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Jul 2023 · 509
Nelson, Myself and Franklin
Claire Elizabeth Jul 2023
How does one lose a creature gracefully…?

Is it possible to just be okay with a quick goodbye under the hum of those awful fluorescent lights? Would it have been easier, kinder, softer, if the lights were lamps scattered about the space, yellow and murmuring? When does the gut-wrneching tightening stop? Will I ever let the sadness of it leave my chest?

Sitting in this complacent grief even months after it all is kind

I know that the grief will let me cry and I know that when I do, it doesn’t judge me for my “I wish things could go back to normal.” Because regardless of how familiar the New Ways become, it still isn’t the same. I am bookended by these two creatures that have and continue to adore the Earth I walk on. But the Old Ways stick with us for longer than we’d maybe like.

But in filling that little empty nook, the small nest where a dog named Nelson used to lie, I’ve forced myself to grow, to become changed.

My adult life started when I got Nelson, and it started again when I had to let him slip through my trembling fingers. And it continues on with this new creature named Franklin, who sits just to the left of that Nelson shaped divot.

Loving things that leave you utterly shattered is what makes us so mendable, forgetful, endlessly desperate for devotion…

The whole scene will replay in 10 years time, and I will be even more ruined then.
Jul 2023 · 958
The Wasting
Claire Elizabeth Jul 2023
I’ve begun “The Wasting” once more.

That ragged uncovering of bones and peaks and ridges that crop up along my spine and shoulders.

My scapulas revealing themselves like the bed of a lake as the waters recede.

Indents beside and under my kneecaps, hollows that match the ones slowly sinking themselves back into my cheeks.

And the hipbones…the things I truly crave to see through the paper thin layer of my skin…

Those…I’d starve myself to waifish proportions just to graze my hands along the mountaintops of those things, those sharp little things.

I lose my hair and my colour and my shine just to dig my fingers into the hardness of my breastbone, just to know that my jawbone is an overhang, just to plunge headfirst into the thrill of being thin.

“The Wasting” and I are friends, and I want to drown in her.
Jun 2021 · 146
just for you
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
When the night gets a little quieter,
And the stars become more melancholy,
I will tell you how much my heart has thought of you.

When the birds lay soft for the night,
And even the bats lull themselves to sleep,
I will tell you how much I have dreamt about you.

The world is vast and the sky impossibly endless.
The seas are still mysteries and even people still hold ancient secrets.

But I will try so hard to make my distant lands within reach.
Just for you.
Jun 2021 · 119
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
i. when i sit in that old apple tree nestled up in my yard, the deer come up to me and sniff my legs, nuzzle my warm hands, wreath my hair in crowns. my house disappears and the woods become my sleeping grounds. the world doesn't exist so loudly. if the warm haze of summer were to cloak the grasses in gold, the sun would be outshone. in other words, i miss sitting in that old apple tree.

ii. a few years ago there was a grass fire that swallowed the hillside of our neighbor's yard. it smelled like woodsmoke and the dead of summer for days. the blackened ground let nothing show. but a week later, the pale green fuzz of new grass blemished the bluff. "i was only temporary" the soot whispered.

iii. i've been to the ocean only once in my life. a great expanse of cold and unforgiving blue. it was chilly that day. the wind was the only indication that it was late spring, and the sun raced behind the clouds, dousing its warmth for a few seconds. there weren't many people that day, only my class, and the seashells begged to be caressed and held gently. the sand was and soft on the beach, growing rough in the depths of the water.

iv. i've never been one for making friends, but summer made us all friends.

v. when summer begins, my heart regrows its roots and sends out soft new shoots. the smell of ripe fruit and fog in the mornings whisks me out of bed. the sun becomes new every day and so shall i.
Jun 2021 · 115
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
i. i've never loved with anything but sadness. of course this time is no different. shouldn't i crave the happiness that comes with loving another human? i find that dread somehow creeps its way into my sleep whenever i begin getting hopeful, and that itself is sad. loving is my way of keeping that sadness in my bones.

ii. the first time i kissed you was the first time i found what home was. the first time i made you laugh was the first time i wanted to hear something forever. the first time i saw you cry was the first time i wanted cradle someone until they forgot why they were crying. the first time i said 'i love you' to your face was the first time i knew this was the absolute most truthful thing i'd ever said.

iii. if i could gather all the times you made me feel small, i'd have a fortune of anger. the feeling of your normally tender voice slicing open my cheek made me rich with pain. enduring all of your sadness was worth the wealth of love i thought i was getting.

iv. i went to college eight months into our newborn relationship and although it was only an hour away you felt like we were parting ways for good. i was prepared for the distance, but not ready for it. our hearts snapped apart like rubber bands at the eve of that ninth month and distance has been a fear since then.

v. i was proud of what i was doing, proud of everything i thought i was going to accomplish. i was not as proud of you as i could have been. my pride kept me going and kept you at an endless arm's length away. while i bloomed, you withered.
Jun 2021 · 155
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
i. my favourite days are the ones where the air doesn't seem quite clear, but out of focus, backlit with haze. the grass gets dusty and the trees blend together like old oil paints. it's these days that it seems the world is saying "leave this place, you don't belong." i sleep the best on those days.

ii. the sepia film layered over old photos makes me nostalgic for something my lifetime will never know. but it's familiar, smiling faces with blushing cheeks, dust and dirt lining sun-creased foreheads. it's comforting, calming, restful. it makes you wish for that simplicity. how kind a colour can be.

iii. dust covering riddled boxes, coating worn wood, cloaking drapes mirrors, mannequins, rocking horses. an attic is a place my heart feels the strangest. everything seems haunted and in it, i am also haunted. each dirt-laden item carries an event that led to its demise. the wardrobe's mirror cracked and a new one filled in. the jewellery box did not grow with its contained collection. the doll sat too peacefully in the corner of that room and found itself sitting just as quietly beside the wardrobe.

iv. i will always wish for the feeling of an open road on a warm day. the sun rests its legs on the edge of the horizon, the clouds paint themselves with watercolours, the crickets and cicadas tune to each other. that complete content will always be my favourite.

v. sometimes i wish i knew where i was going, knew where i was supposed to arrive. however, the knowledge that i will eventually arrive somewhere is intensely satisfying and comforting, even in its uncertainty.
May 2021 · 111
Claire Elizabeth May 2021
tell me what it's like to never hurt

tell me about loving every part of your being because it's yours and its the only thing you own every inch of

tell me about admiring the grass that grows in the sidewalk and the shine of the oil staining the parking lots

tell me about how easy it is to be happy and how often you laugh and smile and enjoy being alive

tell me what it's like to hurt less than i do.
Apr 2021 · 98
My Dog
Claire Elizabeth Apr 2021
My dog keeps me alive sometimes

In the deep dark nights when he curls against the backs of my legs
Nestles in the crook of my bent knees
I wake up enough to feel his breath on my hand.

My dog keeps me alive sometimes

When I come home bone-tired and exhausted, the world making a home in my eyes, he suctions himself to my side and brings me his very own things, knowing I need more than just he can give.

My dog keeps me alive sometimes

I tell him this when I feel so sad I want to cease existence and even that confession keeps me on my feet for another day.

And when he gets old and worn, I will get him a shadow so that I can be kept alive by another being who depends on me more than I depend on myself.
Mar 2021 · 112
I Am Not
Claire Elizabeth Mar 2021
I am not the romantic I once boasted to be
I don't swoon
I don't revel in love or bathe in its insincerity
It doesn't call me a home that it feels welcome in

I've evicted it
Packed it's tendrils up into small cardboard boxes and stacked them on my stoop
A farewell to its tenderness I once believed in

I want to witness the shift in me
I want to see the moment my blood ran a little colder and my hands took to shaking when I think too hard
This frailty that's become my second skin seems like it's been home forever

I don't think I'm meant to love
I think I was meant to enjoy the way a person's eyes are spaced just right
Or how their hands connect to their wrists with grace
But I don't love those things

I'm not a romantic in the sense that I love the idea of love
I used to be
But I've become a half-flooded cave
Filled with currents and a heavy, wet, emptiness.
Jan 2021 · 94
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2021
not all love is good love
it's love, nonetheless
Jan 2021 · 93
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2021
i am the sawdust/sticking to the crevices of the garage floor

i am the smell of evergreen and cedar chips/on the wet air of the woods

i am the reflection of tail lights/flashed in the rutted puddles

i am the sound of train horns/riding eddies of cold winter air

i am a midwest city sleeping/halted still in its big tracks

i am the fog/floating in the dusk of the street lamps

i am the lightning and the thunder/crawling over the bluffs of loess and trees

i am the damp basement walls/steeped in summer

i am the heady nostalgia/filling lungs with ache and contentment
Oct 2020 · 57
The Jealousy
Claire Elizabeth Oct 2020
it's almost time to explain The Jealousy to you
the spiteful selfishness that pools in my eyes

i hoard the love i am given because it is the love i don't have for myself
May 2020 · 79
The World's Best Friend
Claire Elizabeth May 2020
He's tired. His eyes tell us when he watches us.
His tail goes every once in a while. But he's tired.
Over the years his body started to betray him. First his eyes, his ears, his hips. Then his bones decided to adorn his frame more prominently, his spine a mountain range, his ribs canyons.

He's tired. His naps in the noontime are his specialty, his days of chasing rabbits submitted to dreams. His paws run from time to time. But he's tired.

He's tired. And now his body is telling us. He sways when he walks and sighs as he sleeps. Sometimes he groans when he stands up and clatters when he falls. He's had thirteen years of sun-soaked days, cold weather play, of lively life. But he's tired.

He's tired. And I'll miss him for a while. But I'll be glad he isn't so tired anymore.
My dog isn't doing too well, and I think that today is the day.
May 2020 · 78
Claire Elizabeth May 2020
When these nights smother me
My past comes back in rivulets
Down my back, neck, through my hair like snakes and twine

I should be happy, no? Content, satisfied, full.

I've always questioned why my eyes get heavy when I plead them to look alive
And I've always wondered why my shoulders bear the weight of the past Millenium when I ask them to keep the present good company

I have an inherent gloom
And I suppose it's about time I come to make its acquaintance.
May 2020 · 80
Mouth Aches
Claire Elizabeth May 2020
I write a lot about love and about the smell of rain. They go hand in hand, after all.
They both make my heart ache and my mouth water for something I don't yet have.
Mar 2020 · 73
Though I Should
Claire Elizabeth Mar 2020
I am not in love with the one person I should be most in love with
We don't speak very often, and when we do, it's with guttural moans and soft cries
Late in the night, she peels away her curtain and stares at me through the mirror
Sometimes in the early hours, the misty golden hours, I pull her through my mouth and set her beside me
We listen to the sun rise, the dew rest, the sky yawn with a hand over its mouth
We sit there until the sky is more blue than pink and then I swallow her joint by joint until she settles into the bend of my ocular bone
I do not love her, though I should
She shifts around my insides and caresses the depths of me, makes me loathe the bits of me I can see, makes me loathe the bits I can't
I feel her in my chest most days, cupping her hands around the valves of my heart, making them ache even if she doesn't mean it
And I can't help but wish she was someone different, someone tougher, meaner, less romantic, someone more like me
She whimpers when I cry, she sighs when I curse, she squirms when I get angry with everyone and myself
She is not someone I can love

Though I should
Feb 2020 · 97
A Day is Not a Day
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2020
a day is not a day without yawns early in the morning and hushings late at night.
not a day without a nervous laugh, an anxious frown, a skip and jump from the heart.

a night is not a night without a a drifting off at the brush of the late hours and a jolt awake at 3 am
not a night without a reaching and tugging, a discovering of loneliness in the folds of comforters.
Feb 2020 · 72
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2020
something had settled in my lungs again. it's been there before, a familiar restlessness. but before, i threw it up in the form of late nights and lost love. this year i hold it in palmfuls, like a bird or water.

my legs feel full of bees, of ants and moths trying to stretch towards light. cross, uncross, stretch and coil. do anything to remain unsettled, unsedimented. but they can't escape the unrest. it just waits.

i think of it like sediment, silt that sometimes has a hand run through it or a toe seeped deep into its coolness and then it stirs through my veins alongside every particle of anxiety i've inherited.

is this what it's supposed to look like? a little dim and maybe foggy on the darker days. sometimes i think about letting this fog out into the chilly room of someone else, but it retreats just in time.

beds were designed for tired bones, nights designed for weighted eyes. days were made for the ones with fingers full of light and flowers were made for it all. the night comes easier to me, like a friend.

January isn't my usual month of bee-legged unrest, or heavy lidded nights, but it seems to have assumed the role of injecting something not settled into the crook of my neck, my elbow and the soft part behind my ear.
Jan 2020 · 63
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2020
the dreams are the most horrifying. they come to me in resin-covered gems, sparkling like little tears. they wreath my sleep in lazy circles and make me sleep too deeply.

you spoke to me in a voice like blame last night. i stared at you with fire in my lungs, seeping smoke into the space between us.

i think i love you still, a muscle-tense love with shivers down its spine. what's that love called? is it tough love? maybe hate? something more anxious?

i wake up crystalized and pulled fresh from the water. and you follow me on the tails of my weariness throughout the day.

you did choose somebody new, although she doesn't know she's the leader of a few swamp-hearted girls. they **** him in and spit out a monster.

can you ******* sick-sweet longing? is it dripping from your rafters, from the eves of you? i send it to you sometimes, bow wrapped and heavy.

there were four nights that kept me held down with blunt teeth and little hushes. you soft edged memories in my head provided the dark with fodder.
Jan 2020 · 68
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2020
it's an unlove sort of thing, rancid and vaguely rotting. it sweeps through the room when your name is mentioned. unpleasant, enticing, a quickening of breath and onslaught of dread.

the sinner knows when he has sinned, but sinners also believe they are not sinners. your boldfaced words, not quite lies, but not full truths are the accusations of unjust recollections coming from our half moon mouths.

the ones who fall in love with you offer you stained letters from the palms of deteriorating hands. the ink runs through the quagmire of rusted paper, delicately flowering bruises on parchment paper stems.

you told me kind things that sprouted kind fingers and evicted my kindness from the depths of my hollowed out femur, from the depths of my marrowless ulna, my rattling phalanges. you ****** it through my teeth and separated it from my breath. the kindness has been replaced by marrow once more.

the girls all look around and see morbid mirrored horror, the suffocating love they all mimic, with him at the center, a spinning dial slowing to land on his next curiosity, his next sweet-marrowed banshee.
Jan 2020 · 70
A Year Since
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2020
It's been a year.
A year since the night I was last in love.
Or realized that I was in love.

It's been a year.
A year since the evening I cried as the sky turned blue, orange, pink, purple, black.
Since I cried as the night stumbled in.

A year seems like not a very long time.
Not a long time yet it feels like it's been three years.
And maybe I've grown, or maybe I've just changed.

It's been over a year since you laid with me while thinking about her.
Since you've pressed yourself against me while knowing she was yours tomorrow night.
Over a year since you told her that you were hers forever and I was yours for always.

And now, a year later, she and I are friends, and I still mumble about you in my sleep sometimes, and I wish that I hadn't known how soft your betrayal was.
Nov 2019 · 166
Claire Elizabeth Nov 2019
I think of everything I will never be
And I grow infinitely more uncomfortable in my skin.
Oct 2019 · 356
A Rough Sea
Claire Elizabeth Oct 2019
I am in love with the idea of love, with the very thought of it.
But I am not in love with being in love.

It hurts in the pits of my stomach, roils like a storm above an unsettled sea.
And my eyes are the escape, my mouth the outlet.

Once the actual love comes pouring into my chest cavity the turmoil grows louder.
An antagonist, a conduit for anger, destruction.

When I love it is with fear, a tight fist clutched at my side, a knot of unknow.
I'll apologize each time I let this go.
May 2019 · 201
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
To be a poet there needs to be a tragedy
A trauma hidden in the endless folds of your cowering mother's skirts,
A great happening in the form of your father's alcoholism and abusive tendencies.

Or that's what they say.

I have no trauma. No grief-stricken past with needle-sharp memories that ***** my eyes like tears when I go to bed every night.

Who's to say that in order to feel this deep sense of nothing that there needs to be a huge something that came before it? What if there's a happy childhood and a beautifully achieved mother married to a gruff but grateful father and two dogs with lolling tongues and a house with the perfect screened in porch that the poet spent hours with her dad on, reading the rites of childhood competency disguised as "Goodnight Moon" and "I'll Love You Forever"?

I have no trauma, no stomach twisting horror that made me realize my ****** was best torn out of me or that being a mother is pain inside of its own pain? I am a poet but am I real poet if I don't talk about the night I almost threw up the memories of my smiling father into my transparent hands, just because I felt too sad to deserve them? Am I real poet if I can't write about tearing the thought of my dog lazing in the sun on the perfect edge of an afternoon out of my head just because something so pure was never meant for something like me, something so unpure.

To be a poet there needs to be a tragedy
A trauma tangled in the Great Awakening of teen angst and the realization of all that is not your mother's soft voice waking you up every sunrise
A great happening in the form of losing all sense of self and filling the Void with the copper taste of pennies and nights that border on mornings.
May 2019 · 189
The Red-lit Room
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
That room engulfed me as soon as my foot hit the worn wooden floor
All red light and zagging lines, ethereal art decorating the whispering walls.

A man stood next to me with a beer bottle in one hand and his Rolex ticking quietly on the other, a sound that seemed to clash with the echoey quietness of the voice telling us all its secrets.

You were all stars and shimmer and so much **** beauty, still
The red light creating the same shapes on your face that my dreams created for two years after that night.

My head spun with the fiction of the circumstances I found myself in;
This small room with its glowering characters on the walls and its eerie lighting with all of these people who probably had more pent up sadness than the entire continental U.S., all pooling their resources into the middle of the splintering floor, covered in dust and sweat and the hearts of every quivering poet that had poured out their guts to the crowd. To me.

It didn't make the sadness *****, though; it only amplified the sheer agony of it all.
And when the band played their songs with too much bass and too little voice, I was so enamoured with every single person who was closing their eyes and listening as if the sky itself was singing about wailing midnights and midsummer loves wrapped in that ephemeral depression.

I was so enamoured in everyone
And you
May 2019 · 308
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
my bones have learned how to store the sadness i harbour
in their marrow, in the soft sinews between molecules.

it sinks and settles, like sediment, like coins with their heavy edges
all jagged and used.

when each sentence that comes out is worse than the last
that's the sadness speaking in its foreign tongue.

but when the tension on the surface of my skin gets to be almost too much to bear, it threatens to split open into two equal halves;

one for me
and one for the sadness.
May 2019 · 261
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
My chest hurts

And then it feels nothing.
Apr 2019 · 210
endless cycles
Claire Elizabeth Apr 2019
The crying stops eventually
The sadness does not

When the night grabs ahold of my lapels and shakes me until my mind rattles, I submit and hang limply from its fingers until it drops me onto my pillow to rot until the morning.

And morning comes and reminds me that even with sunlight the sadness does not stop. It grabs my cheeks and stares me in the eyes until I remember to breathe and then it pushes me away into the abyss of late afternoon where the first tendrils of night begin to reach for my collar once more.

The endless cycle of being too alive for feeling so empty.
Mar 2019 · 125
Claire Elizabeth Mar 2019
i. despising someone is a silent affair. you sit and brood, mull over all the hideous facets of this hate. there's guilt, maybe some shame, but your heart doesn't acknowledge this. why should it? after all, they say listen to your heart, and after he stamped his name on it, all it knows is him. and if that means retaining this small inkling of hate, then so be it.

ii. there's a suffering that accompanies hating someone you almost loved. you're all of the sudden torn completely by these two opposite feelings. somewhere the love you were harbouring is rotting and fermenting; that makes your chest suffer. and somewhere the hate you are creating is burning and eating and boiling; this makes your stomach suffer. all come with a small portion of suffering.

iii. i still long for you. most of the time, all of the time. should i be admitting that? definitely not. so why am i? is it because i feel obligated? because i put effort into you? is it because the last time i talked to you i wanted nothing more than to see your shining face? like a tape, i'll keep that feeling of longing until i'm rewound.

iv. i don't regret meeting you. i don't regret sitting on your bed eating ice cream and complaining about the rain. i don't regret kissing you. i don't regret laughing at your laugh or admiring your beautiful, perfect face. i do regret wishing you were always near. i do regret wanting to spend a while with your soul. i do regret hoping you felt all that i felt. that hope could have been used for something better.

v. i cried myself to exhaustion that night. not to sleep. i cried until my eyes were swollen and my lips cracked. i cried until my chest and my fingers and my legs went numb and then i laid there, so ******* tired, but so terribly agonized. and i hoped for sleep, but all my body wanted was you.
Feb 2019 · 145
Into your screaming arms...
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2019
i will run. with desperation and a hint of absolute dread. you're bad for me. you always will be.


but my heart is addicted to the rejection. it's like a drug that keeps it beating. not steadily and not with any real meaning.

but i digress.

you know the painful nights? the nights that whimper in your arms like a wounded animal? hold me like those nights, even if it's just to get me to the morning.

comfort me.

i don't know how else to murmur my love to the ones i want to hate than through morse code and slow blinks from across the room.


on the days that seem a little rounder in the middle, robust even, i'll forget maybe, about how soft the air felt when you slept next to me. i'll forget that the night ahead is going to howl like a haunt watching her love die.

but i digress.
Feb 2019 · 128
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2019
here's to forgetting
and here's to not

here's to remembering
and here's to choosing not to
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2019
Poetry is hard to write when you have no more words to describe whatever you call heartbreak. At some point, the feeling of your heart residing in your stomach is no longer an anomaly. It's nothing. It's the full feeling that makes you feel sick and it's the choking feeling that comes at night before you brush your teeth. The sadness washes your face for you and tucks you into bed so you can focus on how heavy your heart really is.

It becomes your caretaker, in a sense. Because when you notice that your eyes have more trouble staying open than usual, sadness swoops in and whispers "hello, I'm always ready to help you sleep. I've been waiting."

And so all of the sudden you sleep so soundly, so heavily, that not even your dreams visit you. Your alarm doesn't crack open your eyes, the birds don't make enough noise to shake you from your own nest.

And when you have no one to drag you from under the covers, each day seems a little more daunting than the last. The love that you've been holding like a breath starts to stain the mattress beneath you and spreads into the springs, leaving a stench that can be similar to sadness, but sweeter.

When he leaves (and he will) this stench will permeate your own skin. He'll leave on a bright and clear morning with a suitcase full of your sacrifices. He'll load in on the plane and then lose it at the baggage claim. People will ask how they can help and he will say "don't worry, it's nothing I can't replace." And you will feel the exact moment he erases you from his being.

It'll feel like ice, but also like a searing fire, right through the middle of your body. And all he'll feel is a sense of freedom and a slight worry that maybe he left something important behind.

Love is like that. So filling and encompassing when it doesn't need to be, and so vacant when it really counts.

And it really counts when you come back to the place you thought your love kept up residence. It counts when you walk into your room and don't smell the same sweetness you remember. It counts when you've been craving love for weeks and return to find nothing.

Seeking salvation in a person is the most foolish decision someone in love can make. It's the downfall of soft-hearted people who think their person-hood is confirmed by how much of themselves they've put in the gaps of those they adore. And they watch them walk away with that bit of themselves.

Sometimes they'll walk close enough to one of these people that their body tenses, wants to ****** the piece back, but it's been so long that the piece has grown into the person they once were growing with. And it's such a feeling of emptiness and tenderness that it's hard to discern whether it's regret they're swallowing or a longing for the past.

In any case, poetry comes easier to write to those who have enough sadness to last three lifetimes.
Jan 2019 · 185
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2019
if i was any sadder i'd become the rain and the flood that follows it

my heart has been heavier but it's never been more waterlogged than it is right now

it keeps remembering you and your smile and it keeps thinking that maybe it has a chance

it's foolish and i should never listen to it but i am also foolish and always listen to it
Jan 2019 · 156
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2019
i saw you today
for the first time in weeks
and you've cut your hair
short on the sides, long on the top
and while your hair was beautiful
i still wanted you just the same with it short

how ****** must my heart be if it jumped into my throat just to see you again
we never met eyes but i could see you staring straight into my soul like you did the first night i began falling
and being stuck on the way down means you never stop falling
even when who you're falling for doesn't care whether you're alive or dead
Claire Elizabeth Dec 2018
i am not your dream girl

i am the trees and the wind that breaks them
i am the dead grass and the fire that burns it
i am the oak and the vine that kills it
i am the abandoned house and the water that rots it

in my head, your voice is still calling me the sunshine that comes in through the window
when i knew better

i knew i was the dust that needed the sunlight to be seen
and i knew i was the ache that settled in your left shoulder overnight

knowing you for even this long has been nice
it's silly of me to think that i was the most beautiful girl you'd ever seen
when it was obvious your mouth had whispered the same things to women

the most ****** up thing about thinking "maybe i'm his" is the inescapable epiphany that he's not yours
Oct 2018 · 123
Claire Elizabeth Oct 2018
I ponder the theme of my existence more often than I probably should
Am I here to just breathe? Am I here to do nothing more than just....ponder?
In the cool darkness of the oncoming autumn air, things get a little more lonely than I'm used to.
Maybe I'm reminded that just like the season, I will come and then go.
I wish that needing someone to share this loneliness with was all that I needed.
Unfortunately, that is never the case.
Pretending to love someone long enough to become un-lonely is the cruellest joke I've played on the last three boys I've trapped.
I cling to their comfort like someone starving for mercy.
And then when the lust of sadness lets go of my throat I'm suddenly reminded of how little I actually crave the intimacy I've inherited.

There's always an exception to the pattern.
Sep 2018 · 198
This Year
Claire Elizabeth Sep 2018
This year is different
There's a carefulness in the air that I haven't smelled before
It whispers "Caution, she is hurting. Caution, she isn't there."
So then the people I am closest to take heed of the warning and put me at arm's length away from them
It's safer
This year is different
The rain isn't the only thing that makes me sad
The sun does too
If I wasn't mistaken, I'd say that my heart knows that something is off
But how can this be worse than two years ago during the grip of winter
This year is different
I've begun to take a liking to staring at empty spaces just to the left of people's ears
When someone else touches me I shiver and hug myself in closer
I can't meet anyone's eyes, I can't speak, I can't match their smiles
And I've forgotten how blissful sleep is for the ones who are hurting
Until now
This year is different
Sep 2018 · 235
Claire Elizabeth Sep 2018
i. when the sun begins setting behind the full leaves of the oaks and cottonwoods, the air turns soft with lazy warmth, golden and shimmering in the valleys and fields. sometimes when the hour between late afternoon and early evening hits, i get a little more nostalgic about how the crickets begin to sing and how the cicadas hum brightly in their wooded alcoves. everything becomes nostalgic about the August before this one

ii. once August trails the dead petals of the ladyfingers out the door, September sneaks in behind. August leaves behind its last remaining warmth, casting a blanket over the afternoons and tugging it off during the dead of night. it leaves behind the summer romances, the one night stands, the flings that blazed throughout June and July. and it leaves behind just enough of my happiness to last me until the first snow. and then November takes the rest.

iii. there's a little-known term that latches itself onto the coattails of August: sun-drunk. long days spent in the sun, warm and tan. lungs consisting entirely of fresh air and hopeful opportunities. ending the afternoons with a bone-tired sigh, a comfortable nap, still sweaty from play, eyes half-lidded. an exhaustion unlike any other.

iv. when the summer retracts its tendrils back into itself, its last wish is to begin anew in a year. it wishes to coax the life back into the shuddering trees and wilting grass, coming into spring with a fervour. when the cold bites at the nape of the summer's neck, every living thing places their hope on warmth's feeling shoulders.

v. every time i go to the places we used to roam, i hear your voice again. the thick humidity has an uncanny ability to replicate the smell of your skin. or maybe nostalgia makes everything contain some portion of you. my hands unfold for the breeze, which carries your touch; my eyes soften for the sun, which carries your gaze; my legs take bigger steps to miss the cracks of the sidewalk, which mimic your long strides. again and again, my body will always want you.
May 2018 · 360
As if god speaks
Claire Elizabeth May 2018
In the deepest part of midnight, you walk among the hidden creatures of the wood, the reflection of their eyes guiding you through the thickets.

The deer murmur the prayers of the tall grass, their low hushings travelling across the valley and turning heavy with magic.

The owl's watchful gaze never loses its hold on the back of your heels, making sure that you stay on the path you've chosen. A breeze disrupts the pattern of your footsteps, multiplied by the possums that walk upright in your wake.

Something talks with the voice of the trees, damp, tepid, stagnant and woeful, like a being trapped in engravings on the bark left by the ants and the nightwalkers alike.

In the distance, your mother calls your name. The loam and sand has already made itself into your bed and the moss covers your eyes as you sleep.

In the morning you wake in the stream with remnants of moondust and pollen clinging like lichen to the bareness of your skin.
May 2018 · 227
The Haunts
Claire Elizabeth May 2018
Poetry is written by the haunts that crawl from their caves in the dead of night

I am no different
Apr 2018 · 414
Not Me
Claire Elizabeth Apr 2018
If I were to love as the universe loves
My god I'd be heartless.
I'd be so vast, so full, so empty, so everything all at once
Yet, I'd contain no fondess for the human beings that roam my innards.

Being consistantly admired but never admiring is something the universe is troubled with
Not me
Apr 2018 · 700
Claire Elizabeth Apr 2018
Time is not

In love

With you
Mar 2018 · 227
Claire Elizabeth Mar 2018
There's a smell, that rolls in with the budding dogwoods and the billowing thunderheads of Spring.
It says "I am familiar. Have you ever heard of Deja Vu? She is my sister."
Imagine if the creatures that live in the wood could speak the prophecies of the coming season.
They say "Listen to the rain in all of its glittering brokenness. It knows more about falling than anyone else."
You and I could lay in the grass for hours and let the smell seep into our pounding hearts and still, I couldn't memorize why you ever fell out of love with me.
Maybe the rain does.
Mar 2018 · 328
Uncomfortable Adoration
Claire Elizabeth Mar 2018
When I saw you, laying in the dead grass, my eyes glued themselves to the yellow of your hoodie, to the flower patches that adorned the back of your denim jacket, to the long strands of deep brown hair that escaped and tangled around your hidden face.

I hardly remembered that your eyes were more blue than grey, and that your nose was the prettiest part of your face.

Your voice hadn't touched my ears in a year and a half and I'm not sure what I was expecting when I looked down at your dozing face, and saw the same boy that I kissed nearly two years ago in that dim basement.

When you looked up at me from your nest in the grass, I forgot that I hated you for the better part of last year, I forgot that you pried my fingers from your heart and flung me away from you, I forgot that I had learned to unlove you.

What's funny about love is that it sticks in the ridges of your fingerprints and sews itself into your eyelashes, seeps from your pores like sweat.

It makes a home in the recesses of your lungs and the minute it's reminded that it tangled with someone else's love, it uncoils and reaches through your throat, out into the open air and towards that boy that broke it so long ago.

When we said goodbye, I said goodbye with friendliness, with a smile, a wave, a turn of the shoulder.

You said goodbye with nostalgia embedded in it, with a smile, an openness that made me flinch, with a hug that made my arms want more and more and more.

You are a familiar stranger to me, someone that my heart knows but my mind has forgotten.

When I hugged you, there was an uncomfortable adoration between us that has never escaped from our mouths to begin with.
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2018
It's been a while
Since I've sipped from the warm lips of that coffee shop we loved together
In case you've forgotten, I like to try the chai of every single new place I go, to see if it contains the same wholeness as the others

I've learned that I do not show affection like I used to, with grabbing hands and tender eyes
No, I pull the tendrils of adoration back into my throat and coil them between my reserved palms until I have someone to dress in my gentle love again

At this point in time, I do not miss anyone as much as I did a year ago
Meaning: I might still miss him but I've forgotten what it was like to wring my happiness from his grey eyes and his dancing laughter
Meaning: I've mustered up all the strength in my weary heart to forget the videos of us being so in love it hurt

My smile comes easier now, not like the glaring sun on a summer day, but like the hesitant shimmer after a rain shower
I can stay awake for longer because I don't wish to sleep the days away quite as much
The nights bring me comfort in the sense that they know more about being lonely than even I do

At this moment in time, I am not a girl like you knew me, small and dependent and bossy and too independent, all at once
I am a bigger, warmer, friendlier, meaner, tougher, all at once
If before I was a lamb, I am by no means a lion, but I am by no means any less than a star
Feb 2018 · 175
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2018
i. when i wake up my eyes are new again, if only for a brief second. the haze of lingering dreams makes the soft light coming from my window look like it has no edges. the remnants of the love i felt for you in my sleep whisks away into my pillows and back between the folds of my blankets. it keeps me coming back to bed, keeping me slumbering amongst the fog of feelings i no longer know.

ii. in the moments before i fall asleep, my brain boards a canoe made of fireflies and wishful thinking. the Giver of Sleep rows us both through the doorways to nightmares and archways of fantastical dreams. we drift on the currents of the dimly lit room my body lays in. when a door slams somewhere down the hall, the canoe shudders, the Giver flinches, lays his hands on the water to still its trembling. And allows me to sleep.

iii. the closest i've come to feeling like i'm flying is when my body thinks it's hurtling off a cliff before i fall asleep. the yank of lucidness tugging on the nape of my neck reminds me that for a few hours my body will come as close to dying as it ever has. my heart doesn't want to slow, my brain doesn't want to dim the currents. my synapses aren't quite prepared to go quietly.

iv. being awake has never held as much appeal to me as being asleep. you reside in my dreams, not in my arms.

v. i usually remember a lot about my dreams, but i never remember the laughter. is there ever singing laughter that the people of my imagination let loose in a burst of happiness? maybe i just never dream of things that are truly happy. maybe my mind wants a break from being pleasant. maybe it wants to be sad.
Feb 2018 · 181
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2018
i. the snow is cold. the ocean is cold. the universe is a vast cold that sinks into your bones and demands that you give it all the heat you can spare. you were cold to me. distant. unwilling to do anything but try and take all the warmth you could from my hands. i've wondered why my insides have felt icy for the last two years. but it's because you never gave me back my heat.

ii. running is a lot like loving. it makes you hurt and it makes you sore. it makes your lungs feel like there isn't enough air in the room. the difference between running and loving, is that after you're done running, your body forgives you.

iii. nobody knows how badly nostalgia can hurt better than i do. some days it grabs onto the top two branches of my heart and does nothing but sigh into the nodes of my lungs that it hurts. some nights it lays down beside me and falls asleep in my arms. those are the nights that i sleep the soundest.

iv. they say that people have soulmates, that everyone has someone. but what about the girl sitting in the corner with her eyes closed and her headphones in? does she have a destined someone? i would have like to believe that our spirits were intertwined. but mine hasn't touched yours in months.

v. i wonder what the planets feel like, being securely lost in space? do they fear their demise? is the quiet of nothingness as deafening to them as it is to me? imagine being that large, but feeling so incredibly small amidst the billions of imploding stars. imagine feeling so incomparable.
Feb 2018 · 194
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2018
i. that coffee shop is still one of my favourites. your hair was shorter, at least in comparison. i remember that you always got a macchiato, and i always got a ***** chai. i think that we started falling in love then. it tasted like that chai; new and full of so many things.

ii. i'd like to think i'm soft and beautiful, like the skim of creme on the top of your coffee. i think that i started out like that, rounded edges and gentle quietness. i think my words used to come more easily, dashing off of my tongue. but now, my mouth is hardened cliffs and bevelled hillsides. i'm not the creme.

iii. you're the happy sweetness of cinnamon on fresh bread in the morning. the sun that spills over your browbone tastes like familiarity and comfort. the mornings would be better with you.

iv. if you are like the wind, then i am the candle.

v. you're favourite animals are cats and i'd say it's fitting. they're slinking and shadowy. but outwardly, they're soft eyes and lithe. just like you.
Feb 2018 · 204
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2018
i. the world doesn’t know what time is. it has no sense of lovers falling apart after 3 years of loving. it doesn’t feel the clocks turning or the people ageing. it lives in a quiet routine of breathing and sighing its discontent into the oceans and into its angry volcanos. and it continues turning without the notion that its rock show age far before its waters do.

ii. do you regret what decisions you’ve made? looking back, i really wasn’t the one for you. but that doesn’t mean i didn’t try my hardest to believe we were all that existed. when you look in the mirror, does your reflection let you know that you’ve lost a little too much? I could have told you that myself.

iii. dogs like dying alone. it’s some sort of ancient pack instinct. weakness is hidden, death is quiet and discreet. i wonder if that’s why people start separating themselves before they shut off. death is a lonely thing. especially when all you have is yourself. the least you could let me do is hold your hand.

iv. you left me in a few short words and a text. you didn’t come visit me. you didn’t even give me the half-hearted dignity of a phone call. were you with her as you broke my heart? was she dousing you with shots of whiskey, telling you that it was the right thing? if you got closure, then at least one of us got what we wanted.

v. i’ve never been left behind by a bus or anything. i don’t miss my opportunities very often. but you were the first thing to ever leave me behind. even when i yelled and waved my arms. i’d never missed an opportunity until i started missing you.
Jan 2018 · 222
Letters to You (Pt 2)
Claire Elizabeth Jan 2018
Dear old light,
old "what-if",
old "The One",

I wish I could remember more about our trip to Chicago. I think that I was so lost in the sheer lovesickness of it all. The long long days spent in that busy city, and the nights that I swear I could feel God inside me when we made love in our dreams.

If I had maybe paid a little more attention to the way you stared out at the lake and waited for the tide to take you, or maybe if I had taken more notice of the way your mouth didn't smile all the way, we'd be a different part of our lives right now. I thought I was the only one. I thought I was the only one.

I've asked the question so many times it's like the thought never leaves, but why did you keep on persuading me that I was your sun and moon when she was lingering on the back of your tongue while I kissed you with too much hunger and too little love? You should have left me alone, should have left me to starve on the side of my dimly lit road. But if I remember correctly, you devoured me with just as much greed as my body was willing to give.

I'm.....not as bitter. As I used to be. But that doesn't mean I'm not bitter at all. "I forgive you" would sound sweet coming out of my mouth except if I gave you that, you'd keep pulling more from the pits of my stomach and my heart. Or maybe I'd just keep throwing it up.

With some sort of forgiveness,
*(past regret)
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