The Rushing Roadside | A Collection of Poems by Olivia Chen

The Rushing Roadside | A Collection of Poems by Olivia Chen

The Roadside of 3AM:

Tonight I decided
In a whim
To sit by the roadside of 3am

Had you asked me to stay,
By entreaty or 
By demand; 
Even a casual mention - 
Would have saved me from being astray.

Had you been more stubborn, 
Insistent or 
In accompanying me - 
I would have conceded, and the result would've been
Us sitting by the road together, 

Counterfactuals - 
'This and that would have been'
Express only regret.

The roadside of 3am allows no regrets, 
For it was cold and quiet 
'Cept for the occasional rumble of a passing vehicle 
Which was my freind
Who vibrations I felt intimately 
Along my numbed legs. 

Countless streetlights, 
Flickering stars, 
Parlour and living room lights
Entertain my eyes, 
The Body numbs.

I am glad 
The roadside of 3am allows no regrets,
For I do not regret
Rejecting your company, 
Refusing your chance to grow numb with me
In he cold, 
In taciturnity. 

Tonight I realised, 
I am scared to be anyone's somebody, 
Though I nevertheless desire 
To be your somebody. 

In choosing the roadside of 3am, 
I chose to be not so cruel
As to burden you 
With a somebody. 

The stars and the passing cars fear no burden, 
Nor responsibility, 
For my wretchedness.


                                                                                                                      I said, 
                                                                                                 The heart thumps;
                                                                                      Blood Vessels run up the head - 
                                                                                Thump                                           thump.
Hands quivering and feet cold, 
Vision unable to spell confusion. 
                                                                                                                                                                         The gap gasps
                                                                                       Time is slipping, flying, running, fading, 
                                                                                                                                                                        I say.
                                                                         I watch it escape on wafts of air my lungs cannot capture.
                                         There is tomorrow, 
                                         I know, 
                                                                                            But tomorrow is owned by something else and also departing
                                                                                                     At the same pace. 
                                                                                                                      I say,
                                                                                                  I am looking for something –
                                                                                                          Can you guide me?
                                                                                                                      But one cannot look for what one does not know,
                                                                                                                                                        Or so says Socrates and Meno.
And nor can one solve a problem one cannot define. 
So I don’t speak,
 But pull me out, 
                                                                                                                                                                                              I scream.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I plead.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I whine.
                                                                                                       I don’t need a solution,
                                                                                                       But only a salvation, 
                                                                                                                                                                                              An escape.
                                                                                                                  Free me. 
                                                                                                  Things rushing towards me,
                                                                                                                                                                                             Like a river;
                                                                                                                                                                                             Like tides;
                                                                                                                                                                                             Like torrents.
Flooding over me, 
                                                                               A stream of fragments; sharp; into the blood vessels.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I do not dodge.
                                                                                                                                                                                They always reach the head.
                                                                                      Sometimes the sun kisses warmly the cheeks,
                                                                                      Or the bed cushions softly the tottering spine;
Yet in the back of my head, 
                                                                                                                                                                                             Swoosh; swirl.
                                                                                                                                                                         Dipping in and out of the waters,
                                                                                                                                                                                             My head. 
                                                                                                           Remember that man,
                                                                                                       Not waving but drowning. 
But who remembers one,
Who had no idea,
Whether she waved
                                                                                                                                                                                    Before she drowned. 

Written by Olivia Chen | Illustrated by Victoria Hoover

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