you’ll understand when you’re older.

mommy, what does happy feel like?

“it’s like when you smile and everything is nice.”

mommy, what does sad feel like?

“it’s like when your grandma died. it makes you frown, and sometimes you cry.”

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

“it’s like when you want to hit something really hard to stop the fire in your middle.”

mommy, what is being scared like?

“it’s when you don’t want something to happen, but instead of fire in your middle everything is ice.”

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“it’s when you really want something to happen, and you’re almost scared about it but you smile instead of frown.”

mommy, what does love feel like?

“you’ll understand when you’re older.”

mommy, what does happy feel like?

[it’s the glow in her eyes but not her face as she looks at you oddly, tired – bent but not broken but even her smile is strained now]

mommy, what does sad feel like?

[it’s the way she sobs when she doesn’t think you’re near enough to hear with no abandon, unlike the everything that abandoned her, and it’s the gaunt look to her face, the haunted eyes that seem never to escape the mysterious burdens they drag with them]

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

[it’s the screaming at the sky, the blood-chilling sounds wrenched from her, demanding at no one why they would do this to her, why her, anyone but her, and it’s the dented wall no one talks about]

mommy, what is being scared like?

[it’s the ‘i-love-you’s that stick because of the desperation buried beneath the simple words, and it’s the fact that she’s convinced she’ll never be able to convey the entirety of her meaning, but she’ll try her hardest, anyway, because what could invoke more fear than regret?]

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“mommy doesn’t know sweetie, go ask someone else.”

mommy, what does love feel like? (i’m older now, you know)

“shouldn’t you know the answer by now?”


my favorite constellation of them all

it’s the song i can’t stop singing
it’s the tune always unfailing
it’s the bittersweet goodbyes
of things not yet given up
it’s the happy parts of slowly-fading scars
the parts of not-yet-laden hearts
that have against all odds – not yet given up

it’s the stars that brightly shine
contrasted beauty so divine
they are never quite as pretty
without the sky to back them up
its the saddening parts of slowly healing hearts
talk of bitter, the scars scabbed over

(into a marred constellation
traced against the night’s backdrop)

it’s the depth of your eyes and smile
too honest to think of guile
no one even comes close
to the way you are a sun(flower)
it’s the maddening love
an occupational hazard—

if i am the stars
then, oh, you are my night sky, darling
part of the art, part of my heart
and not only just a backdrop

an open letter to my own.

Dear little mama, I wish you could comprehend how much I want only joy for you. I wish you understood that it hurts me, or us, or them, to watch you cry. There’s a time for everything, but the ratio for those things doesn’t have to be equal, does it? Dear little mama, I hope you know that you’re not the only one hurting. Maybe that will only hurt you even more, to know that other ache with your sorrow, but please learn to take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Those who notice your habits are only going to attempt to help you (however misguided their attempts may end).

The way you smile through puffy eyes and furrow your expression just enough for me to catch onto your thoughts? These don’t slide past. You think about her, and when I’m paying attention, I can tell. You hang on to every little snippet of her life, like a lifeline. Little mama, you think about her, and the pain that manifests on your face is unlike anything else. That is the worst of the pain you bear currently, I think – the loss of a child.

Dear little mama, do you think we do not notice the little, subtle stress lines that crease your forehead whenever you talk about your marriage? do you think we ignore the slightly-too-loud laughs of Currently Socializing mode, and the slightly-too-quiet sobs of Broken mode? You’re heard by the people who don’t matter, who can’t make a difference – now to speak up to those who can.

Dear little mama, you’ve lost your father, but not your Father.

You’re probably thinking about how I should never shoulder any of this, never feel like I need to worry about you. You’re probably considering all the ways that you can reassure me that you’re fine, that you’re healing. You’re probably thinking about the fact that maybe this worry was your fault.

rambles from school, pt 1

Love is not an easy concept to grasp, because it’s not just a concept – everyone defines it a little different. It’s an emotion, or an action, or physical pleasure. Something I didn’t even consider until recently is that love is not capable of being confined to just one definition. To some people, it is one thing, while to others, it is totally different.

As a child, all I knew was familial love; there was also “parents’ love” – subtly romantic, longsuffering, and steady – but that was for adults. I did not dwell on the qualities love, much less on how I would define them. Growing older, however, as I start to revise and realize my own outlooks on various subjects, love is much more elusive than I originally thought. It is not straightforward anymore; rather, it’s like the color black. Some people say it qualifies as a color, some claim it does not. Some think that it’s all one color and anything else is grey that borders on black, but does not count as “real” black; some see different shades to bright colors combined. There is no one, universally-agreed-upon definition, because too many people see too many things.

Growing up, I have witnessed too many things to maintain one definition. Divorce, when two people who used to claim to love each other separate permanently. Immaturity, when one or more parties involved do not understand that loving each other, in any way, supposedly means that the people involved should care enough to work out their differences despite the disagreement. Martyrdom, even the sort that does not refer to death – one person lets another, or more than one, stomp over them because if that’s what the second party wants, the first should oblige, right?

Love cannot be contained by one human. It is too nuanced, too variable, to stand by just one definition. It is not just familial or just romantic. The least we can do is understand that.

you’re a barnacle-covered hunk of metal (surprise!)

there is a poetry in the risk of bending reality to fit your overall mood; there is a reckless rhyme to the fact that you do not and shall not gift a second thought to your own abandon.

there is a certain meter, specific rules, and you feel no other desire toward them except a craving to break every single one.

longing sickens you, because there is nothing – nothing – you would rather do than break free

from yourself.

your tongue aches to twist words into braided structure / your head pounds with the puzzle of peaceful chaos / your heart beats exponentially faster because you are alive but removed from yourself

sails are necessary to a ship; this is widely-known fact. reckless apathy is your sail, so that when the time comes, there will be no mourning. there will be no weakness in sensitivity, because apathetic calm is optimal, is it not?

release yourself. remove yourself. wreck yourself.

these steps have never tempted you more than

it is only the affirmation that others think about you, sometimes, that pulls you back. the alleged care is too much to process, but maybe you let yourself think in your rare weak moments that someone you care about, reciprocates.

so you attempt to forget. you suppress and repress until you can remember things, but nothing you used to consider inconsequential.

you quickly realize that forgetting the details was the worst choice for you, in this cursed state. in forgetting them, you sever any remainder of any anchor you’ve ever known–

because what is your anchor, if not them?

in forgetting them, you’ve freed yourself

in freedom, you’ve lost yourself

(who knew that anchors were the most important component to a ship?)

scared of a time when I’m not me

sneaking into the night
the darkness is a comfort of mine
says the one whose definition of comfort
needs an amendment, instead of just “hurt”
feeling absolutely nothing
no pain, no gain, is that why I stand so still?
I hope that if I mimic a statue enough
I will

but still i scream into the wind
wondering exactly what makes a friend
care so much (so little)
so, so much
repelling’s instinctive, it is what I do best
aside from putting them through every test
and I scream into the empty air–
what about me makes people care
so, so much?

crawling back from a fight
you can’t win against your own cursed self
says the one whose definition of win
sums up to not committing a vile sin
feeling everything
all pain, no gain, is this why I ache with feelings?
I hope that if I sleep often
I will
vanish from this world

time, time, is what I shriek to you
you have no idea what I really do
I steal your dreams and replace them with only me
and what am I but not good enough?
this is what I feel so I rub it in your face
time, time, is passing
and you use it, waste it on me
you foolish, foolish child

I am a thief subtly bringing you closer to me
stealing rags and riches intangible
I am an ineffective excuse for a weaver of dreams and falsities
have you not noticed, already?
have i not stolen enough from you?