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

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

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

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

Hang

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the broken days

we all dread them.

on an oversalted afternoon,

the wheel spins + another

pain-leashed leviathan

weighs anchor in an unlucky soul.

sometimes we just borrow them

then step right back into the sun

others hang in our heart,

like Hamlet’s crooked star,

turning every bend in the road

into a promise, then a question,

and finally, a shrug.

and yet,

your humanity is what makes you beautiful

your mortality is what lets you feel so fiercely

your conscience can still change the world

don’t let nature’s pencil trace

bitter furrowed eyebrows + wasted moments

upon age softened skin

instead, simply revel in the fact that

you are loved

 

Dedicated to my Tía, and the almost absurd amount of strong, courageous, powerful, kind and wonderful women in my life. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am without you! 

Tattered

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it’s a rare, strange thing

to find solace in absolute misfortune.

to knit a cozy tattered blanket

from the dire-dyed weave of

trials + tribulations

+ continuously dance

dangerously close to the

fiendishly yellow blazing fire

that appears to be burning down

all carefully constructed options

+ turning hope into

just another carrot

on the endless

stick and treadmill of life.

there’s something almost beautiful

in this surrender

to the universe.

it’s what makes us mortal

what makes us

love so deeply

want so badly

climb so recklessly

peak so sublimely

plummet so devastatingly

break so hole heartfully.

it’s what makes us all

secretly believe in

superheroes,

+ even more secretly,

believe that we are one

just waiting for

a moment of discovery

or an unknown trigger

yielding transformation.

so i’ll take my ashes,

my ratty, badluck blanket,

flip my demons the bird,

+ add it all to my

world warrior shield

made from kryptonite

until flaws marry strengths

and i stand complete

Fuse

tender, unbroken mind

tries & fails

to compress the stress

of a blown fuse

 

hardwired to survive

even with too much damage

and too many scars

blue bruised

but not yet vanquished

 

despite Pain

that hooks & flays all paths

shark-swimming crossroads of

the bare brain

leaving it explosively exposed

 

the endless screech

of a broken violin string

crusted iron edged tendrils

fear screaming a whiplash web

through overworked vessels

begging for respite

 

no help comes

but with each blow

struck by each enemy

eroding my body

my soul grows stronger.

Unfinished

the earth still moves

the ground somehow still stands firm

the trees still whisper

the lovers still clutch

my shadow stands solo

finished&unfinished

hard ridged&newly incomplete

the world purls&folds around me

diminishing to the gossipy buzz of ignorant bees

but all i can see

are grooves in the dust

tiretread memories

etching our past

slum scribing our battles

our sorrows

our joy

 

i will never forget you

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