When I Put It Into Words

A haphazard poem of varying rhythms and questionable rhymes. What a perfect metaphor for twenty-eighteen.

If I put it into skies, January was a late sunrise.
The air was warm and silky sweet and every smile another treat.
But dawn never came until it was too late
To see what had ended on the road.

If I put it into skies, January was a small grey shroud.
Clouds resting on table tops and scratching names into a rock.
The air a mile above the sea was cold and calming as could be
And what was meant to be a start, was a parting pawing at the heart.

But it was cool, and calm and bright
And in a week the seventh came
The fresh start that we all had craved
Arrived with only small delay.

If I put it into rings, February was a copper thing.
We saw it gold but slowly fade to silver under retrograde.
And when infinity fell off, the band underneath did too
And suddenly every fear I had, was finally coming true.

If I put it into rings, I tried to fix that broken thing.
I spent a day looking for glue and trying in vain for it to stay.
But music on the grass foretold that I had a bought a smart fool’s gold
And no matter what dreams you tell, some rings can’t be mended that way.

But it was light and it was new
And although gnawing on the mind
I brushed those broken to the side
And carried on my way.

If I put it into nights, March was one full of surprise,
Of revelations – foul and fair – and twisted ways of getting there.
Of music – loud but kind of sparse – of skipping school and cutting class
Of sitting on a couch in tears, fed up with crying to your ears

Then someone sat me down and said
“It’s better not to look ahead”
Horizons change and so will you
Just live here now and that will do

If I put it into a haze, the whole of April was a daze
Dying hair and cutting dresses
“Eighty days until” confessions
Cleaning houses, selling cars, packing up, the first of lasts

If I put it into boxes, in May they took it all away.
We found some humour in the papers, but it was scary all the same.
I stood in front of kitchen counters in a house that was stripped bare
And lay in other people’s lounges watching TV, biding time
Waiting for a room that’s mine.

If I put it into cards, in June they all declared farewell.
Friends all wrote their hearts out for me, hugged me and said “bye Chanel”.
I sipped a coffee late at night and hugged a cat that wasn’t mine
And didn’t think about the grave we’d leave behind in a few days

Candid Polaroids will tell the story better than I can
Friends will tell you I had never been as strong as I was then
I can tell you caffeine at twelve will keep you awake until three
And even though goodbyes are sad, you can taste them bittersweet.

If I put it into timezones, in July I lived in two.
Physically at minus four, emotionally just add six.
I explained my whole life journey, four times over to the kids
Who sat with me in summer school as I took up a SparkNotes quiz.

If I put it into songs, August was just Taylor Swift
Flashing bracelets, tank top merch, changing missed lyrics ad lib.
Fireworks and giant snakes and Shake It Off – a family groove
Clapping until my hands were raw and cheering on her every move.

One night so incredible can change your outlook on the world
And so far I was feeling bleak but it picked up the following week
Mind over matter – it really works – missing doesn’t have to hurt
Here’s a tip from me to you, when building furniture for your room
You’re going to feel really proud if you grab all the tools and do it yourself.

If I put it into a bus, September was jam-packed at eight am.
I sat at empty tables, a sign on my forehead “new girl in town, come make a friend”
Texts from down south asked if I’d done it – reality’s easy if you’ve never known
The paralysing fear of introducing yourself, the shocking comfort at standing alone.

If I put it in filters, October discovered a way to make my pictures look like old film.
I got three books signed – I still need to send them – I finished a diary that took four months to fill
I bought plants and carved pumpkins and had a cold once
And if we’re summing it up into a rhyming line, October you were a pretty cool month.

If I put it into birthdays, November wasn’t mine
But it was Dad’s and it was Paige’s and we had a good time
Watching movies, eating cake, pointing out cat cameos
It flashed on by, the Thursday of the year, you watch it come and watch it go.

If I put it into titles, in December I was crowned the Dancing Queen.
Ubers, shopping, flu on my birthday, presents, pictures, seventeen.
Journalling on weekdays only, wrapping gifts up under the tree
Christmas, blog posts, skating, snowfall, a week of limbo, new year’s eve.

If I put it into writing, twenty-eighteen you were a mess.
If I put it into writing, twenty-eighteen you were actually the best.
You didn’t go the way I planned or wanted or hoped for a year ago.
They say the best things in life are surprises – there are lots more surprises in store I hope.

You were crazy, confusing, chaotic and cold.
You pulled yourself out from under my feet.
Of all the things I lost on you, I lost control in twenty-eighteen
But I found it again, in the little magics, the smell of the air, the overlooked scenes.

I’ll try not to lecture, I’ll try just to breathe
And let midnight wash this year off of me
The last twelve months, thank you for them
The way that they chased after me in their herds
Twenty-eighteen, you were rich with life
When I put it into words.

4 thoughts on “When I Put It Into Words

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