Civil

they are polite,
careful with one another,
reduced to a civility that keeps the peace,
that passes the time in a finely stitched quilt of status quo

it’s complaisant, unnerving,
this glass house and no stones,
this sort of civility that’s an undertow of mistrust,
this politeness that is nothing left to say

-image via Pixabay

Empty

she had always felt different,
separate,
other,
scalene in a world of equilateral

no matter how close she got,
there was always distance,
a gap unable to be filled,
an aloneness that permeated every relationship,
leaving her empty

and that emptiness was a bullet
she could never dislodge

-art by Maryam Savoji via Pinterest

Take It or Leave It

don’t be angry;
I haven’t become someone else
in front of your eyes

the problem is,
you don’t want this to be me –
you have always had some idea of me
that doesn’t exist,
some set of expectations I can’t possibly
live up to

you have constructed some ideal based
on something inside you,
and you have seen what you have
wanted to see –
you have refused to see my truth

but it’s been so very exhausting,
and not very fair to have to pretend
all the time

you don’t know me,
but I’ve been right here,
all along

here I am –
take it or leave it

-image via Pinterest, original source unknown

Irrelevant

am I irrelevant?

I suppose asking that question
is like pissing in the wind,
when the answer is likely
to be twisted,
pointed back in my direction,
the wall of defense too thick,
when I’m left feeling peripheral,
in focus only when my voice is loud,
the squeaky wheel getting the grease,
a game of manipulation,
one I’m no longer willing to play,
when my thinking of you and hoping you’ll do the same becomes inconsequential,
exteraneous,
irrelevant

ash, blowing in the wind

-image via Pinterest, original source unknown

Moonlight

she was both chaos and calm,
a mellow, platinum-burning flame,
all possibility,
and I was lost in the haunting
lullaby of each sultry flicker

she was larger than life;
she wore her soul on the outside,
a silvery wraith glimmering in the lonely night,
and I was the sea,
drawn to her in heaving swells and sighs

she was all mine, I thought,
but try as I might to hold onto her,
she was pure effulgence,
and I became the shadowed parenthesis

she wasn’t earthly;
she was made of moonlight –

and she was meant to be set free

-image via Pinterest, source on image

Unknown

img_5057

Sitting on the well-worn, blue speckled carpet, she laughed at her friend, Anna, who’d just said something off the wall, as usual. Laughing wasn’t at all uncommon for her, she laughed all the time, but for some reason this laugh had left her feeling this recurring empty feeling, a sudden jerk into reality, as if the laugh was fake and didn’t quite belong. It occurred to her that maybe it wasn’t emptiness she was feeling, exactly. Then it hit her like an unexpected tidal wave, throwing her instantly off-balance.

She felt alone.

Holding her smile so no one could tell what she was thinking, her eyes scanned the room from face to face. Scattered about the room were the six young women who knew her better than anyone ever had. Yet, that made her sad, all of the sudden.

If she were to describe them to anyone, she’d tell them they were her best friends, her sisters. She’d do anything for them, that’s just the way she was made, even if any one of them might not do the same for her.

When she’d met them all four years ago, it was like a whole world had opened to her. She’d had best friends before, but living independently with and amongst these young women provided opportunities to see them every day, any hour of the day, in happy times and bad times, and all the in between. For the first time in her life, she had a place to belong.

She was likeable, compassionate, and loveable. It was just her personality to mean what she said, and to say what she meant; people could count on it, and often did. She was dependable, passionate, and caring. She was open and accepting of others, even when people around her were not. Standing for what she believed in wasn’t something that was negotiable. It just was. Caring about people and having a genuine interest in getting to know them wasn’t an act. It just was.

Some were drawn to her for those reasons. Yet, those qualities also scared many people. Most, actually. She shared of herself, but not everyone did the same, or with the same depth.

Some didn’t want to receive that offering. Often, it was too much. She was too much, at least that’s how it felt.

Over time, she learned that many people wished to keep her at arm’s length. They wanted the benefits that came with being her friend, but didn’t always wish to reciprocate. Some would only take. And take.

The thing was – she never pushed people away. Especially the ones sitting in this room, even if it felt like they didn’t always reciprocate.

Not only could she not risk causing people to feel abandoned or rejected…..she needed them. That was twisted and made no sense, and she knew it.

But, they were all she had.

Except, as she scanned the room, looking at each and every one of her ‘best’ friends, she felt so alone. It wasn’t the first time this feeling had hit her, but this time it was like an anvil on her chest. It was hard to breathe. In the pit of her belly, there was an aloneness that squeezed and knotted the muscles, rising like bile, choking her.

She knew these women. She had spent the last four years listening, even to all the things they didn’t say, helping, even when they hadn’t asked, and giving them everything she had to give.

She loved them.

But, in that moment, she knew they couldn’t possibly love her, not in the same way. They didn’t really know her; they hadn’t allowed that to happen.

And you have to be known to be truly loved.

-image found on Tumblr, original source unknown; older piece given a facelift

Wood

her heart was hand hewn,
a butchered block of aged wood –
heavy,
weathered,
cracked and dry

it no longer beat;
it only pained her,
its weight a foggy barrier,
keeping distance or closing in –
she wasn’t sure which

all she knew was that it hurt,
its splinters scraping against its walls,
gnashing at the soft tissue,
tearing through

and flooding her chest with dust

-image via Pixabay

I Wish I Were Here

there it was again,
that sideways feeling that seemed to lay dormant when she was alone,
now slithering its way outward,
making its home on the surface of her skin

ominous, it was a foggy shield,
an oddly melancholy feeling that emanated,
one that set her apart,
separate

she often experienced this feeling when she was amidst others in a new environment where there were friendly-seeming faces,
somewhere potentially pleasant –
somehwere hopeful

she knew this moment should be exciting,
satisfying,
even pleasurable

but all she could feel is,
I wish I were here

image via Pinterest, origin unknown

Drowning

he couldn’t bear it,
the feeling of everything slipping through his fingers,
of this life he’d tried to build crumbling to dust

so he tried to keep it alive as best he knew how,
by keeping to a routine

every day, he woke to the alarm at 6:22am,
placed his right foot first onto the floor,
counted to 50 while brushing his teeth
and stopped only when the count was complete

he hugged her from behind at the kitchen counter,
whispered in her ear that she was beautiful,
told her she meant the world to him,
and he meant it

he made them coffee while she scrambled the eggs,
intently watched her delicate movements as she ate,
noticed the way her smile was something that didn’t quite fit,
the clouds in her eyes that shaded everything

he cleared the dishes when they finished,
grabbed his briefcase,
kissed her goodbye as he held her in his arms,
and never wanted to let go

and when he returned from work,
there was more routine

the way he saw it,
every action,
every single motion he made was a calculated contribution to their survival,
as if his repetitive actions could somehow impact their fate –
maybe his predictability was the one thing that would hold them together,
maybe one familiar thread linking to the next was something to cling to,
that just might keep them afloat

why then, did she feel like she was drowning?

-image via Pinterest, original artist unknown