Posts Tagged ‘loneliness’

Like Monopoly. Because you always ended up landing on Boardwalk

where the red hotel meant you owed two thousand dollars

and all you had were mortgaged railroads. Or like checkers,

because really, what was fun about moving small plastic disks

diagonally and hearing the other kid say, “King me.” And soccer?

Only because your mother made you because she wanted

to be coach. You did want to play school, but no one else did,

so you were the principal, the teacher, the student,

giving yourself homework, grading it yourself. Writing in red

in your best cursive at the top of the page, “See me.”

You didn’t want to play basketball, because no one else

ever chose you for their team. Even though you were tall.

And you were chosen last for volleyball, too. And t-ball.

And Red Rover. And dodge ball. Is it any wonder your favorite

way to play was to visit the junkyard and find treasure?

Or to walk along the lake to look for flowers and worms?

Is it any wonder you learned to love playing alone

in quiet rooms with an empty page and a pen?

There was no way then you could have known

that it would save you—no, you just thought

you were playing the only way you knew how,

walking through the only doors

you knew how to open yourself.

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Sometimes there’s enough joy

in the day that the you who is afraid to be alone

and the you who loves to be alone

and the you who is never alone

and the you who is always alone

all sit at the same table

and share a glass of wine

and though they say nothing

they nod in easy agreement

and wordlessly toast

to each other’s health.

The wine tastes of sunshine,

of yesterdays, of giving up,

a sweetness they can’t name.

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Loneliness is still time spent with the world.

—Ocean Vuong



It would be easier if loneliness would come to me

like the angel that wrestled with Jacob,


if it would slip by night into my tent

and rip me out of slumber,


force me to be awake and alone, but

there is no room in my tent.


I have already invited the circus.

We stay up all night and dance,


me and the tigers and fire breathers.

We practice swallowing swords


and how to best stitch

new feather headdresses


and red-sequined capes. All night

the ringmaster announces


the next act and the next, and

though my eyes would droop


and my body would sleep

and my heart would have time


for mourning, I force my dimming self

to clap as the clowns yet again


climb out of their tiny car

with their garish grins—


how could there be so many of them?

with their horns and their tricks


and umbrellas and balls—

so many clowns that loneliness


has no chance to slip into this place

where I entertain endless acts that prevent


me from wrestling, from asking,

please, to be blessed.



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One Wandering





before seeing the bush

the scent of a wild rose—

the crow and I alone together

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One Unfillable




still hungry

the thousand thousand mouths

of loneliness

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there are blessings,

though they are wrapped

in sandpaper—

perhaps by now

your fingerprints

are nearly erased

perhaps you’ve noticed

how this

is the gift

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Even though I know you don’t read poems,

I want to thank you for calling me last night

when your living room was too big for one,

when all the ex-lovers were somewhere else

and even the kids were gone. Thank you

for calling me to say how alone it is.

For half an hour, we were alone together,

weeping and laughing in our separate rooms.

Just tonight I realized I do not know how gravity works.

Something to do with mass. And distance.

How much of what rules us do we not understand?

The vase falls and it breaks. We know that and learn

to be more gentle with our hands. It’s more

out of habit than true understanding. Our loneliness,

too, is a kind of a rule that we spend our whole lives

trying to change, but it is always there.

Eventually we come to see that everything

will be taken from us. Our aloneness is all that is left.

It is only frightening until it is not. Then it frightens us again.

Thank God we are here to explore it together,

this alarming lack of anything to hold onto.

When we say goodbye, it is gentle. We both know

what it feels like to break. There is too much at stake

not to love each other, alone and distant as we are.

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morning alone

my heart a yodeler

hoping to hear

your heart

yodeling back

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The scholars argue if it were a box or a jar.
No matter. She opened it, Pandora.
It was a gift, and she treated
it as such. And what does it matter
how quickly they spread, all the evils and ills
the gods gave to humanity? The point is
they spread. All Pandora did was lift the lid.
I read today that a red blood cell
can make a full circuit of the human body
in less than 20 seconds. Of course I wanted
to give it a name, that theoretic cell.
Like loneliness. I could imagine it rushing redly
through every part of my body, infusing all tissue
with its terrible news. You’re alone,
it says, you’re alone, you’re alone.
In a minute, I’ve heard it enough
to believe it, though other red cells
sing a different tune. Sometimes
in the face of loneliness, all other
songs turn to sand. I’m lonely,
I say to my lonely reflection,
and who will hold my hand?
And anger appears from behind
the vase. And pride shows up
beside the door. There is a box
somewhere inside me. I don’t remember
opening it, but the lid is long since gone.
I, too, was gifted with curiosity.
You were a gift, I say to anger,
you were a gift, I say to pride.
But I am too tired to believe it.
I watch myself as if my life is a movie,
watch the loneliness make its rounds inside.

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I Pushed Him Away

I pushed him away
until the loneliness in me
recognized the loneliness

in him, two awkward birds
still afraid of sky

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