So, Um, Yeah: A Spoken Word Poem

October 5, 2017
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So, I was talking to my younger sister a while ago.
It’s a common thing for us now; every night at eleven thirty,
when sleep begins to usher my eyes closed,
my sister comes into my room,
sits down on my bed,
and talks to me for hours at a time.
Having them earlier would make too much sense.
It’s like I am her instruction booklet,
she can put herself together just fine on her own,
but every so often, she looks to me to make sure
she doesn’t catch the house on fire.
But when we were talking that night,
she looked at me and said,
“Hey, I’ve been feeling alone lately.”
Just one sentence about it
before she moved on to something else,
but something made it stick to me.

You see, ever since the second grade,
I have lived with the knowledge that
for seventy-five percent of my time on this planet,
I am going to be alone.
Yes, it’s depressing to think about,
but in all honesty,
I don’t think about it
so much as ask about it.
My head is full of questions,
questions that I cannot find the words to.
I force them to stay at the back of my throat
whenever I open my mouth because at my age,
I should not be asking people if I can sit with them,
my eyes should do that for me,
and, more importantly, I should not be asking myself
how to put that question into words.
Conversations are not my strong point,
in fact, when one looks at me in the eyes,
I turn and run in the other direction.
I hide behind words like “so”, “um”, “yeah”,
because it is so hard for me to open my mouth
for any longer than one syllable.
Words like “hey!” and “sure!” and “cool!” and “great!”
all come so easy for me, but when you string them together,
things like “I’d rather not,” and “wanna hang out this weekend?”
and “that’s not true at all, you’re beautiful”
and “I appreciate you so much more than I can show you,”
all seem to seep into the same thing at the end,
meaningless like the tip of my tongue, “so, um, yeah”.

I guess you could say that it comes
from my lack of experience.
I am not a social person.
Anything involving three or more people
is an automatic segue into an excuse.
But excuses should not be carved in the spaces
that are reserved for responses,
but lonely is a scribe deaf to what I tell it to write,
it is a vitamin I down three times a day with water,
morning, evening, afternoon,
but I am so worried that that pill will dissolve into nothing but water itself,
something I need in order to survive, but
something that is dehydrating me of human connection.
I am not supposed to relate more to questions on a computer screen
than an actual human being. I should not be up until three in the morning,
letting insomnia hug me from the inside as I search and search and search and search
for autism tests because this is not normal,
and suddenly, everything has turned into an ocean,
too vast for me to see the land on either side.
I am lost at sea, but I can’t seem to find it in me
to fire my flare gun, so when I can only respond to you
with a “so, um, yeah”, it is because
we cannot see each other from where we are sitting,
you cannot see me from where you are sitting,
I cannot see you from where I’m sitting,
I cannot see you.

So, um, yeah.





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