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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Summer

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dreamweavers drift by

unhurried

buried in dandelions

canoeing around the summer air

sparking beacons of imagination

with their firefly shimmers

gold crowned grass rustles,

confiding + whispering

of stories from questionable realities

and far off yesterdays

snoring oak trees, chattering cicadas

underscore cool, unruffled night breezes

bringing myriads of meanings

to the star soaked sky

as it beckons us closer

with incorrigible fingers of light

always perfectly out of reach

and all the more beautiful for it

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

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

Shape

Sunset over Washington Terrace

it used to be

OK shoe,

Drop

take a bite out of this bliss

because

in the

 whirling swirling

spiral cycles of life,

beats change as often as

frantic fiddles in the hands of mercurial masters

but

but

somehow things are different,

now

maybe i

am different now

perhaps power

dances under my fingertips

instead of making me it’s reluctant puppet

Footprint

we are 

eons of depth compressd

into a single soul

hammer hewn humanity

brilliantly savage

stumblingly optimistic

fashioning hope into blinders

+ chaos cantering down

what our heartwish says

is the right path

sometimes ignoring

the beings on our shoulders

not angels or demons,

those overly delineated knights of

the black + white,

but our mortality miasma, 

hungerlovehurtjoy

memories, pains + lessons

whispering words of explosive caution

that shadow spotlights our tracks

and sometimes listening;

to shape the world

in a thousand 

unthinkably beautiful horrific 

ways

until we recede

and our footprint

joins all the others

Just

just when you think

you’ve caught a bad case

of chicken little

and the world is crumbling

in jagged shatters

the yellow brick road

emerges + nudges your toes

(where before there

was only overgrown grass

+ things better left unsaid)

it branches off

into paths unknowing

shadows of other choices

intermeshed with the

incandescent heart tracks of people

+ eddies of possibilities

spiral spinning into a

glorious fragmented web

that we can only see a part of

but i know

as i set my foot forward

on what little path I can see

that the ground is firm beneath my feet

the sun is warm on my face

and i am not alone

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Low

i always assumed
rock bottom
was a solid tangible thump
a granite ground zero
glacier looming underwater
lurking in the darkest depths
of the human spirit
/an immovable object
that met and demolished
an unstoppable force/
but i’ve come
to realize
it’s more of an
endless earthquake
a colossal catch-22
programmed to
rebuild after every
self-destruct
a patternless neon
infinity staircase
unbowed
unchained
unfathomable
the reality is
there is no such
thing as
rock bottom.
there is no one
single
fixed point of worst
in our lives
only a
darkly luminous life grid of
occasional meteoric highs +
increasingly devastating lows
absorbing and compounding
multiplying and swelling
expanding and constricting
until your soul
cries out, overwhelmed
and life goes on

Dare

I dare you
to fly in the face of fear
taste the flavors of life with every inhale

Celebrate the melancholy
mourn the magnificent
and debauch with the best of them

Fall over and over again
in love,
in the dirt,
and into hardship

Defy the creeping cruel
walls of pain
that so easily form
around worldHardened hearts

remain defiantly undefined by others
savor the hell out of every moment
never, ever forget that you deserve better

and always, always
be who you love

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