they say tomorrow might be the waves i cannot see
the sheer anticipation of what might have been
we’ve grown so old from heartbreaks so young a dream
we’re so vast a universe but no words to swarm in
this existence hurts my skin it hurts more everytime it doesn’t bleed
here in this dark place everything is shameful and unforgiven but
there’s a rabbit hole down here and there’s you and i and the world disappears we need to be somewhere else
but here we are, bloated up
and shrunk down into an instagram post
If you were alone when you were born, alone when you were dying, really absolutely alone when you were dead, why ‘learn to be alone’ in between? If you had forgotten, it would quickly come back to you. Aloneness was like riding a bike. At a gunpoint. With the gun in your own hand. Aloneness was the air in your tyre, the wind in your hair. You didn’t have to go looking for it with open arms. With open arms, you fell off the bike…
Last time you see someone and you don’t
know it will be the last time.
And all that
you know now, if only you’d known then.
But you didn’t know, and now it’s too late.
And you tell yourself, “How could I have
known, I could not have known.
You tell yourself…
Missing Mom, Joyce Carol Oates
she was nine, he was on tv,
she’s fifteen, he was already on his own, then twenty
twenty one, he was old before
his time, “where did you guys meet?”
I don’t know I don’t know
walmart, maybe, at midnight, he ran out
of pop tarts, but he said
at a party in London, too much gaps in
what we’re saying. yes but I have
no sense of time
and space. I meant we. we’re just good that way. of forgetting.
of forgiving again. it’s toxic, I know, this infatuation
don’t look. don’t look where we are. we are too old now. we are stale
from same old stories. “fame tore them apart,” …not true, not true!
he wakes up then decades
sprawling across and in and out of
his bedroom walls
she grows fonder of distance, she took a step
one day and has been running
eversince. “what an unstoppable force
she is!” was. was.
he wants her to wait but never quite saying
it right. she keeps running and she lets him
watch how far how fast her steps could go
how her jaw her fist clenched. she’s got no time
to spare, “but she has no sense of time,”
he was so young, “but he was old before his time.”
chunks of life. episodic memories. lovers lost then found. claustrophobic-narrow-hallway affairs. the curious couple and strange mirrors. emotions shut off, relived, reserved. stories shared and forgotten. pain unseen. pain no one cares about. this book, secrets and for keeps.
you and i, we’re a hush hush
they make you walk around with
a red carpet girlfriend
i step aside, smiling away
all these secrets and hideaways
man, you’re the best of news that i can’t share…
There was the story of a central California widow who had fought to have her recently dead husband exhumed, pleading her case that before he had died he had swallowed her diamond ring in some sort of spite and that she wanted this jewel returned. But in the end she confessed that she had not slept for many many weeks and that she had been spending her nights lying on his grave, trying to speak to him, and that all she really wanted was just to be able to see his face one more time.
Life After God, Douglas Coupland
I dream you still. And there I will be.
You don’t know my name. This is the past. And us is just a butterfly effect that didn’t happen. We are apart and at peace, just as before your eyes met mine, before our hands brushed and our words hushed. Before our secrets born into judging eyes. This is before everything.
And I am telling you this so you will search for me no more.
“I Want These Dreams Inside of Me”, When I My Own Daughter
Now we will count to twelve,
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
“Keeping Quiet”, Pablo Neruda
thinking of how you light up the dead parts of me
i seem to know how to pick them
out of a bunch I picked the darkest one
who’d call up cancelling whatever whenever
just to watch me dance all night
my then insecure boyfriend asked what’s going on
i don’t know, kid
i didn’t. but i knew i was
in for trouble
you stared and stared and oh that gaze, i wanted
those eyes staring at me for the rest of my days…
When I look into your eyes, I realise I came from a long journey across time, before yours nor mine. I knew this from recurring dreams. They’re so vivid that when I wake up, my arms my feet my body’s broken, sore and tired. These dreams are more than just a realm in my subconscious, they’re real.
In my dreams, I have your eyes, your smile, and everything’s new under the sun. In my dreams I am lost looking for something, anything feels like a mother. In my dreams, I too am abandoned, unwanted. In my dreams, I am you.
When I Look Into Your Eyes, When I My Own Daughter
these stories, they come to me in dreams the first time I fell asleep since they told me you’ve fallen into flatline
I dream you
sometimes in colours, green and oranges, purples and blues, and not bleak nor dark, we are not in the shadows
in these dreams, our children they’re born. they’re not sucked to death, they’re not stillborn nor bled away
they live and we give
names to their innocent loving faces
the eldest has my eyes, her brother has your smile
in these dreams we’re not bitter
we’re not numb from pain
in these dreams you are standing tall
little daughter dances on your devoted steadfast feet
her brother clung to your arms, his head rests on your secure and sturdy shoulder.
he’s falling into another dream.
in these dreams, I dance with you under the chuppah
and you recite a long vow, a song we used to hum
before we went to sleep
On birthdays that are wiser,
The inward life tells us that we are multiple not single, and that our one existence is really countless existences holding hands like those cut-out paper dolls, but unlike the dolls never coming to an end. When we say, ‘I have been here before,’ perhaps we mean, ‘I am here now,’ but in another life, another time, doing something else. Our lives could be stacked together like plates on a waiter’s hand. Only the top one is showing, but the rest are there and by mistake we discover them.
Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson
I imagined Mum running wild with her ponytail, perhaps clawing her way at a concert to get closer to Dad on stage. I never picture her as a free-spirited human being (or a groupie who jumps around at a concert). In my mind she was timid and sad right after she was born. I noticed she forgot to breathe at times, she was the epitome of absence. It’s hard to imagine her being beautifully present. Even to this day I couldn’t for the love of god see the very thing that made Father fell madly in love with her that he literally gave up for her his fame, and eventually, his life.
All languages that derive from Latin form the word “compassion” by combining the prefix meaning “with” (com-) and the root meaning “suffering” (Late Latin, passio). In other languages, Czech, Polish, German, and Swedish, for instance – this word is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefix combined with the word that means “feeling”.
In languages that derive from Latin, “compassion” means: we cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, “pity”, connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer. “To take pity on a woman” means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves.
That is why the word “compassion” generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second-rate sentiment that has little to do with love. To love someone out of compassion means not really to love.
To have compassion (co-feeling) means not only to be able to live with other’s misfortune but also to feel with him any emotion -joy , anxiety, happiness, pain… there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.
Life After God, Douglas Coupland
drips on honeydew holy water new
icy breeze colourful rainbow rain, rain on me
don’t bite the bliss on an empty stomach
but ignore ignore, red flags or compliance
so wobbly a place you barely stand
filled with cracks you’re bound for heartbreaks
here we are and here i am
you go be you, i’ll stay and pretend
a friend that is not till the end
a ship that is slowly sinking
quietly drift drift like the wind softly
gone and forgotten, i’ll be
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.
101 Sonnets, Pablo Neruda
It was after dinner. You were talking to me across the table about something or other, a greyhound you had seen that day or a song you liked,
and I was looking past you over your bare shoulder, at the three oranges lying on the kitchen counter next to the small electric bean grinder. which was also orange, and the orange and the white cruets, for vinegar oil,
all of which converged into a random still life, so fastened together by the hasp of color, and so fixed behind the animated foreground of your talking and smiling, gesturing and pouring wine, and the camber of your shoulder
that I could feel it being painted within me, brushed on the wall of my skull, while the tone of your voice lifted and fell in its flight, and the three oranges remained fixed on the counter the way stars are said to be fixed in the universe.
Then all the moments of the past began to line up behind that moment and all the moment to come assembled in front of it in a long row, giving me reason to believe that this was the moment that rush out of sight into darkness behind the eyes.
Even after I have forgotten what year it is, my middle name, and the meaning of money, I will still carry in my pocket the small coin of that moment minted in the kingdom that we pace through every day.
This Much I Do Remember, Billy Collins
a ring on your plate when i cooked you
eggs, our years apart summarised into one morning
of jars and jars, bottled up feelings
of you looking into me, looking into something
of me saying things without a sound
our lives in suspended compartments
bubbles of cliches against time voices people
it is kind, it is patient and it is all you need but
it doesn’t conquer all, it’s never the answer
my love for you, insincere and vague.