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

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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

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

Dolor

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what is more powerful

the refusal to be labeled

or acceptance of that which you can’t change?

am I strong because

I’ve learned to live with my scars

embrace them, even

or does that make me a coward?

all the darting strobes of Pain

leaking slowly from the

cracked box Pandora left ajar

plant their mark upon a soul

with the burnt black grip

of a nightmare’s fingerprints

there are days when

i don’t even know how to breathe

all I can see in the mirror

is a corrosive landscape

cooing as it twines its way through my veins

yet

for all that

i am not content to fade

slowly into the night

it is not enough

to endure in the face of suffering

to stagnate in the pool of survival

i will spark, i will blaze

i will rise from my ashes

Remembrance

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towers, forts, pillars

we took refuge in our

symbols of strength

money and might

two of our favorite keys

draped across the mantle of the world

until the day came

when lives slipped away

like too-fine sand

our symbols stripped bare

and burned from the inside

grief-spilled faces

could only watch in disbelief

a planet stutter-stops

while

fear & hate

are met with honor & love

and yet

the horror remains

a subdued scar

scraping at the surface of civility

reminding us all

that nothing is invulnerable

so everything should be cherished

Image Credit: Culture Travel Reflections http://nicoletteorlemans.com/2012/09/

Dedicated to all heroes, humans and hearts

so gracelessly ripped away

on this most tragic of days

Never forget

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

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

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

We Are Not Forgettable

i have a face, but we are faceless.

i have a name, but we are nameless.

health – care= our reality

labels – liability = our diagnosis

apathy redtape + pushedpills= our prescription

we’re sedated to be bleat-less sheep

led by a shepherd with earplugs

conforming quietly to the herd of checked boxes,

waiting for Dr. Bo Peep

while we suffer

while we break

while we scream inside

But i have a Face

i have a Name

And I Will Not Stop

until you see me

for all that i am.

until you see us

for all that we can be.

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