Thursday Thoughts: Soon enough

I have another original poem to share today! I wrote this on Sunday as a way to process some of my own anxious thoughts, and I think it bears noting that I'm feeling substantially less anxious now than I was when I wrote this. But regardless, here's my poem, "Soon enough":

********************




I love to tell myself
that I’m in touch with my emotions,
that I haven't stuffed my feelings so far down
that I don’t know what I want
or how to get there.

But emotions are slippery.
One day, you’ve caught them,
shaped and sculpted them into what you need,
but then they slip away
and hide behind you,
and when you turn to catch them,
they dash away again
and envelop the whole sky behind you,
and even as they’re out of sight,
you wonder where that shadow cast before you has come from.

Maybe as I write this,
I'll find the clouds casting that shadow.

Soon enough,
everything will be back to normal
except that nothing’s changed at all,
and those hours spent with my eyes spread out
against that flat, glowing screen
will become hours spent with a shot and a mask
as my sole protectors
against a demise created and nurtured by those I love,
those I thought might overcome their fears,
those I know were given a mission
and they failed.

Will I have enough armor
to spend hours,
second to second,
in the battlefield?

Soon enough,
I’ll have to sit down at my keyboard and decide
if it’s more stressful to be writing poorly
or not writing at all.

Soon enough,
I’ll speak at a meeting
and say perfectly normal things
just like everyone else,
but only my heart will be beating so hard
I can feel it.

Soon enough,
I’ll sleep again
and maybe have another nightmare
that means something,
but I won’t know what.

Will I ever know
which is real,
the quietly rattled pacing of the day
or the roiling, ephemeral dreamworld of the night
and which I’d rather be my reality
if I got to choose?

I’d at least like to know
what I’m so afraid of.

Butterflies in your stomach is a strange feeling.
Your stomach feels like it’s floating,
flying away,
but not peacefully.
It’s all you can feel,
and your feet won’t touch the ground,
and that tinge inside seems like it could spread
and swallow you whole.

They tell you to be mindful,
to stay in the moment,
but my empty mind from yesterday wasn’t blissful
or at peace.
I roamed and paced,
vacant
and hunched
with my mind’s blank canvas of potential
kneeling down,
shivering in a corner.

Sometimes I try to think rationally.
But it’s like arguing about the vaccine.
You tell them the truth,
and they nod along and ignore you
and nothing changes.

Yesterday I was angry,
and I wasn’t sure why.
I wanted to snap, to scream,
to sob
and let my feelings swell and swell
until they burst.

When will I finally be freed
from those teenage emotions
that control me
and not the other way around?

I don’t have the answers today.
I just have a dry mouth
and a foot I’m bouncing up and down
and eyelashes that burn with exhaustion.

It’s all coming,
and I’ll get through it—
I always do—
but it’s days like these
when I wish it was just
a little bit easier.

I just hope
that if these fears have to boil over
as the kettle screeches,
that they can consume this page
and make something worthwhile

instead of taking over my mind
and leaving nothing but a dull buzz
as I lean my head on my hands.

********************

That's what I've got for today! And it also bears noting: that stanza about whether it's more stressful to be writing poorly or not at all is one I ultimately made a decision on—I decided to start writing a new short story, regardless of how bad it may be at first. Stay tuned for some less-angsty blog posts this next Monday and Thursday!

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