Poems And Promises

Melanie Valdeabella

i wear my heart on my sleeve


i wear my heart on my sleeve

i dream with my head up in the clouds

hoping that one day the words i write

will make a difference in the world


with every stone thrown at

my bruised and breaking heart

a new wound opens

the knowing looks and the pitying eyes

make the healing a slow-burn

sitting on a rocking bench that

i wish would rock me to sleep

all the words i wish i could say

come crashing in waves

in the ocean that is my mind


i wear my heart on my sleeve

i’ll look you in the eye and

tell you that i promise

i’ll lock my lips and throw away the key

your other fair-weather friends

will cross their fingers

behind their backs, but me?

in a never-ending cycle

i’ll tie my shoelaces

and put my feet down on the ground

walk without watching my step

and trip over my own two feet


here is the secret i must keep

for as i have picked the lock and

shattered those few little words

into a million pieces


i wear my heart on my sleeve

i forgive and hand out chances 

like they’re coins needed to survive

i’ll be one of the many crumpled up

pieces of paper scattered

across the bedroom floor

and give you the chance to 

open me again, knowing that

i’m more fragile than i was before


i’ll give the wrong people

more chances than i’ve

ever given the right people

because if i were them

i’d have wanted the same

even if my many mistakes

would never add up

to being worthy enough


i wear my heart on my sleeve

and it leaves me as an open book

but now that i’ve hit the bottom

my armour is slowly being built


never grown up


i’m five-years-old

watching from a distance as

the pictures on the wall would disappear 

when Lumière and Cogsworth

would find their way home and

the Beast scared us all out

of the kingdom you made of

all the bricks they threw at you

no kingdom near or far had

the curve of the hallway

or the water you longed for

no kingdom seemed to cure

the sleepless nights

the raging fights and

the flickering lights 

maybe we had nowhere else to go

or the last petal on the rose was about to fall


i’m six-years-old,

i find myself alone

the curious eyes and the cautious raise of hands

had made me believe that

i was just some lucky penny

ready to be bought

remember the nights where i’d sit in your lap

being the chatterbox that i always am

remember how i’d fall asleep in your arms

remember those days where you’d

smile as you’d pretend that i wasn’t there

and i cried when you left

without giving me a hug and

telling me you loved me


i’m ten-years-old and i finally understand

the nights where you’d leave in your car

and come home when the lights are off

the days where you left in your own defeat

forgetting that the woman standing

where you used to be

had given you everything you wanted


i’m twelve-years-old

stuck in the middle of growing up

and staying your little girl

yet, i’m blaming you for the thoughts in my head

i’m pushing you away

hoping that my actions would make you a better man


i’m fourteen and there’s so much i can’t do

and i can’t wait another four more years

all my friends can do all that i want

and his brother has everything that he wanted


i’m fifteen now and you’re no longer here

now all that i want is for you to be here

i lost him and i’m losing myself

and it’s unfair that i write you letters

but the only response i’ll ever get

is the sound of your voice when

i call the phone and you don’t answer


it’s been ten days now

and i’m wishing that i’d never grown up


please hear my prayer


“darling, if you knew the man i was before,

you wouldn’t love me as you do now.”

daddy, if you knew that

victorian bitter would make this love crumble,

why pick the bottle up again? 

i lost my faith, many years before.

every night i’d pray that daddy would

no longer put the bottle to his lips. 

every night on the phone i’d tell him,

hoping that my little voice would be

enough for it all to end. 

six years go by,

and it doesn’t take a prodigy

to know that those three blissful years

don’t last forever. 

though he tried to come out of the dark.

the darkness had claimed him,

he’d let those words slip from his mouth.

he’d say, “i hardly take it anymore.”

but daddy, tell me why you’re gaining

the weight, and not losing it

if you only have three meals a week?

i’d never show it, the worry in my mind,

or the tears brimming at the corner

of my eyes as i’d watch him drive away,

without telling him that i loved him.

now that he’s no longer here,

the cruelties of time deciding

to close the stopwatch.

though i’m thankful that

he can’t feel the pain anymore,

there’s something i must ask.

if there’s a god out there,

please hear my prayer.

give me the chance to say goodbye.

shine a light in the dark

and give me a sign

that you saved him from

the hell he believed he was destined for.

if there’s a god out there, 

please hear my prayer.

i’m afraid to close my eyes at night.

i’m afraid that i’ll find myself alone,

fighting the monsters in my head.

so, if you’re listening,

could you give me a helping hand?

if there’s a god out there,

please hear my prayer.

if i could see him in my dreams,

maybe i’ll no longer be afraid…

maybe he’ll know that he is loved,

and that he will be missed.

forgive me father, for i have sinned.

i wish i knew you


i dreamt of scattering your ashes where land meets water, the place where you felt your calmest yet your most destructive. the place that made me remember the times when you were good, and kind, and happy… and the father that should’ve been around my whole life. 


maybe then you would still be here, and i wouldn’t be pretending that you were travelling the world—breathing, even if i’m forgotten. maybe i wouldn’t be thinking of all the ways i could describe you in the most enchanting, metaphorical ways… 


maybe i wouldn’t be remembering you for who you could have been… instead of who you really were, or at least the only you that i ever knew. a man far too broken to be mended by the mere promise that i would be born. 


that’s what you wanted, right? a little girl, and you would get better. but i slowly figured out that my existence wasn’t enough while you shattered a childhood home into a mosaic of art that wasn’t even beautiful. how could a life built on broken promises ever be something worthy of a fairytale?


i wish that i knew you. not the you i dream of you to be, or the you that appears in the middle of the night when i have nothing and no one to distract me from the thoughts of the only you i ever knew. i wish i knew who you were when you were a teenager with posters on your bedroom wall of girls in their birthday suits that you didn’t even know. i wish i knew the you that took the love of your life on motorbike rides to watch the sun set from the beautiful scenery at the mountain tops.


i’d say that i wish i knew who you were in the dark, but the dark is all i ever knew. i only found the light at the end of the tunnel… when you left. tell me, why do i look for you in everything that i see when all i wanted was for you to disappear?


i guess that’s the cruelties of time. i took it for granted. you travelled the world not knowing i would arrive along the way and now you’ve left again, in a way so permanent, believing i wouldn’t care.


can you tell me if you left willingly, or if some other life force out there, greater than time itself, took you away because you only ever lived with the pain?


but i guess no reason to stay, is a good reason to go. i didn’t get to say goodbye, but at least i can say hello knowing that i’ll be greeted with silence rather than the smell of poison on your breath, and a fake smile as you watched my false happiness after all these years.


as i watch this sun set, i begin to wonder… will i forget everything about you, as the you in the figment of my imagination begins to take over?


i wish i could call you the sun, the moon, and all the stars but a part of me can’t let you be something so beautiful, when my life has never been beautiful until i cried with the devastation that you were gone. is it wrong of me to only wish to see you in all the broken things?


you were never whole in life, and i don’t think you’re whole even in death. i guess i’ll never be whole either. there’s a part of me that i never knew and will never know. but i will live my life as if i am whole.


my reason to live won’t be for you.


my reason to live won’t be for the thousand people that come and go.


my reason to live won’t be for the ones that make me happier than you ever did.


my reason to live will be for me.


and i won’t be afraid.


but that’s a lie. how can i live for me, when that means i should be able to live if i were to ever be alone? i’m too afraid of being alone, or feeling alone in a crowded room.


i guess that’s why you’re gone. how truly ironic for me to understand your darkness when your darkness became light.

Melanie is a first year student at the Queensland University of Technology, majoring in creative writing and also studying human services. She has a passion for learning and growing her art in poetry and prose.