Earth and Alchemy

I think these walls are killing me

in the half-light of the drapery-filtered morning,
breathing is nearly unbearable;
the fan whirs with its white-noised voice,
failing in its attempt at swallowing the stagnancy,
managing only to distribute it in an oscillating,
luke-warm stream that, every few seconds,
blows directly into my face,
making my breath catch in a baby breath gasp,
the unsure gasp of not knowing from where the next will come

I think these walls are killing me

I sit, immobile, acutely aware of my mass,
of the blood begrudgingly pumping its percussive rhythm in my temples,
of the defective dampness emerging on my forehead,
of the ever-growing patches of petechiae-speckled skin,
evidence of an incurable itch that has risen up from the fate that is history-stitched to the soles of my flattened feet

I think these walls are killing me

I long for a singular, bottomless breath,
for the autonomous, unfiltered sunlight and its searing warmth upon my face,
for the forced closure of my eyes,
for the rays’ piercing, pinky-red glow on the backs of my tired eyelids,
and its tender, ruby kiss lingering on the pasty surface of my gossamer cheeks

I long for earth and alchemy

-image via Pixabay

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Versions

Sometimes I cannot sleep; my mind is busy noticing things, things that were hidden (buried) in the peripheral throughout the purposeful rigor of the day.
The backs of my eyelids are vivid nightlights, magnifying glasses for the razor-edged Rolodex of things I have meticulously filed away.
I notice all the things I did do and wish I had not, the things I did not do and wish I had.
In the unwanted illumination, my heart reveals a measuring stick that is rigged in someone else’s favor. I notice how I often fall short.
I notice time’s mnemonic remnants: the faint ridges of forgotten fingerprints, the oily glow of haphazard handprints, the glossy shine of a forehead once rested in daydream.
I notice the scattering of chalk outlines, evidence of the versions I had worked so diligently to scour away.

-imagie via Pinterest

Unapologetic

as a woman,
society tells me I’m supposed to fear getting older,
that I should fight my body’s natural processes,
feel shame for what I am,
and pretend to be someone or something I’m not in order to be in line with some norm or make others feel more comfortable

I am aging – that’s a fact,
and instead of letting a number, a wrinkle, or gray hair be the beginning of some endless battle I won’t win,
or letting it be beginning of my expiry,
I am loving this shit so much

every year,
it becomes clearer that I should never be anything but who I am;
I sink deeper into this place of unapologetic realness,
and it is fucking amazing

I am fatter, saggier, wrinklier,
and salt and peppery

I am stronger, wiser, more patient,
and freer

most importantly, I have lived long enough to have walked the side of sorrow and see the dawn

I have learned that no matter how far I have run,
or how long I have been lost,
it is never too late to be found

-image via Pinterest

Far From Home

We are so far from home.

Your smiles are a blast of arctic air that rattles my bones, and I can’t seem to get warm. I shiver when you speak in those strange smiles filled with politeness, the ones that shout aloud that something is missing. I ache when our eyes meet, all depth, layers locked behind a frigid wall of fear.

We have become roommates. We talk about logistics and practical things, small talk that makes my skin itch and my heart yearn for yesterdays. Screams stick in the dry spots of my throat. My heart is a muscle whose memory is beginning to atrophy.

My body misses you. It misses us. I had become so accustomed to your touch, even the most trivial of grazes, and now my body is a plant, drooping without water. My skin is drying and cracking, as if your touch had been the thing that was keeping it alive.

Every day is torture. I forget and remember, forget and remember. I expect your hand to reach for mine while I read my book and you watch the news. I close my eyes, expecting to feel the familiarity of your body moving in behind mine as I scramble the eggs. But then I remember this tired place of treading near the surface, this folded page of resentment and fear we keep returning to.

And lately, I’ve caught myself stroking my neck while I drink my tea, running my finger down my forearm while we watch our favorite show. I tuck myself in, wrapping my arms around myself when I go to sleep. It’s better than crying so hard I feel like I can’t breathe.

We are so from home.

-image via Pexels; not indicative of current life happenings

Unbridled

from an early age,
I’ve had this crazy feeling,
as if I somehow came into this deep, unexplained power,
an unbridled magic it’s taking me a lifetime to embrace and hone

it compels me,
even when I don’t want it to –
it wants to bulldoze,
excavate,
to crack me wide open,
exposing all the hidden, vulnerable places,
to break me down to my simplest form

I’ve always felt the need to stay ahead of this thing,
or it might destroy me,
and everything in its path

sometimes it feels like I’m gaining ground,
sometimes it feels like I’m losing,
but the whole point has been to just keep moving

-image via Pinterest

Lucky

Twenty-five years ago, I kissed this boy for the first time.
He looked at me, and it didn’t matter where I began or where I was.
He made it feel like we could exist in a world where every day might contain at least a tiny spark of magic.
He made truth feel like magic.

The time we spent together began to feel like helium in my veins, and his eyes were the most tangible slice of hope I’d ever seen.

He still looks at me like I’m his forever.
I still cry sometimes after he closes his eyes and falls asleep, because I feel so grateful.
Not because he loves me without reservation, but because he exists, and I am so lucky to be a part of that existence.

-image via Pexels

Opaque

I looked at her, eyes the same as mine,
yet entirely different. Mine searched for truth, not rescue.

I couldn’t nod like I knew, couldn’t get angry, because it would make no difference. So I just listened.

Too often, my mother spoke about things I didn’t want to understand, but I knew her words needed somewhere to go, so I absorbed them through my skin, until my own breath tasted brackish.

I shelled it all in until I became little cracks, unobservable to the naked eye. A weeping window that grew opaque.

-image via Prexels

Student

last year,
I committed to continued work changing what wasn’t working in my life,
to letting go of things and ideas that no longer serve me,
to de-conditioning myself from a lifetime of culturally-imposed and self-imposed bullshit,
to questioning my personal stories, assumptions, and beliefs that made up my version of reality,
to showing up differently for myself and breaking old patterns

it hasn’t been easy,
and there have been so many unexpected challenges,
but this year has been a wonderful teacher

I learned to observe the voice in my head and not necessarily identify with it,
to work toward letting go of the idea that I’m doing this life thing alone,
to understand that I am valuable regardless of what I produce,
to become more conscious and present,
to work toward being more patient, embracing the growth process, and feeling all the feelings that arise along the way,
to reflect and express these feelings and lessons in writing when I’m so moved to do so,
to work toward continuing to listen to the central voice that is the core of who I am,
and to act more in line with that

I’d like to continue to move forward this year,
to further this journey by finding out what the hell ‘self care’ looks like to me,
to stop eating the things that are poisoning me and not missing them,
to forgiving myself more naturally and in healthy ways that move me forward,
to getting out of my own head and being a good friend to the people whom I hold so dearly,
to developing a different relationship with work,
to being less instinctively guarded and spreading love in as many ways as possible,
to including more of the things that feel expansive and less of things that feel draining or contractive,
and to loving myself through all phases of my evolution

I’m a lifelong student,
and I know this year will be a good teacher, too

Happy New Year! 💜

–image via Pexels

Elements

I have been beyond tired, beyond lonely –
simultaneously lonely and never alone,
with an emptiness settling in so deeply,
it was a stone inside of me,
hard and sharp

my past and my fears are the leaden shackles I have always felt a duty to escape;
my rest is formed by my waking life,
and my waking life has too often been formed by feelings of defeat,
sorrows I allow to permeate as I set forth in my duty

but, in the center of my core,
I have always known it is possible to break the old, rusted, fear-forged chains of the past,
to encourage elements to transition from one state into another,
transforming and casting an entirely new life

sadly, chains made of blood and memory are a million times more difficult to sever than those made of steel,
and the past has a tendency to overtake me when I am not paying enough attention,
or, when I pay too much,
and I’ll find myself making the same mistakes as those who’ve come before me,
with the same resentments set to boil

but, I have also been tired, yet content,
simultaneously fulfilled and alone, but never lonely,
hard-won self knowledge settling in so deeply,
silence and gratitude are all I need to feed the gentle stillness in my soul

because those old, rusty chains do eventually break,
even though the breaking is an endlessly tiresome business,
and when I look the fearful past in the face and call it by its name,
it loses its rigidity and strength,
becoming just another corroding element,
flaking away with time

-image via Pexels; shared as part of the dVerse Poet Pub’s prompt, The Art of Confessional in Poetry