Sometimes it’s the timing that’s wrong
Sometimes I listen
To not only the melody
But for the notes in between
The rests; the moments between seconds;
to me they sound like a symphony in every song
The moments ignored; the ones that bring the humanness back to something almost inhuman
the pianist’s fingertips brushing over frayed black and white keys to the right note,
The breath the vocalist takes before the octave change
The frets the guitarist’s fingers slide over before choosing the right ones for the chord.
Between the highs and lows, the harmonies;
can you hear the sort of vulnerability
The one that doesn’t lie in the music but the musician
I got my first guitar when I was 10 years old.
It was a navy blue Ibanez from guitar center.
It was used and when I played it
It sounded like a shriek more than anything of music, but it was mine.
I’ll never forget the first time I sat in a soundproofed room at that music school
With Jimi Hendrix posters on the wall, playing the riff of “Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones completely off beat
and thinking to myself that I had found magic.
Back then, metal strings still made my fingers bleed
and I used to forget song formats and my rhythm was horrible no matter how often I used a metronome.
My second guitar was a matte black Jackson with a sharp headstock.
I drew flowers on it with a white sharpie and took out springs in the back
Which made the bridge float until it was almost unplayable.
But I didn’t notice and I didn’t care because it was mine and
I still played with my eyes closed and sang off key
I used to scream the lyrics to Green Day songs and I felt like I knew who I was
I used to be unafraid and though
Posters on the walls were replaced, white walls were painted dark gray somehow that school still felt like home
With music blaring through practice rooms
I think I’m always going to miss the sound of music
Not professional, produced
Not crisp and clean, but raw music played by teenagers who could eat 6 boxes of pizza in 20 minutes.
I remember walking in the rain to the CVS across the street
Joking and laughing
I remember growing up with friends that became a family
My third guitar was a Fender Stratocaster, sea foam green.
I bought it used and the fretboard is chipped but its mine.
Now my hair is its natural, bleak dark brown and I prefer indie to hard rock but I am still me.
And I don’t think I’ll ever become the musician I once wanted to be
But I know that music is seared into my soul
And that’s the only thing that hasn’t changed.
Bad days are just good days that started off with false promises of euphoria
Maybe you got an A on the test you didn’t study for
Or they served those spicy chicken nuggets you like
Maybe the sunset was pretty
And then maybe you realize a day with good doesn’t guarantee a good day
suddenly its 3 am and tears stream down your face
You’re wishing it could just be over
And you listen to something that makes your heart drip black ink
Wishing you were lucky enough to call it only a nightmare
And you bang your head against the cold linoleum bathroom floor as you lie wishing you could just sink
we may be afraid now but with time comes courage
after you’ve stared at wounds soaked in alcohol and
covered with minions band aids;
at your horrified face in the mirror after cutting your bangs too short
after you’ve starched your hair with every chemical under God’s sun;
And dyed it manic panic cotton candy pink
After the spray tan that stained your skin a color that no natural human body has ever displayed
After you run out of unhealthy ways of coping
Wishing you could go back to a time of fifty cent over sweetened iced tea
California sun searing into your skin
Pastel green Baskin Robbins ice cream melting between your fingertips
Summers you spent yearning for autumns
now becoming winters spent yearning for spring
you’re dissatisfied no matter what season
But trust me when I say that
You are going to have bad days and
sometimes good days where
it’s hard to see the good
Trust me when I say you still have plenty of time and many new roads lie ahead
When its Monday and the sun’s out
Did you think of novocaine and the stench of bleach
Did the ceiling feel closer with every breath of your punctured lungs
Did you have to force your heart to remember how to beat
Did wildfires spread between the cracks of your ribs?
once the burning had faded—did you know the feeling?
Is it something that you would’ve once called pain
Was pain anything more than a syllable; a roll of the tongue
To you, did poison taste saccharine sweet?
Were you afraid to heal; is blood your ink?
do you find yourself infatuated by tragedy
Is your burden only more fuel for your art
With every inhale were you left emasculated;
Did you feel less alive despite the euphoria; despite the peace of mind
numb from glue and gasoline in ignition
Did you ever feel like a fallen star?
Did you ever talk too fast because you knew
no one was listening anyway
Was it hard to make everyone happy when
They gave you not even a second glance
Was it hard to love someone to the point where they could
only let you down
Is it better to burn out than to fade away
Is it better to be immortalized?
Im sitting In an office that smells like spearmint. staring at my fraying shoelaces;
I hold my breath as my vision turns foggy, my chest tightens-
Trying to resist the urge to puke.
A man I hardly know asks me to remember
A week that I would give anything to forget
Red reminds some of pain; bloodshed, red was the color I felt
I can feel blood draining from my face and my heart sinking to my feet
Do you think its irony that red is the color of love?
I remember that ordinary tuesday when the sun set,
And a moment where it felt like neither of us would rise again.
A week of pouring all the wishes I never made and 11:11s I’d saved out to the universe
Wishing you would be back the next day
Once you'd told me I was everything
If everything couldn’t save you what else could?
Memories flood all the cracks in my brain, the ones that deepened after days without sleep
I feel my heart fall crack through the floor as my tongue scrambles to find the right words
Tears stream down my face
As I sit in a navy painted counseling office, once again flooded with guilt
The week you disappeared
Even if I tried
I really don’t think I could ever forget the day I got a call from a number I didn’t know
those words that echo through my head and still ring in my ears sometimes when its late and it feels like parts of the world have faded
the words that I’ll never forget:
cracked English painted over poor signal; almost like some fifth dimensional language
your friend is on the line”
I think the color of confusion would be blue
Not a crystal sky blue but more of a foggy dusk color blue, the one that looks like theres a different color underneath
if you look hard enough
So many questions I wanted to ask and so many things I knew you wouldn’t say
When I finally got to talk to you
I don’t think im poetic enough to truly describe pain
But let me assure you when I say that I felt it
I didn’t know why my voice cracked and my hand felt like a sparrow in flight
Your words were coated in honey but they felt like a dagger
You said you were okay— of course you weren’t
You said it wasn’t my fault—I knew it was
You said you missed me and the food was bad and you said
You only got 10 minutes on the phone.
You said you wanted to leave.
You said you had a dream about me and it was the best part of being there
The line clicked dead before I could tell you I love you
It felt like you handed me a loaded gun, pointed it to your head
and I was the one who tried to pull the trigger; I was the thing that tried to end your life and
not a half bottle of extra strength aspirin
I realized we were on different ends of the solar system
it’d been 4 days for you but it felt like years for me.
I clung to my phone which was still buzzing a dead line
in search for the fragments still left of your presence
hoping if I held on hard enough you’d never let go
Too Many nights I spent drained of sleep and searching for the stars that felt too far away
Because I hate losing and I thought I’d lost you
A fabricated picture of something I stare at on a regular basis feels so much more beautiful
Maybe because pictures capture a strange beauty that is overlooked in reality
powerlines that you always thought were ****; the school that you dreaded going to
behind a place that you never considered home
Nostalgia is the most hypnotic feeling if it can trick you into thinking that you miss something you always loathed.
And not just the pink in the sky, folding in over the edges of a strawberry sun
One that makes the world feel like a wonderland; cotton candy skies
The ones you used to laugh with your friends under; atop lush green grass that stained the knees of your jeans
Tell me why that sky makes the rest of the world feel like something else entirely
Maybe in a photo taken at an exact moment; a particular frame of memory
Covered in a filter of nostalgia; any stench of originality buried completely
Cursed with appeal and burdened to be something that it isn't.
Maybe it’s easier to love something when its thousands of miles away
And while I’m writing this and as nostalgia sinks its teeth into my skin
I guess I’m realizing that it’s not the view I miss it’s the walk
— The End —