The Silver Locket

The Silver Locket

Though he was the one who came to say goodbye,
she was the one who walked away.
She had already begun the walk
weeks before when she realized that he
had never left the war.

She heard in his voice the remnants of
who he had once been.
The man who had very carefully
unlocked her heart and claimed it.
The man with the heart of gold.
Who challenged her to be better.
And kept her safe.

When he was with her now,
that man shone from his eyes.
And she knew he was still there.
Waiting to be rediscovered.
To come into the light once again.
But for now, he was different.
The war had changed him.

The mistakes were all jokes.
And the black words were too ready.
The people around him let him
stay in the shadows.
She watched it and it broke her heart.
The way he was now.
How she couldn’t seem
to bring him back.

So when he came to say goodbye,
it should’ve been a storm.
But it wasn’t.

They spoke of all the things
that bound them together.
And she knew that wouldn’t change.
She held his hands in hers.
The way they had always done
when they couldn’t bear to part.

Everything between them
poured together, strong and true,
just as always.
And when they pulled away
their hands held silver lockets.
She held hers in her hand and knew
it contained everything.
She pressed a kiss to the silver and
put the chain around her neck.
It settled against her heart.

As she walked away from him,
she imagined that he kept
his locket with him.
In his pocket, perhaps.
Or maybe he left it there.

But the world is round.
The storms were all cleared.
The road before her was strong and true.
There was joy.
And freedom.

 

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it feels like freedom

it feels like freedom

when the meteor came and destroyed my town, I lay
in the ashes with no skin. a broken soul threaded together
with the fire. very slowly I took the ashes and made new
skin. I took the fire and made a new heart. and after a long
time there was light in my eyes again. and the smoke cleared.
I could see a way through it. one day the ashes turned to
flowers, and the sun shone shyly upon them and whispered,
“please grow.” but ash is no kind of soil. rain began to
sprinkle very lightly. and I thought the clouds might blow
away, and the sun would continue to cautiously shine on those
flowers. but that didn’t happen. I walked through a field
while the rain poured down, and stopped in the very center.
the flowers didn’t shred in the downpour. and they didn’t stay
standing. they melted into the ash from whence they came.
I looked to the sky and faced the rain. and for just a
moment it hurt as it washed away my skin of ashes and
heart of fire. but when I opened my eyes and looked
around me, I saw a world that had never seen ashes
or fire. I felt within me a heart that had never known defeat.
I looked down and saw a white dress tickling my
ankles and the top of fresh green grass. and I saw my hands:
small, white, and free from the chains that I hadn’t known
bound them. I whispered, “I’m finally clean.”
below me on the ground lay a locket. it held one big
promise, a thousand small ones, a bit of hope, and a
resilient love. I held it in my clean hands and kissed the cool
silver before pulling it over my head and tucking it beside
my heart. as I walked I looked back at the field,
just once with a knowing smile.

The Sun and the Moon

The Sun and the Moon 

I heard a story once about how the sun loved the moon so much that he disappeared at night to let her shine. But it left me wondering, and I couldn’t understand.

I wondered about when the moon travels across the sky in the daylight, a sliver of pale in the blue. I wondered about the times when the moon and sun align, and cause strange shadows.

Does the moon inch across the daytime sky because she misses the sun? Do they align every once in a while because being apart has become too painful?

I believe that the moon loved the sun. And the sun loved the moon. And together they created rays of light and ocean waves.

Was it the world between them? Keeping them apart? Or was the world something they worked on together? Are they really kept apart at all?

I heard a story once about how the moon reflects the sun’s light. Have you seen what a woman in love looks like? All aglow with the knowledge that through night or day a man holds her heart and all the music of her soul.

I heard a story once about how the sun loved the moon so much that he disappeared at night to let her shine.

But perhaps it was so much more than that. And even when she couldn’t see the sun she reflected his light because she knew he loved her. And in the day she snuck across the sky to be with him.

I imagine that the rainy days are the moments when they run across space towards each other. And maybe the clouds gather to give them the moment of peace and belonging.

The sun and the moon.

What Happens After “The End”?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to change things. I have always wanted to be able to make the world different, or at least make somebody’s world different. And since writing has always been something I have considered myself at least adequate at, I have always imagined that it would be through my written words that I’d be able to help make these changes. 

I’m honestly not sure if this has ever been the case. 

In fact, I realized the other day that I am 23 years old and if I disappeared tomorrow it is very likely that nothing would happen. I have made no significant changes in the world. And this thought didn’t necessarily come to me as something depressing, but it did make me think. It made me think about a lot of things. Mostly, it made me think about complexity. 

Have you ever wondered what happens after you read the words “The End” on a page or movie screen? What happens after they get home from their epic journey? What happens after the guy runs after the girl and they go off into the sunset? 

Well, I’ve got a few thoughts about this. 

I recently finished a novel in which (spoiler alert) the main guy goes after the woman he loves months after they’ve been torn apart. And honestly, the scene is very sad. You can tell that even after all they’ve been through and everything that has happened, they love each other so much. But they are both terrified. And she tells him that. And he responds with, “We’ll be brave together.” 

And even though it’s true, and very beautiful, what I don’t tell you is what happened later. About how it was very hard for her to ever trust him again. About how it tortured him every day that he had hurt her like that, and how he was worried it might happen again somehow. And I don’t tell you about how even though they loved each other very much there were still obstacles to overcome. There were still moments when they fell into old patterns and she was terrified and the emotional connection between them felt frayed. 

I don’t tell you that there were moments when she wondered if he really would be happier without her. I don’t tell you that he struggled wildly, too. 

I don’t tell you that there is so much more to “The End” than we all think. That “The End” is hard. That “The End” is really just a new bend in the road. That “The End” is just another way of saying, “Let’s start over.” 

But I think that the point of “The End” is to hint at all those things the creator doesn’t tell us about. The point of “The End” is to say that the storm has passed and whoever has faced it is stronger or happier or, if the story is wildly depressing, at least this one storm is now over. 

The point of my “The End” was to tell you that both characters were very, very aware that the future before them wasn’t an easy one. But that they would rather face it together, because they have discovered through all of the not being together that they were meant to face the storms side by side. And it doesn’t mean that it will be easy. It doesn’t mean that everything is now fixed between them. It doesn’t mean that it is all riding off into the sunset. 

It means that they found what they truly wanted, deep in their hearts, and fought for it even though they knew it wouldn’t be easy. It means that they decided to be stronger, even if they didn’t feel like it. It means that they decided to be brave together because it was worth the fight. 

The End

Songs As Open Notes

Dear Out of the Woods,
Never stop fighting. Never stop flying.

Dear The Best Day,
You are the most amazing person. Thank you for all you do.

Dear Treacherous,
You’re just that.

Dear Mirrors,
You’re stunning. Just go for it.

Dear Flicker,
There’s nothing I can say to you that I haven’t already said. So I’ll do it this way instead: TS6 Track 10, TS4 Track 9, TS3 Track 1, 1D3 Track 7, 1D5 Track 6.

Dear Tim McGraw,
You astonish me daily.

Dear Ready to Run,
I love how close we have become over the last years. Thank you for all you do.

Dear Lose Yourself,
If I didn’t have you I’d lose so much laughter and happiness. You’re the best.

Dear Downtown,
I miss you. You’re so fantastic and I’m eternally blessed to know you.

Dear Dance Off,
Gosh, you’re incredible. Thanks for existing.

A Different Kind of War

A Different Kind of War

It is a different kind of war we wage when it comes to love. For in finding our center of gravity we also let go of everything that ties us to the floor of certainties. We don’t realize how many puzzle pieces are missing until we find the soul who owns them. Within this completion is a sense of peace unheard of. Within this wholeness dwell the innermost truths we never dared to whisper out loud, but only dreamed we would actually feel someday. And within this orb of unheard truths we step forward together, hand in hand, heartbeats syncing. We don’t know what is around the blind corners, but nevertheless, we do not let go of each other. Because if nothing else we have discovered that the world makes no sense if we aren’t together.

It is a different kind of war we fight when it comes to love. There are monsters behind those corners, and they attack our orb of pink gold light with weapons made of shadows. But I will fight back to back with you against these attacks and the dark places, those innermost truths my weapon. And if our light sputters and we lose some of the battles, we still press forward hand in hand: always stronger together. Perhaps a day will come when I am not strong enough to fight. When thick gray fog rises to obscure the intricate ties that bind our hearts and souls together. If this should happen, please find me again, and hold me in the home of your arms. Until the beat of your heart beside my ear heals all of the broken parts and makes all of those ties even stronger.

It is a different kind of war we face when it comes to love. As we continue forward we will glimpse peaceful cities and rolling fields so vibrantly green, and perhaps we’ll jump into rivers and dry off again under brilliant rays of sun. We will not always have to fight shadows and monsters. But if a day comes when we enter a dark wood and you should lose your way, remember that I will find you. Or if you find yourself facing an impenetrable wall on all sides, know that I will not stop until I conquer the wall brick by brick. And if it should happen that you fall inside yourself, trapped at the bottom of your soul, never forget that I will always reach for you and pull you back towards the light. One day there may be problems I cannot fix. But I’ll hold you as close as I can while I fight ghosts that haunt you. And keep you safe until morning.

It is a beautiful kind of war we declare when it comes to love. And we know it isn’t a constant war, and in the end, the plenty will outweigh the famine. Perhaps there will be days when I wear a white dress that tickles my feet, and we’ll visit hilltops or orchards of apple blossoms. Or perhaps we’ll find a peaceful library with a nook containing just enough pillows. You’ll read something French and I’ll stick to the Postmodern. And the days like this will make it easier when the white turns to red, and we find ourselves in battle again.

I visited a cathedral once. And saw rows of standards taken into battle. Flags that had seen so much death, and had somehow made it home. Now they hang in places of sanctuary and God. A testament to their victory, to the preciousness of what the fight was for.

Phoenix

Phoenix

There was a girl who stood
at the top of the world
we all watched her rise
and some of us were happy

She stood there and glittered
clean and untouchable

And then one day the world turned
and she fell from that place
we watched all the glitter shed
off of her like skin

None of us were there when she
hit the bottom of the sky

I thought about her often
and wondered about her death
If it had been white, red, or black

White like a soul escaping
stretched thin by its separateness
and burned away before the sun

Or crimson red like a broken heart
stuck in a pattern of beats
until it surrenders to the silence

Though perhaps it was black
like the souls of men who put flowers
on the graves they’ve created

But maybe it was none of those
and it was only gray

Gray like the ashes of an explosion
that was so beautiful
it killed everything to live

I think those ashes covered her
becoming new glitter
trying to convince her
of her new place in the world

And for a very long time after
we could not see her

Out of habit, we looked for her skyline
and all the lights were gone
we wondered about the aftermath
what would be there
if the ashes ever left the sky

I imagined a ring of fire
around the crater where she lay
and her eyes were closed
below the costs of ash and smoke

But one day they opened
and they were full of so much fire
that all her condemning flames
shuddered and withdrew from true might

She rose from the crater
brushing ashes and glass off her skin
like words that didn’t matter

with every step that she now took
across her new wasteland
a hot wind blew at the edges
of a once blue dress

She reached her hands high above
to a limitless sky
empty of the reels and negatives
while she declared,
“You don’t need to save me.”

And the world grew back

Instead of a mountain where she stood
it was a wide plain
wide and free

To this place she rose
and here she will rebuild
something much more beautiful
than all the shattered lights