Throw Back Thursday: Just Fine

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Oh, younger version of myself, you make my heart hurt!!

I wrote this poem 8 years ago.
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November 20th, 2008

When you can’t say how you feel
Or why you feel the way you feel
Because you don’t know how you feel
Does that make you numb?

Does a lack of definition mean you’ve ceased to exist?

Are you simply floating away bumping into people you used to know who are no longer the people you used to know?

Are you continuing your conversations with the bricks in an uncaring wall?

When people ask you how you are then just want validation of their own existence, they want those 5 little words, “fine, thanks, how are you?” the way they want pre-shrunk cotton on their beds and trash day to always come on Thursdays.

When he asks you and he really wants to know
You stop thinking
The world becomes clearer and your inner self hides
You focus on the lighting in the room, the way your toes can feel the sheets, wrinkling under your feet
Your emotions become color blotches like in a color blind test– is that an “8”? Or the word “orange”?

Muddled, your brain frustrates your mouth
You feel like a box of oranges, like a cold glass bottle, like sprite left out overnight– it’s lost its bubbles, like a tree with no leaves

You feel powerless, scared, uncertain, crazy, like you might start crying if you stop smiling, like it’s all your fault, like he might stop wanting to touch you, like he might not want you in his room, like he wants something more, like it will all melt, like you’re a little girl, like you hate him when he looks at younger girls, like you love the way he holds you, like it might not be enough, like if you let him get your emotions, you’ll fall apart when he leaves and takes them with him, you’ll feel all these things.

And you want to be a suitcase, you want to be a kiss, you want to be the way he feels when he opens a new book and smells the paper, you are afraid to be extraneous, you’re afraid of water in movies, afraid of the end of the world, of suffocation, afraid of the feeling you get when things become comfortable and unspoken instead of when things are passionate and words are poured like honey all over the body of the beloved; you are afraid of the time when touching ceases and people get left alone in dark rooms and move to bigger beds so they can say this side is mine, you stay over there when they used to wake up sweaty and tangled and you are afraid of not being wanted.

You’re afraid that he gets up in the middle of the night because there’s something better out there for him and he’s still searching for it, you’re afraid that you don’t know how to become someone worth sticking around for.

You feel broken and invisible and like a favorite pair of pants that’s getting too small.

Opening your mouth in answer, you smile and say,
Nothing. I’m fine.

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Wordy Wednesday: You Cant Have It All by Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-
year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting
pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the
grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be
grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia,
grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy,
for towels
sucking up the drops on your clear skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the
hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a little while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.

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Wordy Wednesday: from Words to her Lover by Gillian Allnutt

from Words to her Lover by Gillian Allnutt
….
Desist, she said,
Mocking his open fist.
I have given you my bones to keep.
I will sleep like the earth in you.
I’ve given you my eyes, though
they are stones,
My apple heart with its green
sleeves.
I’ll sing you a song like a river
flowing,
Give you the sea that grieves in me
Like broken things forgotten.
I would stir the earth for you
Like a great wind blowing.

But I am going where the moon
goes now
When he has finished sewing up
the sky
And sits and eats stars
On the other side.
….

Wordy Wednesday: a love poem by Diane Wakoski

It is true
There is love that
Is decided upon
And love that spreads like a stain
Of ink in absorbent cloth
There is love
That makes sense of your like
And love that makes you senseless
About life.

-Diane Wakoski

Wednesday’s Poem: “34 excuses for why we failed at love” By Warsan Shire

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34 excuses for why we failed at love By Warsan Shire

1. I’m lonely so I do lonely things.

2. Loving you was like going to war, I never came back the same.

3. You hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood.

4. I was wandering the derelict car park of your heart looking for a ride home.

5. You’re a ghost town I’m too patriotic to leave.

6. I stay because you’re the beginning of the dream I want to remember.

7. I didn’t call him back because he likes his girls voiceless.

8. It’s not that he’s wants to be a liar, it’s just that he doesn’t know the truth.

9. I couldn’t love you, you were a small war.

10. We covered the smell of loss with jokes.

11. I didn’t want to fail at love like our parents.

12. You made the nomad in me build a house and stay.

13. I’m not a dog.

14. We were trying to prove our blood wrong.

15. I was still lonely so I did even lonelier things.

16. Yes, I’m insecure, but so was my mother and her mother.

17. No, he loves me he just makes me cry a lot.

18. He knows all of my secrets and still wants to kiss me.

19. You were too cruel to love for a long time.

20. It just didn’t work out.

21. My dad walked out one afternoon and never came back.

22. I can’t sleep because I can still taste him in my mouth.

23. I cut him out at the root , he was my favourite tree, rotting, threatening the foundations of my home.

24. The women in my family die waiting.

25. Because I didn’t want to die waiting for you.

26. I had to leave, I felt lonely when he held me.

27. You’re the song I rewind until I know all the words and I feel sick.

28. He sent me a text that said ‘I love you so bad’

29. His heart wasn’t as beautiful as his smile.

30. We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love.

31. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.

32. I’m a lover without a lover

33. I’m lovely and lonely.

34. I belong deeply to myself.

…..the beauty of the truth of this poem takes my breath away.

Do you have a favorite poem you can share with me?

collage by Joy Boardman

Joy Boardman

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