Worry-stitched sleeping

I never sleep before midnight anymore.

Find me, curled in a C shape –

balled in a worry I won’t undo

until morning.

A morning where half the sky

slices the baby blue curtains

away from night’s navy nightgown.

If I weighed my worries in a grocer’s scale,

the store might overcharge me

for pounds I had last time.

My burdens fit me elegantly,

a form fitting piece –

I wear for any occasion.

Please, if you see me sleep,

don’t fear the strings

tightening and loosening.

These mere things orchestrate

my dreams.

 

 

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Luna

Under the coolness of night, the insomniac insects fly frantically under the lamp post. Neon white orbs poking circles throughout the campus, I pass the posts one by one unafraid. Perhaps I am silly for not having fear on an all-woman campus. Perhaps I am allowed to quiet my breath, as I loop through the cycles of my frenzied thoughts. Out there, my mind flies in and out of the light like those by the lamp post.

Pouring back into the street, my friend’s scarlet red car pulled away from the diner two hours earlier. Through the car window, I sighed “the moon is my wife.”

Perched highly away from the world, and a face contoured with the light reflecting the sun – I admire her from a distance. I love best from afar I think. With the blare of punk rock, I sometimes fool myself in believing that I’ve already met my love. She is high – weaving dreams under other people’s pillows. She is high – with NASA’s expensive telescopes admiring the pock marks on her face.

Beginning with Pity

I felt it nearly a week later.

Hunkered down in my bedroom, I laid there with my legs strewn over one side of the air mattress. The whir of the plastic fan – which no longer turns in many directions – gave me my favorite white noise.

It doesn’t really matter.

In the other room, my father’s droopy eyelids fight with themselves on how long they can stay open. Usually, they fall back down within five minutes. Sleeping off the drunk haze, I sometimes wonder if he even dreams then.

The sunlight creates long, thin rectangular lines on the opposite side of my room. Hung over the blinds, I have a tapestry with two binder clips attached to either side. Laying there, I grovel in how much the past year flew by. The amount of heartache I self-inflicted with myself encourages me that I shouldn’t open up to people anymore. I won’t tell as many people that I love them. Each time, I trekked through the woods with spray painted tree trunks, hobbled in my converse sneakers through a small stream, and felt the warmth of a fire in the middle of an abandoned building – I missed a part of myself.

It doesn’t really begin how you think it does.

This daunting act of finding myself starts whether haphazardly. Whenever, I spend time alone – it can happen one or two ways. By definition, I am an introvert who succumbs to a hermit lifestyle. I have a phone, a notebook, food (mostly bread and snack things), and music. I’m set, right? Yet, other times I lay curled onto my bed with the frustration that the soreness in my back will not leave. Enacting the U-curl pattern of a caterpillar, I can’t seem to sit with myself.

I don’t want anyone to get me anything.

Six days and a few hours, I felt the tremendous weight of how alone I felt. It’s an invisible pain I suppress that resurfaces when I’ve buried my true self so far into the ground.

In the other room, my mother would lay outstretched on the living room couch. Half listening (and mostly sleeping), she enveloped herself in the biblical history YouTube videos. Our house would make the only sounds of two different TVs on either side of the apartment, the whir of my fan, and the tremendous amount of sorrow I felt on my birthday.

Smoky Lounges + Adulthood Depression

There’s this hookah bar downtown.

A neon painting with a half-painted face becomes the backdrop to any angst rock start-up group. You know, a few guys early to late twenties sing covers of Aerosmith and Nirvana. If you visit the lounge enough, you’ll expect to see them. Torn jeans with knees jutting out, and a flannel over a band t-shirt.

At times, the hookah bar swallows the poet sitting on top of the bar stool. In front, a young woman with a slim build scrolled through her poem on her i-phone. Behind the sheet music stand, she gave us the pain of who she lost and the glimpse of the fantastical forest creature in front. Other times, a boisterous comedian might quip a few good one-liners but might bargain a shitty basement-level joke.

Nonetheless, I weld myself there. I pour myself into the smoky haze floating as Dr. Seuss clouds above everyone’s heads. Once, I saw a drunk man befriend anyone he hadn’t seen before. Another time, there was a beautiful woman with two Afro buns on either side of her head, a man who sang about bath salts, and a bar host who gave my friends and I red roses.

I’m not quite sure how an atmosphere can assure you. For me, I wasn’t supposed to be in a place like that – the way I was raised. Yet, at the end of the hookah hose – I puffed a thought or two. Besides I didn’t have to get life “right” every minute.

Appropriator: Employment application OR Lost and Found 

I ate from the table, making sure that my elbows rested,

left hand never rose from my lap,

and that my water glass sip

didn’t crumple the invitation given to me.

It’s all one big chance to win it big,

find your place,

use two euphemisms,

about finding a culture that doesn’t make me feel like an outsider.

See, I’ve never been outside the United States

but I’ve been a guest in more than four states-

examining each spine I come in contact with.

I look at backbones on sale,

placing wagers if I can score one like that,

like hers prepackaged without shipping and handling fees.

You don’t understand,

how misplacement in adulthood

asks the questions: who are you, where are you from,

and will you fit in here?

I look at skin, eye shape, collar bone,

and find myself in a Polly Pocket world

switching between identities, communities, 

and grievance of reparations in hopes I will be invited to eat

at this table again. 

Divinity, makes her laugh

She talks about heaven as if it doesn’t exist.

She sees the world as an expanse,

where our entire beings are smaller than our pupils.

In the burst of stars

combusting anxieties across the galaxy,

I stop putting factions of what is right or wrong

in people’s mouths. She believes there is a world

a part from humanity that should benefit.

She reminds me that the world is alive

tingling in the veins of leaves,

and on algae gripping onto coral bodies.

She makes heaven sound otherworldly,

Out of place for the bound book –

I forget to open. I forget to search nose down,

As I’ve been taught. I felt religion came in waves,

I teleported through peace intervals,

and smiled when I saw the earth as not mine.

Instead, I, in origin belong to the ground, the sea,

the duty of sustaining life other than my own.

She speaks as if heavens don’t matter,

because indulgence doesn’t matter if the earth is hurting.

She makes heaven sound like another planet,

out there orbiting as a moon.

She makes heaven sound so old,

That the clouds remember the grazes of prayers,

my people already sang when they came crammed in ships.

She makes heaven sound like a body,

washed and wrapped in burial cloth

waiting for the younger generations to come

pay respects. She makes heaven sound fleeting as a

shadow over the grass on summer day.

Eating lemons with sugar (Reflection on childhood)

Sometimes I do not want to tell my story. I sit there listening to everyone else’s description of their old neighborhoods or how such-and-such relative said yes or no to change. My silence becomes stuffed with assumptions of how my story is told.

Once, I sat with a group of women outside on a terrace. Protected from the sun’s beams, each went around the circle and told how location raised us all. Country borders had brought a few of them to realize how their lives could have been dramatically different. They could have nursed multiple children, but instead they sat in iron chairs comparing philanthropic discussion. The privileges blew clouds above us. I watched as some recalled a time that was much similar. A part of me sat there and wanted to claw at the air with my hands how life could not be bottled. I cannot tell my stories without feeling as if those around me understand what I truly mean.

I wasn’t born into this…but it’s a choice to observe these rituals.

I wasn’t exclusively oppressed, but I know of chains that exist solely in the mind.

I wasn’t denied access to resources, but we hid the fact that we used them.

I had moved several times in my life. Each city brought different views of the same sky. In the background, things I have learned to covet about myself could not be good enough for the new home. In third grade, I used to sing. When I took a shower or a bath in our brick house which seemed as if we would live in it forever, I sang loudly.. When the cars of both of my parents were packed with our most essential things, I left my voice behind in our old house. As we backed out of the gravel driveway, the trees which had the etched initials of my best friends could no longer be a part of me. I could not sit out there in the rain, on one of the higher branches and rub my fingers over those grooves. I didn’t cry ¬†when we left for a different state. In the embrace of my friends,I told them I would come back. It would not be long, but it was. Years had gotten between us, and I had visited once only to find how much I didn’t fit inside my old school. The stairs I could not run up and down as quickly, and skip two at a time. Familiar faces no longer worked there, and ones who did – did not possess the same wonder I had once found.