blue sky

look how nice it is to have sunshine in here.

“i remember the blue sky.”

the nothing has been chasing me for as long as i can remember.

i remember one of the first moments, stuck in my head like a pin- the memory.

the brown living room rug. daylight from the two main windows of our house in long island city. (memory changes everytime you recollect, you know that right? it shifts) i set up my toys to play the way i always had and then- just couldn’t remember how, or why. where were the stories? what was the point?

i had semi-frequent bouts with visions of the rest of my life zipping by. calendar pages flying off, white shades snapping up, à la sylvia plath in the bell jar we read in 12th grade which convinced all of us we might be struggling with the same.

depression. bipolar. anxiety. mental illness.

these pillars of modern society we all now just learn to live- or die with.

we watch bright lights fade or extinguish abruptly. why, we wonder- didn’t he know there was help? didn’t he know how much he was loved?

i remember the blue sky.

for me love and identity, identity and love, are inextricable. i love saying and writing that word, it feels like a tangle, so appropriate, i can see one letter knotted to the next, squirming for release.


has anyone ever told you you could swap pain for your identity?

has anyone ever told me?

the nothing has been chasing me for as long as i can remember.

the big, bombastic heart. the neon lights, the colorful patterns, the cheshire cat smile. the climbing trees, the loving too hard, the crashing into myself and myself and myself, cornered. the hall of mirrors refracted so much it reflects nothing.

who can i be?

the big, bombastic heart. beating like a bass drum strapped to some wildly plumed marcher who doesn’t want to march anymore.

drops his sticks and falls down flat on the field on the day of the big game.

shaves his head, gets tattoos, learns what the inside of a jail cell looks like. alone, scratching words into a thickly painted bench. words that lose hope, after awhile. words that lose meaning, after awhile.

i still remember the blue sky.

illness is strange because it makes us work, so we feed to keep it. identity hollow as an alcove, the faux holiness of pain fills it.

this is what i give myself to. if i am not this ache- what am i? stories.

i want to fly to a place where i don’t have to be a story.

i can just be me. —

whatever that is.

and i see myself in the shining leaves of the jungle and i am perfect with sweat and a little blood and i am alive because i am moving towards this- some archaic relic buried within myself in teeming paradise, some wild god-fire presenting me back to myself. some tan goddess made partially of orchids and bengal tiger stripes, saying here. this is who you are. you are not story anymore. you are real.

and i would sink to the earth and cry and cry and take the ground and the sand in my hands and the flowers and the plants and i would put my tongue and teeth on them under the blue sky and i would become that something else, NO- I WOULD JUST BE.

i still remember the blue sky. maybe that’s what i always remember about it- the thick jungly fog made of sweat and dissolving language.

i don’t want to be this pain anymore. i don’t want to become. i just want to be.

i don’t want to be afraid of myself, of my genetics, that living room pin of windowed daylight pushed into my brain- it broke something. it cut off something.

something i am feeding myself, something i am doing or not doing, something i- do with my legs i think it’s called running but now that doesn’t work anymore too.

i have been chased by the nothing my entire life.

my brain it spins into a coil snapping at my fingers, blood- when i try to move toward anything, complete.

my pain is bellowing like a snake ecstatically unhinged, open mouthed- snapped back, lucid.

even my body can’t remember how to belong to itself. how to please itself. how to sit with itself, look at itself, really SEE—

what can you be, girl? i am always looking PAST YOU only seeing maddening strings of letters, my eyes are scissors, i shred. you. to pieces.

i am sitting in pre-kindergarten in long island city in some light filled room, with plastic safety scissors. cutting. my future self. up.

i don’t need to be a grown-up.
i don’t need to have a heart.
i can just be a story.
i can last forever.

hiding in the bottom of the wooden loft, light splitting in. pretending to be- peter pan.

i remember the blue sky.

somewhere everything goes to pieces-
doesn’t it?

i have watched it take my father. when i was a child i didn’t realize how it took my aunt, and my father’s mother too. even how nana kept her fireball suffused, clinging to solace in rooms, like i do. never coming out.

hands are scissors. slicing. up. the pieces.

i didn’t know what being in the hospital meant. dreading going to work. burning a barrel of leaves in the backyard, black plumes of smoke, firemen.

i didn’t know, but all the pieces are there, in me.

upstate trips, nose pressed to glass, we called the autumn fog the nothing as we watched it eat the catskills.

everything is a metaphor laid to ground for future use.

what will be my future use
my present use?

today- i walked around this house that is not mine and i opened all the curtains.

and i am laying here under a blanket- not working, not going anywhere.

the nothing has been chasing me for my entire life.

for as long as i can remember.

what can i remember?

that there are windows in my chest i still need to open.

so i can peer in and watch that little girl on the brown rug slowed to no-motion in front of her toys.

whisper to her-
you may forget how to do this
but you will always remember.
and that is not just a story.

that is real.
just like you.

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