I Will Walk Away
I’ll remember that people
are not always safe places.
They’re people, like me.
Sometimes they are traps
that turn time
that burn my tongue
& lodge in my throat.
People can both hold you
& push you away, suffocate with tension & confusion.
& flows like tides
you can neither predict nor chart.
Sisters swear they’ll keep secrets they later blurt out.
Mothers, don’t choose their words with much care:
they slap you with them, unable
to understand your longing
to be something other
than what you are, to be somewhere
other than here, that everything
feels transitory, out of time.
Fathers fall into moods
so dark & long & private
that they lose their train of thought
& sit blinking,
walled in thick dissatisfaction.
Theatrics steal your sleep,
until it all feels like a nightmare,
& you believe
dawn will transform everything.
The Egyptians said the sun burnt up
each evening & rekindled in the morning
—a fresh torch for the day.
You stay up all night to prove it,
star-dreaming. Under all those stars,
you realize the truth
you can barely face
when it is daylight:
You need to break free.
When you are loved, you are less spectral,
less insubstantial, less invisible.
Your body is a tangible thing,
shoulders & arms & hands.
But in unhealthy love: people
engulf you in a drone of
voices buzzing with bad ideas,
until there’s nothing
but chaos in your veins.
Whether you stay or not,
you can love them.
Whether you stay or not,
—people are born, people die,
people eat, drink, sing in the shower,
clip their nails, wipe their asses,
do the everyday things people do
as they live. Petunias nod yes, yes
to the wind. Brown-winged butterflies
mingle, & bees scribble
over the pistils of hibiscus flowers.
The sun shoots black spots
into your eyes when you forget to blink,
while the wind moans
like a low fire.
Jose Armando, I was of the water,
current and undertow,
murky and turbulent:
a channel, an eddy, old, old,
like the universe,
rhythm low and telling,
and flowed with my tide,
walls stretched and buckled,
and you, my Captain,
you felt the upsurge of it all
as you cleaved my currents.
Do you know that Hope
can be as sharp
as a piranha’s teeth?
José Armando, I was in the water:
legs and shoulders burning
through the waves.
I sloshed with the current,
the world in my throat,
rose up like a lungfish,
flayed by sea and wind.
I hoped to emerge,
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Create hope for the future. Paloma is faking it. On the outside, she’s A-Okay. She’s electrified at work, there is a cadence in her step as she walks her dog, she posts memes on Facebook, and she keeps up with most relationships. Looks can be deceiving, however. Inside, Paloma is just going through the motions, and she feels like things are spiraling out of control. But when things are at their darkest, dawn arrives with clarity and focus, and with it, healing. Paloma learns to value small glimmering moments of joy rather than searching for constant happiness, thus building hope for her future.
A manifesto for life. Happy, Okay?: Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival is not simply a narrative spun in verse by a masterful poet. It is an invitation to readers to shake off the stigma and silence of mental illness and find strength in the only voice that matters: your own. It can be an electric roadmap to healing and a manifesto for wholeness.
In this inspiring and heartwarming book, you will:
Understand how to make happiness a decision, even when you don’t feel it in your bones
Find out how to exercise patience and self-acceptance
Attract hope and purpose back into your life