Holley Hyler

A r t i s t

sweeping up eggshells

March 12, 2018


Source: Pixabay

eats at me
until there is

I’ve decided to
let there
be nothing;

be broken.

Then perhaps
the ones
I love
will not fear

shattering me
on accident,
becoming the

by which
I reject myself.

How To Break an Artist’s Heart & How to Love One

February 16, 2018


How to Break an Artist’s Heart

  1. Say nothing.
  2. Pay no attention to the small, meaningful gestures she makes with her life. Leave her in a state of wondering whether you hate everything about her or feel indifferently toward her.
  3. Don’t support her. Don’t buy magazines she’s published in. Don’t buy her paintings. Don’t even express interest in her columns or paintings, if you cannot buy them.
  4. Ask her about her day job. Ask her if she is married. Ask her if she has any kids. But do not ask her about her art.
  5. Say nothing.
  6. When she opens up to you with the honest feelings she normally only expresses with her paintbrush, or a poem, say something mechanical, with no feeling behind it. Say something like, “Good.” “I guess that’s for the best.” “I felt that way once.”
  7. Repeat Step #6 until she can confide in neither human nor canvas for a lengthy period of time.
  8. When she expresses an interest in collaborating with you, make a vague comment like, “It’ll work out some day,” and then forget about it.
  9. Let her fall in love with you. Reject her in a way that still leaves room for her admiration for you. Tell her that you love her; forget that you said it. Become her muse; reject her art by ignoring it all. When she tells you that she wrote something about you, say nothing.
  10. Say nothing.

The effects on this list are magnified x100 if you are family or extremely important to the artist. Effects on the artist may be extreme and include, but are not limited to: lying in the fetal position for several hours, needing multiple Reiki sessions, or passing out on the couch after drinking a whole bottle of Barefoot Pinot Noir and watching The Great Gatsby.

How to Love an Artist

  1. Be genuinely curious about her work.
  2. Ask questions without judging or assuming you know the answers.
  3. Show literally any emotion except indifference.
  4. Invite her to coffee or lunch when she expresses an interest in collaborating with you. Even if it doesn’t eventually work out, your interest will mean a lot.
  5. Let her give you things. Respect that you’re her muse, even if you do not feel the same, or cannot offer anything in return. Treat her heart as a jewel, because it is. She is immortalizing you in her art.
  6. Make her something with your art.
  7. Ask what her tattoo means.
  8. Show her a song that reminds you of her.
  9. Pay attention. This can come in phases or be regular in occurrence – frequency and quantity do not matter so much when your attention is given with care and enthusiasm.
  10. Understand that loving an artist is not that hard. Artists have a high threshold for rejection and pain. Do not call an artist “overly sensitive.”

Please note that the effects of even one or two people loving an artist nullify the effects of one hundred carrying out the steps listed under “How to Break an Artist’s Heart.”

Force of Nature

January 29, 2018

Some love comes in like a force of nature. You cannot hope to survive it, and you do not hope. You cling to what feels like stability until it is washed away, and you die with it. As you die, you think, with desperate longing, “If only I could have kissed him, once.” You think, “Does he care that I am washing away?” The wind whispers, It does not matter. But how can that be, when it seems to be the only thing that matters? What you think is hope keeps you breathing, though it is faint. Finally, you realize there is nowhere left to go, that hope was the shadow of need. Your heart is tired, and you long to drown. So you do.

Some love comes in like the gentle waves on the beach, before the moon is full. When you wake in the morning, you hear the waves lapping in the distance. You know where you are. As you glance out of the window, the sun kisses the water, planting the fire of passion in your heart. It is not a passion that cries out for release. It is curious; it is playful. It encourages you to see where your heart wants to take you next. You think, “I would like to kiss her.” The part of you that longed and needed has died. When you hold her hand, it is only a reminder that you can always go home. So you do.

© Holley Hyler | January 2018

Drunken Universe

January 17, 2018


I do not know how to love halfway. You look at me, expecting the soft rays that rise lazily on your wall in the morning, the shadows revealing the birds at play outside your window. You look at me, finding only mid-summer’s unforgiving glare. “Get it out of my eyes!” you cry, and I try to move out of your way. We keep meeting as you scurry this way and that, searching for solace that does not blind you, the sweat dewing on your forehead and neck.

I do not know how to be sad. You look at me, thinking this will pass, so you crack a joke. I cackle with apparent glee, but it is dangerously close to turning to the wheeze of a sob before it peters out altogether. I smile, I laugh, and if I cannot do either of those things, I disappear. I become a ghost behind my smile. You look at my eyes, but you do not see them.

I do not know how to have sex. You look at me, thinking of my curves and porcelain skin, the freckles I have hidden from plain sight. You need not worry about blinding me, for you look at me with only the light left just before the sun sinks below the horizon. You think of other women, too. My curves could easily be theirs; when you are in the desert, thirsting, you do not think one drop of water tastes any more exquisite than another. That is what I am to you. I do not know how to do the thing you would do with me. I only know how to kiss, and be consumed.

I spend some nights crying at the parts where Gatsby realizes he loves Daisy and it changes the course of his life forever; the part where Maria realizes she cannot love halfway either and becomes a prostitute; the part where Daenerys smothers her Sun-and-Stars as she says, “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” and I believe, when that happens, maybe I can love you without it eating me alive.

I do not know how to love halfway. It has been all that is wrong with me and all that is right with me. The universe has had its way with me, become drunk on my tears that turned to stars and pink nebulae. My love for you has turned to a shadow that became stuck in concrete in all the places I wrapped my arms around you. Long after I am gone, people will feel the shadows and wonder about them, but I will be hiding somewhere behind the moon, while the universe leans against me, reeking of absinthe and smacking my ass.

© Holley Hyler | January 2018

Core of Light (Transcending Ego)

November 27, 2017


In this moment,
there is no one that I need to be.
All the people I have imagined myself to be,
can be as characters in a play, and nothing more.

These imagined personalities possess
their charms, their wits, their wounds,
but so do we all, such vast Beings are we,
traits alone cannot define us.

There is no talent or skill that I must possess
to be worthy of another’s – or my own – love.
It is true that I am the sum of all I have read,
listened to, and loved well, but those things do not name me.

So vast am I,
that I can adopt new traits,
new loves, new desires,
all in one instant.

Yet my essence, my
c o r e
which is l o v e,
remains the same.

My attachment to relationships,
material possessions,
falls away, when I look at this




When you see it,
you will never be the same.

When you see it,

you will return to love

from whence you came.


August 22, 2017

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario, Webster Beach Pier, NY. Photo taken by Holley Hyler.

let the
n o i s e
wash away.
quiet strength;
watch how
the water
the rocks
and rolls
bubbles in
its wake,

© Holley Hyler | August 2017

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