Small Town Poem (that is entirely too long)

This will not be another unrequited love poem.

I repeat; this will not be a love poem.

I’ve been looking through old poems.

Ones I’ve composed through various stages of school, and relationships that may as well have been made of sand.

I’ve been consolidating and condensing poems because my phone is full of incomplete ones.

iCloud storage is full.

iCloud storage is full.

iCloud storage is deterring my creative process.

Typing poems into my notes rapidly before they melt right out of my brain like candle wax, hardening over my soft skin, making me even more indifferent.

Always typing them at the worst times.

Typing behind the hostess stand at work.

Typing while the shower is running and has been running for 20 minutes, but I am sitting half naked on the sink typing furiously at a poem that I assume to be the next best one.

One that isn’t about loving a stubborn, sun kissed boy that will never be in a position to love me back.

But they always seem to lead back to him…

But this will not be another unrequited love poem.

Truthfully, I haven’t been able to write a poem in a while.

Making my worst fear come true…

A drought of words and ideas.

My words dry up often when I am speaking, but not usually when I am writing – or typing.

To say I am scared of losing them completely is an understatement.

Scared of the poems just going away.

Of words abandoning me like so many people have.

Words have always been there for me.

Cradling me in curves of vowels, and cuddling me in twists of consonants.

They fill my brain when I am alone, which is most times.

But I’ve been putting the poems off.

Because I don’t want to write another love poem.

I can’t write heartbreak in a unique way that my pen hasn’t already touched.

But I have been reading through the poems.

I have found that I have written poems about everyone that couldn’t seem to love me back, so it’s only appropriate that I write a poem about myself.

I am sloppily put together,

The back of my hair never looks brushed, and my shoes are frequently untied.

I walk with a curious bounce in my steps, like a constant limp.

I’m not hurt, I just tend to make very simple things difficult… like walking.

I bite my lips when I’m nervous, or thinking, or mad, or excited… okay, I bite my lips all the time.

Old people hands scare me, and I always save drowning bugs out of swimming pools.

I trip a lot… I like to say it’s because I’m down to earth, but in reality, I’m just horribly uncoordinated…

I love to dance, music or no music.

All the time.

Most of the time barefoot.

I once broke my foot barefoot dancing.

I’m passionate.

I sometimes think my poetry is the most spectacular thing about me, and even my poetry is rather mediocre.

That and my ability to make up believable lies on the spot.

When I can’t come up with a witty poem, I feel the world might forget me entirely.

Which is so silly because nobody reads these anyway.

I just go back and read these to myself to reassure that anxious blonde shadow that follows me around that I am worth something more than cheesy love poems…

Even though that is all these are; cheesy love poems.

I read them to remind myself that I feel real things.

And speaking of real things, I like the way that skin feels after a good sunburn.

Every inch of exposed skin marked with light, and so alive.

I feel combustible on the outside as well as the inside now.

I grew a lot over my first year in college.

I learned how to make friends.

I learned that it’s okay to be proud of yourself when you work really hard for something.

I learned that it’s okay to let yourself be happy.

Someone recently told me that there is a distinct beauty in suffering.

That resonated with me.

It bounced around inside my hollow ribs and made an echo that kept me up at night.

It took me back to the messy haired little girl in the back of the old family car.

Back when my parents were still held together by marital promises said in vain and mutual disdain towards one another.

The only thing they seem to agree on to this day is that they cannot stand one another.

I remember how quiet the car was.

Parked in a church parking lot, across the street from a huge fire.

The castle in my hometown was ablaze.

Glowing like a violent flower against the dead of night.

Demanding attention, and receiving it.

My parents had packed us into the car to watch the fire.

The whole world seemed to freeze around that burning moment.

There was something so eerily beautiful about watching something so solid burn to the ground.

I watched, wide eyed, until I fell asleep.

I can recognize now that the fire very much resembled my parents’ marriage, soon to be snuffed out.

And it resembled the residual anger that would burn inside of my storm shelter of a body for years and years to come.

It would take a flood of grace to tame the flames, but they still flicker from time to time when I turn out all the lights.

They lick my ribs in the most familiar of ways.

So yes, there is beauty in suffering.

There is familiarity and comfort in it too.

A terrifying beauty in watching something fall apart.

Dust to dust.

I suppose this is why I’ve held onto my depression for so long.

Ashes to ashes.

It felt familiar, like the sharp burn of fires lit during my childhood.

My depression has always been the only thing I know for sure about myself.

The only friend of mine that made an appearance every day.

Who caught me when I fell.

So, I held onto my depression.

Thinking that someone would see sad beauty in my crumbling.

See beauty in the fire burning at my insides.

I wanted to be saved.

My depression is the only thing that I knew would be the same in the morning.

I might have moved houses.

I might have lost all my friends.

I might have forgotten what it was like to look in the bathroom mirror and see life looking back at me.

But I knew what my depression looked like: a blank gaze, a sad smile, and a nervous gesture.

But college has taught me that it is okay to release that definition of myself.

Sometimes it is okay to be undefined.

Because, while there is a quiet beauty in suffering, there is a boisterous cacophony of beauty in being happy.

Returning home after my first semester of true growth and discovery was unsettling.

This little town tends to hold me pinned against walls.

To take away the breaths that I need.

Judgement grows faster than the corn in the fields of this small town.

And I’ve spent so much time in the fields, wandering to find pieces of me, but they still don’t know my name.

Each time the wind blows, it tends to remind me that I don’t belong here.

Every relationship that I have established in these backwoods soils have withered away with the inevitable shifting of the seasons.

These fields are filled with ghosts.

Here lies my first relationship.

When I loved him until I ran out of love for myself.

Here lies my longest friendship.

We grew together until we started to strangle one another.

I haven’t talked to her in so long.

Sometimes in run into her and we exchange sad smiles.

It is so hard to part ways with someone who knows you better than you know yourself.

Or maybe she knew only the part that I wanted her to, the parts that I chose to show her…

Maybe that was the problem.

Strike the match.

I tell everyone I hate her now.

Because I cannot admit that losing my best friend was my second heart break.

And it still hurts every day.

And I still pick up the phone to call her every time something good happens.

This little town has a sure way of taking every failure, short coming, slip up, and force feeding them to you through clenched teeth.

I’ve told myself I’d get the hell out of this town as soon as possible.

For years and years, I have cursed the clumsy blonde girl for not fitting into her hometown.

Why can’t you just make friends?

Being left out of parties and never asked to dances.

For hiding from popular kids in grocery store isles.

For being embarrassed because of bags of hand-me-down clothes.

For years, I have tried to separate myself from her.

I’ve convinced myself that there is something deeply wrong with her, this was the reason that she poured love out like cold coffee, only to receive nothing in return.

She fell in love with strangers in the grocery store.

And the way that people sometimes talk to themselves when they think nobody is looking.

She fell in love with the way that people sign their names, and dot their “I’s”.

And the way that people curl up right before they fall asleep.

She fell in love with people who were brave enough to offer polite smiles to strangers.

She fell so many times.

I still fall all the time.

I like to say it’s because I am down to earth, but I know I am just gullible.

If I’m being honest, I don’t know how I still manage to get up.

I have tried to stop cursing that little girl though.

She shoved herself into a snow globe to sit pretty on shelves, and she spent years getting shaken up and rained on.

She broke the glass.

I was always clumsy.

I’ve started telling myself that there is nothing wrong with love that spreads like wildfire.

Maybe the problem isn’t your love, but the fact that the world cannot ever seem to give any back to you.

Maybe there as nothing wrong with that nappy haired little girl after all.

Maybe this town couldn’t hold her.

And the fields never learned her name because she spoke a different language.

A language of love and good intentions, that had never been spoken directly to her, but she taught herself.

She is intelligent and bright.

This town will never know me.

I am still very much that little girl.

I carry her with me.

She is light.

Hollow.

Hallowed.

And the scars that she has obtained from falling are still visible on my body.

This town doesn’t have the right to know the barefoot, blonde-haired, bulletproof woman I have grown into.

There is nothing wrong with my love.

What went wrong was that I forgot to give it to myself so many years ago, and I never have.

And in saying that, I lied.

This poem is about unrequited love.

Only it was me who couldn’t love her adequately all this time.

But I am still living.

And I am still learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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