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1.7k · Oct 2018
Sam Oct 2018
            you’re still visible.

When you smile, just wide enough, bright, and --
your eyes glaze over, just a little. ever-present, the red-rimmed edges.
Your posture is good form. Back straight, shoulders pulled, and -- rigid.
too rigid. so when was the last time you let down your guard?

You seem perfect, darling - you seem fine.
except the moments that you freeze, stuck still, can’t move,
when no one’s looking.

Because the people who would have noticed you --
who would have seen you,
                                                  Did see you,
falling apart at the seems,
hands shaking and gulping unsteady breaths,
head spinning when the world wasn’t
desperately alone and wanting not to be --

                                                         ­    Are gone. Again.
                                                         ­                               There’s no one there.

Months ago, almost a year now, they found you.
{Your soon to be, family, of 9 friends.}
Not impressive in the least,
                          almost completely faded into the wallpaper,
                                             utterly breakable, utterly close to broken,
                                                         ­                                         utterly alone.
And they gave you
                                                                ­   lifelines,
                                                                ­                     and hugs.
Resumed you back, to a more bearable way of living.
                                                    ­ And you were so, so,
desperate -- so you
stayed, against your better judgement --
you watched, and you learned.
                         How to hide things, your secrets.
                         How to lie, and do it brilliantly -- always only to protect.
                         How to fake being fine:
                           trying to hide tear tracks? -
                                 rub your eyes with cold water, just say you’re tired
                                 (it’s always true)
                           make other people believe you? -
                                 lie by omission, and avoid the word fine
                                 (use synonyms)
                           panic attacks? -
                                learn your signs, nearest places no one will go, and when
                                 (and walk, then
                            who to trust? -
                               the ones who stick close. the ones too much like you.
                               (the ones who see
you, always, visible or not.)
but also:
How to let other people orbit around you, and not just orbit them.
How to throw caution to the wind and say,
I love you, permanent or not.
nothing lasts (but you knew that), but
sometimes, somethings, are still worth it.
And how to breathe again, a little bit more easily,
bit more like you used to be able to.

It falls apart spectacularly (the kindest way imaginable), with
        i love yous,
              i’ll miss yous,
                        stay in touch,
                                 a plethora
of hugs (you used to flinch away from).

And being alone is so
hard -- however did you stand it?
there’s a gaping ache, of loneliness,

                                      of missing, in your chest, you can’t quite identify --

you just want a hug,
                                       someone’s arms around your shoulders just to
ground you,
Just a laugh, or a smile; a friendly face,
just someone, just anyone --
                                                         ­       your closest lifeline lives sixthousandsevenhundredandeighty
                            ­                                    kilometers away.

it’s one of your further away friends, who tells you,
If you feel homesick, you know, that makes sense
Like it’s the most natural thing in the world

                                                              It makes the air around you go still,
                                                                ­               makes your breath pause.
you thought home was a place.
and if home was a place, well,
you’d never have one.
                                                  so however did you end up
                                                 with nine, whole, pieces of it?

                                                with something like a family,
                                              even if you can’t say it aloud?

So that’s why
           There’s a constant, thin, circle of red, around your eyes,
           Why you’ve once again forgotten how to trust,
           Why you’ll stare off into the distance, just for a beat,
     your stream of conscious
                 I miss you I miss you I love you I miss you
                     brought back up to the surface.
But it’s also:
Staying inside when it rains, and pours,
not going out and getting drenched
because you want a tangible reason to feel miserable;
Actively trying to sleep, at halfway decent hours,
because maybe, you can.
because you might be an insomniac, but
you never tried to stop it;
And eating, whole, actual, proper, meals,
no longer skipping, because it may taste like nothing
but there’s no longer the nausea.
A few steps in the right direction, perhaps.

You have so many self-destructive tendencies; habits, now,
  and no one but you to stop them.
and it would be so much easier, to not.
to let them all devour you, because
                                                                ­ you’re not all that terrified of them
and you should be.

So instead, you’re trying. Your damndest.
                                                      ­            Because your friends taught you,
how to piece yourself back together,
and to try to keep living.
and you owe them enough, to do your utmost,
to keep yourself as intact as you possibly can.

You aren’t great, and
You aren’t fine,
despite a passable impression.
                         You’re alright,
                                                Because, you’re trying,
I miss you, I love you, I miss you, I miss you
                                                And, slowly, you’re getting there,
Maybe, someday, you can make yourself visible again.
                                                         ­                                        Homesick, or not.
         you’re alright.

         You’re alright.
I never knew you could miss someone so much, that you'd do just about anything to see them again.
1.3k · Dec 2016
Trouble's Here, listen well
Sam Dec 2016
In, out.

Trouble's here, knocking on the door.

It's been waiting for a while now,
been pushed back as far as you'd allow,
Gathering together like clouds of dust
on the mantle piece, collecting rust.

Trouble's here, best welcome it in.

The worst's been done,
You've had your fun --
Nothing left now to outrun.

Trouble's here, at my feet.

Draws me in,
Makes me trip.

Trouble's here, leaving soon.

It'll come back,
To haunt you.
962 · Jan 2017
Sam Jan 2017
What's that word?

When something happens, and it's not even that you go numb,

the way
               nothing matters,
and the only emotion is
                                            I don't care...

I suppose it's apathy, isn't it.
There was a character once, from some movie, said:
I have a burning apathy for ...

Well, for something, I don't remember what.

But it wasn't really apathy, was it?
Not if it's burning.

like love, and lust,
like sadness, and anger,
with feeling and emotion.

I have apathy for more than just a few things in life,
But it's not a 'burning apathy'.

a simple, normal, emptiness.

The kind you're supposed to stay away from.
Because it's sort of addicting, you know, the not feeling anything part.
890 · Dec 2017
plausible deniability
Sam Dec 2017
You built a house out of dominoes and Jenga blocks, and it still took you by surprise when it all came shattering down around you.

In all fairness, it’s been a long time coming.

In all fairness, you caught pieces, from time to time.

But you wanted to hold onto something, because everything you ever knew only told you that the only way to make a good thing was to burn the bad thing down, rebuild it from the ground up. And you just wanted to be able to be fixed.

People are not houses. They do not survive the fire or the burn or the smell of acrid smoke. They can not be reborn like phoenixes from the ashes.

You flirted with denial longer than you should have. You let the streams of I’m fine It’s okay That’s great Everything’s good. I’m okay. I’m fine. I’m alright. I’m fine, really. I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. bleed into and over each other until your lies clashed a little too close, and people started to peer in with suspicion.

Rule 1 of denial: deny.
Rule 2: lie until you believe it.
Rule 3: don’t let anyone suspect.
Rule 4: minimize the damage.

Your house fell into rubble with a phone call at the end of a good day.

Because it wasn’t really a good day, just a good enough day, because you ate lunch and dinner, because your hands shook a little bit, because you had only a small headache. Because things weren’t worse, and they could have been.

You aren’t fine.

You’re breathing, and you’re going through the motions. And you don’t intend to die any time soon.

You’re existing, but you aren’t fine.

A stack of dominoes, and a pile of haphazardly stacked Jenga blocks. So build back a complete house, without the collapse. Add in glue, or safety pins, rope. Take a step back, sometimes, observe. When you see a fissure, hold steady and fix the crack. Do not avert your eyes.

You are not fine.
783 · Jan 2018
third culture kid (i)
Sam Jan 2018
and here are the reasons why no one tells you to go be a third cultured person:

its not easy.

When you are one of us,
different and foreign are not even a blip on your radar,
(because my life has always been detachment - meeting and smiling and beginning to say "hi", only to have to wave goodbye.)
you will always be different and foreign, belonging to a place is a wish and not a reality, home has always meant people as opposed to a place (not that people are at all constant).
leaving is normal too, just pack your bags and go go go, doesn't matter if you never come back, onto a new place now, and goodbyes are hard -- but seldom unexpected.

when you are one of us, you are shifting and turning and never never staying, always changing and moving forward, frighteningly frighteningly fast, all impermanence and hopeful, but broken promises-- you will perhaps stay in one place for some period of time.
(you will never belong)
Sam Jun 2018
You love like it’s effortless.
Like it grew in with your bones,
like you have always known how to, like the idea of not openly expressing love is foreign.
(Love is a choice, you say,
like it’s obvious and certain,
Love does not intend harm)

You love like you are waiting for someone to stab you in the back.
Careless, and freely given, until the line is drawn on the grass and you expected this in the first place - you live as though you expect to need to cut your losses at any second. (Until that point, however, you love wholeheartedly— hell hath fury on those who harm the ones you love.)

You love as though it will break you if you don’t. Your emotions are bursting on the surface, and it will hurt you more to turn a blind eye than it will to take a trip down another’s misery. You love earnestly and obviously, and your own bleeding heart will come second always, but you understand what can happen, heartbreak - will risk it again and again despite that the odds may now be ever against you.

You love like it’s a forgone conclusion that everyone knows love exists. Like it’s just there, and of course it’s supposed to be good, and of course it’s supposed to be freely given and returned. (And you seem so confused when others do not follow your simple ideology.)

You love cautiously. Because you thought they weren’t out to get you, once, but they were. (And not all parts of you survived it.) So now everything terrifies you, and you create holes to jump through, tests to run - your use of the word trust is seldom, of love rarer still.

You love in secret. Like a facade will protect you from life, but all it does drive people away who don’t come back for the second look. You love as though you’re unlovable, but you know what it’s like to be loved, and you willingly go with the ones who come back through.

You love people like they will save you. A hope that they will rally to your side. You need them, but you need them to need you, and you know how to be calculating, but you didn’t want to be. You love freely, though, until they burn the bridges you once crossed together.

You love people who don’t expect it, and you love like you’re on a mission, non-malicious, because you’re really just trying to give others a little piece of the world they don’t yet have, and the love and affection that comes afterwards is an unintended, albeit not unwelcome consequence.

I love like it’s forbidden.
As though the minute it is admitted, the love will disappear, by nature of simply acknowledging the fact.
(And so they fade away without ever knowing.)

You love like it’s an afterthought,
like you didn’t know you were allowed to.
It drips from your shoulders,
in an array of colors
I have never seen before.
And yet, it’s kept tight against your body
As if you’d rather it be hurt then you.

(You’re allowed to be loved, and love in return. You already are.)
10 interpretations of how different people love, the first 9, of 9 different people from my perspective, the 10th an interpretation by my friend in response to reading the poem, on person 9 (me).
650 · Nov 2016
Once upon a time...
Sam Nov 2016
Once upon a time,

there lived a little girl with a red cape,
who laughed at much and cried at little,
whom every one called, "Red Riding Hood."

there lived a beautiful maiden with kindness in spades,
who lived with her vile stepmother and stepsisters,
whom every one called, "Cinderella,"
after the ashes left in her hair from cleaning the fireplace.

there lived a genie in a lamp,
who traveled across the lands from hand to hand,
whom every one called, "genie,"
because none knew it's name,
for it had been lost long ago to

Right now,

a man climbs Everest,
a woman wins a tournament,
a child is marked as a genius.

we have their names,
sealed in our memories.

as is only

When a few hundred years of time have passed,
They'll say,

Once upon a time,

there lived a man with great determination,
and no small amount of love for climbing,
whom everybody learned to call, "Everest Man."

there lived a woman who dodged every insult,
and practiced until she almost collapsed,
whom everybody called, "Yume,"
because of her inability to stop dreaming.

there lived a child,
who grew up in many different places,
whom everybody called, "prodigy,"
because that was what the child was,
and the child's name was eventually lost to

Right now,

we haven't anything to say,
because the future isn't over yet,
and nor will it be,
until they talk about us around the campfire,

*Once upon a time...
627 · Feb 2017
The World is Round
Sam Feb 2017
I want to tell you that the world is good.
There are good people, no matter how long it takes to find them,
And you can find beauty in the smallest things -
The cherry blossoms that always come near March,
The way a small child hides behind their mother,
The way people smile, when they think no one's watching.

I want to tell you that the world is bad.
Everybody dies, no matter how brilliant, or important, or insignificant,
And everything is doomed to fail at some point,
Rather it explodes,
or crashes and burns,
or simply sizzles out.

I want to tell you to have hope.
After everything, it's still there, waiting, in Pandora's Box,
And if you can pick out something from
Maybe you're still okay.

I want to tell you to experience despair.
You can't change anything and everything for the better,
And you must helplessly envelop yourself in it,
In order to appreciate even the
simplest of things.

But none of this will make anything better.

So I will tell you this:
That, the sky is blue,
the leaves fall in Autumn,
That, the rain is wet,
and the world is round.

*Make of it what you will.
624 · Oct 2016
Sam Oct 2016
If I were to sing a song, I think it would be sad.
And I think, that you would be surprised.
I think you would expect me to sing something happy.
Or funny.
Because I am the calm one, the one with the optimism, who says,
it's not the end of the world, not yet
not so long as we stand together, united
and i do not let you go, because
i won't let you fall off the edge

But the lullaby I sing is mine, not yours,
And just because you still have your hope,
Courtesy, in part, to me,
Does not mean that I have mine.
And thus, if I were to sing a lullaby, I think it would be sad.
620 · Jan 2017
All you need, is faith,
Sam Jan 2017
is when you tell someone your deepest, darkest, secret, and know that they'll take it to their grave unless you give them permission to do otherwise with it.
It can be quick, it can be a split-second decision, but it's something conscious, a small act of faith.

is when you tell someone your deepest, darkest, secret, and they stay standing beside you.
It's built on at least some amount of trust, and it means they back you up, and you do the same for them. It means you do your best not to stab them in the back, because you care about them, and trust they'll do the same for you.

*is when you tell someone your deepest, darkest, secret, and they look you in the eye, and believe you're still a good person.
It sneaks up on you, about the exact time you don't expect it to, and changes your life, rather you want it to, or not. It's unconditional, and infinite, and beautiful, because love is when you care about someone so much, you can't imagine your life without them, and you'd do anything to protect them, your own life be ******. It doesn't matter if your blood is the same - if you're friends, or lovers, or acquaintances. Love, is an all encompassing sort of thing: it isn't picky
568 · Dec 2016
the Night Away
Sam Dec 2016
Drag me in, please.
Make me dance the night away.

Push me over the cliff,
so I'll no longer fear the fall.

Take my hand, please, make us both smile.

The world is seldom a happy place,
but I'd rather like to enjoy it with you tonight.
563 · Feb 2018
Which is worse?
Sam Feb 2018
To feel numb, and nothing at all -


To feel everything, all at once -
and be pulled under
by your complete inability
to laugh. or even smile?
549 · Jan 2017
Sam Jan 2017
I wonder, sometimes, how the world can have so many secrets.

Perhaps, I would be happier if I was ignorant. If you, and everyone else, did not come, whispering into my ear...
           fears, lies, the wrongs of the past, your deepest insecurities

Perhaps it is my face that makes you - all of you - trust me.

Or perhaps it is the way I blend easily in the background, the way I speak up only rarely.

I know enough secrets for a life time; plenty enough to drown in.
Some of them, granted, learned from behind a door, listening, but
most freely given.

You say you can trust me, that's nice.
'Fact, it's enough to make me smile.

I think I'll still keep the secrets to myself, though, even if I return the sentiment. And yeah, I do.

Sometimes, see, it's less of a burden not to know, than to see everything so clearly, and be so utterly helpless...

i'll still keep all the secrets, though, don't you worry - - exhausted of it though I maybe, i still know how to keep my mouth shut,  *how to help out when i can...
533 · Dec 2016
Glass and Dirt
Sam Dec 2016
The earth, is so old.

Not as old as the galaxy, or the universe, it's a part of, but still so very old.

And look at us, only migrating out of one place about 100,000 years ago.
Look at us, so fragile, compared to the dirt and the sun and the stars.
As if we are glass, and tape is the only thing holding us together.
And all we're doing is sitting like ducks, waiting for everyone to break.

But we're also there on standby, waiting, just to pick up the pieces,
because we're not glass, and we
can mend, from being shattered into a million pieces.

It just hurts, most of the time.
Sometimes, too much to get back up again.
525 · Dec 2016
Sam Dec 2016
You talk of killing yourself as one would of getting a glass of water:

You are sarcastic, and in this, too, there is sarcasm, but it's undertone is real. Honest.

So of course, you scare me.

It does not take long before you ask the question I dread:
Would you miss me if I were dead?

Because I want to know what the hell kind of question that is.

Stupid question, heartless question, yes I'd miss you if you were dead.

Stupid, because we're friends, because I know you, because I like you.

Heartless, because do you really think I care for you so little that I'd wish you away?

Nothing matters now, though.
It's been asked,
It's been answered.

So long as you do me a favor.
Just one - no more, no less.

And don't discount this, the way you always do,
saying everybody dies, not everybody dies by choice.

Stay alive, will you?
For as long as you possibly can?

Who am I to dictate, what you can and cannot do.
Who am I to force you, to live in a world you cannot stand.

But for me, for the others, for everyone who says we'll miss you, please,

*Hold out as long as you can stand.
524 · Jan 2019
Let's Call it Home
Sam Jan 2019
The trains running past,
the buses too slow to catch,
ever-shining street lights
and people's eyes no longer bright --
let's throw it all away,
if it'll all be taken from us anyway.

Let's call it home -
my breath, steady over your shoulder,
you shirt, damp from my tears,
a million hugs and compliments,
the ringing of laughter.

It's all going to fade away:
A house to an apartment to a dorm room,
desperately, hesitantly, found safe havens.
But this --

Let's call it people. Let's call it connection.
How about we keep it?
Hold it tight, keep it close - hold on, and don't let go.

Someday, when Google finally blackmails us,
there's going to be a dozen chats,
on half a dozen forms of social media.

And someday, when this is all history,
and the internet's long since collapsed -
they're going to trace postcard after postcard,
letter after letter.

When I go bankrupt, I'll blame post-stamps.
I'll blame living a few too many countries,
a few too many oceans, few too many continents far away,
to see you all in person.
I'll blame needing to write Love you, miss you,
because this is the girl who thought everyone was going to leave,
and now she doesn't want to give you any excuse to forget her, see.
And I'll still smile at every text message,
Still grin unabashedly at every piece of mail I get back.
Still be so, so freakin' happy, when I get to see you in person.

So let's call it friends, let's call it family.
Let's call this home.
473 · Feb 2017
Sam Feb 2017
There used to be a person that I knew.

I didn't know them well, mind you, but I knew them.

I could reconstruct the way they walked,
I could find someone with a similar accent, to describe how they talked,
I could tell you what they looked like,

But you don't need me to do that.

You knew them. *Well.

I, don't cry.
It's not my way, for one, and for two - I don't really have the right, at least, not in front of you.
I choose utter silence and avoidance - I speak only to avoid suspicion.
And if I shiver uncontrollably despite not being cold - it is winter.

You, do.
I do not see you cry, it is left unspoken that you do not want me to comfort you - I avoid you instead,
Your red eyes and absence from places you usually go tells me the truth.

Two days past, we make eye contact.
And then we drop our eyes, look down,
but make our way to each other regardless.

We do not talk, and our expressions betray nothing beyond smiles
- I was feeling something else, I assume you were too -
And then we walk together to our next destination.

The next day I actually say 'Hello,'
And there's this momentary surprised look on your face, before you say, 'Hey,' back.

I knew them,
You knew them better.

*I wish they hadn't died.
I wish I'd known them a bit better.
But I don't regret knowing them while they were alive.
439 · May 2018
waltz; three-time
Sam May 2018
I have a waltz, playing behind my eyes - open or closed -
three time.
one-two-three, one-two-three,
a silhouette of two girls dancing.

I learned it when I was 7,
playing dress-up as Cinderella -
my grandmother taught me, dancing around her dining room table.

There isn’t any music, just a rhythm -
one-two-three, one-two-three,
three time.

But there wasn’t any music in real-life, either -
just a fast song we ignored, tired of jumping up and down like crazy people
(or high schoolers who couldn’t dance)

I can’t dance” - I had said, at least four times already, an attempt at an apology,
watching our two friends take the dance floor by storm.
Yeah, neither can I” - I got back, although you knew Swing, I was fairly sure,
Well, except the Waltz,” I think I said, my attempt to make up my own inadequacy -
So do I,” you said, and then, most hesitantly, gesturing to nothing at all, “do you want to?

I didn’t remember most everything, just that it was three-time,
I let you direct my hands where they were supposed to go, covering shoulder and waist - and then we were, for all purposes, ready to dance.

and No - I don’t know what it meant, if it meant anything, -
just that it was awkward, a bit, because the fast music messed with the three-time rhythm so my steps were a bit off beat, and that the song ended just in time to stop it from becoming truly awkward,
just that we were friends, and I had never danced with anyone before,
grandparents aside -
just that it was lovely, and it made me smile
just that I can’t stop remembering it, but I don’t really mind.

Because we did dance;
the left back corner, a section of the dance floor all our own.
428 · Mar 2017
Feign Brave
Sam Mar 2017
Someone hurt you, and I worried silently until my lip bled.
I never asked if you were okay, I never visited you to offer you comfort:
The next time I saw you, after you'd been absent for days, I smiled.

You tripped and fell on shards of glass, and I listened with worried eyes.
You say there was lots of blood, and you and your family ended up in the emergency room at quarter past midnight, hence your half day at school.
Your arm is in a cast for a time, but I never sign it and I never make jokes:
I gave you the Spanish homework that you missed, and nothing else.

You were confessing secrets in the dark, and I was listening.
You hid away your pain because there was no one there for you, not anymore, and told me because this was short, a two week summer camp during which you didn't think any friendships would form. When the sky was so dark only our shadows could be seen, you told me your wish for my face, how impossible to read it was, so adept at concealing emotions.
It was a fair trade: You taught me I had a mask, and I kept your secrets.

You are rushed to the hospital, and I pretend everything is fine.
You are fine the day, the week, the year, after, so worrying is unnecessary:
I fly to see you over the summer, despite having had no intentions to do so before.

Your face is gaunt, and you flinch at touch, and I hide my worry away.
You trust only two boys, now, and you stay away from human contact and the crowds in the hallways.
After the initial two weeks, no one talks of it, and I am not the exception:
I always ask, after. If I can initiate contact. And I ask  everyone,  not just you.

You couldn't breathe through your panic and fear, and my hands shook.
You were so terrified of being beaten. So terrified of being kicked out of your home, for something you'd hardly had any control over.
I told you to call me, that you could stay at my place, no matter anything.
You said everything was fine, the next day. You claimed overreaction.
I secretly worried myself to tears, told you only that my offer still stood.

You are dying, and I am scared.
I was worried when you said the doctors had found a tumor, and I was worried when you told me you'd been unable to eat for days.
But I'd hoped for the best.

You were the first, you know.
I'd always just gone straight to expecting the  worse,  before.
But then bad things kept on happening, yet they weren't ever awful.
So, I thought, maybe, for once, I'd hope, and the pattern would continue.
I thought perhaps the tumor would be benign, and you'd be just  fine.

You're going to die, though.
And I'm worried about you, and I can't hide it:
I'm sorry for caring about you enough for it to be obvious.
I'm sorry you have to deal with my pain on top of your own.
And I wish *you would stay, could stay, because I'm going to miss you.
419 · Jul 2017
coming up short
Sam Jul 2017
Love, I have realized, staring at the ceiling and listening to a
conversation I was never meant to hear, is not always enough.

Love is... caring, deeply,
if Like is a spark,
then Love is a flame,
and when there's Love on both sides,
that's supposed to be enough.

But Love isn't free.
It takes time, and work, and devotion,
and clear-headedness.
Love won't hold through
and bitterness,
however misplaced
or well-intentioned.

A childish hope, built upon lessons from fairytales:
I want it to; I wish it did.
398 · Apr 2018
risk quarantine
Sam Apr 2018
If you try to breathe, normal,
in through the nose
out through the mouth,
you know your breath will stutter,
come out in a gulping, unsteady way

Because your heart is too fast
(as always)
Your mind is too unclear,
stuck in a haze of fog.

So you will breathe
through only your nose,
keep the panic curled and tight
until you are all alone,
and it can lash out fast and furious,
and harm no one but you.
394 · Dec 2016
I wish we could dance
Sam Dec 2016
freely, openly.

Sans the fear of discovery,
Sans the fear of division,
Sans the fear of damnation.

Perhaps, someday.

*Just, not today.
376 · Jul 2017
Of fighters
Sam Jul 2017
Different* people, react *different *ways.

Some of them, will stand still, and silent, and tall. They will make you think they are invincible. They will take your bruises, and accept your words, and they will retain their silence until it is all they believe. They will wrap their pain in darkness and shadows and glints of rain, until they fade away. And only then, will you notice the path destruction you left in their wake.

Others, will cower and flinch away. Weak, you will call them. Brave, someone will contradict, to wear their emotions so care-freely. You will stop, at some point. It is no fun, after all, to torture someone who never fights back. And it is obvious, too, too obvious to avoid getting caught for long. Will they fade, or shatter, or hide, or smirk? It depends. You will not always face the consequences.

The inexperienced ones, will fight back. Will match you blow for blow for cut for cut for life for life for death for death. An eye for an eye turns a whole world blind, but this has never been a fair fight. You have always had the upper hand, so you will always win. Time is a matter of opinion and resistance. You will eventually, crush their soul. But they fought back, and they fought against you, so justification is your dominate opinion and emotion, not regret, or fear, or remorse, not anything else.

There are more. Variants upon variants of everyone who didn't deserve your brand of torment. Variants of the bullet proof vests, and the children, and the soldiers.

The utterly helpless ones, will turn. You will beat them down, but somewhere, somewhen, they will become you. They will become the damnation of the freaks and outcasts and misfits, they will crave power and acceptance and use fear to gain it, they will inflict pain on others to starve out their own. If you meet them, perhaps you will understand what you did. Or perhaps you will join them, or cower in fear at your once-upon-a-victim.

Were you them, once?
                            humiliated, and scared, and bitter, and rejected?

Will I become you, someday?
                                 *torturous, and cruel, and cold, and powerful?
376 · Nov 2017
Sweater Weather
Sam Nov 2017
So it’s fall, now.
It’s fall, all sweater weather and Halloween and chilly but not quite cold —

the weeks are upon us and not long later it will be winter.

It’s still as-of-yet-changing color of trees fall, though, for now, yet I’ve never fallen so fast as I have during this one.

Flowers, grass, began to fade, began changing their colors away and so did I, ending summer with misery, uncertaintness, and almost passing out (no, not drunk, never touched a drug in my life) in a place where no one knew my name - but I clutched at walls and forced breath through air ducts until the colors rearranged themselves in my vision.

Rain started falling, then, fast and furious of a thunderstorm turned typhoon and hurricane, while I caught insomnia full blast, caught utter misery too, the kind where it takes all of your energy to look apathetic, and you can’t smile - it took all my energy not to cry.

There are warm days too, when ****** it all to hell because sometimes things are beautiful. It taught me I had friends, but more than that how to hide well; how nothing ever goes away, how things get worse - but if they aren’t hidden people will just worry more, and fading to the background is a blessing in disguise - constant scrutiny is exhausting. And lack of pain (fake or no) is beautiful.

At the ****** of fall, the trees are bare, and daylight is scarce. And I’m here all hung out dry, not even waiting, now, just watching it all pass by.

And sometimes, the most inevitable things contain the most dread, too.

Winter ends. Spring follows it. Cherry Blossoms bloom and everything else just grows, until summer sneaks up on them. And by then, I’ll be long gone, uprooted by the last dredges of cold air.


                            ­  Thank you.

See you again, maybe, if I’m lucky?
Sam Mar 2017
Everyone is insignificant to someone.
Irrelevant, likewise.

There will always be someone - scratch that, there will always be people -
who don't care, about your life,
your well-being,
your existence.

Who don't give a ****.

But there will also always be some who does, one who truly cares.
Maybe they're your family.
Perhaps they're your friends.
Or you mightn't have ever met them.

Imagine all the possibilities, dream out all the outcomes.
Maybe there's no one there now,
but nothing lasts forever.
Maybe you'll encounter someone new.
Or maybe someone you know does care, and you just haven't noticed yet.

Because if there isn't -
if there's no one out there now, and there never ever will be -
Then there's no hope either, is there?
and if we don't have hope -
that someone, somewhere, thinks we have some kind of worth -
Then what is there left to have?
336 · Jun 2017
silent complaints
Sam Jun 2017
You think you've
got it
Oh, so hard now
(And tears are streaming down your face and darkness beats at your soul)
And then you
go and
Look around
(Because all you are is one more complainer.)
And You
know full well
others have it worse,
(And for them,
you hope
they continue, to complain, because
maybe someone will listen, and
life is ruthless but death is death,
while you may as well be a ghost)

But that doesn't change your
insomniatic habits of being unable to sleep until half past one
your solitude of half-self-imposed loneliness because
you won't force your burdens upon your friends

the fact that you
cry yourself to sleep every night because
you can only mask your tears for so long.

So you
breathe in daylight like it is air
(because darkness lessens and you  must be ligherbrighter around other people)
fake a smile everyone believes and
(you still fall apart at night).

you like to think that the night might be forgiving (because nothing else is)
and you
Hope your

silent complaints
*might actually make a difference,
Even if
the world has
just as many
as before.
335 · Jan 2018
Sam Jan 2018
blossoming across the sky like flowers blooming in a day.
Japanese: hanabi ; Translation: flower fire, fire flower

reflected across the river in beams of colored light.
Spanish: fuegos artificiales ; Translation: fires fake, fake fires

set off in the street, with only the warning of the crowd backing away-
English: fireworks ; Interpretation: fire erupting all throughout, pyrokinetic

a light show, bouncing off roof tops and singeing shop windows.
*German: Feuerwerk ; Translation: firework, pyrokinetics, and New Years
New Years, amidst my languages and cultures, and the Düsseldorf celebrations.
Sam Jun 2017
I used to think it was just an expression;
                          a fancy way to say really, really, really, tired.

It's a little bit more than that.

                                                 ­       exhaustion.

                                      defeat             and             despair.

                                             ­         hopelessness.

it's putting everything you have into something, and not making a dent,
it's believing in someone when they don't even
try to have faith in you,
it's feeling
so tired and knowing you won't be able to fall asleep,
it's seeing the inevitable and accepting defeat,
and not even
trying to resist fate because it's sad but there's no point.

     is what it feels like, when weariness seeps deep into your bones.
323 · Jul 2018
love on a broken heart
Sam Jul 2018
there are two ways of love, this is how you learn the second:
you. are not. alone.

the first way of love is all you:                                                             ­         
you, when you learned how to make others laugh.
you, the girl who brings tissues and doesn't say a word.
you, the girl who promises you will never see me cry, and keeps it.
you, because you take 4 trains over 2, to get your friend home safe.
you, developing a mask to hide your damage, so you hurt no one else.

that's how you break - exhausted, at your limit, and alone                    
except - you're not.

the second way of love is more, them:
the way they catch you, somehow, when you fall.
how you stop flinching away from physical contact,
because you're used to it,  now, because now it's - safe.
all the many, many, I'm here(s), that take you by surprise.
how you infringe upon their space, and they welcome you in.
the first time anyone tells you to let me know when you get home and
the second. and the third. because people don't - didn't - care about you.

learning to love on a broken heart
means you expect everything to shatter in front of you.
means you're always paranoid, and always terrified.
means you always know to expect the worse.

but the second way of love,                                                            ­                
is the sort of way that gives back.            
makes you remember that thing called hope.
teaches you how to say I love you, in the first place.
teaches you, it goes both ways, teaches you, you. are not. alone.
(makes you believe it.)
314 · Aug 2016
Sam Aug 2016
She turns, shuffles, in the opposite direction,
Wanting -
To get away.

Out -
of this suffocating landscape,
Where people stare,
And compliment,
And do not go away,

When all she wants,
Is to slip,
Silently past,

Eyes meet hers across the room.

She ducks,
Underneath a waving arm,

As someone goes past,

The nearest exit.

The eyes blink, and she is gone.

Out -
to the darkness of night,
Where there is no-one,
And there is space,
And she can finally breathe.

She turns, strides, in the opposite direction,
Needing -
To get away.
307 · Oct 2016
Sam Oct 2016
I am an optimist,
as designated by my friends.

Everyone dies eventually, says one, no matter who they are, what they do.
But everyone is alive right now, I reply, everyone alive, is not dead yet.

I am an expert at adaptation,
according to my parents.

It looks like we'll be moving, offers my mother, with a hesitant smile.
Where to? I ask, eyes sparkling, smile seemingly real.

I am a genius,
if my grandparents are consulted.

You're taking three languages, and two math classes? she exclaims, again.
Yes, grandma, I repeat, rolling my eyes internally.

Truth be told,
I am an optimist, if someone insists on being pessimistic.
I am good at adapting, when the need arises.
I am a genius when I work hard, though only to my grandparents.
I am whatever the world perceives me to be, until I change its perception.

Yet then I still am, as the world perceives me, they simply perceive me differently.
298 · Oct 2016
Snow Falls
Sam Oct 2016
It's cold, today,
and the wind smells like rain and mildew and sadness and tears.

It was warm, yesterday,
and the air tasted like sunlight and rainbows and hugs and smiles.

It's going to snow, tomorrow,
and the atmosphere will be like stars on steroids, with wishes and hopefulness.

The day after that, they'll be a storm.
and the ground will be all that's left, crushed, stranded, and alone,
like everything will end up being,
with kids crying on the streets,
and freezing all alone.

Tomorrow, though, it's going to snow.
297 · Sep 2016
Sam Sep 2016

Everything burns.

Everything ends.

Everything shatters, like glass.

Scatters, like ashes.

Skates, across the thinnest ice.

Soars, like a bird.

Stays, like the stars.

Everything is, exists, like us.

Everything starts.

Everything begins.


Before it
And ends,
And shatters,
And scatters,
It skates --
Out, and away.

Because for something to end,
-     -     -     and everything does,
It must first begin.

Must spark, into light.
Must flare, into existence,
Must be melded, into being.

Or else it would never end.

And if it never ended, because it never began,
We would be left,
With nothing.
At all.

And so better,
To have everything end,
Than have nothing to begin with.
294 · Oct 2016
Welcome to Darkness
Sam Oct 2016
Death fascinates you, in a way that it shouldn't, because
No one is supposed to be fascinated by death.

It's the end.
The final stage.

Yet no one can figure out what happens after.
If people who die, are really, truly, gone.

So yes, death fascinates you.
                                                            ­  But *you let it.
291 · Dec 2016
teach me what I know
Sam Dec 2016
Teach me how to breathe,
in and out,
over and through.

Teach me how to see,
when my eyes are closed,
and only black remains.

Teach me how to hear,
the things I do not know,
the things I wish to remain ignorant to.

Teach me how to feel,
through stares of freezing cold,
and hearts of fading warmth.

Teach me how to smell,
what is safe, what is not,
the difference of a landmine,
over a child's buried treasure.

Teach me how to taste,
the danger that approaches in the air,
the calm which arises from sloshing waves.

Teach me how to live,
how to live life to its fullest -

Teach me how to live,
for the day I have nothing to live for.

Teach me what I know,
for the days when I forget.
279 · Oct 2016
Different Sort of Lost
Sam Oct 2016
You're lost, today. Or well, you got lost, today.

Hell, not really. You know exactly where you are,

which is really a very good thing,
because you're not really paying attention,
to the things that you should,
like, say, walking,
and not, say, bumping into things,
or slipslipping off the platform edge

But, not really.
You don't actually want to slip off the side of the Chuo line.
Because then all the trains would stop,
and it's already slow,
because someone's already jisatsu shita themselves,
before six o'clock in the morning,
and you wouldn't want to be an inconvenience...

Suicide's really not at all how you're lost.
You're scared lost.
Not death lost.
You know the difference.

You should be fine, now.
you thought your dad was going to die
Simple thing, it was.
coughing up blood, of all things
And it happened Saturday,
and your mom started crying
And today's Monday,
and you were her rock,
So you should be fine,
but come Sunday everything was fine
Everyone's still alive,
even if Monday dad's staying home,
But you're so so not fine,
and you waited to cry 'til you were alone,
Because you're still so scared
you're just scared.

Now, you're just waiting.
The train at yotsuya, doesn't come, for another 20 minutes,
and so much, for leaving the apartment at five, to get to school, on time.

Everyone at school, would say you like to read.
And they're not wrong, no, they're not,
but the words just fly bye bye off the page,
and dad's gaunt face, is all you can see,
and so much, for trying to read.

You look around instead,
And you're beginning to feel antsy,
when you see her.
the girl - she's older than you, but not by much - who looks lost.

she's not death lost
or scared lost,
just direction lost,
and maybe the universe knew you needed
someone lost to make you not lost any longer.

You're lost, because
everything in your head is all muddled up,
and all you can think about, is that night,
and it's like everything else is a haze,
but you know it shouldn't be,
so lost is the best word, that works right now.

The lost girl, who's young, Italian, and speaks English but not Japanese,
though that you'd already figured out,
Is direction lost, looking for her train,
Standing at the platform behind yours,
And wondering why it's not there.

You tell her to go up, and over,
To get on the local line,
Because there's a delay, with this train,
that you carefully don't mention that it is because of a jisatsu,
and maybe she's done nothing, but ask you for help, yet
When she thanks you, you smile without thinking about it,
and then your train, has finally arrived,
But you are fine.

You're still scared.
And you're not quite okay.
But neither are you quite as lost as you were before.
lost in any way.
jisatsu - Japanese word for suicide
Chuo - train line in Tokyo
Yotsuya - station in Tokyo
277 · May 2018
Sam May 2018
falling in love is easy.
effortless, even.
(unaware until you’ve already fallen)

staying in love is conscious
(because at some point or another, you notice it, and it either takes your breath away in awe, or it sends ice down your spine-
and you run, run fast.)

once you let yourself fall,
then your heart is no longer yours.

(it can be a wonderful thing, two pieces of two hearts,
given away freely and replacing the other,
healing rather than harming, uniting.)

the thing about the ones
who don’t love you back, is that
you give your whole heart away,
and they slowly crush it
in return;
you do not see it until only pieces remain-
(after all, you were in love.)

the thing about the ones who
don’t love you back,
is that then, it becomes your fault -
(because who would have ever chosen to love you in the first place?)

but it’s going to take you years
to realize that it isn’t on you,
as you assemble back the broken pieces,
try to breathe with just half a soul,
start to learn that you deserve just as much love as you give.

it’s going to take time,
because now you’re afraid
that this is the story with everyone -
(you’re not sure you could survive this again)

the thing about the ones who
don’t love you back,
is that they break you.

you trust them, and their charade is flawless.
(Of course they love you,
of course this is mutual) of course
this is all your fault.
272 · Nov 2016
Sam Nov 2016
It crashes and turns and churns,
blue against blue,
kelp against seaweed,
trash against sand, as it nears the shore.

It reaches out
to grab, to get, to kidnap,

And he,
back away,

And the waves reside,
back into the chaos of the ocean.
266 · Dec 2016
Sam Dec 2016
what are you ?

what am I ?

does it matter ?

Pretty sure it doesn't --

Of course it does,

Though I'll tell ya what you want to hear -

Everyone's different, everyone matters, everyone has a purpose, obvious or not.

263 · Oct 2021
love? letter to a country
Sam Oct 2021
I think I will always be a little heartbroken by you.

Yet there is something to be said,
for learning to love something
before anyone can warn you away.

I like to think,
in a world where I found you
a little older, a little less naive,
little less ready to embrace things
with arms wide open and free --
I like to think someone would have cautioned me away.

Do not become so enamored by something
that you become inseparable from it.

Do not give all of yourself away,
because there are pieces you will
want back.

They will tell you:
if you fall seven times, get up eight.
the more you fall, the harder it is
to get back up. To stand tall.
And stand tall, you must.

I was too young, though-
and the old, they let the young
make their own mistakes.
(I like to think I would've dived in
headfirst, still, fallen anyway)

So I got my heart crushed
put back together not a little intact,
and I figured out how best to keep it.

You aren't my first memory,
But you're in my second,
an afterthought.
And now you're a dark, shadowed cloud, hanging
just over my shoulder.

You are not a home that I can forget:
I loved you, I love you,
like a desert craves the rain.

I think I will always be a little heartbroken by you,
and yet it's something to hold close.

For the lessons learned,
For the things I came away with,
gained only because I refused
to fight against them.

The language I learned at your side
is like a siren song,
beckoning me back to the only place
I have ever been able to call home.

But I can learn to release my hold,
Loosen it until the storm forecast
hovers out of sight,
It presence distant
rather than looming.

In time, I think,
I can learn to let you go.
260 · Dec 2016
It's Unconditional
Sam Dec 2016
"They love you unconditionally."

That's what you say,
That's what you tell me,
That's what I know,
That's what I thought.

How conditional is their unconditionality?

Sure, they're family.
Sure, they've raised me, watched me grow.
Sure, they know me.
Sure, they say they love me.

How far can I fall before they refuse to catch me?

They believe in certain things.
things i don't agree with.
They follow certain ways.
ways i go against.
They don't know I differ from them.

Just tell me,
How conditional is their 'unconditional' love?
254 · Aug 2016
Sam Aug 2016
She’s tired and clammy and hot, and her head pulses and aches,

But she gets up anyway, to go and answer the door,

And everything spins, and tilts, and whirls,
And it is a blurry mess of revolving objects,
Where she can’t see anything,

But she must act normal,

And so she stands straight,
And lets the words he speaks reverberate around her brain,

As her vision slowly settles back in,

Only to go away again,
When she steps down to take the package back in,

And her head throbs,
And she pushes her glasses back up her nose,
As she puts the package down,
In hopes that it will help,
And like she already knows it wouldn’t - it doesn’t,

But when she pivots so she faces the delivery man once more,

Her face is calm, and cool, and the same,

And only when she has bowed her thanks,
And he has bowed his,
And she has closed the door after him --

Does she sink against the wall,
Waiting for the dizziness to pass,

And hoping that upon it’s return, it will be no worse,

Than it already is.
245 · Jan 2017
Now You Know
Sam Jan 2017
You - and everyone else,
You're always saying that I'm
and Smart,
and Good.

That I do the right thing, always. That I'm effortlessly selfless, constantly. That I'm a good person.

And I always shake my head. Say, 'Thank you,' but 'No, I'm really not.'

"You're being modest," always what I get.
Never thought I was being honest, did you?

And now, now you know.

That I'm a coward; too afraid to stand by your side.

Ever wonder why I stayed in the background?
Back with the shadows, safe, hidden from view, refusing the spotlight?
Well, now you know why.

I'm not brave, like you.
I can tell what's right, and what's not,
I can feel my oxygen slowly being siphoned off, the longer I wait,
I can make the right thing happen, eventually,
But not like you.

You, with your emotions,
and recklessness,
With your utter confidence in yourself,
and instant reactions,
You're brilliant, like that.
But so, so not me.

By tomorrow, of course, I'll have something figured out.
I'll talk to all the people who I'll need to back me up.
I'll think out every possible scenario, figure out every answer.
I'll wear my mask, so no helplessness, no desperation, seeps out.
Where you failed with pure emotion, I'll use cold, hard, logic.
And I'll succeed, and tell no one what I did.

That doesn't change the fact, that I faded into the shadows,
and let you stand there alone.
I waited, of course, but not close by enough for anyone not looking,
to see.

And now you know, who I am.

Bet you expected me to stand with you - too bad I let you down, too bad, I always will.

Good thing, well, now you know.
240 · Nov 2016
Half a Chance
Sam Nov 2016
Flip a coin, in the air.

Watch it spin,
Watch it turn,
Watch it hover, in the air.

Follow it,
Catch it,
Flip it on the back of your hand -
Wait, with baited breath.

take it all,
half a chance,
day of doom,
day of bloom.

Seconds, now, all that's left -
see the coin,
take your chance.

for better or for worse,
it's all,
240 · Dec 2017
Sam Dec 2017
I used to call it Christmas.

All of it, when I was younger. The lights stemming out from around the (real) tree, the neighbors' decorations, the candles at Christmas mass. The cookies that would be sat upon a plate the night before, and the feast we would cook up the morning of the day of. The garbage bag full of torn wrapping paper, and the sinking in exhaustion from failing to truly conquer the second or third day jet lag. The smiles and the laughter and the pictures and the hugs and kisses (family).

One year, suddenly, it was just the three of us.

The year after, I learned that my extended family could hate me, one day.

And now there's a country none of us have been to in years.
(It used to be an annual thing.)

It stopped being Christmas when it lost its magic.

And for a while, I thought that was it. Done. Gone.

But it isn't about "Christmas",
the tradition of it or the religion or just the name
(or it can be and it is but it doesn't need to be)
because it's about warmth.

About the couple I gave up on half-a-decade ago looking in love again.
About making the ones who look on the verge of tears just smile instead.
About the people you love, who love you back, with absolute certainty.
About the street lights (pollution-causing or not) chasing away the dark.

It's about healing, about the fact that things can be fixed.
It's about hope, about how broken things aren't always broken.
It's about the cold, how someone's there to heat up your soul after it.

It's about warmth.
233 · Sep 2017
Sam Sep 2017
Your heart has been carved out and now all it is is* hollow all while

everything is
                       ­                i
                                                   apart around you

and all you can do is stand, and stare, and watch.
all you can do is stand shocked and frozen in position,
all you can do is feel terror and horror and
all you can do is marvel, standing in the ruins, on your sudden inability to cry.
230 · Oct 2016
If we fall
Sam Oct 2016
If I fall,
I expect you to catch me.

And, in turn,
If you fall,
I expect,
You to expect,
me to catch you.

And promises can be broken,
so promise, I will not,
but fair is fair,
and trust is trust,
so let you fall,
I will not.

and if you do let me --
-- I expect to be caught.
Because that, is, in essence, the meaning of trust.
219 · May 2018
found families
Sam May 2018
Family, they say, who do you have;
and you go: mother, father;
stop cold.

The Japanese version of the word, kazoku, means siblings over all blood relations, isn’t necessarily inclusive of parents, is one of the few words where the Japanese version of it makes you pause over the English one.

The you, the old one, in 1st grade of the distant past,
she comes up with more names eventually,
and without much pause;
she goes grandmother, grandfather, (great) aunts 1 through 4, 2nd cousins here, 3rd cousins there, and oh, the 9 first cousins on her mother’s side, 1 aunt, 3 uncles, mother’s mom’s sister, other great aunt, her children — she loses count. (besides, her teacher makes her stop after grandparents.)

Family, they say, who do you have;
and you go: father (genuinely), mother (out of habit);
stop cold.

And the people you love who don’t love you back;
you are starting to gradually tear their influence
away from your heart.

Your grandparents; the alive ones (their names will come back if they stop identifying different with bad; will be torn the rest of the way off, like an infected limb from the rest of the body, if (when) they realize the tie of different to you.)

Aunt 4, of the open minded branch (if it ever comes to the schism, there’s a chance she might choose you - but you would send her back away, refuse to take away her grandchildren for her great niece.)

Your friends
(And this is just waiting until the day you believe it, because you’ll always be terrified to say it. Family is made, family is more than blood, but your breath catches because everybody leaves, and you don’t quite have enough courage to say it yet - will never quite muster up the courage until it is no longer true.)

Your mother
(because she’ll always choose you but never enough; always a rejection in secret because she must not know and you must not hurt where she can see you.)

Family, they say, who do you have;
and you take a breath
and smile like it’s not fake
like that word hasn’t been fractured beyond repair for a while now,
and dearest, you lie.
because family is found. but you have to find it first.
212 · Jul 2017
Sam Jul 2017
can you sing a requiem about things not lost?
about the could've, would've, almost, that you're glad that never happened?
can i say
I don't miss never knowing what's it's like to stay in one place your whole life, (because it's something I've never done),
I don't mourn what could have happened but didn't (because we can't change the past, and who's to say it would have turned out better),
I don't mistake content for happiness (because for one they are different, and for another, content means there's still something to strive for)
can i say
I appreciate the moments when dreading the worst turned to finding the middle ground
I acknowledge that perfection does not exist except in regards to imperfection
I accept the pushing and pulling and flickering and shining and living...

can i say
i hate this (i love this)
and mean the exact same thing
because the glass is half full and half empty
and neither and either or
because it's
still a glass with water no matter every which way it's looked at
210 · Feb 2018
fragmented consciousness
Sam Feb 2018
The thing is, see, it's mostly
all just in your head.
and you know that, see, but

when you have two scraps of metal,
old and rusted and not pretty at all
and something forces them
to scrap against each other,
this old guttural, dying sound
and all you can do
is cover your ears
and fail (try) to block it out,
until someone has mercy
on the now misshapen metal,
grinds it to a slow, screeching halt.

Except, when it is your own heart
feeling like fractured pieces
that aren't meant to go together;

Your own heart,
that beats too fast,
leaves not enough air in your lungs;

Your own ****** heart,
that forces you to the floor,
leaves you screaming a mantra of
in stolen gasps of air;

There is no one there
who can grind it to halt;

Because this is all you -
Your damaged, broken down
excuse for a heart
that won't let you inhale oxygen -

And it hurts.

Too much, and not enough,
And you will be the only one there
Who can pick yourself
back up
off the floor
Who can force yourself
to breath steady
But you are also the one
making yourself into this, somehow;
This broken mess
huddled in a corner,
waiting for the world to come back.

But it won't.
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