you think that to be able to write poetry, you must be sad & so deeply inside yourself that existence itself seems like a small circle of light at the top of a very tall hole. you think that microsoft word is a jail cell of fonts to choose from. you think that miles are nothing, & oceans are but streams.
you think that because you are young, your bones are unable to snap, but what you do not know is that there are 5,600 miles between wisconsin & chile, & when you find that out, it takes your breath away with the sheer magnitude of the distance between you & his soft knees which will become tan with a south american sun while you wither in a northern winter.
these are the things you think you know, & the world, for you, is contained in a small circle of your family & your boy & your own words which only succeed in describing the small circle, and so life is redundant. its redundancy shocks you, because within yourself you imagine a lunar milky way with the capabilities of gunpowder, & yet you spend more time in bed than you do being in the world. you yearn for a world that snaps & expands to include the existentially bruising reality of a city which bites at your heels until you live properly, whatever that is. you let yourself absorb the sweet & sour pieces of other people until you second-guess whether your feelings are even your own, or if they are the product of being 20 something in a world that makes no allowances for being a little broken & misled.
the you that you used to be, & the you that you are now are very different people. the you of What Used To Be was small & you fit yourself into corners which shaped your limbs into ugly claw-like formations, but no one ever told you that limbs were not made for squishing, but for spreading. you had a habit of smiling through your teeth until they were rotten & falling out on the floor in front of you. no one ever noticed you had a mouth full of gums; in fact, they complimented you on how shiny & white your teeth were. you never told them you could taste death & decay every day, every night. it would have been too much for their bird bones, you with your eagle skeleton.
the you of now wants to grow plants & pretend you are a sapling. you want to take out the emptiness inside of you, if such a thing were possible, & throw it in the trash. fill yourself with honey light that slants through your blinds, paint your nails fire engine red & say you used the blood of men to make yourself pretty. laugh at people who make faces at your morbidity, tell them they know nothing, & that you know everything. who cares if it’s not true. tell people that you want to read books for a living, & if they tell you that you’ll never make money, hand them an essay with a thesis & conclusion on the subject of happiness. highlight the places where you specifically say that happiness is a blend of pleasing the tiny details of your soul, which enjoys watching cream disperse in coffee & the look of streets as it starts to rain, & the simple feeling that your wrecked & scarred skin can sit comfortable on your bones when you wake up & be glad to have opened your eyes. if you wake up every morning & wish you could go back to sleep for reasons other than just having stayed up too late to watch game of thrones, that is when you know you need to sit down & reexamine where you went wrong with the reordering of your life.
the point is: forget the way you thought you knew everything. forget the way you were expected to know the path of your life before you knew how to kiss boys. forget the way your 8th grade counselor told you your chest was too big, & that’s why the boys teased you in gym class. forget the way that made your mouth feel gritty and dirty, the way it made you feel like it was your fault, that you existed too much. forget the way you convinced yourself to become smaller, to fold your birds wings in until you made room for other people to take up space. allow yourself to develop a voice which forces people to listen to you, whether you are whispering i love you at 3 am to the freckled shoulder of the boy next to you, or screaming fuck it out a car window at 80 mph down the highway, in a desperate attempt to make sense out of senselessness. develop in yourself a consciousness of each organ & the exact way it functions, so that, if in the future, you start to fall apart, you know exactly how to put yourself back together. this new you makes no excuses for how you are - do not apologize for spending some days feeling as though you are continuously dying small insignificant deaths which no one witnesses & no one cares about. do not apologize for rejecting the idea of ownership & anchors & the claustrophobic sense of belonging. it was necessary before for you to feel as though you belonged to a place, a person. you now know you only belong to yourself. allow yourself to break things until you have carved out a you-shaped hole in this world, & light the ends of thread with fire so they can never fray.
in fact, while you’re holding the matches, light yourself on fire & launch yourself in the sky, so everyone can see you coming, can see the light pouring from your eyes & nose & mouth, & no one can ignore your cosmic magnitude.