Exhale

part of me yet seeks to be

still.

exhale

without soulclawing for air

in a pain-murmuring body

holding itself hostage.

daily, i hunt armistice,

for tenuous relief

from this sisyphean shell,

forever roiling with

ebbs + echoes

of bonerooted pain-

newly validated

by nodding white coats.

the nightmare breathes inside my skin

i feel it

before my eyelids even flutter open

it whispers me awake

an agony anthem

gleefully unraveling

the sandman’s lullaby

in its midnight playground

disease has burned its brand on me

its spiderweb suffering

deepwoven into fickle DNA

seeking mastery with a conqueror’s fist

yet i

like many others

am so much more than the pain i carry

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Charlottesville 

Image credit goes to Jim Bourg at Reuters

when the light dims

and hate from the shadows

explodes into rancor headlines

man reveals beast 

our true colors, warped 

painting promises of a dark Prometheus 

they seek rabid rapture in oppression

hollow edged fists bear torches

obscuring our triumph, our passion, our poignancy

illuminating our savagery, our inhumanity, our bloodlust

the racism coiling sinuous leather lies in the name of progress

emboldened by leaders 

hungering for divides and distractions 

they march proudly 

into their sham conqueror’s high

old flags expose ancient hates in new masks

and pointing fingers meet screaming eyes

 

It is not enough to witness

It is not enough to condemn

It is not enough to disavow

Now, we must love

And act and hope and hurt and sob

Unite and fight and thrive and reach 

Revel in every single flavor of humanity

Live beyond our labels

And together, rise

 

Beautiful

13615291_893631448296_5051630664469449560_n

He told me i was ugly

so I knew myself beautiful

i wish that applied to only one man in my life

used to think the only way

to ever be whole again

was to set fire to their legacy

burn to charred crust

their tiny, petty cruelties

their thoughts tattooed inside my eyelids

their grimaces of approval

& sharpened malice vowels 

it has taken me far too many 

heartless heartbeats

to realize

i can only erase their fingerprints

inside my pores

if i don’t give them the power

to define me

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

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.

Course

There is no of course here.

553073_10100140586944813_1995380846_nWhen pain rules,

nothing is guaranteed.

molten mortal maladies

turning young veins old,

transforming a skip to a stumble.

How do you live?

How do you “stay the course”

when you aren’t in control

of your own skin?

i know tomorrow might be beautiful–

that I may run headlong into the wind,

laughing with the simple joy

of unburdened motion–

but today is unbearable.

Betrayal

Why do the movies

make betrayal

seem so glamorous?

Sleek, lush, potent, dramatic.

Heightening a lover’s quarrel

Dropping the jaw of a best friend

Snaking in to upheave a family

until it’s resolved in a 

highly comedic fashion.

 

But the reality is different.

No sexy emotions or overdone gasps

Just an unseen gut punch that 

flash fries your soul

robs your desire to breathe,

and spears you in half

 

Cost

i never before paid

the price of movement.

never knew the probing agony

of an ordinary gesture

detonating into thousand thousand black widows.

Now,

with the skin tax of

this disease delicately extracting

its pound of flesh,

I stand witness

to the cost of life.

To all those who suffer pain,

no matter what the root or form:

Maybe we can’t tame it…

But it can’t tame us either.

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