sleep now

Grief is

complementary

to exhaustion

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To dust

This Christmas time, my mind

Is racing with thoughts of death.

The woman in the road

The loyal dog that crumbled to ash in my hands

The grandfather I did not get to bid farewell…

The fathers that faded away before their time,

Hurting the loved ones in my life

I close my eyes and see demise

The permanence of death that floods my head

How do I stop this whirlwind and

Succumb to peace instead?

written in

I can never be a pilot

Nor an astronaut

I cannot dredge the seas

Or climb the mountaintops

I cannot be a surgeon, nor a soldier

Will never be allowed to hold death in my hands

But I can be a fighter

And a lover, and a writer

I can breathe the oceans and sail the sky

I will always see the heights if they’re set under the right guise

 

the only thing i need to live the world

is

this

pen.

make-up

i still pause every now and again, shocked

that anything should give me hesitation.

it still doesn’t quite make sense that

your unhappiness, even in the midst of my anger AT YOU,

should move me with such alarming strength.

 

never before have i been

unable to withhold reconciliation;

it was always a move of pity, never

one of love,

not like now, where my heart crumples if i cannot end the stony silence

and hold you.

Medical trauma and the ghost hands

I was just watching a tv show when I saw it. Somebody being lifted from a gurney onto a hospital bed. And suddenly I could feel it. So strongly. The memory of being lifted, just like that, onto an operating table. I think maybe I was supposed to already be asleep. I can feel the many pairs of hands; I felt weightless. I should’ve been asleep. It had been a while since the anesthesia slid into my veins, I think. My specific genetic mix means not all that stuff works the way it’s supposed to. Now I can’t stop feeling those hands. The light in my face. The mask over my mouth. The dim, sleepy feeling coupled with knowing I was completely helpless and at the mercy of strangers. I can feel it like it was yesterday, but it was almost a decade ago.

Where did I go? And did I come back all the way? Part of me was missing when I woke up… or was that a different surgery? They start to blend together. They’ve cut parts of me away many times. The hands have come for me more than once. I wonder if I dream of them, the way I dream of bodies in the road. I wonder if the death that stalks me in my sleep is because my body will not heal and so my mind is eternally fractured. Do you have nightmares? Do you dream of vomiting blood, because some of your earliest memories are of capillaries bursting throughout your body? Can you still taste it in your mouth? Do you confuse the taste of salt, steel, blood, and spinal fluid sometimes?

What have I done with the time I’ve been given? I sleep and relive the nightmares I survived. I revisit the blank rooms, the unknown hands lifting me effortlessly. I dream of death waiting for everyone I love. Because I fear for them after I am gone? Because I know that to live must eventually mean to die?

I feel alone. Does anybody understand this prison in my mind? It was constructed to protect me from all the stunning blows that used to knock me off my feet. But no, they can’t knock me down anymore, because I never take my hands off the rails. I cannot love or live because I am always braced to be struck, hands clenched firmly around the guard-rails… waiting for the next earthquake to come. Is this who I am now? The waiter? The expectant-of-more-pain? Why am I in this fog of nothing? Where do I belong?

It is not in the blank room with the effortless hands lifting me away. No, it is in the sunlight and the stars. The wind and waves. I belong in the day time, under the skies, with the breeze chasing my hair. I belong to the day, one day at a time, each day, not the eternal wait. I do not belong to the shadow-dreams that try to convince me I am not real, my pain is not real. I do not belong to the eyes that see only youth and forget all that I have endured. I do not belong to the shiver of cold that licks down my spine whenever some facet of reality suggests more lifting hands in my future.

I do not belong to the hospital bed, or on the operating table. The sleep-givers do not belong in my veins, and the quiet places of the ward do not own me. I am real. I am real. My past is real. My future is far more solid than the phantom hands that keep dragging at my skin. I shake them off and continue to breathe. Nothing can own me but the Star-keeper, whose hands do not need any assistance to lift me.

I am free.

Vanessa

Every time I close my eyes

I see her body at my feet

Lying crooked in the street

Gurgling breath, begging me

The other prevailing thought…

“Her old hands were so soft.”

I hope you are okay. I grieve for what

Happened that day.