Night Owl

Day:

People talking.

Music playing.

Washing machine spinning.

Someone eating,
spoon against bowl.

Heat kicks on.

Music louder,
voices raised over.

Sun’s glare through the window.

Washing machine spinning.

I should eat.

Music louder.

Shout,
high pitched laugh.

Light on,
off,
on.

Music louder,
louder,
louder,
or maybe it only feels that way?

Hand on shoulder.

Flinch.

Why did I pull away?

Conversation.
Bad breath in face.

Try to focus.

Washing machine.

Sunbeam shifts.

Music stops,
heat turns off:
sweet relief.

Calander notification.

Hop on Zoom.

Angle camera;
room’s a mess.

Glitchy screen.

Small talk.

Cat at door.
Meow.

Small talk.

MEOW.

Get up to let her in.

Sit back down,
legs cramped.

Doodle.

Unmute.
Be friendly.
Mute.

Log off Zoom.

Forgot to brush my teeth,
wash my face.

Stare into the mirror.
Who’s that?
Existential questions.

Shake head.

Focus on homework.
Or try.

Buzzing light.

Overdue assignment.

Text.

Music starts back up,
too loud.

Voice in ear.

Shout
from me.

They shout back.

Retreat to corner.

Static head.

Too much.

Act normal.

Homework.

Chores.

Worries.

Too much.

Time slows,
speeds,
slows,
speeds.

Too much.

Too much.

Too much.

Night:
The hum of the world subsides.
The air is rich with cold darkness. I gulp it in greedily.
My cat curls up next to me,
warming my thigh,
snoring softly.
I breathe,
content in this simplicity.
Finally,
I can hear my own thoughts.
Finally,
I can feel my own weight.
Finally,
the world isn’t too much.
Finally,
I can simply be.

(And then whoops, it’s three am.)

💛

Be Happy

“Be happy,”
they say.

“But oh,
honey,
don’t dress that way.”

“And while we fix your style,
let’s find you a hobby.
(But not the one you like.
That one is too lame.)”

“Throw away your idea of joy.
Take ours.
We know better than you, anyway.”

“Be happy,”
they say.

And you want to be.

So you try their tips,
try to fit in.

You change your hair,
go to their parties,
practice saying words the “right” way.

But it’s never quite right
and you keep waiting for that feeling:
the happiness.
They said it would come.

“Be happy,”
they say.

“You’re a girl,
so put on some makeup.
It’ll be fun.”

“But not that much.
What are you,
vain?”

“You’re a boy
wearing nail polish.
You must be gay.”

“But if you are,
don’t shove it in our faces.
Hide it away.”

“You talk too much
about the most random things.
It’s obnoxious.”

“Now you’re too quiet
with your face in that book.”

“Loosen up.”

“Be happy,”
they say.

But you aren’t.

And no matter what you do,
it’s always wrong.

Because society is hypocritical that way.

So you give up.

You drop their idea of fun.

You do all the things they said were lame.

Because why try, anyway?

And then,
between humming a lame song
and cooking some lame food,
you realize you are happy.

“Be happy,”
they say.

“Sure,”
you say,
“But I’ll do it my own way.”

💛

Good Shit

sunrises

warm sweaters

cozy socks

mugs of tea

fresh-baked bread

walking shoes

weathered trees

old buildings

libraries

kick-ass books

history

reclaimed words

borrowed things

true friendship

favorite songs

bad dancing

proud laughter

hand holding

sunsets

star gazing

falling in love

and

falling in love

with life —

that’s some good shit

💛

Stories

In the middle of a dark and lonely night,
a story brought light.

To the one in the back of a bus
whose life was so full of overwhelm
they felt lost in another realm
a story brought familiarity.

To the one holed up in a jam-packed apartment
in a world so small
they felt they knew nothing at all
a story brought wider horizons.

To the one who curled up on their bed
in a house where the people they loved fought
leaving their heart distraught
a story brought escape.

To the one who sat on their bathroom floor
with scars on their skin
and turmoil within
a story said, “You are not alone.”

And they weren’t
because they all turned the last page
of their individual copies
and they all read the last word
of the same story.
And they all watched
the same sun rise.

And they all needed coffee quite badly.
Quintuple-shot-espresso-badly.

💛

She Ran

She ran,
her feet slamming into the pavement,
her breath huffy.

Because she was pissed
at who?
It wasn’t clear.
Maybe her friends
or her family
or probably society as a whole
or maybe just herself.

Because she was worried
or stressed
or confused
or scared
or probably anxious
and anxiety made her an irritable bitch.

Because she was lost
in a world
of sounds too loud
or lights too bright
or emotions too intense
or probably all of the above.

Because, whatever it was, she didn’t know what to do about it so
she ran.

💛

Hope

“Walk with me,” she whispered.
A dense fog obscured all but her calloused hand,
which she held out to me,
and her eyes,
which shone like beacons.

My eyes were heavy,
my head full of lead.

Her hand stayed steady.

My legs were weak and trembling under my weight.

“Walk with me,” she whispered.

The fog hugged me like a comforter.
I almost laid myself down,
fell asleep,
never to be woken again.

“Walk with me.”

Her eyes shone brighter,
sparkling like kaleidoscopes,
burning with passion,
twinkling like the great beyond.

I lifted my unsteady hand.

“Walk with me.”

Our fingertips touched
and pain shot through my body,
electrifying my senses
so daggers of light attacked my eyes
and I could feel each hair on my head,
hear the blood pulsing through my veins,
and taste a burning bitter bile on my tongue.

I screamed.

Then I breathed.

Her hand held mine:
gentle,
but firm.

And though my heart raced
and skin tingled,
I took one step
and another
and walked with her
out of the fog
and into the world.

💛

Floating Away

I’m floating away
to memory lane,
the people,
the happenings.
I’m trying to stay sane.

I’m floating away
to all my regrets,
the should-haves,
the would-haves.
My brain is turning pirouettes.

I’m floating away
to a land of fog
where I can’t
name my thoughts.
My mind feels clogged.

I’m floating away
to loathing self-hate,
the why
am I like this.
I want to deflate

but I can’t.
I’ll keep floating
until I pop
and fall down
with a deafening thwack.
It will hurt like hell
but at least it will bring me back.

💛

Breathe — A Poem For Grounding

Put your hand on your chest.

Can you feel your lungs breathing?

In
two
three
four. . .

Out
two
three
four
five
six. . .

In
two
three
four. . .

Out
two
three
four
five
six. . .

Do you feel your heart beating
beneath your breath?

What else do you feel?
Perhaps the air around you, whether hot or cool, windy or still.
Perhaps the clothing you wear.
Perhaps the pull of gravity holding you down to Earth.

Tap your fingers against your chest.

Tap tap.

Tap tap.

Tap tap.

Tap tap.

Do you hear the sound it makes?

What else do you hear?
Close your eyes and listen. I’ll wait for as long as you need.

Blink a couple of times.
Maybe wiggle your eyebrows for the heck of it.

Then just breathe again.

In
two
three
four. . .

Out
two
three
four
five
six. . .

You are here.
You are now.

And that — your existence alone — is beautiful.

💛

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