For years, I was having dreams about my first love. He would smile at me, forgive me, be my friend. I would wake up longing for closure. I figured the dreams would fade over time, but almost twelve years later, they began to get stronger. Instead of friendship and forgiveness, the dreams filled with passion. I would wake up yearning for the magnets that had pulsed so powerfully within me all those years ago. That desire would mix with guilt when I’d roll over and see my partner at the time sleeping next to me.

I made a decision to write a poem every time I missed him. So, I did. I expected it to help. I didn’t expect it to have as much of an impact as it did.

A few unexpected things happened. First, I started missing another person—a former best friend, perhaps it’s safe to say girlfriend, who doesn’t speak to me anymore. Some of the poems in this collection are about her. Second, I started to have new thoughts, new emotions. This was surprising. I intended to give voice to what I was experiencing, but I didn’t consider that making art out of my pain could actually transform it. Third, I started to become unhappy with the relationship I was in (to the point that I left). Fourth, I unleashed the passion I felt for my ex-lover into the open arms of the present moment. I got my fire back.

At first, I felt there were not enough poems in The Shades of Missing You to publish it separately. I tried to make old journal entries into poems in hopes of extending it. I tried to amalgamate my other collections into this one.

As I searched through old notebooks from twelve years ago, I found anger, self-pity, and confusion. When I tried to weave poems out of them, it felt wrong, like manipulating a photo to remove the blemishes. What has been written has been written, and the way it was written is sacred. Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with emotions that I can’t write poetry about them. I simply vent onto paper. The poetry comes later to weave beauty out of the pain. It comes when it chooses. Who am I to question that process?

I only found one poem from seven to eight years ago that I wanted to share. That is the first poem—Sometimes. It was originally written as a song. I recorded myself singing it over my acoustic guitar. I emailed it to him. I never got a reply. The apology in it is still real.

When I tried to make The Shades of Missing You into a chapter in a longer book, that felt wrong too, like I was trying to shove these experience into a pre-sized mold. At the end of the day, I decided that these poems had to live by themselves, to tell the special story of healing an old wound and regaining my passion. To me, the experience has been magical, and this book is a snapshot of that magic.

If there’s anything that I can hope to inspire in readers of this collection, it is this: if something hurts, make art from it. You never know where it might lead you.

Table of Contents

The Other Day
Drunk on Memories
Plan B
Spiral Out
Letting Go(?)
Did I Invent You?
Rudely, As Always
I Wasn’t Done
Where Did You Go?
Old Spice
No One Else
Why You Were So Distant
Vaughan Road
Hematite Rings
Cucumber Melon
The Woman, The Wolf
Haunted / Homesick
Your Hands Are Fire in My Dreams
I Want It Back (Even the Ugly Parts)
Do You Ever Google Me?
Recovering From Certainty
I Believed in Magic
Is This Forever?
Dancing in the Rain
Never Quite Gone
The Taste of Grief
Can’t We Talk About It?
The Power / The Fear
I Know Myself Now
Should I?
Do You Feel This Too?
Hear Me
Night After Night
I Believed in Forever
What Is Love?
Come Back
Planet Caravan
Twelve Years Later
I Wasn’t Free
I Want Me Back
I’d Do It All Again
I Tried to Change You
I’m With My Art Now
Fairy Tales
Wide Open
Fear / Doubt
I’m Healing
Your Flaws
You’re Human
You Hate Me. It’s Okay.
Half the Story
That Smile Though
The Only Difference
Did I Smother You?
I Admired You So Much
I Will Love Again
Alive Again
Message From a Dream
Come Find Me
The Black Night Sighs
Glance Back
You Make Me Feel Like Dirt
What I Don’t Miss
Why You Hate Me
I Wish You Freedom
No Regrets
I’m Back
Boats and Birds
Love Letter to the Past
And the Curtain Falls
About the Author

Sample Pages