Carbon and Silver (Slam Poetry) (day 83)

I’m carbon and you’re silver.

You’d think we had so many differences

but really we’re just on opposite sides of the same chart

that some scientist made a million years ago

and we’re really not that different at all.


Sometimes we occupy the same spaces

Sometimes we build the same world

Sometimes we breathe the same air

Sometimes we feel like we’re not enough

Sometimes we push away those well-meaning electrons that come near us when we’re crying

Sometimes we fly high enough it feels like we could reach out and touch the sun

Sometimes we feel like our sentences are fireworks that could either end in a standing ovation or catastrophe.


Maybe in an alternate universe

we’re one and the same

or locked like pen and paper on your bedside table

maybe we’re still in the same time zone.


Sometimes I sit and try to contemplate


or oranges

or why I didn’t wake up to my alarm this morning

or time zones

or the two minutes I held you before you disappeared where I was so peaceful

how can carbon be peaceful

how can carbon soften silver

all I wanted was to break down your walls and ride sandpaper over your corners

how can silver vanish

how am I thinking about my own existence

but then I realize I’m held up by atoms that can’t be seen with the naked eye, and a bouquet of atoms shouldn’t be thinking that metaphysically.


For so long I wished I could tame your sharp edges,

I wished I could smooth your rough surface until all you were was shine and perfect and you won’t fail and hey pretty little girl, tell us what you think and you made it and beautiful

and still

you leave me in the dust that falls off your boots on the way to everywhere

you swallow me every time you nourish your beautiful frame

you leave me behind every time you open your mouth


If I’m carbon and you’re silver

we spend our entire lives in the same place

but we only sometimes collide.


And how is it that some days I make diamonds and other days I make coal

and you just keep being silver and linking people together

and making even the steepest slope look beautiful

and eagles pick little slivers of you up from the ground to line their nests

and unknowingly they leave me broken down and torn apart in the soil.


There are things I wish I knew

But I can’t seek out the mines that might hold you

when everything I’ve built is made of molecules.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 10/18/16

Coal and diamonds

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