#Write31Days – Day 10

1/10/18 – “Unknown”

I left my self-worth
in an unknown location

I can’t remember when I lost it


#Write31Days – Day 9

1/9/18 – “Post-It”

Post-it note sized
reminders of why it’s good to be alive

i. the smell of the ocean
lingering on your body
salty kisses
stuck in your hair

ii. the crunch-sound leaves make
the liberating sensation as you jump in a pile
and it catches you
like your mom used to
when you were lighter

iii. fingertips sliding along your bare skin
like ice skaters
goosebumps shoot up like ice flakes
and under your skin there’s
the warmth of a fireplace

iv. the way a body curves
its hills and valleys
how skin stretches to hold us
no matter our shape

v. words and their endless material
the infinite universes out there
waiting to be created
and the gift we all possess
to make them

vi. I’m so loved;
when my phone rings because my mom is calling
when he rubs my back for no reason
when I sit across from a friend with coffee in our hands
when Jesus came and hung on a tree for me
the love swells and
no post-it note can contain it

#Write31Days – Day 8

1/8/2018 – “Muddle”

I haven’t been in my right mind in a
couple of days
My mind is in a muddle and
I can’t keep my thoughts straight
It’s a merry-go-round in here
of must-dos and should-haves
And I’m on the outside getting dizzy
trying to keep my eyes on one thing

Somehow my mental illness
followed me 10 hours to Virginia
It must have been an exhausting trip,
but no matter
That anxiety was up at dawn
ready for an adventure

And I’m just along for the ride
I have no say in all the ways
my brain tells me to panic
I’ve lost track of all the times I
said sorry for messing things up today
See, the chaos never quits but
there’s clarity in one thing:
I must have failed and
muddled up something

Author’s Note: Man, muddle is a hard word to use. Pair that with the fact that I actually did have a very bad day mental health-wise, it was hard to write anything today. This poem isn’t good by any means, but its proof that I’m pushing through even on the hard days. And I’m proud of that.

#Write31Days – Day 7

1/7/2018 – “You”

I wrote several poems to You
back in 2007
Seems fitting that 10 years later
I’d pop in to say hello

How have you been?
Still lying to all of your friends?
Still tricking girls into loving You
and then disappearing on them?

You really gave Houdini
a run for his money
Your disappearing acts at least
always had me buying another ticket

The older I got the more I realized
every bit of it was fiction
You’re a story-teller, Aaron
I should be able to forgive that

You just couldn’t help spinning stories
I understand the appeal–
spinning stories is how I got through my teenage years
Stories that you really loved me
or our song wasn’t one you played
for every naïve 14-year-old who’d listen

You had me
and I promised that last poem
was the final one for me

I guess breaking promises
is another thing we have in common

Author’s Note: I really did write several poems titled “You” for this person in my teenage years, so it seemed appropriate to go back to that theme. I know it makes it less relatable for readers, but hopefully you all enjoyed it nonetheless.

#Write31Days – Day 6

1/6/18 – “Silence”

There used to be nothing but silence
between us
An expanded canyon filled with
all the times you lied and
all the times I let you
I couldn’t speak over the echo of that silence,
the weight of it on my chest

Now you tell me to say how I feel
don’t hold anything back,
you can take it
You practice honesty and I
do my best to believe you

But sometimes
in the back of my mind
it still echoes, “Shh, shh,
you’re safer in silence”

#Write31Days – Day 5

1/5/2018 – Five-Minute Friday Free Write

Is writing just a pity party?
Is that what writers do?
Invite all of our past hurts,
give them party favors
and tell them the cake will be worth it.

Remind ourselves with slide shows
played to sad songs
about all the times we’ve been wronged.
Drink too much and
go on and on
about how we never got a real childhood?

Why do people come to all these gatherings
when they’re always the same—
a memorial of pain.

Maybe daily life is just
a masquerade ball
and we’re all so sick of wearing masks
a party relishing the horrors of reality
is almost a relief.

My guests should be happy,
I have so much material
this one could go on for years.

Author’s Note: This one was just kind of for fun. I was having a hard time thinking of what to write about and this is what came out of it. It’s not spectacular, but I’m realizing that doing a 31 day writing challenge means some days are simply going to be forced. But that has to be okay, because at least I’m writing. Thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with it for the first five days!

#Write31Days – Day 4

1/4/2018 – “Brew”

When I was 7 I had a dream
we owned a restaurant
and in the back kitchen worked a witch

She had warts, clammy skin and
a pointed hat, all the things
a 7-year-old would expect to see
from a witch working in her parents’ kitchen

Back then I had a real fear of witches
thanks to Roald Dahl and that
terrifying 1990 “kids’” movie they made
So when I saw that witch
brewing who-knew-what
in a cauldron suspiciously the same size as me
dream changed to nightmare and I woke up

My body shook, cold with sweat, but that scrawny,
short-haired, tenacious 7-year-old decided,
this dream wasn’t over
And forcibly went back to sleep

I returned to that kitchen,
potions still brewing,
and scrawny, short-haired,
tenacious dream-me explained to the witch
why it was bad to be bad,
and good to be good

I told her we could be friends if she’d just
quit with the brewing and
be a nice witch instead

And that nightmare shifted so fast:
warty-witch became good,
brewing station removed,
and I guess our restaurant
gained a new cook

17 years later and I still can’t get over
how simple little me made it seem
to take a terrible nightmare
and turn it into a dream

I wish real-life witches
could be talked out of it
so easily