Every minute, approximately 65 trees are cut down. Fuck.
My daughter plucks a daisy from the earth and says, “Here, mama. I love you.”
Average sea levels are expected to rise at least seven inches before the end of this century. I’m leaving for vacation at the beach soon.
Things are collapsing around us at an alarming rate. Small moments of joy are wrested from the wind with great strength. There are those who are constantly angry, raging at other drivers for taking too long, complaining that their coffee is too hot or too cold, lashing out at anything and anyone who crosses their path. Anger and frustration are easy to find, in this era, and sometimes hard to express.
And then there are those who are alarmingly, aggressively chipper. Happiness as a requirement, hell, a demand. “Blessed”, or, #GoodVibesOnly, and like, no drama, mama. And if things get scary, there’s a comfortable scrap of wool left to pull over their eyes. Hiding in comfort. Things are still good. Stop being so dramatic.
But what about those of us who are sort of floating in the middle? Those of us who feel great pain at the current state of things….but who still enjoy a good sweaty fuck, a smile, the sun on our faces….? What do I do with everything brewing just under the surface while I’m living my life?
I suppose I have always been dark and brooding. I tried things on for size one after another, and some of them were too tight. Sports and cheerleading and chess club never fit. Drinking definitely fit. Sex fit really well. Cutting myself, well, I wouldn’t say it fit, but I certainly wore it anyway. Drugs fit for a while. If it distracted me, numbed me, helped me cope, I tried it.
I started writing, really seriously writing poetry, when I was about thirteen. All the things I couldn’t manage to sum up with speaking, with anger, with crying – they came out of me like ghosts who had been trapped and were suddenly free. I never decided to write poetry, I never thought, “I’m going to be a poet.” Poetry decided on me.
And it stayed with me through so much. My constant companion through a life I’d not wish on others. When the first person I married turned out to be a monster that no one else saw, when I left his abusive, possessive home in my early twenties, scared and alone and confused. When I cried at night because I was lonely, and then hated myself for missing someone who broke my bones, bloodied my face, called me fat while I denied myself food, and sexually assaulted me while I vomited into a trash can. I wrote everything. Poems extracted the hurt I had carried too long.
I wrote my way through everything because I couldn’t speak it. I couldn’t find my voice, but poetry found it for me. To this day, my mother only knows some of the things that happened to me by reading them. I have lived for years with secrets that were eating holes in me until I wrote them down. I’m sure some of my poems have floated onto the screens of people who know exactly who I wrote them about, but had no idea what was happening to me back then. And I’m sure they’ll float by someone who, maybe really needs to read them. Just as I really needed to read poems like Kim Addonizio’s “To The Woman Crying Uncontrollably In The Next Stall”. My god, I needed that poem so badly.
I never had the resources to seek help. I spent much of my young adult life in abusive relationships, too poor to hold insurance, or pay copayments even if I’d had it. I never went to therapy and I definitely needed it. I think poetry saved my life. Well, that and my husband and daughter.
On a still foggy Friday morning, my husband gently shakes me loose from the claws of a nightmare he hears me whimpering in. I can’t tell him in words what was happening in the dream, but I don’t have to. He’s faithfully read every poem I have ever written, and he doesn’t have to ask. He just holds me until I am ok, and then he goes to work. That morning after he leaves, I write a poem about him called “bloom”.
That afternoon my daughter and I walk down to the creek and dip our toes in, splashing each other and laughing. The sunlight halos her golden curls as she holds daisies in her hands. Later that evening, I write a poem about her. So much of my existenceis poetry.
Mela Blust is a moonchild, and has always had an affinity for the darkness. She is a poet, a painter, a sculptor, and a jeweler. She has been writing poetry since she was a child.
Her work has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Isacoustic, Rust+Moth, Anti Heroin Chic, Califragile, Tilde Journal, Setu Magazine, Rhythm & Bones Lit, and more, and is forthcoming in The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, and The Stray Branch, among others.
Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is forthcoming with Apep Publications in 2019.
She is the social media coordinator for Animal Heart Press, as well as a poetry reader for The Rise Up Review.
She can be followed at https://twitter.com/melablust.