“Forsythia“, Billy Collins
I would rather not look around the next
corner of the year to see how this will die,
its light going out,
its bare, arching branches
waving like whips in the bitter wind.
So I sit facing the past,
letting my feet dangle over the wall,
beating time against stone with my heels,
as the the long gray clouds roll over me.
I told myself
I just needed some answers
to solve this life.
So that I can untangle my feelings from this world,
from the shadows of people
I am maintaining by my wavering light.
But when nothing got solved
and the problems became too familiar
to be thrown away from my life.
I told myself I was searching
for an explanation.
Just a statement
that helped me make peace with what I got in life.
That if I could have those reasons,
then I believed my pain would dull.
But it didn’t and it won’t.
Now when I look at the world
with a passing amusement at my sadness,
I know my searching is the only thing
keeping me from severing my ties
from this world I so badly want to leave.
The city of her dreams is always colored in brown,
always covered with drops of unending rain.
The kind of rain that makes the air cold
only to make her aware of the warmth of love within her.
The kind of rain that makes her want to sleep with a smile.
Whatever it looked like to others,
there was comfort in the owning a dream that was only hers,
in the sky that was never empty,
in the heart that is never parched.
It doesn’t matter how sad the onlookers feel.
It doesn’t matter of they can’t see, can’t understand
why she loves what she loves.
I cannot digest
all that I read and find to be true.
Some portion of every beautiful art
hurts my heart.
All the tragedies and even forgettable bruises
could have been a play set under crimson bloodied skies
but they are not.
They happen in spaces that looks like the one
we might have passed through unknowingly.
They happen under the smiling sun
who are supposed to read depressing statistics in magazines
and tell themselves that they are fine as long as
they are lucky by comparison.
There is something about this life.
This life with you
that makes me feel guilty.
It is the life that I am not supposed to be in.
I feel like I am trespassing
and any moment
someone would catch me
and taking more than I deserve
for thinking of a possibility of happiness with you.
All my sketches of you
are living in a hopeless state of
growing hunger, growing questions.
I hear them talking to each other,
asking your whereabouts.
I have grown to become
a mother of many children
abandoned by her man.
Children who are forced to share a life with me
while struggling to keep a distance from my breaking heart.
Asking each other questions that they want to ask me.
I wish they would just ask me
“where is he?” “did he forget his way to us?”
“did he forget you? us?”
A saner me could have told them
“he probably forgot the person he was
people tend to do that life
but he cannot forget himself without erasing us
maybe we were no better that the life
that he had forgotten before us
or maybe it became worse with us
whatever he was suffering from.”
But the saner me
is also fading into the sea of past.
I fear for these innocent memories
that do not get to choose,
that do not have any say,
staring in silence at me
hoping I continue to love them
knowing that I probably won’t.
My weakness must have been ugly to look at,
but the only thing I knew I could do
was to take this pain
and name it after you.
I hoped sooner or later
I would grow strong enough.
But in my calculation of sooner or later,
in my desperation and greed
to save you and myself,
my understanding of you,
and of what this world does to you
My love was too huge to be carried
in a skin as weak as mine.
This is not the love
that I meant to give you.
This is not the life
you’re meant to live.
The tissues I have cried into
are my excuses,
to hide the clutter of calls and love I forgot to return.
Sometimes it is too late to clear the mess I made.
It is more difficult to retain my will to clean it all up,
which sort of made me guilty
of creating another sad person.
But what is another tissue in another sea.
Everyone dreams of sailing into a brighter morning
leaving behind their darkness in another’s mind.
What if I am as selfish as them.
What is another ship, another selfish wish
amidst thousand such others-
all stranded on a water-less heart
all looking for a flood, instead of directions.
My lover, you gave me sweet words,
that I thought it can cloud my sour heart.
But as you retire into the backdrop of everyday life,
all that you promised
seems more unreal.
Another thing to wait for.
I am not good at waiting.
But I am good at thinking and preparing
for all that won’t happen.
Give me a menu of all tastes and vision
that are there in the world.
Let me decide the places we will live,
the weathers we will suffer.
Let me know of the heartache
that is not for my own sake.
Let me believe that what I want actually matters
even if it doesn’t.
The diluted versions of love
are not enough for me now.
I can only dream of grand heights.
I can only fly in a great fall.
Tell me a better lie before you leave.
I couldn’t look into the eyes of the people I knew all my life
or even people who never knew me.
Every morning I woke up
I felt I have left a part of me in the nightmare
of the last the day.
I was afraid that with every hello that I said
I will leave open a crack in my mind
for people to look into.
That all that I had written on paper
is printed on my skin.
I was afraid that if people knew of my condition
I would not have enough energy or excuses
to refute their point
if they put their suspicions in words.
I was afraid of lot of things
for a long time
and most of it was to be seen in a way
that I didn’t want to be seen.