Maybe I don't like the silence because it reminds me of an ex who used to disappear for days at a time, saying that the aliens had abducted him. Every time he'd reappear it was with some new girl, hanging off his dick - and I knew he'd slept with her so that he'd have a place to sleep, and food to eat. I could never understand why he wouldn't come to me to ask for these things, knowing that he'd never have to pay for them with sex. The last time he disappeared for months, turning up on the opposite coast so that he could "make it," but came back home with a pregnant fiancé.
You came to me, pockets overflowing with tamarind pods, ripe figs, celery root and prickly pears, bravely holding me for thirty seconds "because that's how long it takes for the endorphins to be released." No one's held me that long before, and I could've fell to pieces in your arms because you felt so safe.
The worst part is when I lie in bed at night, and I have to stop myself from thinking about a (our) future. I catch myself, then cross my wrists over my chest, like a corpse, to protect my heart.
You were frail in body while I was delicate in mind, yet we curled around and underneath each other trying to provide comfort to one another - because that's what empaths do. You held me as I fell to pieces in your hands, mind ridden and soul overflowing with trauma, pain and anxiety. You held on until I stopped crumbling - not healed, but stable, enough. Then I held you, in your emaciated brittleness, all edges and angles, as you allowed yourself the space to dissolve in my hands, slipping through my fingers - like water down a drain. Somehow we held each other up, held each other together, just barely. Maybe that's what two people do for one another; the simple kindness of - offering safety, compassion, and companionship as we try to weather our way through the shitstorm.
Upon review, I determined this was shit. I deleted it so I wouldn't be a fucking hypocrite. 😉
I think about you late at night,
when I’m trying to fall asleep
which is counterproductive to
I think about me stripped
bare beneath you, legs spread
wide in eager welcome and you
There is a feeling of awe
each time you slide into me
and I look down the long length
Yet, even though these images
make the vein in my neck throb
I still fall into a deep, peaceful
I miss you - that's all I wanted to say, the only message I want to send out on the ether. I hope it reaches you, on your little farm atop the hill.
This is the poem that won the Anita McAndrews Poetry Award
There’s a funny story behind this poem:
It was written in January of 2017 – 1 month after I returned from Palestine the first time. It is the product of a class assignment: I had to write a Psalm using non-traditional language and non-traditional versing. I was PISSED that I had to write this (if any of you know me, there’s two parts of the Bible I cannot stand – Psalms and anything Paul wrote). I put it off for a week, grumbling and bitching about having to do it. I was, additionally, experiencing a major depressive episode at the time and just didn’t have the energy to do it. So the night before it was due, I sat down and wrote this.
Funny how life works out, huh?
You can read it here or below:
You called me to the ends of the Earth,
the place where your breath sighs,
so that I might suffer to find
I met you at every step, the ochre
Judean sands gritting between my
toes as I tried to match you;
heel to toe.
Your spirit whipping my hair, as
I traced the desolate crescendos
of the South Hebron Hills in the dying
I have known the fragile weight of you,
destroyed, in my open arms as despair
swallowed me on the rocky shores of
Heard your voice transform from singing
in a sumptuous Arabi to the shrill scream
of terror as I stood, useless, on the rooftops:
I have seen your face in its forms of hurt
and healing; bruised purple, smeared with
blood, swollen; the gift of a crazed soldier
Smelled the acrid stench of burning wire,
choking me, stinging my eyes as I trudged
knee deep in filth to bring your children
You have called to where my heart throbs
thrice: Fal-a-steen -and I can’t ever hope
to rid myself of the land, the people, or
You invite me, now, to receive you in
the fruit of the vine, to fill myself
with your sacrifice so that I might match you
heel to toe.
I'm tired -- tired of being tired, of feeling like my body is held down by anchors sunk to unfathomable depths, leaving me struggling for air, for energy. I'm tired -- of waking up to feel like going back to sleep, where my body is whole and full of life. I'm tired -- of running interference with exhaustion, and mitigating it with so much coffee that my piss stinks of it. I'm fucking tired -- the spirit is willing, is full of fire and passion, but this Judas of a body is weak.
I have a photo of a place I love, took it before I even knew you existed; a pathway drenched in the golden, afternoon light which lead to a small cluster of fragrant orange trees. We stood at that very spot once, many years later and took a photo together. It's long gone but I remember it; you arms were wrapped around my hips Holding me delicately, as if I were a treasure. I was turned slightly, curled in the warmth of your shoulder, eyes closed as you kissed the side of my head, on the temple, so sweetly. Every time I look at that photo, I imagine us there - ghosts of love that never blossomed, but had always stayed sweet - and I smile at what could've been.