Her, alone

She drove until she reached the forest, camped there for the night, and drove on to the next. It had been a week-long journey with no defined end. Teary-eyed and broken-hearted, she made the spontaneous decision to travel by car until she couldn’t remember his name. Or at least until it didn’t hurt to think about his bright blue eyes and his contagious smile.

She inhaled sharply as she merged into the right lane on the vast and ever lonely stretch of highway. She had just passed the only car she’d seen in the last five hours and the weight of her reality had been pulling her deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness, like a ton of bricks on her barely beating heart.

When she decided on this trip, she didn’t realize how depressing it would be. Traveling alone is clearly lonely, but she realized this just too late. It should have been obvious beforehand. Any sane person would’ve known traveling alone is as lonely as it gets. But she wasn’t sane. She was a grand mess- hair askew, nail polish chipping, the same shirt she’d been wearing since he told her he found someone new. She couldn’t bring herself to buy new clothes.

Work called her yesterday when she didn’t show up for her shift. She had a long talk with her boss about love and life and to make sure to keep them up to date on when she’s coming back. She was fortunate enough to have a job she could leave and come back to as she pleased. She was also fortunate enough to have the money saved up to go on an indefinite endeavor across the country.

None of that mattered, though, because the whole time she was miserable. She wanted to go home, but couldn’t bring herself to head that way. A part of her wanted to live out here. She was in the forests of Washington, thousands of miles from home. All she had were the clothes on her back and her water bottle, but the thought of stopping at home to collect her things- where her now-ex-boyfriend also lives- made her nauseous. She thought a lot about just how hard it would be to transfer to the Seattle brand, get an apartment, new clothes, furniture.

She found herself surveying houses in the suburbs. This one’s too small, that one’s got no driveway, this one would be nice. Oh, and an open house. It won’t hurt to go in. I can say I’m thinking of moving out here from Massachusetts. It’s true and doesn’t invite too many questions I can’t answer. Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I could afford this if I transferred to the Seattle branch. I should call my boss….

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Seen.

I have this need to be seen,

something I haven’t much felt before.

It’s strong, a yearning for standing in busy malls

and sitting in the middle of the coffee shop.

I’ve never felt this kind of yearning;

I fear if I’m not seen I‘ll be forgotten

and what am I but what others perceive?

And so I go to the coffee shop,

I order myself a medium iced mocha

and I melt into the people around me.

I listen but I don’t stare. 

I am what you make of me. 

I am nothing

I am just another body and face

I am not a soul

I do not have my own free will

I do not have my own thoughts

I am what you make of me

I am the idea of me you created

I am nothing

I am nothing. 

I thought I’d never feel whole again

I found solace under a tree,

planted new life where you used to be.

There was nothing elegant about it,

it was beautiful in the way you find yourself

at your lowest point, alone with thoughts and grief.

But I can feel again,

and that has to mean something.

There’s new life in my veins.

I can feel it when it rains,

but I can’t say it’s the same.

cowritten by my middle school self

Despair cloaked in irony,

layers of deep seeded anguish

behind a joke, a one-liner

designed to fool anyone who listens.

I smile while I lie to their faces.

With the laughter,

the one form of acceptance I know,

it’s like you want me to lie more.

What am I if not a joke and a grin?

When the jokes stop, so do your invitations,

when I can’t bring myself to keep up the facade,

you’ll leave just like they all have.

It’s not pretty, it’s an art

the way it’s all so goddamn predictable.

They ask questions that fuel their own self doubt

because they need to do better than me,

but all I ask is

what does that achieve?

Lonely Owl

Late at night, darkened room,

windows down, a single owl outside.

It has no nest, perches on a branch beside my window.

I don’t sleep when he’s out there,

but I never bring myself to shut the window.

Because who will listen if not me?

He’s got a lot to say, this homeless bird,

and he’s always alone,

Maybe I feel connected to it-

projecting my own loneliness

onto this brown nocturnal owl,

hoping maybe if I let this bird speak

someone will let me, too.

Monument Pier (Part 2)

Missed part one? Check it out here!

Cold. A bitter, gruesome cold spread throughout Jakey’s body. He couldn’t feel his fingertips, but he was less concerned about that than where he was. He opened his eyes to find himself laying on his side on a damp and uncomfortable bed. He could just barely see a bedside table next to him, illuminated by a single dim and flickering lamp. The lamp looked to be something from an old movie. His mind jumped straight to pirates. 

Where am I?Jakey thought to himself. The last thing he could remember was jumping into Boston Harbor after that terrible fight with his parents. Was he dead? Was this what the afterlife was? Why did he feel like he was rocking back and forth? Jakey thought he would be sick. 

His eyes slightly adjusted to the darkness and noticed a window behind the table. He could barely make out a light far in the distance. Then the light was gone. It reminded him of a lighthouse, but he couldn’t think straight enough yet to wrap his head around that.

It’s freezing.Jakey thought to himself, sitting up in bed and placing his feet on the ground. Where are my shoes?His feet felt a cool breeze as he noticed he was no longer wearing his shoes and his socks were damp just like the rest of him. It was a terrible feeling, he couldn’t stand it any longer. Without thinking, he took his socks off and felt a sudden relief. 

I’m not dead, but I wish I was. This is awful. Where the hell am I?Jakey attempted to stand, lost his balance, and fell back down onto the bed. Why can’t I stand up? Is the world rocking back and forth? Or am I losing it?He squinted and looked around. At the bottom of the bed was another light and one on the opposite side of the bed, too. He was in a small room with two doors on each side of the bed respectively. Everything was wooden. 

Jakey felt delirious. He couldn’t wrap his head around what was happening until he heard a loud crash, a sound he was all too familiar with after spending years at the pier. He was on a ship. He understood that now. How he got here was unclear, but he was here now. He didn’t feel threatened, as if he was kidnapped. Hell, even if he was some prisoner on a pirate’s ship it’d be better than his old living situation. At least then he’d have something to live for. 

His mind was finally coming to. Jakey had never been on a ship before besides the time he toured his father’s boat many years ago. He knew boats rocked back and forth, but he never knew the feeling until now. Seasickness was something his father always said was for the weakhearted, but he could feel something rising in his stomach. Oh, no, he was going to be sick right now. He couldn’t see well enough to find something to throw up in, but he stood up and searched anyway. As he stood up, much too fast might he add, he uncontrollably bent over and let it all out. 

Groaning, Jakey laid back down on the bed, legs dangling off the edge and hands rubbing his temples. Voices came from behind the door behind him followed by footsteps and the creaking of an old door handle turning. Without sitting up, he watched a light illuminate from the other room. A figure appeared carrying a lamp identical to the ones in his room, but much brighter. 

“Well, I’ll be. You’re awake!” Said a deep voice in an accent he couldn’t quite place.

“You alright, boy?” A second voice said. Two figures now stood at his bedside, upside down from his perspective. 

“Mnm, got sick.” Jakey croaked. 

“Where didja get sick, now, kid?” The second voice said. The two piled in and Jakey sat up.

“Over here, sorry, I couldn’t find a place to go. It happened so suddenly. Never been on a boat.” Jakey mumbled, gesturing to the mess on the floor next to him.

“Well, that’s alright, nothing a mop can’t clean, right?” The first voice said as they inspected Jakey’s mess. 

“What’s your name now? And what were ya doin’ out at sea? We thought you were a dead man. Scared us, didn’t it?” The second voice asked, taking a mop and bucket out of the cabinet at the end of the room and began cleaning.

“Jakey. I don’t know, was trying to end it, honestly.” Jakey admitted sheepishly.

“Well, that’s not the way to go, now is it? How old are ya? 16? That’s a bit too young to be wanting to end it all, wouldn’t you say?” The second voice said.

“I’d do anything to get away from my parents.” Jakey said solemnly. 

“Is that right? They’re abusive? Guess we can’t bring you back ashore then, can we?” The first voice said, nudging Jakey. Jakey chuckled.

“Sorry for rescuing me. I really don’t want to overstay my welcome. You can bring me back to shore, I don’t care where. I’ll get out of your hair.” Jakey mumbled.

“Nonsense. Jakey. We were just talking about how we need a new shipmate, weren’t we, Artie?” The second voice said, peering up at Jakey and Artie as he finished cleaning.

“Aye. We’ve got a crew, but we could use another person.” Artie said, “Tell me, Jakey, what do ya know about the ports ‘round Boston?”

“I know a little.” Jakey lied. He knew Boston Harbor better than he knew himself. He’d spent hours a day as a kid memorizing the paths of ships and tides from his father’s charts. He would draw them on spare pieces of paper from memory in class when he’d get bored. The margins of his math homework were riddled with maps and boat designs. He could tell you where the captain’s quarters were in every boat that belonged to the harbor. 

“Don’t be modest, kid, we want to give you a safe place to live. All we ask is you help us take back what’s ours.” Artie said.

On depression and motivation

I travelled across the states

searching for a feeling.

A feeling I knew I could feel

because I’d felt it once before

years before it all went downhill.

I knew the feeling in dreams,

in books, in shows, in movies,

but I’d be lying if I said I felt it anymore.

I know I’m not miserable,

I’m not hopeless or destined for failure,

but when the sun sets, what’s left?

I remember motivation like a childhood memory,

it’s a foggy feeling I can vaguely comprehend,

so I go on walks, I go on road trips,

I try new things in an effort to bring the feeling back.

Sometimes I wonder if the world wants me.