Poetry On Odyssey: On Life as A Walking Dichotomy


Nicole Mason, https://nicolemason.co/.

i am running out of metaphors to say that i am angry

angry at god for dying before me

angry at white knuckled abandonment

angry at the way i can no longer hear my heartbeat

all my poems these days are about death

or my father

gemini heartbreaks

because having a daughter that wants to die is more of a disappointment than having a daughter that doesn't love you

and both of those things are somehow still my fault

i am weak because i am asking for help

and weaker because sometimes that help does not mean waking up the next morning

the power to give names to our pain is never simple, with nothing but a clumsy rum-stained tongue and loose change memories

they were lost in a moth eaten coat years ago,

draped over sunken shoulders

my pain tastes like dead flowers

pressed between the pages of the poems i still can't choke out

my pain is named father and it sounds a lot like silence

he left empty whiskey bottles and red wine anxiety

forced me to shake off the wings of youth like stardust and cast them into the night, clandestine as the dark that brought them

he is the dark

and i am a tiger with no teeth

who has always believed that home and heartache are synonymous

the thing about spending half of my time replacing marrow with melancholy

and the other half sticky with the sap of my bad choices

is that nothing is ever a constant

most days, the shadows cast on bedroom walls feel like they belong to someone who is me, but not quite me

a moving picture

a moment, perfectly preserved

an in-between

i speak in 'sometimes' so that i don't have to claim anything as a habit

so that when people wear my illness to describe their indecision

i do not feel like it belongs to me

do not feel like strangers see me as two halves

i don't know if this poem is about being bipolar or being half of my father but i guess i am a walking dichotomy now

i am afraid my body is going to betray me; i am afraid of losing my shadow or becoming it. i am afraid my hands will forget how to hold a pen or my tongue or my heart or do anything but choke the necks of dusty liquor bottles and my conscience

i am afraid no one will ever love a fragment of a person

i am felling entire forests in my head, trying to uproot the parts of me that look like him. but it is getting more difficult to tell which trees are rotting and which ones are already dead

how much of me was sinking into the soil before now?

the nights have always been easier

because when i wake up in the morning with the dust settling in early sunbeam showers, i am always expecting to look in that bathroom mirror

and see my father's face looking back at me.

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