The first time I almost met you, you switched at the last minute and went to a different high school.
The second time I almost met you, I was at a birthday party. Most people were strangers, but I talked to everyone… Except you. Years later, we found a picture that had both of us in it, just a few people away.
The third time I almost met you, I was with my friends. We went to pick you up, but you got in the other car. All I knew was your name.
And then I met you.
We used to look back and laugh, thinking about how we were so close but so far at the same time.
We talked about how we wished we had met sooner.
Now, I think that instead of trying to bring us together the world was trying to keep us apart.
We defied fate.
We shouldn’t have.
Men of metal walk the streets.
They have a heart, but lack a soul.
The drumbeat of their stomping boots
Rebounds from wall that lock away
The men inside, if men they be
From outside world with fixed expressions
Mass-produced with iron castings
If imperfect, tossed away
I tried to tear open my chest with my fingernails
to let my soul out to space.
I’m my own fucking galaxy, stars shining, a swirling mass of light
and I can feel myself floating.
But, like a ball and chain,
my body keeps me bound to earth.
I want to set myself free,
tear open my veins and let my essence flow out with the blood
break my ribs, bars holding me like a jail
crack open my skull to let my thoughts float away.
This world can’t sustain a nebula.
I cling to my rope, hung far above a dark chasm. As long as I have this rope, I am safe from dropping down below. I can only pray that the rope will keep its part in this mutual promise to keep me up. The rope holds up for years, and build myself a little swing on the end of the rope. It will help support me as I dangle above the black rift underneath me. I peer downward, and hope that I will never drop. As I lean over, I hear a small plink. I look sharply up and above me is a severed piece of rope sticking out from the column supporting my weight. I shiver and jerk back from the deep crack. I cling to my rope unsteadily for weeks, but eventually I am lulled back into a sense of security. I peer over the edge of my swing again, and lower my eyes into the infinite blackness. I hear another plink. Another severed fragment of rope sticks out above my head. I have only one piece of rope left holding me up, and I know that I must refrain from anything that would cause my rope to break. I cling desperately to the rope. I do not move my hanging body a fraction of an inch. I look upward, and will the rope to hold. I do not want to disappear into the darkness that I know looms below me. I hope that the rope will stay, I hope that it will not break.
I can remember the day, and it was perfect. The sky is crystal clear, outlining pine needles against the cyan. Thin wisps of clouds move across the sky. The mid-afternoon sun shines bright but the tree shades my eyes. The air is warm and pleasant, but not hot. I can vaguely hear water from the river, but only when I close my eyes. Somehow, the loss of sight seems to amplify my hearing. Below my back, I can feel the grass imprinting itself on my bare legs and arms. And a laugh.
What laugh? The bark on the tree is crisp and defined, a texture all of its own. Tiny globs of sap ooze from where it has been peeled away to reveal the wood underneath. Some of the old, dead needles have fallen. Now they are brittle and I like the tension and snap when I break them in half with my bare fingers. She smiles.
Who smiles? The breeze blows across, rustling the branches above. It feels nice against my face, calming and serene. A few loose strands of hair blow across my face. They tickle slightly but I am too mellow to do anything about it. Moving my hand to brush it away would disturb the serenity of the moment. The camera snaps.
I remember the day, and it was perfect. But I will not remember her.
I wrote this poem about four years ago at a summer camp. This sprung from one of my favorite exercises for writing. Taking an emotion and writing about it from a completely different perspective challenges your mind and your understanding of feelings.
Fire burns the ebony night
By haunting shadows of skeletal trees
Flames singe our glowing eyes
Our shadowed faces
Like skulls brought to life
Our voices moan unearthly songs
Chilling the bones of passers by
Who shudder, and hurry away
From the eerie notes fueling
Our fire-crazed minds
There are pictures on the wall
They’re the only things that move.
We’re sipping tea and sitting tall
Inside this still, quiet room.
Our mouths are moving, our hearts are not
We sit idle on the chairs.
Our eyes are cold, our tea is hot.
We sit in the pictures’ icy stares.