nightingale

so I wrote this poem over six months ago, but never got around to publishing it because it hurt to write it and sharing it meant I’d be giving away pieces of myself. but maybe today, I’ll dare to be vulnerable. shoutout to you-know-who-you-are for the excellente title. x

I stand alone, my breath reaching warm fingers into the frosty air
Around me the forest looms, the tall pines stabbing into the soft darkness above
An overwhelming coldness seeps into my bones, making me shiver
Shiver, although my down coat is cozy. Shiver, but I never get warm

And the wind rumbles through the forest with a cough and a hiss
At least the leaves and needles have each other to lean on
But I, even my shadow has left me behind in the swirling darkness
Darkness, although a star struggles to stay lit. Darkness, and the sun has died

Far away the thunder snarls at the lightning and the lightning fights back
There’s blood on the forest floor, oh it’s mine, my heart’s bleeding
Maybe I can forgive, but the memory is seared into my crumbling mind
Crumbling, the foundation has fallen. Crumbling, and I am powerless to stop it

The raindrops shiver before they shatter on the hard ground
Rivers of water drench my shuddering body
One last look, one last hug of the eyes, and he was gone, forever
Forever, but he said he’d never give up. Forever, but eternity’s too far away

A nightingale calls in the inky black night
The cacophony of voices within falls momentarily silent
A soft, still, silent whisper echoes within my cavernous soul
My soul, though only ashes remain. My soul, the scars are my victory

A sliver of light winks from the frowning storm clouds
The prison cell of my heart creaks open, allowing hope to seep through
What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger
Stronger, though the pain still blossoms. Stronger, find strength in pain

The bright orb in the distance climbs higher into eternity
I feel resolve pressing her firm hand into my weak fingers
Maybe the pain will never let me go, but I can stay strong
Strong, and mend my broken bones. Strong, and never give up

The strongly pulsating beats of my heart matches the cadences of my breathing
The pines around me stand proudly and reach for the stars
I, too, blink away the tears of freedom
Freedom, it comes with a price. Freedom, and I’m not letting go

Freedom, I will never let go.

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dear september // 2018

august was painful for me in so many ways, so i’m sorry for not capturing that in words. this post is a whisper of august with most of the pain reflected in september… okay i’ll stop being morbid and let you get on with the post. x

i. when you think it can’t get worse, it does. when you think you can see the end, you only see the beginning. when you think your heart will heal, it breaks again.

ii. my shoulders shook as the weight of the world came crashing down. but i’m looking out over the pews, over the ivory keys, and i know i must keep going. i must hold it together. don’t think. don’t feel. you’re going to be okay.

iii. finally had the courage to open up, to share my lows, to take off my mask. the three of us, we’re so different, but we understand each other. we support each other. i haven’t had many close friendships, but today, well today i found two.

iv. never thought i’d say this, but i’m learning to love again. i’m learning to love myself, to love others, to love unconditionally without expecting anything in return, to give freely without keeping anything back, to pour out even when the well runs dry.

v. i can see the pain in your eyes. i can feel the throbbing ache of your soul. and i desperately want you to let go of things you can’t change, people you can’t control, a future that is not yours to write. but i don’t know how. all i can do is sit, tongue-tied, in silence as i watch you wilt and crumble away.

vi. i love you, crew five. my five little boys. you taught me that it’s not about appearing perfect, but about being Christ, whether that means dancing like a maniac, talking to God unashamedly, or simply laughing hard and loving harder.

vii. i saw your face on the screen for the first time in a month and in that two hours, i felt safe. i desperately wished this could be for forever, but when you hit ‘end meeting’, i knew that what is, has now become what was.

viii. it’s been eternity since we last spoke, since we last saw each other. it’s like i lost you. i miss the therapy sessions in my darkened driveway, hearing the engine hum through the floorboards, and feeling understood, needed, and accepted. come back soon from hawaii, friend.

ix. you are different. i never thought someone i once loved and cared about could become someone so vastly different. someone who only thinks about his own wants. someone who has walked away from the light. someone who thinks he’s better off than everyone else. you’ve stopped caring, and it breaks my heart. please come back.

x. for the first time in my life, someone saw me. friend, thank you for the long conversations, for the deep soul-baring, for your inspirational writing. i hope we’ll meet in person someday, someway.

xi. taiwan vs. norway. you’ve changed my life in more ways than i could count. reminiscing on late nights and early mornings, fresh wounds and fading scars, sunrises and sunsets. we will stand and sing together, you and i. and we’ve found our hiding place. we’ll never let go, and we’ll never lose faith.

xii. you are my rainbow. you are my color. you paint me when the world has left me grey. my boy, never let the world steal your sunshine. never lose the wonder in your blue eyes. never forget why you were born that day four years ago. keep smiling. keep wondering. keep loving. i love you.

xiii. i want to shout to the mountains, sing to the stars, dance until there is not an ounce of strength left in my worn body. i want to speak life, emanate joy, love others until i run myself dry. i want to embrace the world, kiss away the tears of pain, brush away the lines of worry and stress. i want to live. i will not die.

xiv. i trusted in You, i let my doubts go, and i refused to come up with a plan b. there was only faith, and You took that faith and turned it into miracles. and i will sing Your praise to the heavens, i will proclaim Your goodness and Your peace and Your love until there is no breath left in me. i love You, and You love me.

xv. when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face, i find my peace in Jesus’ name. in the eye of the storm, You remain in control. You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm.

my rainbow

note: just a simple play on the rainbow… rainbows have always been symbolic to me as a representation of Christ’s promise to us, so this poem plays on that. (also is anyone else excited for the onslaught of sweater weather?.. no? just me? k..) x

you are the red of the world
you burn holes in walls and caves in kindling with an insatiable passion
you peek over a shattered landscape and breathe hope, hope and life
you dance to the beat of your own drum, unleashed, uninhibited, undaunted

you are the orange of the world
you paint the canvas with bold streaks of emotion
you splash into the cup like so many drops of gold
you dissolve the shadows and spill warmth into the oblivion

you are the yellow of the world
you wash away the stains of the night and usher in the morning
you kiss away the dew from the leaves and leave them glistening in the light
you bring the dawn, the sunrise after the storm, the sparkle in the eyes

you are the green of the world
you provide shade for the weary, the overburdened, the lost
you are untamed, untouched, like moorland grass so you forge your own way
you sing in the rain, thrive when cut, laugh in the hurricane

you are the blue of the world
you shine like tears not fallen, potential not released
you drown the stormy skies in the rain that is yet to come
you know no warmth, yet burn hotter than the fiery fires

you are the purple of the world
you breathe life into a dull and lifeless garden
you fade away like the pain of yesterday, like the bruise gone but not forgotten
you are rich in love, glittering like a jewel yet humble, kind, noble

you are the color in my world
in the grey depths of my soul you painted the rainbow
in the darkness of the night you showed me the stars
and when the world robbed me of color

you became my rainbow.

dear july // 2018

i.  life plays dodgeball with you sometimes. you get hit or you escape. but with the passage of time, you become more agile, more swift, and more deadly in your retaliation. maybe one day i will escape unscathed, but until then, i will wear my battle scars with pride.

ii.  and you came back. i questioned you and your answer brought tears to my eyes. my brother, you don’t need to fight your battles alone. you don’t need to suffer in silence. there are people who care about you and who are always there for you. if you can’t see the light, i’ll sit with you in the dark.

iii.  my first movie and i was over-the-top excited, but my anxiety held me in a vice grip and refused to let go. sometimes i just get so tired, tired of fighting and tired of losing.

iv.  little green-tinged notifications with your name on top make me so happy.

v.  the pain engulfed me and in a split second, the world went black. i just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up, but i had a commitment to keep and music to practice, so i fought against the tempting darkness.

vi.  i received the news and my heart stood still. my golden buddy, i won’t see you again. i won’t feel your head on my foot as i play the piano. i won’t see your large mournful eyes as you follow me around the house. teddy, i’ll miss you.

vii.  i feel so alone. disconnected. unable to fit in. they’re in their own cliques and you’re in a different state. so i drown myself in music, in music and in service.

viii.  your radiant smile transformed my day, and in that moment, i knew that i’d found a new friend. don’t doubt yourself. always believe in your own prowess and always believe that you have what it takes to ace the sat. i believe in you, and i know you can do it.

ix.  we’re going to be ripped, you and i. we keep each other accountable and we strive to reach new heights. one day, we’ll both hit 200, but until then, we’ll keep pushing and encouraging and doing big things.

x.  i saw you again and that was all i needed. but i got to hear you sing again, got to hear you belt your heart and soul out, and got to talk to you. there are so many things left unsaid, and i desperately wish i was there for you when you needed someone to talk to or hang out with. emulcs, i missed you.

xi.  you brought me a taste of my heritage, whether through your familiar accent, your prowess at basketball, or simply who you are as a human being. and then you left and the house was empty again. i’ll look forward to next year, when you two can come back and visit. to me, you’re now family.

xii.  college searches and college applications make me doubt myself. i’m not smart enough, i’m not brilliant enough, i’m just not enough.

xiii.  friend, joy is a choice. i want you to learn how to choose joy and choose humor even in everyday “serious” circumstances like work. sometimes the happiest people are the saddest people. so choose laughter and choose to change your perspective.

xiv.  if i was dying, would i do anything differently? would i change the people i hung out with? would i change the words i said? would i change the things i did?

xv.  i’m sorry. i’m sorry for all the times i doubted Your promises. i’m sorry for all the times i ran from Your embrace. i’m sorry for all the times i disobeyed You because i thought my way was best. thank you for showing me true hope. for showing me true peace. for showing me true love.

xvi.  through the darkness, Your loving-kindness tore through the shadows of my soul. the work is finished, the end is written… hallelujah, praise the One who set me free. hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me. You have broken every chain, there’s salvation in Your name, Jesus Christ, my living hope.

dear june // 2018

i.  and i’m soaring upwards. i can’t see the ground, i can’t see the sky, and i can’t see the future. but it’s okay. i’m okay. you’re okay. and everything’s bright and cheery and hopeful once again.

ii.  the basement was cold, colder than i could’ve ever imagined, but that warm and fuzzy feeling was spreading through me, thawing my frozen heart, and shining through my eyes. and you became the reason to get up each morning, to get up so bright and so early each morning. i miss you.

iii.  the final panic. flashbacks to the good ole days where i fought with every word in my drained body. but this time, it wasn’t a battle. it was an adventure, with you beside me, everything is an adventure.

iv.  you light up my world like nobody else. we sang, we danced, we jumped. and in that moment, i knew that i wanted to live like i was dying.

v.  one simple thursday, one simple friday,  marked the beginning of a lifetime, the end of an era, and the beginning of the end. but child, i’ll always be there when you need me, whether as a photographer, a makeup artist, or just a friend.

vi.  love comes so slow and goes so fast.

vii.  and we sang together, our little quartet that soon grew in size. the music seeped into my soul and set my anxiety-caged heart free. koriandmaxkoriandmaxkoriandmax.

viii.  you wrapped your jacket tenderly around my shoulders, poked my arm maybe not-so-gently, and stared into my soul. last year were those sweet potato fries. this year, well, this year was the beginning of a lifetime.

ix.  hair dabbing. friend, you are my sunshine.

x.  heart maps. life graphs. bare souls. the five of us, we didn’t know each other, we only read the names off of the name tags hanging around our necks. but we bared our souls truthfully and courageously and the truth set us free.

xi.  we stayed up late that first night, talking about anything and everything. i felt like the luckiest girl to have such a sweet and wonderful roommate as you.

xii.  personality type tests. quiet introvert moments. warm and fuzzy blankets in times of cold. you march to the beating of your drum (i should say cajon) and you are simply unapologetically yourself.

xiii.  suddenly the lightning flashed, the thunder roared, and the rain came pouring down. stuck without shelter, frantic to set up the tent, worried about my mascara. i was soaked through and through, dripping as i walked, but that was a highlight of my week. there’s nobody i’d rather be drenched with than with all of you.

xiv.  we glided over the ice together, i spun, you clung to the walls. and i dare to call you daddy, even though i’m grown up. and i will always call you daddy because you will always be my daddy, my father, my hero.

xv.  i asked you to come, but you refused. days later, i asked again, but still you refused. but dude, i won’t give up asking, because i want to see you again. i want to see you at the other side. i want you to come to church because i care about you.

xvi.  you suddenly disappeared. everybody had their lips sealed shut. and i almost went crazy with worry. please come back.

xvii.  you must be crazy, she said. getting up early just hours before your flight. but let me tell you, it was worth it, feeling the ivory keys beneath my fingers, hearing the sound echo throughout the oaken room, and gazing at the familiar faces below me.

xviii.  what’s wrong, woman? we haven’t been able to talk lately, or hang out, or have our heart-to-hearts, and i really miss you. i know i haven’t been the friend you needed or the guitar player you needed or the dog-caregiver you needed, and i’m sorry. i miss the rambling messages on the answering machines, the late afternoon music videos, and the bright lipstick escapades. come back soon, friend.

xix.  i thought the corner would be lonely, but You came and sat with me. i thought the corner would be cold, but You came and wrapped Your arms around me. i thought the corner would be saddening, but You showed me that with You, all things are possible.

xx.  some steps that we take leave an everlasting mark even death can’t take away. so, if you’re missing me, just look inside your heart. i’ll be sleeping in the stars, shining through the dark, watching, smiling, singing out into silence. everywhere you are, i’ll be sleeping in the stars.

falling star

all i see is darkness. i cannot see my hands in front of my face, i tilt my chin upwards but even the moon has left me. enveloped, crushed, swallowed alive. no light to guide me, no one standing beside me.

lean your head on my shoulders again like you did just nine months ago. look into my eyes with understanding, compassion, oh take away the bitterness i see there. there are no splashes of color across the inky blackness like so many ribbons of light. i see no beauty reflected in the night. the darkness whispers my pain.

i want to run, run, run away. run away and leave myself behind. i want to rip, burn my ever-present mask and scatter the ashes to the wind. i want to set my soul free and never look back.

but i’m too far gone now.

the line of people, and nobody chooses me. a gathering of friends, friendsgiving: when you invited me to sit beside you my heart gave a leap. but soon you were gone with the others. i stood by myself. the soapy water stung and burned my cut hands. later when i left i wanted to tell you that i was sorry but goodnight, i said, we’ll keep in touch. i’ll text you tomorrow, you replied with a smile.

but no, i won’t be there tomorrow.

all i see is darkness. you point out the light streaked across the brilliant night sky, your face enraptured. but i am blind to it all. do you see it? you ask me. do you see the beauty in the night? no. no, i cannot, and i’m sorry.

girl, i feel we haven’t talked much lately, we need to catch up, you said when you dropped me off. the truth is, i have so many things to tell you but so many things i don’t dare to tell you. help me shake myself free, shake my hair free, and let it all blow in the wind.

i’ve always saved a little corner of my heart for you, and you, and you. but there’s no heart left now. no heart and no corners. just ashes, my charred soul, and smoke.

“do you see the stars?” she asked, tugging on the corner of my sleeve and pointing a finger at the blackened night sky. “they say that when a star falls, someone dies.”

i shook my head, shrugging her hand from my shoulder. i didn’t look up, didn’t acknowledge the pleading whisper in her voice, didn’t search for the wistful longing in her dark orbs. her squeeze on my forearm went unheeded. the look of faint determination in her eyes as she swallowed her pain to tend to another went unheeded. her smile didn’t reach her eyes, but that went unheeded.

and in that moment, a star fell.

dear march // 2018

i. i’m dangling off a cliff, clinging to a rope with both hands. the rope is frayed, unraveling, it won’t last much longer and nor will i. i’ve given it everything i got and now, now maybe it’s time to walk away. walk away before i give up on myself.

ii. telephone pole down. they’re walking. a frigid late winter day and a steep walk uphill. i wish i could run, run and run and run until i got to your workplace and sit on the front porch until you arrived. i wish i could stay outside in the blinding wind and bone-chilling cold. i wish i could do anything, anything to get away from the pain that awaited me in the warmth.

iii. a piano that wasn’t tuned. questions that weren’t completely answered. candles that wouldn’t light. but what the day was was greater than what it wasn’t. feeling the strength rush through my fingertips as i pressed the untuned keys. a long car ride that revolved around teleportation, the future, and being on-time. a day that i will keep beneath my heartstrings forever.

iv. i can’t take this anymore. i’m giving up.

v. my special day. but i don’t feel special anymore, nor do i want to. i just want to disappear beneath the leather seats, away from the love songs that wrenched my heart, away from the cramped weight slowly crushing me, away from somewhere i didn’t belong.

vi. i wished you’d slow down, not because i was afraid to die, but because i was afraid you’d die. my heart fluttered in my throat and i prayed desperately that in case the 84 went to 0 in a split-second, i would be taken, but you, and the girl in the front seat, and the two guys beside me, would make it out alive.

vii. my bandaged wrist. i wish my anxiety would vanish and never come back.

viii. every day spent in that building and that house seems like a nightmare. i want to wake up and see that nothing’s changed, that you still welcome me with a grin and a fun remark instead of drowning me with disregard on your face, that i still pour into the people i love without being caged like a criminal.

ix. thank you for burned ears. the pain will go away but the memories will stay. i felt like a queen, a hobbling queen, but a queen nonetheless. my eyes shone and my heart sang and every time i looked at you, i knew that everything would be alright.

x. you’re a beast. am i a monster, you think? am i who they say i am? a failure, an inept burden, a puppet without a voice of her own? tell me, i beg of you. i need to know the truth and you’re my last grasp at hope.

xi. absolute bliss, absolute freedom, until with a jolt, i went down and the shattering pain snaked through my knees like a million fiery needles.

xii. you’re like a breath of Jesus in the lives of the people you meet. the best day of my life.

xiii. write about me. and i did. you thought those lines funny, but when i sent that poem to you i sent a piece of my soul with it. when you read it aloud the day after, i lost that part of my soul forever. i wish that you, both actually, but especially you, knew the truth about february 21. but i don’t have the courage to tell you.

xiv. when the road gets too difficult for me to navigate, You picked me up with Your nail-pierced hands and carried me. when i wrestled with You, You could’ve knocked me over with just the look of Your eyes, but You chose to lead me out of the swirling darkness and into the blinding light.

xv. amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. i once was lost, but now i’m found, was blind but now i see. my chains are gone, i’ve been set free. my God, my Savior, has ransomed me. and like a flood His mercy rains. unending love, amazing grace.