A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: self-love

7/30: HOW MAKING A ROUX IS LIKE LEARNING TO LOVING YOURSELF

Over the stove,
I stir the pot of what I hope
will become the foundation
of something beautiful

It takes time
for the fire
to travel through
every particle
of flour and oil

I give thanks to my wrist
for the gift of
consistent movement

My mind’s eye
mesmerized by the
merry-go-round
of sounds and colors

The roux changes
by the second
evolving into
who it’s supposed to be—

And what about me?

I’m afraid of my own alchemy.

Who knows how much time
it takes to change
The roux asks me to wait,
says it’s on its way
And somehow
I find the patience I refused to give myself
Yesterday.

When the roux doesn’t burn,
when the color of my imagination
paints itself across the Dutch oven,
I smile to myself, proud with purpose
In love with who I just was,
telling myself,
all this time was worth it—

and that has to be enough.

20/30: IT IS TOO SOON TO SAY GOODBYE

Sometimes it’s the simple joy of standing in a circle with your best friends on a Friday night to remind us of the power of the infinite, the power of choice, the power of consequence. Life is a divine dance. I accept the invitation of every dance floor yet to call my name. So many years and small days spent counting the seconds of loneliness I almost forgot laughter. Fact of the matter is, I fed myself lie after lie until I could not get up in the morning. Perfected the habit of mourning what is still here. Thought I was a ghost disowning feeling. Thought feeling was proof and forgot truth. I wanted to leave my body and join the sky but—

It is too soon to say goodbye.

To who I was when I did not deserve the love at my door: come dance with this man who wants to kiss your salted cheeks. Let me open the door to this room where everyone is in love with you, or at least your smile. Even if you don’t show your teeth. That smirk does the lord’s work. Your joy is not a trick. Your reflection is an axe. Pick yourself up and cut down the bullshit trees. Please don’t forget. Please don’t forget. Please don’t forget. Please don’t forget, you are not helpless or heartless. I don’t know if anyone tries more than you. I don’t know if you know this, but love looks at you. How you move through crowds. How you hold onto everything that hurts you. How you hold onto everything that holds you. You, you, you, Zachary. I’m talking to you. The voice you use is a song someone loves to listen to. Your laugh is cash and every night is casino night. Your presence is ticket stub everyone keeps after the show ends. The show ends but you’re still on stage and the microphone is hot and believe it or not, everyone is listening to what you have to say.

 

18/30: WHAT A GLORIOUS FEELING, I’M HAPPY AGAIN

I used to think of happiness as a lost island
I could never inhabit whenever I was in the habit of
hating myself. What some call isolated,
others call surrounded.

Occasionally, some stranger crashes, lands in the sand
and all I can do is lift my hands, watch the smoke
drift off their body, and ask if they are surprised
at how different the sun looks from here. Everyone
is invited but no one here ever arrives together.

In my life, I am the island and the water.
Sometimes, I am all there is and all there was.
Othertimes, I see the tide that tries to move closer,
as if something was waiting in the middle of the sea
to take me back to where I never wanted to be.
Who can tell me what it’s like, there, on the other
side of the world? Back on the mainland?

From the island, I am writing this poem
to put inside a bottle to ride on the tide.
I’m not asking for an audience or a ship.
Maybe you misunderstand. I want my words
to return to me. I used to think of happiness as
a lost island, forgotten or maybe just unforgiven.
Whatever the reason, I know how I got here isn’t
always the same way back. I don’t remember
how to go back. So here I am, finding myself
on a lost island, and oh what a glorious feeling.

What a glorious feeling, to be happy again,
What a glorious feeling, to remember
I never forgot how to swim.