The Importance of Tragedy

There is a lonely room that exists in my mind, of worn out memories and pieces of the person I used to be. The walls are stained, ripped into fragments, littered with remnants of what used to be such a carefree life. I venture into this room sometimes, now and then, cradling my beating heart in my hands, the heart that has grown and bruised and survived, much different from the heart that used to live and thrive in this old, depressing room. I grieve when I enter this desolate dungeon. Dragging my callused feet through the rubble, memories cut and sting my feet like shards of broken glass. How can something so old still be alive enough to rip me to pieces?
As I scavenge my way through both the good and the bad, flashbacks of both triumphant and tragic times hit me like endless tidal waves. Memories flood into my brain like a musty box of faded photographs, and they all still feel so inexplicably real.
Good memories. They all hit me at once, like a warm blanket of happy familiarity. Beautiful days at the beach, wind in my hair, my tiny toddler toes squishing their way through the sand, running away from the sound of crashing waves. My mother’s silky voice, echoing like honey, singing sweet lullabies and telling me all of the reasons why she loves me. I love you from the top of your head to the ends of your toes. To the moon and back, my love. The first time my father let go of the back of my bicycle, and now I’m free, flying down the sidewalk on my own. Barefoot, breathless popsicle days, grass stains from playing outside, scratches and scrapes from a childhood of fun, and now it is all…
Gone. Innocence stripped away just like the wallpaper of this decaying room. Magic disappearing more and more each year, as if each time that wretched birthday song was sung, the more my innocence began trickling down the wax of those damn birthday candles. Everything had come tumbling down into bits and pieces in front of me, and now I stand stripped from what was once such a pristine childhood.
The memories I have tried so hard to forget come crashing down in front of me. The screams of the red and blue lights flashing in my living room window, those serious voices on our porch step telling us about the car accident that took my mother’s life. I love you from the top of your head to the ends of your toes. To the moon and back, my love. The silent void that filed my room at night when she wasn’t around to decorate it with her lullabies. The nights my father yelled and threw things and gulped down alcohol as if it would fill the gaping hole inside of him where my mother used to belong.
The first time I ran away from a boy who only thought I was beautiful at midnight, but who refused to care about me at all in the morning. The same one I gave all of the love I had left inside of my brittle heart, only to receive an abundance of unforgettable, unforgivable goodbyes. And now you curse under your breath when you hear his name, he who couldn’t wrap his mind around forever.
Innocence. Gone. Stripped away. Turning my life into a living tragedy. My heart feels so heavy, beating so hard, as if to escape the suffocating ribcage that had been holding it hostage for as long as I can remember. As I made my way out of the room, I noticed the bright red leaking out of a fresh wound. The memories were made of broken glass, and I had just created yet another scar. Another tiny tragedy that would grow with me. It hurt, but it was the first thing I had felt in forever, after a dozen eternities of feeling nothing but numbness. And it felt like the most beautiful kind of pain.
As I recovered from the hurt I buried so long ago, a thought crossed my mind like a sudden brushfire, uncontrollable, fearless, free- just like my heart, finally releasing its heavy burden.
Maybe our tragedies are what make us so incurably alive.

falling doesn’t always have to hurt

i am the type of girl who is afraid of looking down
who shuts her eyes in glass elevators
and fears heights almost as much
as she fears herself

and the moment i met you was the moment
i decided to loosen my death grip,
realizing that i was exhausted of clinging to my high hopes,
suddenly feeling weightless, fearless,
flying away from the stranger i used to be,
flying away from the person i was
before i met you

they teach us poetry in school,
the kind we read in those dumb literature books
filled with stupid stanzas and rhymes
and words on paper made to make you feel something

i know you’re not made of paper, and that
you aren’t words or letters or rhymes
but you were the first person who made me feel something,
something so real, something so catastrophically alive
and i love you for that,
for being my favorite poem

i love you to the rooftops and to the skyscrapers and clouds
and i know i’ll always have to keep my eyes shut tightly
and have to hold your hand so tight my knuckles turn white
but you are poetry,
you made me feel alive again

i wasn’t afraid of heights,
i was afraid of falling
but you caught me anyway
and i love you for that,
for teaching me that falling doesn’t always
have to hurt

firefly

they ask me if i love you
and i am quick to shake my head
no, not anymore,
but my dreams still revolve around you
and my stomach feels like cherry stems
tied loosely together, and even though
the words that leave my lips scream
no, not anymore,
the empty feeling in my heart
feels like a snare drum of contradiction

you are fireflies in the backyard dusk
and i am barefoot and flushed cheeks
trying to catch you in my hands
you are red sunsets that fade into dark skies
and the sky seems as though it is bleeding tonight,
and so is my heart,
all for you

it’s like i am holding you still, forever
cupped in my hands like fireflies in the summer
and i am sorry,
i am sorry,
i am so sorry,
for holding you captive in
this jar of broken promises

they ask me if i love you,
and i am quick to shake my head
no, not anymore
but i still love you,
i still love you,
i still really love you,
and the reckless, dangerous part of me will always love you

you are my firefly,
and i cannot bring myself to let you go