22

In daylight, I radiated its warmth
finding softness in the caress of another’s hands
I was told I was chosen because
I was the most vibrant, the
most desired in the whole plot.

Callused hands took me
displays in vase
water and sugar
you told me to take this as
a compliment

You’d watch every morning as I withered
you mourned me and thought
“She was so young, just so pretty,
if only she’d live on her own strength,”
but I did!
but I would’ve

You pulled me from the soil I had been nurtured by
so you could feed from my beauty.
You only gave me sunlight through the convenience of your window
when I had already inherited it from
the blossoms before me.

You’re not my saviour
(not that I ever needed one)
women aren’t flowers
underneath, we’re a complex
a web of intertwined roots

And you better believe that next time
our network of infrastructure will run so deep
you’d have to yank us from the ground
with all your might
if you ever want our sisters again.

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21

Children killed by
a gun in a child’s hands
and all we have left
are grains of sand
slipping through our hands
fleeting, passing
until it happens again.

How can I not be sentimental
over lost time?

What if all of life was a bank
withdraw and deposit as we felt fit?
All those years those children will never live
placed in a pool
for anyone to fulfill.

A father on a deathbed
aching to walk his daughter down the aisle
buys a few years,
based on another’s sacrifice.
Just enough time to make a memory,
postpone the tears.
If only we could live on
borrowed time.

“How sad we have become,”
but have we really “become” anything?
we’ve become complacent
we’ve become regretful
of all the ways we’ve let them down
of all the children we couldn’t save.

Penmanship

For Christmas, Ben bought me a fountain pen and it changed the way I look at writing, transforming it from a task into an art form.
I know what you’re thinking: “what, like a quill and ink pot?” and: “why would you want that?” Well, the concept itself is quite modern, there’s even an entire subreddit about it!

Firstly, it’s not quite a quill and ink pot. I got the Lamy Safari fountain pen, which is considered a good introduction into fountain pens with refillable ink cartridges. It travels smoothly across paper, and really is a pleasure to use. See below a comparison of the Lamy fountain pen and a regular Bic ballpoint pen.

image2

image1

Secondly, while $34 for a quality pen is more expensive than a pack of standard ballpoint pens, it has been more of a personal change than a stationary one for me. Using the fountain pen makes the experience of writing feel purposeful.

I spend a lot of time curating and getting my numbers up for this blog that I often forget that writing is meant to be calming, reviving and cathartic. I used to stress so much about writing to impress others that I stopped writing for myself. 

Having a pen that glides along paper is so relaxing to me, I’m often just rambling on until I come across inspiration, and if I don’t, that’s okay too. I’m sure there’s plenty of us who write dozens of pieces and only post one!  I know it sounds silly, but having this small memento of self-care reminds me that poetry is art, and that really, I’m an artist. It’s important to take time for yourself, and to create content you’re proud of–the pen and paper you use is the first step.

P.S. the penmanship examples are lyrics from the song Three by Sleeping at Last, which is about the struggle of the Type Three Enneagram that I wrote my poem, 10, about. Give it a listen!

Would you consider buying a quality pen?
What are some ways you keep yourself going during the dreaded writer’s block?

20

The chorus within
swelled a rush of relief
a pendulum that had finally
acquired equilibrium

Tucking in my memories of you,
I slipped away quietly
into the night
with only so much as the
click of the door
behind me.

You gnawed through my wires
and instead of throwing you out,
I just kept buying more to replace
the ones you ruined.

I filled my home with ghosts
of all the traits I tried to make you into
of all the kind things I wished you’d say
hoping one day you’d
fill in the blanks;
all it left me with was
a haunted house.

A cabin, fevered
of seasons passing while I
stayed the same
my leaves, still in place
my flowers, still in bloom

You aren’t the sun
and I’m not just a
stained glass window
I am the moon, the stars
and you’re a telescope
and goddamnit,
you’re going to admire me.

19

Maybe I love you like
I love a friend’s photo albums:
distantly; a story apart from mine,
adoringly; happy for their happiness, or
curiously; questions I don’t
know the answers to.

Maybe I think of you like
a dream forgotten
by coffee brew.

But every afternoon at 3:39pm
hitting that midday wall
my sleepy yawn ignites a memory:
hard hands holding mine
dress shirts, hung neat
the clink of unmatched glassware

Dreamt dreams reminding reality
of a fever I couldn’t sweat out
of a nice heart I couldn’t melt
of a boy I swore I hadn’t met
but knew, somehow.

My mother warned me about him
while tucking me into
princess palace sleep:
“A hyena doesn’t always have
flesh in his teeth. Know enough
to stay away.”

But when the mercury rose too high
on that temperate thermometer
my mother also used to
keep me near a pot,
rolling boil, saying
“Stay as long as you can,
and you can sweat the toxins out.”

18

A story I’m ashamed to tell:
of red dots under eyes
popped blood vessels
counting the minutes left
after delicious dinnertime
to keep myself in check
to a schedule I created.

The unabridged tale
of satisfying my hunger with another’s envy
“Whatever you’re doing, keep at it!”
“You’re looking better everyday!”
“You’re so small!”
so so so so small

The strive to be size zero
my superficial goal to be
the bottom of a spectrum
to be loved, not revered
not an economist or a journalist,
just skinny.

On display: my greatest play
if the numbers on my plate aligned just right
it would create constellations of compliments
and everyone would finally
love me.

Every morning, I wished to lose more
even if it meant
the weight of my mind.

The Sparknotes of a novel I wrote
where flattery was food
and everyone wanted to know my diet secret
but no one cared to read cover to cover,
only the summary I fabricated
so I could fit into the clothes I thought
they wanted me to.

17

The overwhelming ache in your stomach
of missing a memory in real time:
summer camp planetarium
status: away from keyboard
phone left at home
sorry, no wifi
looking for: validation
arising from stoking my own flame

August night, northern town
guided telescope
they told us using red flashlights
keeps our night vision unhindered
and boy, could I ever see

Salt shaker, spilled
stars, meteor shower
car splashes pothole
stars like mud splatter on my jeans
and I’ve become the canvas.

An archive of my life spent
trying to get sons
to like me
that starry summer, I prayed
those dead suns were proud of me, instead

Boys used to tell me I gave them a hard time, boasting,
“I’ve never met a flame I didn’t like,”
but they didn’t know I was fire
or maybe I was that red flashlight
doing exactly what was needed,
on my own terms.