lightening bugs

Before hands lit up so brightly in the nighttime
Holding over-sized lightening bugs
Constantly poked and prodded by intensely productive thumbs

Before worth was measured by smiles in pictures and
How many people witnessed your happy

Before unborn children were made famous,
Posted in black, blurry pictures for all to see
Over and over and over until we all cry

Before the beginning and the end of communication

Before all that, people did not walk around
With black bags under sleepy eyes
With half of their senses blocked off, muted
People did not wince at the sound of silence and boredom
Or the idea of connecting with an actual human face to face
Or the release of raw, real human emotion that meant something

But now we hide
In the dark shadows of solitude
In the shade of our perfectly-polished fake lives
In the closet, away from the others, all by ourselves
Stroking over-sized lightening bugs like they are the only things
That can give us light

As if they are the only things that can save us.

They can’t.

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timeless

time stopped; no one aged; we were teenagers without caution.

while millennials looked at their phones, hardly glancing up,                                        we

looked at the stars and twirled about and danced. we laughed at

how easy it was, how found they were, and how beautifully lost we                       were

we figured out the secret; in those moments none of us ripened

we were flower children listening to the Beatles, we were                                           ageless,

we learned how to stop time before time learned how to stop us;

i thought to myself, this is life, I can feel every inch of my body,                                  we

are on fire, and we were. as the blaze engulfed us, we realized

there was no reason to be afraid, we could still breathe; we                                        were

unbeatable and the flames were beautiful anyway; it wasn’t until

later that I thought of people that didn’t know how to be                                             timeless,

people strapped to the idea that their lives are only valid through

the eyes of others; people that don’t dance, aren’t silly; people                                                we

pitied, for their bodies would only rot and become lifeless, too many

years too soon; void completely of creativity and thirst for life, they                        were

raised with the false notion that the only people who can see magic are                                children.

the point.

i’ll never understand
why the loud makes me want to cry
why labels in grocery stores make me nervous
why I feel alone in crowded rooms or
why my bed feels safer even on perfect days

i could tell you theories
simple guesses about predisposition or childhood
hypotheses I’ve come up with entirely on my own
on quiet nights when the stars smother me and
no one is around to reassure me that I can breathe

i could blame my parents for fighting when i was small
my mom’s mom for choosing alcohol over her or
my dad’s parents for arguing in front of him
i could blame my grandmother’s mother for using
violence rather than love or my grandfather’s dad for
deeming him unworthy or his parents for focusing on war

i could blame the boy at the lake house who went too far
the person who taught him it’s okay to go too far
the person who taught the person before that and
whatever son of a bitch set it all in motion

when I exhaust the long list of people, I could blame
the stars in the sky for making me wonder why i exist
blame the universe crafting this raging ball of chaos
blame God for being as forged as Santa on a sled
blame people who believe in miracles when in reality
some people get lucky and some people don’t

but then I’d be missing the point
which is, there is none
no rhyme or reason or person to blame
no clear cut ‘he did that’ and ‘she did this’
there’s only a planet with people doing the best they can
people being shit on by pigeons and stomping on ants
with no motive other than we are small, so very small

maybe I’ll never know about the loud noises and
why I feel so lonely; maybe it doesn’t matter
one day, a girl might blame me for the things
I did to her, or to her mother, or to her grandmother.
I hope if she does, she stops to realize that I love her even if
I hurt her, and I’m thinking about her in these moments
so far before she even exists, which has to mean something

so maybe people, with their flaws, just don’t know
anything other than crazy, fearful love;
having been pushed out into the world,
told to do the best with what they have
without much to go by. we all seek answers
only to come back empty handed, for there are none

but I’ll tell you this:
I’ve never met a human void completely of hope
I’ve never met one that didn’t love someone or
something, even if it is whiskey or cigarettes.
regardless of what makes us tick,
we all work towards better things;
even with restless souls and twisted minds,
we know hope and love and maybe that’s the point

crash.

she thought about the time at the party in the room that was upstairs,
where she hid, waiting for him and they laughed and kissed and forgot                                    life
and responsibility and that morning would come as they consumed alcohol and
smoked everything they could get their hands on as if life stops, it                                           doesn’t

there was the time in the corner bar with too many cheap shots and too many
beers with people she no longer knew, who felt they didn’t need to                                                wait
for anything in life, not even someone’s body, and before she knew it
there was a basement and she was scared and he wasn’t and                                                      she

gave in to the idea that she had no way out, and after that she was
a little more cautious about guys at parties and the rooms she                                                     thought
about waiting in, all the while remembering times when it was enough to do
simple things like watch movies or build things out of snow, times of down-                                right

naivety, but that mindset turned quickly from a best friend into a worst enemy,
as it created mirages that disguised ugly things as beautiful things, and                                    before
long the beauty turned into a vulture that nourished its body with her purity and
soon she couldn’t get the simplicity back, wasn’t sure if she wanted it; after all,                          she let

the question-less nature of her existence lead her to the mess in first place, so she
gathered her things and planned to leave town and packed up                                                  everything
and left, taking nothing with her to trigger memories, if that was at all
possible, and when she realized she’d never forget, all she could do was                                    crash.

-m.noelle

stay

It’s too easy to remember snow covered cars in parking lots
That sat on a hill housing a castle, where you could
Hear the tallest man on earth sing love songs and
We trekked across the icy campus in snow boots and
Ratty sweatpants with messed up hair and the sight of you
Standing in line for an omelet and me making a waffle
While drinking coffee that was never really warm enough
As we talked about our drunken escapades the night before
And whether the sex was good and whether I would leave
Now or take a nap and dream about what it would be like if I could just
Stay

It’s too hard to remember hot sweaty days when I lay glued
To the hardwood floors in my too big apartment when you were
Busy writing a dissertation and planning spring break with friends and
I was busy writing a tragedy of loneliness and pain and real life
And we fought about things like how much time we spent together and
If we were really in love and we gave into the notion that we weren’t
While screaming and crying and icing each other out with complete silence
Only to return to each others’ arms, giving our hearts whiplash and our brains
Too much to handle at once while we pondered why life was projecting
Us into directions that were opposite and far when all we wanted was to
Stay

It’s too simple now to get lost in both the future and the past
Knowing I’m not glued to my floor in utter heart break and addiction but also
Not pushed by the bitter winter wind into your arms so I could sleep
So peacefully while you watched shows I hated and finally drifted off only
To be woken up by the sound of my laughter or the heaviness of me laying on top
Of you kissing your neck or just breathing in the smell of you;
Rather I see the future without the venomous, screaming insults I let flow
From my rotten mouth that needed so badly to be cleaned but could only
Be cleaned in your absence and is finally clean and controlled by the filter
I decided to install the day you said once and for all that you wouldn’t
Stay

-m.noelle