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Sam Sep 22
This is the kind of loneliness you find yourself
afraid to succumb to,
As though not writing about it
means not Acknowledging it,
As though pretending it doesn’t exist
will translate across a void
Will make it stop,
Stop hurting
Stop feeling empty
being an absence
you can’t control.

(it’s still there: lurking, ever-present.)

This loneliness, or grief, or depression, desperation
– this thing you are not sure how to name –
It is like
a cocoon
of desolateness.

tiredness (–or fatigue, maybe–) seeps into every inch
of you, so you go on walks until
you think you will collapse,
and it doesn’t help,
doesn’t go away;
this irritation,
a listless meander
of helplessness

a desire to do something, anything,
to escape this boredom; prison of your own making
to make your self useful somehow, instead of
this wallowing creature you’ve turned into,
braced in the cold and telling yourself
I am not kind
for all the good it doesn’t do:
you do not know what it is you have turned yourself into.

if you were the sort of person who could take kindness
before it became a necessity, a mercy—
you like to think you’d be able to rearrange your words,
just enough to ask for help.

but you’re bad at it.

there is independence, warring in your bones with responsibility,
another unshakeable part of you
you don’t know how to throw away.

you stumble over different words, over
will your read this and
can I hug you and
I miss you
like it will be an answer

but people are only people,
and you do not know how–
there is a lump in your throat,
and you never know how to cross it:

you just want to be better,
you just want to stop feeling like this—
is all.
  Sep 4 Sam
Midnight Rain
i’ll tell it to you like this
—you believe there are places that
cannot grow anything despite the rain and there
are places that you often leave untouched
because they are so tender and so full of love.

it’s like this —you’d rather walk in a
desert than a garden, because you know the
coldness of your own heart.

It’s like this,
—you see beautiful things
but never see yourself.
so you blister instead of bloom.

you break
instead of heal.

Sam Sep 4
You miss people like they are limbs,
as though writing to them will keep you close,
will keep them close to you,
  a thing like friendship
strung out across oceans,
tethered with best-kept promises
with I miss yous
and I love yous
sent out in the night
written back in the dark

they might be your tether,
if only you’d let yourself
have one.

But you are afraid, of tethers,
You are a girl ingrained with people leaving,
You know (barely) what it is like to watch them go
You know (far better) what it is to leave familiar shore
for unexplored land, unexplored treasure,
to carry longing in your chest
and unsteadiness in your heart
(you did not grow up knowing what it was:
to plant your roots in the ground
and stay.)

but missing is not the issue,
this half-ingrained part of you—
missing can not be the issue, not after a lifetime of it.

Missing is the thing you hold close to your chest,
That you hide and let yourself feel only
When you must think of home,
of home that means too many places
and not just one person, but many—
home that means something kept together in spite of things,
despite sleepless nights, shattered hearts, this separation called distance.

So you will tuck it inside,
because the aching is a part
of you, is a thing you understand, a thing
you have grown used to, like the way your
body continues to draw breath
no matter how things hurt.
  Jul 22 Sam
Midnight Rain
you don’t have to know what will
survive after the fire.
you just have to believe something
this won’t save you
but perhaps, it will make the fire
more bearable.

Sam Jul 5
dear little star:
this is to say
that down below,
there exists an infinite
chasm, of the galaxy
waiting in case you slip
watching in case you fall
saying, "We are here to help."
if only you ask.

darling little star, high in the sky, a reminder--
You shine bright, and clear.
We see you and think wishes
across patches of sky, ask you
to make them come true.
But there are other stars, there,
by your side.
please-- don't shine so bright
that you extinguish your light.

dearest star, still glowing in the dark;
there isn't as much light, as there was
before. Sometimes
things flare like supernovas:
Bright and Blinding, but quickly gone.
there are less of you, less of us
than there used to be:
the nights are darker. the days are colder.
fear creeps, with tendrils like smoke
clawing and choking, echoing
its way in. You
are still there,
Sam May 26
You get used to it: twisting the rod to the blinds,
every morning and every evening, as soon as the dark hits.
You get used to it: laying your laptop across your lap, across milk crates,
flashcards precariously balanced atop, legs folded beneath you.
You get used to it: drinking tea to stall the incoming hunger,
washing everything - doorknobs to dishes - with bleach and hot water.
You get used to it: studying in dim daylight until your eyes fail you,
flickering the wifi off just as quickly as you turn it on,
saving electricity to the last.

You shiver through every bucket shower you take, wish for shorter hair.
You toss and turn; sleep against the wall;
lose the fight against the ever-deflating mattress.
You have burns from hot water on your hands; the smell
of cigarette smoke, woven
throughout every piece of clothing.
These are things that are harder to get used to.

Your cousin takes you out into his city
takes you sightseeing amidst closed buildings, empty streets.
he points out the theater, the library;
the hat shop, record store, night club.
This is where I used to live, he tells you,
gesturing around the sprawling downtown.
It wasn't so nice, then --
and he paints you a picture of gunshots flying, the country's crime capital
and he paints you a picture of affordable buildings and affable people
(the minorities and the poor and the low end of the middle class
every person keeping their head down, body posture careful)
and he paints you a picture of people playing frisbee next to train tracks
of anyone and everyone joining in, just trying to get by.
(you understand, in a way you didn't, before, the way people spit out gentrification like a curse -- like the plague of injustice that it is.)

Your cousin wears a well-worn hoodie,
t-shirt and bleach-splattered cargo pants,
dressed for comfort
And you wear your warmest hoodie,
bleach-covered shirt with jeans,
dressed for practicality
And your aunt wears makeup, a sweater,
carefully selected slacks, blouse,
dressed for appearances.

And your aunt has a shower, a dishwasher and a drier,
And working things: four burners, an oven, a sink.
Your cousin has bookcases of records and CDs,
And functioning things: a microwave, half a sink, a single working burner.

And the train does not
blast past your aunt's house at all hours of the day, the same way
the cobwebs do not
cover unsuspecting areas within your aunt's cupboard, the same way
all manners of bugs do not
jump out of various cartons of food, the same way
the sound of gunshots never
ring out in the dark.

And your aunt and uncle live
in a suburban community,
secluded, a drive up a hill,
trees and mountains surrounding,
where it is safe to wander the neighborhood.

And your cousin lives in a ghetto, and you smile
when the children one house over
run chasing after each other, giggling
to each other in another language, and you smile
at the fresh green in the air,
from the trees all around the property as you
pin the clothes, hang them to dry, and you stay
firmly, safely, within the property lines,
carefully out of any lines of sight.

And there is something odd about this:
Your Aunt's house radiates sunlight and cleanliness,
yet you have never felt so subtly claustrophobic as you do there:
You Cousin's house, for all its faults, feels like a strange brand of freedom.
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