Darkness held me like the toxic lover it was
Firm grasp and unwavering strength
It whispers in my ear
that I will never be good enough
that I simply could never be “enough”
so I submit
and watch as it takes fragments of my soul
and pollutes them.
watch as it rips pieces of my heart
and hides them
watch as it strips me of my skin
and leaves me broken.
It's the closest I've ever been to a crime scene
Darkness is the closest I've ever been to a murderer
i am a museum full of art
but you had your eyes shut
- Rupi Kaur
i am a beautiful day
but you never left your house
you taught me there was beauty in fragility
so I learned to love myself.
- Bryan Clavel
Rupi Kaur is a contemporary poet writing on topics such as love, loss and trauma. Her work is often recognized as "one of few commercially popular works of poetry in recent years" and yet simultaneously noted as "unchallenging ‘Instapoetry’ by some critics."
That said, I describe Rupi Kaur's work as honest, vulnerable built on a simple composition that is easy for most readers to follow. In fact, it is public knowledge that "Kaur does not subscribe to the belief that poetry must be difficult to be meaningful" and therefore continues to write poetry widely recognized as direct.
One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.
There's a bankruptcy that's pure gain.
The moon stays bright when it
doesn't avoid the night.
A rose's rarest essence
lives in the thorn.
My mother asked me to come forward
and so I did.
There's pain in honesty, but I'd gladly hurt again.
How can you live
if you never leave the house.
A queer mans strength
lies in visibility.
This poem is about lineage. Narrated by an unknown speaker, the reader intrinsically becomes part of the story as we unravel the connections between Lucy and presumably her children. The opening line "Lucy is the Ocean" grounds the reader with the knowledge that Lucy represents a monumental figure, something vast and unending. However, as the reader progresses the lines appear to overlap with one another, appearing to signify both the closing of a line and the opening of another. For instance;
"Lucy is is the Ocean
extended by her girls
are the river
is the Sun"
this stylistic choice further gives the impression that story of both Lucy and her girls are twined, twinned and woven together. In retrospect, the work speaks on the reflection of a mother in her children. Ultimately closing with a premise grounded on the idea that we are an extension of our family.
and lost hope
I could hear the angels cry
I stitched feathers in your light
you made sure I could fly
but now these wings feel like weights
and your image evokes shame
I was never meant to be angel
I was never meant to remain pure
if your love is unconditional
let my mistakes just open doors
and the wisdom that I gain
be the thing which sets me free
so take these feathers
clip my wings
if it means that I can see
To my mother the moon
I never realized how much I look just like you
I spent my whole life blinded by the sun
blinded from the truth
everyday I see myself in you
but the sun
oh the sun
to be a son
and feel like a child of the moon
I was always torn in two
the person that I wanted to be
and the person that you knew
Tired Eyes and Fine lines
I don't know who you are
I'm unsure if I ever knew
I think there was a time you smiled and didn't feel crippled by the weight of the world
I think there was time you smiled and didn't worry about what you weighed or hate who you were
I think there was a time you smiled and weren't reminded of the shame
Reminded of the guilt
Reminded of the Pain
So you pick up a brush and you try to create
But I don't know who you are
So you can't sign your name
Tired Eyes and Fine lines
I don't know who you are
So I wait.... and maybe then I'll remember your name.
And maybe then, I'll remember OUR name
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
Those boys will never love you
They love music
a sweet tune
They love art
but you will never be their muse
Because you are a summer secret
they must keep hidden
They don't call you by your name
As if this alleviates the shame
The Shame they carry
for “loving” someone like...
“loving” someone broken
“loving” someone so...
Those men will never love you
they will never hold your hand
They will never treat you to lunch
but how can you eat
when you've already swallowed
swallowed your tongue
swallowed your words
swallowed your pride
and forgotten your worth.
You have never loved you
and so you don't understand
they will never love you.
Bryan Clavel is a gender fluid queer artist and visionary grounded in humanism. For Bryan, their creative practice is a way of life, and to date has been a way of positively impacting the lives of others as well.
Through their work, Bryan insightfully articulates the narrative of a queer individual. They share with us the dire consequences (personal and transpersonal) when we become isolated, and when we fail to mindfully and compassionately connect with ourselves, with our families (chosen or built), and with our communities.