higher

Sometimes it is easy to pretend
all the things that happened to me
actually happened to someone else,
some other person who lived a different life-
that’s how far removed I feel from it now.
There are days this makes me sad,
and I pity that person and grieve for them,
but most often
I find myself grateful they survived,
that they took all those hits and falls and failures
and broke our shackles so that I could fly;
and for their sake I will never stop trying
to touch the sun

the true beauty of white

I like the color white
not the innocence of white flowers or angels
not the brilliance of wedding dresses or crisp fresh snow

No, I prefer deadly shades of white
bright light that painfully blinds you
white hot rage that fills you up from the inside out
the murderous white of waterfalls and whirlpools
the fur of a polar bear stained with a recent catch
the wall of an impenetrable snowstorm
the dead eyes of a deep sea fish
a familiar flash of white in the corner of your eye
shaped like the whisper of a ghost
I like white that’s beautiful because it’s terrifying
the kind that could caress you one moment
and kill you the next
the kind that reminds us how alive we are

you only get one

go outside and fuck up your yard
dig a hole and fill it with seashells
and scatter wildflower seeds with abandon
build a wall with a door that goes nowhere
create secret trails in the woods that lead to buried treasure
and others that lead to nothing at all
spray paint graffiti on your own house
buy mismatched dinnerware and serve a twelve course meal on it
wear a ballgown to the grocery store
and pajamas to a restaurant
roll down a hill and splash into mud
rub the wet dirt all over your arms and legs
and chase laughing neighborhood children like the bog creature you are
it’s easy to forget that you only get one-
one life, one body, one shot-
a single chance to enjoy this world and everything in it
so go outside and fuck up your yard
propriety was made up for society and it’s all bullshit anyway
keep reminding yourself
you only get one

empty lungs

the cold sea swells behind you
and you can barely take a breath before
it crashes down on you once again
all you can do is let the waves push and pull you
scraping your skin against the rocky bottom
the saltwater stinging fiercely
against your already open wounds
but the blood and pain don’t register
because all that matters is fighting
back to the surface to gasp in as much air as you can
before the next crash of dark water
overpowers and overcomes you

cliff side

you’ve been standing here for what feels like a lifetime
the sky is blue and the ocean is blue and maybe your heart is too
you watch the others leap into the sky
limbs flailing as they fall, letting the sea become their safety net
and god, you want to jump too
to give in to the desire to make a decision
the kind that’s exciting and risky and terrifying
the kind that could hurt you or kill you if it goes wrong
but make you feel more alive than you knew you could if it doesn’t
all it would take is a step
either backwards or forwards, just move your feet
you can’t fucking stay up here forever

a terrible idea

it’s like running as fast as you can toward a brick wall
you see it coming and part of you is screaming stop
knowing you could wrench yourself off the path,
throw your body to the ground and feel your skin ripped apart by dirt and gravel
taking a little pain to avoid a lot

but another part of you is giddy at the thought
that you might break through the fucking wall and keep going,
red dust in your hair and red blood dripping down your face
a broken nose and scraped forearms and bloody knees
it’ll hurt like hell
but maybe it will be worth
what’s on the other side

preceding the sunrise

there’s something about the late night quiet
that seeps into your skin
and fills you up from the inside out
sometimes it makes you burst
and you laugh harder than you knew you could
or you cry easier than you thought you would
and sometimes it opens your mouth
and pushes out words you could never say in daylight
ripping out secrets you swore you’d killed and buried
pushing them without grace into someone else’s hands

in the morning, you are peeled open and raw
the sunshine is too bright
the coffee too bitter
and it doesn’t matter if you laughed or you cried
your chest feels lighter
because part of you
is now missing