Today has been a day of revisiting old things, from sketch books to old poems. Here is a poem I wrote a very long time ago (circa: sometime in middle school). This is from a collection of print outs. I remember my mom and I had went to a copying center, where we were converting files from floppy disks. Yes, I know it’s shocking to bring back the nostalgic feel of pushing in a floppy disk into a Windows 98 computer.
Once more, she thought to herself alone in isolation. Really it is the same plot and setting. Four walls of complete self destruction all housing trap doors and sunken trip wires. Love blooms bright, the petals catching the sun rays even through dim windows covered with dust. It crawls quietly underneath the bed at night whispering tales of fidelity, infidelity and mere confusion.
Two feet poke out from under the bed. Thus, as the young girl sleeps she pulls the blanket over head when the room is pitch dark.
Five years go by, then suddenly ten have escaped our mouths. We see this breath as we do in winter, mimic puffs in the frost air. I love you. I love you.
Try to tell yourself that before you dare say it to anyone else. She flinched backwards and clutched whatever was behind her. Such words of violence when they weren’t intended to be.
Love is learning. Twirling around in her room she plunges into her bed. What to do with this heart of mine? She wondered about that. The feet underneath her bed would move restlessly as if there were no comfortable way to stay put. Pulling out wrenches, hammers and nails, she tinkered with what keeps one whole. She pulls her heart in and out of herself examining it, only doing so privately.
My love is like a red, red rose. It is cliché and it is not. My love is like hidden passageway and a secret garden. I turn into it slithering along the cool rocks and shed last year’s skin. The skin I take with me and collect them in a tiny shoebox pushed to the back of the closet.
I am certain that I am not certain at all.
At the counter, a woman leans over disgruntled that the train that runs like clockwork every weekday is late. Crinkling the newspaper and tightening the muscles in her face, she curses under her breath. If only there were some possible way to whisk past the traffic and get on with the day her displeasure might ease off a bit.
[Increasing chewing, wet smacking and chomping. A child finishes the last of their lunch now a disarray in the Thomas the Train lunchbox. A young nanny brushes the crumbs away and dabs water at the ends of the child’s mouth. The child squirms off the bench and turns around flashing an accomplished toothy grin that he has escaped the nanny’s grasp.
The woman with the lavender tweed matching suit set is enraged. Her brooch bares a shield with an embossed lion’s face. She takes one look at the small child and the nanny with her nose rumpled in disgust. She takes a seat on the next bench closest to the brochures and pamphlets of train etiquette and train stops. It is now fifteen minutes past two o’ clock and the train is nowhere in sight, in fact all of the other passengers have set their bags down and some lighted their cigarettes. Two gentlemen with worn wool caps play chess on a wobbly table adjacent to the two benches. One man has played all his pawns first and now accelerates to pick up the bishop.
“Why can’t we go to the animals? I want to see the animals!”
“Quiet, we will get there soon enough. Now come here so I can tie your shoe before you fall.”
The nanny reaches down. A slight cut on the boy’s kneecap catches her eye. When did this get here? She makes no mention of it, fearing the boy will simply squirm his way out of this one. Two black and white saddle shoes scuffed with grass stains are now perfectly tied.
The woman with the lavender suit has now straightened her hat for the third time. She pulls out of her purse a catalog. On each page there are variances of gloves, hats and slips. She turns each page sparingly. She is not in a mood at all to really revel in what is in front of her. Instead, she bores herself flipping through the book aimlessly.
An attendant from the desk approaches.
We will not have any trains arriving soon. There’s been a dreadful accident
The woman does not look up, in fact she stares off to the right of her to hide her face.
“Yes, I’m not sure when it will be resolved, the accident that is. May I phone a cab for you?”
The attendant now goes to the younger woman, but she is not young by default. She pats the young boy on his head reassuring him they will see the animals the next time. The two men have stopped playing chess and packed the chess pieces in a small wooden box. Both chairs are pushed in. Everyone walks toward the curb, extending one foot out onto the street. A loud scream can be heard, it’s unclear if it’s far away or close. The nanny has pulled the young child close forcing his head into her chest. The two men cover their mouths in horror.
The old woman with the lavender tweed jacket, black stockings and an embossed brooch too impatient for anyone, has stepped into the impeding traffic and suddenly disappeared. No traces of blood on the cars are visible. No body is visible. The cab drivers and others have halted, the brakes screeching abruptly. She is gone. She is a force of impatience repressed in all of us. A bottled form of what lingers in our heads. The nanny, the child and the two men have settled that they will not get on the train today and have made peace with it.
The symbolism that one is more important than the other and I must have things now has subsided.
This is the Twilight Zone.
You cannot shrink yourself
Vacuuming out what fills you
And turning on the suction nuzzle
As if to deplete you.
You shouldn’t wallow
Letting discouragement cloud over you
And allowing it to turn wheels
Going round and round
In your head
That there is something terribly wrong
We all start somewhere.
We allow the breeze to rush past us
Without pulling it back
As if to say “no, you cannot go there.”
So I say to you
Leap and flow
Forward and grow.
I want you to be
What you want so badly
That it scares you
Living impressions in your dreams
Bursting out from the seams
I beg of you to challenge it
You are fit
For fighting for this much
And that much
Which moves you
To feel compelled to stay true
I love you, I really do
This month to the next
Even if it’s not your best
I do count on darting high in the sky
Where the birds first learn to fall
Then they too fly
I love you I really do
I must come around often
Rather than popping out of the blue
You cannot begin to shrink yourself
Now take that book off the shelf
I am no longer shivering from the slight cold breeze, nor shrinking away in discomfort that I have wasted time. No, in fact I look to my right and then to my left, smiling. I am no longer taken away from my wills to survive such as a manipulative tug of the hand to come this way, and not that way. I have shaken my hands up and down, tightening and then not. I have climbed up steep stairs, rotating escalators and arrived here. I am no longer afraid that I am not brave enough. For I have cried; heaps into the laps of my mother, wiped tears in front of my piano teacher and stumbled my words in front of acquaintances. I am not weak. I am not the pressure point so firmly deepened into my back where crumbling is a weakness.
The reason I decided that it was worth it…that I was worth it was because, well…
I am force. Deliberate and cautious. I arise as the world. Carefully stroking my sword in its worn sheath, I steady myself for combat. The clanking of swift gestures, I purse my lips as if to say “I am not giving up”.
I have swallowed butterflies and savored their thin wings on the roof of my mouth. I am stark naked attesting to myself this is the body that harbors my soul. For I am Rousseau recollecting that I am honest…honest enough. I am Maya Angelou rubbing the thighs that allow me to stand upright. I am brave enough. I am my bad posture and grammatical mistakes. I am the goodness of my intentions, and the bending backwards to shield another from the hailstorm.
I am no longer afraid of the thick, humid air that plagues the Spring and Summer upstate. I await it’s warmth clutching to my face.
I am brave and honest enough, at this very moment. I am what I am.