Songs That Soothe the Soul

I didn’t realize
How sad my mother was
Truly
Until we sang along in the car together
on our way
to my freshman orientation

It was my mama,
her friend, Nanette
and me.
2 women
1 girl
Sharing a rite of passage
In an SUV too large to drive
but that
made her feel safe
In a world that
constantly tried
to run her over

I remember my mama was so jealous
That I
liked her friend so much
But that
lady had a fresh take on our lives
She
thought I was funny
And
didn’t make me feel bad
When
my first thought
About buying snacks
For myself
Didn’t include her opinions

But I love my mama
Even when I don’t like her
And her
happiness
Crosses
my mind every day
And has
for as long as I can remember
So when
it was time to change
The CD
Into something my Mama and me
could sing to as she drove

I picked
the mix tape
My mama used to play
In the
car every day
For months
With my
daddy in the passenger seat
And man,
Did we sing to it.

I knew every word
I had
since I was little
But I
never noticed before
What
we sang
And how
we sang
of heartbreak
And
untrustworthy men
Of
broken vows
Of
worthless promises
And
poignant pains
We sang
And I
started to remember
Being in my carseat
And my
mother playing
One song
On repeat
As my daddy brooded
In his chair

I remember
Because I liked that song best
And
didn’t mind it
being played again
3 times
4
8
20
Until my
daddy’s face was so sour
We didn’t
dare ask what was wrong anymore
And my
mama
Seemed
oddly satisfied
When he didn’t stop her
I guess
she really liked that song

I remembered that day
somewhere
in the middle of singing
When I
told Nannette
That we
used to hear that mix tape
over
and over
and over again
And my
daddy didn’t like it that much
By the look he used to wear on his face

I
remembered that day
When
neither of them answered me
Like
they knew something that I didn’t

I remembered in-between pauses
When
Nanette stared into the distance
Because
she didn’t know the words
and
couldn’t sing along
And my
mama wore a grin
the size
of Jupiter
Because
that tape had soothed her soul
So many times
And
So damn well

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Huh…

Huh…

There’s silence around me
But there’s still noise
In my head
That my mind makes up
It’s own soundtrack
A playlist consisting
Of background music
That matches feelings I won’t let go of
Swirls of images
A vortex of sound
All crowd my mind
In silence
A loud silence
The whooshing of the
Air conditioner
Somehow evades me
The gentle splashing of the pool
Doesn’t catch my interest
The planes flying overhead
Are reduced to background noise
But I hear my own voice
Not coming from my throat
Some inner me that can’t be real
Because it’s never present where I am
I hear that
As clear as the day I hadn’t noticed
As present as the sun baking my skin
The voice rings back and forth
It resonates from soul to mind
I hear it
Reading
A voice I wish I had
Because it’s oddly more articulate
That voice could probably sing
And I suppose it does
In the same voice as Lauryn Hill
And it reads like Emma Thompson
And it raps like Kanye
And occasionally it throws clever quips
At disappointing memories
And I imagine I could have shut that voice up
At any time
Had I ever noticed it speaking
Without me
As it is
Currently
Huh…
What a beautiful day

You are beautiful

You are beautiful

I thought you weren’t once
I saw something else completely
But I think I might have just been hurt
Because you stand there
Without me
Absolutely beautiful
Or maybe you too never saw it before
And I could never convince you
So when I saw you
I only saw tears, pain, and heartache
When really you’ve never been
Anything but
Beautiful
And I’m glad we can both
Now see it that way

Inbetween

I’d kiss you if you asked me
But I won’t mind it if you don’t
I’m more interested
In the inbetween anyway
Where I can sit right beside you
And I get to hold you close
And it’s so natural
You think nothing of it
It’s where we tell each other
Honest truths
That sort of feel like secrets
The way our bodies relax
Like we let something go
And we swim in that
Deep connectedness
Both heavy and light
And you witness a realm
You’ve never noticed before
You’ll say it feels like
“Something bigger”
When you’re with me
I’ll smile because you notice too
The only real feeling
I love
Love
Without all the extra bullshit
Without all the simple urges
Without the resistance
We often hold
At our cores
I’m interested in the inbetween
Where I can love you
And you love me
And it’s not a dramatic mess
Of emotion and pain
And all of those simple urges
That come up
When we worry about having nothing
When life
And what we think life is
Gets in the way of real love
So I’ll kiss you if you ask me
If you still mix up the feelings
But I would prefer it
If you don’t
Because if you linger
On knowing me that way
You’ll confuse it with something real
And it might be hard for you
To ever really know
How I love you
Inbetween

Something

I think I might want something sweet
To counteract the blandness of my life
I say before I take a bite
And realize the sugar cookie
That cost too much
But was decorated with a pretty blue owl
Is too sweet
And that the owl
Wished me dead
I tasted his distaste of me
Somewhere in the icing

I also might want something kind
Or someone
I say almost always
Before I tell my brother
The guy I met this morning
Was too nice
So kind
It bordered on simple
Like he had no thoughts
To discuss
So he complimented mine

I can’t stop it from hurting me
When I realize I really want nothing
But to satisfy an aching wish
Of having something
That gave me something
I think is worth having
But that I can’t possibly have
Since I don’t know what that is yet

It’s so human

I like it when people laugh
At a question I’ve asked
As if the consideration is ridiculous
And the question was rhetorical
It makes me smile
Because it shows so clearly
What they value
Above all other things
If they laugh
They think the answer concrete

I asked an engineer in her late twenties
If marriage and kids
and the whole family thing
Was important to her
She was getting married soon
She laughed
For a whole 2 minutes
Her friends realized I was serious
And she stopped
When she noticed
She was the only one laughing

She thought the question obvious
I loved that
It meant she thought it important
It meant she thought everyone did
Or at least should

A laugh always shows an innocent naivety
A beautiful rift
Between one person’s reality
And someone else’s

Most times beautiful
Other times frightening
Sometimes a large rift
Is a harmful delusion

I love the idea that multiple realities
Can coexist
To create a collective
And yet
People tend to not notice

It shows that collectively
People value peace of mind
And avoid confrontation
So much that they can only see
One possibility
Their own self created

I love that
Because it’s so flawed
And yet not necessarily harmful

It’s just so…
human

That Look

That Look

I remember the times I was happiest
I remember the times I’ve been free
Foolish and shy
I sat on a bench beside
Someone who loved me…
I never saw it coming
Had I known I might’ve fleed
I’d have run through the night
And would’ve never caught sight
Of the boy who loved me
He never had to say it
I knew it when we’d meet
I’d put my hand on his face
A sacred safe place
And I knew he loved me
But I broke the cardinal rule
A young unapologetic fool
Who needs to speak every word on her mind
Broke through the silence
Pathetic and mindless
And ignored all the obvious signs
I professed my love blindly
Selfish & Unkindly
And I remember the look on his face
I had broken our space
That sacred safe place
And that look won’t erase from my mind

To You: A Prayer

To You: A Prayer

When I was little
My daddy taught me how to pray
One way
And I never forgot
I always started and ended
With the same hopeful arch
I began
Father God, thank you for:
And I’d list all the people I needed to love
And in a whisper
Because daddy was listening
I added the names of the people I wanted to
And after all these years
Not much has changed
Ever since I met you
I’ve whispered your name
And I still visualize angels camped above me
In fancy tents as
I hope your heart is happy
I pray your smiles are real
And that your life is filled with the love and laughter
Photographs often lie about
Please bless them with all that they need
And help them find themselves where they are meant to be
It sounds like a prayer still
Because it is.
In Jesus’s name
Amen

To You and Your Bloodless Heart

I wish your heart bled for me.
I wish it just bled blood
But it’s as dry as desert air
I know
I grew up there
It’s the kind of dry your skin bakes under
Even mine
With my brown skin turned auburn
And with lips that crack and bleed
More than your heart does
And possibly ever has

I wish you wished me dead
I wish my life made your skin boil
I’ve wished myself dead a time or two
Hoping that you’d cry
That your guilt would eat through you
Then you’d see me differently
I hear grief brings out buried feelings
I wonder if you’ve buried me alive
Maybe I’m dead already
Or possibly just still screaming

I wish you thought of me
I wish I didn’t wish that
I think of you occasionally
Whenever I pass by a feeling
And take hold of it
Letting it drag me a different way
I rather feel something than nothing
But all my feelings
Lead a pathway to you

I wish that path were rougher
I wish being dragged there
Made me bleed like your heart does not
Maybe I’d stop wishing
With a heart too pained to wish for more
I’d be forced into acceptance
A place as barren as my desert home
But I’d reside there
Stroking the auburn skin I used to hate
Lovingly without you
And your bloodless heart

It is interesting to me

It is interesting to me

It is interesting to me.
Very interesting to me.
That I can be me
Just me.
The me that I have
Searched for
Fought for
Tried to be
Since the moment
I realized
I should start trying
And yet
Somehow inexplicably
Still be less
Than I should be
Can be
Want to be
Because I stand here
Proudly
The best version of me
That I have ever been
And am still somehow
Inadequate
Not the type that promotes self deprecation
Not the type that gnaws at me viciously
Through me
Until my nerves are numb
Just the type that’s noticeably
There
Not sneaking
Not ambiguous
Unambiguously blatant
But calm
Like a child tugging on your arm
Unharmful yet annoying
Because you can’t swing brutally at innocence
Because you can’t make an idea bleed for your satisfaction
It is so interesting to me
Very interesting to me
That you can move in the direction that you wanted
And yet not have anything you want
That the decisions I made
Brought me here
To this place that I want to be
And yet sit here unsatisfactorily
Not understanding how everything can be right and wrong at the same time
Not understanding the yin yang balance fully
With all of me in line to it
It is interesting
So interesting
That I can understand so much
That I can know so much
And still know nothing
At all
So interesting