how to NOT deal with a breakup: a poem series


PART I: “home”

How to build a home in yourself:

DON'T.

Build a house on the shore of your favorite ocean.
Don't let it become a home.
Watch a hurricane sweep
and leap
across the water,
but
don't
run.

Build a cabin in the mountains.
Don't let it become a home.
Feel the earthquake
shake
and take
everything,
but
don't
hide.

Build a cottage in a small southern town.
Don't let it become a home.
Sense the drought that will
make you thirst for rain to tumble downhill
and into your mouth, never filled,
but
don't
move.


Build a home in somebody else's being
and when they leave,
and you're still standing your ground,
watch everything you made
rot
in
ruins.


Then,
after you have been destroyed
over
and
over
and
over
again
and you are utterly

homeless,

build a home in yourself.

Create it in your image.



PART II: “i can't tell if broken hearts are a sign of weakness or a sign of strength”

Though I do not believe in gods,
I do believe in spirits.

You have the spirit of a lover,
no,
a mountain mover,
no,
a god.

I do not believe in gods.
Therefore,
I must not believe in you.

I believe in myself and I believe in the theory
that maybe,
maybe you were holding me back.
Or maybe you were holding me up.
Or maybe you were just there watching me struggle,
and
you never did a damn thing.
You watched me break my wings.
I was trying to fly away.
You didn't even try to say, "stay."

Everything in me told me that you were
good for me
right for me
there for me
never going to last.

Now look where we are.

I am still staring at the stars
stuck in an endless stream of consciousness
whyamisohorriblewhyaminotgoodenoughwhyamithisway,
blamingmyselfforeverythingthathappened.

Halt.

I am not the only one at fault.


There is a light somewhere,
I just cannot see it yet.
I wish I could.
I cannot get
you out of my mind
and I'm trying to be kind,
but
I'm hurting.

Someone told me you've been distant lately,
I can't help but wonder why
or if you cry
like you did on that afternoon
when I stopped believing in
us
you.




PART III: “haikus were going to be my form of fame, and then you left and took that away”

I saw you in my favorite form of poetry.
I wrote haiku
after haiku
after haiku
after haiku
and now all I want is you,
but you're gone
and I can't write haikus anymore.

More.

I should have been more.
All I see is the shut door
that you slammed in my face.
Now I am trying to race
forward.

What am I moving toward?
How did this happen?
When
will
I
love
again?

My therapist told me I should write a poetry book
because I write poems that people can relate to.
I write poems that women in shelters can relate to.
I write poems that people who are going through their first big heartbreak can relate to.
But I do not want to be relatable.
I want to live with my own pain,
under a rain
cloud,
while others live in bliss.
I would not wish
this hurting on anyone.

I wish I had won,
not lost.

I am so lost.

I have learned that everything has a cost
and that even things that aren't worthwhile must be paid for.

For now, I am taking the memories and sticking them in a file
labeled "Do Not Open Until You've Found Love Within Yourself"
and they will probably sit there for
days
weeks
months
years
decades
eternity.

I miss you,
but I only somewhat miss us
and I wish we were together again
but I know this was for the best.

There is a throbbing in my chest.

I ache,
and it's almost as if there was an earthquake
that took my entire world and decided to shake
it up.

Up.

Someday soon, things will start looking up,
or maybe I will.
Maybe that's all I need—to look up.
​The stars might not speak, but they can show me the way.
The sunsets might not sing, but they can help me be okay.

I found you in my favorite form of poetry.
Now, I must remember why haikus became my dearest love in the first place.


PART IV: “i will never go back to you”

I will love you ‘til
Hell freezes over, but I
Will love myself more.


PART V: “it’s really over, isn’t it?”

Sometimes, I think about what might have been.
I wonder whether I would have a grin
spread wide across my face
or whether a frown would have left a trace,
showing the ache in my gut I would have had to embrace.

I realize that for some people, the agony can last forever.
For me, I think there will always be a bit of torment,
but I know that it will lessen with each passing moment.

It’s over,
but that’s okay,
because I am alright today.
There will be bad days,
and you won’t be there to make them better,
but you also won’t be there to make them worse.

Acceptance is the first step to self-love,
and while I know I will end up taking two steps back,
I will always be able to take three steps forward
as long as I remember the place I’m heading toward.
I plan on creating the woman I’ve always dreamt of being—myself.
I realize now, I can do that without you.


PART VI: “denial is gone and i’m left with the pain of what you’ve done to me”

Everything’s a lie, except what’s not.




PART VII: “blah, blah, blah”

Words are meaningless and forgettable.
I will forget all of the syllables you’ve uttered to me,
but I will always remember the way your phonetic statements made me feel.

I’ve had broken bones from sticks and stones,
But your monotonous phrases hurt more than any boulder could.
Your harsh tone was sharper than any stake.
Stake.
What is at stake?
Nothing.
Everything.
Our relationship is over, so what more can I lose?
Nothing.
Everything.
I am writing this poem, wondering if you’ll ever see it.

I thought I had made a castle in myself,
but when you abandoned me,
all I had left was shackles and shambles.

It turns out that I had built a temple from the idea of you.


Part VIII: “in progress”

I am breaking the remnants of the bricks I built in your honor.
I am molding cement into cinder blocks.


Part IX: “almost”

I am almost done
building
constructing
molding
assembling
fabricating
producing
generating
designing
suffering
dying
barely surviving
enduring
this heartache.

Part X: “finally home”

I am more than brick,
I’m a house with a white fence

and gate to open.


Poems by Dharma Gilley
Photos by Anova Hou

2 comments

  1. oh this is Good Content. thank u for opening up and working with your vulnerability instead of letting it work against you. the progress these words illustrated are honorable. all my love

    ReplyDelete