I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this. But you won't.
Well... not all of you. You can't always walk out of your battles completely intact, we're much to fragile for that. Even the strongest of stones, that which has seen the universe and everything that came before us, eventually get carved out from storms. The gentle water keeps washing them clean, beating against the exterior, shaping something that only nature might create. You should know, even the softest things, like the drops of water that fall from the heavens, can wear out your heart and penetrate your thickest skin. You are not a stone after all. You are a human, with a soul, who protect the blood that runs through your veins, even subconsciously. Yes, the storm is coming at you, and you must fight it. But here is a universal truth: where there is an external battle, an internal one brews as well.
Look inside of you, tell me where you see the bruises. Tell me if you can still see your own heart. Tell me where the scars line your skin, moving like Van Gogh's Starry Night. You tell yourself it's okay, it's okay if your hands are stained red, it's only your own blood anyway. I'm sure people look at you, in broad daylight and give you a small smile, only to say "You'll get through this." And yes, you will get through this, but not all parts of you will survive it.
There's an Arabic saying, “You want to die? Then throw yourself into the sea and you’ll see yourself fighting to survive. You do not want to kill yourself, rather you want to kill something inside of you.” So in this way, you will cut away parts of yourself. You see, my beautiful child, the horrid truth is, that in order for you to survive, you will end up sacrificing other parts of yourself.
To this day, I can look in the mirror and tell you, that I can only see the parts of me I've killed to ensure other parts of me survive. Survival is messy, not all of you will make it, but you are greater than the sum of your parts. My love, the clock will keep ticking, and your heart will still keep beating. I'll tell you another secret: survival is overrated. We've destroyed the word. You see, soldiers come out of battle and we say, "my god, it's wonderful they survived." But if you look into their eyes, it'll tell you something different, it'll tell you that they did not survive. Too many parts of themselves had been lost, cut away, stolen. They got through it, but they did not survive.
It's a curse of having strong shoulders. It's pessimistic to say, but go on, meet me in the sea and I will take your hand and we will ensure that we get through it. I can't promise survival for all of you, but I promise that the best parts of you will make it through.
Like I said, survival is overrated.
tell me a sin
you're a good guy, I know.
it's evident in the way you smile.
a gentleman in your suit and tie,
but you can put me on trial.
I'll swear to the judge and jury,
all the sins that drip from my lips,
but I'll keep my favorite secrets,
like the evidence of your fingers on my hips.
They love you as a gentleman,
but I have loved you as so much more.
I'll wait for the light to finally shift,
Do they know what you've used that halo for?
but I've seen it, in the flashes,
dark flames creeping at your eyes-
rising when you steal glances at me.
in them, a devil in an angel's guise.
Those perfect blue eyes turn to ice,
drowning in your whiskey at night.
When you see me do you dream
how we must feel, late at night?
For a moment, do you imagine,
your hands tangled in my hair,
as I softly kiss every curve of your throat.
every sound falls like a prayer.
Do you imagine your restraint
tossed in the corner, next to your shirt?
What about my fingers wrapped around yours,
as I brush away all your hurt?
I would pour over every inch of you,
to hear your wildest desires.
and if desperation falls at our doorstep,
do we do the things it requires?
Sometimes, I swear I can feel your hand,
tracing the top of the slit in my dress.
and the higher and deeper you go,
the more I have to confess.
god, maybe you're just as dark as me,
and in each other, we find rays of sacred daylight.
One look and I already feel your hands in my hair,
oh, but you're a gentleman... right?
cobwebs under my bed.
I must apologize to the monster,
that stayed under my bed as I slept.
It watched as I tossed and turned,
and fell silent when I wept.
I suppose we all realized the same thing,
looking back at our empty beds.
The monster wasn't the enemy after all,
not the one that pulled at loose threads.
I mean, what makes a monster a monster?
Is it a sinister smile, gleaming in the dark?
I think our fears create our monsters,
and we burn faces onto them, an unjust mark.
When I was 5, I was scared of the sea,
but I was ready to jump and even fail.
Now I'm 19, I am scared to jump and fail,
but into the sea, no turning back, I'll open my sail.
You think my monster heard my prayers?
and then carefully gave me something to fear,
easy enough to overcome in time,
so that my bravery might appear.
So that perhaps in the many years ahead,
bravery might not be such a foreign tool,
and that when the real monsters appear,
I am firmly equipped for the duel.
All the fragile, crumbling fairytales told us,
that the monster came to take my soul.
Why is the monster there, they cried?
Is it here to devour our dreams whole?
I suddenly begin to wonder the truth,
as I heard the lock fight against the key,
or was it because there are dangers in this world,
and the monster was only trying to protect me?
poet, soldier, king
Poet, soldier or king? Everyone can be laid into one of these categories. Currently, there is a quiz going viral based on the song "Poet, Soldier, King" by the Oh Hellos. If you haven't heard the song, I heavily suggest you take a listen, especially if you are fond of Celtic rock/folk. The subsequent quiz, which I have linked below and also suggest you take, will put you in one of these positions. At first, I found this to be just another personality quiz, and I went in with confidence that I would get the result of Poet. My, was I shocked when I received at the very thing I hid from: the King. At first, I was confused, because I am a poet, I am a writer, my weapon is my words.
However, as I stared at myself in the mirror later that night, I realized something. I stand, with a straight back, my shoulders tense and heavy, as if carrying the weight of the voiceless and nameless. My eyes are heavy with the things I have seen and the pain I have felt. There are bags underneath them, hollow, that have become prominent after making sacrifices and difficult decisions. The crown may not sit on my head, but I have felt its weight since I was born. I have dressed up as the poet, but I have always been and might always be a tired King with relentless hope and duty.
I hid from it for so long, but the crown bore my name long before I was born, the stars wrote my name long before I ever picked up a pen. I may not have a kingdom, but I do have a people. I have a community I grew up in, a town, a home, where people looked to me as a leader for a new generation. It was expected of me since I was young. I led the young girls and I shed blood to keep up with the boys my age. I smiled at parties and said all the right things. Even with my mistakes and faults, the crown was relentless, it has embedded itself in my skull, like thorns. You see the flowers grow from my head, but not the blood I have wiped away.
I heard that the poet wants to be the soldier, the soldier wants to be the king, and the king wants to be the poet. Which, although accurate, misses a few details. More than that, I believe that someone else spoke correctly when they said the Poet wants the strength of the Soldier, the Soldier wants the mind of the King, and the King wants the freedom of the Poet. And don't you all know that to be true? I once read that every great writer has a hallmark emotion that they write from. If that's true, mine is the cry for freedom. Deeper than yearning and more raw than longing. I have dreamed of freedom since I was young. I have felt the weight of the crown, but it weighs me down, and I hope to be free one day. For now however, I have accepted something: I am the King. Not a King who sees the world with fresh eyes, but one who has seen one too many wars and injustices, but has never forgotten the dream of peace and freedom.
I finally figured it out in the end, here is the ultimate truth: I have the hands of a soldier, the heart of a poet, and the eyes of a King. I know what the say, heavy is the head that bears the crown- but I have strong shoulders.
10pm at Cheers: a thank you.
I live in a big city. The sounds grow louder with the day and the lights grow brighter with the night. Too often, I feel myself become lost in the rapid pace of this city. I fight feelings of loneliness, emptiness and immense fear, but there comes a time where I forget all of that. There is one hour of my day that sets my soul at ease. For one hour of the day, I am transported to another big city: Boston. There, after walking in the chilly wind, I end my day in a warm place. Every night, at 10 pm, I am greeted by the sounds and warmth of a bar called Cheers.
At 10pm, I turn my TV to Channel 7, and I say hello to the gang at Cheers. Tears well in my eyes but refuse to fall as the theme song plays. It's at that time I really do miss where everybody knows my name. I scream "Norm!" at the TV and I laugh as Carla hurls verbal punches at Diane. The solace I have, is that for an hour, I am no longer here. For 2 episodes, I am in a completely different city, where I am amongst the bar patrons, rolling my eyes when Cliff begins to speak.
You see, it's not about Cheers, but it is what Cheers represents. The familiar atmosphere is something I long to find here in college, but I am still seeking it. I suppose it is peculiar, that a show which is 41 years old puts my 19 year old heart at rest, but nothing makes me feel at ease like those beginning piano bars in the theme song. I think there is quite the truth to be spoken in that song. I am prolific amongst my friends and family for being a runner. Not in the athletic sense, but in the sense that I am constantly running away from the familiar and into the unknown. However, I find that no matter how far I run, I will always look back and cherish my time at the places where everyone knows my name.
I think, in a manner of speaking, it's inherent human nature to seek places where everyone knows us and is glad we came. It's part of what makes Cheers so special. Here, where I have no one, I find great solace in the fact that once the clock turns 10, I can turn to Sam Malone, and tell him about my day while he gives me a smile and pours me a drink. What makes Cheers work as a show, and I mean the inherent nature in the message of the show, is that it provides an empathetic retreat where one can feel at home. Do you know how many times I've turned on Cheers after a bad day, crying during the theme song only to leave the episode laughing as the picture of the bar room lingers on my screen, reminding me to thank Glen Charles, Les Charles, and James Burrows.
Cheers and its theme song feel like Bruce Springsteens longing and cathartic cry in Born to Run. That's how I best know how to describe it. It is a part of my soul that is so calming that sometimes, when I truly feel the depths of this lonely world, I pretend I am at that bar. I pretend everyone shouts my name as I walk through the door and Coach asks "How's life treating ya?" when I sit down. I pretend that for a few moments in my day, I am received with love and fondness. You see, the warmth of the bar in Cheers makes the cold pavements of my big city a little easier to bear. The gang on the show makes me feel like loneliness isn't a burden on my heart. I owe a big thank you to Cheers, it's been with me through the thick and thin. How I feel so connected to something from so long ago. To me, Cheers feels like laughter.
These characters speak to me every night. Carla reminds me to be tough, Diane reminds me to be elegant, Cliff reminds me to be myself, Norm reminds me to be true to my values, Frasier reminds me to allow myself to be hurt, Rebecca reminds me to be kind, Woody reminds me to hold onto childlike innocence, Coach reminds me to laugh, at the world and at myself. Most importantly, Sam reminds me to be brave, passionate, accepting, humble and above all, he reminds me that there will always be a seat for me at the end of the bar. Cheers.
What do you say when someone dies?
When the supermarket flowers aren’t enough.
And the food I bring begins to grow old,
Placed on a table, buried by piles of stuff.
I could buy a million roses,
But in a week, they would have died.
They might crumble in your hand,
and they won’t fill the void inside.
I know that the calendar won’t change months,
And the clock will freeze in time,
And the bells will softly taunt you,
when they begin to chime.
So I stand upon your doorstep,
But my hands refuse to knock.
I usually know exactly what to say,
But now, I’m afraid to talk.
I look to the heavens as if they’ll answer,
Today, the sky is more gray than blue,
And I whisper to whoever is listening,
“He cries every time he thinks of you.”
I wish we could fill your hollow bones,
With food, flowers and some dessert.
But you already seem too heavy,
In your eyes, I see all of your hurt.
I guess this is part of life,
I’ll be honest, we don’t know what to do
So I’ll just silently stand here by your side,
I’ll always be waiting here for you.
I’ve always said life moves fast, but,
Buying these roses today was never planned.
And now I’m standing at your door,
Staring at the supermarket flowers in my hand.
please be gentle, this is my deepest secret.
This will not be like my other posts, this one will lack poise and refinement, but it will be as raw and real as anything I have ever written. The morning is cloudy, it's just rained, but the clouds linger over us. So, what's special about this morning? Nothing. I had plans to go out with a friend, a friend who won't reply. My dad asked me, "How's college? How are your friends?" and all I could ask is "What friends?". My adventures are always alone, but my deepest secret is that I want a group of friends in college more than I could ever imagine. The last few weeks have been a steady stream of people ditching me for something better, reinforcing the notion that I will always be 2nd in someone's life, even if they come first for me.
The only good group of friends I have is scattered across the country, weekly facetime calls are the only thing that reminds us that home is made of people, not a place. And under the veil of my online identity, I will tell you my biggest secret. Last week, one of my friends asked us, "If you could be granted one wish, right now, what would it be?", and that was the first time I've ever lied to my friends. We laughed, more happiness, more freedom, maybe some Taco Bell, we joked. But here it is, here is what I wanted to wish for, so horrible that I haven't even been able to say it out loud.
I wished everyone would forget me. I wished that no one would feel pain if I left. I've wanted to run, disappear, leave, drown, and the harshest one of all, I once wanted to leave this earth. But there is a thought in my head, that the people who really love me, might feel a irreversible pain. It's like a safety net, and they will never know how deeply, they are the only thing tethering me to this world. But, by god, sometimes I wish that no one knew me, so it would hurt them when my feet break out into a run and I disappear.
It's a horrible thing, I know, but I can only be lonely for so long. I'm sure it doesn't feel like the end of the world to you, but to me, I think that the world would keep spinning and it wouldn't make a difference. The only thing that stops me from just disappearing is that it might cause more pain than my freedom is worth. Will this be my life? Adventuring alone and telling myself that I like it better than being with people? What is it that makes me want to run away? I'm looking for something different out of life and people my age aren't seeking the same things. I can't pretend the alcohol makes me feel full, it only leaves me feeling empty. I can't cope the way they do. Because if I do, and I reach the bottom of the bottle, it'll be as empty as I feel.
I'm sorry, if you are reading this, I am sorry. I am sorry for the tears that are falling from my eyes and I am sorry for the pain I feel. I know you don't have to be reading this, but my god, I appreciate it. It means the world and more to me. This is my safe space. This will be the secret I take to the grave. It's a cloudy morning, and I still can't see the sun in the sky.
I think parts of me are different ages, you could tear me apart, limb by limb, and you would be able to never guess how the parts of me belong to each other. I am a paradox by my very existence. I am old and new at the same time. My fingers are old, they hold the earth like they have felt its waters a million times over. They drum along to old songs from the '80s, the '40s, and the '20s, then to hymns that were first sung thousands of years ago. They touch the ivory keys on a piano with the same fervor and curiosity that Mozart and Beethoven had. My hands are the oldest in the way they hold a paintbrush, only wanting to capture raw human emotion as softly as possible.
Yet my eyes are young, they have life and light in them. Yes, they show the heaviness of my pain but do not mistake that for a faded spirit. The youth in my eyes is only filled with possibilities. I look up at the stars and the universe with the same astonishment and child-like awe that you can see in cracks through the professional facade of astronomers when they send satellites into deep space. My eyes will show you all the things that you can be and everything you have ever wanted to be.
Just like that, I am made up of different pieces. My feet are old, they have walked this earth hundreds of times before and they are no strangers to the soil. I can walk anywhere, however long it takes me, I have no objections. My smile is that of a 19 year old, forever on the edge of adulthood but still standing in adolescence. I will hug you like I am 78, and this may be the last time. I will hold your hand like I am 2 and you are all I know and have in this world. I will love you in multiple ways. I will love you like the 8-year-old who needs her father's hand to jump across a river, and I will love you like we are 15 and have never known hurt before. I will love you like I am 18 and see the rest of my life with you. I will love you like I am 29, creating our life together. I will love you like I am 35, where, in the mess of life and chaos, I still choose you. I will love you like I am 50, still in love with your smile and the glitter in your eyes. I will love you like I am 83 and not even death can pull us apart. I will love you in all these ways, all at once.
I have no fear of turning 20, or 30, or 50, or 80 and I especially, have no fear of meeting death. For my soul is without age, it floats and it dances. It belongs to futuristic dreamers and impressionist painters. It reads the articles of tomorrow and falls in love with the classics of yesterday. My soul is not a diamond to be valued, it is simply beautiful because it is. I could guess my age in every mirror, but each time I would see something different. In one, I would see my mother's face, and in another, I will see my younger sister. My face, my features, and my aura were generations in the making and will be seen for generations to come. My eyes are hundreds of generations old, and my nose will be there for generations to come. You have seen me before and you will see me again.
I suppose I couldn't say how old I am, just that I am of this earth and in the most earth-shattering and unnerving way, I am human.
Leaves like wings
I watch the butterflies dance around the oak tree,
Fluttering in and out, with the breath of the breeze.
But if I am silent enough, If the blood stops rushing,
I can feel wind from its wings, like waves in seas.
Let it be silent, in always reminding me,
That the leaves will fall, and I am like the tree.
The flowers are long gone, now I bear fruit.
And as the branches empty, my heart follows suit.
I think back to climbing trees, my knees always scraped
but my hands became strong, holding roses and thorns.
Soon, the butterflies stop dancing, they land one last time,
Falling like leaves, but the tree never mourns.
I suppose it knows, what we would all find out.
That butterflies will be born again, it does not doubt.
But I will sit, in the dead of winter,
And long to feel the tree, this ache much like a splinter.
A dim sun rises, over mountains made of mist,
And we became cold in the rain and dark in our towers.
Until the days become long, they whisper to me,
That the butterflies are dancing again, and I finally have flowers.
the boy in a historic home.
I met a boy who said he lived in an old house.
Later I learned that his parents cared for a historic home.
Shrouded by autumn leaves from Virginian trees.
I wondered if, in the shadows, he'd ever seen the spirits roam.
I still think about him, that small boy,
running through old hallways and crashing into fragile walls.
His laugh bouncing off dead wood and skeletons of childhood.
Him and a shadow, the light never makes it to the end of the halls.
He wrote stories about old families and kids who were once there.
"it makes me feel less alone," he told me, under a dying oak tree.
Perhaps they became friends, he kept the roses, they kept the stems.
but I was scared of the ghosts, they stirred inside and tried to flee.
I told him once, that his house was haunted.
It always felt like someone had already stepped into my footprint.
Maybe that's why the carpets were deep red and he pulled at the thread.
Its history was filled with things we could have said but didn't.
He said, during raging thunderstorms at night,
he would hide in the closet, so I asked "were you scared to be alone?"
But the little girl with whom he'd hide would sit at his side.
Flashes of light came through the creaks, softly filling his bones.
Years later, I thought that Virginia, warm and historic,
would always remain haunted, by the dead and alive.
Some things echo on the floors and others create locked doors.
I could see the ghosts in his eyes even when we were five.
Once, he dreamt that the house swallowed him whole,
so he ran to my bedroom window, his face pale and flushed.
I held the window open but I felt that something was broken,
he told me stories about the family, his whispers hushed.
Then he closed the window, and ran back to the historic house,
I think he never really found the house to be his own.
Living in other people's shoes his feet became bruised,
Maybe he was scarred by the history that was never shown.