In Difference


I don’t know you. 

There’s no cheat sheet for life. We each get our own instruction manual when we’re born, but it’s written in a language we have to learn. 

I can remember a story about a boy, he grew into me. That memory is meaningless in my life, despite being the only foundation I have to define myself. 

What I know of myself today is that I am capable of things I never expected. I am talented and strong. I am expressive and openly emotional. 

Those few things don’t define me. 

I am mid-way through a life expectancy, and I have yet to figure out how I belong in my own life, beyond a very strong attachment to my current situation. 

I choose to let my emotional reactions to experiences be the prow of my ship. I cut the waters of my journey with how I feel. I direct my path by what feels right to me. 

I am secure in this choice. It suits me. 

I have been faced with opposition to my choice for as long as I have existed. Close or distant, family or friends, I have been told how wrong I am, over and over. 

I have not, I will not allow anyone else to choose my path. 

My path must be travelled by my feet. Nobody else is required to live my life. 

I don’t know you, and I don’t know how you have chosen, and with all due respect, 

I don’t give a damn what you choose. 

Your choices may impact my life. 

Mine might impact yours. 

We are not solitary islands, separated by oceans. We are interactive and interdependent in this reality. We are pieces of a global machine. 

My choices will be mine, and yours will be yours, and that is just fine with me. 

So give me your indifference, in this difference. 

We have our own lives to fuck up. 

One Poor Correspondent

Isolated is not a good way to be. 

Asking for reassurance from friends, I got some really wonderful feels. 

I matter, even if I can’t see it all the time. 

A poem is not just words, it’s the condensed emotions pressing into a mind through phrases that mean more than they say, it’s a slice of a soul given without a price and received without boundary. 

A poet is not just someone that writes poems… It takes a deeper disturbance in the mind. 

I don’t call myself a poet. 

I am disturbed. I am damaged. I am paying attention to every goddamned word and feeling and eye-flutter. I am reading tea leaves and watching the wind play with flower petals. 

I am trying to write a life, here. 

I am trying to feel everything. 

I am hurting myself on purpose, for the sake of…

Poetry? 

I am colossally fuckered up, in here. 

I appreciate how I seem to others. 

I am thankful for the love that floods my life, the tide that lifts all boats. 

I am also suffering greatly, for loving what has been lost. For losing what has been loved. For living a true life, and caring about the moments. 

I am also suffering from too little sleep and too much stress. 

I’ll be here, 

Even if I say goodbye. 

I promise. 

Eyes, Skies, Lies


 
It’s okay if you feel like these are just words on a screen, and if that obscures the obscene from your mental regime than I cannot fault your resolve and try to topple your walls, if it’s somethin strange in your neighborhood and you don’t call Ghostbusters than I’m not sure we can really connect. 
So. I see a lowered flag waving from your heart, and I want to help it fly boldly and proudly, to stand true and strong and somehow find light in private imagined darkened rooms, pre-emptively constructed tombs of doubt and despair, to climb up the ladders and fly up the stairs no matter how the stares and the glares might pierce you and demean, your challenges accepted, you are coming clean.
] tell me what you need
And I will provide
When they read of my love for her they look above her but none could ever be supreme to her she is my queen to serve and my life is what she deserves to burn if she wants fire I’m fuel, an uncontested duel of whatever you want and what I’m willing to do, but I would sell my child’s organs for you because my skies are all lies covering a thin disguise and my eyes cannot pry from locked doors and closed minds what truth in my life I should not leave behind.  
i can’t say anything anymore without thinking of how it sounds, 
 
is there a gentle touch inside us all which might propel some form emotional evolution, some type of redistribution of values and ideas which have been seen to be false; perhaps on a cold day all men shiver, and time is a package which never remains undelivered, but the hearts of all creatures are designed with a purpose, to live the next fraction of a second before your life muscles contract, every breath is gone with no guarantee of payback.
At times I think the whole world has gone crazy and at times I know there is no world or any crazy which is crazier than the thought of a placebo effect and we still won’t believe that we are what we perceive…is there any sense to any of these insane pursuits which scuff up our boots and leave us bereft, clinging to the small pieces left from the last time we loved and got broken again. 
someday all the doubts that live in my head will be silenced for good and I will believe what I cannot deny. 
Maybe.

Some Day

One of these days, I’ll look back at right now and remember how I got through. 

It’s happened before, it stands to reason that it’ll happen again. 

One day all of the sleepless nights will seem like a distant memory, a fantasy I created to pass the time. 

Close your eyes…

I didn’t mean forever!” 

(What Dreams May Come)

Some day, this period will seem like ancient history, the Greeks with bronze tools, the Romans with togas and debauchery and deception. 

Some day I will sit at her side while she dies, or she will sit at mine while I go, and whichever way it happens we will remember all of the times we have rescued each other. We will remember the troubles, a little. We will remember the triumphs, a lot. 

Some day our difficulties will make us feel stronger. 

Once upon a time I thought I would be alone and unloved forever. Today I know better, that I have lives in my hands, I have hearts in my mind. I know today what I could not, then. 

Some day I will have the answers that I lack today. The stress and trouble I feel right now will feel as unnecessary as the loneliness I used to live in. 

Some day I will have the hugs and smiles that wait for me, across oceans and continents I have a family of real emotion, spread across the world. They know who they are and I know that they dream of that someday, the same as I do, 

Some day my life will end on this plane and I will be remembered as things I almost was. 

Some day I will think more about what I have done than what I will yet do. 

Spiral

January 11, 2001.

A funny thing happened on my way to commit suicide. 

I had been depressed, desperate, defeated, for as long as I had thoughts I remembered. I had finally given up on changing and made the decision that would bring peace to my life- by ending it. 

I told everyone I was going home, that a change of scenery was what I needed. 

There were no cries for help. I didn’t want anyone to stop me, as had happened before. I didn’t want to be convinced, again, that I could be more, better, that I could live and smile and be happy. 

I complicated the process, of course. 

I took my sister with me, caught in her own spinning wheels, I gave her a respite from dealing with her problems. 

The truth is, I was hoping she would catch on, without a cry for help. 

I hoped that she would see past my facade and we could say goodbye. I didn’t want to be saved, but I wanted to let her know that she mattered to me. 

She didn’t. 

Her vision was blurred by her own desperation. She had a marriage to ruin, an addiction to commit to, she had a life to destroy, and my self-destruction was too cleverly disguised. 

I was happy to take a trip with her, just the two of us. We sang and laughed and forgot that our regular lives were in shambles. 

A stop in Phoenix to see our sister turned into one more thing I screwed up… Young and emotionally overcharged man mixes like napalm and dynamite with repressed married women (word to the wise- don’t get involved in other people’s escapes.)

On that night when we entered the apartment in Seaside, California I was all-go to say goodbye and swim away, maybe become a selkie off the Monterey coast, maybe become a lonely, wandering ghost in the fog of Lovers Point. 

The funny thing that happened was ironically perfect, the universe reaching out to me through a set of fog-colored eyes, familiar yet strange, brand-new and long-lost-home in one glance. 

I remember it quite clearly, these sixteen years later. 

I was pissed. 

Fuck me, I thought. Why now? After all these lonely years, there she is, sitting there changing all of my plans with a single look. 

Our story is a good one. Romantic, sweet and seemingly pre-destined. 

I’m working on telling our story in my next book (tentatively titled Hurricanes and Promises, coming later this year) and that will be there… A story for another day, as they say. 

The thing about depression that I usually don’t hear, see or read-

It doesn’t go away. It’s not a metaphor. It’s not a literary device. It’s more treatment-resistant than cancer, and it’s more insidious than a decently-made ghost movie. 

The trouble is, depression is not an invader. It’s not a foreign body doing damage. 

It’s me. I am the perpetrator of the crime, and I commit the same crime, all day long, every day. I hurt myself and I hate myself and I damage myself. 

And knowing that it’s me doesn’t help. 

I can say, it’s me doing it, so I can stop. 

I can actually stop. 

For a week or a month or a year I can be kind to myself. I can love myself and praise myself and do what makes me happy and at the end of every day, 

I’m still there. The ‘me’ that made me miserable. The ‘me’ that hurt me so much. The ‘me’ that is my enemy. 

I’m not separating myself into two entities… I am the person that loved me. I am the person that hated me. I am both up and down, and no amount of talking or analysis or love will ever change the truth. 

I didn’t want a reason, on that January night, to learn how to live with my depression. 

I wanted an end. 

I’m not bitching about finding love- I’m happier than I could have believed possible with my wife. She has made me a good man, she has lifted me. 

But when the wind blows from the wrong direction, I still taste the metal in my mouth, the cyanide in my veins runs cold, 

The end is always hanging around my neck. 

It’s a little too easy to listen. 

It’s a little too easy to believe. 

Which leads me here…

To you, kind reader. If you feel what I feel, if you recognize the way my mind fucks me and you know what it’s like…

Choose to believe in the more difficult idea. 

Decide to believe that you can get through. 

Make a conscious effort to quiet that voice, that insidious and familiar old enemy that whispers your secret fears. 

Climb back up that spiral, and enjoy the struggle. Realize that your strength is much more than you knew. 

You can do this. 

Transmission


The time has been decided. 

What hurtles toward this collision hides yet from clarity, which reality will be left after the meeting is impossible to predict from where/why I am,

This will not be an end. 

Endings are one-sided, from a place of limited perspective. For the dying the world seems to be ending, for the Walker, when the path runs out a new one must be written. 

When we get there, you’ll know why we came, and so will we. 

If a message is received from unknown sources, how then is the veracity of the message to be measured? Where enemies and allies have not been determined, how then will a treaty be transcribed, negotiated, collaborated? 

 When the well runs dry, how long do thirsty people wait before seeking an alternative source? 

The arrival of new information does not always change the verdict of a trial, yet it must be allowed consideration. Fault lines are not cracks where the earth splits, rather they are laugh-lines, wrinkles left from expression, what fear cannot damage is the coming of dawn, when stars shine closely we name them and record in our ledgers how far, what size, colour and shape, yet when they are too distant we claim they have died. What is not understood is rejected. 

When we get there,

 we will know why we come.

You will know, also. 

Dreams are not safe places. The dead beckon from across veils and accompanying them means leaving this world, he died in his sleep, and now nobody will hear the tale of the love and the loss, the romance and the comedy of a life seen from a balcony, a life lived with minimal involvement and maximum emotional investment. 

Dreams are not safe, to achieve something great a great price must be paid, balance finds itself no matter how the mountainside falls, no matter how the deck tilts as the waves toss toy ships around a child’s bath, balance will be, 

It must balance. 

 The ending is not what it seems, there will be no post-climactic wind-down. No neatly wrapped loose ends, it will be sudden and fierce, there will be nothing left and no survivors. 

The beginning will not be what is believed, there will be no deafening bang, no creator speaking of light in the darkness, 

There will be nothing, 

And then there will be everything. 

It approaches, pretty up your face

It approaches, tidy up your room

It’s coming, from the depths of outer space

It’s the bride, walkin’ to the groom


Let It Hurt

Twelve years, and twenty. 

Two decades ago I came to Colorado, the next stop on a journey, I thought. 

I had no plans to stay here. 

I came for a job, and a place to live, and I had no idea how life would go, 

I came from a place I didn’t like, to a place I didn’t like, and I assumed I would keep going after a short time. 

I had no home, I thought. 

I started working at my current job twelve years ago, today. I’ve been through a lot of life at Crystal Courier, I’ve learned a lot and grown more. Today is my last anniversary with the company. I’m happy to be going home to California, but there’s definitely some strong emotional activity going through me, right now. This company has been a huge part of me, for a dozen years. Highs and lows, good and bad, I have had a support system in place, and I’m leaving. 

The call of saltwater and sunshine is beating on my soul, the memory of a childhood spent unaware of how amazing the place I was in truly was. California has it’s bad parts, and loads of issues, but it has my heart. I was born in Salinas, grew up in the Monterey Peninsula area and later in Humboldt County. I have missed the redwoods and the beaches, the foods and the scenery, for so long that I have accepted that longing as part of myself. 

I have grown comfortable with the homesick angst, waking up thousands of miles away from home and visiting old haunts in my dreams. I have hurt without noticing for so long that I can’t remember what it’s like to feel anything without pain. 

I am packing up my life, my kids and my wife, and we are going to the home I’ve almost forgotten. 

I’m going, going,

Back, back,

To Cali. 

This may not go the way I want it to, and I know that life will happen. I know we will have hard times, we will face challenges. 

My darling wife and I will face them, together, on familiar ground. 

We will make our life work, in a place where we are natural. A place we can call home. 

I’m nervous about details, 

But I am so happy to be going home. 

Un-tinted Glass

concrete dividers crawl past as 

my car sits motionless,

surrounded by impatience
nobody knows I’m here

My phone buzzes 

Again

Telling me that traffic is heavy, heading north on I-25, and I am surprised every time, because this is not a highway,

This is not a thirty-nine year old man, smoking another cigarette and listening to ‘World Class Rock’ on the radio, 

I  am not this.

I am, however, getting irritated by the intrusion of turn-signals as impatience dressed in expensive clothes and fancy cars keep changing lanes in front of me, 

Don’t they know I don’t belong here?

The Lexus tries to merge into my passenger-side door and pulls away at the last second when eyes find me in a mirror, and I wonder if life will notice me too late, will reality crash into me just before seeing me here?

Can you save my heavydirtysoul? (Twenty-one Pilots)

I am sitting on a beach watching my daughter and sons play in the water, the sun shining on my tired face, as I see myself standing on the stone jetty that my brothers just jumped from, they call me to join them, but I see something in the water they don’t, 

There’s a dark figure floating just under the surface of the waves, beckoning to me with a promise of the end, 

It looks peaceful, calm…

We all float down here (Stephen King, It)

I’m watching her walk into the airport, and I know I mean to tell her to stay away, a scared stupid fool, and my heart begs me to run after her, go get her, 

Go get Her 

But I don’t. No matter how many times I see her walk away, I never go after her, and nine years later-

Traffic stops  

I am not here, thirty-nine years old and sitting in a car, smoking a cigarette and hoping the concrete dividers would pick up the pace as they crawl past me, 

I’m not here, and nobody knows it, they don’t see me. 

Impatience rides my bumper and hits the horn, because I am not close enough to the car in front of me. 

All my life I’ve been searching for something (Foo Fighters)

She is there, looking at me, and I am lost. She is my dream, crashing into me just before I swim away, she wants me and I cannot stand how badly I want her, I can’t believe that this is happening, I was only here to say goodbye…

I wonder if life sees me, like she did. Not the image of me, not the idea of me, not the preconceived notion of what I could be or what I was…

Just me. A few flaws, a few strengths, a few laughs and a few years, anger and love and passion and desire and imagination, all packaged in disguise. 

I exit the highway to my destination and I know, I am not this. I am not thirty-nine years old and working for a living, I am not a second-time college student struggling for grades, I am not a twisted soul writing poetry for internet eyes and digital hearts, I am not this. 

Survival of the Meanest by Jesica Nodarse

I was not born with resting bitch face.

 I did not always act as if ice coated my veins. I didnt always avoid the eyes of others as they passed by.

 I will admit I was never an overly cheerful nor trusting child, there were always questions in my eyes and rarely an answer would suffice. 

However, I remember I didn’t always stare at the ground 

and I didn’t always fear the simple act of a man opening a door.

 I earned my ice and steely posture early and quickly. Eleven year olds should not look the way I did, or so I was told, in a casual matter over and over again. 

The men in the street however never cared my age and from one day to the next the looks 

of sweet adoration

 and childish approval

 turned to lust and coveting stares. 

The years have not changed these men, only added more generations

 to now leer at my babies.

 So no, 

I may not have been born with resting bitch face, 

but I sure as hell have earned my right to every second of its benefits.

Jesica Nodarse is a Cuban-born immigrant living in Florida, with her husband and children. A powerful writer and poet, an intense and driven woman, Jesica offers her unique perspective in today’s world and empowers her friends and colleagues with passion and grace.

Jesica can be found on Facebook at

 facebook.com/heathenwordsmith 

and on Instagram at 

https://www.instagram.com/j.nodarse/

Eulogy for my Childhood by Jesica Nodarse

I bathed in the holy water and drank the kool aid. 

I did it willingly, even excitedly. 

I was a perfect waste of youth.
I was a good kid, not in the “your grandma says you’re good, because she loves you” kind of good,

 but in a way directly affected by my abject fear of disappointing my parents.

 This carried me throughout the first twenty years of my life. I lived in dedication to a god, and devotion to never upsetting my family.

 I didn’t even question it, at least not out loud. I instead found bible texts and church articles that cemented my utter and blind obedience,

 I think even sacrifice can become an addiction.

 Obedience came easy to me and in the same way rebels seek attention by acting out, I found mine by becoming the pastor’s golden daughter. 

I could recite bible texts before I could even read, in fact I clearly remember 

being 3 and reciting psalms chapter 23 

in its entirety

 from memory, 

and even at that age feeling a little guilty

 because the oohs and ahhs of praise 

belonged to god 

and I held them to my chest a bit longer than I should have.

 At that tender age I already had what is termed a ‘trained conscience’  

which is just religious lingo meaning

 you have been indoctrinated enough to believe every single breath you take and release is somehow linked to the big man upstairs.

 At 4 I broke all kinds of records by speaking in front of the congregation 

and the looks of admiration in my parent eyes made every decision for me

 for many years to come.

 After that it all becomes a blur of faith and devotion, fervent prayers that became litany, and sacrifices that turned to resentment, 

highlighted with moments I was hailed prodigious and made to feel important.  
I understand, they did every single thing with the best of intentions, every single controlling sentence was with the hope of giving me salvation and eternity. 

When I wasn’t allowed to play with others kids they rationalized it as protection 

and when I wasn’t allowed to join clubs or be part of any secular activity

 they saw it as vigilance for my spirituality. 
Still, somewhere between being the perfect daughter and the perfect Christian … 

I forgot to be a kid,

 and no one offered a reminder.

Jesica Nodarse is a Cuban-born immigrant living in Florida, with her husband and children. A powerful writer and poet, an intense and driven woman, Jesica offers her unique perspective in today’s world and empowers her friends and colleagues with passion and grace.

Jesica can be found on Facebook at

 facebook.com/heathenwordsmith 

and on Instagram at 

https://www.instagram.com/j.nodarse/