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I felt trapped in an endless single moment of time.
Nothing was real except the deafening silence of the dynamic between my mother and father and the lie of a white picket fence we had been gritting and grinning our teeth to trick the world into building for us.
Every thing slipped slowly backward, as in a dream of falling down hill, not quite real enough to feel the fall, but not grounded enough to move away.
If it were not for daily walks in the nearby almond orchard, I would Not have known that the grass still grew in the spring. I forgot that the spiders still built webs that were taken down each new rain. I forgot that the bees were kept, and that people were fighting addiction in order to make it home to see their nephews.
I found freedom in the silence at some point. A sandbox world for me to wander in, no real consequences to my actions. It was a loneliness like the womb. Eventually I tried to escape. Many escape attempts. How many miles put between me and that room? How many cars busted down on the side of the road, running away from home. I discovered new worlds I never knew could exist. I watched the leaves turn in different biomes. I made love to other lonely people, unhappy and afraid of the world and their place in it,
not when we were together though.
together we were infinite, real, in awe of the fact that we could be so
naked and unafraid.

I watched the masks of my parents relationship deteriorate with
the advent of disease and age.
I watched the pain and patterns of abandoning I had felt my whole life play out in their pantomime before me, day after wretched day.

I stared at a wall.
I slept with my guitar.
I slept with more lonely people with perfect hearts.
I invested in the means to transmute all these...feelings...into art, audiovisual storytelling, and physical creativity.
And once I had built a temple to my pain,
I boarded the doors and windows. I never went inside.
I just sat on the stoop, obsessively trying to work out all of the world's problems- my problems as an inextricable part of the world- by thinking.
If I could just strategize a way to never get hurt,
Then I wouldn't need to deal with the inconvenience of pain.
If I could concoct a cocktail of constant cope,
I could cruise forever without feeling the ocean
of space
between us

If it were not for the orchard, I would have forgotten that frost formed on the ground. Even with the endlessly straight rows of trees, the square grid of houses, and the box-like hospital next door...a tiny twig out of place or a clover, remembered me that there is wild growth, that I am wild growth, unfettered and untethered by the paltry attempts at geoscaping.

Inland, I remember how vast the ocean is.

how vast

the space








Inland, I yearn for the ocean.
Remembering that I have always felt most free in the water.
a healing reflection on four years of suffering and that started with a heart failure, a heart break, and a pandemic.
Orion Schwalm Sep 2023
This is an ever-refreshing circle of
long for-love-attach-suffer for

and when I eat food
they are the blandest meals
for I must avoid any taste of salt
because salt tastes like you...
and when I recall
how sweet
you are
I hurt

and I should not hurt.

if I don't hurt, i will not be deserted, and then i will not hurt.
circle logic.

at least it has a shape.
Otherwise, what form does a life take?
What sense does this world make?
And so, i stay, inside the circuit,
because I have not learned to lead myself away
and if I were to learn that I love myself,
and that I cause this hurt to myself,
I don't know how I could ever forgive me.
How easily can I make myself believe there is not more than this?
Orion Schwalm Apr 2023
There's a hole in my stomach(heart)
Dear Eliza
Dear Eliza
There's a hole in my stomach(heart)
Where I never got enough love.

There's a storm in my city(psyche)
Dear Eliza
Dear Eliza
There's a storm in my city(psyche)
and the streets(thoughts) tend to flood.

Can you weather this weather?
Dear Eliza
Dear Eliza
Can you weather this weather
If your head stays above?

How long can you tread water?
I know you swim better than I.
Point of pride.
Pride of endurance.
Enduring exhaustion.
Exhausted and lost and
honestly just
at the wishing well
dreaming of the deluge
the healing water that will wash away the wounds
and make us whole again.
if only I had a penny...

You said to me
I can weather your storm
but not if it drowns me

or maybe
I can weather your storm
but not if it drowns out mine.

I don't remember exactly the phrasing.
Maybe because the water was already drowning you out.

You don't have to shout.

No matter how loud my insides are screaming
I will always open ears like basins
larger than mouths like calderas
to find a way back to listening.
I will open heart like valleys
bigger than hurt like dams
To hold for you a space that's safe for swimming.

stays open
the hole  
is too big
to close

when you pass through the other side
every time
a new piece of you stays
for a while
my new favorite chapter
in endless

You don't have to shout
you may scream as loud as you need,
I will hear every furious decibel
understand it as music.
Orion Schwalm Apr 2023
in a pond

in a room in the sky

pond is beginning to dry.

Squirrel in a
in a park

in a town that is old

after dark
the city is cold.

pond .
**** .
her eyes
teach me to hum

darkest nights
coldest lungs
barely hearing
what is sung

i have become
wretched and numb

abhorrent to face
incredibly small, insignificant
a discarded cassette

sometimes, i can laugh at it
how silly to be
and wrong
worse than *** sandwich, **** flan switch

<spoken in an empty room repeatedly
   <for forty two days
     <with no bathroom breaks and
       <no bathroom humor

words may pass so fast they become
bee *** and glass
a loving body falls fifty six stories to the ground
                              telling sixty two stories of how i met you
                              to seven closest companions

koi meets squirrel
head over hurl

floor 56 look out at the skyline isn't it beautiful? look at the lights!
not as beautiful as you dear.
oh stop.
no really, they make your eyes look all shiny. it's amazing.
well we're in the Center of the city after all.

I wouldn't Trade this for the World.

in the sea
there are
of fishes
and one
not of the earth
but someday

to feel the hard ground underneath,
walk among
                     the bright lights                 and
                            cold stares                    of
                            calloused lovers
steps upon cold concrete
in tempo allegro
holding on
to a hum
from very good

the song about            
when you remembered
to come back for me
and i remembered
          how to breathe...
Orion Schwalm Apr 2023
When you wake up
do you feel good?
do you feel rested?

do you remember what it felt like
to wake up
with peace in mind?

or do you
stand in the rain
let it soak you to the bone
and wonder why
your skeleton shakes

to every adjacent address
asking direction to where you live
please can I borrow a reminder
of a time when
i remembered to rest

to the chirping chorus of lost birds
flashing emergency lights through the window
as your neighbor whose name you can't recall
is rushed to a holding cell hospital
until a room opens up in the great river
and they return home

what would happen if you rested?
would you forget,
whose name you can't recall
who receive your thoughts and prayers
who look up at you with fearful eyes wishing
you had the power
to stop
and say hello?
Orion Schwalm Apr 2021
Nice to see you.


It is.

To see you.

To hear you rustle the ground.

               smell what you were eating for lunch

taste your sorrows

the salt
tastes like cat food to me.

I'm not mad
I'm just glad to see you safe.
Sad to see you go, of course, of course.
I hope that doesn't seem coarse, of course
everything sad runs its course, of corse  

but no

Don't fall in love with a farmer.
You'll never surpass her horse.

Never enamor a catgirl.
You'll only eat tuna or worse.
no further questions.

Mad at this world of hard-backed chairs,

Impending toe stubs every time that I get up.
Bruises where love left me rained on to rust.
Beautiful blue maroon yellow half moons
on my rib cage
Many noons overhead have burned tunes in my head that I sung and I bled to commune with the dead at the tombstone I'm led to the old riverbed
still to this day

there's a hole in the ground where you bury a body and
             a home in the sound of you carrying all my
                                                                ­            unease.


I am swiss cheese.
Pain floats through me
and onto the breeze.

I will sit and eat this plain tuna bowl
because I need to complete a macronutrient profile
I looked up on the internet
how to make this temple
   a place where people will come to pray
  and play
and stay for longer than
a fortnite

Tastes like freedom.
Tastes like kibbles.

There's a pretty lass next door
who tastes like tears

And the sound of a breeze blowing through a hole in my wall.

Without hole,
how finish bowl?

Frame hole.
New role.

A door, for the strays
A fine feast of fish.
Dinner is dished.

Dinner for kin.
Home again.

how will my family know when to come in
Orion Schwalm Jan 2021
Dark Part of the world
Hold on
I am looking through shredded bed sheets at a sliver of open sky
                                       like it's the only exit left
                                from the cave we entered in

I am healing in this hole because I do not want to die
I am heading back to heaven but it hasn't been my time

Open-ended ending open sky open mind not my time.
I drench my arms in gasoline and give myself a warm hug.
Hold yourself, and the child within.
I deserve I deserve I deserve this burn.
I slowly unthread the *****,
                                      showing red, showing white, showing blue.
I slip off the mittens protecting my hands,
                                       showing blood, showing bone, showing bruise.
Get a hold of yourself, you're not a child.
Grown, Growing, Gone.
I gently unstitch the seams,
                                       showing red, showing yellow, showing green.
I try again.
I try again.
I try again.
I try again.
I try again.
I try again.
I try again.
I try again.
Cut off
         The dress
                        You once
                                 Were buried

                                                                       Relax, Regress, Routine.

Bury the scent
              In comfortable, callous, code.
                                        Secret Secret Never Gonna Find
                                        Down in a hole in a hole in the mind
Code the key
Pretend you're okay

That time
You opened your mouth
And breathed
The very first time

That was it.
The opening.
The exit.
The ending.
The craving.
The air.
The sky.
The dark
        cold      and        alone
                                    but not lonely.

holding everything that came before
and a sliver of lips
open to sunlight
and all that will come
when it will.

it will.
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