An Introduction of Sorts
This is a sequence of poems and fractals — many of the poems I wrote in 2016, though bits of the first segment (I) is from 2015, and the final segment (V) was from 2017. Both the fractals and poems explore the beauty I shared with my former partner but also the psychological abuse I suffered. Much of which I don’t think she meant for it to happen, but it slowly evolved that way, where it culminated in my triggers being used against me, my mind a broken mess. My panic attacks are often a burst of emotions, a flurry to get the scary situation away from me, and I was demonized for it — a whole friend group gaslighted me until I thought I was losing my mind. I tried to kill myself three times in the span of three months. One of those desperate attempts to escape landed me in the hospital for a week. I had no idea, at the time, how to leave my partner nor how to shake her hold on my mind.
Yet, at the same time I recognize the above, I also recognize that I loved my former partner with every ounce of my being during the relationship and I still love her now. I still miss her today even though I know she and I were not healthy for each other. I still treasure the beautiful memories, but I cannot escape the painful ones. In hopes of healing, I had asked for no contact in December for at least six months, but her words that day left me in fear, so I backtracked on my request. But in February, I finally got my wish of no contact in a very tragic way that nearly destroyed me. And yet, I still wish the best for these people and my former partner. That someday they too may heal and grow as people. Because I still care about them, and I know they too were hurt by the chaos of what happened.
I am not a perfect person, and I struggle with my PTSD a lot. I struggle to maintain healthy coping mechanisms. I struggle to articulate my thoughts in a concise manner that makes sense. I struggle with past trauma that sometimes, despite my best efforts, spills into my current interactions with people. As much as I struggle, I also work hard at trying to be a more loving, gentle, and accepting person. My mantra is to live a life of love, where I do my best to not cause harm but to apologize if I do and where I try to uplift others, to listen, to learn, to be better.
I also recognize that I take people at face-value and I suck at subtlety. I want to think the best of everyone. Yet I also recognize that I have to take a stand. I cannot allow a group of people to silence my story yet again. To tell me my story isn’t valid. That my hurt is out of context, that what I suffered is mis-remembered or wrong. That their view is more correct. No, that is gaslighting, and I’ve had people do this to me so many times in my life. That is never okay.
My perspective is just as valid as their own.
So below is my story in poetry and fractal form. It is my Truth. It happened to me. The beauty, the love, the pain, the terror, the panic, the fear. All of it happened to me and I am still recovering from it. My story has not changed — these poems were written throughout the past two years. The fractals were created within the past six months. This journey is a mixture of beauty, pain and great fear, but friends and siblings – some new and some I reconnected with — remind me that there is hope. Just the other day, my younger sister said to me that nature overcomes all obstacles. Ivy grows up over walls. Flowers grow through cracks in cement, and I too will grow again.
Saga of a Bird
the penciled images crisp, leaping out with vibrancy
each character, each city emblazoned
with the soul of the creator.
Discussions and laughter erupt as the worlds
shared and built are unleashed
into the ramparts of time –
fear — I rush to be present,
to bring hope —
like the moonlight on the snow,
the world encapsulated within my arms,
I am caught in a breath —
unspoken words surge like
flowers bursting forth
in spring’s warm embrace.
as we navigate consent-
and our own pain and past –
seeking safety and comfort
in the arms of our love.
A forest at my back
Mountains before me.
On its edge, I stand
Past, present, future converging
upon the risk to exist
in this heart of nowhere.
My feet stamp a pattern
in the grass and snow.
My hands weave the air
in braids that flow —
Energy laced, sweet to taste
in this heart of nowhere.
A figure stands in shadows —
eyes reflect moonlight,
faint ripples in their form,
tickling my sight.
Toward each other we step
in this heart of nowhere.
An invitation bursts from the ground-
a flower blooming – dies at first sight
of the moonlit night, the leaves shriveled
from the lack of moisture and nourishment.
but the invitation hovers and sneers,
pushes and pulls, yanks and rips,
until I am shredded, and bow to its might
this makes her happy, and my no loses all power.
the world subtly changing –
as the bars of a cage descend.
the shadows dance like puppets in her hands —
not a cage, not a cage
they whisper into the night.
A flicker of light in the dark,
footsteps sunk into snow,
the starlight distant and grim,
as on time ripples and flows –
Don’t look in the pinpricks
of the rapids of our breath
that fluctuate like the river
of our barren, hopeless death.
There the golden city awaits,
A bastion of our despair
tangled in the mountain’s grip-
an icy grave bereft of care.
each tendril of moisture a droplet of despair.
One foot in front of the other, I close my eyes,
the wire taut with tension, world eclipsed
with dreams shattered, hopes ground to dust,
arms spread wide, for a moment I’ll fly,
Only to crash into dirt, the bones crushed.
labor to breathe, its innards split –
Drive away, look away, leave for dead.
not distinct, my edges blurred and fragmented,
each person laughing at my antics, for I am a silly
absence of a person, there’s nothing to see–
each pump of my heart expels another pint.
Interlude – Erasure
Up and down, in and out,
Take her hand, what’s about,
She knows best, I know not,
My body shivers,
our pain quivers,
the words uncouth.
Her words bite,
her words soothe,
In fragrant riddles.
Under the light of the moon, she and I dance,
our fingers intertwined, we laugh in delight,
our lives entangled into one, our hopes
enshrined in a future together.
Seeds of doubt sprout like a virus,
infiltrating the sublime bubble
of love-struck blindness that shrouds
my growing fear — external connections
with others sliced off slowly,
the dreams suffocated by the smother
of a thousand little words
embedded like gangrene.
We walk under verdant leaves,
a bubbling brook sings past our reverie,
hand in hand, her warmth a reminder —
goodness is here, my doubts imagined.
Anti-viral medicine seeps through fear
And I believe each word said,
believe it is me, that I must improve.
I fall to the ground shivering, my breaths
short and agonized, her words cut
like knives and I desperately plead.
My panic a venomous virus that spoils
the wonder, and injects lifeless despair.
Doubt creeps, sickens me with memories
as I look upon the shredded guts
of a relationship shattered into dust.
Interlude – Broken
Do as she says?
No, this isn’t right.
I need out.
The eye of my past balefully punches my gut,
tears through my synapses, as the world
watches on, unhindered by my silent scream
that rips apart my cells-
Shattered bits of me I pick from the dirt,
tears clog my throat and eyes-
up to the rumbling clouds, the howl of wind
I hold the ragged edges of myself.
The storm rages, the ice slams my face,
cuts the skin, and blood drips into my eyes
I can’t see, I can’t hear, the world vibrates
with the silence of a mind lit afire.
The repercussions ripple into the present,
touch the future, swathing both in despair–
yet the soul takes back what is lost.
The pieces reforged in the cycle of rebirth.
“Up and down, in and out,
Take her hand, what’s about,
She knows best, I know not,”
These lines here really struck home for me.
Thank you for sharing these words with the world! They are beautifully written.
Thank you for the bold truth of your story and your courage in sharing such deeply personal poetry. And such beautiful art! Keep inspiring the world, Bird.
Aww, thank you, Tisi!