That's my motto for this fall as I finish drafting my next poetry collection, Mourning Jewelry. Unlike Hysteria, this muse isn't vicious. She's soft, quiet...sometimes sad. I don't even know her name. She doesn't always come out from the darkness and sit next to me. Sometimes, she just lays on the swing outside and smokes alone as she stars at the stars. We don't always work together, but absence is part of the journey. When I start to get used to her, she leaves and teaches me what it's like to miss someone. When I start to fall in love, she takes my heart and shows me what it's like to die. And when I lust, she rips away my desires and explains what it means to sin. I don't always understand why she does what she does, but I trust her, because I think you have to know what it means to be broken before you understand what it means to be whole.
So here's to black veils, not enough poison, and lots of thunder.
Everyone mourns differently, but not everyone cries.
Here's an excerpt from today's work-in-progress:
The Day I Died
by Stephanie M. Wytovich
I remember the day I lost my heart. I was young—too young, maybe—but the man told me it would be worth it, that falling in love—that dying—was well worth the pain. And I believed him. I wanted to feel nothing, to feel everything, and when I found myself locked in a hotel room, drinking away the absence as I sat in mounds of empty bottles and half-burned cigarettes, I knew that this was love. That this was what people talked about: the break, the agony, the split of power. Because when I fell in love, I lost myself. I became possessed, haunted by his smile, and now it’s his face that forces me to wake up, to brush my hair, to put on my lipstick…
And so I died in his memory, more sure in that decision than in anything else I’d ever done in my life. I wanted to love even if it meant not getting it back in return. But I didn’t know how—I was weak, innocent—I didn’t know that the ache in my chest could actually hurt. And so I’d wake up in scratches, bleeding out on cheap carpet and covered in glass. The burns on my arms were in the shapes of tear drops, my throat raw from the screams. The furniture was broken and there were splinters in my feet. I tried to find him—looked behind doors, under beds, in the shower—but I couldn’t. He wasn’t there, and I started to think, to wonder, to feel, that maybe he never was. That maybe getting rid of my heart was a mistake. But when the man came back to me that night, holding regret in his hands, I said no.
Because I was in love. Shamelessly, painfully in love. And the misery was worth it. Was worth the casket as the bed, the poison in my cup, the demons in my dreams. It was better to feel nothing, to feel everything, if it meant that at one point it wasn’t fake. That at one point, it was real. That it had a shape, a purpose. That at one point, it had soul. So I walked away with my head held high and mascara smeared down my face. I wanted love, and I got it. It just wasn’t what I bargained for.