Beautiful

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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

10 Seconds

For Lucy & Cory

Lucy & Cors Wedding 2

I met you in a strange land

Full of fireworks, bing long and awed faces

Thrown together, our sanctuary grew

An island of foreigners in a sea of locals

We could easily have become friends

Conveniently losing touch when we returned

To our western reality

Instead, we chose to become family

Playing Phase 10 on your porch

— Not at all competitively, of course —

While peeking through laundry to people watch

Singing 1950s ballads with befriended gangsters

Crying, laughing, cheering, hurting, hoping

Occasionally choking on the smell of stinky tofu

I remember sitting on your bed

One lazy afternoon

Watching you sort through your collection

Of definitely-legal DVDs

While also sweeping the floor

You exchanged glances briefly

Then went back to your respective duties

You weren’t even near each other

But the love expressed in that 10 seconds

Was more palpable,

More potent

Than anything from legend or the silver screen

In such a quiet moment

I witnessed soulmates

Crowd

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a blanket of hurry

muffles the impatient horde

coloring the sidewalk

with a reverse rainbow of humanity

intimate strangers

breathing the same air

searching for spectacles

lost in a million million thoughts

a panoply of psyches

people at their worst,

unkind, self-involved, abrupt

ignoring

groping hands reach for benediction

averted eyes pretend not to see

those tarnished by the brush of “not enough”

but also the quiet moments of kindness

that have redeemed us since

before we could walk, grunting politely

at others in nearby caves

millenia later, we still strive for refuge

seeking sanctuary among the teeming masses

the blissful solace of losing yourself

in a sea of people

the wonder of crossing eyes,

skimming through briefly bare surfaces

more than connection

joined vulnerabilities

with someone you may never see again,

and can be utterly free with

*Image courtesy of this amazing new artist and blogger I just discovered: http://myscribbledsecretnotebooks.com/tag/painting-of-kerouac/

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

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

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

The Ripening (Revisited)

This is a poem I wrote a long, long time ago– but it still holds true today. A little bit for all of us, maybe? 

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i miss the me
that doesn’t exist yet.

the me that doesn’t ever feel
hollow or tarnished,
but new-minted
brassy with happiness.

i can feel her roots,
burrowed too deep
for conscious thought or recognition.

outside the cocoon,
a spirit adrift,
circling warily around my potential

idly watching
the twisted not-quite-right person
struggle to bloom.

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