When you empty your friends house of all the ways they could harm themselves, it really puts life in perspective. I’m sure I shouldn’t be writing this but I can’t help thinking that that was the least of what I could be emptying the apartment of. Life has a crazy way of showing us things, God has a crazy way of putting us in situations that we wouldn’t see ourselves in. How do we save people when we know the answer is something they don’t want to hear? I gathered up blades, and pills, and cried. I cried because I don’t want to lose my friend, and I very well could have. I cried because I don’t know how to fix dark feelings. We all get them, some worse than others. I’m still dealing with my past, I still deal with feelings of failure, but there has to be a way we can help each other. We aren’t supposed to worry about the past or the future, let go and Let God, but sometimes that’s a lot easier said than done. One of my favorite slam poets has this poem entitled, “The Nutritionist” I can’t help but think these words are exactly what I need to hear and exactly what I want to say. Our friendship started with common likes, like the author mentioned, and I forget about it from time to time. You stay here with me okay?
“The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables
said if i could get down thirteen turnips a day I would be grounded, rooted
said my head would not keep flying away to where the darkness lives
The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight
said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do
I handed her the twenty, she said, “Stop worrying darling, you will find a good man soon.”
The first psycho-therapist said I should spend three hours a day sitting in a dark closet with my eyes closed and my ears plugged
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking about how gay it was to be sitting in a closet
The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth.
said to focus on the out-breath;
that everyone finds happiness if they can care more about what they give than what they get.
The pharmacist said Klonopin, Lamictal, Lithium, Xanax.
The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help me forget what the trauma said
The trauma said, “Don’t write this poem. Nobody wants to hear you cry about the grief inside your bones.”
But my bones said, “Tyler Clemente dove into the Hudson River convinced he was entirely alone.”
My bones said, “Write the poem to the lamplight considering the riverbed, to the chandelier of your faith hanging by a thread, to everyday you could not get out of bed, to the bulls-eye of your wrist, to anyone who has ever wanted to die.”
I have been told that sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over, “Other people feel this too.”
That tomorrow that had come and gone and it has not gotten better.
When you are half finished writing that letter to your mother that says, “I swear to god I tried, but when I thought I hit bottom it started hitting back.”
There is no bruise like the bruise loneliness kicks into the spine so let me tell you,
I know there are days it looks like the whole world is dancing in the streets while you break down like the doors of their looted buildings
you are not alone in wondering who will be convicted of the crime of insisting you keep loading your grief into the chamber of your shame
you are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy
I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside;
Some people will never understand the kind of superpower it takes for some people to just walk outside
Some days I know my smile looks like a gutter on a falling house
but my hands, my hands are always holding tight to the ripcord of believing a life can be rich like the soil, can make food of the decay, turn wound into highway
Pick me up in that truck with the bumper sticker that says, “It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a sick society”
I have never trusted anyone with the whole back-bone of my spine like I trust the ones that come undone at the throat screaming for their pulse to find the fight to pound.
Four nights before Tyler Clemente jumped from the George Washington bridge I was sitting in a hotel room in my own town calculating exactly what I had to swallow to keep a bottle of sleeping pills down
What I know about living is the pain is never just ours
every time I hurt i know the wound is an echo
So I keep listening for the moment that grief becomes a window
when I can see what I couldn’t see before through the glass of my most battered dream
I watched a dandelion lose its mind in the wind and when it did it scattered a thousand seeds
so the next time I tell you how easily I come out of my skin, don’t try to put me back in
Just say, “Here we are, together at the window, aching for it to all get better but knowing there is a chance our hearts have only just skinned their knees;
knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming.
Let me say right now for the record, I am still gonna be here asking this world to dance even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet.
You, you stay here with me okay?
You stay here with me raising your fight against the bitter dark
your bright longing, your brilliant fist of loss
Friends, if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other, my god that’s plenty
my god that is enough
my god that is so, so much for the light to give:
Each of us at each other’s backs whispering over and over and over, “Live, live, live”