My handkerchiefs are stained
as though I have been suffering
all my life,
but instead of blood staining the cotton
a crimson Rorschach test,
it is the black of India ink.
She pressed a needle into my skin,
and I think the color seeped into my bones.
Now, I am fated
to spill ink wherever I go.
My scribblings have found home with me
(like shadows, like fireflies
inside of a Mason jar).
Even when I was locked inside of a cellar,
threatened with the rust of blood
and the tarnish of my reputation,
I carved poems into my mutilated flesh.
A dragon guarded my door,
false love glimmering in his eyes
(lust poisoning his tongue,
naïveté curling around me
like a lonesome lover).
The taste of gasoline numbed my soul
and left me begging for an exorcism.
(I never knew the Latin word for surrender,
yet I pleaded with the demons for the fruit of knowledge.
Desired for them to vacate
this hollow body,
but they traveled the miles to remind me.)
The more ink I spill,
the softer their wailing becomes
until their keening is their own elegy.
I will never forfeit these words again.
(I will not neglect them
like a surrendered child
because some call them an obsession.)
I might never shatter the walls
of this foreign heart,
but give me a fountain pen
and I’ll wield it like a sledgehammer.
These love songs wallpaper my heart
and smother my sleep.
(This insomnia takes the best of me
and churns out poetry instead of rest.)
I am stupid with love,
my tongue too thick with desire
to be profound.
I’d give up every dream I ever dreamed
to be with you
(and to see what illuminates your eyes like moon).
I know all the beauty the world has to offer,
yet all I can do is shelter myself
(in a cellar crafted of words).
I have buried myself in this tomb
for too many years,
and when I finally emerge,
my words are bombs.
We are starting afresh,
and only roses & dreamers are allowed
I haven’t dreamed in years.
This restless sleep haunts me
and I wander these courtyards
like a ghost.
(In my memories,
we drove for hours,
your hand on my knee,
humming the songs we loved.)
Tell me the grass is greener.
I’ll gladly hop the fence
to be with you,
but tell me:
will you still hold my hand
on the other side?
Always keep me close
even when I push you the farthest from me
you could ever be.
My heart isn’t cold merely because it is distant.
(The stars are how many miles away,
yet they burn.)
I haven’t dreamed in years.
I need you more than your witnessing eyes can see.
Maybe perhaps once I visualize these things like you do,
I can return to dreaming.
Like collaging layers of parchment on top of one another,
I have buried myself underneath the rubble of trauma.
Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon
or a phoenix rising from its ashes,
I am discovering my autobiography
written in between lines of poetry
Every word I scribble in a frantic attempt
to name a feeling that is beyond words
is my way of sketching the rocket ship
that will guide me back to my galaxy.
The sanitized version of reality
is a bitter pill to swallow,
but I see myself in the paint splatters
and little messes
she was so anxious to take a damp rag to.
(This is an imperfect work of art,
lines crooked and acrylics splashing out of bounds.
This is not something that will catch the eye
of an art dealer.
This is my little mistake on canvas,
but, you see, that inked-in star
is home for me.)
I have spent years skirting underneath
piles of paper, hiding from who I could be
but the truth is
I could be amazing
if you listen to this autobiography.
Who am I?
I’m in media res,
still in the progress of discovery,
but I swear, even in the shattered mosaic bits,
I, too, can shimmer.
I too can shine.
(It is because of your belief in mirrors and me
that I can see the vestiges of beauty
through the broken.)
This poem, written years ago, is about my personal relationship with depression.
Inspired to post by Nicole Lee.
This monster reigns as king
as heavy as an anvil
(as visible as air).
It begs a fight
when all I have wanted is peace.
The bruises it leaves
from the inside out.
The pain sears, yet
the monster hides
(cloaked in shadows).
It may lie dormant for years.
When it wakes,
blood drips from its teeth,
it searches for a captive.
It takes and holds me hostage.
It is as toxic as fumes and
as haunting as nightmares.
I have calligraphied crib notes
adorning my arm
like a scripted tattoo.
Ink has always found a way
through my bloodstream,
inching its way through my veins.
I used to scribble unvarnished truths.
(“A girl like me is God’s reject-
she deserves Hell.
Wings smoldering in the flames.)
Language that became the dialect
(The patois of pain.)
A flood of anger.
A deluge of emotion.
Words razored into memory.
I learned to speak the language of poets.
Every feeling was a cipher
(translated into code).
The code was similes and metaphors.
(“My stained glass heart shatters
when he takes what is mine
and violates it.
Like filling voids-
the empty even I didn’t know I had.”)
How do you articulate words that have been carved into you
longer than you have been alive?
How do you say what has been emblazoned in your eyes
since you stopped resisting what you could be?
(I want to stop looking at the smudged lettering
tattooed on my skin
and speak my mind.
Shout my sins from the window sills.)
How do I tell you the profanities
that have proven themselves to be a weapon
are the very tools I need in which to survive?