nostalgia

nostalgia

overcast day

I came to present a paper at a conference.

feeling foreign in my business clothes

formally dressed in this place where I was so casual

no bra bare nails no skirts long hair no heels my bare face

I had this event on my calendar for months.

reptilian,

is how I felt,

seeing the remnants of the skin I had just shed,

but still uncomfortable in my new face.

This was the first time I had come back since I left last December, and now I admit that it was because I was afraid.

everything so familiar, the quad, the clock tower, my professor, some of my classmates,

yet so different, with a new building sprouting and people not recognizing me and the most important people gone or changed.

nostalgia and nausea, and discombobulation.

I came with two friends from my new life and seeing them there made me feel even more out of place.

everything is different, but still looks the same.

omniscient tickling of my brain that tells me that I have been dreaming that I have been back here since before I left,

stumbling around the quad in my dreams, sleeping in JRC, talking to Kierra about everything, kissing under the street light,

and your hands cupping my face while I look into brown or blue or green eyes that only seem to blankly stare back at me in my

nightmares.

As I give my friends a tour, images flash back to me of memories that feel only weeks old but are actually from a year ago.

Talking to you under that tree, sitting on that marble bench, saying good bye to my Mom for the first time in that parking lot,

learning that my grandmother died in that parking lot, crying in my car and in that office and in that room.

I am very proud of the paper I gave, and I was commended by professors and peers by how I answered questions afterwards.

I couldn’t fully appreciate it because of the suffocation I was feeling from my new skin tightening around my neck.

It didn’t occur to me until now, 5 days later, that I was dumped twice in that same building, just one floor up.

Doing homework with him on the couch outside of the chaplain’s office, doing homework in the booths, crying in that

bathroom. Giving Danny the riot act, telling Evan that he could trust me, doing homework in those booths,

writing the paper I presented on Friday, you meeting me there, my phone not working,

you not even unpacking your bag,

you telling me that we need to talk, you telling me that we were too different,

you telling me that it wasn’t my fault,

you telling me that I was too liberal,

you telling me that you didn’t mean to hurt me, you crying too.

you getting angry when my anxiety escalates, you putting your head in your hands,

you not responding when I say that it isn’t fair, you apologizing.

you saying goodbye.

me feeling my stomach sink like a rock, me in total shock,

me unable to convince you that we were the same,

me seeing that you had already changed.

me feeling defensive, me feeling violated,

me starting to cry big fat tears, me turning red, me my nose starting to run.

me feeling exposed, me telling you off for doing this in a public space,

me texting Kierra to ask her to stay awake until I came home and that it was over,

me crying some more, sobbing into my sweater to muffle the noise.

me still having to tell you that it’s okay, me holding your hand.

me wiping my face off in the bathroom, me staring at my face morphed by tears in the mirror.

me barely holding it together. me asking to walk home alone.

me walking past all of our street lamps, me hiding in darkness so no one would see my face or hear my tears.

me crying myself to sleep that night, me waking up.

me getting into the business school the next day, me feeling genuine pride and joy, me being congratulated by my classmates.

me writing my paper, me doing my homework, me studying for finals, me acing my classes, me dancing with Kierra at formal,

me seeing the students I tutored succeed, me taking charge of my peers at work, me being given responsibility,

me loving my work, me looking toward the future, me packing up my stuff and putting it into storage, me leaving Oxford behind.

me coming to business school, me joining a sorority, me struggling in my classes, me loving my friends,

me making impulsive decisions, me being reminded of you with him, me calling my family every day, me turning 20.

me doing my best, me being proud of what I do, me having genuine friends both new and old,

me being more me than ever before.

I know what I was afraid of now.

I was afraid of remembering this and so much more pain that comes with growth and adulthood.

I was afraid of coming and finding that everyone had forgotten me and it was as if I was never there.

I was afraid to remember that this place was once my home.

steam for asher

steam for asher

Eery and unworthy.

fogging up my glasses,

you steam, obscuring my vision,

lust vibrating within us and between us.

I just wanted to love you,

just wanted to hold you,

but that steam wrapped itself around me,

and the colors were so blindingly glorious,

but we never reached that deep red rose,

I never flew above the desert, as portrayed by Salvador Dali.

We sparkled like the night sky, vast and temporary, unknown to our earthling eyes.

It wasn’t really me, we reached deep blue,

we reached lavender too.

You and your pearly white words the morning afterwards,

comparing me to a swan whose feathers shined with the morning dew,

clean and pure and nothing I really am but what you wanted me to be.

Me and my earthy brown response that afternoon, later;

comparing you to an oak tree, big and solid, and stretching around me, providing a home for me to nest in,

but this wasn’t you because you are not earthy nor a tree, but who I wanted you to be.

I am not like a swan, you are not like a tree, we were deluding ourselves, you and me.

I thought you were like water, pure and clean until you met me.

How wrong was I, but that doesn’t excuse you. You were wrong too.

Now I am alone during these cold autumn nights, no one to hold my hand as I walk through the fallen leaves.

You are still twisted up inside of me, but I save you until I am going to sleep, and I think about when it was you and me under my red sheets.

Maybe I am like a swan. Maybe to you I had grace and fidelity, and was as white as snow. Now I’m more like a crow to you.

Maybe you are like a tree. Your roots go down for miles, beyond just beneath you, but this makes you so inflexible still.

Maybe the comparisons fit.

I, as a bird, can fly away to those far away places, while you as a tree only provide me one place to nest. You will not move for me, because you can’t…

But you aren’t a tree, as I am not a bird, and we were not in love,

but maybe we could have been, but does it really matter now if I was a swan or a monkey or if you were a tree or a kite?

I just wanted to love you and prolong the fogging of my glasses so I could just continue to be so incandescently happy that I was content being compared with whatever he wanted me to be.

Your smile was the first thing I would see in the morning, your hands the first thing I touched. Your lips, the first thing I would know.

You don’t smile for me anymore, I haven’t touched you since that morning, and your lips are folded in a tight line.

We never reached deep red.

Running up that hill

Running up that hill

It’s you and me,

and we’re running around that hill, running through the reeds,

where the bayou turns to Spanish moss.

You don’t want to hurt me,

we make a deals about God.

It’s all wrong.

It’s you and me,

where the sun turns to a peach amongst rose petals when evening comes.

It’s you and me,

it’s all wrong,

If only we could stop.

We’re running up that road, running around the bend,

look down, and I’ll show you my catfish,

Lurking at the bottom,

making deals about God.

The sidewalk ends,

we’re rolling down that hill,

rolling into the concrete river, through the reeds and Spanish Moss.

We say hello to the catfish, we float amongst the sewage.

It’s you and me,

and you are frowning at me, and you don’t want to hurt me, but we’re rolling down that hill,

and we’re making deals about God, and you do.

Curse you for ruining Kate Bush for me.

(In case it wasn’t obvious, this was inspired by the song, Running up that Hill, by Kate Bush. I had a dream with it playing in the background, and this poem came from that dream)

Ocean

Ocean

An ocean rolls between us

tugging and clashing,

roiling and swirling.

We cannot unsay

and we cannot agree to disagree.

You were right.

It wasn’t meant to be.

I still wake up looking for you every morning.

I still wake up reaching for your hands.

I still wake up expecting a peck on my cheek.

An ocean rolls between us,

and since we separated I discovered that sea

that you saw but I hadn’t seen yet

that separated us from the start.

I still believe I could have loved you.

It’s time for Magic

It’s time for Magic

I had a eureka moment a night ago,

of course it’s at night when I was feeling low,

when a happy photo slid down my newsfeed

and, on it’s way, planting a introspective seed.

The photo was recent but it made me think back at loves before,

memories I kept locked because they make my soul sore.

I am young, but these thoughts make me feel ancient.

Looking back, the story I tell you has a blue tint.

My first love was Sean.

Older and wiser,

On his way out the door as I was just entering a world, fresh faced and giddy.

I put him on a pedestal,

I thought he was smart and strong and cool.

Every moment was filled with passion,

excitement, and bliss.

My glasses would fog when we kissed,

My palms would sweat every time we met.

It all tumbled down so fast,

and I cracked like a teacup,

dropped from his tray.

So when I saw a photo of him and his new girlfriend,

(who used to hate him),

despite my prior knowledge of their togetherness,

I felt the teacup crumble a little bit more.

Why do I care?

Why do I wish that he had stayed?

It was 3 years ago,

what’s wrong with me?

But can’t you see,

that the reason you’ve been puzzlingly unhappy with all men

since April 20th, 201o,

is that you never really got over him?

Oh crap.

After your breakup, you played it safe.

Half your heart put on reserve, just in case.

The long relationship afterwards

was safe in the worst way.

Oh you loved him, of course.

But your glasses never fogged,

heart never danced,

palms never got sweaty.

Maybe you weren’t ready?

The new guy was Grant.

Steady, calm, and sweet,

but there was no impromptu dates,

no big dramatic kisses,

no long stares,

and no sage advice.

You realize after it ends,

that there were few moments where you loved him in the same way.

Those moments were beautiful, and properly mourned a couple weeks ago.

But now, as I have recovered,

I realize that I haven’t truely been myself these past 2 and half years dating him.

He never laughed at my jokes like Sean did,

he thought my sense of humor was weird,

so I slowly stopped being funny.

He hated it when I was overdramatic or made a scene, so I started keeping things to myself.

He thought poetry was for pussies so I wouldn’t share it with him, and worst of all,

he didn’t believe in magic, so I couldn’t believe in it with him.

He wasn’t abusive or a jerk, but he changed my personality so slowly that I didn’t even realize until he was gone.

I miss the girl who made jokes to be funny, who didn’t care about where she was when she was yelling, who believed in magic.

I miss the passion, abandon, and love of the first guy,

but until now I only remembered crying for hours afterwards, the loss, the grief, and the harsh rejections.

I spent so much time hating Sean for our horrible breakup that I forgot why I loved it so much.

It’s time for me to be funny, sing in public, and be silly.

It’s time for me to believe in magic, dragons, and the ridiculous.

It’s time for me to be childish and to feel utter joy.

No more restrained smiles, no more slight hugs.

No more chaste kisses, only ones with tongue.

I have no lover now, and I won’t for awhile,

but the next one won’t be

so safe it’s suffocating

nor so fast it makes me breathless.

It’s time for magic.