Poetry

[poem] Things I should do now that you’re gone.

1. Write poetry again. Write about love. Write long lists. Post it all on the blog I made because I knew you were reading. Where I stopped posting because I knew you were reading.


2. Take more selfies. Share them: on my stories. On the fake IG account I told you about but never let you find. On my timeline, set to public, with detailed descriptions of outfits, hair, makeup. Stop hiding that I am as vain as you told me I shouldn’t be.


3. Make a lot of first drafts. Post them. Make things quickly, in bursts, sharing them just as quickly. Post in the middle of things, unfinished, in process. Expose people to the mess of making, so people can see: there is no magic, no bolts from the blue. Only mess and mistakes. Only hoping for better.


4. Sing high. A lot. Because I like how it feels, how it sounds when I hit the notes right. Because it will take a lot of tries to get those notes right. Because I will never learn if I do not try and fail and try and maybe it’s too late, at this age, to challenge my range instead of leaning into it…but I’ll never know unless I do.


5. Stop pretending I don’t still hear you. Because I do.


6. Admit that, if I’m honest, I did not love you. No, I loved the idea of you, of us, of the roles the roles we played: the boy wise beyond his years and the girl who hung on his every word. In a small way, I made you my world; loved the safety of you telling me what to do, who to be, who to become. Tried to follow it to the letter until I realized I couldn’t, didn’t, didn’t really want to.


7. Accept that you never knew me, because I’d never allowed you.

That, from the moment we met, when I chose to pretend I didn’t know things when I did, I set a precedent. I crafted a first impression, and allowed you to run with it. I chose to play the role of the girl who needed your shaping: Eliza to your Henry; Galatea to your Pygmalion.


8. Admit that, in the end, we didn’t have love but validation.

I wanted to make someone proud of me.

I needed it to be you.


9. Accept that sometimes…I might still miss needing you.


10. Promise I will ever need anyone as much again.

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[poem] war paint

Instead of crying, I did my makeup in the middle of the night. Here are my thoughts.


When your words land
like fists,
instead of fighting back,

I will paint my eyelids the hues
of a fresh bruise.

I will choose shades that look
like black eyes
and old wounds. Like
how warriors smear their faces
with the blood of enemies slain,

I will take my pain
and beat my face bold with it;

with every brush stroke, declare
I am done with hiding.

I am done with apologizing.
I am done shrinking myself
to the size of your expectations;

wearing your accusations,
allowing them to tint and taint me.

If you do not like my colors,
I will not tell you I am sorry.

I am not sorry.

I am not sorry.

I will never let you make me sorry again.

Fin.

[snippet] Poem I stole from Twitter.

Note: The first two lines, in bold, are from Richard Siken bot (@sikenpoems), a robot Twitter account that, I assume, tweets out scrambled lines from Richard Siken’s poems. 

The rest of the lines are mine.


Don’t you see,

it’s like I’ve swallowed your house keys:

 

like I am the latch,
the lock,
the thing that opens the door that takes you
some place you have always looked for,
never realizing you left it long ago.

(the bookshelves are dusty, the bed
is still waiting for you to return.)

My actual favorite lines from Richard Siken are:
My dragonfly,
my black-eyed fire, the knives in the kitchen are singing
for blood, but we are the crossroads, my little outlaw,
and this is the map of my heart,