loss slithered inside me

like a snake,

slicing my bones

and scratching my veins

with its scales.

my loss

burnt my fingertips

and dug a hole

in the centre of my chest.

i tried to feed the hole

kindness, drugs, and love

but my loss swallowed it all

and hungrily pushed against my ribs.

when i’m quiet

i can hear the hole

swelling under my heart,

greedily.

*poem featured in Wretched City. from my poetry collection “my loss is my root”, written in 2019.

picture credit: unsplash.

letters, cuts

*scattered poems published in scan lancaster, february 2020. they belong to a collection of poetry i compiled which chronicles the various stages of coping with grief. written a few years ago…

01. 01. 2018

dear A,

it’s been three years since i’ve lost you

and i swear i am trying.

i bought a shiny yoga mat

and i do yin yoga for grief release.

i ground my feet,

do warrior poses

and chant.

i try,

but no matter how much i contort my body at dawn

my sorrow rips through my brain

and sticks to my eyelids.

10. 02. 2018

most beloved A,

i wear my loss

like i wear my rings.

11. 02. 2018

darling A,

i swear i’m trying.

i’ve stopped reading sylvia plath

and i bookmark poems

about the universe that is supposedly unfolding in my core.

i read self-help articles about how pain is grace,

grinding my teeth.

i write inspirational quotes on purple notebooks

and i make bullet-points about buddhism

with pink pens.

i press the tips onto the paper

hard

as if to push what i write through me.

i beg my mind to meditate

i put on compilations of “deep relaxing & healing music with instant relief from stress”

and i force myself to still.

i download apps that ease anxiety

and i go to meditation groups on wednesdays.

but, no matter how long i stay cross-legged on the floor,

straightening my back and linking my thumbs,

it hurts.

25. 02. 2018

my dearest A,

i quit drinking

and i made new friends.

friends that drink hot chocolate

friends that watch soft films

friends that pray in the evenings

instead of drowning in face paint

and sprawling on dance floors.

they meet for coffee

they talk about how simple life is

and i nod when my heart clenches.

30. 02. 2018

beloved A,

my brain is softly melting to the floor

04. 03. 2018

ever dearest A,

i’ve been reading about the cycle of rebirth

i wish to believe in it,

but scepticism clouds my heart.

i’m not pure enough for transcendence

so if i am reborn

i wish i could be as small

as a sparrow.

11. 04. 2019

dear A,

i’m unsure where loss ends

        and i begin.

                                                                                                                                  with longing,

                                                                                                                                  T. ☼

gasping for air in my bell jar,

i long for closure and i crave familiarity,

melded thoughts and warm hands.

i am desperate to connect.

i want to feel someone’s soul

glued to mine.

i dream of intimacy,

but i’m clumsy:

when people embrace me too tightly,

i hiss like a cornered snake.

i’m wary of being alone, but

i drift away during conversations,

i ignore messages,

i break friendships,

i feign smiles.

i find refuge

in my bell jar.

every night

i close the jar’s lid with shaky hands,

hug my knees

and blow air on the glass.

*poem published in scan lancaster, february 2020, in the column ‘four incantations for loss, joy and love’. i wrote it two years ago, as part of my second-year poetry collection ‘teenage angst’. i aimed to emulate the restlessness i felt as a young, teenage girl. i feel so touched reading it! wish i could hug that olden version of myself.

my loss is my root by Téa Nicolae

*poem published in Litehouse.

my loss is my root when my legs are wobbly.
it keeps me level-headed, grounded, with my feet turned inward.
my loss is motherly. it keeps me nurtured, well fed, full.
my loss is nourishing, it wets my lips when my mouth is dry.

on good days,
i like to think that my loss blossoms in my core
and drops through my feet to the moist soil
it falls to the centre of the earth,
through tangled grass and layers of rock
it feeds on flower stems, leaves, and seeds
and absorbs the warmth of mother earth.

when it skyrockets back to me, it throbs with energy
it heals my body and patches the open wounds in my brain.

on good days,
i imagine my loss sprinkling the ground like rain.
it wets my fingers, and when i cry,
the soil thrives.

xanax, side effects

*poem published in L. C. three years ago. it feels like a glimpse into another life…

when i was on xanax

my brain curled into itself

and

everything was numb

and nothing hurt.

my therapist had prescribed three doses of 0.25mg per day to me.

each morning

i would swallow a first dose

conscientiously

at 8:54

and i would carry off with my morning routine, while mentally rewinding the side effects.

forgetfulness

i roll in my sheets, patting the mattress, searching for my phone

trembling

i double-press snooze

changes in patterns

i fall on my back in bed, bringing my knees to my chest

clumsiness and unsteadiness

i doze off

drowsiness

i jerk as the alarm goes off

feeling sad and empty

snooze snooze snooze

shakiness, an unsteady walk

i rub my eyes. there’s a small ache in the back of my head. feels like it’s melting my thoughts apart.

slurred speech

i jump as the alarm rings for the third time.

(less common side effects)

loss of self-control

i search for a pair of panties to match my mood. grey

loss of coordination

i pull a shirt over my head

loss of memory

i flatten the wrinkles with my hands

loss of voice

i apply foundation unevenly

muscle stiffness

i press my nose to my mirror. i stare at my glazed eyes as i swallow my first dose.

i got off xanax because

while my insides didn’t clench anymore

my eyes could still see

the hurt.

i wrap my sadness in sequins by téa nicolae

*poem published in Cake Magazine.

i wrap my sadness in sequins.

i pour my sadness in fake eyelashes,

in glitter nails

in green hair dye

and i take my sadness out for a dance.

flash lights,

spilled drinks,

heels that crush your toes.

i lock hands with my sadness

and sway on sticky dance floors.

my sadness holds up her pocket mirror

in grimy club bathrooms

and she puts on three layers of red lipstick

while i rub off mine.

i ask my sadness to pull up my torn zipper

while, pupils enlarged,

i hum stevie nicks adoringly.

i throw a clumsy arm over my sadness

and guide her to another club.

i grind on empty party anthems

and, when boys try to kiss me,

i brush them off

because i’m loyal to my sadness.

at the end of the night

i crawl to mc donald’s with my sadness

one veggie burger large fries one large fanta oh and can i have some ketchup please

i stuff my face with my sadness

and we hail a cab in silence.

home

my sadness whispers gutted love declarations to me

and then tucks me in my bed gently.

i wrap my sadness in sequins
poem published in Cake Magazine 💙 i wrote it in my first year of uni for one of my seminars and it’s my favourite poem from that time. when i sat down to write it, my intention was to write about club culture and the glitz and the glammy, sticky sadness that came with it (for me) and this came out! 💙

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Agfa Optima 200'
Kayla Jenkins made such a lovely illustration for my poem! 🥰

my hips are bruised in my dreams by téa nicolae

*poem published in Eunoia Review

 

my hips are bruised in my dreams

and i wake up itching,

pressing my fingers onto my thighs,

covering my purple skin.

 

my hips swell in my dreams

and tentacles circle my feet,

wrapping around my toes when i walk

and i stumble and fall on my face.

when i wake up,

my cheeks ache.

 

my wrists have blisters in my dreams

and there is ash under my fingernails.

when i wake up,

my hands are swollen.

 

on cold nights

when i’m afraid to go to sleep

i light three candles

and hug my knees.

i promise myself

that one day

i won’t dream of bruises

 

one day

my dreams will be amber

and i’ll wake up with warmth

in my stomach.

 

 

my hips are bruised in my dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i dream that my teeth fall out at night by téa nicolae

*a shortened version of this poem was shortlisted for the Literary Lancashire Award and published in the LLA Anthology 2019, extremely grateful and so, so tearful ❤

 

dear A,

i dream that my teeth fall out at night

and i swallow them,

one by one.

my teeth scratch the insides of my throat

and i choke on them.

i wake up crying,

cover my mouth and scream into my fingers,

pushing my hands into my forehead,

as if i’m trying to pull my mind out of my head.

it’s been one month since your funeral.

 

dear A,

i am crying all the time now.

i cry for you in the shower

i cry for you in front of my untouched breakfast

i cry for you in toilets in metro stations

i cry for you gracelessly doing my make-up

i cry for you when i wash my hair with blueberry shampoos

i cry for you when i read your messages, the 67th time.

i cry and i long for you,

i cry and i long for you.

 

dear A,

some days

i cry less and i eat apples

some days

i wear red and buy you flowers.

some days

my mind blocks my pain

and i am better.

some days

my friends make me laugh

and i find comfort in being alive.

 

i dread those days.

those days my head swims in guilt

and my shame thumps in my ears.

those days i feel myself forgetting you

and i wish i could glue your eyes to my mind.

 

when those days end,

i break my mind with photos of you

and i dream of melting.

 

dear A,

i’m soaking in loss and i’m chanting buddhist mantras

 

dear A,

they say that i should surrender my grief

they say that we are bound together,

even if i heal

but how can it be

when you only exist through my pain

 

dear A,

i am willing to suffer each day for you

so you do not to die again.

 

LLA Award
from the LLA Anthology 2019