to live in hope

‘worthless’
is a heavy brand
to shake off

when i forget it is there
and dive into the waves
for the love of life

it catches me up
like stones in my pockets,
turns my dance of joy
into a suicide mission.

is it enough
to live in hope
that the times between
the moment it slips from me
and its crushing reminder
become incrementally longer? that kicking
and thrashing against
its pact with gravity
might make me

feel, for the moment,
more alive?

/cristina

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Numb but Unafraid

I have a story
to tell but no urgency
propels me
towards its completion

and so it will remain
half-whispered, half-exclaimed
flowing yet contained

a dynamic equilibrium
changing all the same.

It does not matter
in a world bursting
at the seams with the imminent
the breaking

do not have time
do not have ears
but the broken

have no fears, they are not
even afraid of waiting,

not anymore.

/cristina

Bittersweet

They said,
“You have potential
(every day
you do not achieve what
I wish for you
you lose a little more
of what justifies
your existence)
“Don’t you see? Potential

(now you know how it is
to have everything to lose
while still being nothing),

potential
motion, blurring
(your worth a sail
and I the wind, I decide
in what direction
you will fill,
take flight, catch
the breath of the universe,
and in what direction
you will crumple), potential,
in the eye
of the beholder

(your value is a glorious hypothetical;
it is there but only I can see it.
It is mine).”

/cristina

I have (modal confusion)

I have
a secret infatuation
with the pictures I paint the world
of who I wish
I was.

It’s a subtle transformation
of moments into snapshots,
laughter into glittering proof
of something, no one knows
quite what – I wish it were happiness,
that would be so much simpler,
wouldn’t it?

It’s a silent conversion
of memories into commodities
like books with bejeweled spines
I’d put on my shelf
but only if they’d make me
seem better
than they make me feel.

It’s a graceless transmutation
of a peace blind to time into a losing battle
against the very impermanence
that allows its existence,
a crusade to solidify
it so it can’t die, as if nothing
is real that is not tangible, that cannot be
poked and prodded,
envied and objectified.

It’s a desperate reconstruction
of life into a story I wouldn’t
be ashamed to tell but should
be ashamed to live, and live it? Oh,
I have.

/cristina

The Wrong Questions

Be it the tired archetype
of the hero’s return or
a regression, I find
solace in a simplicity
I had long since
forgotten how to enjoy.

But am I finding my footing
or stagnating, am
I waiting
on myself or the world, does
it matter, am
I asking
the wrong questions or
is that
the wrong question?
And so
it goes, destroying
the peace I thought
I was seeking.
So it goes
and I think:

at which level
of recursive self-doubt
did my purpose unravel,
did wonder become panic,
did this refuge
become quicksand?

/cristina

You never will

You know
It’s not the end of the world
just the end
of my life in your world,

the reality wherein your whims
constitute truth; your senseless threats,
life history tradeoffs,
natural as fucking or entropy;

your feelings, the weather –
the gusts
to which I trim my sail
even if it swamps me,

the swells I alter my course to ride
through fog so thick
you cannot see me,
you know?

/cristina

Centripetal Motion

For years
and years, I have seen
myself in terms of my negative
space, from the gap
between
my thighs to the endless
potential of what I might one day learn,
regardless of whether or not I have the confidence
to get there intact or even whole
enough to hold myself
together.
For years and
years I have measured
myself in outlines I want to fill but can’t. I’ve
wondered why my spirits soar and crash with all the amplitude
of a mighty ocean tide but none of its regularity,
even as I let the lofty magnitude
of these mirages
catch me
as they catch the light
and leave me lost and bleary come night.
These are the dreams I’ve imagined in such vivid detail
I know them better than I know whether I’ll find the will to wake
up one more morning and stumble through one more step
on a route I plotted when I had no concept
of the horizon’s blurry
subjectivity.
Maybe
I painted these contours
to give me something to breathe, to fight
for, but I never knew the weight of their emptiness
could make it this hard. Maybe I wanted
something to give
me direction,
but I never knew
I’d accelerate towards
my hopes not directly, but centripetally.
I circle my goal, drawn ever towards it, but our radius
remains a constant and every day I cover
the same worn ground
again.

/cristina

Anchoring Heuristic

Spellbinding
conversations always carry
an undertone of finality, now
that it is clear to me
what the most magnificent
of exchanges can hide:

hopelessness
strong enough to turn
the whole thing inside out
at the drop of a hat, words
that felt once big enough
to hold the universe

twisted
into small, unyielding
shards meant to puncture
the foundations that let
those dreams grow at all,
never forgiving them for that.

Syllables
like marbles I mistake
for planets, anchoring
and adjustment heuristic
gone haywire, I rush
to believe in

something
heaven knows must collapse.
Is this what trust is? Drifting
from our moorings, from
perspective and forgetting
how wonder can turn in on itself?

/cristina