Come Tell Me Your Story

The world has been a tough place lately. (Understatement.)

I undulate between opening up wide and trying to absorb everything, listening and trying to learn as much as I can, and just shutting down because it's too much.

I think it's important to do both. How are we ever going to grow in ourselves and in our understanding of other people if we don't listen to what they are going through or have gone through? Everyone has his/her/their stories and we must be ready to hear them. 

But in hearing them, so much evidence of hatred seeps through with it. A straight smack in the face for people who have largely been able to live outside of it, and how others can be so goddamned cruel. If I cover my ears I could just go on believing that most of the world is good, but that does not do a service to people who have been affected as deeply, daily, as they have. 

And so I keep wondering, How do I help? 

I hear so many different responses: Speak up. Say nothing. We need you. This is not your fight. 

And so I am often rooted into "inaction" because I fear doing something "wrong". That whatever path I take will inadvertently add to the clamor of instability, misunderstandings, and/or injustices. 

I have never been so worried about this before because acts of love were always so straight-forward to me. I felt most people could see that I desperately try to come from a good place. But now it seems like acting or speaking from love is harder to identify because of all this other shit going on, because maybe it isn't enough right now, or because things are just much, much more complicated than that. 

Before, I often said I don't care if you are black, white, gay, straight, Christian, atheist... and this came from a good spot. In that I wanted people to understand I saw, and still see, the humanity in them. But I understand that, because of these differences, people have had experiences I haven't. And this is important to me. It is. 

So, I just want to say I am listening. I am listening and I promise I am trying. I am trying to open myself up and hear you and understand how people can be so cruel to each other without letting it destroy me or you or this entire word. I want to believe it can get better. And maybe some day I'll have the courage or the wisdom to start speaking out, but for now, I am listening. And I care.

I do.

Come tell me your story.
Tell me your dark nights,
tell me your dreams. Of the
hidden scars
that live inside and
under your skin,
behind the edge of your teeth,
in that gentle place of your heart.

Come tell me your story.
Tell me how it has colored
your world,
tell me over and over, in dark-veiled conversations,
in the bright unashamed eye of day.
Tell me until you have said everything
you’ve needed to say.
Until we, all of us, are a blindingly
beautiful swirled mass of fabric and paint,
patterns and shapes and shadows
and words and hands  and hands and hands in careful graze,
together. Different, you and I,
and the same.

© s.e. carson <3

POEM: Take Your Fear

Dig through your chest,
take out your fear.
Shine it with your breath and cuff and
put it on your desk—
right there, in the middle.
Wait for slow-drawn Helios.
Then, the flecks of light it renders?—
take them. Gather them in the crook of your arm—
cascading bouquet of noonbeams.

Use them to build your own damned chariot.

© s.e. carson 

POEM: Everything You Need Is Already Inside You

There are no tools of man
for cleaning out
the gutters of the mind.

It comes after,
long after,
the smothered labor
of foundation,
and its undoing. 
Because the past has settled and held
you forever, you see—
so how are you to know
you stand on snake coils
and poisoned rods?
How are you to know there
are better things
than these faded crosses.

But after that
after the arduous and surreal revelation,
the excavation
of childhood
which fell and was forgotten
beneath a front porch
June fray of correction,
you realize
roots have grown
in your heart
(they can wriggle through
stone, you know.
I know because
my heart was once stone).
And it
is only when
you pull those up
like a vine,
leaving chasms in your body
where water rushes in,
when your soul has been gutted
by exhaustion and
your heart
has been purified
and partitioned
to a prototype,
when you think
it is finally finished,
is when you must dig
your knees into the dirt
and scrape away the last bits of muck
with your goddamn hands.
there are no tools of man
for cleaning out
the gutters of the mind.

© s.e. carson


Inside an Obsessive Mind: Pie Poetry Edition!

First Christmas that my lad and I
will be apart from kin,
so I brainstorm something special
to keep the season in:

"I shall make some yummy things!
Like all the grown-ups do!
A turkey! Stuffed with stuffing!
And smashed potatoes, too!"

I stopped just short of "Vegetables!" -
hot damn, was that one close.
I may be faux grown-up-ing it
but veggies are still gross.

"PIE!" I yelled at very last
though I knew it since the start.
"Pumpkin and delicious!
And spiced to warm the heart."

So Christmas crept in tiny paces
until its Eve arrived
and I mixed and poured and baked
and soon a pie was pied.

"It's good." I said after a bite,
the fork still in my hand.
"But it's just not right 'enough' I think."
And that's when it began:

"I will make a new one!
To make it how I must!
New custard and new sweetness!
A new and flaky crust!"

'Cept two pies, although good,
might make digestion skewed;
"I could toss the first", I thought,
"but I don't like wasting food."

"Give slices to our neighbors then?"
But that was weird as well -
'Here is half a pie, new friends!
Aren't we friggin' swell?!'

"Accept it, Me!" I told myself.
"It's not a big 'to do'.
Love and friends are all that's right!"
And I know this through and through.

But minds are silly, funny things.
And mine the most of all -
Stuck in little endless thoughts,
looped and imbecile.

So here I am, I'm wide awake,
with options all repeating.
None of which'll fit just right
but none of which are leaving!