Soul Machine

gears grind like gnashing teeth
chopping up the bowels of me
blood gushes, thunder rumbles
the soul machine never ceases

once there was a person here
her heart still beat and wind still
roared through dark, damp snakes
the tunnels in her lungs

blood pulsed to a thudding beat
skin warmed and shoulders shrugged
off worries like little snowflakes
sweat glowed, body shivered

the soul machine grunts and groans
scrapes heavy metallic feet on the
icy steel floor, leaking red ink and
words fall to paper like forest leaves

Soul Machine, a collection of poetry, will be out soon. To stay updated on new releases and special deals, subscribe to my newsletter here! -V

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We’ve Been Here Before (I Recognize That Tree)

The number of posts I have written that have something to do with learning to love yourself, or becoming free, or letting yourself grow and breathe and create, are insane. You would think that by now I would have it down…that I would be an amateur expert on this sort of thing. From my posts it might seem as though I have it all figured out and know exactly what I’m doing. I Have Arrived.

Sadly, no. I wish I had arrived. I wish I knew how to do this every day, consistently, regardless of circumstances. I wish I knew by now how to love myself and let God love me and never hit a bump in the road. But what can I say? I am human and humans struggle with this. In fact this is probably one of our biggest struggles, because if we can’t love ourselves or let God love us, we’re paralyzed. Perfect love drives out fear, and lots of other things, so if that is neutralized, then we are neutralized. There are moments of freedom – it’s getting better. But it’s not where it should be.

At the end of every semester, after the chaos ends and I am left alone with my thoughts in the quiet of my room, I find myself having to re-re-learn. Because despite what I might believe and know in my head, I sometimes do still find my identity in the marks I earn. I do still compare myself to others, in academics and in every other part of life. I do still, sometimes, catch myself thinking that I can’t do this, or that I’m not good enough, or not intelligent enough, not pretty enough, not creative enough, not interesting enough, not academic enough, not <insert every positive adjective here> enough.

What is that, even? How dare I tell myself those things? I would never tell my friends that they’re not enough and I would never think that about them. I would have to restrain myself from breaking the face of whoever said that about anyone. So why do I treat myself so badly? I think that most of us do this, and I think it should stop. I think we should decide, once and for all, to believe what God says. Because we believe the other things He says, but when it comes to our identities – when it comes to passages like Psalm 139 – it suddenly becomes difficult to believe Him. But let’s just decide, shall we?

All I know is I don’t want to be 50 before I figure this out. So this is me, deciding.

Have no fear, you will
find your way.
It’s in your bones.
It’s in your soul.

Mark Z. Danielewski