Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Too Much

Been told my whole life in many different ways about how I am too much. I know, I can be a lot. Sometimes the weight of carrying several versions at once is heavy, pokes the tender of my shoulder just enough to crumble me stone cold like a back turn whip lashing its way across the side of my own face with the soft part of the hand that hardened like belt against skin. But there are times when I carry those pieces like a weightless flight of my own heart preparing for take off where wings are not needed. I fly smooth and steady, holding my own with no fear of what lies below and no hesitation of a landing into the mystery of myself, even if it’s means busting through every masked version like a crash that scalps the faces off to turn the view from bullshit to crystal clear. I jump with both feet first, heart leveled with the eye of the sky, soul aimed face down to make it matter when I land like a scrape welcoming a scar that says, job well done. And my well done has two versions with no in betweens, no take backs, no fucking around, because second chances are only words strung together into a work of fiction that doesn’t get to say, sorry for the shit ending. I can be a masterpiece painted with only colors that blend together to swirl in perfection. Or I can be one color bleeding into itself until everything is stained permanent with going all in for the finale of throwing myself to the ground of giving up, while holding this white flag in my hand that says, I gave it all I had… fuck you. I guess you have to be strong sometimes to handle the too much of me that piles upon itself like a mess asking for more. Call me an encore. I am starved. Feed me the applause, it fills me with more empty and I can binge on that shit like a drug that loves me back too much to quit. Stick me straight in the vein, flow through like love waiting on the banks to meet the river where there’s a promise drowning to mean it. I’m not a strong swimmer. Been known to drown a few times before realizing my feet can touch bottom. Well, it’s hard to remember the bottom when your mouth is filled with tasting the top. It’s not easy to keep your feet on the ground when your hands are in the air most of your life, begging the sky to keep you safe and it never does. So you learn the art of empty conversations, school yourself to stop waiting for an answer back and worship the sound of your own voice that breaks the silence like religion. Because you know that’s the only thing that ever proved itself. You. You fucking proved yourself to you when the room broke itself empty to shove dark down your throat so you could taste it. And you tasted it because that’s all there was. We take a bite of anything when we’re hungry, swallow it down like a cure and swear on it. A cure like that only swears like time does to stop for you. I don’t swear on anything anymore. My hand doesn’t fit the cover of the book enough to call it a promise. Crossing my heart always did end up making me bleed in some way and I try to stay away from anything that promises to be something it’s not. I don’t like gardening. I’m not one to plant seeds for anyone and hope they bloom right to match colors I can grow in. But your garden is pretty. Go grow there. I like the garden of my own, even if nothing blooms. The sun doesn’t owe me anything. I mastered the way of making my own light, do what I want in the shine, even if that triggers the dark sometimes like a dare to play with the fire of truth and that’s a flame offering a sure burn. But I accept the challenge of anything that tries to warm my cold better than the proof in the way my own hands lend a blanket to keep my bones from growing into the bitter of where rigid sleeps well. I have learned a lot about myself over the years, made friends with all the different versions of my too much and not enough. It’s a valuable lesson when you finally master the knowledge in knowing you are the perfect dose of enough, and your “too much” is only the light reflecting across the surface of someone else’s “not enough.”

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


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