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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It Never Stops

Buzzing,
a hammering
in my brain

but deeper.

Shaking,
twisting
around my insides,
and I just need it
to stop.

I scream for it
to stop.

“You did nothing wrong!”

“Everything’s fine!”

But it screams right back
in my face
and I somehow know
it’s right.

I’m waiting for the basket
to get too full,
for it to topple the bike,
for the weight to break the rider
so completely
that she can’t come back,
that she’ll never come back.

It seems just around
the next bend,
the imminent catastrophe
where I crash
and the voices are finally
right.

~Patience

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My Line

It was the day after the Fourth of July when I watched you walk away from me for the first time. Clouds brushed the sky with gray while the sun peeked over the mountains, and you turned and waved while tears fell in torrents from my eyes.

May fifth was the day I saw your face again after years of waiting, years of aching. Hot air hit me, and I ran to you. I can still smell the laundry soap on your white t-shirt as I buried myself in your arms.

The last time I saw you was May nineteenth, another fierce Florida day, and my heart couldn’t stop racing, its beat floating somewhere near my stomach instead of my chest. You held me. I cried. You whispered you loved me, that it wasn’t over, and you waved goodbye. 

I tell time in relation to when I last saw you. Was it before or after Johnny? This is how I orient myself in the world, in space. Before or after. You are my line. Before and after you.

~Patience

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Judgement: A Conversation in My Head 

“Why do you care what people will think?”

“I can’t help it. It’s who I am.”

“Explain.”

“Explain what?”

“How is it who you are?”

“I’m anxious, worried. Always. Since I was little. I worry what people think, if I’m good enough, if people like me. I can’t stop it. No matter how hard I try.”

“Do you think I judge you?”

“Of course. Maybe more than others.”

“Why more than others?”

“Because I care what you think. Because your opinion of me is so important. I feel like I’m on a precipice, ready to tumble. Every time I hear your voice, I’m falling, unable to stop. If I do something wrong, if I get boring or ordinary, you will be gone again, and I will hurt, and I don’t want to hurt ever but especially now.”

“Why not now?”

“Because I’m fragile. Things have made me fragile. I just want to be what you want. I can’t lose that too.”

“I don’t judge you. I want what this is, who you are, who you can be if you’d just let go. Stop worrying.”

“Impossible.”

“Come here. Do you feel me next to you? Do you feel my heart beating?”

“Yes.”

“When it comes, the worry, remember the beat of my heart. Remember my skin touching yours, and know you belong to me. I will not let you go.”

“I’ll try.”

“Good.”

~Patience

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Notes 

I close my eyes
and let the music
move in,
let it thrum
through thoughts
I didn’t know I had.

* * *

You stood in the rain once
telling me not to go,
saying sorry to car windows,
and I thought I couldn’t get
any sadder
than that moment.

I watched your resolute face
fall a bit,
crumble beneath
some sort of tenderness
you hadn’t known before,
and I wept
as I watched it vanish
before me.

I still don’t know what it meant,
why your eyes looked softer,
your concern so much truer
with the rain washing your cheeks.

I think it means more
than you say.

It’s why we’re here,
why we are.

It’s that moment
where you fall
and I almost miss it,

where I run
and you demand I
stop,
turn around,
stay
even though the pain
eats my insides,
even though
fear
replaces my blood,
the unknown
pumping through me,
giving me life.

It’s the back of that truck,
our lips touching,
the anticipation biting
at our limbs.

It’s why.

Why you
and why me
and why it’s still
in our bones.

* * *

Music fades
but memories do not.
Instead,
they collapse in
on themselves,
fold up,
and create another layer,
one I had almost forgotten,
one that means something,
just like the truck.

We humans remember
the strangest things,
but I think those are
the moments that matter,
the ones we keep
to carry with us,
to keep us
safe
or close
or loved.

~Patience

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Phoenix

I ache in my bones,
in my skin,
in my brain.

I ache for you,

the pool of anguish
reaching my mouth,
flowing into my nose,
suffocating my sanity
with pain,
with craving
strong enough
to burn me.

My cinders will float
on the waves of my agony,
swim in this lava lake of desire,
and rend me into nothing
but ash.

And like a phoenix,
I’ll rise

and wait for you
to do it all again.

~Patience

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My Constant

Your voice
presses down,
shouldering
its way into
my mind.

I can feel you
dripping
from me,
leaving evidence
for me to find
when I think
I’m rid of you.

Your sticky words
walk on my skin,
burrow below,
and live,
feed on my time,
on my need.

You are my constant.

My hovering familiar,
my master,
my peace.

Your chains
pull me closer
yet I am free.

~Patience

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In or Out

Pieces of you
are
stuck in me,
jutting out
in raw edges,
steep falls,

and you’re still
such
a mystery
even though you’ve managed
to lodge yourself
in my insides.

It seems like I
should
know all your parts
since I feel them
itching
beneath,
in each muscle,
each move.

You wake me
with words.

I can feel them
growing
inside my lungs and
waiting,
their impatience
clawing.

Your fingertips have
changed me,
smudged me
into new,

and I’m dreaming of places
where you’ve touched me
and trying as hard to forget them
because I know it’s all

fantasy,
figures in snowglobes,
trapped,
frozen but never real.

I know it’s dreams,
fiction and conjecture,

but
desire,
craving,
need

whirl around,
climbing my legs,
scratching

to get in
or be let out,
brought out

by your touch,
your words,
those echoes
in the black.

~Patience

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