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charley gwenn Oct 2018
tongue in teeth
eyes shut tight
clothes on in the shower
back from the brink
back from somewhere
a dead friend's childhood home

the lies i tell myself
just so i can get by
become less convincing
every time i tell them
i know all the signs
my tells are obvious
and i know
when my heart's not in it

i am only 25 years old
but already it feels like
my body has lost something
a sense of youthfulness or beauty
that i had when i was 17
and do not have now
that strange men would crave
why can't i feel that way again?
would i even want that again?

the people ive trusted
and who were worthy of that trust
who treated me well and cared for me
have been so few
and never have any of them
shared their hearts with me
the way i wanted to share mine

how can i believe in my own worth
and value as a person
when i believe i am an object
of ****** pleasure
who has no more pleasure to offer?
what value do i have then?
what am i then?
what worth is there to be found
in a doll that is no longer beautiful?

make me clean again, lord
make me whole
make me beautiful
this is why i don't believe in god
if he is real, the ****** abandoned me
like most men do
i have had only my friends and family
and the professional help i could pay for
to save my soul

your mother called me a deadbeat
a criminal and a lowlife
(did she feel the same way about you?)
she said i wasted my youth and my life
that i didn't love you
or i would have tried to save you
from the life you chose
like she tried to

but you never needed saving
from your death, but not your way of life
i was never cut out for it
but i was in it for the wrong reasons
i was trying to hurt myself
in order to feel anything i could
while you were trying to thrive
she'll never understand you
you didn't want salvation from her
you only wanted your mother back

she's a cursed woman
and i wish i understood this
before i let her words cut me so deep
she's drowning in an ocean of grief
and doesn't know how to do anything
but strike everyone else down with blame

i tried my best to change her mind
to turn her heart with my own
i hope you would understand, ******
it seemed her heart had hardened
turned to stone and shut away
i could not change her at all

i still go to bed with your ghost
i wanted to give you rest
i wanted to protect you
i dont know where this leaves us my friend
some hearts can't be turned
but i will not betray mine
charley gwenn Oct 2018
-
i want to speak my heart
and be understood without misconception
i want to carve out the truth
with the precision of a surgeon
an infinite decimal
i want to speak from a gentle nature
but with a shining sword of truth
softly
and bravely

i want to give voice
to the love inside me
that is in truth raw and powerful and wild
but i do not want to frighten you away
i want only for you to hear the strength
the calm
the rage
the great and unimaginable pain
and the boundless affection
that echo in the chambers of my heart

when i choose to share my body with another
it happens in one of two ways
recklessly, and dangerously, and stupidly,
and probably with a man,
and probably when i feel very vulnerable
and probably i pretended i was drunk
and probably i regret it and probably
probably i never tell anybody about it

or, rarely, it happens with enthusiasm
and with a full readiness
absent from most experiences in my life
eagerness and heart
and i do not float through the galaxy
as my body lies back on earth
******* the pain away

i am not dreaming
i am here and i am awake

and i want nothing more
than to want you
and for you to want me
and to make you tremble
like the streets of southern california
when a fault line shifts
with a fierceness like the spirit of god
moving through church
i want to make you feel
and i want you to feel me with you

i have not been able
to share myself with another person
without fear of being exploited
in eight years
i hardly remember what it feels like
to be so dumb and wild and free

i was forced into living this life
jumped into it by a gang
of nurses and doctors and midwives
i was never given a choice
nor a weapon to defend myself
though i would face terror after terror
alone in the darkness
with nothing to light my way

i cannot trust men not to hurt me
i can't even trust women not to do the same
am i ever going to be able
to open my heart again?
first thing i've written in months that isn't about death
charley gwenn Oct 2018
-
though your body
is buried in the earth in arizona
i go to bed with your ghost
every night now
the rain does not respect the state border
so why should you
lost in the rain
charley gwenn Oct 2018
This city was not the same without you when you left
And this world now will never be the same either
A permanent scar has been left on the earth
Where they removed you from it
And a scar has been left on me as well
Where they took you from me
But it was not you who held the knife

You were left alone in this world
But Caroline did not leave you
And I am now also standing
By myself in the dark
But you were not the one who left
You were both taken
By a hateful world that could not accept
That *** can be a way of living
And a way of life

Are men whose wives died
When they were now so old
That they felt they could never find anyone again
Never worthy of sharing a bed again?
Are men with physical disabilities
Debilitating anxieties
Childhood traumas
Or any other thing that makes them
Unable to find a meaningful and lasting relationship
Undeserving of physical love?

They never listened to you because
They were scared of you
And if they heard your words
It would break this whole world apart
Their whole perfect world

I do not know where people go
When they leave the city
When they leave the world
But I know what is left behind
I remember everything differently now
The memories and versions of you
I thought were the most important
Became eclipsed by older, ancient beings

The earliest memories and encounters
The first, original, most primordial ******
Prevails as the version I remember most
The questions about why I was in this life so young
And who hurt me and that I didn't deserve to carry myself like this
For the rest of my life
Completely alone
The kiss that changed everything
The threesomes that men had paid for but felt
So special to me because you felt so safe
That safe feeling was everything to me
Those memories are everything to me

Your memory is fragile now
It stands at risk, in danger
Your ghost hangs in peril
And I don't know how to protect you
But I will preserve you
Any way that I can

I do not know where people go
When they leave the city
Maybe into the sky
But I will not let you be lost in the rain
more poems about ******, and caroline. all written since july.
charley gwenn Oct 2018
showered and shaven,
hairless oiled legs
skinny young creatures of the sea,
swimming,
beneath waves of bedding
in a hotel near the high school
once he's gone and i've cleaned myself,
****** is there and
we sit in the parking lot together
cold skin against the concrete blocks
she is 17 years old,
and i am 17 years old
and i am lost but we are lost together,
and she is less lost than me
and she is thus, to me, my guiding spirit
my lighthouse in the storm
brave and strong and eternal
****** asks me if i've ever been in love
i tell her i have a boyfriend,
she knows that
but she asks me again
and i know she knows
i say yes, i have been
but marty,
marty isn't it
and then ****** kisses me
she kisses me, and
it
feels
as though
the whole world
falls
into
alignment
i love her
i love her
i love her
and i feel sure
that i will love her
until her very last day on this earth
a story about a very important person who is gone from this world now, unjustly and far, far before her time.
charley gwenn Oct 2018
no one is an island
but i often feel alone
stranded
struggling to survive
as the water builds,
and builds
and crashes against me
all up the coast
waves break violently
on my body
seething, salty
blood or sea
it is all the same
a thousand dead friends
faceless bodies
nameless young graves
packing down dirt
with a waiting list
a river within me
overflows
graves buried at sea
and i become an ocean
my body full of bodies
and blood and salt
and empty graves
i become the terror and death
that inflicts itself on me
in waves
crashing
and breaking
against my rough coast
charley gwenn Oct 2018
a person disappears.
their life, and the lives they touched,
transformed in an instantaneous destructive silence,
their souls unreachable

Real Death

she is there when I go to sleep
and gone when I awake
and I can't make art about this
it's not for this.

I feel lost and alone
in a hostile world that does not make sense
and I feel as if we are all tumbling into darkness
one by one
Caroline
******
I hold on tight

I want to take this world apart but I feel weak and powerless to do this

I want never to be ashamed of this part of my life again; never to hide

Caroline and ****** were not ashamed
and if there is one single solitary thing I can do
it would be to carry this on for them, to refuse to hide
who I am
who they were
who we are

STAY WEIRD
FIGHT ANYONE
Do what it takes to survive this.
Do any stupid thing it takes.
I refuse "Live Fast, Die Young."

Live Hard, Live Long.

Live hard, live long, feel pain, go on, wake up, keep going, keep going, keep going, grow old, keep going, spit blood at the camera, outlive all friends, last woman alive, unending desert, so many stars, limitless, endless stars, throne standing alone in the desert, and yourself, alive and ravishing.

I loved Caroline and ******
but I refuse to follow them.

I must hold on.
on july 15th, i learned my close friend ****** had ended her life. her girlfriend had ended her life about a month and a half before that. they are both gone now. i wrote this two days later.

i borrowed some from john darnielle here. i give my respect and thanks to him.
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