First Date

I’m hopefully meeting someone new today. We’ve talked a little, but never met in person. I really like the little bit I know. Here’s hoping the rest is just as good!


You’ve got me planning
Planning how to primp
How to dress
What to say
I want you to like me
I want to show you who I am
This is me
Wild hair and smiling eyes
Glowing knowing I’m alive
Crazy about everyday beauty
Loving nature-made art
Not just that sunset
All of it
I hope that when we meet
You can ignite a different passion
That all this planning won’t be wasted
This time
I hope you like me
I hope I like you too

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You Lured Me In. What Changed?

Content warning: This is about an abusive relationship. It’s not particularly explicit, but if you are easily triggered, you may want to skip this one.

I wrote this on July 29, but I waited a while to post it to make sure I was ready.  This seems to apply to a romantic relationship, but it does not. If you want to know more about the story behind this poem, please check out my post Do you know what abuse looks like?


You lured me in
Building on our shared history
Memories and nostalgia made you safe
If only I had known
You offered me protection
An escape from my frustrations
You offered me companionship
I wouldn’t be alone
I never expected it to be easy
But you made it easy at first
What changed?
I thought at first you did
But maybe you were already changed
Maybe the scars you gained in our years apart
Reshaped you
The scars I couldn’t see
Maybe all that really changed
Was your veneer cracking
Your twists and damage showing through

Thank goodness I was never in your power
Never dependent on the things you offered me
I may have seemed so to you at first
But even if I had been
I like to think I would have found a way
To escape

At the first sign of my independence
You became cold
Did you truly believe that I was the cause of your pain?
Did you in some way believe I was yours?
Your doll?
Why was my independence so threatening?
I am not your enemy
You did that to yourself
I tried to play your game
But I am done
I will not be your verbal punching bag
Your feelings are not my fault
And every time you tried to explain
It became clearer
That your rationale for blaming me
Was not rational at all

If you must twist yourself in knots
To feel justified
Have fun
I am walking free

Do you know what abuse looks like?

I started this post as the introduction to You Lured Me In. What Changed?, but when I realized that the introduction was becoming longer than the poem, I decided to make a separate post for it.

The poem came out of the aftermath of a relationship that went from mutually beneficial to abusive in a short span of time. A common misconception about abuse is that it only occurs in romantic relationships or between family members. This was not a typical abusive relationship. It was in no way romantic, and neither my friend nor I wanted it to be, but she and I had known each other since kindergarten, and there was a lot of history between us. I lived with her for most of a year in 2014-2015, and near the end of that time I decided that I couldn’t live with her anymore. At that time, things were still fairly good between us, but she had started smoking (again), which I have had a strong aversion to my whole life, and she was planning to relocate when the lease was up. She wanted me to move with her, but the new location would be very inconvenient for me and though I considered moving with her, in the end I decided not to. Read more

For S

I make friends in weird ways. This was made abundantly clear to me as I prepped this poem for posting. This was written on September 21, 2009 after S, a then-acquaintance, went on a rant, in large part as a result of a mutual friend having a melodramatic pity party. S, for whom this poem was written, has been on the short end of the stick a lot. I didn’t know how much when I wrote this, though the tip-of-the-iceberg problems I heard about during the aforementioned rant were pretty intimidating on their own. Two years after writing this, I found things coming full-circle with another rant, and the perfect time to share this poem with her. S is now my closest friend, and we have shared a lot: international travels, strange edibles, learning, teaching, dressing up, dressing down, pants-free zones, and so much more. With much love…


You say you want to get off your knees
You are tired of begging
A little bit of help, a little bit of Understanding
The world seems to say they cannot be yours
I want to hold the world back for you
But it washes through me to batter at you
As though I am an insubstantial ghost
I want to be your anchor
I want to hold you back
As you look over the edge, prepared to jump
You do not know me well enough for that
I have faith in you
One day you will look over the edge
Not at death
But at a chance to spread your wings
One day you will soar

Camus’s Question

This one was a homework assignment: Pick a specific poem format, and write a poem in that format. It had to be something with a specific structure, not a freeform poem. This was not the first time I wrote a sestina for a homework assignment. The first one was about frogs. I don’t know where that one is, but if I find it somewhere in my piles of papers, I’ll definitely post it for you all. I really like the cyclical structure of the sestina. I recently read that it was most often used for a complaint poem back in the day, which makes some sense, since whiners tend to repeat themselves ad nauseam. I haven’t ever used the sestina for whining, but I’ve certainly found that it’s not suitable for every topic. You have to find a topic that naturally has a cyclical feel.

This sestina is based on an internal debate I had after talking to a friend who thought she might commit suicide. Fortunately, she’s still alive and kicking, and more emotionally stable now. This was crafted over a two-week period, and finished on October 6, 2008.


Camus once said the only question
worth asking is Should I give up?
Does this world have depth of meaning,
and is that meaning now enough
to keep me in this world and living,
or should I just let go and die?

I know a girl who wants to die,
to answer that important question.
She says she cannot go on living,
it’s not worth it to keep this up.
The things she has are not enough
to keep this life enriched with meaning.

Before I never questioned meaning.
I haven’t had the urge to die.
The things I have are just enough.
With confidence I answer the question.
I watch the sun go climbing up.
I have no reason for not living.

In fact I find such joy in living,
in everything I find a meaning.
Every day I’m climbing up.
It’s not that I’m afraid to die,
it’s just that, facing this big question,
I don’t see why it’s not enough

She says she cannot find enough
of joy or meaning to keep her living.
She hardly dares to face the question,
‘cause after death there is no meaning.
I think that she’s afraid to die,
but wants the pain to give her up.

She struggles with just giving up
and tells me I don’t know enough
to understand her wish to die.
She cannot understand why living
carries for me the ultimate meaning,
how I rejoice and Camus’s question

Came once asked a question about giving up
I find that life has meaning and that it’s enough
I have reason to go on living until it’s time to die

Feelings that are not mine

Written February 26, 2008. I consider myself to be an empath, which to me means that I am easily emotionally influenced by my environment, and that I take on other people’s unfinished emotional business. Sometimes said people find that helpful, which is one reason they seek me out as a confidant. I sometimes think of myself as my friends’ external emotional liver. If you think it sounds like woo-woo crazy, don’t worry. Sometimes I do too.


I struggle to be myself
Some days it seems that everything
Every little thing I think or feel
Comes from outside myself
Feelings that are not mine
Catch me up in a whirlwind
I can’t even breathe
Would you all just stop for a minute?
I am losing myself in you
Too many feelings
Tear at the core of me
I want to help you
But I need to breathe
I need to find me
I need to be me

Choosing to Stay

This scene came to me in my dreams. It’s complete fiction, and I have no idea why it showed up, but I was compelled to write it out. As of yet, I have no plans to make it into a longer story. I don’t even know what such a story might be.


Finally, I had made up my mind. I found him looking out a window, shoulders tense. When I called his name he turned, but he didn’t meet my eyes. I held out my arms and he stepped into them stiffly. Had he changed his mind? Didn’t he want me anymore? I kissed his cheek and he clung tighter, burying his face in my shoulder. I spoke softly.

“Did you… do you still want me to stay?”

“I just want you to be happy.” Read more

Communication

I had a very frustrating experience today at work, and writing this poem was my way of dealing with it. I like to think something good came out of the experience.


She never gave me the chance
To change
To improve
Or even to listen
And my mind-reading skills
Have never been reliable
I know where I started
Was not what she wanted
Now I know
Now, after the letter
Why was she silent then?
Why did she expect me
To know her mind?
Or think just like her?
Doesn’t she know
You can’t get
What you want
Unless
They know
You want it?
It’s no wonder
I think
That she works
With dead people
They don’t require
Communication

There was a way I saw the world

Another untitled and undated poem that I’m relatively certain was written in spring 2006. I have a sneaking suspicion that while I was thinking of someone specific when I wrote it, more than one person was holding space in my emotional mind when this came bubbling out of me. The first time I read it after rediscovering my poetry journal, I knew exactly what this poem was about and when, until I realized that this had to have been written in 2006, and the incident I was remembering occurred at Christmas in 2014. Weirdly, it actually fits the second incident more literally than the first.


There was a way I saw the world then
And I will never see it that way again
Your are no longer a prince
Nor I a princess
Though we laugh in the rain just the same
We sat under the stars and talked
About everything and nothing
And I loved you again, though differently
In some ways, we are twin souls
But at times you feel oceans away
How strange that we should speak
Under the stars
Together this one time
And tomorrow smile at strangers
As we hug and part
Heading home

On the bus

One of my earlier poems, probably 2003 or 2004. I was pining over an upperclassman who was really good at theater.


On the bus
I dream of you
Always
That is my time to
Dream of you
I stare out the window
And pretend you’re next to me
I think of when
You looked at me
What were you thinking
Can you tell
That I dream of you
When I’m alone?
Who do you dream of?
Will you ever
Dream of me?