Soulless in Chicago

As I walk down the street,

I am next to another soul. 

I sway my arms, praying for his and mine to meet.

Maybe then, I will feel whole. 

My hands are of a hard worker,

a woman who sowed her pain to strength.

Yet, when I sit still on a train, my heart races, even when I think of you and her. 

Young woman with an old soul, just waiting for her rebirth. 

I am walking down the street, looking for you. 

My feet drag, and I am counting my breaths. 

In, out. One, two. Three, four. 

I still look for a missing piece of my soul. 

In, out. Five, six. Seven, eight. 

My heart continues to race, even when I look down at the concrete. 

The Smell of Rain

The lake was the color of red wine,

and the earth smells of rain.

My skin was tattooed with that smell.

When I walked through the door, you

kissed my skin, and told me you loved the smell

of rain, that you could never leave what you love.

I walked through the garden, an unfamiliar place

within this concrete jungle. I walked through the door,

you kissed my skin, and told me you could never get

used to the smell of flowers. I stood outside in the rain.

Last night, I saw you with her in the garden.

Surrounded by flowers, you kissed her skin.

You got used to the smell.

You never even liked the smell of rain.

Nothing

He is nothing like you.

There will be nobody compared to you,

and I’m afraid that will always hold me back from trying.

 

He is nothing like you.

Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe a different kind of soul is what’s best

for me.

 

He is nothing like you.

While you are trying to figure it all out by staring at what needs to be done,

he figures it out by getting it done.

 

He is nothing like you,

but when I lay next to him,

he feels just like you.

Love(d)

You welcomed yourself into my dreams last night.

You told me that you loved me.

We were in my bed, and your arms were wrapped around me

I could almost smell the woodwork of your skin.

You loved me so much that I never needed to love myself– you always loved me enough for the both of us. I’m still trying to learn the concept of self love,

I try to remember how much you loved me

in hopes of digging up some leftover love

for myself.

You told me that you would wait for me at the gates of heaven, but

I feel as if I had already died waiting for you at the front gates of my home.

I wish I could forget the thought of you,

but how could you teach someone to forget to think about

anything at all.

 

Saturdays, 2010-2014

The kitchen was always bright, either by your smile or the refrigerator light.

We used to sit on the floor of your kitchen, take each other in, and talked about our fears.

We always turned off the lights.

It was almost like living with a ghost in the house.

I remember Saturdays with you.

We spent hours in your room.

I laid in your bed watching you paint. You were an artist, an unfathomable person.

Each part of your soul was closed off to everyone you met, but me.

I explored your soul and your mind. Your mind was a maze of darkness that even you did not understand.

You were always afraid that they would take you away from me, I think that’s why I insisted on holding you close.

Saturdays were our days.

When your hands trailed my body under the moonlight, those were the nights of Saturday.

Saturday was the day I realized that I was in love with you.

The day I tattooed my heart on my wrist for you, placed my heart on a silver platter for you.

I wish I could relive those Saturdays; meet you again, introduce myself again, change the ending.

I hope you remember those Saturdays.

I hope you think of me on those sadder nights on Saturdays.

February 9, 2017 // 1:15 AM 

Spring, 1999 (revised)

There is a house on the South Side of Chicago,

home to a four-year-old girl.

A house with a bright green lawn, freshly mowed,

and two large bushes in front.

You can often see flowers growing in the ground

underneath them.

The image of this house I completely contrary to the truth

 

This building was compiled of bricks, cement and large windows

and did not feel like home to my four-year-old self.

This building was made on a foundation of betrayal.

This was no home to me.

The mortar between the bricks is soft and eaten away

by insects; this house is falling,

sinking,

towards the ground—my home is no more.

 

My stocky black hair whips across my baby skin,

with tears heavy enough to drag me towards the ground.

The birds were singing again,

and the sun was hiding behind a cloud.

This weather signifies new beginnings, but this house

without the home of my father’s arms was the end of all.

My four-year-old self cries for her father, she wails for him,

asking why he cannot stay in this strange house with her.

Her father comforts her as she cries

 

We will be together soon, he says

 

Her delicate heart could not comprehend why

he must do this, why he has to leave. She was

trying to understand why her world must come to an end.

 

As he walked away, she listened to the heel-toe click of his footsteps,

and thought to the beat of his step

there’s no place like home

                        there’s no place like home

                                    there’s no place like home

Graveyards

My body is a graveyard of forgotten souls.

I hold funerals and memorials every year for each one.

On the anniversary of our death,

I remember you,

standing at the end of the bridge,

looking down

down at the river.

You asked me,

              would you jump in for me if I fell?

Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to swim in water,

or in love.

This graveyard holds my bones.

They hold the stories of each forgotten memory.

My spine,

my right hip,

my right shoulder.

I’m convinced that you are still

a part of me

 

I wonder if I am still a part of you.

 

Do your bones ache because of me?

Do you hold funerals,

memorials,

vigils, every year for me?

 

I hope you light a candle for me at my casket,

one for each time I ever crossed your mind.

 

I hope you set the world on fire

with the thought of me.

False

Write a poem about yourself in which nothing is true.

 

my life is in shambles

my coffee is decaf, and my heart is still

broken

you,

my first love,

you have given me all that I could ever

need

you,

have given me everything I could ever

want to move forward

my life is in a world-wind

and you,

my forever love,

by the hand of god, you

kept the world steady for me

my heart is still broken, and

you have made it easier

I continue to be in love with you, and

I will always miss you

Past, Present, Future

14 shots of vodka taste better than the memory of you on my lips

the very thought of you coats my tongue, and I can never taste love the same way again

 

the song that is being overplayed on the radio feels better than our song played only once

with the sound of my skin turning yellow for you, my liver gives itself up as a token of your love

 

the emails reminding me about my debt are better than the email you sent to me, ending it all in an instant, electronic, self-destruct button

with the paragraphs that pleaded your apologetic devotion for me, claiming you still loved me

 

the blood being taken out of my body every year for tests satisfies me more than you ever did

with the clean results, I still never felt pure enough for you

 

you, first love, you are the ghost of my past, present, and future

reminding me of what I must never dare relive

Masterpiece

Your soul is like a Monet.

You are water lilies on a pond,

painted on a canvas on display at the Art Institute of Chicago

for the world to admire.

You are historic, a masterpiece, but

the closer I look at your colorful strokes,

the less I understand about you.

You become a mess.

The farther away I look at you,

the more I understand.

You are a masterpiece from far away.

You are the love of my life from far away.

You’ve found somebody that can look at the colorful strokes of your mind up close,

and still see you as if they were far away.

To her, you are always a masterpiece.

You are painted like a Monet, and I will always appreciate your beauty, and your soul.