The Meaning of…

If I were to publish a book of poetry, I would need to include a warning label. Something like: do not read this if you are prone to depression, anxiety, or prolonged flights of fancy. Do not read near sharp objects, open flame, on top of tall buildings or while crossing bridges, etc. Do not read before consulting your therapist, having your living will notarized, and putting all your affairs in order. In other words, DON’T read this; you won’t like what happens next.

Bold statement: to say that my writing could have any effect on someone, let alone such a profoundly negative one. In my experience as a constant reader, writing must have an effect or it is a waste of paper and effort. My words will not change the world – perhaps not even one person in that world – but they are mine and have never been a waste to me. My writing keeps me alive when every moment threatens to break my soul.

My life is defined by Irony; if I believe in anything supernatural, then that is it. Irony is alive. It breathes.

A few months ago, I worked up the courage to submit my work to an unpublished authors contest in Ploughshares. I didn’t follow through because I didn’t write anything decent until two days after the deadline. Maybe next year I’ll rediscover that courage and go for it.

When I was 23, I finally forgave my dad for all the things I needed from him and never got when I was a child. It was his sixtieth birthday, and he had been dead for almost ten years. Since forgiving him, our relationship has gotten better; now, when I dream of him I feel content.

Four years ago, I wanted only to die. Then I did but not completely.

I’m in love with the one person I’m not allowed to have (cliché). He loves me too and can’t do anything about it. But the question is: would we still want each other if we could be together?

Side note: Alanis Morissette (you knew her name would show up eventually) didn’t sing about Irony. She wrote a few cute lyrics without knowing what she was talking about (past the “meeting the man of my dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife” bit). Honestly, spoons and no-smoking signs are not ironic! If, however, you argue that naming a song “Ironic” when it has little to no irony is ironic in and of itself, then you have a point. If that’s actually what Alanis was doing, then she is brilliant.

I speak as if I know what I’m saying. You know I write only because I say I write. There is no proof as of yet. So in the poetic spirit, I would like to show you. I may never be published – I may never be brilliant – but I will always be honest (with or without the rhyme). Take me or leave me.

Diminish

Someday soon, when grief has finished

dying my eyes, my vision will clear

enough for you to know

the love reflected in my gaze. This haze

will clear, and I will no longer hide.

Don’t ask me to disguise or

apologize for the flaws from years

before you knew me.

Do not steal promises from my lips

to ease your discomfort, for

I have no shame – no need for makeup

to smooth my wrinkled youth. Still,

trust my body to tell only

lies of time passing

slowly out of memory.

Trust these paling lines

to cover up their crimson youth –

the truth that still flows beneath

their age. Each brush of

fingertips across my skin makes me cringe;

I can’t help believing

your hands will reject me as I

once rejected myself. These marks,

such a small part of me, yet

they magnify the doubts –

there are always doubts –

over pain that tore me in half

a lifetime ago.

I’m not the same soul;

that one destroyed itself

half a lifetime ago.

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