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poetinside

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

He plays Neil Young
The same wretched song
I put my fingers in my ears
But the words drone on
A distant hum
And I am numb
The ocean in a shell
I can no longer tell
If things are going well
Or if I’ve just gotten better at passing the time

I want him to say goodbye
To make me feel alive
I am depraved
There’s a sweet and sticky
Sadness I crave
Instead he just sings along

Only love can break your heart

On and on and on

And I am numb

Could not believe my luck yesterday when I found this mint condition hardcover of 100 Years of Solitude at a used bookstore. Such strange timing. Que descanse en paz, el genio, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Could not believe my luck yesterday when I found this mint condition hardcover of 100 Years of Solitude at a used bookstore. Such strange timing. Que descanse en paz, el genio, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Anaïs

Anaïs woke up to the sounds of cheering outside her tent. Through the thin canvas she could see shadows moving in groups of three and four, all heading in the same direction. She sat up on her mat and allowed her eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness. The sun had set completely now, she had been sleeping for almost four hours. 

"I was beginning to think you were going to sleep through the festivities."
The voice was deep and gravelly, hardly more than a murmur, yet the kind of voice that made its listeners sit up and pay attention. Anaïs smiled in the darkness and reached instinctively for the mat to her left, finding it empty. Her eyes scanned the tent and eventually landed on his crouched figure in the corner. Andres sat with his hands dangling between his ankles; his hair had fallen forward, framing his face. 
"What are you doing over there?"
"Watching you sleep."
"Creeper."
Confusion flashed over his face for a moment before he realized she was only teasing. The cultural differences between them were great and framed every conversation. She confused and startled him often with her brashness, her sarcasm and her dry wit. He made her laugh, often unintentionally, with his earnestness. It was their bravery that drew them to each other and when they touched, as they did now, there was no miscommunication between them. 
—————————————————————-
They walked hand in hand, him slightly ahead of her, weaving through the tents. She could not believe how many tents there were. The camp had tripled in size in the last forty-eight hours. Anaïs squinted but could not see an end to the rows and rows of coloured canvas. The tents were as varied as their occupants. Some were modern, made of waterproof materials, easily packed up and carried away. Others were little more than tarpaulin and sticks. 
A small crowd gathered around them as they walked. A few people ventured over to shake Andres’ hand. Some shared words of gratitude, others of encouragement. Some were bold, others seemed scared. A middle aged woman approached tugging a small, brown-skinned boy behind her. She had long, unwashed hair that fell midway down her back and she was wearing what seemed to be a housedress and slippers. Anaïs wondered if she had fled in the middle of the night. The boy was shirtless and he looked up at them with eyes so black she could see the camp reflected in them. The woman grasped Andres’ forearm, her dirty fingernails pinching his skin. She whispered something in his ear to which he listened intently. He then gently removed her fingers from his arm and whispered something back to her. She moved away briskly then, stopping to cast a hard stare at Anaïs. 

"What was that all about?"

"She wanted food for her and the boy. She was offering herself to me in exchange" 

Anaïs was not surprised. He received many advances. She had noticed with growing frequency the stares and whispers that followed them whenever they were together. Andres feigned ignorance but she knew him to be too observant to be unaware of the attention they were receiving. It did not bother her much. Life at the camp was too busy for her to be concerned with petty insecurities. Easing tensions was a full time job at which she was surprisingly good. Andres’ relied on her to resolve daily disputes among the protestors. She also spent many hours each day mentoring some of the older children. Any extra time she had was spent training. She was still poor at hand to hand combat; Andres’ defeated her easily. But she was fast, flexible and, most importantly, hungry to improve. She had been at the camp for three weeks now and was eager to move on. The meetings of the leadership council had been fruitless so far in determining a next move. Anaïs feared the revolution would stall if they did not act quickly and capitalize on their momentum. 
——————————————————-
A large crowd gathered around a makeshift stage at the centre of the clearing. All around the protestors drank and danced and laughed. There was a bonfire around which children toasted sausages and bread. Andres kissed her hand and then climbed the stage. 

His speech was short. It served to stir the crowd, to boost morale without getting everyone too worked up. As she expected, the speech made no mention of any specific plans and she sensed from some of the rumblings in the crowd that she was not alone in her restlessness.
He made his way back through the crowd towards her, stopping to shake hands and pat backs. He remembered names, looked people in the eye. He was a natural leader and in a different time, a different place, a different life, he could have run a country. Anaïs pictured him then in a suit, kissing babies, and the image made her giggle. He looked at her quizzically as he approached her. 
"What’s funny?"
"I was imagining you as a politician. Working the crowd. They love you"
He frowned and ran a callous thumb over her bottom lip. 
"They love the idea I represent. They want to believe that one person can hold all the answers. I make them feel safe." 

"I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. After the last year we could all use some safety." She motioned her arms towards the expanse of tents. "This place, it’s home for these people."

He smiled a small, tight smile that she knew to be strained because it didn’t reach his brow, which remained furrowed, three identical creases lining the bridge of his nose. She noticed things like this more and more now. Even her moods had become woven with his. He was not a temperamental man but he was prone to long periods of withdrawal. His depression was almost tidal in its ebbs and flows. Anaïs was more manic and prone to caprice. Her bad humours were more like flash floods. It had taken a long time but they had found symbiosis. They had learned how to love each other in absence, in space and in understanding. 
"A false sense of security can be more dangerous than outright war." 

"You think something is going to happen, don’t you?"

He looked at her again, making no attempt to smile this time. 

"Something always does."

She smoked her cigarette in short, almost furtive drags, pinching the filter between her thumb and forefinger. She spoke like she smoked, in jolty, fractured sentences that were blurted out in quick succession between pulls on the cigarette. 

"Love? Well. I’ve had many proposals. Many attachments. Some more worthwhile than others. But never love. Not if I can help it."

She smiled and outed the cigarette under the ball of her pink boot. She removed a small wad of dollar bills from her thong and stuck it inside the same boot, pulling the plastic material up higher on her thigh. She was quiet for a moment, looking across the parking lot and fingering the tassels of her bra absentmindedly. She spoke again.

"When you love someone they become less and less of a person. They become just an extension of yourself. A projection of your own needs. Love wears down a person until they become dull around the edges. Like a piece of sea glass. Misshapen. I don’t want to do that to another person. I know what it feels like, to be worn down like that. I don’t want to do that…I…I don’t want to wake up next to a half-person one day and know that I made them that way."

"But can’t love do the opposite? Can’t it build you up and make you grow, like, make you a better person? What about a love like that?" 

I was rambling. I could not help myself. She smiled again, but it was a different smile this time. She was performing now.

"Maybe. But anything that good won’t come cheap. And I charge by the hour."

She winked and opened the door to the club, stepping inside but keeping it propped open with her knee. She leaned against the frame and glanced back over her shoulder at me.

"You’re so young. Go home sweet thing. There’s nothing for you here." 

She probably meant it as advice, but somehow, it sounded more like a threat.

I dream of losing things. I leave bits of myself behind wherever I go. Last night I dreamed that I forgot my coat on the bus. I chased the bus on foot from stop to stop, always a few feet behind, until it disappeared around a bend. I woke up aching. I felt like I had shed a layer of skin. 

Our bodies moving together make a noise like a cooing pigeon. I am not present. I am a million miles away. I am lost somewhere between the couch cushions, I have been swallowed whole by the floor. If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it, is anyone listening? If you cannot find me, am I still here? Still yours?

I used to be hyper-aware of my being. I was conscious of everything, the way I sounded to eavesdropping strangers, the way I looked and smelled. I felt grounded on this Earth and I felt heavy, intrusive and purposeful. I felt worthy to exist and to make my existence known. And now I am a blur. I am declarations of love drawn with chalky stone on paved sidewalks. I am a name in the sand. I am every metaphorical device used to invoke transience. I feel a hollow echoing in my gut. I feel the need to apologize for my presence. 

They say when we dream of lost things we tend to dream of misplacing trivial, every day sorts of items. It is never the winning lottery ticket or the Bill of Rights or the cure for the common cold that we forget in the back of a bus. It is our keys, purses, coats. It is not a grand ideal we are missing, not an abstract pursuit. Rather it is something we know to be true of ourselves, that we have forgotten. 

erikaalexei:

I know I’m not this person,
This mirror of his demons.
I’m losing me to keep him.
I don’t know why I’m trying.
The weight stops me from breathing.
It’s tugging on my spirit.

I don’t need this pain to make me feel like I’m alive.

It’s not love.
It’s not real.
It’s a panic.
It’s not love.
Its a bad reenactment.

- Erika Alexei

The next big thing out of Barbados! <3

In time.

In time I will grow to
Find that the difference between
Right and wrong
Is hidden somewhere in
The depths of my selflessness
In time I will grow to
Learn that being
Hurt is no more than a reflection
Of my own feelings of self worth
In time I will grow to
Understand that my happiness
Depends solely on my
Ability to forgive myself
In time I will grow to
Accept that wisdom
Is not found in
Moments of reflection
Pen poised in anticipation
Over blank journal pages
In yoga poses, between deep breaths
Or whilst staring meditatively
At the horizon on calm, summer days
But rather in the moments between moments
I will grow. 

Tread lightly on this world. Sometimes to thoughtfully appreciate is better than to mindlessly produce.

Gravity.

I wonder sometimes if it is normal to be this good at forgetting.

My past is a fleck of dust caught for a moment in the yellow glow that crisscrosses my living room floor. It is the spider dangling halfway between my ceiling and bathroom tile. It exists, though I choose to ignore it, and to make it go away all I have to do is turn off the light. Somewhere in the space between then and now, suspended in the primordial goo of the universe, webbed in the simultaneous being and unbeing of time, there are naked photos of me. 

They exist and yet somehow they do not. It is as though there is a vacuum between the past and the present and those photos float weightlessly within it. Maybe one day this space will cease to exist. Until then there are no photos. 

I search within my navel for lint and run my fingers through the fine hairs on my torso. You are so close our breath is almost a living thing. And yet the distance between us stretches for miles and miles and neither of us wants to be the one to take the first step for fear we might end up alone in the middle of an empty nowhere. I look at you finally and the gravity of it all nearly brings me to my knees.

Somewhere in the space between then and now are a hundred things I hope you never know. Somewhere in the space between us are a hundred things I can never say. 

(Source: poetinside)

2 months ago - 150

I stand and you sit. Normally this would mean that I am wielding the power but in this case it is you who commands me. You eat. I serve. This is the way our existence is lived today. For better or for worse. 

There is something dehumanizing in the ritual of service. We are not real now. I repeat scripted lines. My job is to be as unintrusive as possible. If you remember me by the end of this charade, I have failed. Any attempts on my part to make this more personal go unappreciated.

You, however, are welcome to address me how you please. Sweetheart. Hon. Ask me about my nail polish. Play date purple. Reach out and pet the beads on the necklace my father gave me. I must tell you where I got it. To refuse would be bad service.

Smile.  

In my wake.

Our consciousness requires us
To acknowledge it
I am never sure of where I am going
Until I take the first step
This place smells like stale weed
And sweat
I survive the winter through a steady diet
Of stoicism and cigarettes
That homeless guy is sleeping
Or maybe he is dead
He refuses to acknowledge
His consciousness
A bunch of carrots in plastic
Are on the floor by his head
I wonder if I should help him
I put a dollar in his cup instead
I am not fulfilled
I feel something closer to dread
Guilt is my constant
Subway stations are lonely places
For the conscious

My Mother’s Brooch / Writing Prompt

Prompt: Browse the classified ads of your local paper for inspiration. Here’s one I found:

"Lost: Brooch. Heirloom from mother. Will pay assessed value to person who has found it."

————————————————————

My Mother’s Brooch

I knew something was wrong when she began to remove the boxes from the basement. My mother was a hoarder. Nothing like what you see on reality TV shows, people buried under mounds of clothes and dirty dishes, houses so full they are hardly able to fit through the front door. She was not this bad. Most of her possessions were packed into suitcases, some twenty-seven of them, and towering boxes that filled almost every inch of our basement, some piled so high they grazed the ceiling.

That morning she woke me early, which in itself was odd. She had never been the nagging type, often leaving me to stay out all night and sleep til noon if I pleased, too caught up in her books and letters to worry about disciplining her fifteen year old. She was a historian, a tenured professor; a forgetful, flighty woman. She was prone to reading for hours, sometimes days, hardly stopping to sleep or even eat. The kind of woman who once, on her way to collect me from school when I was just five or six, stopped to admire an antique table in a store window, became fascinated by some particular carving in the wood, only to then spend the rest of the day in the archives, unable to rest until she had learned everything there was to know about the piece of furniture. My school teachers quickly became accustomed to driving me home themselves.

I never did hold any of this against her. I just built a life for myself in the space she gave me; learned to play beneath her piles of empty coffee mugs and old newspapers. In high school I was athletic and enjoyed being outdoors. I joined every team, took dance classes, gymnastics even fencing; anything to get me out of the house. I was not studious and did poorly at school. I think this was because I hated books, could not stand the stench of them, the dusty pages. But my mother did not seem to mind my apathy towards academics. Instead our differences formed a kind of symbiosis and we existed in relative harmony, more like roommates than mother and daughter. Despite our differences we shared one important trait: a total disregard for sentimentality.

You can imagine my surprise then, when on that Saturday morning in the middle of winter, she shook me awake before the sun was even up, her face a portrait of panic, her hair spiking up from her head in wiry curls. She had clearly just woken up, there was still green crust in the corners of her eyes and the print of whatever book she had fell asleep reading stained her left cheek.

I sat up quickly, unsure of how to handle this unprecedented moment. Before I could even speak she clutched my wrists with cold hands, blue veins protruding from freckled skin, and whispered, her voice shrill with agony, “It’s gone. My mother’s brooch. You have to help me find it. It’s gone.”

Anonymous asked: Where are you from ?

Born: Liverpool, UK
Raised: Holetown, Barbados
Currently residing: Montreal, Canada

For all the girls who will never have sex with the lights on

You will never be beautiful
No matter how many times
They tell you that you are
Your scars
Are not interesting anecdotes
To be shared over beers and
Cigarettes in cool bars
Where only cool people go
You will never be comfortable
With silence 
You will never feel safe alone
Your world must always be filtered
Through the mindless chatter
Of talk show hosts 
Every empty moment must be spent
Pretending to read texts on your phone
You will never know what it feels like
To walk tall in the streets 
To meet strangers in the eye
To feel strong in your skin
To trust in your bones
Instead you will make friends
With the cracks in your sidewalk
And the slippery patches of ice
On your way home
You will slouch in apology
For your existence
You will always feel nervous
For no reason
You will question every decision
You ever make and fake
With practiced precision
Every laugh, every hello
Every yes, no, I’m fine
They will never know
How hard you are trying
For all the girls who will never learn to love their skin
Who will wear it like a cage
Stretched taut around their frames
So thin as to break at the slightest touch
So thin that you fear everyone can see through it
That everyone can tell that there is nothing else
That you are nothing more than this shell 
To all the girls who will never be loved enough
Love cannot survive within you
You will take love, swallowing it
Feel it heavy in your gut 
Wallowing in this feeling of being filled until
It is attacked like a malignant virus
By your very being 
Strangled by your insecurities
Chewed up and spat out as
A mangled distortion of its former self
Where there was love will remain
Only aching dependency and strained
Attempts to live up to something you 
Saw in a movie but that you never
Really believed you deserved
For all the girls who don’t know how to say no 
You will always begin every sentence with “I’m probably wrong but..”
You will always apologize every time
That you deviate slightly from what it is you believe
The world expects of you
You will always be grateful to the men
Who make you forget who you are
The men who demand that you be anything else
But yourself
The men who stick around just long enough
For you to be someone else 
For a while
And then have the good grace to leave
Before you disappoint them too much
You will always be grateful to the men
Who never make you have sex with the lights on

To My Summer Self (In Rhyme to Make it More Memorable)

Do not forget this
Remember the feeling
Of skin so frozen it burns
Hard and cracked and peeling

Remember a cold so spiteful
It steals every ounce of will
Eats it up and spits it out
And leaves you spent until

The only activities of which
You are physically able
Are the frying of two tons of bacon 
And twelve hours of consecutive cable

Leaving home in icy blackness
The day only growing greyer in the smog
You sit half asleep at your cold desk
Writing awful contrived poetry on your blog

Do not forget this in summer
Rise early and ready to dance
Deactivate all your accounts 
And cut the legs off all of your pants

Fall as much as you can
Cover yourself with those summer bruises
The ones you don’t know where they came from
Laugh incessantly, every day, no excuses

And should you ever feel doubtful
Just recall this awful rhyme
Grab a beer and a book and a blanket
And get your sorry ass outside