This is a poem about depression, and how sometimes we need help or a different perspective in order to rise above the pain which continually haunts us.
Thunderstorms of thought crackle through the midnight skies of my subconscious as the cold biting rain of emotion rushes toward the horizons of awareness. I feel at peace…. until I don’t. Where is this feeling coming from?
4:00 afternoon sun filters through clouds which are straight out of a Van Gogh painting. Hues of filtered orange, indigo, and dark blue light shine from above to coat the impressionable lake down below. If eyes are the doorway to the soul, then perception is the hallway to deceit. Why does beauty taunt me with the false promise of tranquility?
Look inside. Dig down deep. I must confide. Memories make me weep.
Moments begin to take shape. The cycling of experiences etches itself onto my emotions, as the projection of a dissembled movie presents itself onto the lake. I see my love from many months ago. You are beautiful Paetyn, the way your almond brown eyes stared into my soul and let me know that everything was going to be okay. Rushes of experience fly by me as I recount the entirety of what our beautiful mess was. How smells of coffee and aged books graced the coffee house where we went on our first date. When the flow of time slowed to a drip as I observed the wonder of you superimposed on a canvas of ice and snow, on what could’ve been. That final I love you as I reached for your hand and you pulled away, that last goodbye as you crucified my heart with spite in your eyes. Fuck you. Tears caress broken skin. Subconscious thunderstorms rage on. Conscious realization moves in.
My storm doesn’t come from you. You’re the top floor in a skyscraper that reaches up to the skies of the present. A single branch on a tree with roots that reach down to the depths of hell. The surface of an ocean whose icy precipices lay out of sight from those who curiously gaze from the surface above. You didn’t do this…. pain in an attempt to justify itself looks for a victim to latch onto, a demon for which it can yell out toward in the middle of the night. The siren call of false certainty calls out for me to demonize you my love, but my tortured essence knows it isn’t you. The shuffling of memories on that lake takes a dark turn as rose tinted goggles get ripped off in a flurry of pain and desperation to see the truth. You are shaking like a tree in the wind as tears rip off your eyes in exasperated tension, “I can’t do this anymore!”. I look into your eyes and I see a storm of my own making. A tortured spirit superimposed onto a candlelit sunset. A cross whose maker did not bear it. I am sorry my love…. you didn’t deserve this… if my pain was not of your making though, then whose was it? Why do I feel this way?
Down we go. The further we dig. I am feeling low. Is my game of life rigged?
I close my eyes and feel myself walking further into that subconscious thunderstorm. Voices of negativity crackle all around as flashes of painful suggestion unfolds itself before my presence. God it feels like I am drowning! A lack of breath forces my eyes open as I stare upon that lake once more. The fire of the sun rages in a spectacle of dark orange evening glory. The contrast between external serenity and internal chaos has come and gone. Old contrast fades. New contradictions arise. Ironic warmth coats an internal shell of icy meaninglessness.
The cycling of moments begin to project themselves once more on that lake, unfolding before my eyes as I walk ever further into the storm. Memories rush by my eyes at the speed of light. 2014 erupts into the theatrical production of the past. Old black and white films play until 3 in the morning as Colin and I laugh until 3 in the morning. A game rages on in the living room as violin music from the emancipator provides a backdrop of humanity to the excessive rationality of chess. I was happy then…. The erraticism of moments cycle by quicker and quicker until eventually the stream of past consciousness slows to a trickle.
It’s summertime and there we are, laughing about the future as the smell of twilight ember masquerades across a sky lit up by the crackle of fireflies and unrealized potential. Words flow with the evening wind as eyes lock in a state of mutual understanding. It’s my senior year art teacher Mrs. Abernathy! I loved her. A loving mother. A kind rose. A beautiful soul. A sunset which raged out into the world, bathing the children below on Earth with infinite bounds of warmth. You saw so much in me! I could see what you wanted for me to see for myself, I really could. College, job, family, the American dream! I was in love…. but what was I in love with? Was I in love with you? No… at least not in a way which demands cliche I love you’s and telling you its going to be okay at 4 in the morning when you scream out into that indifferent dark night. No, I wasn’t in love with her, I was in love with the image she painted for me… It was for me right?
Its so hard to watch this movie play out on the lake! Freshmen year. Potential, beautiful potential! Warm September leaves. Apathetic fall days. Cold indifferent winters. Bed ridden springs. You gave me a chance and I let you down. You opened the door and I slammed it shut. Summer comes again as I attempt to put into words what I don’t understand. I’ll never forget that look. Disappointment, pain, and a flicker of curiosity about what could’ve been grace your pupils as you stare right through me. Is my pain from regret, from letting you down? No, it couldn’t have been. The storm inside me raged on all of those days as I stared out the window in my dorm, not knowing what day it was or how clarity taste. Subjective chaos loomed before regret had yet to sink its teeth into me. I cry as grip my hands as hard as I can. Further into the storm I must go.
Shivering rain. Crackling air. Emotional pain. I need a prayer.
Darkness defines vision as momentary flashes of neuroticism light up a rain-battered landscape. I have traveled very far into my storm. Gust of apathetic awe sends shivers down my spine, the biting nip of emotion never felt so real. It hurts, but wow does it feel good to feel something. Anything.
I open my eyes and that same impressionable lake matches my internal world. Contradiction fades to strangely comforting affirmation. The moonlight struggles to penetrate overbearing darkness as lightning reveals a portrait of tortured sky. A chorus of leaves shuffling in the wind drowns out the sounds of droplets as white midnight fire rips through the heavens to reveal the aquatic stage once more. I was meant to see this. I really don’t know life at all or what it means. This is destiny in the making. Eyes take a front row seat to the theatrical production of nostalgia.
Images of the past burn themselves onto the reality of the present, as I see versions of myself and others which have since died with the passing of time.
I am 8 and my Grandpa and I are laughing as he stumbles into that old kitchen with a lamp shade on his head, making fun of my friend Jake from school. More memories start to cycle by. My first day of school when he showered love and wished me good luck. That spring day when he brought out that old vintage 1973 Yamaha guitar, expressing the mesmerizing contents of his being with an undeserving world. Awe flooded my consciousness as I observed the beauty that was you. Wisdom, love, and charm all met at an intersection of genuity that brought flow to the good in people’s rivers of life.
I close my eyes. Scenes of death carve themselves inside the doorways of perception. A cough, a loss of voice, the trembling of hands, and a final goodbye. I stare into your eyes on that hospital bed and I see a story. It’s about a character whose already died and is attempting to make sense of a world that he doesn’t understand. I strangely never felt more close to you then I did in that moment. I understood, how did I understand? Was I dead too, playing out the part we call life to give others a proper goodbye? I wonder about you sometimes. When you glimpsed divinity before you passed were you happy, are you happy now? Did you get the happy ending you always wanted, or does the story end in a rainy aimless fog?
Thunderstorms churn inside my stomach as fires rage deep inside a chest ready to burst. Emotions yearn for life that has passed as the heart seeks answers which elude both the body and mind. As I lock eyes with the final memory of you, the flower of sudden realization blooms. I loved you.. I still love you! Life gives birth to death. Cold dead winter. Warm animated spring. The same chink in the chain we call this story of life. The chapter we shared in that hospital bed isn’t the book of genesis in the tale of disarray. Death doesn’t suck out life, winter doesn’t kill spring. Sight is a mirror, not a respirator for the soul. The source of the river of apathy beckons to be discovered by people who wade their feet in the water further downstream. Further into the storm I must go.
The bottom of the hole. The center of me. Will I ever feel full? Is this all there is to see?
It is 4am and a marriage between dreary silence and motionless fog takes place on an altar of impressionable water. Contradictions rise again as the still night air towers over my anarchic being. I close my eyes. I am immersed once again by my subconscious, surrounded by thunderstorms of thought and the cold biting rain of emotional turmoil. Each step that is taken toward the center of the storm floods the chest with exhaustion. The inner voice changes from a narrator to a judge, demanding that I open my eyes and end it all. I can’t do that… I need to see the truth.
Winds infinitely thick in darkness surround what I perceive to be the center of the storm. The longer my eyes look at this wall of impenetrable wind, the more they begin to realize that the wall of dust and debris is a wall of discolored imagery. Each time consciousness graces an image, the images begin to move and tell a tale, bringing with it emotions and thoughts from worlds ago. The bittersweetness of May flowers stretches into the air; The feeling of loss from what could’ve been and a hope for what I pray to be lingers underneath as I step into that car and look back one final time. Good luck, love. The paint brush of wandering eyes falls upon another image as the wall of the past takes me to a sleet-filled, foggy, December day. The darkness within expresses itself in the form of lifeless window sill gazes and cloudy disconnected thought. What was I thinking? Did I find peace through solidarity in that fog? Perhaps I held out hope that the single ray of light which penetrated the mist was symbolic for what was yet to come, or maybe it was solace in the fact that the movement of distant interconnected life on the horizon was proof that animated energy that defies entropy was the law of the land. I was searching, I needed a sign. Was that single ray of light you God? Do you love me, are you there?
I step through the wall as echoed screams rattle my bones and water soaks my clothes. I am on the other side and it is completely black and devoid of all sound, taste, touch, sight, and smell. I stare desperate to find a resemblance of meaning in the void when a single solitary image presents itself. Desperately I stare into the image, my thirst to justify its own existence needs quenching. I feel myself slipping away. The image begins to tell its tale, as a mosaic of sight and sound intimately tell the story of… my life? Memories flood into me all at once at what feels like a million frames per second. Weirdly enough, the scope of a few seconds feels like a life lived again. I see everything. The bad, the good, everything! I finally understand now, regardless of the situation or context subconscious thunderstorms always screamed down below, forcing me to acknowledge their presence time and time again. This wasn’t anyones fault. Inner peace isn’t a warm vacation just a couple months away. It isn’t a family member who you loved more than anything, a role model you let down, a girl who broke your heart, or an aspiration that could never be. No… peace isn’t found within….
I fall down to my knees and pray in that dark corridor. Screaming into that void, struggling to stay alive as demons tell me to end it all. Show me a sign. Show me a sign. I need a sign. If anybody is there, throw me a lifeline.. please!!!! Lightning crackles and in that dark void I look up and I see a single ray of light piercing December mist. A caricature of pure light in the form of a person arises out of the intersection of mist and light. It walks toward me as a sensation of paralytic awe brings color to what was previously gray. Warmth steals the beat of predictable breath as the eyes of this caricature reveals a story. It’s about love, the coming of the light, and how everything is going to be okay. I see my grandfather smiling through your eyes, a proud mother, and a seemingly infinite lineage of people that led to me. They are all with me, rooting for me, needing me to live on. Love flows like water through a river of consciousness as I drown in overwhelming sense of support. My eyes are finally open….
As I emerge from the void and look upon that impressionable lake, dusk blesses the skies with an overwhelmingly beautiful hue of red, as warm orange rays steadily begin to coat awakening Earth. The storm is over, the warm breeze is finally here. It’s time to make you proud Grandpa.