You didn’t encourage me to write or let me know I could do it

you told me; you can’t spell

you don’t speak any language well

you have split ends and are at times

manic like a dervish without charm

but you’re always on time, good at lifting heavy things

maybe you should organize talented people’s lives

because you don’t have any of your own …

talent that is.

I didn’t listen. Not because I didn’t believe you

Oh I did. I inhaled the knife.

Sometimes the road will hurt like a thousand feet

trodden on your back, weighing your down

but what can you lose? 

Still not speaking any language perfectly

you may hate me … but I?

I send you love and I send you love

because that’s all I have.

I remember the year

I found a rabbit on my window ledge

celebrating six months of not wetting the bed

I had peed into nightmares wondering

if you would ever return, but you never did

though you may be surprised

I gained strength through that pain

even when you think I am weak in my ways

I see the courage in being able to feel

the toughness it takes to love when you are not loved in return

because I still can’t spell and you laughed at me and said

what writer can you be if you don’t know

your pronouns from your iambic pentameter?

Hemmingway. Austin. Oh I can name a hundred … 

But I learned anyway and by then it didn’t matter

because you’d already made your pronouncement and left

your wet umbrella still propped by the door.

I thought of all those souls like me

who were not taught words of light

instead the dark shroud of incessant criticism

who did not learn how to believe in themselves

recalling all the reasons you gave

for why I will always be a failure and a disappointment

then I wrote it down

poured myself onto a page

not always perfectly groomed 

with the savagery of one who has

felt so much and loved so hard

in the glaring halo of afternoon

where yellow turns to indigo

suffusing everything 

momentarily incandescent 

15 Replies to “I inhaled the knife”

  1. Almost from the first line, the chorus of a song played in mind:

    “Oh, well, it’s hard, ain’t it hard, ain’t it hard? (oh, yes)
    To love one who never did love you
    Oh, well, it’s hard, ain’t it hard, ain’t it hard, great God?
    To love one who never will be true?” — The Kingston Trio – “Hard, Ain’t It Hard”

    So true

  2. Thank you so much my friend I so appreciate you. It is words like yours keep me going. This is a true story, I was told this time and time again, and it was hard to believe I should ever dare to write but I am glad I did even if it’s scathing at times, I am glad I tried. I appreciate your words more than (words) can say because it’s encouragement like yours really keeps me going otherwise I would just not bother. Thank you. Thank you very much.

  3. This was such a powerful tribute to the self-doubt writers struggle with – that inner anxiety, dwelling on the harsh words from naysayers that cut us deepest. Brilliant emotive piece!

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