oh, my sweet, sweet child, what has the world done to you? you were a bright promise,
the tomorrow we had hoped for, holding flowers in your mouth without crushing them
and trusting blindly in those around you. and then came the blood; and now your fire
is a quiet thing, a crackling murmur hidden in the shadows. you’ve curled into yourself
like a newborn babe, held your heart tightly to your chest and began the tedious healing.
and all the salt in your tears made the deep wounds sting; was it this what kept you pure?
I wonder, oh, I wonder. before you, I had never seen an anathema so full of innocence.
(the world tried to cast you down from paradise; and it succeeded. but the fall couldn’t
maim you, for fire cannot kill fire – it simply shrunk you, much like a mimosa bloom.
I hope one day you’ll feel safe enough to flower, for there is so much beauty in you.)
I wish I could wrap my hands around your shoulders and hold you close for a while,
because oh, what sad things they are, your bones. I am so sorry, beloved; so very sorry.
and I am well aware these apologies cannot change anything, but I want you to know
that there is someone who sees you as you are – even when all the others see is your
superfluous frivolity and your desire for riches, I see the thoughtful mind, the gentle
gestures, each and every of your heartbeats. the song of you is imprinted into my memory
as the change in seasons is; you are unforgettable, something so precious and so very dear.
(don’t let them shame you for your greed – those who try to do so cannot wrap their
all too little minds around the fact that sin is not necessarily negative. your love for gold
has root in the same place as your love for others; you only want it so you may share it.)
it’s lonely, isn’t it? not being the way all others are. they tell you you’re a forgery, that your
smile is a mask and your composure an act, simply because they cannot accept the idea
that people are supposed to be multidimensional. on and on they go, pinning their ignorance
to you under the name of blame, seeing in you only that which they wish to see. sometimes,
you wish you were like them. I know you do. you shouldn’t. it might be lonely where you are,
but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; lonely doesn’t mean secluded. there are others like you,
with minds like diamonds. others like you, who are only habitual in their tendency for change.
(you will find someone who can make sense out of you, one day, you know. they’ll know you
better than you yourself do – every single aspect of you, every single frantic facet and feeling.
and when you do, the wait will be more than worth it. I promise you won’t die nor live alone.)
you poor, poor, poor thing. it’s been a thousand years since you’ve curled into yourself, hid
your heart deep in the cradle of your ribs and let yourself sleep; then the time came for you
to awaken, and you found the world unchanged – it was as if everything had stood still.
reality swept into you like saltwater into gaping wounds, and every fiber of your soul wept.
fearful, you took the broken glass road still, walked it fully aware of what laid in waiting;
like a bride the night she is wed to a stranger, you swallowed your terror and saw it through.
often, those ignorant make you out to be such a bumbling coward. you’re not. you just aren’t.
(in fact, you’re on of the bravest people I know; it takes so much courage to let the world
see you weep – and it takes even more of it to wipe your tears and keep moving forward.
above all, it takes immense courage to allow yourself to love even when you know it’ll hurt.)
the size of your heart puts to shame both Jupiter and your own pride and ego; to this day,
I am not sure if you would have been better off with one much smaller, but I know for sure
the world would have been emptier by far. you see, your touch is one of gold; whomever
you decide to invest your time and love into grows the size of Atlas, and so, without you
as you are now there would have been much less in the world. that is your downfall, isn’t it?
always has been. the way you’ve always put others first, giving them all of you, never asking
for anything to be given to you in return. you are a gardener, dearest, and people are your roses.
(it breaks my heart that all your selfless effort was almost always repaid in hurt and sorrow;
know that you are not to be blamed for any of it. you have done nothing wrong – sometimes,
things simply fall apart. don’t shut your heart. I’d hate to see your love rot and turn to hatred.)
you have endured well the contempt of others, my dear; you have taken every blow with open arms.
they have called you frigid and prude and arrogant and everything in between, but you knew better.
tell me then: if you can endure so well the slander of others, if you don’t care what they make of you,
why do you worry so? why do you see only blemishes when you look at yourself in the mirror?
your hesitance to trust others stems in your fear that if you let them in they’ll see your ugliness, all
the imagined imperfections you see in your reflection. you can’t trust others because you don’t trust
yourself; and I wish so badly that you would have a little more faith in who you are, in your beauty.
(being unable to forgive, jealousy and lust do not make you terrible. hate is human nature as much
as love is; emotions, be they bad or good, are intrinsic to mankind. you are such a passionate being,
despite your outward delicacy, and that, my dear, is simply stunning. please try to love yourself.)
darling child, didn’t the gods tell you the mob sees dancers as something of the devil, especially
when their preferred stage is the sharp edge of a sword? few in this world love truth, and fewer still
are fond of things like righteousness and justice. your ability to remain indiscriminate in the face
of contradictory realities and deny none of them is both a blessing and a curse. your mind, I fear,
is the Pandora fate has crafted specifically for you; a beautiful gift that hides such doom and sorrow.
and you are aware of all of this – how you were meant for greater things, with your noble mind
and your true heart, yet on you dance, fighting against the windmills of adversity. how brave you are.
(know that your effort will not go without reward. know that you won’t be forever unloved, nor
will you be forever misunderstood. there will be those whom, like you, have the makings of just men,
and they will understand. keep your eyes open and search the crowd; that is what you do best.)
I look at you and my heart grows small; there is so much sadness in you, from the flower
of your eyes to the slouching arch of your shoulders. you have been misjudged
and falsely accused for so long: whore, they said; monster, perverter, sickness of the soul –
and all of it because you like sex, as if somehow they are the virgin mary reborn,
the goddamn hypocrites. this, too, is something they have misunderstood; it is not sex
that you crave or are interested in. it is intimacy: it is the vulnerability that comes with having
your soul completely bared and lain before another; you crave love, in its’ purest of forms.
(and I know they have convinced you that someone of your kind is not “worthy”; fuck that.
your love is priceless, and one day someone will call your battle scars a masterpiece.
one day someone will love you as wholly as you deserve to be loved. they will love all of you.)
there is such wanderlust in you – you’ve made a home out of the long, long roads,
walked the earth to its’ ends and bathed in the oceans of the horizon; the sky was
your sole companion, its’ stars your map, the wind a spellsong to ward off the passing
sadness and melancholia that threatened to dim the flame of your heart. oh, my child;
how very wonderful you are, a barefoot nomad forever in awe of the world. the feeble
minded call you rootless; how wrong they are. having a voyager heart does not make you
afraid of commitment. it simply means your roots lie elsewhere, splat across the world.
(do not let their malice plant doubts into your mind’s garden; your gypsy heart is worth more
than all their empty ones combined. keep daring the world, sate your thirst for journeying;
only exploration can ever lead to discovery, so let your feet and head both walk the world.)
good god, you’re so tired. life has worn you down to the marrow of your bones,
took everything from you until you were bare-handed; and yet.
and yet you’re still here, standing before me, your spine hardened to titanium,
a delicate thing that can withstand even the most apocalyptic of sieges;
you still find it in you to smile, bitter-bloody-all-teeth and still happy, somehow.
know that I am proud of you; of your bravery, of your resilience,
of how you’ve clung to life by the skin of your teeth. I am proud of you.
(and know that you deserve happiness – you may feel like you don’t, you may feel
that it is above the likes of you, but you deserve it; you have earned it.
know that one of these days, the sun will shine down on your lane, too.)
there’s so much of you inside your skin I am often surprised it has yet to come apart at the seams;
there’s so much of everything inside your skull I am left in awe of your bones – often I wonder,
how are they strong enough to contain the exploding universe inside? my god, this world of ours
has seven wonders and you are all of them. the fortitude of your bright mind ceaselessly
surprises me; I know what to expect, and yet I am still thrown off by your ingenuity and your
ability to remain rational in your abstract ways. nobody but you is open enough to accept it all;
nobody but you can see through the prism of all eyes and walk away with their sanity intact.
(I know they call you “cold”, an ice queen of the Siberian tundra. let them be. those who cannot
see your white-hot warmth are not worthy of your brilliance. you are the brightest star, my dear,
someone accepting and embracing of it all. do not settle for anyone that is blind to your light.)
and how terrible it must be for you, who lives always halfway, to be stuck in a world
that demands certainties which you will never have to give. it is not to say you don’t want
to be resolute – you simply cannot. your world does not have truth, nor does it have falsity;
all that your world has are colors, swirling, forever mingling anew like the clouds in the sky.
one day you are overflowing with everything that blooms inside of you, and lilies
are spilling out of your ribs; the next, you’re empty, and you can’t for the life of you
find something that is all-encompassing enough to fill the growing abyss south of your sternum.
(know that it is okay. the most humane thing you can be is full of contradictions;
as maddening as it can be, each paradox gets you closer to the entity your peers call god.
it was never the devil that built his home on the crossroads, you know. embrace your nature.)
— poetry for the signs: the “you’ve done well” edition, L. Schreiber