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

Linger

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Morning dangles from my fingertips

as I wake still half-submerged

in my dream’s disruptive cocoon.

Though the sun

weaves a path through the clouds,

i can still taste the unfurled potency

of Morpheus’s playground

etching jagged pockmarks

into the dream-stained day.

The golden haze of first blush

beckons, radiating reassurance

but i, unassured

still blink reverie shards

from troubled lashes.

Seed sharp roots murmur of elsewhere,

ruthlessly teasing my mind’s edges

as they sketch

illegible writings on the wall,

twilight harnessed

in a gambler’s glimpse

of the space between worlds.

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

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

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?

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

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

Awake

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after millions of minutes

hiding

soul sleeping

both rapunzel + rip van winkle

yearning for escape

trapped between skeletal bars

now when i stretch

fingertips for the sun

i can feel their shine

+ not the shadow they cast

Be

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who am i?

said the face to the mirror

eyes glinting,

shuttered lids

blinking,

bracing

against the hopeful

agony of anticipation.

have i triumphantly

shed the skin of my past,

shucked off

page yellowed demons

until they slink sullenly off

for a smoke break?

the more honest question

would probably be

do i want to know

the answer?

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