They'll say "he was so creative," and "they" were. Their vision for the world was exciting, new, and above all, inspiring, but far and few ever truly leave the hood. I remember being 17, learning about the cyclical pattern of poverty and how it swallows people. It was a terrifying thought to revisit when tax season came along, and I noted that my family, collectively, made $20,000 that year. It was even more mortifying when I got my undergrad admissions letters and realized that I couldn't afford to go to college, at least not then. You see, sometimes hard work is not enough, and wanting something so badly that it hurts does not guarantee that you'll get it. Perhaps failure and rejection give genesis to what you need at this moment, rebirth, and a reminder that life, inadvertently, is twined with death. Perhaps, if anything, growth will come of this void, and from this will come something greater, more fitting, more you. These are things I repeat to myself as I, once again, am reminded of where I come from. If I am not the one who gets out, goes to Yale… who am I?
Sure, something is intriguing about following a convivial yet hazy path that sparks from the nothingness, but I ponder, how many get lost in towns destitute of commerce? To this, I say, "bon voyage," because I have nowhere else to go, and being lost is something I know all too well. This new year killed the boy I once was. They'll say, "he was a dreamer, he was passionate, and he gave everything he had to his practice," and "they" do. Only "he" is now "they," and their work is no longer tethered to you. The one who held up empty glasses of poured out potential, the one who wore a veil of vulnerability like a second skin and the one who didn't get into Yale...yet. Though for all one knows, if the opportunity were to present itself in the future, I'm not sure I'd say yes so expectedly as he once dreamed I would.
He is gone, at least for now, and you are amongst the first I've told because it's hard to say to people who believed in you; that what you thought you could do, you could not. Hard to find language that'll make it hurt a little less when you look in their eyes and see them cater to your undoing. But pity has never fed an empty stomach, and "support" is rarely coupled with actions, so I sit here and let it hurt alone.
Let it sink, that the boy who dreamed of getting out must now find another exit, and "they" will. And from this, conceivably one day, they might say " if "they" can do it, so can I."
Last night I turned to you and begged
I stood there and shouted,
cried and demanded for sense
thought that maybe if I wore a different face
I could forget that my mask no longer fit
thought that maybe if I aligned my spirit to yours
I could forget
forget the shame of feeling like an empty vessel
with potential poured out in front of it
if I give up now
who am I?
if this is a test
I am failing
If I am not the one who gets out
where do I go?
I know what I must look like
desperate for love as I refuse to practice what I preach
"be patient, he's out there"
"don't settle for less than you deserve"
and though I repeat the ritual
It's hard to hear unspoken words
all I've ever loved are strangers
"but please don't leave me"
they always leave
it's always me
the one who says it first
and wears "I love you"
like a second sleeve
but "who could a love broken dying thing?"
"I love you" leaves my mouth more often than hello
I like to think it's always searching for a home
I love you doesn't nest in empty vessels
and self hate has never furnished homes
so "I love you" leaves my body
since self hate is all I know
I am writing this letter at midnight because it appears I can only see in the dark. I'll miss our talks, though they were mostly one sided, you were always such a good listener. I am writing this now because for a second it has sinked in that you will never love me, at least not in the way I would like you to, not in the way that I do you. I had hoped I'd find the strength to tell you goodbye but the fact of the matter is, every time I reach out to beg you to walk away I find myself distracted with "hello" and "how are you". Though, worst of all, I find myself missing you in moments when I am alone. I am always the boy at the bon fire you wouldn't leave alone, the one you sang for at the crack of dawn, the one you held at the wedding, the one you watched sun come up with so many times. We've seen so many sun rises that perhaps the ritual is what bound me to you. Goodbye, not forever, but definitely for a while. I can't live my life afraid of you walking away. I can't live my life in hopes that maybe there will come a day. Goodbye, you deserve the world, it's just hard knowing I can't be the one to share it with you.
Clarity comes in brief moments when I'm around you
One second things make sense and I know how this story ends
The next I am in your arms and feel beautiful again
I can't hate you for being who you are
just as I expect the same
I can't hate you for being kind
but love is a losing game
I can't believe I fell again
I can't believe I'm here again
Do I ask you to leave
or must I try to walk away
perhaps if I don't look into your eyes
I won't lose myself this time
perhaps if I stop coming by
But you see
clarity comes in brief moments when I'm around you
and yet my vision is always blurred
I don't see things for what they are
for what they might be
that is my tragic flaw
the thing that will always undo me
You saved me from myself on Saturday night
I treated you to dinner
gave me a bracelet that meant a first for you
Am I first for you?
You asked me wear it
So I do
only, when I put it on it's as though I am willingly shackling my spirit to yours
I can't blame you this time because I put the cuffs on myself
now I belong to you again
at least in the sense that I'm constantly thinking about you
about what ifs
I know how this story ends
but I can't stop my heart from dreaming
Something aligned in the stars last night
and though my eyes are still swollen from the tears that I've cried
I can finally see
I can finally feel without crippling
I can finally breathe
without wanting to die
I just got a text from a stranger
is it wrong that I hoped it was from you?
eyes bright yet curious
You never wrote me first
so how could this be true?
I thought, for a moment, what I would say
"I miss you"
do you miss me too?
or perhaps "When can I see you?"
is that too soon?
but I have to remember
you never saw me like I did you
I'm so tired of thinking of you
so tired of relishing in the what if moments
so tired of missing you
every time I blink I see us
evreytime I stop I feel your hand on my waist
and then I see your lips on her neck
your palms against hers
So lost in love
So lost in lust
I forgot who I was
who I wanted to be
I should have known better
When you didn't reply I should have stopped
When I started changing my vocabulary I should have quit
When I started mutilating my body for your gaze I should have cut you off
You see I let you take take pieces of me so small I didn't realize they were missing
until after you left