Dolor

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what is more powerful

the refusal to be labeled

or acceptance of that which you can’t change?

am I strong because

I’ve learned to live with my scars

embrace them, even

or does that make me a coward?

all the darting strobes of Pain

leaking slowly from the

cracked box Pandora left ajar

plant their mark upon a soul

with the burnt black grip

of a nightmare’s fingerprints

there are days when

i don’t even know how to breathe

all I can see in the mirror

is a corrosive landscape

cooing as it twines its way through my veins

yet

for all that

i am not content to fade

slowly into the night

it is not enough

to endure in the face of suffering

to stagnate in the pool of survival

i will spark, i will blaze

i will rise from my ashes

Colors

Starburst

being a chameleon is hard

skins settling over you

seek to define you

at first

i just tried to blend in

take comfort in

the cold cushion of same

wallflower wildlife

hapless ringmaster

trying vainly to tame

bright jewels of color

seeking to burst forth

to risk it all

paint

sun dappled ochre

vibrant violet streaks

emerald dazzles

calico chaos splatters

on my carefully blank canvas

and emerge, unashamed

for the world to see

Strive

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i don’t recognize this smile

winking behind uncharted waters

buoyed, backlit

by joy and expectation

used to be, could only see

floor free depths of drowning

currents concaving + flexing

not even bothering to beckon

sandprints

venturing far, far away from

chartered courses

into unanticipated undersea caves of

human emotion

bristling bone carapaces teeming with

squirmy sentiment

lit only mildly with

blue burning deathless torches of apathy

but cobalt hues and gray questions

no longer surround me, striving to

fulfill the commands

of their rock bottom masters

i learned to be

unstoppable force and swaying reed

give both the respect they deserve

and, flung free,

flourish

Tangled

what is the beauty

of bittersweet

my emotions used to be

unplugged

no matter how many switches

i flipped

demons blinded me

but now i can feel

a million million colors

it makes me proud, fierce

like a shadow stricken elephant

who remembers a time without

yet still, right now

the edges of my emotions run ragged

blurry watercolor fault lines

sun swaying and thorn cloudy

the currency of my feelings

cannot spend

and i’m left bare, confused

Awake

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after millions of minutes

hiding

soul sleeping

both rapunzel + rip van winkle

yearning for escape

trapped between skeletal bars

now when i stretch

fingertips for the sun

i can feel their shine

+ not the shadow they cast

We Are Not Forgettable

i have a face, but we are faceless.

i have a name, but we are nameless.

health – care= our reality

labels – liability = our diagnosis

apathy redtape + pushedpills= our prescription

we’re sedated to be bleat-less sheep

led by a shepherd with earplugs

conforming quietly to the herd of checked boxes,

waiting for Dr. Bo Peep

while we suffer

while we break

while we scream inside

But i have a Face

i have a Name

And I Will Not Stop

until you see me

for all that i am.

until you see us

for all that we can be.

Hang

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the broken days

we all dread them.

on an oversalted afternoon,

the wheel spins + another

pain-leashed leviathan

weighs anchor in an unlucky soul.

sometimes we just borrow them

then step right back into the sun

others hang in our heart,

like Hamlet’s crooked star,

turning every bend in the road

into a promise, then a question,

and finally, a shrug.

and yet,

your humanity is what makes you beautiful

your mortality is what lets you feel so fiercely

your conscience can still change the world

don’t let nature’s pencil trace

bitter furrowed eyebrows + wasted moments

upon age softened skin

instead, simply revel in the fact that

you are loved

 

Dedicated to my Tía, and the almost absurd amount of strong, courageous, powerful, kind and wonderful women in my life. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am without you! 

Mirror

488224_625229996956_47473922_nwho am i today?

a tightly threaded unsung melody

coiled beneath coppery spooled skin

forcing strength enough to push through

or a resigned slave eroded by exhaustion

dangling green grapes into the

yawning mouth of lassitude.

do i have my warrior will to fight

to once again ignore screaming bones

and dive into the sunken spray of life

or am i crouching in my hunchback shade

hiding behind a mask of pain and rage

snarling at those who draw too near

on days like today

if you held the mirror before me

i’m not sure who i’d be

i’m not even sure

who i want to be anymore

Diagnosis

Sometimes
i feel like me

Sometimes
i feel like an alien

has taken root
inside my hide

planted itself deep
beyond the understanding
of doctors +
scientists

+ left me
this
question mark
cripple

one who
seems whole
on the outside

so the world scorns
+ dismisses
instead of heals

while the
alien
flourishes inside
my skin

+ measures
its growth
with pain

dedicated to all those who suffer in silence

Fuse

tender, unbroken mind

tries & fails

to compress the stress

of a blown fuse

 

hardwired to survive

even with too much damage

and too many scars

blue bruised

but not yet vanquished

 

despite Pain

that hooks & flays all paths

shark-swimming crossroads of

the bare brain

leaving it explosively exposed

 

the endless screech

of a broken violin string

crusted iron edged tendrils

fear screaming a whiplash web

through overworked vessels

begging for respite

 

no help comes

but with each blow

struck by each enemy

eroding my body

my soul grows stronger.

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