Victor.

Today, noontime delight came in the form of crisp October air that made its way into the hollows of my chest. The blue sky yielded to gray clouds burdened with rain. I am grateful for the reprieve from the daunting dampness of a world in turmoil.

Today, my soul is less welcoming than usual, evading familiar eyes with a fervor. I am grateful for the chance to sit in my silence a little while longer.

Today, my heart is especially heavy – coasting in a spiral of never-ending autumn gloom. I am grateful for the brokenness that welcomes nurturing slivers of light.

Today, tawdry Christmas songs invade my calm, while unsuspecting pedestrians stain my once evergreen periphery. Still, I am grateful for the little trespasses that remind me I am not alone.

Today, I made my way back to my cubicle unfulfilled. The world can be a cacophony of screams and my emotions can be too loud for my body. I am grateful for the solitude.

Today, I have lost some weight by some effort to stave off my usual poisons; by some futile attempts to run away from my usual spectres. Regardless, I am grateful for my verve.

Today, I am made weary from fighting – but I still made room for the quiet shifts of my joy. I am grateful for my bouts of hope.

Today is another impossible battle won.

Transient faith.

My faith is fleeting.
She’s a poetic line you thought about
amidst the drowning comforts of sleep
that you couldn’t remember anymore;
if only you had written it down.
Now, it seems like I couldn’t let my guard down
because if I did, even slumber would betray me,
take something away from me.
My strength is one big sham.
I am impregnable and bright on the outside.
I am fragile and dull underneath.
That’s one truth I don’t like to admit.
Because my faith is one fickle muse —
beautiful,
relatable,
makes you feel extra special and then…
gone.
Don’t take your eyes off her.
Don’t even blink.
She’s here and then…
gone.
Want a glimpse of of her?
Look to my rituals —
they’re my muffled prayers;
they’re the silent songs I sing to her.
My faith asks the important questions:
Why would you stain the alabaster
when it held perfectly to the light?
Why would you scar your wrists
when the stencils of your veins on them are the kind of art
Van Gogh would cut off his other ear for?
Why would you let go of this life
and miss out on all your possibilities?
Why would you deprive yourself the ability to dream?
You can be whoever you want to be in dreams.
And just like that,
it all feels like I am breathing through
a clogged nostril for the first time.
She does that…
every time.
I want her to stay longer,
to hold me forever.
But she leaves before twilight.
So I scour the night for her again…
every time.

Pen to paper.

Write to remember. Remember not to build homes out of the fleeting. Remember that settling for measly crumbs will only lead you to the witch and her gingerbread house in the woods. Remember that when people tell you they’re incapable of change, it’s probably best to believe them. Remember that the smell of smoke means a burning castle, or a broken, freckled prince holding a metaphorical cigarette, saying, “If I cut these wrists, would they bleed the blackest ink? Would they leave a perpetual stain on the threads of the tapestry woven by these unsteady hands?”
Write to forget. Forget the nightmares that anchor you to the ground. Forget how every inch of skin ached at the sight of a former lover. Forget the lies that you have mistaken for the truth. Forget how vile this world can be for allowing the loneliness to take up space on the empty side of your bed.
Set those thoughts to paper, write it all out. Let your pen bleed what your mouth refuses to speak. Set in longhand the pain that cripples the heart, clouds the mind, weakens the soul. Write down the past and leave it there. Write down affirmations that let the light in. Darkness is a mere specter. It’s an abstract abyss. It will only wield power if you let it. Photosynthesis that shit. Write down the words: I am enough.
I am enough.

This isn’t a test.

Let’s be honest here –

I am not the girl men fall in love with.
I am the girl that men want to fuck.
I am a conquest. A prize. A show.

I could count on five hundred fingers
the number of people that have professed,
“I like you. You’re different. You’re an interesting girl.”
Apparently I’m not fascinating enough for you
to want to hold for more than a one-night stand.

Once
as I finished swimming a sea of blankets
and got left stranded on the shore,
I asked myself:

What’s wrong with me?
What am I doing?
Am I not good enough for anybody?

And right before I could drown again,
the sun woke up and said,

“You are.

You are enough.
Forget the men whose hands have groped your hips
in search for answers to questions
you’ve never even heard of.
Do not settle for people who do not appreciate you,
who do not know how lucky they are.
Remember it is a privilege to be loved by you,
or even just
to be touched by you, and
the warmth of another body does not define your worth.

These men –
they think that they can own you
with their drunken stares and roughened arms, but
I have circled the earth
a thousand times
to feed the light flowing inside your skin.
Do not waste it by illuminating those who
can not even be bothered
to learn your last name.”

So that night when
the moon tried once more to pin me down,
I told him:

I am made of sunlight, crashing waves, and fireworks.
You think you can tame me
and cool my flesh?
I am the girl who plays with matches,
and trust me I play it well.
Lord knows I’ve walked through villages leaving
a pile of destruction in my wake.

My heart is a bushfire
and the next time you try to control me,
darling, make no mistake –

I will burst out and ravage you in flames.

I’ll
burn
you
to
the
ground.

(This isn’t a test.)

― Sade Andria Zabala

From Frida Kahlo, with love.

Leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. Train your heart
like a dog. Change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. You lucky, lucky girl.
You have an apartment
just your size. A bathtub
full of tea. A heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. Don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. You had to have him.
And you did. And now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
You make him call before
he visits. You take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. Make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. Place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
Don’t lose too much weight.
Stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. And you
are not stupid. You loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. Heart
like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas.
Heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

– Marty McConnell

Body of mine.

Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds on which you lay,
but also those desires for you
that glowed plainly in the eyes,
and trembled in the voice — and some
chance obstacle made futile.
Now that all of them belong to the past,
it almost seems as if you had yielded
to those desires — how they glowed,
remember, in the eyes gazing at you;
how they trembled in the voice, for you, remember, body.

― Constantine Cavafy