sunday morning poetry 

I feel your fingers 

Cold on my shoulder 

Your chilling touch,

As it runs down my spine.

Watching your eyes

As they invade my soul,

Forbidden pleasures

I’m afraid to make mine.

At the touch of your hand 

At the sound of your voice 

At the moment your eyes meet mine 

I am out of my mind 

I am out of control 

Full of feelings I can’t define!

It’s a sin with no name 

Like a hand in a flame 

And our senses proclaim

It’s a dangerous game!

A darker dream 

That has no ending,

That’s so unreal

You believe that it’s true.

A dance of death 

Out of a mystery tale 

The frightened princess

Doesn’t know what to do.

Will the ghosts go away? 

No 

Will she will them to stay?

No 

Either way, there’s no way to win.

All I know is’ I’m lost 

And I’m counting the cost 

My emotions are in a spin.

I don’t know who to blame…

It’s a crime and a shame,

but it’s true all the same

It’s a dangerous game.

No one speaks

Not one word 

But what words are in our eyes.

Silence speaks 

Loud and clear 

All the words we don’t want to hear!

At the touch of your hand 

At the sound of your voice 

At the moment your eyes meet mine.

I am losing my mind 

I am losing control

Fighting feelings I can’t define.

It’s a sin with no name 

No remorse and no shame 

Fire, fury and flame!

Cause the devil’s to blame

And the angels proclaim,

It’s a dangerous game.

-Jekyll + Hyde

sunday morning poetry 

Patience

Is a virtue I do not possess.

I wait here, in shadows, the curtain conceals

And I ask it to open, to let me begin

My speech is prepared, my bow perfected

But the spotlight is broken

I chase after it, weak, I’ve been running enough

I listen to words from those that I know

Are not gifted as I, not refined as I

And I wait through it all.

I wait for my moment that never will come

I wait for the time that I can become

That person who shines in a moment in time

But for naught is it all

I can feel my heart harden as I listen to prattle

And chatter that makes me lose my mind

“I’m so good at this!” They say “and so good at that!”

But they’ll never know

That if I had my chance

I’d out shine them all.

Humility

Is not a virtue I possesses.

be at peace

Today, it is hot.

I can feel the heat washing over me; how I slowly begin to sweat, first on my brow, then under my arms. The sun is bright and I have to squint my eyes to see ahead of me on the road. I feel head-achy, as if some small person were taking a hammer and quietly hanging artwork in the home that is my mind. It’s not excruciating, just nagging. A little “tink”, “dink”, “boink” here and there.

I’ve started thinking about him again. After years of obsessing over him as a child, then 10 years without another thought, here he comes again, like lightning, sharp and bright, and unmistakable. I am like a cat on a hot tin roof, constantly looking over my shoulder, caught, startled out of deep thought. I am convinced everyone can read my thoughts on my face, like an open book. Surely they know I am guilty; guilty of the greatest sin. They cringe, are they laughing at me? I am sure it is as clear as a scarlet A on my chest.

But no, no one is looking at me. No one cares about me, or my thoughts. They ask me how I’m doing, ask how life is treating me, and I smile and say, “well, thank you.” They walk away, no more concerned with my thoughts than a sparrow is concerned with being able to fly. I let out a breath.

My “sin” is not a sin at all, although my conscience, ever wise and true, seems to nag at me that it is perverse in some way, and I should, by any means necessary, be rid of it. I had, for a while, banished all thoughts of him. I had closed every book, torn out every page of every journal that mentioned him, and sent it through the shredder. (The Romantic in me wished I had a fire to burn the pages in, but alas, I do not live in the 19th century. We owned a wood burning fireplace, but it was never lit.) I hid away the pictures and tucked away the letters I had written. Letters . . . letters to a dead man.

God, it’s so unbearably hot. I take off my coat, stopped at a red light on my way back. The air-conditioning is on full blast, as I am hoping the noise will drown out the buzzing of my thoughts. I reach for my phone.

“Do you remember how old we were when we used to pretend to be A and E?” I text my best friend, who grew up by my side, never once questioning the judgment of her 11 year old friend who pretended to be a girl in 19th century England, in love with a gentleman twice her age. Age, that ambiguous thing; it didn’t mean anything to me back then. You could tell me that I was 11 and you were 35 and that meant we were too far apart to ever be the same. But I would only shake my head and say, “So? What does it matter? It’s a number on a page, it doesn’t mean anything. You’re a person, and so am I.  You can talk, and so can I. You’re simply just trying to tell me that you’re wiser because your number is different looking than mine, and that doesn’t make any sense at all.” Ever since then, ever since discovering the man who changed my life forever, age has meant nothing to me. I have been in love with those 5 years younger than me, and those 25 years older. When I meet someone for the first time, I don’t see a number, I see a person, and that’s all we should see. What does it matter if someone is older or younger than is conventionally acceptable, when in relation to another human being? Why, why, why does age always get in the way of love? Always . . . always, always.

The light is green. Someone honks at me to go. I come to, and take off, embarrassed by my lack of concentration.

His voice – at least, the voice I imagined him to have – comes to me, with startling clarity, as if he is seated right next to me. (I laugh to myself, thinking about how horrified he would be at the sight of cars. “This machine! The logic of it makes no sense! How does it go so fast? It is terribly unsafe, is it not? You must slow down, please! 25 miles per hour seems far too fast, don’t you think?”) He is saying something, quietly, under his breath, about being lonely. He’s telling me to stop, please stop, just stop.

“It is so lonely, my dear. So lonely, living your life in a room by yourself. It is unbearable, the silence. The silence, it is deafening, it is weakening. Don’t be lonely. Don’t choose to live alone, like I did. You will regret it. Nothing is worth giving up on love for. Stop, please. Stop holding on to this, to me. Let me go, please. I want to rest. You need to be free. Stop this. Stop, please.” 

I read somewhere that if you hold onto the memory of someone after they’ve passed, they never really die. That’s how they become ghosts. You’re chaining them to the earth, making it impossible for them to be at peace. You have to let go of them to lose them. Am I chaining him here? Was he at peace, and I brought him back? I try to say something, but he doesn’t hear me. He doesn’t hear anything. I wish I could get him to say what I want to hear, but he is here only to say what is necessary. What I need to hear, not what I want.

I brought him back to life by reading a book. He filled the pages, his voice, his scent. He was so real. More real than any person I had met so far in my life. All the adults I knew seemed so fake. So intent on telling little girls like me that we know nothing of the world and never will. But he was not like that. He didn’t tell the girl in the story that she was too dumb, or too young, or too anything. He said she was perfect. He said she was smart. He treated her like every girl wants to be treated. Like a person. I projected myself onto the girl in the story, convincing myself her and I were one in the same, regardless of the 150 years that separated us. And if she was in love with him, then so was I. (Although, I will admit, it didn’t take much convincing for me to fall in love with him of my own accord.)

The one thing about me as a child is that I was never embarrassed or ashamed about anything I did or said. I was, without a doubt, 100% me. Although I loved this about myself, most people did not. I did not have many friends because they definitely labeled me as “the weird kid”. I played dress up and talked to myself or my imaginary friends constantly. For some reason, the kids I was around, were not like this. They were groomed by their parents to turn out just like themselves – incredibly smart, intimidating, popular, and boring. No one had an imagination, no one read any books, no one was unique. They bored me. It is, unfortunately, human nature to want to be liked. From far too early of an age, we groom ourselves to appear one way, to attract the attention and approval of other people. This mars us. It takes away our true selves, and in it’s place puts a piece of someone else’s ideals.

God it’s so hot. I look for the temperature reading but the sun glints off my dashboard making it impossible to read. I huff and pull at the collar of my shirt.

After the book, there were pictures. I printed out every picture I could find of him, and nearly everyone he had taken of her, or others. He was a photographer, and most of the portraits I had of him were self-portraits. I chose my favorite and put it in my locket. The locket I had been given by my grandmother, but for ages had kept empty because I never found anyone worthy enough to be encased in it. My first and biggest mistake was not telling my friends about the man in the book. No, it was wearing that damn locket. You can’t wear a locket and not have dirty, stubby little fingers trying to pry it from your neck and peek inside.

It was hard to explain to them, who he was or what he meant to me. The only one who didn’t question or judge me for it was my best friend. She would dress up with me, in our giant, Victorian dresses, and prance around the property that surrounded her family’s farm. It was there, away from prying eyes, that I acted out every fantasy I ever had. My best friend would write letters to me, pretending they were from him. Saying how he was sorry he had stayed away, that he would always love me, and that not even our cruel mother (for we pretended to be sisters, her and I) could keep him away from me. For that is the ending I wanted, the ending I wanted for him and her, that they never got. The story that I knew we would have had, had he and I known the privilege of each other’s company. 

I can feel my mind spinning in circles now. My thoughts are not cohesive any longer. When did I give up on him? When was it exactly that I had had enough of children laughing at me, and people not understanding any longer? I was young, so they excused me that, but it was still . . . odd. Here I was, barely a teenager, in love with a man – a real one, thank goodness – but someone who had been long gone for over a century. Someone who I didn’t know. Someone people called horrible, horrible things like a pedophile and an outsider. They ignored his brilliance in writing, his advances in the mathematical community, his eye for capturing beauty in the art of photography. People fear what they do not understand, and unfortunately his life left so many holes that people have filled with hate and evil and gossip and rumor. Why can’t people just leave be what they do not understand? Why can’t they, when presented with no solid answer, just leave it a mystery, rather than making up their own sordid account of what they think happened? Why are people so quick to see the evil in mankind rather than the good?

I don’t know . . . perhaps he was an evil man. But really, no. I don’t think he was. The letters and journals and stories he left behind show a man encased by a society who wouldn’t let him dream. Perhaps he went a little mad. Wouldn’t we all, if everyone were constantly telling us we were wrong, stupid, ignoble, ignorant, lost, lonely? He had no one, absolutely no one, who cared about him, until he met her, and then, something happened. She was taken away from him. He lost everything, in one, fail swoop. How could you not be crushed, in a moment, like that? I would be. I am, for him. I feel his loss, my heart breaks for the lonely and lost of the world. I cannot help but ache for those people.

Perhaps that is why I am so attached to him. I want to fix the hurting and the hopeless. I want to prove to those who say they are alone that they are anything but. I want to pick up the pieces and glue them back together with the steady hand of a tinker. But also, he has helped me. In a time in my life where I felt so misunderstood, so different, so alone, here came a man, a figure in the mist, who told me everything would be alright. Who became my best friend, when I had none. Who showed me love in the purest and simplest form. Who taught me to be brave and true to myself and that no one could stop me. I owe him so much.

How can you love someone you’ve never met? I don’t know. It was an instant, electric connection. I read his works, his letters, his journals. I saw every bit of him in every word, every mark he left on the world. I think it is almost a truer sense of love. I was not making any judgement of him based on appearance, income, or reputation. I took what he said, and I chose to believe every word. I didn’t let other people’s accounts of him mar my vision. I see him through rose colored glasses, the same glasses he saw the world through. The glasses that made him hopeful in the face of trial. Words are power, I’ve said it before, and all he left us were words. I’ve read them thousands of times over, and pieced together a man I believe was every bit as innocent as the children he surrounded himself with.  I was one of those children, decades later, who was enveloped by his stories, his wit and humor, his love . . .

I pull up to the curb and park. I turn off my engine and sit, the air silent and still. I roll down my window and a brush of air floats through, lifting the hair off my back, tickling my neck like the caress of fingers. I glance to my right, the seat next to me is empty. I can see the faint outline where his body would be, dressed in clothes outdated for this day and age. Do I hear something? I wait, still. Nothing. It’s getting hotter by the moment, the air stagnant again.

I should let him go. I should move on. Even after contemplating for this long, I have no good reason for him to appear so suddenly back into my life like he has. I was just overcome. I had an urge to rediscover what had fueled me before. It has terrified me, to reawaken this part of myself that I shut down so long ago. Rereading and learning things that, as a child, I did not fully understand. I see now, the places which caused others concern. I see the way words and looks and moments can be misinterpreted. It makes me cry, instantly, the cruelty of growing up: of moving on when you are not ready to. Who am I to say I could give this man the love he wanted? What does it matter that one person was unhappy? He is dead, and I cannot change the past. Why am I so hell bent on proving to the world that he was innocent? He’s not my concern.

And then you realize, these are words you say to yourself to prove you are not in love with a ghost. You’re not in love with someone who never looked at you with loving eyes. Who never said your name, or held your heart in his hands. You are in love with the idea of a man. But the idea does not the man make. You know nothing, and you shake your head because no reason, no logic, can make you feel any other way. And then you sigh, tears streaming down your face, because that, that is love.

“How strange and miraculous and unnerving it is to stumble accidentally on your capacity to open yourself so completely to someone else. To know you will always feel this way and that time can have no possible effect. To watch it, like a natural wonder, like Niagara Falls, the eternal feeling rising up inside of you, flowing with deafening force, glittering in the sun, even though it is of no practical use.”

It is finally too hot to remain still any longer. I open my door, fresh air bursting into my lungs like a tide, and look at the sky. When did it get so grey? Wasn’t the sun out just moments before? I finally take the time to read the temperature.

I look at the thermometer.

58 degrees F.

 

g i r l s

With the beginning of the end in sight, I thought it quite fitting to reflect upon one of my favorite television shows of all time, and how it has shaped my life and the person I am becoming everyday. As a 20 something myself, I easily identify with the cast of characters Lena Dunham has created, in a show that makes me feel good and bad and then good (again) about myself in a single, 45 minutes episode. This show is none other than HBO’s Girls .

Where to begin. This show has impacted me in so many ways, I’m actually so grateful Lena Dunham made this dream into a reality. In many ways I am just like each of these girls, and in other ways I am nothing like them. This show was taught me how to be and how not to be. If I had to pick one thing that I am convinced is the most important message of this show, it’s that we are not completely a Marnie, or totally a Shoshanna. We are, as girls, and as humans, a perfect blend of each. Ms. Dunham has done a remarkable job of portraying 4 entirely different personalities that bring out the best and the worst in each other, and through 6 seasons of highs and lows, I have grown to be so much more connected to myself, and the world around me, because of it.

For today, tomorrow, and Sunday, leading up to the season finale Sunday night at 10pm, I will be focusing on each character of Girls, talking about their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately, what we can learn from each of them.

Let’s be honest, I’m trying to make this sound all deep and purposeful, but I’m really just trying to find closure because my life will be so different once Girls is gone from it on Sunday!

Do any of you watch Girls? What are your thoughts on the show? I’d love to have a discussion!

Thanks, lovelies.

Es ist was es ist,

c.w. north

in sickness . . .

Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m ill, I get terribly anxious about . . . well, just about anything.

It’s as if all the time I spend sitting doing nothing, for days on end (for when I get sick, I rarely leave my bed. I find I heal faster if I don’t over exert myself and just allow my body to recuperate) just gives my brain opportunity to feed my irrational – and rational -fears. This time, during my spout of illness, I’ve been plagued by a few different fears: 1) flying 2) being a boring person and 3) getting married.

  1. flying

God, why am I so scared of this? It’s not really that I’m afraid of flying itself, it’s just that I’ve never flown before and I’m deathly afraid that I’m going to hate it. I hate car trips, for one, and if a drive is more than 45 minutes, I rebel. I refuse to go on road trips unless I absolutely have to. Also, spending large amounts of money gives me anxiety, and I just plopped down a whopping 1480.00 for two round trip tickets to our destination of choice. And that, whoa, that was a major eye opener. I’m flying now whether I want to change my mind or not. I’m getting on that plane and I’m spending 42 hours total on it. What if I hate it? What if I’m miserable? What if I wasted 42 hours of my life on something that I might not even survive?!?!?! Okay, okay, calm down. It’s gonna be okay. Here’s to hoping the destination of my dreams is worth overcoming my fear.

2. being a boring person

This is a weird one. I’m not quite sure where to begin, exactly. All my life I’ve been surrounded by fascinating people. People who have interesting lives and stories, who are intelligent, witty, wealthy, and popular. That’s a funny thought, too, considering I am none of those things. These people have always accepted my offers to “hang out” graciously, and to anyone else, it would appear we have a good time. I’d even say myself that I had a good time. But when the favor is not returned, it completely negates the feeling of joy previously had. Does that make sense? It was a little wordy, I’ll admit. Here, let me clarify: If I ask you to hang out, I’d appreciate if you’d do the same to me. Friendship is a two sided coin, people. You don’t get heads up every time, no matter how lucky you are. You’re gonna get tails eventually, and you better keep your end of the bargain, otherwise I’ll stop offering to play.

The fact that this has happened to me since I was a child, every. single. time. makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Why won’t anyone ask me to hang out? Am I mean? Crude? Are my jokes getting old? Or am I just plain ole . . . boring? God forbid! I live to make people laugh, and I’d like to think my dry, self-depreciating humor is funny to someone! It would kill me to know that people don’t find me . . . worthwhile. So yeah, that’s something I’ve been freaking out over lately.

3. getting married.

Okay. So, some of you may have read my other post and know I’m getting married this autumn. I’m very, very excited, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also absolutely terrified. I was going through my Spotify today, adding songs to our wedding dance playlist and suddenly, listening to all the beautiful love songs, I got so very nervous. Some thoughts that crossed my mind throughout the feverish haze of the last three days:

“I’m too young to get married! I’m wasting so much potential and freedom!”

“What if I get tired of him? What if he’s not who I thought he was? What if I’m not who he thought I was? What if we end up resenting each other forever?!”

“What if no one ever speaks to us again because all our other friends are still single and they won’t go out with us because we’re boring, old, married people?”

“What if I get cold feet? What if someone I loved from my past shows up and makes me regret everything?”

“What if 20 years down the road I meet my real true love and I can’t do anything about it?”

Now, if you read my other post, mentioned above, you’ll know I have a perfectly valid and reasonable argument to talk myself out of these nonsensical fears. I’ll be okay, I’m still going to walk down the isle, and I’m not going to regret anything. I am madly in love, and I always will be. But, still, when I am sick, or lonely, or tired, these thoughts creep into my mind and make me question things I normally wouldn’t think twice about. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous for one’s own wedding, at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I try to resurface from the waves of sickness . . .

Funny, as I write about these things, I realize . . . Do you know what all these “fears” have in common? They all have different names for the one fear they are all actually present in.

It’s the fear of the unknown.

I don’t know what flying is going to be like.

I don’t know what people think of me.

I don’t know what life being married will be like.

It’s all the unknown. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but that doesn’t stop us from waking up. It doesn’t stop us from getting in our cars, on our bicycles, taking each step down the sidewalk . . . We can’t predict the future. So instead of obsessing over it, we must embrace it. That is what makes life special and exciting. We don’t know what will be thrown our way and we must face it – head on – and prove to ourselves, and everyone around us, that we are forces to be reckoned with.

We are human; strong, and brave, and defiant. We don’t let the unknown stop us from pursuing our dreams. Dream on, dreamers. You’ve got this.

Es ist was es ist,

c.w. north

letters

Recently, I have been overcome with . . . that word that I can never place. Of feeling lost in the past. Sadness and yearning for the “good ole days”. What IS that called??

Reminiscent?

Melancholic?

I’m not sure.

At any rate, it is becoming most troublesome. It has been extremely hard to live life the past couple of weeks as I have been burdened by nearly every thought that passes my mind. It all started when I was going through my truck of letters that I keep locked at the foot of my bed. I don’t know what on earth possessed me to go through them, but es ist was es ist. I have hundreds of letters, and I am not exaggerating. I have letters from best friends, ex-best friends, enemies, lovers, ex-lovers . . . I have always been one to keep every letter I receive because letters are a dying art. With Facebook, smart phones, and even email, it’s just so much easier and faster to send a quick thought, rather than take time to hand write pages upon pages of words.

This is my theory: words are not as special as they used to be. Nowadays, I am witness to countless relationships – those of my own very dear friends – that fall apart, broken, because people spoke words they did not mean, or spoke them prematurely, without understanding the weight and the meaning they held.

This is a tragedy.

Even I have said words I did not mean – to people I sincerely loved! – thinking it was the right time and the right way to show them that I cared. But if words are spoken hastily and without grave consideration, you can shatter even the most precious things to you. I speak from experience. Heed my warning, for your sake. I care too much about you, dear reader, to see you hurt like I have been hurt, or hurt like I have hurt others. These letters of mine, that I have stumbled upon again, remind me every day of the things I have lost and the lessons I have learned. I am glad I have them, even if they sting a little every now and again. You can’t save every text conversation or email the way you save letters, now can you?

“But letters are so bulky! You’d need storage bins for a lifetime of letters, C.W.! At least I can save my emails and messages without taking up so much physical space.”

Yes, yes, yes. I see your point. But I will always believe there is something so undeniably special and irreplaceable about holding a letter from a loved one in your hands. The feeling you get is indescribable. You don’t get that kind of feeling but only from a letter. The fact that the person spent so much time – possibly hours! – upon crafting a note of sentiment for you, and only you . . . I live for that feeling: to feel it, and in return help others feel that way too. Everyone needs to feel that loved, at some point in their lives.

My trunk of letters contain stacks tied up in silk ribbons, each a different color which represents a particular person. I have a rather small stack, from a boy I loved when I was a teenager. Actually, if I am being complete honest with you, it would be more truthful to say these letters were from a boy I thought I loved. But in reality, I did not. Not really. These are the only love letters I have ever received.  Therefore, they are special to me, even if him and I didn’t end up together, and in fact, haven’t seen each other in approximately 2 years now. Not even passing on the street because he has moved away. The funny thing is, well, there’s this quote, from a favorite book of mine that says “men never know their own minds. We have to make them up for them.” In a way, this is true – at least, it was in this particular situation. I was almost positive of his intentions towards me, but it wasn’t enough for me to trust in glances and sighs to get the point across. I simply had to say something. I had to write down how I felt and send him a letter. This is always my instinct, when I am feeling any sort of strong emotion. I write it down. It is so much easier to say what one means if you write it down, rather than just stumbling over the words as they are sent flying from your mouth.

I sent him a letter. He wrote back. He felt the same way.

“You knew I would reply, didn’t you? I mean, really, you couldn’t write me a perfectly beautiful letter like that and then not expect I would have something to say in return . . . ‘Today I fell in love again’. A bold statement, no? And yet with you, it’s so easy to believe. After all, why wouldn’t I fall in love with you? Not only are you the best friend I’ve ever had, but meeting you is one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.”

If I did not have these letters, how would I ever remember that those words – such emotional, sentimental words! – were ever spoken about me? Me of all people; so undeserving of any kind of love, ever.

Another letter, more achingly lovesick words, after a “falling out” of sorts happened that ruined any chance we had of being together.

“I still care about you immensely. You know that. I’ll still wait for you, as long as it takes, and there is no way I could ever forget you.”

Oh, but he did, and how quickly too, when I told him that I had no intention of trying to make things work any longer. But instead of just telling him my anxiety about our situation, I told him I never loved him in the first place. His reply was with none other than a letter; a letter that spoke words I no longer associate with the boy I once knew. For he no longer feels this way towards me. I suppose that is just what happens when you break someone’s heart. They don’t take kindly to it, do they?

“By now I’m sure we can say that the secret romantic relationship we had is over – it’s been over for quite some time, really, and I think we knew at the time that whatever ended up happening between the two of us, it wasn’t going to stay exactly that way forever . . . I would have liked to say that I thoroughly enjoyed being in love with you . . . it could be that you didn’t mean any of those things, but you don’t have to tell me. If you were to tell me it was a mistake for me to give you my heart, I’d tell you it was the best mistake I ever made. But I don’t believe it was a mistake. Perhaps some people come into our lives at just the right time, not sooner, not later, for exactly the right reasons. And I am still incredibly thankful that you came into my life just when you did. You gave me an eternity within a numbered amount of days, and I still like to consider myself the luckiest human in the world for ever having the privilege of loving you.”

A month later, I heard from another friend that he had burned all the letters I had ever sent to him. I’m not even exaggerating. It happened. And he told me to my face, with real, spoken words that ring in my ears even to this day, that he couldn’t believe he ever fell in love with me. That he couldn’t believe he had ever found me beautiful, or smart, or funny. I had become, in his eyes, someone who was no longer trustworthy, or worthy at all, of any kind of affection. And I do regret it. All the things I had said and then taken back. I had no intention of hurting him, or anyone. You must be wondering why I would ever keep such letters! Don’t they just stir up memories I’d rather forget? Well, the answer is, truthfully, no. I don’t want to forget, ever. These letter serve to remind me that I am capable of great love and great destruction. I have the power to bruise and to heal, and I don’t want to abuse that power ever again. That is my vow.

Words are life. Remember this.

Goodnight,

c.w. north