“The Nutritionist” by Andrea Gibson (TED ed). The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables Said if I could get down 13 turnips a day I would be grounded, rooted. Said my head would not keep flying away to where the darkness lives.
The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight Said for 20 dollars she’d tell me what to do I handed her the twenty, she said “stop worrying darling, you will find a good man soon.” The first psychotherapist said I should spend 3 hours a day sitting in a dark closet with my eyes closed and my ears plugged.
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet. The yogi told me to stretch everything but truth, said focus on the outbreaths, said everyone finds happiness if they can care more about what they can give than what they get.
The pharmacist said klonopin, lamictil, lithium, Xanax. The doctor said an antipsychotic might help me forget what the trauma said The trauma said don’t write this poem. Nobody wants to hear you cry about the grief inside your bones But my bones said “Tyler Clementi dove into the Hudson River convinced he was entirely alone.”
My bones said “write the poem.” The lamplight. Considering the river bed. To the chandelier of your fate hanging by a thread. To everyday you could not get out of bed. To the bulls eye of your wrist To anyone who has ever wanted to die.
I have been told, sometimes, the most healing thing we can do. Is remind ourselves over and over and over Other people feel this too. The tomorrow that has come and gone. And it has not gotten better. When you are half finished writing that letter to your mother that says “I swear to God I tried”.
But when I thought I hit bottom, it started hitting back. There is no bruise like the bruise of loneliness kicks into your spine. So let me tell you I know there are days it looks like the whole world is dancing in the streets when you break down like the doors of their looted buildings.
You are not alone and wondering who will be convicted of the crime of insisting you keep loading your grief into the chamber of your shame. You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy. I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside.
Some people will never understand the kind of superpower it takes for some people to just walk outside. Some days I know my smile looks like the gutter of a falling house. But my hands are always holding tight to the ripchord of believing.
A life can be rich like the soil Make food of decay Turn wound into highway Pick me up in a truck with that bumper sticker that says “it is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”. I have never trusted anyone with the pulled back bow of my spine the way I trust the ones who come undone at the throat Screaming for their pulse to find the fight to pound Four nights before.
Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington bridge I was sitting in a hotel room in my own town. Calculating exactly what I had to swallow to keep a bottle of sleeping pills down. What I know about living is the pain is never just ours Every time I hurt I know the wound is an echo.
So I keep a listening for the moment when the grief becomes a window When I can see what I couldn’t see before, through the glass of my most battered dream, I watched a dandelion lose its mind in the wind and when it did, it scattered a thousand seeds.
So the next time, I tell you how easily. I come out of my skin, don’t try to put me back in just say here we are together at the window aching for it to all get better but knowing there is a chance our hearts may have only just skinned their knees knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming let me say right now for the record, I’m still gonna be here asking this world to dance, even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet you- you stay here with me, okay? You stay here with me.
Raising your bite against the bitter dark. Your bright longing. Your brilliant fists of loss Friend if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other, my god that’s plenty my god that’s enough my god that is so so much for the light to give each of us at each other’s backs whispering over and over and over “Live” “Live” “Live”.
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Credit: Andrea Gibson – TED ed