Witch

“Please cut it from my heart. Take your knife, your magic, and just carve his memory from my brain,” she pleaded. 

The woman stared down at her with wicked eyes and said, “Only you can do that.”

“How? I’ve tried. I’ve used love and pain and words and distraction.  Nothing will remove the memory of his arms, his lips. Nothing will make me forget how it feels to have him see me for the first time, to feel his skin against mine, the heat that builds between us, guarding us against the frigid world. Nothing.”

“And nothing ever will. There is no spell to unblight your heart. You found in him the only joy you’ve ever known, the only safety you’ve truly felt. He helped to make you. He will always be inside you.” She turned away, her black hair blowing in the dark air. 

“You have to help me,” she begged, her voice shuddering under the gravity of defeat.

The woman turned back, examining the shattered girl clinging to the ground like the last frayed edges of her hope, and she said, “The only way is to go there, tell him. It’s the only way. Magic can’t help you now.”

As the witch walked away, she heard the girl’s lonely, hopeless cries, and she wondered if she’d find the courage to go.

~Patience

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Dreams

Your arms surrounded me
in home,
in right,
and your scent whispered
my name
as I breathed you in.

I woke with your pieces
on my skin,
and I fought to find
my way back.

To feel again
the way I did
when I was with you.

***

I had a dream about Johnny. I never remember my dreams, but I can still feel every moment of this one.

~Patience

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Helpless

It’s a burden
to know
as much as I do.
I can see my faults,
all the flaws,
the bad choices,
the negativity
that has led me here.

I see it.

I know the broken pieces.
I can feel them in my hands,
and I know how to fix them.

But I can’t.

And it’s a burden
to know why
I can’t sew these fragments
together.

It’s a burden
to know how
to heal the broken
and to not be able to.

The knowledge is heavy
and it makes
the useless
feel more so.

I think you’ll heal me
when I know only
I can do that.

I know that leaving
could fix this
but I think someone else
should be the catalyst
when I know it must be me.

I know but I don’t
all at once,

so the knowledge
hangs on me
while it hangs me,
it’s weight
bearing me onward
while it drags me down.

~Patience

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Movie Star

I want to go back
to that beach.
The one where
the sun glanced off
your sunglasses
illuminating you
like movie lights.
Your smile golden
and teeth gleaming,
me watching you
in stupid awe.

And it’s not real
or it’s surreal.
I can’t tell which.

I see you
walking next to me,
and I feel dwarfed
by your power.
The waves crash
in the distance
and water rolls away
from my toes,
leaving me alone
with the sand,

leaving me
the way you
always seem to do.

I’m there
and not there,
past mixing
inside
the present.

And I want those
sun-bright moments
back,

the ones brimming
with decades’ worth
of anticipation.

I still breathe you in.
Every gram of your scent
swirls inside me
and I wonder how long I can go
without your embrace,
the one you said goodbye with,
the one I never expected to feel
again.

~Patience

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Wanted: Guide to Life 

I need the instructions,
a book to tell me what to do.
Some sort of manual
with directions
not so obscure as religion
and its insistence on faith.

I don’t do faith.
Life has taught me better.

But a textbook
would be nice,
something with lessons
and practical applications.

Because I can’t see straight
and the sanity hangs
on the edge of crazy.

I’m further than I should be,
more broken than I thought possible,
and fixing seems like something
my stubborn heart
won’t endure.

I’ve dug in
and my head is buried in dirt
or high in some cloudy realm
of fantasy-fueled pain.

I’m pretty sure
there’s no turning back
and that book doesn’t exist,
and I’m left floating
in doldrums of my own sick making.

Yeah.
That’s what I need.
A guide to life.

~Patience

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Human: A Journal Entry 

To those who listen:

It’s not the same anymore. I’m not excited in all the ways that matter. I’ve tried to be, to find ways to make me want to, to make me interested, but it’s like before. My body rejects people. Physically rejects them. When the heat is gone, the thing, whatever it might be called, when it’s gone, my body screams at me. My skin throws up walls. It’s like I’m numb. To everything. Every touch, every feeling. Blank. Cold. Empty.

How do I change this? How do I become sensitive, yielding, giving again? How do I become human again?

This is one reason I need therapy. I sometimes feel like I’m coming apart, like I keep losing pieces of myself along the way, and I can’t hold onto them all. They tumble from my hands, and I am less.

I’m going tomorrow. I’m scared. Nervous. In so much internal pain that I can barely breathe. I hide my tears because he wouldn’t understand anyway. That’s the price of choosing someone who has never understood me, not even at the beginning. He doesn’t own enough words to counter my own, so my silence fills the space instead. 

And I am a box about to explode.

I wonder if it’s too late, if this new person I keep feeling is more me than me. I think I’m crazy. Or going crazy. I hope the therapy helps. Because, for fuck’s sake, I can’t take this much longer.

~Patience

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No. More.

A cavern.

No.
Bigger.

A canyon
cracked its way
through my chest,
and it cut my heart
in half.

Or maybe smaller.

It bulldozed,
slaughtered my heart,
crumbled it
into a million particles,
and it drug them
across my body
and out into the air.

Now I am holes.

No.
Emptier.

Black holes
of forgotten matter,
tangled timezones
mixed with endless space
where my heart used to be.

You broke me.

No.
Shattered me,

and the shards
keep slicing
through my skin
when I try to fit them
together.

I need to be fixed.

No.
Healed.
Mended.
Not fixed.

It’s too late
for bandaids.

~Patience

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Crowds: A Journal Entry 

To those who listen:

This quote–it really gets me, like in all my sore places. Like each word drives another blade into my heart. Because I completely understand looking for someone who will never be there.

I sat there, reading those lines again and again, and fat tears rolled down my face, those involuntary kinds where the salt is so much stronger because the pain is much more vivid than it usually is. And I remembered sitting next to my best friend and watching my favorite band perform, hearing their chords melt into my skin and sink into my bones. I remembered opening my eyes and expecting to see Johnny. Here, on the far side of America, I looked around for a face that would never be there. I searched for the impossibility. 

And I do the same in every crowd I’m in. I search for him knowing he’s not there. And I didn’t realize it until I read these lines. 

Someone asked me the other day if I’d go if Johnny said to come. I said yes without hesitation and to the surprise of the questioner. She was physically startled by my response. What does that mean? That I search for him, that I’d drop all to see his face just one more time, to feel his hands, to hear his voice just once more? 

What the fuck am I doing?

~Patience

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Someone Else: A Journal Entry

To those who listen:

I can’t stop thinking about Johnny which is nothing new, but I keep wondering if I’d actually go, if I’d be better there, or if I’d still feel this listless wanting biting into my skin as each day pecks by, minutes on clocks forever rounding into the next mundane moment. Would it be different? Would he love me like I imagine or has our spell broken so long ago that what we are is only memory and dust? 

So I’ve been thinking about Johnny. And other things. 

Like could that love I need be buried in someone else’s heart? Like that guy across the room or on the other side of the world. Maybe that love is behind eyes I’ve known for years or ones I’ve only just met. Is he younger or older, tall or short? Does he work hard and hold doors? Or is he Marine tough and sweet besides? 

I wonder because I know that love is not here. And that’s a terrible thing to know after so many years of living here on this lie I told from day one. 

I’m a bastard and I know it. And I can’t stop being a bastard, can’t stop wanting, no, needing things that make me so. 

This is one of the reasons I need therapy. One of so many reasons.

~Patience

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Therapy: A Journal Entry

To those who listen:

Today, I thought about writing a journal entry instead of a poem, but it’s different to write my thoughts without their metaphor blankets, to see my words bare and raw in their truth instead of swirled between symbols and line breaks, pauses and similes that hide what I’m really trying to say. It’s different to just say something that’s real instead of clouded by interpretation. 

I’m starting therapy in a little over a week. I’ve only told one person that I’m going. Why is this a secret? Maybe I don’t want people to know I admit my crazy, but I’ve been making poor and dangerous decisions as of late, so it seems apt I go talk to someone about my unhappiness that’s more like dissatisfaction.

I’ve never been to therapy as an adult. As a child, it was mostly mandated due to neglect and trauma I suffered at the long tentacles of my hapless mother and the short-bursted love of my distant father. But how will it be now that I’m going out of choice, or lack of depending on how you look at it? What is the first thing a therapist says to a new client? Will she ask me why I’m there? Because I’m not completely sure. There are so many reasons I wouldn’t know how to answer. 

I’m worried. My friend asked if I was excited. She said she’d go every week if she could afford it. Will I feel that way? It took me twelve years to tell her Johnny’s name. How will I ever spill this shit to a stranger? I don’t fucking know.

So there. I’ve said something real. Therapy for being dissatisfied. I need it. At least I think I do, and that’s the first fucking step, right? 

I don’t know if it helps–the plainness of it, the ugliness of truth when the beauty of language is stripped away. I think I prefer poetry–the figurative interpretation of literal pain. I’m going to write more of these though. It’s therapeutic in itself–emotions without ties to perfection of language. We’ll see how many more I write.

Until then, dear listeners, I say goodnight. 

~Patience

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