Monthly Archives: September 2014

things I should have learned sooner

i. do not cross the universe for someone who won’t get out of bed for you. a pretty face and nice words can be toxic and you will lose yourself between their lips. listen to your hands shaking when they kiss you. listen to your heart screaming into your chest. they are telling you to run.

ii. highschool feels a lot like drowning and you will spend more days coughing water from your lungs than keeping your head above the surface. it is okay. it is okay to feel like your hands are too tired to keep you afloat. it is okay to hold your breath and it is okay to let the waves drag you. it is not okay to let them hold you down. it is not okay to swallow the ocean. i know you’ve never been a strong swimmer but you’ll reach the shoreline eventually, i promise.

iii. you will learn a lot about losing people while you are trying to find yourself. people are not your medicine and no one will try to fix you. you will be alone in a room full of familiar faces and you will still be okay. your best friend will replace you with a pack of cigarettes and your first love will forget to fall in love with you back. forgive them. do not hold onto them. let them go.

iv. stop wasting time trying to leave a mark on someone’s life. chances are, if you’re meant to be something important to them, then you do not need to prove your worth. do not pretend you like their taste in music when it makes you cringe. do not pretend you know what it feels like to live under their skin until you have crawled all the way down to their soul. do not pretend you are something more than what you are. do not pretend you are anything less. you are a walking galaxy and you do not need to prove your existence.

v. think of death but do not think of dying. think of life after death but do not think of quick ways to get there. babygirl, i know you carry bullets in your teeth and i know your blood burns like alcohol when you’re too sad to speak. i know you’ve mastered self destruction behind pink cheeks and white-teethed smiles and i know you are tearing yourself apart from the inside out. you are a monument and soon enough your body will crumble from all it’s missing pieces. do not wait long enough for that to happen. think of death but do not think of dying. think of ways you could kill your sadness without killing yourself first.

vi. you know that you love him more than he ever will and yet you let him kiss you like you are his entire world and that is where you go wrong. do not settle for someone who has to force themselves to see the stars in your eyes. do not settle for hands searching for your waist while they should be searching for your heart. do not settle for anything less than what you deserve and trust me when I tell you that you deserve a lot more than someone who only loves you when he needs you.

vii. do not hate him for this. he is just another human being who likes to drink too much coffee and finds it hard to love anyone but himself. do not play the victim and do not turn him into your killer. he doesn’t know what he wants and neither do you. he has strong hands and loves to touch your skin. do not let him break apart your bones. he will try. do not hate him for this. do not forgive him either. walk away and do not think twice. do not let him sink into you.

viii. hot showers will teach you a lot about how long it takes to wash someone off your skin. you will understand what it feels like to claw against your own flesh and feel it clawing back. no matter how hard you scrub, your bones will feel heavy with an emptiness you can not get rid of. do not crack your veins in an attempt to bleed it out because the only thing you will bleed out is more of yourself. teach your body to grow beautiful things. learn about the beauty of your flesh when it is not bruised or scarred, and when it is.

ix. you will kiss her like you are trying to swallow the sun. she will burn your lips and set your throat on fire but you will not pull away. you will learn a lot about love but you will learn a lot more about pain. you will tell yourself loving her is worth the burn marks you taste on your tongue. she will kiss you long and she will kiss you hard and she will leave you when you are burnt to the core. months later you will still cough ashes at the mention of her name. it is not the end of the world. you should have known better than to let a wildfire touch you.

x. sadness is greedy and it will eat you whole and spit you back out and your body will feel a lot like a decaying corpse. no one else can taste death in your mouth but yourself. no one else notices how your chest tightens and your breath cuts off. do not expect them to carry you off your feet when you are shaking too much to walk straight. be your own hero and crawl if you have to. do not let it digest you.

r.b.

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from “Sunflower Sutra”

Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then!

——

A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!

——

Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?

You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!

Allen Ginsberg

from “A Supermarket in California”

Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.

Allen Ginsberg

from “A Supermarket in California”

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.

Allen Ginsberg

from “America”

My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

Allen Ginsberg

from “America”

When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?

Allen Ginsberg

from “America”

America why are your libraries full of tears?

Allen Ginsberg

from “Aware”

I liked the sound
of such private voices. Next time
I’ll move like cautious sunlight, open
the door by fractions, eavesdrop
peacefully.

Denise Levertov

from “Caedmon”

All others talked as if
talk were a dance.

Denise Levertov

A Time Past

The old wooden steps to the front door
where I was sitting that fall morning
when you came downstairs, just awake,
and my joy at sight of you (emerging
into golden day—
the dew almost frost)
pulled me to my feet to tell you
how much I loved you:

those wooden steps
are gone now, decayed
replaced with granite,
hard, gray, and handsome.
The old steps live
only in me:
my feet and thighs
remember them, and my hands
still feel their splinters.

Everything else about and around that house
brings memories of others—of marriage,
of my son. And the steps do too: I recall
sitting there with my friend and her little son who died,
or was it the second one who lives and thrives?
And sitting there ‘in my life,’ often, alone or with my husband.
Yet that one instant,
your cheerful, unafraid, youthful, ‘I love you too,’
the quiet broken by no bird, no cricket, gold leaves
spinning in silence down without
any breeze to blow them,
is what twines itself
in my head and body across those slabs of wood
that were warm, ancient, and now
wait somewhere to be burnt.

Denise Levertov