an attempt to define love
everyone lays claim to love in some shape or form.
but what is love, really? does anyone know?
there have been so many different depictions and ideas of love—
it’s like finding a missing piece of yourself in someone else.
it’s belonging to someone completely, and them belonging to you.
it’s belonging to yourself only, but finding a heart that beats in tandem with yours.
it’s two souls, bonded together.
it’s one soul, split in half.
it’s meant to be, it’s fate,
it’s saying “forget fate” and “i choose you, over anyone, over anything, over and over and over again.”
it’s death do us part,
or for now and all eternity.
it’s falling and flying and tumbling and breaking and being reborn.
it’s something worth dying for,
something worth living for,
something worth sacrificing for.
“you’re no one until somebody loves you,”
or “love yourself before anyone else.”
it’s poetry, it’s song, art and prose and light,
it’s heartbreak, sorrow, jealousy, bitter rage.
and fear. so, so much fear.
yet, such profound fear can only stem from a love that is precious indeed.
after all this deliberation, this consideration,
i still do not know which perception is truth.
but perhaps the beauty of love is in the not knowing, the trusting, the pain of falling and the freedom in flying. the joy in being caught and the devastation in burning to the ground.
i’ve wondered, and i’ve pondered,
but i think i’ve decided i no longer need the answer to an unanswerable question.
—i do not know love, but i feel it,
and i am content.
draft 3 - a bittersweet memory
Like a scene out of a movie.
The rain drizzled across our faces as we stood on the pier, laughing about things that we would forget the next day but still enjoying the feeling of being together anyway. You stared at me until I squirmed, calling me beautiful until I stopped rolling my eyes. No one had ever looked at me like that before - and it was hard for me to take your words seriously.
The conversation turned to giggles and arguments about our shared history, you confessing how long you had wanted me and how many times you should’ve given up but just couldn’t bear to. Hearing you say those things made me feel so...different. Like as if I was beginning to see myself in a way I had never seen myself before.
I argued that I had never rebuffed you, but the evidence you responded with proved otherwise - and once I understood this, the realization came that I had known that I resisted. In fact, I realized I was testing you. Did you really mean what you said? Were your feelings for me an actual reality? By the way you looked at me, the answer was obviously yes.
The wind and the rain picked up. The moon got dimmer as the clouds got denser. We ran to the gazebo, glittering lights illuminating the droplets still lingering on your face as we tried to take shelter.
I sat on the picnic table, you stood in front of me.
I asked you if the waiting, the fighting, the failure - was it all worth it?
What a stupid question, you said. Of course it was.
Then you kissed me.
Be my girlfriend?
The rain poured, my heart stilled. I felt so calm.
Yes, I said.
You kissed me again, but I could taste the smile lingering on your mouth.
a collection of jagged things
i think about
the mirrors that shatter
and the bones that are broken
the edges that are torn
and the words that are left unsaid
all of them
connected by a thread
but the same in their jagged incompletion.
each of them dangerous
each of them tragic
begging to be caressed to softness
yet drawing blood at the first touch.
it is not my fault that my soul is jagged edges
or tragedy weaponized
and i can’t explain how it feels
other than pointing to these images
of sharp, broken things
that long to be whole.
yet still i long
and i always will.
if you can’t see it, is it even there ?
i try to find the words to describe what i am feeling, but they do not exist.
they are on the tip of my tongue, but they evaporate before i can spit them out
and i try to scream
but it dies in my throat
before i can make a sound.
i am being choked
but i see no hands around my neck
i am being drowned
but all i see is desert.
my suffering is nonsensical
and yet i suffer.
this is healing
i never have been patient.
a cut takes a few days to heal
a scrape, maybe a few more
but when something breaks-
-well, that’s never happened to me before.
i’d imagine it takes a long time
waiting for those broken bones to heal
but like i said, i wouldn’t know
and can’t imagine how it must feel.
yet, what is it called when winter becomes spring?
could that not also be called healing?
what is barren, broken, mere dust
empty, colorless, so lonely, so gray
what do you call all these things
that recover from decay?
how could it be anything else
this rebirth, this miraculous mending
how could it be anything other
which begins with pain ending?
perhaps i do know what it is
to heal from a broken thing
my heart was broken once
yet winter still became spring.
it is april now
and with it, come the showers
but someone told me long ago
the rain will bring you flowers
so now, here i am, waiting-
-no, dancing in the rain
i never have been patient
but i think that i can change.
what i left unsaid
unaddressed letter, 5.20.20
i am so torn, so conflicted. part of me knows that you’re leaving in 55 days, but the other part of me can’t help but get more and more attached to you. you went camping for 5 days and i missed you probably more than i should’ve, but i couldn’t help it. not only are you my best friend, but you’re also the guy who i’ve had feelings for since forever and they’ve only gotten stronger. the way you kiss me, and whisper into the hollow of my neck, and leave a trail of kisses up my arm, the way you hold me...i don’t think i’ve ever been this vulnerable before. honestly, i don’t think my feelings have ever been this strong before, either.
it’s so strange...there have been several moments, almost like déjà vu, where i feel a distinct certainty that you and i are supposed to end up together. i know it sounds insane, but as i think about it i realize i don’t want anyone else. i want you, and you alone. i even think about all the other guys i’m going to meet in the future when you’re gone and i’m not as excited as i should be because all i wanted for so long was you. [his name here]. i’ve wanted you for around two years, and now that i have you i feel like i won’t ever want anyone else. is that bad? i feel like the worst part about the whole thing is i have no idea if you feel the same way, or if me telling you would make-
day two hundred and eighty-nine
i had another dream about you last night.
- it was a lot like the rest.
i wanted to hold your hand, but i was holding someone else’s
and instead of looking at him, i couldn’t stop looking at you.
he didn’t notice
but you did.
i let go
and i touched your hand
we lingered there for a moment
and my heart began to ache.
i am sitting here writing this
and i want to cry because
your hand felt exactly the way i remembered it
- rough and warm
- ridiculously, stupidly, amazingly big
- calloused, strong
- and mine.
but it wasn’t mine, not really.
because the touch
while seeming to last for eternity
truly only lasted a single moment.
and then you walked away.
and it felt like my fault.
(which, according to my subconscious, it is.)
i know this one is just like the rest
a tally on the wall
a penny in the jar
a drop in the ocean
why does my heart still ache?
a love that outlives you
i have always wondered at the stars.
“why must you end?” i ask.
to make room for the after, they say.
“but i do not want the after. i want you.”
i feel them laugh. little one, they say. the after will come. and you must let it, for it is right.
“but you are beautiful, even while life is so ugly. what if the after is not beautiful?”
and what if it is?
i had not thought of such a thing before.
salt stings my cheeks, stars blur around me, and i weep. for even though the after may be more beautiful i still do not want it.
child, the sky implores. why do you weep?
“i am not ready,” i say.
such is love. such is loss. but still you go on, yes?
how do i begin when all i can see is an end?
we do not sorrow. we rejoice. for our end is our beginning anew.
your love outlives you, little one. do not let loss take that from you.
i nod, a fierce sadness gripping me but an even greater love eclipsing it.
“will i see you again?”
you will be amongst us once again, little one, in time. beautiful things always return to the sky, yes?
then the voices fade, and i am alone.
but not truly. i feel the supernovae within me, the death of the beautiful things being replaced by whatever is meant to come after.
whatever it is, i decide it must be beautiful too.
leaves know better than i do
the flowers in the meadow must wither
so the leaves on the trees can turn
the leaves on the trees must fall
so snow comes, and then you start to learn
the snow and the shimmer must melt
so the flowers can begin to bloom.
but what am i to do
when the person i love leaves too soon?
the flowers in the meadow have withered
but i am alone here with my thoughts
the leaves still have not turned
and i’m afraid the trees forgot
the world just isn’t right
without you around
the snow and glitter have not come
and the spring birds have no sound.
i am still waiting for the leaves to fall
like i did long ago
but i think they’re smarter than i am
and it seems they already know
- you cannot live your life
waiting for someone to come home
because the seasons have to change
even if you are alone.
so here i am still waiting
seeing if you’ll come back soon
but honestly, i think it’ll forever be
and the moon.
you ruined fortune cookies for me.
i skipped that song because it reminded me of you.
- but the next day i belted those words because they made me feel like you were mine again.
i can’t eat at that restaurant because it just isn’t the same without you.
- but i’m constantly craving their fortune cookies--not because i like them, but because i loved reading the fortune then giving you my cookie afterward.
i refuse to read poetry because it all seems to be about you.
- but then every time i write something, i end up writing it for you.
i know that it’s over, and i know that you’re leaving, and i know that i need to move on, and i know that we had our last kiss and our last moment as an “us” and i told you that was okay, and i know that i need to stop writing about you but it’s just so. hard.
how do i forget about someone like you?
how do i learn to live a life without you?
how do i breathe when it feels like you took all of the air from my lungs?
it feels like i miss a person that no longer exists, and i think that might be the worst part. my heart has been squeezed and pushed and poked and shattered but i still go on wanting you because i have NEVER felt like this about anyone else. it feels like i found my soulmate but im losing them at the same time because we are on different paths and i am not sure they will ever cross again.
my heart is breaking.
will i ever see you again?
and will you love me then?