June 22, 2010
*Dedicated to my sweetheart*
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
May 17, 2010
Grimy, cracked mayonnaise jar,
Thrashing its nervous, fragile frame,
Increasingly battered, against
The blemished glass –
Up, down, left, right,
Backwards, frontwards, sideways.
Despite the futility of its perpetual movement,
It goes on and on and on, unstoppable,
Though it knows not quite why or what for.
Dizzy, dumbfounded, disoriented,
Racked with spasms and mind-numbing panic,
Mind frozen in a monotonous state of confusion.
The universe on the breathable dimension of the
Deceptive doorway to freedom is unreachable –
Yet, this fact, ungrasped by the miniscule brain
Of the miniature fly with a million eyes wide shut,
Continues its frenzied dance as liberty
Dangles, cruelly tantalizing, on an existential string.
Purely functional, unconscious, and incapable
Of rewarding the fly’s nigh Puritan persistence,
The glass jar gives no indication of giving way,
Until, at long last, the fly collapses onto its now-broken back,
Exhausted and bleeding from the fight against
Its own false perception of reality.
One leg jerks in one last gasp
And is still.
May 16, 2010
Burning flesh searing its stamp
On the supple vulnerabilities of my mind –
Decaying hand of psychosis groping
At tremulous clumps of huddled nerves
Screaming sanctuary from creeping fingers –
Twisting a wire here, tugging a thread there –
Pleading to be passed over.
Willy-nilly whims spark neural cannons
That mingle with misfired synaptic flares…
Implosion of the psyche.
April 15, 2010
Brick by burdensome brick.
My mind, traitor to my abandoned heart,
Slave to a captor concealed –
Cruel taskmaster brandishing whip unseen,
But felt with every serpent-like sting –
Tiring arms aching,
Hunching back breaking,
Pleading for the abiding asylum of death.
Tick…Tock… Tick… Talk…
Talk… Talk…. Talking…
Ceaseless talking of sing-song voices
Creeping in with winter night’s chill,
Cracking the concrete silence.
Slip… Slip… Slipping…
Senses swiftly slipping and sliding
Into a murky sea of suspicion and suspense.
Blood-stained fingernails tear
Frantically at four unyielding palisades –
Crimson blood reminds me that life
Yet runs relentless through each vein.
A splinter of light slices through the blackness –
One suggestive breach in the barricade,
The two-faced fortress cloistering me from the world,
Safeguarding an unsuspecting world from me.
Peering through the porthole to that alternate reality:
A flashback from a forgotten existence made flesh…
Mere footsteps away and yet a lifetime apart,
As close as my heartbeat, as far as the stars.
You cannot see me here in my solitary cell,
Yet I know you feel my piercing, sunlight-starved eyes
Sifting softly through the unspoken secrets of your soul.
One smile, one glance, one sincere utterance,
And without warning, the cleft in the facade
Cracks open just an inch more, taunting me
To pry at the edges with bruised and burning fingertips.
A triangle of radiance paints itself on the opposite wall,
A breath of blossom-tinted breeze satiates my thirsty lungs.
The schism in my shelter of suffering is still
Too slight to squeeze through, and, disheartened,
No – furious! I pound my tight-clenched fists,
Beating myself against the blood-stained bricks
Against the cursed lies, the sordid secrets, the broken vows.
I fabricated this suffocating prison, my strength and will
Brutally born of hate, of anger, of pain –
Where is my power now to shatter it’s very frame?
I wail aloud and in spirit, tearing beast-like at my hair.
Into an absymal void of despair.
Phantasms of the raging flames of hell
Consume my cluttered brain –
Demon fear incarnate mutters
That you will leave me here alone,
Dismiss my illusive phantom-like presence,
Forget you heard me, perhaps even loved me…
I, the shadow of a shattered dream.
I cannot bear to witness through my window
A paradise I may never know.
I cannot endure you walking away,
Fading into the hopeless horizon,
Wishing to hold you forever in my gaze.
I cradle my head in empty and aching arms,
Drowning in my loneliness and shame.
Then, as subtle and soft as an echo from afar,
I hear you call my name –
Once. But no… But yes! And once again.
Tears of redemption making rivers down my face,
I drag myself up to the once- impenetrable barrier…
You are standing there still, unwavering, waiting for me.
Inspired anew with yet-hesitant hope and timid longing,
I close my sun-stunned eyes, and whisper an
Imperfect prayer sincere.
For seeming centuries, I search my heart, my soul –
I reach my hands into the welcoming light,
Breathe in the life-awakening crispness of
Air washed clean by April rains,
And remember. And forget.
Forgive. Find. Let go. Catch. Lose. Regain…
The suffocating bricks crumble around my feet,
Baring my pale head to the firmament above.
Glory envelops me –
I gasp in the first breath of new life,
Feet barely realizing the ground –
Soaring straight into your outstretched arms,
Once empty, now forever filled
By everything that I am and will be…
I am free.
April 11, 2010
Dedicated to Aunt Sue.
And plunge into vermillion skies.
In the dark, dusky fragrance of nocturnal stillness,
Heavy beads of midnight’s tears settle sensually on my shoulders.
Melancholy caresses of ocean’s breath on my cheek,
The jealous wind slips its phantom fingers through my hair.
Flirtatious petals of velvet magenta brush across my lips
And flutter away into the creeping, clandestine fog.
Barefoot and carefree, I begin to twirl,
Faster and faster and faster still –
Arms reaching towards the azure canvas of space,
Wispy blades of gray-green grass tickling my ankles,
Spinning and spinning, the world a senseless blur –
Breathless I tumble to the earth quivering beneath my feet,
But the stars above me keep on whirling madly,
Dancing in time with my briskly beating heart –
I shut my eyes to the frenzied firmament.
Then, far off in the distant haze, strains of symphony –
Violin, flute, oboe, timpani –
Familiar knowing pierces through my dizzy brain,
And scrambling expectantly to the crest of a tangled hill,
I behold marching towards me an astonishing procession,
A fantastical assembly of forgotten childhood playmates –
Hurried rabbits clutching tiny pocket watches,
Mottled rocking horses with feathered wings,
Cerulean unicorns and frolicsome fairies,
Diamond-decked dragons and wise old wizards,
Tea-sipping fawns and clumsy patchwork girls,
Jaunty scarecrows and imposing lions,
Radiant princesses with glittering jewels,
Little girls adorned in red capes and hoods,
And chivalrous knights riding snow-white steeds.
A parade of long-missed fantasies resurrected,
Sleep-induced phantasms fading away,
Melting into the pink-and-gold-tinged sunrise.
The music remains –
Lilting melodies surreal,
Stirring the trees from their rapturous nighttime reveries,
Awakening from despairing dreams the mourning doves,
Still grieving the loss of some long-ago legend,
Prying open the alabaster daises sprinkled across the green,
Shaking the drowsiness from my eyes…
I awake, regretfully –
Longing to linger,
To abide evermore,
In the midst of my Debussy dreams.
April 10, 2010
Tremble precariously on my skin
Until, heavy with sorrow, they fall –
Drenching the ground with my pain.
The invisible thread that connects
Our two hearts is tightly wound,
The hurt in yours vibrating to mine.
I feel your pain – it becomes my own.
Harsh words pierce like a dagger, I know.
I wonder if at times you feel
Nothing at all – so I feel for you,
Knowing you deserve so much more.
When I was a little girl I would cry for you.
Though I’ve grown, I am still scared,
Still wonder if we will be broken apart,
Would I be enough to fill the emptiness?
In those days, I would hide in my room.
Now, I just escape in my mind –
Running from the tension, the chaos,
The sound of you softly crying, trying to be strong.
You never want me to see you break down –
Closing the door, wiping away the tears,
Not saying the things I already know,
Not wanting me to be afraid.
But I’ve been afraid all along –
For you, for me, for us all.
Hurt feelings, broken hearts,
Wanting to feel accepted, yet falling short.
Nothing left to do but cry and hope
That one day you will be happy on your own terms.
And maybe I will learn to forget what
I have always felt I lacked –
That the void may be filled for both of us.
I don’t have the answers,
I still feel like a helpless child –
But I love you…
And I hope that helps somehow.
March 24, 2010
Infinite beyond the horizon where
The half-circle of blood-red sun hangs suspended,
Neither setting nor rising – no,
Whether it is dusk or dawn I cannot tell –
Casting a soft glow reflecting off the
Dusty road, making it glitter like
A million diamonds free for the taking.
Barefoot and broken, bruised and battered,
I stand at the starting line, shifting restlessly
From one foot to the other in nervous anticipation.
Behind me stretches another path,
Long and winding, serpent-like,
Threatening to coil and spring, swallowing me whole.
I take a step forward, hesitant, then one more.
As the dust settles around my feet,
I look over my shoulder at the path left behind.
From the darkness looms a vision,
A memory – resurrected as a nightmarish scene –
I see my heavy, fragile heart slipping from my chest
And shattering onto the cold, hard concrete.
Vultures emerge from the fog, brutal and mocking,
To steal the shattered remnants of what
Was once alive and beating.
Shivering, I turn back to the glittering path before me.
Another unsteady step, then another, and yet one more –
Further and further from that long night in which
I had grown so pale and weak.
The light from the half-submerged sun burns
Against my skin as I close my eyes to the glare.
Exhaustion overtakes me – I stumble and fall.
Discouraged, frightened, and distracted by my pain,
I draw my knees into my chest with my back to the sun.
Through my tears I look beyond the patch of luminescent road
I had traveled and into the dreary wasteland yet again.
A grand performance has been prepared in my short absence –
Familiar characters and scenes from my past
Are being played out before me –
I cannot shut my eyes to the horror,
And I am once more witness to it all.
In the middle of that stage in the distance stands a girl –
She looks like me, yet, is not me.
Laughing, beckoning, “Return, return –
You know us here. Put on a mask,
Any one you choose, and play with us again.
We will rape your heart and shanghai
Your identity – But is this not the game?
Who can guess to what strange land that
Glistening path will take you –
You do not even know if the sun is coming or going –
Why take such a risk? Come back to us –
Here you can be someone else –
Or no one at all –
Find refuge inside your fears, your insecurities.
At least here in the darkness, you cannot be seen.
At least in this place of pain, you can hide from the
Light that reveals all imperfection –
Come. Come back to what you know.”
Grinning, she turns her back to me, and
Blends into the ensemble of masked mimes,
Despondent clowns, and demons spewing forth
Clawed derisions threatening to tear at the
Fragile fabric of my mind.
Ripping my gaze from the hypnotic chaos before me,
I rise to my feet and consider the scene.
I close my eyes, and breathe in slowly,
And feel the sun’s warmth upon my back.
I turn around, and put one foot forward…
March 14, 2010
The smoke of last night’s dreams still
Lingers around my pillow.
My cheek is imprinted with the creases of the sheets
Gathered tightly around my body –
Now shivering cold, now burning with fever.
Coughing to clear my lungs from the
Suffocating remnants of yesterday’s tears.
My headphones cord tightens around my neck
As I turn towards the wall –
I fell asleep to the familiar lullabies
Of pain, healing, loss, and redemption –
My dreaming mind, to make a point of sadistic irony,
Dismissed the messages of comfort and love,
Summoning for fears and monsters and
Merciless tales of doom, regret, and tragedy.
But the afternoon light streams through
The trinity of windows and casts an inviting glow
Across the cold wall upon which I press my feet, listlessly –
Thinking of yesterday and wishing for tomorrow.
I trace my finger along the wall in a language
Only I know, and do not care to speak of,
Then count the freckles on my arms.
In a place between asleep and awake,
In a state where dreams and reality intertwine
And fight for dominance in my brain,
In a place where only I can go, where I am alone,
I live a myriad of lives patched together from memories,
And tell myself stories that become dreams,
That melt into mere emotion to be circulated
Through my bloodstream like a drug –
But I’m not allowed to bleed it out.
So I lie here, and drift to sleep, and drift to wake,
In and out, light and dark, real and make-believe.
I am falling. Now I am flying. Running. Now still.
Thoughts dance the maddening dance and collapse into silence –
Jolted to motion again by the sudden beat of my pounding heart.
Future, past, present, now past again – No, present only.
I am here and that is all I need to know.
There is nothing else for me today.
The puzzle, the problem, will not be unlocked this way.
My muddled mind cannot touch your words.
I have no strength to hold it, carry it, examine it –
Too heavy, too heavy, it slips from my fingers.
So I lie here, exhausted, in the smoky of haze of dreams.
This is my reality today. This and none else.
I cover my head and bury myself in my sanctuary of
Sheets and shadows and pillow creases.
The truth will have to wait until tomorrow.
Tomorrow I wake up.
But not today.
March 9, 2010
This poem was inspired mostly by my own struggles with self-perception, but also partly by a fellow blogger who is also dealing with similar issues. Writing this was a learning experience for me, and I hope maybe it will help her too.
I wake every morning,
Stumbling to the mirror,
I blink, and blink again.
The image looking back at me
Begins to cry.
The tally commences –
One, two, three, four…
Up and down my arms.
Scars I hide beneath
My hands move unbidden
And span across
My middle, my chest, my thighs.
I turn away in disgust.
Cover my shame, hide my guilt –
The baggy old sweatshirt again.
I will not let you see,
I will not let you know,
These outward testaments of
My inward pain.
Smiles and sleeves and diet pills,
One secret for each scar.
Would you understand?
Would you turn in disgust, as I?
Fear me, label me, judge me?
Look through harsher eyes?
Would you question me,
Or perhaps prefer ignorance?
If you only knew
The scars that are cut
Into something deeper then
If you only knew
The extra weight I carry
Comes from nights when
Food was my
But I am scared to tell you.
These walls keep me distant,
From those I dare not trust.
How long until these scars fade?
How long until my reflection
Smiles back –
Last night I had a dream.
Before the mirror I stood again.
I clenched my fists and shut my eyes.
I screamed –
At myself, my scars, my body, my mind –
“I hate you!”
Then I heard a voice, gentle and low,
From where it came, I could not tell.
“Look. Look again. Yet deeper.
And see what I see.”
Hesitantly, I uncover my face.
I blink, and blink again.
The image looking back at me,
Begins to cry –
“Nothings changed! The scars remain,
I cannot bear to look!”
The voice replied,
“In those eyes I see a depth,
An understanding born of pain.
In your walk, a maturity,
A knowledge born of suffering.
I look at your hands and see
Your struggle with the world.
Your arms, they’re strong,
From lifting burdens,
Some never yours to bear.
Your legs are powerful,
Carrying you forward despite
Winds that threaten
To tear you down.
You see flaws and imperfections.
You see someone undeserving of love.
I see a girl with battle wounds,
Inflicted in a war with
The pain and injustice of this world,
With her past, with her demons,
I see a girl who wants to be loved.
I see a girl tired of the pain.
I see a girl trying to get through the day.
Who has not given up on this life.”
“I see someone destined for greatness,
With so much inside to give.
You see weakness, I see courage.
You see despair, I see promise.
You see ugliness, but I…
I see beauty born from within.”
I awoke from the dream that morning,
Stumbling to the mirror,
To repeat the painful ritual –
One, two, three, four…
Then suddenly, the voice from
My dream resounded in my ears…
And looked again.
My scars were beautiful.