After Reading an E-mail from the Graduate Admissions Office

Sunny skies painted my horizon blue,

much more for rain and clouded

afternoons, in Summer,

until I learned solar waves do 

percolate through my heart, 

beating against

its cage, freeing me from heavy

thoughts, and careless self-imaging.

There were words written to me in

happy tones, congratulating,

like the long hour had passed,

the minute-hand moved toward the zenith

of its arc, and long, dissonant notes,

chiming from a belltower

that often set me with anxiety,

today are liberating.

I have been walking through the pages

of a well-known novel by Salinger,

soaking in the character he presented,

likeably unlikable, deviant in language,

antisocial, and realizing that

I’m never quite so alive as when I hold

a beaten paper-back between my palms,

and thumbs.

My study is writing, and writers

have infatuated me since I was old

enough to concentrate the words

into images, in the basement of

my grandparent’s house. I remember

being disturbed at an image that

King, one of my Grandma’s favorite

thrillers, painted in my mind

like blood upon the lily hand of

Lady MacBeth, unwashable for

all the running water, a spot on my brain.

I still see the cat, a beloved pet,

bringer of mystery, and magic,

strung up against that sign in my head.

I can still hear the words of the

protagonist

 in my head 

as if they were

spoken to me. 

I like the way that books displace me,

force me to interact, even when I am

scared or heartbroken, and stick in

me, like song-lyrics to a normal person.

It is in these moments, my study,

casually flipping the pages of something

well-known, and beloved, that

I feel loved.

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When a Boy Gives Me Advice for My Depression

I don’t understand how you think 

that you can give advice 

without understanding my battle.

You state what I know, 

and what I felt

aren’t possible.

Don’t you know?

I am impossible.

My imagination is so vivid,

sometimes I want to escape

into it, and ride my thoughts

like unicorns.

Other times, I want to shut it

out, hearing ghosts of my past 

screaming at me, and asking

why I didn’t do it better.

I see demons in a person’s

smile, interactions laced

with feigned friendliness,

and the constant question:

whether the colors that surround

them, taking up their negative

spaces, are correlated, in any way,

to their basic alignment.

Mine is a bright green today,

swirling around me like a sentient

fog, a miasma of tendrils that curl,

and twist into pleasing, circular

shapes.

Telling me that I cannot have

been, when I was, is denial,

and what you deny me

is acceptance, and I’ve

told you before that it’s 

more important than 

understanding.

I try to understand myself. I feel it first, 

and then discover: I am happy, sad,

angry, emboldened, giddy, somber,

guilty, or any other multitude of emotions

in combinations that often contradict,

or strengthen one end of the spectrum,

or the other.

I reflect and try to understand the

cause of my stirring, and probe at memories

to see if I can understand how I might 

start to fix it. 

And you ask me if I was still her.

Yes. I am her, she is me, we together

make up who I am. I won’t pretend 

I fully understand in my creation of characters,

who they are or what they mean to me,

but when you ask me if it was her,

or if it was me through her,

I say both. 

You don’t get to tell me 

it isn’t possible. Any artist puts

themselves into their work, even

when they have no part in the story,

it just happens that way.

I learn about myself 

through what I create:

reflect, edit, reshape,

understand, and make better.

Charging at Windmills

When is the last time you heard from him?   

The questions that try to tread

so lightly on my feelings, dig

deeper at effervescence

levitating my soul.

Can I ask? Does the mention of his name 

make you angry? Sad? 

I’m never quite sure how to answer

these plays at my faith,

and understanding,

I want you to prepare yourself 

for the possibility that he won’t 

come back. 

Like frantically plucking out feathers

from a living bird’s wing.

You have hope?

I won’t call you stupid, but…  

The unknown is pleasant in the fact

it doesn’t kill off that hope.

It’s needed to survive, and sometimes

that fragile bit of false hope

is all that keeps us waking up,

and going to bed at a reasonable hour.

I can understand where you’re coming from

To follow our dreams, they 

are afraid, to follow our hearts,

we are fools, and faith and trust,

they’ve fallowed their own fields,

and enkindle yours.

Prepare yourself that he won’t come back.  

I’m sure they mean well,

they try to keep you secure,

and afterall, you’ve had doubts yourself, 

but

I didn’t want to tell you,

I saw him a few weeks back,

he passed me in the city,

and he didn’t say a word.  

The act is repulsive,

taking away any shred of

potential, to keep you “realistic”

or from getting your hopes up,

and what’s wrong with either?

If he wanted to be with you,

he would be here. 

Nothing.

Three 

We three waited

for a waterslide,

unsure if we could 

all go together.

Each positioned a seat on a 

yellow raft with handles,

and nervously giggled.

Young ladies, each adults now,

wonderment in our hearts

at how simple things like

gravity and water could transform

three sisters into the children 

we once were.

Terrified at points, 

feeling like the pull

was too harsh, 

and panic in three sets of eyes

three years apart. 

Each thought that 

we might die.

Just hold on.

Don’t you dare let go.

Into the abyss, backward

we were thrust, and after 

what seemed eternity,

(about 3 seconds)

we emerged joyous with laughter,

too giddy to find out footing,

three sisters onto the 

next slide.

Down the Rabbit Hole

I can’t support what you love,
and you can’t support your
claims to love me.

It’s like falling
forever, falling asleep
while falling, and waking up
still set toward nadir,
place of darkness
I so often inhabit.

It’s such a long journey,
I thought you might
try to catch me, break my
descent–you didn’t.
You pushed me away.

I needed you to pull me
from the pit,
and, for a fleeting moment,
seemed you might, but then
your lover called you, you
forgot your vows, and
I  watched your face,
that I had seen
so many times above
my own,
shrink into nothingness,
and fade out of view.

How I longed for you to
love me,
and I loved you so much
more than
I could even love myself,
and you took my affections
and twisted it,
some monster.

I felt the dull knife break
between the columns
of my bleak spine,
painful separation,
yet somehow
somewhat expected.

And though my ego took a dive,
you should know, the betrayal never
hurt as bad as realizing that
the fantasies were better
than our reality ever was.

I wonder back to that
character who looked at
his family and wondered
at what point he would have
to forsake his family,
and look to himself for survival.

At what point
do I save myself?
At what point
do I grow?

After Being Asked Not To Be So Sad

And I thought things were going so well…
I have scattered ashes of my past,
pouring them on my barely breathing soul.
Chalky grey inside my nuclear core,
covering my smile, dimming the
stars lighting the way into
my true self, which is not a person unlike me when I was happy,
and the thoughts that would have
led me to you.

In solitude I find my anger, buried deep, burning at two hundred thousand Kelvin. It’s the smallest recess in my most forgotten memory,
which sometimes fractures into dreams,
snatches of memories in smells, and feelings, but never a full picture.

I haunt the earth above the gravesite of my first daughter.  Wind stirring just enough to unsettle those fleeting questions, louder than breathing.

I am always reflecting my life, the times I didn’t walk away and the times I should have.
Those first inclinations to bat away that growing
apathy, swelling in my fingertips, now solidifying in this strange buzzing of racing thoughts and feelings I would rather not feel.

Staring distantly at the written letter held between my fingertips, I feel the deepest nothing, allowing quiet rage to billow up the back of my knees, twisting spaces between my fingers and my wrists, and that weight on shoulders, creeping into my back and arms.
It’s like I am on fire, but I have to stay still.

I am consumed, body and soul,
and I am trying simply to hold on to
my wounded hope.