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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Friend

where there is darkness, you seek hope

where there is division, you spark unity

where there is pain, you share strength

you may be an inspiration to others

but that doesn’t neon blaze from your forehead

it’s not a badge you can flash merrily

or a “get out of jail free” card to chase away demons

sometimes you can’t look your reflection in the eyes

sometimes you despair of ever being a whole self,

of ever being more than a fragmented series of shatter shard moments

sometimes, it feels like you’re drowning in a riot of unsteady emotions

so when you forget

when you’ve lost sight of

your many splendored shades + shadows

radiating through with each blink

i will walk alongside

and remind you

Potential

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Prospects stir within me

peeking through the murk

of disarming doubts

and missed opportunities

to eye tomorrow speculatively

They venture forward

brushing aside

clinging fragments of fear

trailing shreds of futures

from restless dreams

shedding past selves

and stowing their baggage

in the corner

My possibilities

jockey for position

as they thrum restlessly

at the starting line of my soul

waiting to gallop off

and be chosen

as the one

who could change everything

Letters

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lines drip bald-faced

down a seemingly empty page

after a daring jailbreak

from an unfiltered unconscious

angels & angles

demons & dreams

crisscrossing

while memories insidiously

waltz their way

around the edges

masquerading as mothballs

dipping & clinging

to paper particles

how can an incurious vowel

here

a crooning consonant curve

there

possibly hope to convey the bottomless

endless spectacles everywhere unfurling

/a riot of humanity throughout history/

what scribe or scholar

could tame the beast

with the sideline stroke of a pen?

not i, said the fly.

still,

what better way

to grasp for the moon?

Speak

To my friends, for always listening & freeing me a little more each day

I don’t often speak about being mentally abused, but this is about more than just me. For all those who have suffered in skin or in spirit, no matter what shape your scars take: you are a survivor, I am touched every day by all that you are, and you are never, ever alone.

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consonants cause traffic jams

in the rush

for release

from

their white ridged confines

elbowing aside luckless scowling vowels

& artificially flavored filters

while whispering syllables

hatch an escape plan

over by bitter and sweet

i feel them tumbling around my tongue

an emotional recipe for uncertainty

mixed with the heady brew

of pain/trust/fear

uncaged

trailing meteor tail memories

the words spill out into the

suddenly frozen air

and i find myself

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

Raw

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i am not who you see

the person bending out of your pupils

unfolds with grace and majesty

but i,

i lie here flushed and soulbared

draped in disillusionment

my clunky sobs stampede through

too thick air

lips dance in an unfamiliar grin

that feels wrong

even as i laugh at your awful jokes

right now,

i want to be anyone else

but you look unflinching at

some beautiful, powerful me

and i’m caught

like a semi-reluctant butterfly

trapped in your gaze

waiting for you to see

i’m actually a moth

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

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?

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