NPWM Day 11: Tomorrow is Yesterday

I thought love

would help me not to break

but now I know

that’s my mistake.

I beat myself

against your walls

until I’m battered

close to shattered

I never thought I’d be like this

Said I wouldn’t be this way

But here I am

right in the middle of

who I don’t want to be

Every detail memorized

Played on repeat in my restless mind

Unable to unravel

where I went wrong

again

Always afraid

that tomorrow

will be yesterday

and I’ll never get past it

Never get further

Because tomorrow is yesterday

and I’m defeated before I’ve begun

And yet the sun

will rise, despite me

And I can’t help but

feel a feeble flutter of hope

from this broken-winged bird of a heart

that tomorrow can be different

and so can I

and so can you

 

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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.

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.

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.

As the Summer Dies

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Life starts anew as the summer dies,

And the moon hangs full over ripened fields.

Rain-damp leaves carpet the ground;

the air is heavy with their passing.

 

You and I walk this far-flung road,

And truths fall from us like leaves.

We tell our secrets before we realize what we’ve said,

And suddenly we stand in the blazing light of honesty.

 

If I could bend my words, pound them flat and solid,

burnish them until they shone mirror-bright,

You could gaze into them and see yourself as I see you:

Stronger than you think,

Wiser than you believe,

Lovelier than you hope.

You yourself are mirror-bright.

 

But like the first leaf falling–

summer’s small death–

I feel the sudden shift of atmosphere,

uncomfortably self-aware in the light of our candor.

Our easy, flowing honesty hitches.

I’ve already said too much.

 

So my words lose their glow,

grow dull and flat and safe,

restrained by the fear of looking foolish,

and you see yourself with your own eyes,

Not mine.

I catch my breath, hold my tongue,

and we walk into the autumn night.

Ex Nihilo

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There are days when I all I need

Is not to need

Sometimes my heart is a black hole

I take and take

Tell me, when’s it gonna be enough?

When I’m looking to be filled

by empty air

I’ll never be satisfied

So fill my heart with something real

Not some cheap imitation

Fill me so I can be poured out

So I can give for once

and look for nothing in return

You who created everything from nothing

Take this emptiness in me

and breathe

Make all things new

Even me