Buoy vs. Tugboat

Last year I wrote a poem inspired by a friend of mine and the kind of relationship I perceive us as having.

I titled it, “Buoy.” Here it is:

I can’t be your buoy.
Treading water tires me out and it’s hard enough to keep myself afloat.
So, I’m sorry, but I can’t be your lifejacket.
I will hug you tight.
I will motivate.
And support.
And cheer you up.
I will be the hand who throws you across the wavy water and lets you skip for a while,
But I can’t be your buoy.
I get seasick if I’m on the water too long and your pain already makes me stomach stale.
I’ll be the water that let’s you float for a few minutes but I cannot be your buoy.
If you leap, my arms are not big enough to inflate before you hit the ground.
i’ll be the voice that sings you to sleep so your brain can have a break,
But I cannot be your life’s soundtrack.
If you’ve been keeping track,
I’ve stopped the razor from slipping your skin plenty of times.
Times where I was the hand that skipped you across the wavy water you call your life.
I want you to have the will to live like you’ve never had before.
I can’t be your buoy.
I’m tired from treading so much of your water and it’s hard enough to keep myself afloat.
So, please…
It’s time that you learn how to swim on your own.
No one can spend their life on a blow up raft,
Eventually, It’s going to catch a leak, deflate, and sink.
You say that’s what you want: you’re already drowning.
You said it yourself, it’s impossible to make a rock float on it’s own,
Sooner or later it’s going to sink.
I’ve been making you skip for a while but the farther I’ve ever skipped a rock is three bounces and I’ve already given you more than that.
You’re the rock I skipped the longest.
I can’t be your buoy.
I’m not strong enough to not sink with you
And it’s hard enough to keep myself afloat.

 

Last night at my weekly slam poetry meeting we had a writing work shop. We worked on a few prompts but one of them was, “It was typical…” This prompt led me to create something that actually referred back to my buoy poem. It was completely unintentional and I’ve never really created a “series” of poems before, but it was pretty cool to me.

Here’s the second poem:

It was typical,
The scrunched brows,
Wrinkled nose,
And side glance that just screamed,
“Please pity me.
Pretty please see me struggling.
I’m juggling so many problems…
Ones I can’t control.”
Even though she can.
Even though her hands hold the ability to change her grasp around life’s throat, 
Her brain is struggling for air.
I once was her buoy.
Now, I’m her tugboat.
She’s afloat but barely moving.
It’s typical,
The self loathing
And droaning tone of disappointment.
Her presence is heavy and to me,
I’d rather be alone,
But through the phone I can tell by her tone she’s done something stupid.
I’m not the one that will save her but I can certainly try.

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