I first began writing poetry when I was in high school to escape the constant and merciless torture inflicted on me by the homophobic monsters I called my classmates. My biology teacher, bless her, let me hide out in her lab during lunch or other free periods so I could avoid whatever living nightmares awaited me in the school hallways, and I began to write as a way to process the agony I was living through.
20 years later, I’m alive and thriving, and I credit poetry as playing a large part in me still being on this planet. Today, I have an MFA in poetry from New York University, and while my job as editorial director of HuffPost Voices makes it hard for me to dedicate the kind of time and energy I’d like to my poetry, I still write ― often to work through confusion or pain or other emotions in the same way I did as a 14-year-old.
Last year, in the midst of a particularly bad bout of depression, I wrote a poem entitled “This Might Not Make Sense Now, But Don’t Worry, It Will.” The poem deals with the strange and devastating feeling of being so distanced from the things that made me happy that, while not being suicidal, I worried that I had become so apathetic about my life that it now held little meaning for me.
After reading the poem, Carina Kolodny, a creative director at HuffPost (and a friend of mine) asked if Ji Sub Jeong, one of HuffPost’s talented multimedia producers, could have a go at animating it, and I was incredibly moved by the poem’s transformation from written word to animated short.
Today we’re sharing the piece as part of National Poetry Month. Check it out above and read the poem below.
This Might Not Make Sense Now, But Don’t Worry, It Will
for Paolo Fanoli
When I ask Paolo how to draw the line between
not wanting to live anymore and wanting to die,
all he’ll quietly commit to is “that isn’t funny.”
I’m worried I worry him.
He says if I ever left him he would keep my body
under his bed and drag it out once a day to remember me,
prop up the less and less of me that’s left of me
and remind me of the world I left behind me — just look!
Some people can wake up every morning, open their
eyes and recognize something beautiful, even if it’s
just the sun slobbering across the bedroom floor with its
hot black tongue,
so, why can’t you?
He’s right, of course, but when I was 14, nothing was
more beautiful than the thought of the heavy gray
garage door guarding the far edge of my family’s driveway
and how sweetly, how surely it could kiss my head
apart from the rest of my body if only I asked it sweetly
Things were different then —
I still was afraid to ask for what I wanted then and I
spent my lunch hours holed up in the biology lab hiding
from the other boys, sobbing into my sandwich, another
pickled frog prince bobbing in his embalming fluid, one more
never-born piglet day-drunk on the useless daydream of
one day living someone else’s life on the other side of the glass
but we both know how that story ends.