My blood runs thin, like that of most broken men. Perhaps I was born with broken heart, requiring me to constantly fill the fractured nothingness. To fill to feel. Feeding my Id at such a startling rate, Freud turns in his grave to write, “I told you so” in his death diary.
I am nothing but basic instinct to form connections. To split blood with brothers out of gashed hands. To kiss the lips of a hundred lovers, unsure of whether to use tongue. I’ve been biting my tongue and pressing it into my cheek. I’m unsure of this thing we call free speech, so I gate the darker thing behind a cage of teeth. Tightening my lips and swallowing the feeling of weakness which goes hand in hand with holding back.
It’s easier to blame some God above for this cursed heart. Maybe it’s insipid, yet I find it more sustainable than blaming my mother or another for not hugging me enough.
I grip my kids tightly, making vows to always be around to grip them tightly. To lift them up when they fall down. To break the cycle. The one that drove me mad.
The doctor says I don’t have a broken heart. It’s my brain that’s afflicted. If only he could feel the weight beating in my chest. Surely then, he wouldn’t jot down the words ‘chemical imbalance’.
The cure for broken brain is little white pills that zombify your feelings.
A CHEMICAL IMBALANCE. Yet, he asks me to answer a question about sexual abuse. Is there a correlation between the chemicals and being inappropriately touched?
I interlock my teeth so as not to scream. The dark truths are worn, tired from being caged inside.
Maybe you feel this way, too. Maybe you identify with these abuses. The dragging ball and chain on your heart. The things we hide behind the words, ‘I’m fine.’
I cling to the idea of predestination if only to have someone to blame. Someone to shake my fist at during fits of rage.
I hug my children tight, giving forehead kisses as I tuck them in for the night. I hope to protect them like no one protected me. I worry broken hearts are genetic, so I give them the little love I have accumulated during this life. Hoping it’s just enough.
Somewhere, waves are breaking on jagged rocks. Sea foam, violently attempting to wash us from this earth. A relentless, tiring, crash, slowly causing limestone to recede back. We baptize in the river, seemingly unaware of our unwelcome presence here.
Wash away my sins and stain the limestone with them.
A broken man.
A broken heart mind.
I’ve been trying to build bridges but they seem to keep burning down as my jilted gemini soul attempts to move along them. They say our hearts are the anchors of the bridge. Maybe that’s why. Whereas I seek out connections due to an attention-starved desire, these people are connecting with heart to hearts.
Maybe I’m too afraid to give mine. I rip off little pieces of aorta to gift to the select few who have yet to grow tired of me. I can’t give the whole thing, the weight would be far too exhausting.
I need a cigarette. Something, anything, to kill me a little bit inside. I don’t want to die with broken heart but, I prefer the slow death option as opposed to living with one. Inhale and die a little inside.
These lungs have never betrayed me, yet their intimate closeness to my heart is why they must be the first to go.
Inhale, if only to die one breath at a time.
My blood runs thin, pumped weakly to gashed hand as I walk bloody through the streets. Arms outstretched, letting it drip and sear the pavement with the words, ‘Love me. Even if I’m not enough.’
I may be needy, broken-hearted, junkie trying to get high on love and lust, but, maybe, just maybe, I can learn to trust in connections built from hearts.
I press the tarot cards against my lips and plead silently for divination. Keeper of Secrets, will I ever learn to love? My Id leaves me aching for gentle touch. I lay the cards out on the table, hoping we are not products of our environment but our environments are products of us.
The sin-stained waves break against the shore.
Briton Underwood is a writer. His byline includes big publications and small publications. What’s important to him are his words, not where he’s been published.