NPWM Day 7: Silence

I used to love silence.

I used to savor that quiet stillness

because it felt almost holy.

I could be silent on my own

or silent with a friend

and it didn’t bother me.

It was good and full and rich and deep.

It spoke to me of comfort,

of contentment,

of simply being and not striving.

 

But that’s not our silence, is it?

Our silence is dangerous,

a razor edge.

Our silence is filled with

the crushing weight of words

we cannot find.

It presses down on our shoulders

and leaves us staggered.

It sits on our chests until we cannot breathe.

It grips its fist around our throats

and squeezes. Hard.

This is not the sacred silence

of fellowship or solitude.

This is a silent scream

and we are utterly defeated by its noise.

 

I sit here begging you to speak,

knowing you have no words,

knowing I am spent and broken,

and wondering how the hell

to reach you

through the paralyzing silence,

so different from the one

I used to love.

NPWM Day 2: Dynamite

Why is it that

Our conversations

Are laced with dynamite?

And we strike matches with our words

And hope they don’t ignite?

 

What happens to us

In those brittle moments

To make us take up arms

And grit our teeth

And throw ourselves into

A battle we don’t want?

 

And when we retreat,

Bloodied and bruised,

To lick our wounds,

How is it that I turn to you

And look into your eyes

For some reassurance,

Some glint of forgiveness,

Even so soon?

 

And how is it possible

That I find what I’m looking for

There in your gaze,

Nestled amidst the hurt and

hesitation?

How do you keep forgiving,

Keep loving,

Keep needing,

Even as we stand there bleeding?

 

This is our miracle.

This slow lowering of guards,

This tentative trust,

This tenacious hope

That tomorrow we will start again,

And again, and again,

Until we learn that

Words are not weapons

And we are not at odds.

How Does A Heart Break?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it a glass falling to the ground?

A scatter of shards and

the irredeemable sound

of fractures, too many to repair?

Is it sudden, complete?

Is one left standing

in the circle of glittering pieces

staring at the refracted light,

trembling hands empty, and empty inside?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it the slow shifting of a fault-line,

a grinding pressure, a bit at a time?

Does it compress and harden

under all the weight?

Collapse in on itself, until a great

seismic shudder of energy

surges and presses out

and throws everything around

into chaos?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it a stone in a river,

silent and still?

Letting the persistent waters of grief

wash over it, years upon years,

until the river’s tears

have worn away any definition

and it is smooth and unresisting?

Little by little, day by day,

does it give itself away

so there’s nothing left to take anymore?

So it can’t be robbed

by the constant throb

of pain or loss or longing?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it a glass, a quake, a stone?

Does your heart feel these things?

I know only my own.

 

The Fight In Me

 

The days stretch on–

a blurred line,

a slow succession

leading into mist

which never parts.

Is everyone’s future

so unfathomable?

Or do some see it

stretch before them

like a bright river,

carrying them, all anticipation,

swiftly onward

to their destination?

These days and days and days

take out all

the fight in me.

I shouldn’t be so tired.

But where there was fire,

there are now only embers

smoldering, cooling, waiting

for some sweet breath

of wind to blow

and coax

them to a warmer glow.

I dare not hope for a blaze.

And yet, in this haze,

this march of days,

I find a quiet, bending strength.

And maybe the fight in me

hasn’t died; it has learned

a steady stance.

Perhaps the fight

isn’t always flame and spark.

Perhaps it’s standing, enduring,

even through the dark.

Even now I find

that day after day,

the fight isn’t a battle.

It’s the will to stay.

If You Fall

I’ve been trying to write for days,

And I keep erasing every line.

My words feel so trite,

so flimsy,

so weak.

Why do they abandon me

when my need is greatest?

When my heart swells and trembles,

When my spirit cries and shouts,

Then my pen runs dry

and my tongue falls mute.

I know that words can transport, transform.

I’ve felt their latent power humming on the page.

Why then when I feel deeply

are these letters flat and dull?

I’m desperate to say

whatever this is

that quakes and roars and whispers

through my dreams and into my waking hours.

We talk with our eyes,

and maybe that’s best.

Maybe they say what I can’t.

Look in them and see

that if you break, so do I;

if you fall, I fall too;

and if I rise,

I’ll rise with you.

A Child No More

I’ve always wanted to be brave

To face my demons unafraid

And yet I’ve always waited on

Someone, something, far beyond

But there are wolves outside my door

And I’m a child no more

 

Throw open wide this shuttered heart

Let in the light till shadows part

Gaze straight into the the truth of me

Embrace the facts unflinchingly

Unlock the gate, unbar the door

For I’m a child no more

 

I swell beyond these strict confines

Overflow my precious lines

Past the margins, I am free

Expand to the periphery

Plummet down or rise to soar

Either way, a child no more

Well

In these lean hours of respite

these quiet moments between

When I allow myself to wait

 

wait

 

wait

 

and listen to the rhythmic rush of blood

in my eardrums

counterposed to the ticking of the clock

on my wall

(my own heartbeat

striving relentlessly

against the current of time)

In these moments

I slow down my racing thoughts

my frantic fears

my desperate wishes

And it is enough

enough

to rest in this transient calm

to know that all is well

and will be well

Tomorrow will come

with its dizzying demands

and I will face it

and surely fail

to meet all its myriad requirements

But the steadying truth

is right here in this silent stillness:

It is well.