This has been the longest winter. It's spring break now, and the sun's out for the first time this weekend, but it's still cold inside and I've got a blanket wrapped around my shoulders as I'm eating cereal and it just feels like Winter Break 2.0.
This has been the weirdest winter. Weird, my default adjective. It doesn't really describe anything, does it? But that's the thing -- everything is such a hard thing to describe. That's the reason for my absence. I've been trying to condense every feeling I've experienced in the past three months into one poem and it just isn't working. So I've been practicing radio silence. Looking at the winter sunsets. Dreaming in rhymes. Doing a lot of waiting.
In several ways, it feels like everything is falling apart around me, very quietly, in increments, as things do, and I'm just kind of sitting here, nodding my head. Letting it happen.
Growing up is a funny thing. You know this, everyone knows this, but every so often you realize it more acutely.
Somewhere there is a poem I haven't written yet and it starts: Everyone I've ever known who's died has died in winter. This poem relies a bit too much on metaphor, but it also isn't a lie. It was born on the second day of the new year, driving home from the vet: the three longest red lights in history and unspoken words spiraling out the window. You could see your thoughts as clear as your breath. The poem continues in February with a short email that made think of 98 years of life and how I'm glad I said goodbye at least once.
This winter has been self-destruction, roadside construction, self-immolation, good intentions. Realizations of apathy meeting overwhelming empathy. I'm a pendulum swinging back and forth between happiness and a sort of anxiety-induced frustration. It's just that this is uncharted territory and all I've got is a compass that only ever points north, which is not always where I need to go. It's just that sometimes I want to go home even when I'm already there.
I stay up late, talking my friends down from their ledges. I stay up even later, talking myself down. I think we're all a bit terrified of what comes next. We're all surviving off five hours of sleep and half an order of French fries. We're all clinging to whatever we can, holding on too tight but at the same time, so ready to let go.
I was talking to my friend about the helplessness of seeing someone else hurting and about what it means to be a good friend. We agreed that when it comes down to it, you really just have to work through your problems by yourself. All you can do is be there for other people, love them and support them. "Sometimes you don't need someone to slay your dragons for you, you just need someone to come home to at the end of the day."
I keep writing angry poems about the people in my life and they always end, "I love you, but." I keep writing poems about being confused, because that's the only thing I know for sure. Nothing. This whole season has been one long winter weather advisory, and I have a headache.