Thursday, December 4, 2014

Trust Fall

Sometimes I write poems, and my process goes like this:  "Oh hey," I think, "I think I'll write a poem."  And then I sit down and I write a poem, and I say, "one day down the road, I think I might actually like this poem."

Other times, my process goes like this: "Oh hey," I think.  "That's a good line for a poem.  I think I'll write that."  And then I sit down and I start and stop and erase for a while, and I obsess over one word for a period of time, and then eventually I say, "one day down the road, I think I might actually like this poem."

Other times, the process is like the one I just went through.  It goes like this: "Crap.  I'm tired, and I'm angsty, and I don't know what to do with myself, and I can't figure out what's happening in my brain and my heart, and I'm going to write."  And then, for a good long while, writing goes like this: ".................." 

 And then, maybe I yell at the dog because he keeps putting his nose on the caps lock key and interrupting my stream of not writing.  Or maybe I go clean the bathroom, or maybe I decide I'm never writing anything ever again, or maybe I antagonize the cat.  But once I've started, my brain doesn't quit, and I have to finish it.  I HAVE to finish it.  Even if the only thing I have is "......." or "I fucking hate writing" or "I don't know what to write," or "if only I would be so lucky as to have a shitty first draft."  Eventually, hours later, typically in the wee hours of the morning, there is a poem on the paper.  A wholly unsatisfactory poem that I don't like, that I am not even sure if I will like one day down the road.  But there is a poem on the paper...and my heart feels better.

Trust Fall

My power lies in saying yes.
In grasping every opportunity before me
I have run so far on yes alone.
I have been this brave
and healing person,
I invite you in and make you comfortable.
Create myself from the pieces you hand me,
build a version of me I have not yet met,
I am piecing myself together
with only the pieces that are offered me:
I am a glued-together statue of shatters that were taken
and then handed back as gifts.
Forgive me
if I sometimes forget to say thank you.

What I mean to say is this:
there are times I swallow lies and wear them as truth.
Work my way to yes so I make them fit
hold my breath, refuse to breathe,
bite my nails,

No is a trust fall.
As my mouth forms the words, I cross my arms
close my eyes, and
lean myself backwards as my muscles tremble
anticipating the ways they can be broken or pulled from my skin,
"no" has been the knock on the door,
bruises that were hidden,
thinly veiled threats.
"No" was pushed back in my throat
every time I let it escape,
my no is the red flag before the bull, it was
only ever asking for trouble.
You tell me you're not worried.
You tell me I am stronger than this.
That I know better than to believe the lies.
That I am not that type of person.
That I wasn't really hurt.
When I tell you I can't trust my world,
you laugh and say
"of course you do."
And then I hit the ground.

What I'm trying to say is that
every time I tell my story without crying
I am lying by omission.
Creating a space of "yes" around me
leading you to believe I don't feel the wound so deeply,
I practice smiling in the dark
shrink into the holes saved for lost pieces of me,
no, there are no longer bruises you can see.
I bury the ache behind the yes
leave breathing room for you to answer the question before it's asked
watch you sink into that space as you exhale.
What I'm trying to say
is that no one ever had to ask me if I was okay:
I am a gutted cathedral of my own creation
worshiping the power of yes.

You tell me that trust can only be built through trusting.
What I'm trying to say is that
you can't mend a broken bone through practice:
the cast around my heart is there for a reason
and it's not to keep you from coming in.
It's to heal what's broken inside,
to align those shattered ends,
you tell me healing will happen
that it's only a matter of time,
but have you ever asked the riverbank what time has done to her edges?
has been eroded from my vocabulary, so yes
I keep fighting
but survival has never been equivalent to trust.
My survival kit is full
of weapons of self-protection
but the hunter doesn't trust the lion
just because he packed his gun.

What I'm trying to say is this:
Don't let them convince you your no can tame the wild out.
That you're strong.
That it's just a lion.
You have your gun if you need it.
Just be brave.
They'll ask you
what makes you think he won't
leave you alone if you say 'stop?'

What I'm trying to say is that
there is privilege in the question.

What I'm trying to say is that
I can't understand how they're
honestly expecting
an answer.

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