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


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





it used to be a close-held lover,

breath twinned to mine,

whispering words of survival.

now it’s a barely recognizable ex,

framing all of my decisions with

hollow hooded question marks

whose sinuous curves bely

their sinister intentions

to blacken diamonds with doubts

until they’re back to coals again.

the square-jawed assurances

of my brave inner soldiers

are broken.

now, they limp aimlessly around

raw rebel refuges

hidden behind an uncommitted rib

soon, my mirror will show nothing but

sighs, shadows +

double-edged swords

sprung from fear-forged

iron maiden kamikaze armor.

i never liked labels or definition,

but now that they’re deprived of me

i find myself

buried in cliches

and somehow lacking

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