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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).
Sam Apr 2018
When someone compliments you:
If you can help it, do not flinch back,
stare in paralyzed awe and shock,
run hurriedly away from the room,
or try to decline and deny it;
however politely.
Meet the compliment-giver’s eyes,
stand tall and unashamed,
smile, if it is manageable,
and say simply, “Thank you.”
And if it still feels unbearable,
compliment them genuinely back.
(And if you find you truly believe it, this compliment, believe it rather than simply accepting it for politeness’ sake - then remember that you have done no wrong, that pride in work well-done is not egotistical, can still be humility.)

The words ‘I Love You’:
Are not words that apply
only for one specific context,
Do not automatically designate
relative, partner, child -
“friend” can also be encompassed.
These words, also, need not be used sparingly
if the feelings behind them are honestly meant.
Relationships do not always last, and neither do people.
(However short, however long, however imperfect or wondrous, you are allowed to (and need to) have attachments to other people. And you are always allowed to tell people that you love them. Even if (especially if) you will not know them for very long.)

Not being fine:
is okay.
You can bury yourself in some else’s arms until you remember how to breathe on your own again.
You can cry until your tears count up to be enough to fill a desert.
You can sit and sit an stare into space, paralyzed.
And you are not weak.
Just human, apparently.
With too few gadgets to replace a beating heart.

Affection is like building blocks:
step by step and always with permission.
Because to you, touch is foreign.
Is the hugs you exchange with your parents when one exits the country.
Is the occasional good night kiss on the cheek.
Is sparse.
So the first time you realize hugs can be beneficial is when it’s been an awful week and your friend gives you one, and for once it feels like you’re not alone.
But you still find yourself flinching away afterwards, even once you realize the word hug can be synonymous with the word safe.
So you hugging people is sporadic.
Until the second day you forget how to breathe, how to smile, and hugs might just be what saves your life.
Giving back is gradual, but it happens. You learn how to tone down your urge to flinch back, learn how to offer affection instead of only taking it, learn that it has a place. Learn to shelter, rather than stare.

Anger, Rage, and Fury:
burn fast and burn bright,
are better used as rocket fuel
than wild forest fires,
are better cut short than long,
are better in measured doses,
but still have their place.
Because you must be feeling
at least some of the time,
and outward rage hurts less
than turning it inward.
And to feel anger, yes,
you have to accept,
just for a while,
that you are worth something,
and, as such, have a right to feel,
have a right to ignore
the empathetic part of you
and say that your own feelings
deserve equal measure of chaos.
And then you raise your voice
until you are shouting, and tears are streaming down your face.
And you blame the world because it’s easier
than degrading a specific person, and apologize to it after.
And you take someone with you who will still stay by your side in the aftermath, and you let them guide you home.
Because sometimes,
Fury is easier to channel
than sadness, or hurt,
is safer in ways that are often missed, is a guide back to the vividity of the world, to the shining street lamps and old, used, train tracks, to the screaming array of colors that appear in parks and crowds, and the rage is a way of being able to see it all again, new,
think, “Beautiful,” and mean it.

Loyalty is bravery:
speaking up for something,
for someone,
and standing beside them in silence
may be a show of solidarity,
but at some point it is your duty
to stand in front of
and directly take
the fire meant for them,
for when they can’t,
when they shouldn’t have to,
and even when they feel invincible enough that they do not need you.
Because they chose you.
Silent, shy, well-meaning, playing both sides of every story, self-deprecating, lonely, abandoning, forgiveness-inducing, and occasionally flippantly heartless. You.
And you let them.
And you stayed.
And you chose them back.
So sometimes, there are no right sides, but when you think it should matter, when it does matter, you choose. And keep choosing.
And make your stand, because it’s right. And because you know that betrayal hurts even in subtlety.

You are not worthless:
and this is still a point of debate.
But of everyone who leaves, who you leave too - forced departure does not (necessarily) equate they are glad to get rid of you. And making that assumption, perhaps, has been an incorrect one. So leaving, does not actually equal losing - not always.
And you should let others figure out the good in you, because you did not coerce them into choosing it. Because you are allowed
to let someone guide you
to the more shallow end of the river,
believe you are worth
something enough,
to have someone pull you up
from the alluring blue of drowning.
And sometimes, every so often,
you do something good and well,
and beyond useful.
And in those moments, you are not worthless,
and something other else later - it does not negate that worth.
Sam Sep 2020
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.
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
Sam Jan 2022
sometimes, I look at you in the mirror, and it's all I can do
to remember that you are not a ghost.

most days, though, it feels that way.

like everything repeats itself, over and over.
like we're the ones slowly fading away amidst it all.

I go to work and I go back to somewhere I can not call home --
and I sleep, and wake, and do it all over again.
sometimes, I remember to make food, to eat.
and this tired, endless cycle continues.

You have friends, of course. You have a family.

But I've started counting them away by distance.
By how many months or years it's been since I've last seen them.
By how many weeks since I've last heard them.

I feel haunted by the reminder of it:
By the echoes of memories in everything I see, or touch.
By the aching remnants of absence left behind.

If all you were was a mirage of other people's constructs,
you'd be gone, by now.
you'd have melded away into the background,
like unappealing drapery.

there'd be nothing left to keep you real.

But I still get up in the morning. Go into work.
React to the incidents around me as if I care.
I'm still here, listlessly drifting.

There are things I want to do, someday.
Someone I want to become, someday.
People I want to see again, someday.

so we're still here, you and I.
adrift, until we can find a stable anchor.
something concrete enough to stop you haunting me.
Sam Feb 2018
I don't do anger (this is not a lie.)
Don't do rage, or fury.
Just sad. Just broken. Just hurt.

Because how can you feel anger,
when you are too empathetic
for your own **** good?
When understanding comes
before fury ever has a chance to?

Apparently, you let yourself shout
at the stars,
surrounded by a crowd
who muffles your volume
with their own,
and doesn't care about you
in the slightest,
encouraged along
by the hand
holding tight
to your own.

Apparently, you let yourself feel
everything you can:
the hurt
the terror
the loneliness
the overwhelming sense
and hollowing out of it all

And you let your tears run free
And have your voice follow.

There is nothing beautiful about it;
suppressed emotions forcing their way out in stutters and run-on sentences alike, the cadence of it all jumping through octaves, shrill and not enough air to low and soft and quiet, heartbeat too fast and too slow all at once, scared to death of confessing too much yet relieved, all at the same time.

There is nothing beautiful about it,
but it looks like and sounds like and feels like anger.

Like fury.
Like rage.

It feels directed at everything more so than anything specific, but more than that - it feels like something.

*Like being alive again.
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.
Sam Mar 2020
You know those days --
those sad, miserable, sucker-punched in the heart, sort of days --
when all you want, is for the tears to well out of you?
for your tears to flow, so that at least something comes out?
But it's as though you have no more tears left in you.
Your well is all dried up.

It's a bit like my heart, actually,
The way it's dropping,
                       in my chest.
(I'm almost worried it'll disappear.)

And I have friends.
I have these wonderful, beautiful, friends of mine -- I have people.
But it feels
                     as though
I am glass.

And no matter how I want
                                                   to scream, "HELP!"
the words stay sticky, stuck,
                                                   in my throat.
And in the end, well.
I'm back all alone.

But I am still breathing.
       I am still living.
                still wanting to keep on doing those things.
More than anything, I want to push
that darkness,
that fear,
that lingering sadness, swallowing me whole into its abyss --
I want to push it far, far, away.

But all I can do now, is ask:
"How do I get out of here?"
Like that little lost child, whom I have not been in so long.
And hope
for an answer
that will not come.

-- original, typed in romaji --

Nakitakutemo, nakitakutemo,
Ikiru kotoga zenzen mazushikutte,
Mou, namidawa nai.
tte iu kannji.

Nannka, kokoro ga sukoshi zutsu
"chi-nn" to ochiterumitai.
Soshite, tomodachi ga donnani itemo
Jibunnwa fuyou no gurasu
Mou, toumei mitai ni natte
[Tasukete] to iitakutemo
Kotobawa nodo ni tsuikotte,
Owariniwa mata hitoribochida.

Demo, mada ikiterushi,
             mada ikitai****,
Kono kurosa, kono nayamiwa,
Tookuni oshitai.
Daga, maigo no kodomo no youni,
[Douyatte kokokara deruno?]
toshika kikenai.
The English is a translation of something I wrote a little less than a month ago, other title suggestions welcome. I was having a not fantastic day, so the original was in Japanese. As Hello Poetry doesn't yet allow for kanji characters, I've typed it here using romaji.
Sam Oct 2017
There are lights, out in the distance, shining so bright

(stars have been left to the dull rot of pollution)

There is rain, its reflection sparkling upon flat, city pavement

(the same pavement that covers cicadas' dying voices,
leaves voids through trees)

There is my heart, weight resting heavy against my chest

(the smile on my face made of plaster and wood,
failing more quickly by the second)

There is beauty, still

(just most of it artificial)

Amidst that,

breathe ability is courage
when there are no longer any good choices to make.

breathe-ability is the nails biting into your skin
the hair yanked out from scalp
the bruises and scrapes itched raw
because you can't let yourself feel in any other way.

breatheability is the small amount of comfort that still exists
as you continue to agree to force air through your lungs.

and breatheability is living.

(because if you stop, you die.
no second chances.)
Sam Oct 2021
I stumbled over my words, today,
and it hurt.

Like nails, chipped off and dug in.
Like grief, slow and numb until it swallows, drowns you.
Like a culmination of things that has no good end.

It hurt, to feel a mess,
to stutter and restart,
to not quite have the right things come out.
It hurt, to hold my breath in,
to keep my ears open,
to not say: slow down, slow down, please,
you're speaking too fast, please.

To have to force the words through,
any that will come, on a day
where I hadn't wanted
to need to speak at all.

It. hurts.
Physically, under my chest.
A dull, hollow ache, that settles.
My head throbbing over it all.

It hurts, and nothing soothes it.

Not the feeling of inadequacy.
Not the bereft sense of loneliness.
Not the gnawing helplessness.

A cold comfort:
it's better, the next day -- easier.
to hide the uneasiness, to speak.
to keep face, match tone.

Easier, but not better.

I clench my hands into fists,
dig my nails into my skin,
and there is no one to notice that, either.
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.
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.

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
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.
Sam Jul 2021
sometimes, you breathe, and you breathe, and nothing changes.

if you can just look outside
of yourself,
you find the suncast sky,
blue turning black, lit only be street lamps.

if you can just look outside,
the tears stop,
they still.

but things like pain --
things like hurt --

they linger.

in the words I try to form,
in the mistakes I try
not to make.

they tell you to breathe in, breathe out.
count your breaths, center yourself in the present.
an anchor, a tether.

I wish it could be enough
to stave off other things:
like sadness, a crescendoing echo in my heart;
like hurt, a tangent constant at the edges;
like love, because you can never hold them close
Sam Jul 2021
there's a sort of hope here,
sun shining through glass
warmth spreading throughout.

see, and this... this is the kind of thing i want to be able to grasp.
hold onto.
a quick write from December, 2017
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.
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.
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 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.
Sam Sep 2020
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 person 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.
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.
Sam Jan 2021
Winter snaps at your sleeves,
Cold chills making you shiver,
like a thing you are meant to
run away from --

But you have always loved
this part of the season, the wind
whipping through your clothes,
as if to say,
alive, alive, alive.
like a reminder, fresh off the bay:
don't you dare, it nudges at you,
Alive, it says, awake, awake, awake. &
(maybe you need it, sometimes,
that memory, that reminder:
don't you dare, it tells you,
and it's enough to hold onto.)

Until it rains as much as it pours,
until mud soaks your skin through.
And the night tries to eat at you,
**** away what little you have left.

So melancholy settles in,
the reminder that you have never
been weightless; the faintest echo of
I miss you never escapes you but
for helpless sobs in fading twilight;
the winter air is keeping you afloat,
still, is hanging all your readymade
promises like stop signs in your face,
but you feel tiredness like an ache
in your chest, in your bones, like
a thing about to break.

You learned how to lie
the same summer you learned
how not to eat, pieces of yourself
fading away the more you said
i'm not hungry, and meant it.
You learned how to lie
the same way you learned to be quiet,
the right people looking at you wrong,
the wrong people picking out pieces
to an asymmetric picture -- too late,
you learned how to lie like it was easy, the way breathing (maybe) wasn't.

And you stopped because people cared just fast enough to matter,
stopped because you looked at yourself, one day, all hollowed out,
stopped in an instant, like it was easy,
How, how, how, like the guilt pounding through you,
like it was enough:
How could you do this to yourself?
Like the answer wasn't simple,
Like apathy and caring too much couldn't exist side by side,
Like you hadn't stopped pretending that everything didn't hurt years ago,
Like you believed yourself
when you promised it wouldn't happen again.

And yet here you are: be it winter, not spring; all alone again, so **** tired, again, the sadness unburied, spilling out.

And you should stop. yourself, take stock, remember what it is like to love to be alive before you go back to hating it, before you go back to not caring; but you are so tired, here, now, you think you might've skipped it: the part where you catch yourself. The part where you let someone else catch you. The part where it matters.

Alive, alive, alive, the wind hisses.
Don't you dare, it says, as your eyes water from the cold.
You are awake, it seems to be saying, alive, like you are still worth saving.
Maybe it will be enough.
Sam Jan 2018
your identity of claim wasn't intentional -
it just was.
you were the wind behind the open door and
the fastened clip of the safety belt and
the doormat to wipe shoes on and
just hidden in the shadows.
the girl in the background.

the shadows were lonely.
frigidly cold.
(and safe.)

alone = isolation = solitude =
(no one to break your heart)
(no one's heart to break)


the girl in the background

started to fade away

between blackened flashes
(headaches and near-faint dizziness)
failing sanity
and helplessness
(the sudden complete inability to smile)

to a more visible color

hovering at the stage left edge.


your friends found you.

walked with you the week you couldn't smile.

let you hide in shelters of too-long hugs
(until your heartbeat slowed
to match the steadier beat
and you started believing
in the idea of not being alone.)

held your newly-trembling hands steady.

gave you commiserating smiles and stories.

talked you down from the overwhelming terror.

dragged you bit by bit further away from the shadows.


the girl in the background disappears

around the time you start
saying back words like
"I love you"

to people who will undeniably leave you.

to people without the tie of blood-relation
because they have earned your trust
and someday is always too late.


the girl in the background
never had anyone
to rely on


you wake up to everything

three weeks starved of your lifelines of beating hearts

half a step away from the spotlight

the girl who doesn't quite stay silent (not anymore).


people expect you to say things, now.

expect you to be calm and speak.

(words tangle amidst languages,
get lost between
one synonym
and another
and another.)

you stay quiet, and you know the hurt you see
flash across
is not a product of your imagination.

(you miss it, a little. being the girl in the background.)


deadlines loom above your head,
T minus 5 months

After that: gone.


you'll miss them.

as things are progressing at the moment,
they'll miss you.

if you could do it, though,
fade back to black
(lonely distant shadows)
they might forget.

(forget you.)

it would hurt them less, in the long run.


(the girl in the background starts to make her comeback.)
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.
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,
Sam Oct 2019
It's raining outside like buckets
                                  - - - like hard and fast and almost even
                                   - - - like rain you'd best not be caught in
                                    - - - like the beginnings of a terrible storm
except there's no thunder, no lightning.

It's just rain, and you are inside, safe with a soft blanket
(you are not scared and shuddering
  you are not crying and wishing not to be alone
  you are not holding in choked breaths, hugging yourself tight.

it is raining, and it rains most days, here.
the trees around you are so green, like nothing you're used to.
you have a room to yourself, and no one who loves you who lives close.
(and you think you might love it here.)

this, where you reside, this is not a place you can call home.
(not when your heart still yearns for the place you grew up, so long ago.
  not when most of the people that make up your family live oceans away.
  not when you have just barely lived here a month, not quite yet.)
but -- but -- this place, it feels safe.

you can't remember living anywhere where all you felt was safe, before.
you - really - don't want to let that go.
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.
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.
Sam Nov 2016
How much can you hide in a sentence?
    How much can you hide in a laugh?
        How much can you hide in a smile?

                                                         ­   How much can you hide in your hands?
                                                        **­w much can you hide in your face?

                    How much can you hide from everyone who cares about you?

*Much, much, more, than I ever knew.
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.
Sam May 2017
I see myself reflected in those red-rimmed eyes of yours,
This self-deprecating
and loneliness -
And I want to help you, staring so far away, but I am drowning too,
and the walls of glass
Are too hard to break.

I am falling but you are falling faster, and
i'd switch places with you in a heartbeat,
But I am falling too, and
We will both hit the ground,
splat after the other,
Two broken things that could never be mended.
because not everything can be fixed
Sam Apr 2018
Here's a lie:

You're fine.

a truth:

(You're scared. More scared than you'll ever admit, and sad. Sad enough that miserable is probably a more accurate description, and
ly, too.

enough that even your friends' are barely enough to make you smile, now, now you are apathetic, because feeling is tootoo much-

                 checking your pulse every hour, just to prove you're still alive --

a pity, turns out you're still breathing.)

and No, really. You are.

You're just fine.

You're just  f  i  n  e.

(you can't afford to be anything else)
Sam Jul 2017
It isn't right for me to latch onto you like a lifeline,
                                                       ­                        because you are, you know,

It isn't right for me to keep on hugging you well past the first ten seconds.

It isn't right that the tears are stuck in my throat,
                                                                ­         that I'm no longer afraid to cry,

It isn't right that we're in the dark, and no one else can help us now.

It isn't right that when you eventually let go, there's so much genuine concern in your voice, when you say, I'm sorry, but are you okay?

It isn't right that I shrug your concern away. That I say I'm fine, even to the only person who's cared enough to ask - it isn't right.

But just because it isn't right, doesn't mean it isn't the truth.
                                                          ­                            *Because it is, you know.
And if I could have said thank you - if the dark was dark enough that I'd actually forget that ears have walls - if gratefulness hadn't been so intermixed with a little bit of terror because you weren't meant to see straight through me - I would have, and I would have meant it whole-heartedly.
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?
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.
Sam May 2019
What you're wearing is not--
You bought the shirt yourself, to remind you of a trip.
The black jeans are from your mother,
                            are from a branch of a store that started back home
Your bracelet is a reminder of your host mother, who made it,
                           (and because you like purple)
Your glasses you need to see, are years old, with constant smudges,
Your hair is plaited because
         your mom used to give you french braids, daily,
         and it's since become a nervous habit
Your hair tye is just old, and used, from
                                           you don't even remember what year.

So, what you're wearing, it's not meaningless.
                                                    ­                              -- it's who you are.
It's the people you miss and the things you keep -
Because you've moved, so many times now, that you know
that everything you own fits into about 12 boxes, and
that's alright.

But it means that what you own -
what you own, is who you are.

And if that's the case,
then you're a mix of anyone who's ever been kind to you -
and that's a lot. A whole lot.
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.
Sam May 2020
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.
Sam Jun 2017
When I was younger, I dreamed of impossible things.
They were wonderful, and brilliant, and fantastic,
(but they were
and i knew it and that was fine.

Now, I dream of when I was younger.
when home wasn't a word i had to ponder the meaning of,
when the worst thing that could happen was falling off my bike,
when countries and cultures and people
blended together
and i wasn't a roadblock, caught in the middle.

People say, "Live in the moment."
i don't want to
"Enjoy life,"
i can't, always, and --
"it doesn't last."
i know.

I know I'll look back, someday, and
I know I'll dream of this.
of cicadas chirping in the summer,
of trains rushing past every twelve minutes,
of the silence, and the waiting,
the eye that came before the storm.

I know.

but regrets?
i've had a few.

they say not to linger on them,
they say the past is just the past, they say,

remember the past so you can learn from your mistakes.

That's my excuse, and
it's true, too.

so i guess, what i'm trying to say,
is that i

can't live
in the moment;
the moment
will burn my soul and solder me to ashes,
but i can live
through *it, this way,
and then, someday,
when everything gets infinitely worse,
i'll remember this with something like fondness.
Sam Jun 2017
It hurts to be loved so much.

Hurts enough to make you cry,
hurts enough to make you want to push them all away.

You are you
They are them
you do not deserve their love.

It isn't that the people you love
                                                          ­who love you too
                                          are without their imperfections. They aren't:
a little too reckless
a little too shy of compliments
a little too talkative
a little too apologetic.

It's that they're kind.
It's that they notice you when you have never been seen before,
It's that they stand up for you;
It's that they get hurt for you.

And perhaps you are selfish
You should
     Shove them all away so you are left in a corner, arms wrapped around yourself, alone, where no one else can get hurt.
You should
     Take their love, only to fling it back at them hard enough to make them run away.
You should, and you should, and
     they hug you so their arms are wrapped around your shoulders,
and you should flinch away, and
you almost do -

But you can smell the calming fragrance of their hair,
You can
feel their arms wrapped around you, so tangible, like they're never going to leave,
     but they will, and they will, and they always have,
but you let yourself take their warmth anyway.

Someone tells you, once, that you, are a good person,
And you shouldn't, should never
believe it
people have told you before, and you've never let yourself believe it then, and why should you now?
                         Except, you're crying because you can't make yourself stop, and, the person you hurt -
                                by accident, always by accident -
is the one saying it, so
Maybe, you can be, a good person

But you shouldn't,
Because you are the one,
who tries and tries and tries, and fails,
and tries, and tries, and tries, and fails,
and tries and tries and tries and produces something almost mediocre.

You are the one,
who sees those flashes of disappointment flit across their face,
because you know,
   (and now, so do they,)
that you are never, will never,
                                                     be enough.

And so you almost hate them,
these people who dare to love you -
because, perhaps you love them,
but that doesn't mean,
that they should love you.

And maybe you should give this up,
but what is the point, really,
when the people who love you are the ones you'd be disappointing?

So you accept it, this thing you
don't deserve, (could never deserve,)
This thing, that makes your chest feel hollow inside, makes guilt creep in and swallow you whole until you can barely breathe

there is that thread, hanging around your ears, echoing,
because against your better judgement, someone's actually gotten you to
believe it, that,
You are a good person.

And so you will
                               keep trying and trying and trying,

And maybe maybe maybe someday,

                                                       ­         I will be worthy of their love.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Sam Feb 2018
If you were feeling -

If you were breathing normal and proper and thick with emotion -

The guilt would tear you apart.

*(and this is apathy's saving grace.)
Sam May 2020
When you are younger, still,
and the school system is trying to teach you
wrong from right,
bad from good,
black from white, no dulled grey edges --
they tell the students to fess up to their crimes.
they tell their students to own up to their actions.
they tell you that blame is pointless:
that what has been done has been done.
                                                           ­                 and you, at 6, and you, at 7,
so very young, still, so very unaware how all your classmates
                                                                ­                                              hate you
you take it all to heart.

and if your 2nd grade teacher derides you for the colour of your skin --
when the chair falls, when the pens are pushed off your desk
you straighten it. you pick them up.
when food gets bumped, accidentally pushed, lands on the floor
you are the first to the paper towel rack, first apologising, first to fix it.
when you are running away, sprinting fast down forbidden corridors
and the other girl is running after you in the halls
you say it was your idea.
take all of Teacher's harsh words so the other girl doesn't.

And if your 2nd grade teacher looks down on you the entire year:
for your hair, for your clunky words, for the colour of your eyes.
maybe, you will think, maybe, looking back--
maybe you didn't help your case.

And maybe those actions were kindness, but none were bravery.
All of them were you, negating the blame.
Saying: actions are actions are actions have happened.
Saying: excuses are worthless, fine -- so let me fix this instead.

There was no point in blame so there was
no blame so
instead you decided
all my fault.

Here, now, in the harsh cold present --
there is a pandemic. there are people dying.
there is the news and there are your relatives,
both of them pointlessly, endlessly, arguing politics.
there was a flood, before, and an earthquake and a death.
there were schools, blurring behind your eyes because there were so many.
and friends. lost, and not.

And sometimes, the helplessness engulfs you whole.
And sometimes, the amount of rage simmering under your skin
is enough for you to tremble and shake with that power,
is enough to almost make you forget why not, why never,
is enough for you to lash out (with your words)
and hurt someone.
So you bite it back and swallow it all
(because not today, because you will NOT lose anyone today)
and you think my fault
until your breathing is calm, steadied.
until the breaking point is buried back, deep beneath your skin.
until the emptiness washes over you, back to resigned, hollow, sadness.

I have done this, you tell yourself, because
even if no one is at fault, and
even if the world is to blame
you never want to become someone who blames the world:
never want to become someone to throw down a gauntlet,
to say, "I have been wronged." to say, "This is what I deserve."
You never want to become someone who thinks they are owed --
because you are not.
because you are owed the same as anyone else and that is  n o t h i n g.

and if this saves you, this thing they did not mean to teach you at school
(and maybe it is self-loathing. and maybe it is self-deprecation.)
if this stops you from that, this twisted version of responsibility
if this helps any other person along the way --
you think it's enough.
Sam Jul 2017
a dictionary definition:
adjective: *conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

noun: the average or mean; the standard or type.
non-dictionary synonyms: to fit in; to not be different

                                  I just want(need)(crave)a little bit of normal
                                       just a little bit of remembrance; acceptance

I want to be them:
                       the little boy who's always at the playground after 3, everyday,
                       the lady who comes by to feed the ducks every Saturday,
                       the man who sits watching the trains pass for an hour come 9,
                       the girl who jogs past me every morning at 6:57,

the kind of normal you never actually
know but still remember in passing.

I want to be this:
                       to not have people's minds made up the moment they see me,

(because the color of my skin, hair, and eyes is not all that I am)
                       to not have hide myself from people I love,
(not because I doubt their acceptance, but because I don't doubt their acceptance could get them hurt in the long run)
                       to hate English grammar because it's grammar and not because it's English grammar,
(because hating grammar is one thing, being unable to completely grasp the grammar of your second language is another, and not understanding grammar of a second language that should have been (that people mistake for) your first, is another matter entirely)

the kind of normal that lets you be considered as normal, instead of the different that is normal to me.

I don't need your pity, or
                      your fake attempts at friendliness, or
                      you swinging me along.

                                        I just want a moment of belonging
                                                  a moment of normal
                        and then it can all go back to being the different I'm used to.
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.
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?
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