Ashley Wilda

Author

Month: August 2018 (page 1 of 2)

#763

I write

Poems

When I can’t sleep

As if I could

Write myself empty

As if I haven’t

Tried this trick

A million times

Already

All I end up with

Are trillions of love letters

Unsent

inevitable

The guy comes to the counter and after

asking for coffee

and complementing my skin

he asks me out.

Somehow I am not fazed by this Maybe

even a little flattered although

he is entirely too old for me and

even if he was young and attractive there’s

no way I’d say yes and maybe

it’s because I’ve turned down handfuls

of guys in my sleep so why would being

awake be any different?

(Just last week I turned down the creepy

guy with the gauges at the gas station refused to

shake his hand He’s lucky he didn’t get a

kick between the legs for his trouble I’d spent the

afternoon crying missing you and

anyway guys should know better than to be creeps)

When I give a little laugh and hesitate searching for the

right half truth he guesses I have a

boyfriend and I say I’m

involved with someone and yes it’s not the

whole truth but it’s not a

lie either When you

think of someone every day and never

Want to love any other you can’t say you’re

not involved can you? It’s the

biggest reason to turn him down although him being

thirty-three is a close second even though it is

nice to be noticed especially because half the time I don’t even

notice myself until my heartbeat goes

haywire just to remind myself that I’m still

here

He takes his coffee but comes back asking

how late he is and I say it’s complicated and he asks

how and I think Heck whatever he’s a complete

stranger and say Atheist and Christian and he’s like

you deserve better and I want to say how

do you know what I deserve? Want to say

you don’t know him But instead say

that’s what my mother says

And he lists Christian credentials like they’re

badges he’s earned Raised in the faith Go to this

church Sing in the

choir And I want to say

I don’t care about these nothings You can do

all of these things and not believe You can do

none of these things and still believe The fact you

think this is so important simply means

arrogance to me

He quotes the verse There is nothing new under the sun

He says that it’s inevitable that nothing will change that hasn’t

already changed I hate that word five syllables only

used when people think

there’s no hope They have no idea what a beautiful burden

hope actually is They have no idea how

much more lonely they make this

path I have chosen for myself that every

breath is a choice

At least when he leaves he doesn’t ask

for my number

And I’m left cleaning out the espresso machine feeling like maybe I’m

radiating lonely not just my summer tan and I

wouldn’t be surprised

Just because I can’t

feel anything doesn’t mean that no one

else can hear the distress signal shrieking from my

bones except maybe you

It wasn’t meant for anyone else anyway

grasping at a memory

I’m dreaming.

I can’t remember what you smell like.

That loss is no dream.

But in my dream

I steal a long-sleeved t-shirt from your drawer

(I somehow live across the hall)

in a rush, like a criminal.

In the dream, we’re still not talking.

The smell isn’t quite right

(even dreaming me knows it’s not yours)

but it’s something.

In the dream, you discover it’s gone

and I’m immediately, irrevocably embarrassed

and sneak it back, draping the sleeves

over the dresser drawer knobs.

Morning light tugs at me in the real world beyond

I begin to float upward toward consciousness

but not before my dream self hopes

you’ll understand

and bring it back to me to keep.

summer child

I am a summer child with long brown hair

lightening at the tips

I am a summer child with dark Arab skin

wisps of sun-bleached blond on strong arms

I am a summer child with bare feet and the laughter

of the river when it runs cold and high and wild

I am a summer child who hears peace in the music of the breeze

who only glimpses freedom in the conversation of the arching corridor of the trees

I am a summer child who’s had

winter in her heart for long, long months

two summers come and gone and still

her heart has not thawed

what happens to this summer child when

winter slithers closer again

heartbreak in every falling leaf

your shadow looming close once more

near enough to touch but not

to hold?

what happens to the summer child who

takes to her bed, sleeps away

the hours, refuses to see

her mother, shuts away the dinner

smells, listens to Julien Baker in her headphones until

dark falls and then again and three a.m. until

sleep cradles her, as long as it is willing

she will take it, and then silently waif through

a world that seems too bright

yet with no color?

The summer child feels the ice spreading.

The summer child always knew it would.

The summer child knows it would be easier to be

a winter child, someone who could

accept endings for what they seem to be and

look forward to spring’s new thaw

but she knows she wouldn’t be a summer child

if she could do this

knows she wouldn’t believe in

the impossible power of love

and someone please tell this summer child that there’s

hope for a hopeless summer child

and her hopeless icicle heart

after all.

nothing

the look in your eyes

keeps me at arms reach.

I can’t read you anymore.

my body feels the impact of sight

disorienting lightness like all

my molecules evaporate leaving me

behind

but my heart is simply stunned

wanting too much, hurting too much

to feel anything at all.

you were always the one

good at shutting out

pushing away

deciding it’s over.

I was always the one

pressing in closer for better or worse

the one who followed

you around the month we weren’t

talking just to see you every day.

I learned things from you that you never

wanted me to learn.

now I shut out.

shut down.

shut up.

I never write you off but have a

whole list of other nevers that keeps

growing by the day.

you are everything and that makes everything else

mean nothing

makes me want to believe there is

nothing behind the universe and yet I

can’t even though it almost

kills me

and I can do nothing

and the nothing in your eyes makes me feel like

nothing too

like maybe I mean

nothing to you

and I wish I could just

become nothing

because that would be easier

than this.

performer

Sitting up here in a single chair

lips grazing cool microphone

fingers seeking familiar shapes

on steely vibrating strings

digging into my skin.

Up here I am allowed

to speak.

Up here I am allowed

to feel.

Up here I am allowed

to have my story.

Allowed to grieve.

To hope.

Up here I am myself. And someone else.

Up here when I open my mouth I sing

for you.

I sing like you’re in the room

watching me.

I sing like the melodies ripping from my throat–

unshed tears just a tremor

buried fire felt in the rise of melody–

could mean something to you.

Could convince you of the worth of love.

Could convince you of the truth

behind the unfeeling stars.

a story whispered in the sleepless hour

Once there was a woman

who took all the sadness in the world

and gave it out in little pieces

so it wouldn’t be too much

for anybody.

Some people took more than others

I can handle it, they said

whether they could or not

and the rest were content with their tiny bit

that’s not too much, they said.

That’s not so bad.

But in the end, after everyone took

what they were willing to take

the woman was left with a big pile of sadness

a great shadow pooling on the ground.

Too much to hold in her hands.

Too much to carry in her arms.

Too much to lift with her heart.

Too much for anyone to have to take.

But she looked at the sadness and saw

something no one else could.

She took tools and her hands and worked until

every piece of sadness was a shining feather

and every feather held fast to another

and she fashioned a pair of jet black wings

that hung from her shoulder blades

a gleaming, living cape

wings that draped quietly

or jumped triumphantly when she raised her arms.

The wings were still sadness, she thought.

But at least they were wings.

things that separate us

first it was a single street

then it was a river

then a state line

then words

and then oceans

and finally

silence.

but in the end it has always been

belief

in what is possible

and what isn’t.

refusal

sometimes when I sleep I dream

of boys.

they never look the same but they always

want me.

I never want them back but always

want the unloneliness that comes

with arms that reach for me.

inevitably the moment arrives

when we get too close–

they try to kiss me

or ask me a question

or love me

and I have to say–I’m sorry.

my heart only has room for one boy.

I’ve already got a name

tucked inside.

I know there are many boys I could love

that could love me

perfectly good boys that I could

say yes to.

never fear, I am perfectly aware my dreams

are ridiculous.

no gaggle of boys would ever line up

to see me.

but the truth still remains–

the only thing between me and unloneliness

is myself.

and I will always

always

say no.

truth in fairy tales

the fallen queen enchants

cupid’s arrow meant to lead to love

to do the opposite–

lead her to the one she most hates.

razor golden tip turns to wicked black.

she nocks the arrow, lets it fly

fly, fly, through the silent forest

through the stillborn air

through the doors of her castle

stabbing the silver mirror

cracking her reflection into a million shards.

I am the queen.

I am the mirror.

I don’t need an arrow to tell me

who my heart hates most.

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