Giving Up

Am I the story with broken chapters 

Riddled with typos 

Contradictions and plot holes? 

Do I have creased corners 

On crinkled pages? 

Molded over dusty desks 

Marked by finger swipes 

Do spiders make their homes on my surface? 

Stretch their webs around bookshelves? 

Bending by the weight 

Of my words

Empty Poetry

Broken rhythm 

Hits thoughts in

Fallen poetry

 

With lowly rhymes 

Catch-all phrases 

Useless adjectives adding 

 

Pages 

To make twisted 

Alliterated stages 

 

Grasping for spindly straw lines 

 

My fingers immerse themselves 

In words 

To make sentences 

 

Like bracelet beads

Held together by a thin thread 

 

Eyes absorb the colors 

The feeling 

Manifested in

 

The clench of the stomach with music 

And sweat

With meaning

waves: blacklight

photo cred: me. in my apartment with my partner.

{trigger warning: childhood illness}

this whole year has brought about many hours of reflection for me and my life. one thing i’ve been thinking about a lot and trying to process is my experience as a cancer survivor. i was diagnosed with stage 4 hodgkin’s lymphoma at 16 years old (my junior year of high school). while i’m in remission now, the trauma i have tied to that experience is something that comes up again and again — especially during something as stressful as a global pandemic. the precautions i take to protect myself and others from the virus (like wearing masks, washing my hands often, disinfecting everything i come in contact with) feels eerily similar to the precautions i had to take while protecting myself from infections while being treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

i don’t talk much about my experiences, and part of the reason for that is because, well, it isn’t pretty. having cancer, being treated for it, fearing that it will come back, and having a deadly virus going around that only intensifies my anxiety isn’t something i can talk about in a few minutes or hours and be done with. i think about it all the time. and i take the pandemic very seriously mostly because of my fears.

i just wanted to let anyone who is struggling with processing or navigating this pandemic know that they are not alone, and things REALLY suck at the moment and it’s okay to acknowledge that. it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to fear the uncertain future ahead of all of us. it’s okay to talk through your feelings with people you love andcare about, including yourself. this poem, ‘blacklight’, is one of my many attempts to do so. fun fact: this is a contrapuntal poem, which means that it can be read in at least two different ways 😉

~~~~~~

 

that moment when you look                                                                            your eyes don’t adjust to the darkness

        it’s just dark                                                                                                             and thick wet black

        and i tell everyone i know it’s just my shadow                                          it’s just the back of the throat, i say

        and they believe me                                                                                           and no one asks further questions

        but i’ve been trying to figure out,                                                                                  like,

 

 

how do i come to terms with the tumors growing in my body?

how long have they been there?

was there a such thing as light before the universe?

did darkness come from a wounded womb?

has anyone found its keyholed belly?

 

blacklight 

 

What

Is the name you give to the tapeworm 

Nibbling away 

Keeping your stomach empty 

Something that to which your brain

Can’t help but wander

It made someone lace opioids 

Into their blood vessels 

So that their tangled veins force them to sleep 

For their mind to go to quiet 

Places 

That mingle

Regret with dreams. 

 

waves: the intro

photo cred: my phone, accidentally, while i was at a party summer 2019.

 

as my first blog post, i just wanted to say hi. i’m excited to see what i’ll do here. while we’re all tryna navigate this chaotic world, i want this to be a place for me — and hopefully, you reading this — to breathe. i was looking at the first couple lines of this poem on an old google doc, and thought i’d revisit it as a retrospective of my feelings about passion. sometimes, i feel so low that it’s hard for me to feel passionate about the things i know i want to accomplish in my life… and this year hasn’t been very helpful in picking up my mood. as a black trans person, i can say from first-hand experience that the world isn’t always so kind. but, there are moments (like, this poem i’m sharing) where i am able to say, “here i am. and that’s enough.”  so, i hope you like it, and, welcome to my blog.

~~~~~~

sometimes, i forget my body can take these torches 

of veins and light these pipelines of blood.

 

sometimes, i forget that a chest of living wishes 

finds home under my tongue

and that memories can dissolve into me like sugar there. 

 

sometimes, i forget that my organs are not made

of drying sand or the wind of a thousand last breaths,

but of flesh: warm, bare, and waiting 

 

for me to find the things that make me believe

i am living.

 

red’s the color of blood