Late at night, bored and melancholy,
I ask myself the age old question;
Are we tortured because we’re artists?
Or are we artists because we’re tortured?
An angel came into my dreams one night,
Placed her hands on my shoulders,
She told me she was giving me a gift,
I felt a spark of ignition in my soul,
And it spread out into my fingers,
Into my voice, threatening to overflow,
Overwhelmed and overstimulated
I futilely tried to give it back to her,
It’s not a gift I want, I told her,
And not one that I know how to wield,
She gave me a rueful smile, her eyes sad,
It’s not a gift anyone wants once it’s theirs,
But it could help someone one day, she told me.
I find myself holding a pen as if it were a needle,
Unstitching the seams that hold me together,
And the darkness pours out of me grotesquely,
Staining the page with every feeling I know,
Until I look in the mirror every morning,
And feel like the smile on my lips is distorted,
I know I’m not entirely happy, known it for awhile,
But the proof feels like too much, unnecessary,
Yet I tie a bow and call it entertainment,
I tell myself I write so I can tap out the well,
But if there were a bottom I’d have found it by now.
It’s been seventeen years and I’ve come to find,
That this writing thing might just be a necessity,
Or maybe a compulsion, depends on the day,
Because if the feelings were locked inside of me,
I wouldn’t know what to do with them,
But I also don’t know that I felt things quite so much,
That I let everything touch me the same way,
I was a lighthearted child, you can see it in the pictures,
I smiled like it didn’t cost me anything,
And I’m not any less animated now as an adult,
But I create space I don’t even want between people.
The angel told me I’d help people and I don’t think I have,
At least not by writing, maybe it was a lie all along,
It’s a horrible thing to admit but I don’t want to help people,
My ex told me I saved his life one time,
And the worst part was I felt fucking empty,
Not because I’m not glad that he’s alive,
I just don’t think that had anything to do with me,
And whilst I don’t think my life has meaning,
I want to believe it does so that I have a reason,
A reason to leave my house in the mornings,
A reason to smile that’s not imposed by society.
It’s too hard to think of this as a gift,
It doesn’t feel like one anymore, if it ever did,
And it’s a pretty shoddy one at that,
You’d expect that if it were actually a gift
I’d use it a whole lot better than this,
Maybe I can get others to feel what I do,
But who the hell does that help?
None of these questions have an answer,
But I look at the work of other people,
See their sadness vibrating off the page,
And I just can’t help feeling we’re all the same,
We feel and we write and we hope,
And we mostly do it because we need to,
We desperately hope this is a talent,
Because then it might actually matter.
© Richela Rosales Maroto 2018