The Pain Before It’s Over

My heart knows

the loss of you

before my lips

have found the courage

to let you go.

I’m sitting inside myself,

mourning the hope of us

which will surely die

when I’ve spoken my truth.

I know what I will say,

given the opportunity

pattern making plain

the future.

I have my reply

before the conversation begins.

Saved on a notepad

for the next time that

you ask for my bed,

or claim that your schedule

is too busy for anything

more intimate.

Ask me

and I will copy and paste

my freedom into our text.

The pain, by then,

will be almost over

because I’ve been prepared

for your response

by predictability.

Allowing me to mourn

your answer

long before you spoke it.

It may confuse you,

that I even thought to

give opportunity to this conversation

when I knew your answer was

bound to hurt me,

but I thought that assumption

was shallow

and I wanted to give you

the chance to purposely

choose me.

My Love For You Killed in Your Temper

When your temper left you

In long sentences and dark tones

Aimed at me like a shotgun 

Of forgotten kisses and sleepless nights

As we loved one another 

In sharp intakes and happy smiles

I wonder if it is fair that I loved you

Until you showed your hate?

I said to you that this moment

Was likely to reshape my opinion of you 

Which formed in the quiet moments you had once

Smiled at me with a soft gaze

Had you asked me just the day before 

Or even an hour before,

I would have said yes, I love you 

In a quiet way

The way I love you is tender and loyal

Open to your humanness and imperfections

Not looking for you to inspire great moments

Just true embraces and small acts of kindness

In the moment that I disappointed you

Flames on a match 

Thrown on a pile of wood you had already stacked

High and sprinkled with gasoline

For just the right moment to tell me 

What you really think

I felt it unfair to not prepare me with a 

Small glass of water 

Or a chance to speak in between your sentences

Because isn’t that what real conversation is?

A back and forth 

Where two souls share thoughts and opinions

Each equally allowed moments

To digress

On opinions shared? 

Yet you spoke to me as if 

I was just meant to listen while you beat your chest

And told me everything I’ve already known

As if I am a child and you are a man

Whilst I wonder if being a man is a great feet

If earning it doesn’t mean 

Learning how to be slow and kind

In the face of challenge which comes from

Bedding a woman who learned to love you in your indifference

Consequence a word placed in each pause

As I finally thought to share with you

My affection,

Answered not in your kind nature

Which I once considered
Gentle as the constance of the sea

Beating across the soft sands of the coast

Begging me to flee to its depths

And instead in the moment 

When my peace mattered more than yours

I found you empty of empathy

And not at all sympathetic to my love

Which made the apology you texted me

Before you fell asleep 

Feel like a shovel full of dirt

Burying a coffin which inside laid 

A withering flower 

Buried before its very death

As it happened to realize 

The sun it thought to be shining on it 

Was actually just a lamp bored in rejection

And longing 

A light bulb with a timestamp

Though the flower, my heart,

Never stopped being kind in the dark

The Ways of a Daffodil

The color of a daffodil,

Yellow and happy

Not unlike the teeth you bare 

When you smile at me

The flower is sunshine 

With petals that curl open

Around a second layer of equally beautiful yellow

Which encloses around the center

Compelling me to think

That the flower knows its value

Just as you know you can bring my heart value

The flower full of life

Bright and warm, 

Sharing its summer 

with the one who yearns for a better day

But the second layer of petal is protective

Not opening up to the world

Just as your heart seems just out of reach

No matter how you laugh with me

Even in my moments of sorrow,

Your concerning gaze

The comforting embrace 

Or the words you say to pull me back to okay,

It’s like the smell of the flower

So alluring

How can one be consumed in misery 

When such beauty

Is present in all its imperfections

Like the hairs in your beard that aren’t quite combed straight

Or the way you sometimes forget

To make sure that I am okay

As if you care,

But could never love me

The way the flower opens up incompletely

A Second Shower

I took a second shower today,

Just to get rid of your smell.

I must be going crazy

because my nostrils still picked up your scent from two days ago

………………..

I laughed at your humor, 

Not deeply, just politely.

I smiled and met your eyes because that’s the real me…

Looking past your flesh and wondering,

What makes you hungry?

I let you inside of me,

With no price paid.

Not a dinner bought or sweet thought whispered in my ear

Hell, you didn’t even call me pretty

Yet you moaned inside of my mouth

Your fingers tangled in my hair

Kisses soft on my neck

You made love to my body

And never introduced yourself to my soul.

My loneliness still present as you rolled your hips back and forth

Knowing that even a good man like you would never pay for a free meal

Letting you eat from an empty plate,

I gave you all of me and none of me

I let you hold me after,

Your arm heavily draped around me,

Your sleep curiously deep as if we were lovers,

As if we had known each other much longer,

More intimately than just lonely acquaintances

Who happened to cross each other’s path. 

Just like last time,

I laid awake all night,

Listening to your soft snores,

Periodically running my hands on your bare skin

Open hearted to your humanness, 

To your imperfections

Yet finding not a speck of longing in me

Not a goosebump to be had.

I didn’t sneak out like the first time,

And the kiss goodbye wasn’t so awkward as the second time,

But I drove away in the same emptiness

The same blank mind

Fleetingly wondering if you realized that you should have called me pretty.

Followed by the honest sigh,

The truth that I meant to love you,

if only for a heartfelt goodbye.

Open Letter to My Ex

J,

It’s been a couple of months now since I’ve heard from you. I think the last conversation we had was the first week of November. I am writing you because well it seems like my soul needs to. I have moments where I fleetingly think of you still. Usually my train of thought brings me to things I wish I could say to you. Before, it was…I still love you, please come back to your love for me, or I wish you didn’t drink so much, or I wish you didn’t have another woman that obligated you… Now, things are different. I don’t feel or think like that anymore. I understand that those are just natural thoughts that follow the feeling of one’s heart being broken. 

Honestly my thoughts are now a bit more cutthroat…I wish I would have gotten my house keys from you, because two nights ago I woke to a sound and immediately wondered if it was you…returning to me when I could no longer accept you into my heart. Especially now that I have begun to truly move on. 

The truth is, I still think highly of you. I still pause at the thought of you, the sound of your name. But I don’t talk about you. I have shared my pain with only one man specifically, my mentor. He helped me understand that I can do nothing but move on. And somehow, something has changed in me. Missing you was a pain that I endured and then one day (and I don’t know which day it was specifically) I just started feeling better. 

I’ve changed jobs since last talking to you, and honestly it has been a big help. I am no longer working in an industry that I hate. I am no longer making shit money. My income has at least doubled, with the potential to be tripled. I get more time with my son. I am able to take him to school each morning and tuck him into bed each night. It’s been a true blessing. 

I no longer surround myself with people whose interests really only included my body. I haven’t talked to D., R., or S. in months. I don’t surround myself with people whose lives are in shambles or who don’t believe in me. I believe that your life experiences are made up of the people you surround yourself with and I have chosen to discard those who don’t adhere to the same values/mindset. And honestly that has a lot to do with you. You were the first man that didn’t ask me to be quiet. Didn’t ask me to tone down my personality or genuinity. I sincerely want to thank you for that. You taught me that it is only right that I be the strong woman that I was born to be. You taught me that I didn’t need to conform to the standards of people around me in order to be accepted.

I’m doing better in my relations with men as well. I am understanding how to set proper expectations and I’ve learned to truly appreciate a “nice man”. No more assholes. You were the first “nice guy” that I had ever given my heart to and again I want to thank you for opening up your heart to me for the time that you did. It allowed me to set higher standards for myself with future men.

I’ve been on a path of self development for a few months now and I do feel optimistic about my future. I have been writing poetry nearly every day and hopefully, with my mentor’s encouragement, I will look at publishing my work soon. You inspired one poem specifically, “As It Turns Out” and I am really proud of it. I hope you know that I value the time that we had together and I know that if I was given the chance to love you again, knowing what I know now, I would still have said yes to the experience. 

Thank you for loving me but more importantly thank you for leaving me. It was the motivation I needed in order to change my life. 

Sincerely,

James