an incomprehensive guide to coping

  1. stop scrolling through your phone first thing in the morning. delete all the apps on your phone. (it won’t last, and you know this. do it anyway.)
  2. try to breathe, in and out until it fades to muscle memory. stitch your pieces into order. slowly.
  3. when you stab yourself with the needle, force yourself not to bleed on the fabric. get up, and go to the medicine cabinet. wash the blood off your hands.
  4. take your brain in for repairs, like a shitty computer, constantly needing to be taken in for repairs. you tighten the screws, you reset the hard drive, you bang the dust out of the keyboard, and know you’ll come back here next week.
  5. have a drink of water, ‘cause you can’t drown out this weight in your belly, but you sure can try. (dizzy on the tennis court, sick in the sunrise.)
  6. sometimes, depression feels like drowning slowly. sometimes, there are good days, and you gasp for air and you think you’re all right, until the next wave hits me from behind. but all this time, you’ve been floating in the sea. and there’s no land in sight.
  7. so try not to feel sorry for yourself. even when your life feels like a sob story in a youtube comments section. even when you’re drifting, and you’re screaming out, and no one comes to help you. 
  8. go to sleep. tell yourself you’ll wake up early. save it for another night. ‘cause when you can barely breathe, you’ve got other things on your mind. and yeah, it sucks. but in the big scheme of things, it’ll turn out all right.
  9. call your friend. zone out. stare into blue light. take a bath and iron that twisty feeling out of your stomach. lie on the floor, exhausted and breathing.
  10. fashion a raft out of kelp and driftwood. it’s shitty, and haphazard, and it’ll only last a week. but it’s something.

pragma

god, i can’t wait to be the kind of friends

who know all of each other’s stories

who’ve seen the sun rise and fall

and don’t fear the end

i can’t wait to figure my shit out

some day, soon

look in the mirror, and feel just a little stronger than i did the day before

i can’t wait to build myself up, slowly

can’t wait to feel like i’m okay

when i wake up in the morning

i can’t wait to count off wrinkles in the mirror

like the rings of a tree

i hope you’re there with me

i hope your laugh sounds like a symphony

i hope our bellies hurt

i hope the light catches your hair

i hope you get what you deserve

i hope your life is fair, and just, and wise

i hope you tell them what you think

bare your teeth, and fight for the things you beleive in

i hope we’re not afraid to live our lives

god, i can’t wait

to know you like the back of my hand

to haul your regrets up the hill next to mine

to stay, and stay, and stay

until we’re nothing but dust

in the hands of time


I’m not sure where this piece came from, exactly–I think it’s mostly fictional? But there are definitely some grains of truth in there was well. I was reading (through some internet rabbit hole) about the different kinds of greek love. Pragma is supposed to be longstanding and practical love, like that between a couple who’s been married for a really long time. I don’t know, this is definitely a case of me romanticizing the future, but it’s nice to think about getting to have that kind of bond (whether romantic or platonic) with someone some day.

a letter to my future self (because i am cheesy)

to be opened when needed

you should write the poem

and stop scrolling through your phone while you do the dishes

or trying to eat your food with one hand

you should call your friends

you should listen to the butterflies in your stomach

and stop always doing as you’re told

you should get your shit together

listen to a lullaby

and cry your eyes out as you scroll through parenting articles on your phone

take a shower and get changed out of your work clothes

you should sing yourself a song

put on some heels

and dance around your bedroom

until you fuck up your ankle, and you fall to the ground

ibut t’s okay

you don’t have to be perfect

or try to make money off every single fucking thing you like to do

you survived

that’s what matters

you made it through another day

and in case no one has said so in a while, i’m really proud of you

oh tired soldier

oh crossfire baby

oh fighter girl

you’re not a weapon

you’re not wasted potential

with room to improve

so put down the mallet

put down the blade

’cause pretty soon, you’re not even gonna remember

what it’s like to feel this way

stay

she called my name / like i was a lost puppy / and she held my hand so tight / did i tell you that, over the phone / way too late / honey eyelids and beeswax bones / starting to melt in the midsummer heat / did i tell you that i almost stayed there, hiding in tree branches / cowering under blankets / and worshipping that strangulation heat / and i imagined, in the back of my mind / that i might stay there for the rest of eternity / but i didn’t do that, obviously / i looked out the window / and disintegrated at the slightest breeze / ’cause these days i’m some kind of sand-sculpture girl / dry throat / always dizzy / so if i could just lie down, and stay here forever / would that be the worst deal? honestly? / but if i were to lie down on the gravel beach / surrounded by mansions we will never afford / would she laugh / and sit down beside me / would she point at the lights in the sky / and we’d wonder / if the ufos had landed / or the moon was tumbling from the sky / if we’d ever truly escape / with tears on our eyes / and maybe this time / the buzzing cicadas would stay forever if we willed it so / maybe we could sculpt the cliffs to our liking / and entrench our hopes into the polluted sea / you know?


So, this is partially fictional and partially real. I went to this really cool beach with a friend, like, a few weeks ago, but a lot of this is sort of fabricated, using that setting and, like, for lack of a less meme-ified word, the vibes of the place to tell a fictional story. I’ve been trying to give myself permission to write more fictional poems of late, and it’s been really fun.

little things

i’m obsessed with gentle love

cardamom palms on my shoulders

and a hand on top of mine

i could eat it up like turkish delight

and write about it all day long

like a little kid, crying into a pillow

some fucked-up brand of self soothing i am too proud to exhume

’cause i’m pissed off and sad

and sometimes, looking in on happy endings from the outside

makes me want to cry

tears of anger and relief

and mostly why why why

i’m obsessed with an infinite love

that stands the test of time

a love where we listen like a symphony

and never stop changing our minds

and we’re eighty years old, and still best friends

so bury us side by side

is that normal?

i don’t really know how this stuff works

so excuse me, if i trip over my words

because my love always tended

to wither in my palms

but i like the little things about you

half-minutes where i just want to believe

that we could stay like this for the rest of eternity

make dinner, and go on a walk

and watch tv

and all this bullshit would be worth it

if i had you, and you had me

and maybe we’d never be each others’ everythings

but you’d be my anchor

and the wind that blows me out to sea

you’d be my lilac spring bloom

and my rose-petal certainty

you’d be soft, and clear like the shore

and i’ll catch you if you catch me


You can interpret this to be about love, but it doesn’t have to be! I feel like we put way too much focus on romantic love, when, like, there are so many other interesting bonds to write about, so I left this piece purposefully ambiguous.