Featured, Poetry + Short Stories

Thank You For Breaking My Heart

A black and white photograph of trees with no leaves alongside a lagoon of water. There are two cut out lines colored red moving across the image. Image by Ryan Edmund Thiel.

Featured Image: A black and white photograph of trees with no leaves alongside a lagoon of water. There are two cut out lines colored red moving across the image. Image by Ryan Edmund Thiel.

Author’s note:

Thank You For Breaking My Heart consists of a series of poems rather than one poem. The reason I choose to have it be many poems is because I believe many things break our hearts. Whether it be, romantic love, friendship, parenthood, or our political systems. I’d like to think that heartbreak has the same effect on all of us. It hurts like hell, but it leaves us more open, and let’s face it—the world prefers us cracked open. TYFBMH doesn’t have to be long in length, as long as it is poignant in content. I am also very open to collaboration in the way your team feels that it best supports the mission and vision of your content as well. Below is a sample of chapter headers and the way I would start the journey into the poem series.


Thank You for Breaking my Heart

Sometimes we don’t realize we were wounded, until we’ve been healed.

We look in the mirror and see luminosity in the place where old tear tracks once ran.
Ending perpetual cycles of sadness, onward movement ceasing depressive bouts.

I created this book as an ode to my hurt. My wounds deserved their due justice. There are times when things felt insurmountable, unattainable, and downright despicable. It is not only a tale of beautiful things. I needed to grant myself the permission to scream at my yin and caress my yang. I learned that all pain begins as pleasure that is delicately disguised. I learned that in pain there is pleasure, in how once we truly allow the lesson to arrive. I learned to be thankful for all I’ve endured. To any and all, and perhaps, no one at all, thank you for breaking my heart.

Love

New Lesson

I wake up with you these days.
Breath on my neck.
Toes on my heels.
Pelvis to pelvis.
Combined.
As much as it delights me, you scare me.
You commend me for being selective with men throughout my life. Yet, you are the lesson I never learned.
Don’t know how to lay with you. Never learned how to exist with another. Never had someone love me in the sunlight.
Not sure if I like the exposure. Frozen.
You must know that I’m broken. You must know between every inhalation I’m plotting.
Can’t ever put my mind at ease.
Can’t ever submit.
I won’t ever be easy.
Didn’t learn to lay on your chest without sex.
Didn’t learn how to offer more than the shell of me.
Shallow.
Don’t know how to love you without threatening my own space.
My own force field.
Won’t allow you in.
You’ve penetrated me in so many ways. I won’t allow this one.

Please don’t fault me. No one ever taught me…

A black and white photograph of trees with no leaves alongside a lagoon of water. There are six cut out lines colored red moving across the image. Image by Ryan Edmund Thiel.
Image: A black and white photograph of trees with no leaves alongside a lagoon of water. There are six cut out lines colored red moving across the image. Image by Ryan Edmund Thiel.

Self

Burning Brightly

In a cloud of smoke, I dirty danced with the essence of myself.
Traced the inside of my thighs with warm fingertips, finally feeling how incredible it felt to let my rose bloom.
Nectar sweeter than sin.

I was naive to the fact that I could shake the entire universe with a touch.
Felt naughty, once again, under shower heads that allowed me to see shooting stars when positioned correctly.
Before I found Waldo, I found my pleasure.
12 years young when I knew I couldn’t wait to be grown.
Or maybe unleashed.
Why didn’t anyone tell me how to house a fire?

A yearning in the gut of my pelvis. I enjoyed every opportunity to let it burn.
At age 15, I noticed eyes viewing my warmth, as if I were sending smoke signals.
I recoiled into my own skin.

Until my ego got a hold of my mystique, and I became enticing.
My first boyfriend was even afraid to touch it. To straddle the epicenter of me.

I finally understood the phrase ‘too hot to handle”.
Skeptical of the embers, I kept my legs closed for fear of setting the world ablaze.

Today, we’ve all come to know,
that’s not such a bad thing.


World

As Me

The night air is brisk.

I am nestled between knitted blankets and thin sheets which contains a faint feeling of forlornness that somehow gives me comfort.
So wild and so strange, look at this little black girl in love with her pain.

I don’t know when I created this despairing addiction.
This despondent friction and if I do I don’t want to admit it.

I instead call my bestfriend and complain to her about all of the reasons why no one takes their tea as black as me.

As tainted and jaded
this shade says I can’t go for a run, without being betrayed.
She says, “it’s ok to wear your heart on your sleeve, it’s just unsafe when that heart is on fire.”
I laugh until I think my tears will be enough to put me out. I tell her I want to feel joy.

I want to feel it like black kids getting accepted into Ivy Leagues.
Like lovers nestling my brokenness between their arms as if they are super glue and I’d wake up put together in the morning.

Instead, I am disjointed and cold.
I am mad no one likes their licorice as black as me.
That I have made my bed and it’s full of insecurities.
That Sandra Bland is from my hometown.
That I can’t run home now.

I have to reacquaint myself with my melancholy for those who are too high and mighty for a simple apology.

No, I can’t crawl back into my ignorance. My eyelids have been burned open, my heart exposed, and I do not have another cheek to turn.
Yes, I am sad – no ANGRY – that no one likes their coffee as black as me.
As American as me, as slave as me.
No one wants their pies as thirteenth amendment as me and yet they want me to mend this hurt in me.
This strife.

I never asked God for this life…


Chaz Shermil Hodges is an avid reader, writer, poet, and actress. Originally from Chicago this woke brown girl, made her way to sunny southern California to complete a BA at California Lutheran University and her MFA at University of California at San Diego. When she is not writing, touring regionally, or filming, obviously fish tacos are a favorite! Follow her journey at IG @Chazzyboo4u.