Tag Archives: poetry

Push-ups In The Air (#15)

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A friend and I recently went to an event called “Fanfic, Love and Embarrassment” hosted by the Literary Youth Festival. We really didn’t know what to expect going into it, and as it turned out, it consisted of about a dozen people (who all seemed very well acquainted with each other) in a cosy room in an old house right smack in the heart of the city. This building plays host to weekly poetry clubs, art sessions and writing workshops – it was brick and mortar devoted to cultivating art and literature in the youth of today. With wild abandon people read aloud highly-sexualised fan-fiction they wrote about themselves, poetry that stemmed from frustrated minds and broken hearts, and embarrassing song lyrics from when they were teenagers forcing every word to rhyme.

Whilst it was a public event, it seemed all attendees were part of an exclusive writing club we were not privy to. It made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and self-conscious: as if I were intruding in a stranger’s home or eavesdropping on a private conversation. The people there were truly memorable characters, they each had an aura of individuality – they were published authors, up-and-coming musicians, award-winning poets and aspiring artists. For the first time ever the words “Doctor” and “Surgeon” sat a bit weirdly on my tongue; for the first time ever they felt displaced in the company of others. I felt like I was trespassing into an alternative I did not choose.

The feeling of awkwardness quickly passed. It’s hard to feel awkward when people are pouring their hearts out in front of you. There was so much honesty and raw emotion. I found myself truly feeling for these nameless strangers I do not know.

I’ve been trying to look up the work of some of those who had volunteered to read their poems out, but have had little luck. In particular one stood out to me, she talked about being on a flight to California and watching a man doing push-ups on the aisle of plane who upon noticing his audience, said to her: “Don’t worry, I’m not pushing the plane down”. She realised then that sadness within life is like gravity, it is ever constant. It does not exist within us, but we exist within it – we learn to live within it’s rules, and do push-ups in the air.

I still don’t fully understand it, but it somehow struck a chord in me. And amongst these faceless people, I felt for the first time in a long time, even if only but for a fleeting moment, un-alone.

I wish I had the courage to stand in front of strangers and showcase all of my love and embarrassment. I think that is ultimately what writing has always been about, to make others feel something, a fraction of what you are feeling, or something completely out of your own capacity. I promised myself that I will be braver one day.

I am glad that I wandered into the messy, sticky  hearts of strangers that night. It reminded me that everyone is fighting their own battle, and of the insurmountable strength of the human spirit to persevere through the throes of pain, depression and loneliness. Of impregnable minds and the human ability to somehow.. survive.

We are all just doing push-ups in the air. 

Jolyn

Dancers & Thieves (#9)

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Dancers & Thieves

We are thieves, all of us
We take and are taken from
We dance around the lies we tell
And the ones we are made to believe

So let there be no feeling of injustice
We are all dancers and thieves
Kicking up dust with our feet
Creating earthquakes with our tongues
Rolling in the dirt and looking over our shoulders
At the fires we have built and the boats we have sunk

Nothing but Dancers and Thieves
We take and are taken from

Jolyn

The Spaces Between Your Fingers (#6)

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The Spaces Between Your Fingers

I remember you in the spaces in between
The darkest hours of the night
And the pale morning light
A lithe susurration of what could have been

You appear only in the fleeting seconds
When the pink of my eyelids give way
To the orange glow through the window
Before promptly marching away with the minute hand

You flow between the crevices of my mind
Stubbornly insisting your presence
Marking out territory that is no longer yours
Carving hard stone into deep ravines

You are the dust that settles on the windowsill
When I absently look through old photographs
On lazy afternoons born of petrified clocks
When it is so quiet I can hear myself missing you

You are carried in by a million faraway lights
Brushing my arm and making fleeting promises
Before being swallowed up by the sunrise
You only ever promise to stay the night

I remember you in the spaces in between
Wild unbridled hope
And the deepest pits of despair
Balanced precariously on the interim

You exist only in the spaces in between
You dance away with the last dredges of my dreams

Jolyn

Wildflowers (Fickle Friday #49)

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Wildflowers

We were weeds
Sprouting where water fell

I thought I could nourish you
By filling you to the brim with love
But I soaked your roots with water
And they drowned from lack of air

I thought that too much love will suffocate
And learnt to measure my affections
To give not in excess of what I was given
To carefully parade a learned indifference

But since I have been free of you
And you have been free of me
I find that we have grown
In ways we could not have foreseen

We were weeds that sprouted
Wherever water fell
And I think that perhaps
It was not an excess of love that impeded our growth
That stopped us from reaching the sun

I have ceased spending my nights
Dredging through memories
For the right explanations
For ones I can stand to accept

But this I know for sure
That it is most definitely love
And it can be nothing else
To against your deepest desires release someone
And stand back and watch with pride
As weeds turn into wildflowers.

Jolyn

Fickle Friday #45

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I Am Only Happy When I’m Wanting What I Can’t Have

As a child I made a routine out of longing,
wrapping my hands around each passing desire,
forcing the world to contort and concede
to every craving that lived under my skin.

I grew up only comfortable in yearning,
staring into the void of desire, wondering how to extract
what the heavens were withholding,
Wanting to taint and manipulate the fates to my advantage,
just to prove I had them under control.

As an adult, I have learned to build homes
Inside the absence of whatever I am wanting,
Resting indoors while the tides swell and storms brew,
As I wait for the long game to play out and for the cards
to keep unfolding in my favor.

I’ve become an architect whose specialization is constructing makeshift spaces inside temporary
States of deprivation

States like you
Not being with me –

Not yet.

I have developed an affinity for comfort
When I am wanting for something I can’t have and at the moment
I’ve built a home inside of
Not having you.

I’ve been tracing meteorological forecasts
With your name echoed over the skies
And I’ve grown certain that these tides are going to change;
Our storm will swell,
The cards will play out and the fates
Will unfold in our favor

But until then you can find me here waiting,
Keeping one eye on our darkening skies.

– Heidi Priebe