Trevor Abes: Writer

Tag: poems

You Owe It All To Yourself

 

Respite

—Liked what you read? Grab a book.

Moving On

When the broken glass of life

Scrapes dead weight from parts of you

You still treasure, gathering the slivers

Is a short path to hypersensitivity 

As opposed to applauding the poetry

Of how long you’ve had your head down

Letting the unfairness nestle

Into the corners of your smile

And bloom into the tender sweetness of a heart

Whose open arms proved insufficient 

The music in your hips newly sprung by bae’s absence

Her face in every woman’s face regardless of age

Stop trying to stop seeing her everywhere

Stop beating yourself up for finding yourself asking

What do you mean what do I mean by love?

Years into thinking the answer was set in stone

Just steep in it and get familiar with how you are 

Too much food to finish for basically everyone

Until someone comes along happy to wrap you up

And save you for delectable exploratory unravelling

Which, for the record, is the opposite of cutting back

To compromise on the tenant between your eyes

—Liked what you read? Grab a book.

Just be Sure

 

The Answer to Dancing is Yes

Everyone has something substantially wrong with them

At brunch, overcast, maybe you decide to say yes

To the adventurous and inadvisable

Further feeding your little infatuation problem

Superimposing your imaginings of things onto real things

Hoping to chisel your vision into actuality

Unmodulated by platitudes and spared the need for gurgled battle cries

 

Then there they are, in your bed

Having just ridden the subway together

From that show with the description that read good enough to attend

 

They say, I watch the news for my safety

You say, I’ve been told goals should be small

Numerous and directionless

To still have life left in them when you run

Out of original mid-life crises

 

You both hold beliefs that would scare the other

Into a different person

But your limbs and ideologies bend

In the same agreeable way

Which is close enough

When what is absent is a game

Whether you memorize an ending

Or you’re your own accomplice

And call it a new beginning

 

You say, so long as I get to flex my perspective

In seemingly insignificant ways, like

How I stock the fridge for midnight ruminations

Gash ice cream with a melon scoop

Knife a pillow to keep certain memories intact

They say, I don’t need confirmation of your desire

To exercise your right to know yourself

If it involves damaging me

I’m prepared for it to happen

Arteest

Leading myself on’s got the old animal instincts shot

But ruminating til your stomach turns inside out

Not really knowing where you’re going is what R&D is

This is why sugar generates sense when shit goes to hell

And death and mindlessness fess up to being family 

When Wipeout or Floor is Lava is on

My latest chance at self-expansion, tarnished 

By a lack of dabbling in evil, disguised

As fun that wouldn’t have been any fun

It helps me heal to think

On a path with space that means I’m independent

Or afraid of refreshing my email every 10 minutes

To see if I get what I want

Playing clairvoyant only if I think I know what you believe

Whether or not you hinge on it to stand out from your chosen throng

To suggest purpose + minimal reverence for inevitabilities 

That can’t be made to wait for rest

Slightly Less Terrible

Digging without treasure doesn’t make sense

There is no moment between yesterday and today

It just keeps going

When I said I hated the incense

And you still let me smoke a cigarette inside because it was cold

I didn’t have the lenses to intuit the presence of preciousness 

When you quit drinking and neglected to call me for a month

And I didn’t give you any shit about it

You mistook my devotion for a sign of low self-esteem

Despite the park sunburns, laundromat ruminations

Elaborate budget-salad meal prep

And diminishing shame for the buoyancy 

Of Burgundy and brie on brioche afternoons

The universe still failed to smarten up to us

To how we stood against going TV test-patterned 

Late at night to clean ourselves of the gunk of the day

Because it gave us something to control and accumulate

When $11.25 an hour felt like a blessing

Even though it made us unfathomable in our critical awareness

As if we were owed interest on our anguish

When that’s just not how fixed income works

The Breakup Suite

It’s common sense writerly wisdom that one’s best work comes from the darkest places. It’s easier to believe in, of course, when everything is fine. When life sticks its foot out and makes you fall on your face, good literature or whichever artistic pursuits get you going don’t seem that important.

So when the love of my life walked out on the world we’d built over the last five years, unannounced, as these things happen, having decided on her own that our ways of being in the world were too different to stay, I was well aware as the darkness crept in and I started to lose my bearings.

Beyond doing everything I could to keep depression and anxiety at bay—reaching out to friends and loved ones, meditating, reading, sleeping and eating well, rediscovering self-worth and self-love as a newly single person—there was still an excess of grief in my chest, enough to not want to accept that an open mind, a shared home, a half decade of shared experiences, a whole lotta love, and an undying willingness to work things out are not enough to salvage things with someone who found a way to be happier and decided they were no longer willing to meet you halfway. 

As the days crawled on, and I learned the feelings wouldn’t so much leave as evolve into something bearable, I stopped beating myself up and ugly crying enough to assemble into my office chair to see what words came out.

The Breakup Suite is a breakup album in book of poetry form. 

It’s poetry for the dumped, or anyone drawn to that wallowing headspace.

It’s also my best effort at letting my former partner go, and unlearning the plans I had to never leave, by channeling leftover sweetness and unwanted nastiness into art that does justice to our time together.

I share it because my deal is creating things, putting them out into the world, and hoping they make at least one person who isn’t me feel less alone. Beyond that, I have no other expectations.

Available now in Print, PDF, and Kindle.

Read some sample poems here, here, and here.

Your copy is complimentary if you’re committed to reviewing the book for your website or any other publication. Use my contact form to let me know if you’re interested.

From the introduction,

“There is only one way to describe this tiny but mighty book of poems: the messy reassembling of a broken heart. If you’re reeling from grief after losing your beloved, and are looking for a little help unleashing pent up emotions, this one’s for you.

Does that mean the poems are merely weepy therapy and free of artistic merit? That’s not for me to decide. All I know is that the vast majority of these lines are about a psyche-crushing breakup, the painfully sudden occurrence and aftermath of which I am better able to live with simply because I have written it all down. My hope is that this reaction from extreme distress to moving on without being haunted by a partner’s memory is somehow transferrable through the poems here contained.

Listen, I know this might sound overly sentimental to anyone who isn’t currently consumed by post-separation emptiness, which is why I’m happy to say that this book isn’t for you. And I hope the time never comes when you need it to help you let the ugly feelings out and let a partner go. What follows is the saddest, angriest, achiest, all-up-in-my-feelingsest set of poems I have ever put together, every one of them dedicated to the romantic who mistook someone for their person only to watch that person leave all of a sudden after years without a chance for negotiation having come to the decision slowly and deliberately on their own weeks or months ago.”

 

10K-Foot View

As I trace a finger down my warped pages

And my schedule’s specks of glass hidden on the tile

Not bothering looks less like tidiness

And more like deferred contentment 

Gotta do it like it’s meant to happen

Watch for feeling good just past ill will

Or persistence, once it gets going

And starts to make things seem smaller

And more manageable than being a brick wall

As a self-preservation tactic 

Blocking all exits and entrances 

With generic Powerpoint as-you-can-see

Sometimes commitment is afraid of getting back 

On its laissez faire bs 

What if it works out? the operative question

To see as I dream

Water falling into a fine mist before it hits the ground

The first time I fell asleep to a television

I was self-medicating for my fear of the dark.

Now I’m more interested in the voices than the light,

The unexplained aches and pains of getting older having begun:

Now I find humility in how bad Earth looks from the outside;

Kinesio tape is something I prefer to keep magical rather than learn about;

Would rather look saturated than nourish another and enjoy my own consumption. 

The suggestion of church organ fuzz in the buses’ revs on my morning walks 

Kneading away the desire to produce a well-written thing nobody can understand. 

I meditate by breaking down boxes to podcasts in a cramped office now, 

To quiet the ripples in my flavoured water tracing back

To copyright documents for the first Jurassic Park movie.

I usually box people between vitamins and kinesio tape,

It’s the molecular configuration of my personal raincloud,

Eroding me til all I really want

Is a newspaper dispenser I can rest my coffee on,

My cut of the sentimental appeal of certain pouty 90s sedans.

You are aware of my sense of wasting away.

Looking for what I want in what I don’t have.

Setting aside all the beliefs I hold because I was told to

Wasn’t as good a look for me as I had hoped.

For the Best

I asked you for regular alone time after our time

My anxiety needed it to properly relax after work

 

I didn’t have the foresight to factor in how that meant 

We’d have less nights to lose track of time together

 

I was thinking about what I needed to feel rested

I wasn’t worried about you no longer making room for my loner self

About each of us winding down the night alone

Birthing a little emptiness in you, slowly spreading

 

I mistook you not mentioning it for contentment

You may have wanted me to seek you out more on my own

 

I’m sorry we weren’t more careful about solitude and socializing 

Our opposing energy sources

 

How I’d ask you more if I could make you happier 

If I had the chance

 

Which would have probably led us to break up sooner

Knowing I can’t rewire myself to share you and be happy

It would have been for the best

An Introvert’s Guide to Falling in Love With an Extrovert

Be ready to let them go. 

While you’re OK with them being your whole world, their happiness is based on exploration.

Remember, they’ll be at their most defensive when they feel trapped while you’re too blissed out on having nailed down a commitment for forever to notice that you’re likely to confuse it with a guarantee and rarely revisit to refortify.

Pay attention to that feeling of dread you get about having to be social for an extended period of time. Now think about them feeling your absence each time you’re not at an outing exploring with them. Internalize the compromise implied here. To stay together, you will have to be uncomfortable for them a lot of the time.

You will have to be that dashing romantic Casanova person more often than you think you need to. Giving each other space is all well and good, but you need to let your person know what they mean to you in more spontaneous ways. 

Palm the small of their back and gently pull them into you when you get home, even though your slushy boots are messing up the foyer floor. 

Touch and profess without formality, breath in their ear, peck on the neck. Let them feel you instead of merely knowing you are there. Make unexpected plans, 

But don’t neglect the need for a backup, a support network that is wide enough for them not to fall into the illusion that they’re almost exclusively responsible for your sanity.

Regularly imagine ways your lives can truly resemble interlaced fingers knowing they get their energy from other people while you get yours from being alone.

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