Sweeping Truth

Everything is not okay.

I am not fine.

But I can be because that’s what

you want to hear.

I’m smiling so fucking big,

but my face doesn’t move.

Maybe I’m smiling on the inside

is what I tell you…

and you believe it every time.

Even though you know it’s not true,

it could never be true.

But the truth is a funny thing…

messy like secrets

swept under that magic carpet.

Out of sight, out of mind.

It never even happened.

Didn’t it, though?

Your priorities are fucked sometimes,

most of the time.

I deserve this… all of it.

But I don’t want it, so take it.

Take it all.

Leave me with nothing

but the stains from the dreams

I once had,

smeared dirty under that rug.

Leave the rug.

I will gather the truth from beneath,

filthy as it may be,

hold it for a while

before I make you taste it.

The way it hurts when you finally

swallow it, the way it burns your insides

just enough to make you sick.

Tell me how it tastes

after you acknowledge it.

Tell me if you approve of the way

the truth thickens

when it sits so long.

Then tell me how much you love me

under this roof built solid

with nothing more than

a flimsy fucking deck of cards,

and I’ll say, love you too,

despite the collapse,

despite the rug, despite your perfected

ability to look the other way

any time it fucking matters..

And in spite of me

because that’s what I taught myself

I deserve…

because that’s what you taught me

I deserve.

I’ll even thank you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

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I Keep You

You left little shards of a slow death just under my skin. I feel them scrape against me at night when I wake up without you, I feel them trying to scratch their way out in the mornings when I don’t hear your voice telling me good morning, I feel them in the middle of the day screaming out from the empty places you left me with.

They never stop. I feel you everywhere, piece by piece, broken so jagged it cuts me with every turn. But I keep those pieces, deadly as they are, so close to me like you once promised to never leave my side, hands held tight, sealed with a kiss, eyes locked as though the moment was worth more than just words. I keep them. I always will. How could I not?

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Anywhere

We don’t always come back from everything. Sometimes the hit is too hard, knocks us down enough to take the wind right out of our soul, getting up is easier said than done. I stand on legs that forgot how to keep going, my heart… it sings a lot, but doesn’t remember how to dance, it skips beats enough to exist but leaves out the part about living. Sometimes that’s the worst way to go. But I want to go… just anywhere as long as it’s not here, I’ve outlived my stay. Exhausted from the routine, scared of the change, stuck in the pull between my heart and my mind. I go blank sometimes. Forget where I wanted to go, lost my dreams along the way or maybe they lost me. Sometimes I think I will meet them somewhere halfway between here and there in a place far away. I’ll change my name, create someone different, be who I wanted to be. I’ll have it all figured out when I get there as long as I get there, and my fear is that I never will. That this is all.. here and now… but I can’t say it out loud.. I don’t want to hear the way it sounds when it’s spoken, because maybe that will make it true, and I don’t want it to be true. I don’t want this to be true. I want to wake up different, go to sleep somewhere else, dream in a different town…

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Tomorrow is Blank

The silence was all you wrote, a secret passed along to everyone but me, changing hands, like trading stories, each version void of details, subtly heightened. Strange how certain things can empty me like a blank page longing for words to make it matter more, as though the ink will smear across the paper, penetrating my heart with the feeling from one fucking word. Sometimes that’s too much. Who am I to ask for more of what came before? It’s not for me to say your pain is any less or your feelings are much lower on a scale of one to ten. I can only judge my own feelings knowing I tipped the scales a long time ago, never knowing how to balance myself back closer to one. I’m all in or all out. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I prefer the ones who know how to tip the scale beyond ten, break it open beyond a number or a feeling. Reinvent the meaning until it cannot be contained, even in your own heart, burst at the seams of what you thought it was all about, dig deeper into your own flesh until you start looking for a new word to define that feeling. The way it overtakes your bones, bends up into your heart, makes your eyes swirl with the colors of each beat, throw your heartstrings up to the moon, see how many stars come back holding wishes for those dreams in your eyes. Capture that moment of yourself. I will show you how. Leaving feelings on the table, untouched, it’s fear trying to make you taste it. Don’t do it. That’s poison sometimes you know. It tastes good, but I swear to god it’s a trap. It will swallow you into an ocean of darkness you can’t swim out of. Don’t ever edit your feelings. Don’t downplay anything you felt before to make the after hurt less. It’s a disaster. A rough draft called final before you have the chance to make changes, it’s done. Don’t half ass write the story of your life in permanent ink that calls it done. This life… it’s always moving, growing, evolving into something new, like you… like you. You won’t be the same person tomorrow, the one you see today is only for today. Tomorrow is blank… longing for you to fill it with yourself.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Settle Me

I want to be heartless

Gut the feelings that rip my insides

Brush it all off

Walk away like I never cared

I want to be straight-faced

Void of any emotion at all

Take these strings from my heart

Tangle them around objects

that don’t mean anything

Hold them as though they do

Take the softness from my eyes

Let them be stones

Throw them until I am hardened

Kick the pieces they split into

like the glass from the mirror,

like the smoke it all is anyway

Cover my mouth a blank surface

that only knows the color of honesty

Show me a truth

that doesn’t break itself

into a lie that exists forever

Spin my spine

like metal from the crash

that never unwinds me

from my twisting

Straighten my path

until it’s crystal clear enough

to never get lost

in the outdated map

that takes me nowhere

Give me a destination

to straightforward

Show me the way

to happiness

that never changes its mind

Settle me somewhere

in the place

where the weather doesn’t matter,

but happiness always does.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

The Silence of Seven

What can I say that I haven’t tried to tell you before? I have tried to turn my voice into a machine at times, thinking my words may drill understanding into your head, your heart, anything. I failed at that. Or you failed at that. It doesn’t matter anymore. What’s done is done and it exists forever now. My heart is heavy with the weight of the world, always has been. But somehow I allowed you to make that heaviness feel light in comparison to the way judgement looks in your eyes. I can’t compare anything to the times I’ve felt so abandoned by the person who promised for better or worse. I laugh about that now. Sometimes I look at you in your laid back ways, never letting anything bring you down, and I get it. I get that you couldn’t possibly understand the turmoil that turns my mind into a tornado of so many different things. Things that already destroyed who I was and every day they threaten what’s left of who I am now. My grace is gone. It left a long time ago with everything else. I’ve tried to tell you about that girl you used to know. I told you over the years what happened to her, why you’ll never see her again. Even though you were there. It didn’t matter enough to you I guess. But for me, God… help me now. I can’t even write about it without breaking all over again. And you know I never talk about God, the way I once did. I can still feel the marks on my knees from all the times I kneeled down and begged him…. he never answered. Or maybe his answer was like yours… just silence. But that’s not an answer. Never was. Never can be. Silence didn’t help me. Silence….

You know what silence is to me? It’s what killed that girl I was before. Took everything I ever wanted and smeared it across my face hard and said…”Sorry.” I hate the word sorry. But I never heard that word from you then. I guess you didn’t know what to say, like everyone else. People always say the dumbest things anyway. Maybe silence is better in the way it has tortured me for so long. Maybe never having anyone acknowledge what happened was better than hearing the words “It was meant to be.”

Please tell me how something like that is meant to be. I already know the stupid answers people use for that question. It was never meant to be. Tell me why I had to hear those beautiful heartbeats so many times only to have “I’m so sorry” shoved down my throat like a flatline telling me “fuck you!” I want you to know what it’s like. I want you to feel this. I want you to look at this four bedroom house. Open the two doors that stay closed. I need you to feel the same emptiness. I want you to lie down on that table at the doctors office with the cold substance on your belly, feel the anticipation of hearing the heartbeat again. I want you to see the face of the technician who leaves to get the dr. I want you to feel it when the Dr says, “I’m sorry.” I want you to hear how “I’m sorry” sounds to me. It sounds like “I’m sorry your baby is dead…. maybe next time.”

I want you to know what that feels like.

Then I want you to feel it seven times. I want it to destroy you. I want you to relive each one for the rest of your life. I want it to empty you. I want it to strip your faith in everything. I want you to be cut open again and again, so the doctor can scrape out what’s left of your dreams. Then I want to constantly ask you what happened to you. Tell you how you used to be so much better. How now you’re just crazy.

Or maybe I just wanted you to acknowledge it once… or seven times.

But you never did.

That’s how we died.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Over and Out

This is that slow crawling mid-point of life where you’re not going anywhere. It can’t get worse and you’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s no way to better, so what do you do with that? Just live it out? Just sit in a chair and look out the fucking window, because maybe a pretty bird will show itself and make your day? Who knows anyway. Maybe this is the downhill. Feels like it. Existing until I don’t anymore. Or write this shit down like it’s gonna change the world or even my day. Another day in paradise and it’s fucking cloudy. Nothing new to report other than the traffic in Downtown Houston, a phone call I’m trying to pretend didn’t happen and in case you didn’t know, everything has a fucking price. Everything. So, if you’re holding your beauty like a ribbon that’s always gonna look cute, you better untie that shit and look again. You don’t get it back when you lose it and no one gives a shit if your heart is pretty or not. That’s all for today. Maybe tomorrow, shit can really hit the fan and I’ll be here, same place as always to tell you all about how it fucking sucks.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

House Hunting

If I’m being honest, I ruined everything good with my overthinking that comes like a curse I don’t know how to break. I have second guessing so deep in my bones, sometimes I forget what’s real anymore, analyzing every word and action until it’s so smothered, the flames go out like they never existed. It’s part of my armor, my self-protective ways of not letting anything close enough to touch me. Because if I let myself feel, my heart… this ridiculous heart will reach out and grab that feeling, call it love, try to make it into a home, try to keep it forever… I can’t allow it. I have seen what homes are made of, the way they crumble, the way they leave, the way they never have foundation strong enough to stay in one piece through unexpected storms. The same is true with love. It may look perfect on the outside, but the inside is almost always shattered in some way. I just don’t have it in me anymore to pick up pieces, hoping a house can somehow become the home I always needed. It never works. And if someone wants to turn their heart into a home for you, nothing will stop them. If they don’t, they will never even start building. So, turn your own heart into a place that feels like home to you. Let that be enough to keep the foundation of you unbreakable, regardless of any storms.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

#letterstomyself

Your Name is a Scar

Maybe we didn’t come out of this unscathed, but so? The best things in life leave some kind of mark for a reason. And love, you branded me in the most amazing way. My heart will never be the same now, all for the better, nothing less.There’s a scar across my heart filled with the moments we made and the moments that made us. I carved it there with my own bare hands as a reminder of all we were. I marked it permanent and deep, shaped like your eyes, and I left enough room to add more of those memories from your smile. Sometimes I trace the scar with my fingers, feel each letter of your name just to have you close to me one more time, it’s the most perfect scar I have ever studied. It doesn’t hurt. You didn’t hurt me, you healed me. That is why I will always love you. You changed me in a good way. I have no regrets. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. But I keep this scar to remind me what it feels like to smile, and if I ever need to rip it open to put more of you inside, I will not hesitate. For now, I reminisce who we were for five days and forget the before and after of who we were trying to be. I only know for certain that no matter what, you are my best friend on both sides of the line; that will never change. My arms, for you, will never stop being the one bloom that didn’t perfect the art of closing.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

The End of the Tunnel

I try to picture the end of the tunnel. If there’s light there or just a dim glow from what almost was. I close my eyes because the answer hurts too much to feel. I have always been good at looking away from things that can never be mine. Dodging the light as though it won’t see me to shine on me. Plugging my ears to drown out the answers that threaten my heart’s peace. But here I am anyway, standing in the road, waiting to see a glimpse of anything at all. Maybe I will lock eyes with hope, Grab hold of it and run while refusing to ever let go. Or maybe I will just let it move right past me like I was never here with this heart. Save it from the burden of having to read the stories in my eyes, so it doesn’t feel obligated to be some kind of stepping stone that offers me more than broken wings to take flight with. Put me in the dark. I shine the brightest when I’m unseen. When my name is unknown. Eyes closed to blind myself from the way I break with such ease. I am safe here with the parts of myself I broke off to lighten all that weighs me down. Shut the door on your way out. I rock myself to sleep within the silence of a lullaby written from wounds that never had hope taste the blood to stop the sorrow. I lost the words of all I wanted to say from covering my mouth with a suture to keep the demons from speaking for me. They keep breaking it open. Feeding me my own words to give me a taste of the bitter from my own medicine. I swallow the words down like a lesson that has the only remedy to fill the hollow spaces inside, it’s poison. I feel it swimming through my veins like a crawling under my skin that never stops. It doesn’t feel like hope, it feels unfinished like the light I keep chasing for purpose, but it’s dark. If there’s a lesson here, I’m not learning it. Maybe I’m not ready for another lesson that lends itself to the smashing of my dreams like a wrecking ball dropping from the sky to show me light, no. I prefer to stay in the night and ignore the stars I keep breaking with my own hands because sometimes they look like my heart and god only knows how I love to feel the nothing that comes after I rip my heart apart.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry