4 September 2016


the white sheen of blank paper excites me
until it appears; and then it is only ever
a clenching in my stomach: such an easy
giving up. I give up too easily.

in my dreams, I am still lost, and blurry,
my edges pencilled in like forgotten things
and my feet standing on something soft
and infinitely breakable: somewhere along
the crawling away from death I forgot
what certainty feels like.

I am trying to remember, and also learn,
what it feels like to write a good poem,
what the balance is in between
casual words
and words that hold the world within them
fiercely. how do I make something sacred?
is it the practised ease or the rioting genius?
is it the straight pencil lines I fill in blindly?

I worry, and I worry about worry.
I am able to call my anxieties
but I never want to call my sadness
a bigger word. nomenclature mocks me.
it is only ever self-diagnosis, and so many
kinds of self-doubt, crawling under my spine
like ugly things. I want to be a river of calm,
but sometimes I find a secret snarl at the back
of my throat. I do not know if I can live here.

I want to think of this as practised ease and an
unhesitant beauty, but it is also always just
casual words.
I once told myself I was the only true audience
I would find, and that thought makes me sad today.
I am a terrible, over-thinking, self-validating audience
for myself. perhaps for everybody.

I am learning how to love, and it is as easy as it is
hard. the simple things feel vast, like whole lifetimes
of this moment. the strange uncontainable joy of falling
asleep next to a warm body, knowing that your
fragility is, for once, in the fragile hands of another.
it's all self-destructing, but at least it feels
human, feels like love, feels like a dream.

I am feeling things in tidal waves
this time around: the highs are hopeful and I feel
as though I can blossom in ways that I never knew;
but the lows are snarling and dangerous and feel like
insidious holes that I could slip into like a shadow.
it would be so quiet and comfortable. in a hole,
there would be so much less to worry about.
only the silence, and the sadness
which wraps around you like a shawl.
winter kept us warm, covering
earth in forgetful snow...
new words speak to me each time and tell me
how to map my mind. I am a strange city.

I am afraid of writing
because I know I can do it.
I am afraid of giving myself to this vast world
and I am afraid of its disinterest in my small bones
and trembling fears and pouting silences.
love me, love me harder.
love me until I can find a way out
of a ruined city and a chessboard forest.

I love myself
but it won't do.
you must do it for me.
I will name you
and you can carry me through
to an ocean that I will call
only through absence. do it.

once the words are spilled out of me
like ink, they leave no trace. I do not ever
remember writing these stains into my skin.

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