where do you go
when you know
you'll be blind forever?
how do you know
you are home?
is there a painting
with the confidence
to call beauty
when your eyes fog like glass,
when they become the mask;
is there a sunset that calls
the sun to rest at last?
when no color remains,
light and darkness conflate,
do your dreams become
shadows or drugs?
are they ever enough?
you are my room when my roommate's not in it and i can watch youtube videos without headphones on
you revive me when we're playing call of duty zombies and i'm four seconds from bleeding out
you are the bedrock of my minecraft world on survival
nikolai. oh, nikolai. have you ever looked at someone and had this strange feeling they were burning themselves to the ground? not literally, obviously, but there was just this look in his eyes, some mixture of deadness and passion so white hot I knew it was scalding him. a bad boy fantasy gone wrong--he had all the danger but none of the romantic tendencies or weaknesses. of course, he dallied in the occasional love affair, but only when he knew it would fuel his self-destruction. he was dangerous in that way--he intentionally and enthusiastically perpetuated his own disasters. more dangerous, though, was his tendency to allow his shrapnel to exceed the intended target.
eliza. truly the most harmless girl i’ve ever met, yet for some reason i’m scared of her. i think it’s her innocence. it isn’t crafted, like félise with her silk and flowers. it’s real, realer than any character or trait i’ve ever worn and somehow that gives her power. i’m afraid of her because i know that my most authentic self never emanated that power, i know i was hopeless and helpless until i put on feelings and faces that were foreign to me. i found my confidence in the dream i became, the illusion that replaced my name.
but eliza, she wore her own skin with a vibrancy i could never compete with, a subtlety i’ve never known. her words fall heavy on my ears, and when she speaks i'm transported to a church pew back home, shame crawling up the back of my neck as a red-faced pastor tells me i’m decrepit, derelict, and condemned. hers was a beauty that outshone all others. i felt insecure even in her presence.
“i am very, very alone,” she said. there was an air of desperation in the words--despair. when i looked in her eyes i saw hopelessness. “art is not a companion, or a friend. at best, it is a feeling. more often, it’s a drug.” she began to turn away.
i knew if she left now, with that, it would stay with her forever. “which part? making it, or feeling it?” she didn’t stop, and i started to walk after her.
“does it matter? you can be an addict or a dealer, but either way you’re a slave.” she let the door close behind her. I stopped walking. enslaved by art. it was romantic, really. in the fatalistic, melodramatic way all artists were.
maybe we are slaves to our art. but aren’t we all enslaved by something?
i am learning how to
make myself real
i put myself together
over and over and
each time the pieces
stay longer. is this
what it means to heal?
i draw flowers and spirals
up and down my arm and they
ask if i want
as if permanence
my love is not my love
and i know somewhere in there
there's a fallacy and
the feelings i feel are in
my head, ricocheting every
which way and i'm
i'm a little leaf in
are a leaf
too. are we
does the wind intertwine
do we fly?
im stupid and he is too!
we scale these banisters together.
together, we demoralize the
and convince them
they're cool. we are cool
like nonsensical rebellion
the forbidden hallways
we make our own
"we have waited years for you.
we have called,
my heart is the plate untouched and the last kitten picked from the litter. the wilted wildflower and brown bird. you judge my painted feathers and detest my naked petals. leave me to find solace in the ditch when you spit me from your window as you drive.
time has melted into molasses and i
am lost in the meaninglessness
every truth scrapes
my stomach like shards
in the mirror i broke
identity is what you
call it, what you see,
what you allow
someone told me if you
drink too much honey all
you die, it clogs your throat
and you choke because air
can't get through
all the honey.
i wonder if the same is true
time has melted and i
hold the flame, this spoonful
sits on my tongue
every place i turn i see
my own sadness staring
back at me, i know
you say you're there
behind the glass
but seeing past my reflection
feels like an impossible task.
the floor is so inviting,
i know they say
isolation is harming
but i crave it; if i could escape
the company of my own sadness
i think the mirrors
might finally break.
i know you think it's you
i'm running from but i'm just
trying to find a room where
i don't have to look up.
yes, i haven't looked you
in the eyes in a while.
sadness is a curtain
i don't know
"you belong to yourself"
like that is
to be proud of.
i am glad
to say i do not
to me. i am flimsy,
i am proud
to say i do not
belong to you.
you are illusory,
holding a pretense
you could never defend.
but Someone, and
i see you in flowers
you tell me
"i belong to you
and you to me"
like we are
to be proud of.
addiction is rare and
holding your hand is
as much a need
caffeine stings my
take two sips of
chamomile and be
at ease, sense the wariness
and illusion of pleasure
you force yourself to drink.
an un-addiction. is this
someone told me beliefs are
things you hold and
convictions hold you. is
my anxiety holds me.
am i a convict
behind the bars
in my mind? i talk so
of the sentence i'm serving
i forgot jail was a place
my reflection is my only visitor.
will you be visiting?
it's probably not okay to cry in the stairwell of a building you share with like a thousand other people. right?
someday i want to be with someone who doesn’t make me afraid to embarrass myself. i don’t really know how to get to that point in a relationship or why i need it so badly. i guess i’m afraid that no one will ever think i’m worth the work. i don’t know that i am.
no matter how hard i work i just build a bigger wall. in my effort to impress and attract i conceal everything i truly want validation for. i know validation is a bad word sometimes, i know i’m not supposed to need it--much less know i need it--but sometimes i choke on the sawdust of my own apathy and truth might be bitter but at least it has a taste.
i know your truth tastes better than mine, and maybe that makes you better than me. i’ve tried changing truths and i’ve tried pretending i don’t have any but even artificial flavoring has an aftertaste impossible to avoid.
maybe someday i won’t equate embarrassment with shame, and i won’t feel the need to change my name. shedding identities to avoid coming to terms with them is an impermanent lifestyle but it’s the only one that fits. i’m sorry sometimes i can’t see past what i need to fix.
i feel too angular for the round world we live in. i still can't figure out the difference between an inferiority and superiority complex, to me they look the same, and every step i take in my broken shoes feels like misspelling my own name. my fingers feel the wrong size but they're purple now so i guess that makes them better. i'm not better but i'm better at being worse. the words i write have lost their mystery. fitting myself between the lines on a page means paper-thin has become my identity. is this happiness? am i at ease, lying flat beneath a sheet of emptiness with pencil pressing into me?
every time i say it out loud it becomes less
real, less of a big
deal. i don't know if this is what coping feels like
or if i am trivializing myself. i think
some things aren't meant to be said, but i
desperately want to be heard.
when broken orchestras turn to whispers,
do you listen? do you see instruments
behind my words?
i guess my whole life runs on these feedback loops, constantly dependent on the words i receive from you. everything good you've ever said to me rings softly in my head like my grandmother's wind chimes. your insults are alarms beside my bed.
i wish i was deaf. deaf to your loves and dislikes, the way your eyes look right before i change myself to fit your type. maybe this one i'll get right. another half second and we're there, i am everything you want me to be; nothing more and nothing deep, the words that spill from my teeth fall right off of me. i claim my memory has always been this bad and it's not a lie, but the truth is i can't remember what's real because i'm lying all the time.
but you know this already, you see me, you recognize the flaws in other people so clearly that even my reflection of personified perfection gave you displeasure.
i'm sorry i made myself into someone you dislike.
i don't know how to unmake myself.
my mental health is a balance beam i keep forgetting i'm standing on.
sometimes it feels like it's standing on me.
i balance perfectly for a moment and suddenly i lose the discipline that got me there. i wish i could spend a few moments enjoying the peace i fight for. uphill battles are always difficult;
why does mine have to be invisible too?
depression is back like a prison sentence i forgot i was serving.
freedom felt like a vacation instead of a destination and
summer ended months ago.
there is so much more weight than there used to be but
there is also nothing there and i don't know
how to explain how much slower i'm walking.
i lie more, cry more, sit alone inside more and
i'm left wishing i could go home but
a little voice inside me says
and maybe i'm stupid or dumb but i never craved ******* love i just wanted someone to fall back on.
romance is lovely but butterflies are overrated.
i just want to laugh and feel at home.
maybe the key was not something i had to look for,
but something that found me.
i’m realizing freedom is in reach and it always has been. i don’t have to change the things around me or inside me. nurturing gratefulness and peace and love has never been easier or more rewarding. i'm remembering the reasons i gave myself away in the first place and they seem silly now. the loneliness i associated with myself was always a lie—my independence and strength lack nothing but the things i never needed in the first place.
a sort of desperation rises from the pit in my stomach and my hand darts out to catch her as she turns. “liza, i--”
“no!” she yanks away. “you can’t just come back here like this.” she looks to the side, looking at anything but me. “i can’t handle this, nick,” she whispers. “i can’t handle you.” her eyes are shining when they finally meet mine. “you and i, we’re too much. i can’t think about anything when i’m with you, and you,” she trails off and takes another step towards the door. “you never think at all.”
you say it is a "noble thing" to "be the same person to everyone" as if that is a choice i know how to make. you criticize my defense mechanisms unaware you activate them in doing so. don't you understand your wise and less than well-intentioned words perpetuate the behavior you claim to hate? i don't know how to stop changing without changing to do so.
i guess i am doomed to displease you. my mistake.
i am not the victim of my circumstance i am its
you feel that i hide myself but if i do
i forget where.
at this point any word that comes
from my mouth feels half-formed.
i don't think
i can be the glue
to fix this one.
you prefer me broken.
friendships are gardens and i make bouquets
he said i make people feel special.
i said i'd heard that before.
vulnerability isn't openness,
you aren't showing yourself to others
you're giving parts away to them.
i asked you to share yourself and
you told me there wasn't
and i said if we don't make it,
there never will be
i am going to student counseling and so far it is a dream! by that i mean i haven't signed up yet.
i’m looking around and realizing slowly that i am boring. for all my pride and perfectionistic tendencies, my life became everything except the things i truly wanted. i have the safety, the reputation, the social circle—but where is my art? i've spent so long becoming someone, i forgot everything i wanted to create. after all, it's only the things outside of ourselves that outlive us.
“she sees the world in shades of red,” he muses. i’m not sure what he means, but i see the fascination in his eyes when he looks at her. or was it desire?
i open my mouth impulsively. “do you love her?”
he laughs softly and turns to look at me. “do you always ask questions to which you already know the answer?” there is a curiosity in his eyes when he looks at me, not in a she’s mysterious and lovely type of way, but rather in a she is nothing if not strange and unpredictable. i could wish it were the former, but i am more than content to simply keep him on his toes.
i look back at audessa, in all her bewildering beauty and rose tones, and for the first time feel no envy. “i wonder how intimate one must be with pain,” i murmur, “to wear it so beautifully.”
his smile falters ever so slightly as he glances back at audessa. “very intimate indeed.”
someone once told you that your bitterness was like dark chocolate,
a delicacy, something unusual and rich and exquisite.
i'm here to tell you that even the bitterest of chocolate is sweet
compared to you.
my perpetual discontent has eaten me alive for the last time. the hours i spend alone and wondering leave a burning sensation in my eyes and my throat and i wish there was another way to feel desirable and stop feeling the need to compete. i wish i felt complete.
it is one thing to be seen and wanted and entirely another to be known and loved.
“people used to describe me as innocent,” she said, gazing unaffectedly at her reflection. “i always thought that was bad. i tried to convince them otherwise.” she paused, twisting a lock of hair around her finger. “these days i’d do anything for people to look at me like that.”
“truthfully, i'm not sure I ever loved him,” she says. i can see the glint of tears in her eyes, but it isn’t sadness as much as it is shame. she looks away. “but god, i loved the way he looked at me.”
how is it i am meant to return fire with
i take every blow with the grace
i could never find in you.
do you rip kindness out of me
for the hell of it
or because you don't have
i never understood people who liked those who weren't good for them.
then i met you.
i fell in love with the version of me you created.
when you left it was two heartbreaks in one.
i am a small girl and many think i am harmless. i am disarming. i am smiles and laughter and the way your eyes look when you feel understood. i am the light in your irises.
i am a small girl and many think i am harmless. i am charming. i am small touches on your cheekbones and feeling your fingers interlacing through mine. i am the warmth of a lie.
i am a small girl and many think i am harmless. i am alarming. i am your heartbeat when it falters in your chest. i am regret. i am the shaking of your voice and your hands when the anger inside you coats your lips and tongue in red.
i am harming. i am salt in a wound that i created, i am the only cure that keeps disease aggravated, i am shards of glass in the water that keeps you alive.
i am a small girl and you think i am harmless. that's a lie.
i'm scared of you. are you scared of me? my fear replaces your face in my dreams. does your body ripple up and down like acid is eating your bloodstream? the ribbons in my arteries ache as they're trembling. i wrap my ribbons slowly and sweetly and tightly and they're trembling. are you scared of you? i'm scared of me.
i can see you hurting but i see myself
melting and i can't look
away. the fire
mesmerizes me and also the
pain. i know i don't speak like i used to. i see you
hurting. you reach out to touch me and i
not because i don't see you hurting but because
i am on
fire. can't you see me
shhhhh her mind sleeps slowly and breathes
she doesn't think her fingers need time to bleed her breath
takes a breath and beats time back into his box.
no no that's me , that is me again. rattling.
ribs are useless. maybe i have three lungs and no heart. i feel only breaths and no beating,
only the beating of time in his box and
he screams. no
no that is me.
my fists are beating themselves again and i dont feel .
the days at the end of july
fall apart in my fingertips.
i wrote this in july
why would i bother trying to make my words appease you? we are two equal wholes of this and i still look for you to complete me.