she tried to look for answers
in places scribbled on paper.
he struggled to draw her conclusions
because he knew he couldn’t save her.
once again I am back at the place
where it all went wrong.
I come back here
and I hope to gain a new found love.
a love that throws away the cigarette
and leads me out to an open space
for my insides to breathe fresh air instead.
a love that makes me spit out the corners of my mind,
a love not just found on the couch,
but underneath a big white blanket –
that helps me go to sleep at night
and is worth dreaming about when I sleep at night.
this was a love that was not found here.
and yet here I am burning myself
from the cigarette that came from your mouth.
once again the smoke is clouding me
and I am throwing all the shallow parts of me
in all the parts I don’t know about you.
being with you was sleeping with the blanket off.
it didn’t feel safe
and I found myself awake throughout the uncomfortable cold tonight.
I tried to close my eyes,
but I only saw you in your plain blue T-shirt –
it’s only design my sweat, kiss marks, and fingerprints.
it was then when I realized that it was foolish to search
in places where things went wrong.
once again, it all went wrong.
and as much as I crave reckless adventure,
I craved gaining a new found love much more.
and that, I realized, meant finding fresh air
and sleeping soundly underneath a big white blanket
some place other than here.
it was late at night.
class has just ended
and you still waited for me.
we found an empty basketball court
and you taught me how to dance.
there was no music on;
only the sound of clumsy footsteps,
and the pitter patter of our heartbeats.
one of the gym lights were left on
and it shined brighter when your hands were on my waist
and we slow danced through the stars.
we tip-toed with caution;
afraid of tripping into a black sky
and stepping on each other’s shoes.
when it was over, I picked up my backpack.
we said our goodbyes;
I was ready to go home.
you weren’t a roof and four walls
but you were all I needed to go home to
at the end of each day.
I wish I hadn’t left;
but when the moon followed me home that night,
I knew that in each other’s memories,
I’ve always had summers that were made out of poetry.
the ones when I was a little girl and he was a little boy
and we would tackle each other in video games
and hide under the covers when it was over.
the ones when we grew up and I fell in love.
the ones when we grew up
and we grew apart.
there were summers that went by like my alarm clock.
the ones where I was peaceful in pure bliss because I felt like I was dreaming.
the summers that ticked tocked fast
and when the time was up
a continuous buzzing would come off
and those summers would be over.
it always happened,
but I always hoped the summer magic didn’t have to be over too.
there were summers when I was an exotic pink flower
and all the bees would flock towards me because they wanted to be my friend.
I guess those friends left when the pollination was over
but that’s okay.
I wasn’t the only exotic flower in the field anyway.
despite the happiness, love, magic, and heartbreak
I experienced a different kind of poem with you.
it was the kind where we spent late nights in a cozy coffee shop
and it was there where I got to see more clearly the word “art” in this place earth when I was having deep conversations with you.
it was the kind where we could find small corners
in a busy, stress-filled place
to spread our legs out
and rest our heads down on our backpacks
because all that dead-weight we carried behind us was above us now
when we were alone in our secret safe space.
I have to admit, I didn’t need cozy coffee shops and small corners to feel safe
because we could be fast-pacing through pouring drizzle and almost thunderstorms and I would still feel okay.
I cannot fully explain how the connection we have assures my safety
but I didn’t need anything tangible.
you are my own secret safe space.
there is something about this summer that didn’t make me worry about falling in love
or losing a friend
or the magic having to be over.
it is a strange kind of forever –
one where I could shut my eyes, dream, and wake up
and it didn’t end when my eyes blinked open.
instead, the magic in my mind was captured
and it radiated into the good parts of my own reality.
I used to believe that sad girls wrote best
and that the best heart-felt poetry
were the ones that cried out of heartbreak.
I know now that the best heart-felt poetry aren’t always the ones about being sad and anxious and lonely;
they are the ones where I felt deeply.
I no longer wrote summer like a farewell letter or a breakup text message.
I wrote it as if the rainbow was the ink in my pen
and reading it made you feel good.
and the words weren’t sad.
and it was beautiful.
every summer became another sad poem,
but this summer was spent with you.
so thank you.
I held on to you like a promise.
You were the sand I struggled to keep cupped inside my hands.
I wanted to cross oceans – but I remembered that if I did,
you would slip away.
Slowly floating; I would lose you.
Sinking underwater; my eyes would blur.
Gradually, you would return to the ground and this frightened me
because returning would make me unsure
of who you were.
I tried to keep what I promised
and so I waited before I took the leap.
Day by day, I felt cold mornings turn orange and bright with you.
One by one, we traded each other stars until suddenly,
we were both holding the universe.
I felt as infinite as the skies when I made you the center.
You were my world,
and I was so ready to take your hand –
planting flags with you on newly discovered land.
However, here I was, back on the surface.
I looked up to see your moon but you kept one side hidden.
I did not understand how you stayed up while I ended up drifting downwards.
I thought the universe we shared would be strong enough to keep us above the same sky but unfortunately,
there was no such gravity to catch my fall.
You, the boy I once called “My promise,”
have lost yourself in sands and skies.
I remember your name when I think of an us.
I know you as Mister “I missed.”
I wish I could tell you that I loved you
For you were extraordinary
But your eyes were just a sleepless midnight black
And there wasn’t anything extraordinary about that.
I wish I could tell you that I loved you
For the way you always knew what to say
But when I felt insecure and lonely
Your words didn’t make me feel okay.
I wish I could tell you that I loved you
For the way you made me taste the universe
But you were a pond that I stepped myself into
And with that, I struggled to immerse.
I can tell you, though, that I do love you
For your peculiar way of making me happy
And maybe, also, because for the first time,
I have found someone who has learned to love me.
My memories are screaming at me. They’re mad about the times when I smiled when you told me “You’re beautiful.” They’re mad about the times we’d meet up on lonely nights like this — on late nights when the emptiness in the air would consume me and I’d find myself missing you. They’re mad about the meet ups under lamp posts — the ones where we’d hide behind darkness and away from people just to be together for one swift moment. They’re mad about the times I believed you loved me. I get it, stop screaming. I’m mad about them too, I swear. It won’t be this way again. I promise.
We were in a place that was full of longings from our past and people we called our friends. I’ve felt distance when we didn’t see each other for a month but I don’t think I’ve ever felt such distance sitting next to you. My memories, they’re screaming. Please, stop reminding me. Please. I get that it was all beautiful and amazing but do you really have to keep bringing up the past? We both know that it will never be this way anymore. It just won’t. We’re certain.
After a period of loneliness and of not seeing you, I believed that I could actually bring us back — just like how you can pull a loved-one into a hug even when they’ve passed away or how a broken mirror can still be put together even if it has shattered. I actually believed in the impossible. How stupid. How idealistic. I knew about the downfall of what happened but I didn’t think it would have been this bad. I didn’t think it would be unrepairable. Now I know that you should leave the dead in peace and broken mirrors are still in every way shattered, no matter how hard you try to fix it. I shouldn’t have gave into my memories. They only know about the better times. They only scream about what-had-beens.
We’re seeing each other for another time and it’s like looking back at an old photograph and realizing how long ago it’s been. You’re trying to pick up from where we left off but once again my memories are screaming.
Once again, I am regretting you.
It is already February 29
And there isn’t going to be a February 30.
There isn’t going to be another chance,
Another day, where I’d think to myself “Maybe, tomorrow, I’d wake up to the sound
of your name on my phone again.”
Because once more I am going to bed with a locked phone screen.
The last night of the month has come which means I have already ran out of hopeful
It is already February 29;
And it’s been a month since you’ve said a word to me.
I remember 36 days ago when I gave you the Does He Still Care About Me test
And you failed it.
I gave you no effort points because you waved your pencil down the last number so
You were giving me all the wrong answers and I knew that you were just trying to find
a way to finish with me already. Thank you for not even trying.
I know now that it was wrong for me to shake an empty can to check if it still perhaps
had spare coins in it
When I knew that it was hollow.
How could you have been so ignorant?
I had given you psychology modules on empathy and the way a girl’s mind thinks and
I always thought that my pointers were enough to help you understand how the
depths of the universe in my mind worked
Because I wasn’t just structured bones and organs stuffed into a body;
I was a complicated extension of veins that always needed to be connected to another’s
heart because that’s just how attached I was. I just really needed you to understand that.
But I guess you just haven’t dwelt in deep enough to fully understand what you meant
I feel like you’ve always just floated in the shallow waters —
Touching me but with a tug of fear at the pit of your stomach
Afraid of the waves that would consume you and turn you into what could’ve been mine.
And I don’t know, maybe I was just a bad teacher.
Or maybe you just sat in my class with the words on the board but never a plastered
stone that remained in your mind.
And so I stopped trying to convince you.
I stopped giving you classes because it is, after all, already February 29.
And a year of teaching you felt like nothing.
Let me refresh your memory with the three lessons that I had taught:
The first subject was about repetition —
How our mothers repeated “You’re beautiful” so many times over and over that we didn’t believe them anymore
How I love you’s should always be said but never exchanged too much
I always wanted to remind you of the truth but I didn’t want you to get tired of hearing them.
(I always needed you to believe them.)
The second subject was about pain —
How you shouldn’t be going around hurting the people you love
Because that, my darling, is not what you call love.
The last one was about me —
How I spilled myself to you over and over in hopes of being a part of you forever
How I didn’t want you to get tired of me
How I believed that you were always worth the forgiveness after every dagger you
stabbed through my heart and how I believed that if it was pain, it was just an accident
“Because you shouldn’t be going around hurting the people you love.”
I was that kind of teacher that wanted to craft sculptures out of mud — no matter how
messy it could get.
I used to only believe in all your good parts and I didn’t mind the earthquakes that lived inside of you —
The ones that always shook me; always only slightly killing me.
I thought that I was a god and that the dangerous and unstable could be tamed.
But it is already February 29.
And still, you are that glop of mud that I never wanted to believe you to be.
I thought of you better than this.
And I don’t know what you will do with all the notes that I gave you and with all the
memories we’ve had inside and out of the classroom.
Perhaps you have thrown them away or forgotten them already.
But I never will.
I mean honestly, it is already February 29,
And here I am writing a poem about my favorite student.
I think that my work here is over
Because you no longer seem to need my knowledge, presence, or time.
So I am leaving you here at February 29.
I believe that this is what you call goodbye.
I didn’t believe in us
At first when I met you with awkward silences
When you whispered stuttered phrases beneath your shy smile and I didn’t feel like learning your secrets.
But along the way, I saw us in a better light.
No longer a gap inbetween us but rather, a tight hug
With poorly written love letters and secret rendezvous that made me smile endlessly.
I thought that your affection — your attention
But you forgot about everything I told you and you left my heart outside your doorstep
Slowly faded when the rain washed it away.
Your memory of me grey and hazy like a blurred vision.
And instead of me writing you a poem, this is turning into yet another poorly written love letter.
Please keep this in a box of memories of us.
My letters are something I wanted you to remember me by.
Because although I knew you said you’d never do this,
Let’s face it,
You were no longer the boy that threw pebbles outside my window.
And I was tired of seeing only raindrops and cold air hit the glass nowadays.
You’ve started to forget.
You’ve started to change.
I didn’t believe in us
I swear I tried to stop myself but I’m sorry I couldn’t and I’m not even sure who I am apologizing to anymore. Is it to you who knew that I was stronger than I was or is it to myself who knew that I had the strength to not give in but did. I’m sorry you had to see me that way. I knew you didn’t want to hurt me but somehow your words stinged my face like a blaring sunlight and I couldn’t look at you anymore. Before I knew it, all the tears I tried to hold back began to stream out and I looked pathetic when I couldn’t breathe– voice soft and shaking when I spoke, but I swear I tried to be strong. My head was spinning with all the things you were trying to tell me. I couldn’t think straight. I tried to focus but all your words were floating around in front of me in a haze. You told me to take deep breaths and I was able to calm myself down when I closed my eyes and inhaled. I wanted time to move faster. I wanted to get it over with but it was hard and I was scared of letting you and I down. It felt like a long time but I got through it. I felt so embarrassed after that I didn’t want people asking if I was okay or even looking at me– cheeks once wet with tears and eyes that cried out of despair.
I admire myself for my optimism though. I would have beaten myself up over something of little matter but here I am, okay. I am okay and I know I will be okay. I know now that I aren’t as strong as I fake myself to believe but I also know now that I am stronger. Thank you for not giving up on me.