Cuando te dejan

“You have to understand”
they tell me
Not realizing that I’m going through something similar
if not worse

my reality has always been doubted
looked upon like maybe
i’m exaggerating
“just think positive thoughts”
they would tell me
“you have the power”

And now these same people
finding that it is not
that easy to think positive thoughts
that some things
are in fact
worth mourning
are telling me I don’t understand
that pain is theirs to claim
like I have not been intimate friends with it
for as long as I can remember
like I haven’t learned to carry
wars that aren’t mine
foreign struggles
mysterious torments
endless suffering
stubborn melancholy
Like I haven’t learned to live
in hell itself.
Like I’m just a little girl,
and not the many women
that cry inside of me as well.
Like I have no wisdom to offer
on what it feels like to hurt
and not have anyone but yourself
to blame.

Tell me what hurts more
Ending your own life,
Or giving birth to yourself
over and over again?

Tell me what hurts more
Dying at the hands of others
Or choosing not to live by your own free will?

Tell me what hurts more
someone leaving you for their freedom
Or someone leaving you for their pain?

I’ve been taught to not compare the pain
That compassion has no judgment
There is no better or worse
simply context
and our will to deal

I’ve been told to understand
But I do.
And that’s what I’ve been trying to say.
I do understand.

But understanding doesn’t make it hurt less.
Understanding doesn’t make them stay.
Understanding doesn’t mean strength.

All understanding does is show you
they can’t abandon you
if they were never there
to begin with.
All understanding does is show you
there’s only ever you
taking yourself out of here
over and over again
And all the people that love you
waiting on you the other side saying
“welcome back. we missed you”
All understanding does is show you
that the most painful abandon
is when you leave yourself.

Before, now, then

I.
“You should have said something sooner”
I said to him
seeing in his eyes
all the men
that had failed to speak from their heart
whether we didn’t teach them
or they didn’t learn
seems irrelevant now
as we are both hurting
my eyes wet with all the women
that were told to hold down their heart down their throat
alone
and who fought to be heard
who protected their heart
through pride
through anger
through denial
through pretension
How pretentious I had been
How necessary it had been
Before

II.
Maybe had he said something sooner
it would not have been heard
maybe if he didn’t say anything sooner
is because we weren’t listening
How much can we blame
our pain on others
when we are always
just
as
complicit
if not
more
How much was I to blame as well?
Before

III.
This is when forgiveness chimes in
This is when compassion whispers
This is when wisdom hums
This is when experience smiles
This is when I realize that
blaming
is a waste of time
that I could be
efficiently hurting
to efficiently heal
blaming
is just a repetitive lie
that I have no power
over how you make me feel now
Before
maybe I was your prisoner
but now
right now
I am un-fuckable-with.

IV.
How many lies
that my mother told me
were told to her?
how many times
did our fathers’ mistakes
pour down our hearts
as we made promises
we didn’t understand how to keep
how many mistakes
did our parents forgive themselves for
while we point fingers and say “still”
“don’t hurt” we say
while we bleed on their carpet

How many weak men, brave women, lost souls
how much more lying
until you look at yourself
and realize
your biggest truth
would never have existed
had it not been for the lies
and your biggest bravery
not happened
had it not been for the biggest weaknesses
how many more turns around the sun
before we realize
we owe our victories
to their mistakes
how many more
turns
until we see that through our mistakes
we are still their biggest victories
until we see the echoes of our
infant cries
nested in the wrinkles of their hands
our color of brown
in their eyes
their prayers of protection
keeping us bold
while we defy them
how many more turns of the sun
until we see the us in them
and forgive ourselves
and forgive them

until we see them in us
and forgive ourselves
and forgive them

-“things i write to myself in my sleep”

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Au revoir mon amour, et merci.

Maybe everyone does this.

Whenever I go somewhere new I trace the streets
looking for traces of familiar ground
tracing, tracing.
I thought maybe
it’s because I’m a traveler
and we trace pathways
Like a map of our lives,
we trace our fingers and eyes
on the canvas of the streets
and the skins of people
writing our story
looking for home
or
maybe running away from it
Though aren’t both things
just the same?

II.

When I saw you for the first time
you looked brand new
unfamiliar
like a song I’d never heard before
but also one that would be easy to forget
every time I looked at you
it was like the first time like
I never got quite used to seeing your face
even if it looked so good
next to mine
it never looked like     it really            belonged                there anyway
How funny it is to me now
how mad I got
when you forgot the song as well
how arrogant
and infantile

III.
We said it all along
we knew it all along
We bet against ourselves
we weren’t surprised when it ended
I wasn’t shocked when it was over.
The guillotining of my heart
was perhaps cold and sudden
but a sick heart
is sometimes best
when
replaced

IV.

I traced your face so many times
over and over
not wanting to forget
trying to memorize you
trying to map you
so that I could always
close my eyes
and still see your beautiful face.

Thank God I failed.