyes Aug 2017
rooting around
the garbage can, an empty
soda can in his hands,
mumbling under breath, and i wonder
who he is, who he was,
who he could have been. is he
alone in this world
does he have family
a spouse, a child,
a sister, a brother?
is he here, at 330 am,
sifting through someone's trash,
at empty roads?
blow he never recovered from?
barrage of calamities,
razing his spirit one
event at a time? whose
failure is this:
his, or ours.

in another universe, i imagine
he’s a professor, teaching
about public health.
in another universe, i imagine
he’s surrounded by the warmth of
friends, family, not
the cold of concrete.
in another universe, i imagine
he is anywhere but here,
right now,
in a world that gives
enough of a **** and
works well enough
he’s caught
before he slips through the net, before
he drowns.

but he isn’t he’s here,
right now,
wading through
the filth of apathy and
fending off imaginary foes.
he looks up at me, and
shame turns my head,
guilt keeps it there, and
i wonder: could he ever
be me?
ayesha roleyes Aug 2017
open a book and the words shoot
off the page, each letter a photon bouncing
off an orchestrated universe, illuminating
a world that wasn’t there
seconds before.  
i am in a chair,
and then –
riding a tram through 1930s Berlin,
black-and-white photos turned into
black-and-white words turned into
black-and-white as ends to a color spectrum
filling in sights and sounds and scents.
and then –
sitting at a dinner table in 1890s Ireland,
witnessing an alcohol-infused christmas
dinner go up in flames,
petty remarks and self-righteous politics
the tinder and faces like embers,
pulsing with heat,
breath stoking the fire
and then –
soaring in a flying car, london
below, the thames a
serpentine ‘s’ winding through the city, bridges
segmenting it into a divided
snake that calls on ben franklin; buildings
sprawling every which way,
swarming with lives.
and then –
i am in a chair.
the clock’s hands are
on its hips at four and seven,
scolding me. my legs are
staticky and unresponsive, on
strike at having circulation severed.
the book is shut but
the words live within me.

a picture is worth a thousand words, but
a reader lives a thousand lives.
i just really love books, man
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