One Year (Revisiting Half A Year)

Day 1

You say cutting me off is for the best

Promises of forever fading

I tried leaving for months but your word overruled mine

Month 1

In my eyes you saw sunset’s goodbye bleeding into you

In hers you saw sunrise’s promise of a new beginning

How important was I if you could leave my memory so easily

Month 2

I have spent more money on cigarettes than I did you

Erasing your signature graffitied in my lungs from each time I breathed you in

Month 3

Our thread of texts consisting of you shattering me one last time no longer exists

You ripped me apart for months and my revenge is tiptoeing away from your grip

Shattered remains of me still remain where you left them

Month 4

I use to have nightmares about being alone

Now I realized I am not the sum of all those who love me but how I define myself in this pain

My phone no longer knows your name

Month 5

I choose happiness

Month 6

Friendships I once had now lost in your hands

Each time I tried to escape you threatened suicide

I want you to be haunted by the remains you left of me

But I know too well it won’t

Month 7

You stripped my ability to love from me

Trembling under the hands of another

You’re still sipping sweet tea from her collarbones

I was too strong of a drug for you

Month 8

I’m still trying to forgive you

Month 9

Each morning I leave my bed I prove your venomous love wrong

You haven’t thought of me since you left

Month 10

Abuse comes back to haunt in the strangest of ways

I am still afraid to love

For I will be vulnerable again

Month 11

Letters you wrote confessing your adoration live at my parents’

Reminding me of every suicide note I wrote when you were smothering me

People still don’t believe

Month 12

Drugs are never the answer until nothing else will piece me back together

The damage still lives here, more as a flooded room than a collapsing house

Knowing I’m better of now than I was then lets me breathe a little easier

Where I’m From

We ran barefoot through the mud and marshes

Giggling ignoring the mosquitoes

Attempting to catch frogs in our hands

This is where I come from

Drugs are passed between generations

Joe comes to school high as his parents are busy getting high back home

The rest of us are still flying

Getting high in the woods, our cars, the bathrooms

This is where I come from

We swung to touch the sky

Bubbling over with laughter at stupid jokes

Capturing moments on film reels running in our memory, we knew it would always end too soon

Childhood’s forever was running out as our adolescence was coming to a close

This is where I come from

Sophomore year a boy the year below me shoots himself twice, clipping a promising future short

A year earlier it would have been me if they didn’t haul me to a psych ward the day I saw the light fade and everything ending

This is where I come from

We stayed up to hear the crickets sing in summer

Months later we tread through the haunting quiet of show reaching us

Surprised by her arrival even though she visits every winter

This is where I come from

Addiction’s Science

I only knew how to run from my problems

Leaving with a puff of smoke

Addiction is one hell of a monster

When they saw me falling they ran the other way

Wheezing laughter follows me, my lungs are no longer the color of healthy

They only want it if it’s pretty

A couple months ago a girl from my hometown overdosed on heroin

Leaving parents mourning their baby hours into her 16th birthday

I hoped it would open up a conversation about addiction’s realities being a brain disorder rather than the common misthought that it was a moral failure

My friends and I spent our high school careers smoking under bleachers and in dugouts to soar with the clouds or to take away the edge even for 5 minutes

It could have been one of us dead first because no one was willing to treat the spirits haunting our heavy hearts

Mental illness and addiction go hand in hand and self medication was our only salvation when no one told us we weren’t the failures

We knew full well we could die because that’s what we wanted

We were failed in the lack of education on our illnesses leaving us splintered trying to leave the grip of addiction

The only way we knew how to cope with the lights in our brains going out

Leaving with thoughts of ditching this world for the afterparty that was the afterlife

Dictionary of my Illness

To live

Verb –

To remain alive

But was I really alive if I wasn’t making a noise locked away in my own storming

Leaving no traces of fingerprints where I tread

Weaving pieces of myself in the fabric of other’s lives for when I was gone I had never really left

To want

Verb –

To have a desire to possess or do

My life no longer belonged to me but to the darkness blanketing my world

What was I supposed to do with a life I was gifted but not given the gift receipt to?

Lived

Past tense to live

I was an abandoned house peeling purples and blues

Frame cracking with each ungrateful breath

I looked like someone turned all the lights off with no hopes of ever returning

To recover

Verb –

To return to a normal state of health

Some days I feel the need to replace every floorboard

Other days I am happy for every creak and quirk

But I cannot compare to the house next door

 

Downpour

Standing in that downpour by your side, we were still worlds apart with our skin touching

I was watching the lightning dance across the pond to the beat the thunder laid out with childlike curiosity

Absent to your presence

Later that night I was asking myself if I was enough for you

I wasn’t

I wish I could go back and tell myself the date you would leave me cold

You looked at the world in rigid lines

Long ago you lost the curiosity I still harbored

Just because it was brief doesn’t mean it wasn’t exactly what I needed

We wanted what was best and it wasn’t each other

As you left I asked you to leave the door open

I kept it closed for so long before you

It was time to love freely through every downpour and every summer’s day

That warm rain encompassing my skin that night still lingers in my memory

Whispering to never question my own worth

Rain will still return to visit

 

Orchestra

I composed a string of words in an orchestra for your ears alone

Yet your ears wandered to another composer

And I fought too hard for someone who couldn’t see the beauty he had around him

So he had to go chasing for what he could never quite grasp, it was a different shine in his eye

I drank wine from your fingers getting drunk off your smile and the way your eyes grew heavy with love and the day’s tired

I forgot to close my heart to that bubbling warmth

Because I know too well what’s good won’t stay for nearly long enough

Now I’m still left with the crown of the king who will take the throne next to mine

It’s resting on my bedside table for the time being

You tried it on for a moment and didn’t like the weight it carried so you left galloping in the night with none of my questions answered but the one asking if you were enough for this

The orchestra no longer plays for you but for myself

Until whomever fits perfectly in the throne next to mine arrives

Diaries

I’ve never been able to keep a diary

But I have notebooks full of poetry only known by my eyes and thee fingers that composed them

I didn’t learn to break on paper in English classes

My friends brought me to learn the art of breathing my story into candy to their hungry ears

They knew this would glue shards of me back together because I had forgotten where I left my smile behind

I was stripped of all that was mine and they gave me the art of reclaiming in increments with every notebook, every poem, every word

Soon enough they’d fall away with the leaves and all I had left of them was stitched into metaphors in poems no one would read but me

Short Letters

Dear mom,

I shattered

You still regret not hearing my cries

Some days the anger crawls back up my throat

I’m not fully repaired yet but I’m still working

Dear dad,

Addiction may swallow me whole

Before it does, thank you for being the shore I swam to

Thank you for pushing me forward even when I desperately wanted to stay where I was

No matter how much I kicked and screamed

Dear my little sister,

Now that you’re old enough to understand

I hope you don’t succumb either

At a young age you saw the light drain from me

But I kept living long enough for the sun shine again

I hope you learned from watching

Dear a love lost,

Let me help you get back up

I’m here to build you up

My love is yours to keep this time around

I could never bear to say my heart was buried with the man who was 6 feet below

I was sick when I left and now you are too

Dear mom,

I know, you’re trying to fix it

I shut you out for so long

Just know there are things you won’t understand about this kind of sick

13 Year Old Walls

Grief is one hell of a drug

We learned that in 8th grade health

But I had nothing to grieve

My pride was hanging from the ceiling fan in the living room when I left for school this morning

Knowing I was no longer my own but property of her violence

Those years no one knew I existed but in the tales breathed through locker doors

I was one more light fading

Do you know what it’s like knowing you’re dying but not from what?

I am no longer that 13 year old

Wondering when they’re going to teach you about the hell you shouldn’t be feeling, but was gifted in a pretty purple box between her fist colliding with your skin and the whispered worthless it communicated to you

They never will teach you about it

Years later I hope they recite those lessons to the walls of 8th graders like myself

Wishing there is something to stop the burning

Unseen

A hint of a smile lives on my face, so no one asks

You haven’t set foot in the world I see

The now lily white relics of nights pouring myself out into drains I thought were listening no longer bother people

Once they were a screaming red, now just an asterisk not worth looking into

You ask why you’ve never seen inside the home of my memory

I spent years pouring rivers of myself out to people who didn’t bother staying

Teaching to lock the door behind me

Darkness should only be reimagined by the person in which all the lights decided to turn off for

Returning sunshine to the world that stripped them of it for moments you can’t even recollect the duration of

I will not offer you pieces of my darkness for that is not all of who I am anymore

I am the kindness I didn’t recieve

Keeping my arms open for your heart to rest from the storm of the world

If I unlock that door for you, then you’ll have a reason to leave me behind

Just like the rest