These three words
I have heard them before

Just because you say
them on the knees of faded jeans
and a frayed heart
doesn’t mean your feet
don’t still know the way out
of a burning room

I don’t want three words
Give me a lifetime of them

Carmen Ye l i shouldn’t have assumed permanence

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When I told you
you were beautiful
I don’t think you ever
quite believed me

But if it counts for something
let me put it in print

You are beautiful
from every angle
in every light
within every emotion

And it might seem strange
to love fractured land
But I have learned
to find permanence in supernovas
monuments in shipwrecks

So here
for days when you sleep alone
and wake up lonely
Let me remind you
you are beautiful

Carmen Ye l beautiful

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The truth
is that I haven’t written anything new
in months

I think my poetry seeped out of this house
the same way your love did
Quietly
Relentlessly

And if you were to walk
through my door again
I’d still be pawing at all the cracks
stuffing apologies and promises
between the window and the wall
Come back to me now
I swear I’ll be better at it
I’ll be patient and on time
I won’t wake you in the night*

And I want to write more
But I am tired of finding jagged
edges in places I thought had healed smooth
Tired of coaxing beauty from ashes

Sometimes I think it’s better I don’t write at all
because I always know what I will find
at the other end

Carmen Ye l your absence echoes so loudly

*sampled from Sonia Rao’s song, In My Room



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All the strength my mother unknowingly, and unwillingly, gave me, the strength she would gladly exchange for a meeker and less ambitious daughter than the one life handed her, has expended itself tonight. And here, in the afterglow of a manic Monday, my chest is heaving and shaking with tension I didn’t know was holding tight inside me. At the time, it was just holding me together.

I didn’t realize how much I had been carrying until someone offered me a place to put it all down.

Carmen Ye

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The first boy is the hardest to get over. It’s just the way the world works. You will spend weeks that drag into years wondering how to say sorry. You never end up doing it. Learn how to apologize for your impact, regardless of intent. You will wish someone had done the same for you.
Carmen Ye l Read more at Thought Catalog (via wordsileftbehind)

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Yesterday I noticed my first stretch marks
as if my body is ripping itself open
I should tell it
there is no need for that
You have done so much damage already
Carmen Ye l stretch marks

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There is an older couple on this tour. They look like they could be my mother’s age. I see the way they hold hands and the way they look at each other. It makes me smile that two people who have seemingly been together a long time could still find this much joy in the act of touching. I tell her they look sweet together. She smiles shyly and says, ‘Thank you.’ Then, ‘I don’t tell a lot of people this, but we have been dating for about six months. My husband passed away from cancer three years ago. His wife passed away from cancer last year.’

I catch my breath. They have both known loss. And yet, right in front of me, is proof that there is hope everywhere, even after a loss as permanent as death. This explains why they act like they are still new to each other.

The tour guide tells me he has ni amistades ni una novia ni familia en Puerto Rico. I ask him how long he has been living here. ‘22 years. I haven’t been in a relationship for the last 10 years.’ I ask him if he is lonely. He shrugs his shoulders. ‘I am thinking about moving back to the States soon.’ Then, ‘Don’t tell the others this. Es un secreto entre nos dos. I don’t want them thinking I’m a loser.’

One of the hostel staff tells me how much his mom makes as a teacher. I say that she must really love teaching to stay for those wages. He tells me she suffered brain trauma from a car accident when he was young. ‘She lost a lot of her memory, and I don’t really remember how she was before it.’ Then, ‘I probably shouldn’t talk about this while I’m drinking.’

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such honest features that invited strangers to open their painful truths. But tonight, even if it is just the alcohol bringing his past to the surface, I do not care. His bright face and buzzcut and beautiful eyes are still real. I would hold his secrets.

Carmen Ye l travel reflections #1

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I have never seen anyone
buy groceries with such intensity
I swear you stared hard enough
to discover the meaning of life
somewhere between the broccoli
and the cucumbers

I didn’t try to understand
your obsession with picking the perfect bell pepper
I was content to know
the same hands that hovered in front
of five kinds of honey
were the same hands I pulled toward me every night
There was nothing indecisive
about the way your fingers
lit my body on fire

Baby, I would burn over and over again
just for the chance to tell you
I love you
and I know that is not enough
to fight off all the ghosts and thieves in the night
but I try to love you enough anyway
to let you know
I see every side of you
every shade of shame you stash
behind the mangos and bananas

But you still believe that I will leave
so you keep buying groceries for one
At least the milk is always honest
It tells you when it will expire

Carmen Ye l the love letter you never wrote me

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The scent of you has not yet left my dreams, and I am tired of convincing myself I don’t love you anymore.
Carmen Ye l the scent of you


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I know that perfect does not exist
and I’ve spent too much time
imagining my body as a roomful of ashes
to trust the fragility of forever
Sometimes I’m convinced all I know how to do
is live in a house wallpapered with loss

Lately I’ve been thinking
I should get in the practice of writing things like
My soul walks on tiptoes around you
or
Your arms feel like a favorite sweater I don’t want to outgrow
These words don’t sound natural
but it’s too late to take them back now
They’ve tasted open air
from where they’ve been lodged in my throat

I know that perfect does not exist
and we may never get it right
But I’ll kiss novels into your neck
and you’ll leave trails of poetry on my spine
until we turn each other soft
in a world that demands hardness

I’m thinking I could get used to you
Carmen Ye l practicing (via wordsileftbehind)

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