I remember how I felt when I first wrote this poem. Small, dejected and utterly alone. Still reeling from the gut punch of a break-up. That sharp intake of air as you find yourself stumbling to breathe again. The first draft reflected this pathetic thought process. It seemed obsessed with the idea that we would get back together.
For a few weeks I was down. Then one day I realized something. That I would be happy again. With that in mind I thought why not just save some time and be happy now. I started working out. I wanted the man I was to die. He was weak and emasculated.
In his place I fathered myself anew. I began boxing. I imagined the punchbag was me. With every punch thrown I grew at once weaker and stronger.
Six months passed.
I found myself in Istanbul in a non de-script hotel room waiting for instructions. I opened my laptop and re-read what I had written at that desperate stage in my life. I didn’t like it. It felt like the a twelve year old girls fan fiction. I particularly didn’t like the last few lines which felt like a prayer for us to get back together.
I sat in that room and thought of all I had accomplished in the time since she’d gone. I felt good about it. I felt strong and in control. I realized that I never wanted to be in that weak state again.
So I re-wrote it. Giving it an altogether more positive ending.
This poem is about the realization that life is full of change. And positive/negative is based entirely on our viewpoints.
One hundred seventeen degrees,
Forty one minutes,
This is the position of my broken heart,
It erupted out of my chest,
I dived for it in vain,
Hands flung out far in front of me,
But once on the deck,
Just out of reach,
Tumbling over the side,
Into the great expanse of the Pacific.
It landed with barely a splash,
Barely even a ripple,
Leaving only a trail of blood,
And a gaping chest cavity in its wake,
I stood jaw agape watching as my heart,
Fluttered incoherently about the waves,
Like a fish lying on the hot,
Deck of a fishing boat,
Hook still in throat,
Flexing wildly as it tries to comprehend this savage new environment,
Gills violently struggling,
As it tries to stay alive for,
Just one more minute,
Just one more minute,
You have to give me that,
Just one more minute.
But it is to late,
My heart has already drifted to a speck on the horizon,
Massaged by the gentle swells and white horses of the Pacific,
It beats ever slower as it slips beneath the waves,
It begins to sink,
Deeper and deeper,
The sun does not fully penetrate these depths,
The light and warmth of it are beginning to fade,
Even here my heart beats intermittent thoughts of you.
Clinging to those memories like the sun scorched man,
Adrift on a raft,
Clings to the thoughts of survival,
The thought of land,
The thought of anything that is not this salty blue hell,
That is the Pacific
It sinks yet further,
Into the true darkness that can only be found at great depth
The only light now coming from those vicious fish,
Huge jaws snapping at anything curious enough to come within grasp,
They snap at my heart as it sinks further,
Devouring its soft flesh,
Yet still it beats,
My heart is nearly at the bottom of the Pacific now,
The crushing pressure of the sea above,
Has warped it beyond recognition,
Until finally it stops,
Dead on the seabed,
This is where is lies.
This is where it ends.