Just Write

“Just write,” they say.
I say, for god’s sake.

I tell my students every day,
“Just put your pen on the paper
and write something,
even if you don’t know
what to say.
Say that.
Say anything
to get your brain going,”

but I don’t follow that advice.

It’s been months or weeks
or I don’t even know how long
since I’ve written,
since words have come,
and they still haven’t.

They are broken
or gone
or shattered
or absent.

And I am so full,
so overflowing
with stuff,
with things
about life
and death
and love,
what it means
to love a child
like he’s your very own
when you know he never will be.

So full.
So buried
that the words suffocate
beneath the heavy.

So I write about
not knowing what to write,
and I cry every day
because I’m consumed
by confusion
and impending death
and a love so complete
it scares me.

~Patience

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Normal

My normal has disappeared.
My brain has betrayed me.

I wonder if this is how
my dad felt,
if this is how it started
for him.
Little tremors,
moments of forgetting,
stumbling,
stuttering,
failing.

I can no longer
get excited or
feel afraid
which is ironic
considering I’m
an anxiety-ridden mess.

And people talk to me
like I’m glass,
like at any moment
I’ll shatter,
and maybe I will.
No one really seems to know,

and my mind is too fucked up
to gather the questions
I need to ask,
so apparently

this

is my new normal,
my new prison,
my new life.

I think I understand now
why people in pain
want to give up.

***

I had a blood vessel burst in my brain two weeks ago. I’m fine though. But how could I be? They don’t know why or how it happened as I have no other issues. I’ve seen 4 neurologists thus far, and nothing. Still have another to go.

~Patience

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Kindred

I have a kid now.

Not in the usual way
in which one goes about
having a kid,
but I have one nonetheless.

He’s fifteen and beautiful.
And I mean that.

He’s got thick, curly hair
and molten eyes
spilling pain and joy
all at once.
His smile is epic
and he’s funny
and special
and so, so, so amazing.

This kid isn’t really mine
but it feels like he is.

I love him as close
to how I’d love a kid
who was actually mine,
and maybe more
because I know how it feels
to be him,
to be broken
by the people
who are supposed
to love you the most.

I know how it feels
to be thrown away.

I look at him
and only see good
even when he’s not listening
and driving me crazy.

And it makes me insane
to know people have hurt him,
have made him feel alone
and unworthy
because he deserves more.

More than abandonment.
More than pieces of love.

He deserves full,
overflowing,
suffocating love.

The kind that never gives up,
that protects him
even at the cost of itself.

My kid radiates resilience
and he’s lucky he does.
Not many who have suffered
like him survive,
but he will.

He will grow
and learn
and know what it feels like
to have someone fight for him
no matter what
because he’s my kid
and I’ll never stop loving him,
never stop fighting
for his happiness.

~Patience

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Happy Birthday 

Dear Johnny, 

Today is your birthday, and, as always, I’m writing to you, one more of my many hopeless efforts to show you how much I care, but I suspect you already know this, already have deleted this the moment it entered your inbox, and forgotten my name the moment it left your eyes. I know I’m not what you want. Perhaps I’ve never been despite those few nights, those few weeks where we were in some sort of fiction, some kind of dream. That sounds like song lyrics. Some sad song where she yearns and he spurns.

And I’m off track, per usual.

I want to tell you happy birthday, to hear you laugh that I remembered your birthday…again. I want to wrap presents for you and watch your face as you open them, but I guess all that would require you not hating me, you actually wanting to hear from me, so I’m sorry for once again invading your life. Instead, I’ll tell you this.

Here’s what I hope.

I hope you are with your family, that they love you as much as they did when I was there.

I hope today and all your days are filled with that kind of love. 

I hope you play your guitar and finally master that riff you’ve been struggling with.

I hope work gives you the day off or at least tomorrow off, and if you’re not working, I hope the perfect job finds you and that you love it every day you’re there.

I hope you still take walks on the beach and collide with the waves every once in awhile. 

I hope you’re in love. I hope she adores every cell in your body and goes to sleep wondering how she got so lucky to have you love her. I hope she lights up when you touch her and dreams of spending every day by your side.

Because that’s how she should feel. No matter what you’ve done, no matter your mistakes, you are strong and special and no matter what, I still wish you were mine. 

But if you can’t be mine, I hope she loves you even half as much as I do. 

I hope your birthday is the best one yet, and know I’m thinking of you today and every day.

Love always,

E

Letters into Emails 

Dear Johnny, 

Once, I tried to write about how I felt when I was with you, how it feels to miss you. That’s a lie. I didn’t write about it once. I write about more often than you’d like to know, to be honest, but I did write about it once where it felt more significant. I guess I’m going to tell you about it now even though you probably aren’t reading these emails. They’re probably getting stale inside a forgotten inbox just like my old letters you once kept. 

Anyway, as I was saying. I started this anonymous blog a long time ago. I started it for you, if we’re being honest, so that I could just try to figure out why the hell I’m still so hung up. I did it anonymously because I know I’m a terrible person for still being in love with you while being married. And I do realize that is likely why you won’t speak to me, but, regardless, I kept the blog anonymous. Anyway, I responded to one of the site’s daily prompts because I was stuck. I never really saw myself as a writer and it isn’t even true, what I wrote. Not really. You see, I wanted to write something that could make me feel how I felt when I was with you, to give readers the same feeling. So, I embellished. 

Do you remember the last day? The one where we drove down the coast? I remember music and wind and ocean and your voice. So when I wrote that one time, I tried to capture that day. I want so badly for you to read it, to see if it feels right because, here’s the thing, the site published it to their page. Essentially, thousands of people read it and told me how much it made them ache because it makes me ache for you. Still. Every word bleeds my longing, and hearing people’s reactions to my words, to my expression made me wonder if I am a writer. Like an actual one. Not just because I post sappy yet true poetry to an anonymous blog. That maybe the pain I have, the sorrow I feel when I think of you, that maybe it could help people find the way out even if I never could. 

I know you won’t read this and if you do, you won’t write back. I think I say this every time. Who knows? You’ve probably blocked me again somehow and all of this is moot. But I’d like to think you’re saving these like you did my hand-written ones, that you take them out and read my words and miss me the way I miss you. 

I probably shouldn’t send this, probably should give up, but I’m stupid and I can’t just stop needing you. I’m sorry for everything. I can’t help who I am. I’ve tried to change, be different, but it never works. I am a fucking disaster. Truly. And I keep telling myself that what I have is enough because it’s fine, good even, but it’s not you. No one has ever been you. And I don’t know how to stop comparing, to stop picturing or remembering how it felt to love you, to be loved by you. And I know I don’t know you anymore, that who I imagine only existed for those few weeks, that we are both so separated from who we were together. But I just keep wondering of that matters because whoever you are, how ever you’ve changed, I will always want you. Even when its fruitless. 

Ok. I started this because I wanted you to read something. Maybe I’ll send it next time. I miss you and I’m sorry for who I am. I know you wish I’d stop. I’ll keep trying to forget like you said we should do. 

***

I wrote this as an email and decided to post it instead of send it. Maybe I’ll still send it. Idk. Here’s the piece I’m referring to if you are so inclined. 

~Patience

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Vacancies

Even in the darkness,
I am yours.

When we are lost,
wandering roads cobbled
in vacant thoughts,
frozen moments,

when we are alone,
warmth receding
from our needy grasps,

even then,
I am yours.

In shadows and fog,
in corners and fields,
when nothing persists
beyond sadness and gloom,

I am yours.

These dreams you haunt
beckon me on,
draw me nearer,

and yet,
even though I am yours,
we are apart,
past fixing.

We are broken
despite our capacity
to heal
each crack,
each fault,
each broken bit
clinging to our skin.

We can mend each other
if you only see
how much
I have always been yours.

~Patience

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Empty

The loss eats at me,
takes wide bites,
and swallows hard
each bit I have left,

these frail pieces
folding into glass,
into long,
precision moments

where we are
instead of were,

where we were now
instead of then,

these fractured portals
into nowhere
because then is gone

and I am standing
in pools of longing
for something
I never really had,
for something
frozen and unbreakable,
for something
I want but cannot understand.

~Patience

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Lost

Pricks and pinches,
slices and sores.

I’m full of empty
unless you count pain.
I’ve enough of that
to spread around.

Holes and hideouts,
deserts and dungeons.

I’m lost among familiars,
their faces poking
into a reality empty of full.

Shattered and shaken,
busted and broken.

I’m a mirror in pieces
on a dirty floor,
and I don’t know
if I’m real
or if I’m dreaming
of his face,
his fingers
gripping mine
until I feel whole again.

~Patience

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Alive

We are just bones.
Bones and blood,
cells living,
multiplying,
dying.

We are just
skin and
arms and
eyes.

Pieces puzzled together
to make us people.
Humans walking around
in skin we don’t like
speaking in voices
we aren’t sure are our own.

We exist.
Until we don’t.

And then we’re more than flesh,
more than organs and vessels.

Somehow,
we’re transformed by life
into something worth being,
something worth needing.

We are more,
so much more
than bones and blood,
more than parts.

Loving,
living, 
makes us
whole,
more,
real.

And that’s why
losing is pain
because we’re no longer pieces.

Instead,
we are everything
that makes life
matter.
Instead,
we are full
and wonderful
and remarkably absent,

so they weep
and we are so much more
than blood and bones.

We are alive.

~Patience

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Chance

I don’t know if this email works. I don’t know if you even exist anymore, if you really existed at all, or if any of it was ever real. I just know I miss you beyond words and I would give anything to talk to you again. 

***

I just sent this to him. It’s been 5 years and one day since he last wrote to me. I read the end of our last conversation, and I sent this. No hesitation. Nothing will probably come of it, but I felt it, so I sent it. It’s the truth in three sentences. 

~Patience

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