Exile


unfamiliar Deja vu 

reverbs like a wraith boomerang

surfacing from untapped depths 

i haven’t been here before

this time 

this place

this person

so why does recognition lurk

hesitantly by blurred borders?

why do i feel 

i have made this choice 

before? 

exiled within my own skin 

i exist like an 

unstrung Rumpelstiltskin

cursed with memory loss

certain there is something

i must recognize

to reclaim my essence

Both

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are we oceans or stars?

earth or fire?

clouds or crowns?

sigh skipping breeze

or bold, blustering monsoon?

on the surface

we are urged to

divide,

 divide again

until all that’s left

are labels + shelves

but i say

i’ll be demon and angel both

my flaws are also my strengths

my pain also my joy

so i refuse to choose

i accept my

contrast-checkered coat of arms.

shapeless shades

of red rimmed judgment

no longer shackle me to

the tainted well of my inhibitions

+ deserted back alleys of doubts

now

i stand free

Storm

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when did

drifting

become so beautiful?

ever before, life’s unseen ringmaster

trained me to run between

unpredictable clouds,

dodging

striating sharp-stricken lightning

dogging at my footsteps & futures

barking, screaming,

ravenous.

but.

since

i decided

to own my skin, my soul,

myself

in all colors, errors + weathers

the tempest has changed tempo

now i ride alongside,

no longer swallowed.

i know, now

how to reach into

the howling drumbeats of chaos

and grab new-hatched rainbows,

storm-forge my own tarnished silver linings,

even if broken, abused fingers

are too numb to feel them

they unspool from

somewhere

half-forgotten inside me

i seize hold of my wonder

and cast it out into the world

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

Pills

Unbroken Bones

a candied misnomer

laden with false saturated sweetness

they are paintraders

merchants of malady

swapping out the boulder crushing you

with an easy smile

displaying relief with an open palm

so you

don’t realize the other fist

is closed and hidden

until the next day

when the shoe drops

+ the pain returns, ecstatic

wearing a different face, a different mask, a different cloak

knocking at different doors

but not gone, never gone

how can you kill something that is immortal?

all you can do is endure

ignore the grin gleaming promises of

chemical cash-soaked gurus

+ decide how much you will let

it define you

Brink

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dauntless, i

perch

upon an inescapable edge

rock bottom lies far below

terrified of what it might mean, i always avoided

the promise of its bared predator teeth,

vein-yellowed skeletons smiling

with the unvarnished arrogance of inevitability

distracted, i catch a

peripheral glimpse of the pearl swirled skirts of

beckoning eddies + waves of wind

gleefully coaxing the horizon a bit further to freedom

torn, i

tumultuous sinner + agony angel

achingly worthy + w(e)ary of redemption

afraid, i

breath caught inside an in-between moment

sink or swim, bend or break

anchor or feather

unsure, i

what the decision is/for, i do not know

still, i find myself

dangling

over jagged honed maw, under stretched out sky

ready, i

do i have hope left enough to fly

or can i finally trust myself enough to fall,

to break

without shattering?

Tattered

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it’s a rare, strange thing

to find solace in absolute misfortune.

to knit a cozy tattered blanket

from the dire-dyed weave of

trials + tribulations

+ continuously dance

dangerously close to the

fiendishly yellow blazing fire

that appears to be burning down

all carefully constructed options

+ turning hope into

just another carrot

on the endless

stick and treadmill of life.

there’s something almost beautiful

in this surrender

to the universe.

it’s what makes us mortal

what makes us

love so deeply

want so badly

climb so recklessly

peak so sublimely

plummet so devastatingly

break so hole heartfully.

it’s what makes us all

secretly believe in

superheroes,

+ even more secretly,

believe that we are one

just waiting for

a moment of discovery

or an unknown trigger

yielding transformation.

so i’ll take my ashes,

my ratty, badluck blanket,

flip my demons the bird,

+ add it all to my

world warrior shield

made from kryptonite

until flaws marry strengths

and i stand complete

Sure

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Surety

it used to be a close-held lover,

breath twinned to mine,

whispering words of survival.

now it’s a barely recognizable ex,

framing all of my decisions with

hollow hooded question marks

whose sinuous curves bely

their sinister intentions

to blacken diamonds with doubts

until they’re back to coals again.

the square-jawed assurances

of my brave inner soldiers

are broken.

now, they limp aimlessly around

raw rebel refuges

hidden behind an uncommitted rib

soon, my mirror will show nothing but

sighs, shadows +

double-edged swords

sprung from fear-forged

iron maiden kamikaze armor.

i never liked labels or definition,

but now that they’re deprived of me

i find myself

buried in cliches

and somehow lacking

Shades

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unsure pupils, just barely released

from the dreaming den

struggle to shift from slumber to selection.

Is today the day that I reignite the

pinnacle promise of my best self?

there’s only one way to find out.

so i sleepily play pied piper on my heart flute

until all the varied shadows of me

stream + cavort out of

my soul wardrobe, displaying

crimson tees tinted with rage,

mellow yellow skirts of perception,

+ brocade jackets of brooding.

a many-hued parade of potential psyches

made possible by humanity’s

grasping gamble hope

that the perfect guess

will guide

our kismet kissed roulette ball

into the right notch

+ unveil life’s secrets

hidden away like nuts

in almost-forgotten holes.

choices, neuroses + morals

jostle for elbow room in their bone cage,

overloud so-called spectators

for the daily freudian perp walk

of the shaded spaces

between the lines.

 what potential

will you unlock

today?

History

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the broken songs of our race

jab sharp spears against

the overburdened heart of history

(our ends of course justify the means)

we have always

made the choice not to survive

without casting stones at sinners.

so we blame blind eyed destiny for

subtly seeping scarlett letters

into the bared bone melody

of earth’s humming voice,

+ etching permanent bullet holes

in our skinbound human harmony.

we savagely reap + sew

 endless staccato scars,

plunging our necrotic needles into

 the keeper of all life

as she begs + pleads for us

to learn, remember,

or at least sing freely.

lately it seems as if

only the sullen strains of discord

sound in our depths.

the delicately fluting grace

of love’s unstrung notes

fading,

dimmed.

instead, a chorus of fear ripples through

our increasingly distant lyrics.

have we lost our place

in the song of the universe?

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