I’m not sure where the first stanza of this poem sprang from, but it’s been sitting in the back of my mind, begging to be used. I find the images so vivid, so physically there that it surprises me still. Connecting the second stanza was a struggle, for sure. I think it sounds OK, but the images don’t feel as real to me. Maybe it’s because there isn’t anything concrete to see/ feel, but I still like it.
Up until I was writing this intro, I had a third stanza that felt weird to me. I was playing with it for a few days and couldn’t come up with anything else. And that’s when it hit me. I didn’t need anything excessively long. I could simply connect the entire thing back to what I was saying in the beginning: needing to be free and finally having that freedom, even though it came at a cost. I’m a lot happier with this poem now and I’m hoping other people think it works as well.
There are bruises down my ribcage
From where my heart tried to escape
Where it hit so hard as it
Tried to break from its prison
To rip itself from
The suffocating flesh surrounding it
Until it got worn out
Tired of fighting and tired of trying
Tired of failing and tired of the pain.
This was something my heart never expected
To be unlocked from that constant state
Of love and doubt and fear and hate
Where it could chose what to do
And in the end it decided
That although it was bruised and broken
It needed to get away
So it could eventually heal
Eventually grow and eventually
Become whole again.
Even though I thought it might kill me
From the physical pain and the emotion anguish
Though I think it might still get me
Knock me down and keep me there…
At least I’m free
One thing I’ve been challenging myself with is writing when I’m happy. I’ve always been someone who knows exactly what to say when I’m in pain, but never when things are going well. I never feel authentic when I write from a happy place because it feels forced or somehow edited to meet a certain expectation. It’s been a great challenge to try and overcome, and I’m having some success. This is one of the more successful attempts.
Being honest is hard, for the record. Before my boyfriend and I got together, I definitely thought he would be in my life for a brief amount of time (AKA one night or so) and that would be it. But here we are, still together after three months, which has flown by in the blink of an eye. In some ways, it’s been a difficult thing to come to terms with. The fact we ended up together, happy no less, is not what I imagined, but something I am absolutely OK with.
You were supposed to be a shot of Novocain.
Something to dull the ache
To cover the bruises in my ribcage
A temporary fix to a greater problem.
You were supposed to be nothing more.
You were supposed to be stitches
Something to stop the bleeding
To repair the physical body after trauma
A fix that eventually gets removed.
You were supposed to be a short-term thing.
You were supposed to briefly fix me
Something to make this all OK
To numb the pain I felt all around
A stand in for something down the road
You were supposed to disappear in the end.
You have become so much more
Someone I rely on nearly everyday
To help me navigate this every-changing world
A constant force beside me now.
You are so much more than I imagined.
One of my favorite things about writing is how it brings me clarity. This poem is a product of that need for clarity. I wrote it a few days after I started dating my current boyfriend. We have known each other for years and always had some sort of draw to each other, even though we never expected to have the opportunity to try anything. After being single for about a month, I decided to text him. We immediately hit it off. We started seeing each other and going on dates for about a month, then decided to make it official. I wasn’t planning on any of this, needless to say, but I am genuinely happy with him and happy he convinced me to give this relationship a shot. This poem was the start of realizing all that.
You appeared under the dim lights
A smile spreading across your face
As I push through the crowd to reach your
Open arms and steady heartbeat.
Drowning in your flesh
Controlled, engrained, satisfying some deep need
That developed a long time ago
On the day we met.
It was supposed to be a one-time thing
Not supposed to go any further.
One night turned into a week
With you becoming a steady presence.
Now here we stand
Fingers tracing invisible lines
And I wake up in the morning
Finding solace in your eyes
One of my biggest inspirations for poetry comes from music, specifically country music. This poem blossomed from Written In The Sand by Old Dominion. I simply love how they compare and contrast a lasting relationship vs. one that is essentially dead when its starts. It also happened to fit perfectly into what I thought was real with my ex vs. what he thinks is real with his new girlfriend vs. what I (and everyone else) knows to be true. We’ll see what ends up happening, but I think everyone agrees that when you start a relationship under lies, deception, and cheating, it’s a matter of time before karma comes back at you.
I once saw our names
Written up in the sky
In diamonds and blinking lights.
Back when you loved me
When the world could bring its worst
We were weathering all storms.
But now there is a black spot
Darkening those once bright lights
All because you needed her.
You wanted her
For far too long
Your names are written in the sand.
Here’s a painful poem for you all today. I still remember this moment like it was yesterday. The first time I found out my ex was officially dating the girl he left me for. It hurt more than I can even explain. And then, I got angry. So, so, so angry. This was the moment I decided to come clean about everything with everyone I knew. I even texted him and made sure he knew that I knew everything and so did everyone else. His reply? A generic “I never lied or cheated. This all happened after we broke up. I didn’t leave you for her. I wish you believed me, but I’ve done everything I can to try to convince you otherwise, but you won’t listen.” With him, it was always my fault. So although this poem is filled with pain, it’s a reminder of the moment I decided to take charge of the narrative and take care of myself.
I tremble softly
Heat curling though my veins
Picking my heart into overdrive.
Memories of us
Flash before me
All smiles and laughing eyes.
This stupid organ in my chest
Sinks to the floor
Her calling you “boyfriend.”
Downcast eyes to keep them from welling over
I hate what you’ve done to me.
Should have just spit in my face
Slapped me as hard as you could
I can take the physical pain.
The emotional pain is what I can’t do
It creeps up out of nowhere
Settles into my bones.
Tonight, I did it to myself.
Remember who he is now
The old version is dead
You want nothing to do with this new one.
But knowing that
Doesn’t make the pain any less
How can it, when the one you loved destroyed you?
This was an interesting poem to capture after the moment passed. When I wrote this, I was having an incredibly tough day with everything going on. I looked sick, exhausted, miserable. But I had to either go to work or attend some other obligation I had. And so, I began painting on the face everyone recognizes. The beautiful, happy girl that has become my signature. In that moment, this poem hit me, but I was in too dark of a hole to write it then and there. So I waited, and waited a smidge too long. But, I still like how this turned out. I just wish it ended a little stronger, a little more broken like I was in that moment.
PAINTING HAPPY ON
Base coat first
Hide those imperfections.
The dark circles
The tones of grey
The splotches of red.
Need to shade that in
Make that pop a little more.
Not that much…
That’s too much.
A touch of pink to soften it all
Like someone pinched you.
Short brush strokes up
Lengthen and thicken.
Need more, need more, need more.
Green line here
Flick it out.
A little more
Just a little more.
Touch of sparkle
A dab of color.
Fill that in.
Touch and go.
Look in the mirror one last time.
Do you see her now?
The happy girl everyone always sees?
Someone else looks back at you.
Bright eyes, grinning mouth, flushed out cheeks.
There’s no way she’s you.
But somehow she is.
We’re going from a poem I hate to one I’m really proud of. I wrote this after a conversation with an old friend. She told me we’d spoken more in the past week (at the time) than we did in three years during my relationship. Which, of course, makes you feel like the shittiest person. But she was right. Over the past three years, I was isolated in some ways. Sure, I had friends I’d see and talk to, but I lost a lot of good friends or didn’t become friends with other people because of what the ex might think. It makes me angry now. I always swore I wouldn’t be one of those people. I realize now you might not know it’s happening, or maybe you do, but you don’t know how to stop it. I tried to capture that feeling of isolation during everything, then the feeling of being free and able to break out of that. God, it really does feel good to breathe.
It’s frigid in here
In this solitary cave
I call home with you.
The air is damp
The rocks leak
You can almost see your breath.
But I have you
And you have me.
Who needs the outside
When your world is right here
In the little place you call home
I walk towards the light
You left and never returned
The fire went out a long time ago
The warmth hits my face
Blinds me temporarily
Where did you go and why did you leave?
I can’t do this alone
Haven’t been outside in years.
A hand reaches out
Grabs mine and drags me forward
Into the warmth, into the light
Away from the cold and the damp
Leaving your ghost behind
Letting it freeze alone
As I throw my head back
Laugh towards the sky
God, it feels good to breathe