Approval

when she started out,
she’d written for no one;
it was pure reflection,
raw, unfiltered parts of her soul,
once-hidden bits of herself,
toilsome connections and modes of understanding,
the stuff everyday life was after but hadn’t dared to admit,
and it became an outpouring,
unable to be dammed

public approval meant absolutely nothing,
until she experienced it –
now, the thought of losing her audience shamed her

what began as an irrepressible outpouring had become defining,
a definition that vanished the moment she accredited it

-image via Pexels

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Rise

in this life,
there is a rising that isn’t always from death,
a flight that doesn’t always end in breaking

if we pay attention,
brilliant beams pass through us like water,
and, if we’re still enough,
we experience every imaginable light

and every now and then,
a current sweeps through us,
carrying with it our broken hearts to grieve,
as they should

then, a raging river lifts us,
floating us over the low gray hills,
up, up,
elsewhere,
to find the place where the light,
even if dimmed, never diminishes

for, we are more than breath,
alone,
more than the thickness of the air that surrounds us,
more than the rupturing into molecule and atom;
we are not fractions,
we are our own lowest common denominators,
we are primes

we experience every imaginable light,
including its absence,
and as a whole,
we rise

in this life,
there is a rising that isn’t always from death,
a flight that doesn’t always end in breaking;
there is a light that can only be known from darkness,
a journey that brings us home

-image via Pexels; shared as part of dVerse Poet Pub’s Open Link Night

Blush

it’s crazy how I’m caught off guard,
after all these years

how tearing down walls left me with no guard at all,
my smallness in the open with you

how that hungry look,
a few whispered words,
warm in my ear,
or the gentle trace of your fingers at just the right moment,
can make me blush,
and squirm,
and want

it’s crazy how being off guard feels so at home,
with you

-image credit Tumblr

Don’t See Me


opportunity doesn’t knock, it slithers,
it wriggles and burrows with its chattering teeth,
until it tunnels down, down, down,
clawing and eating away at my insides –
and I feed it

I nourish it with eyes that see,
but pretend not to,
with haunting excuses hovering in wait,
gathering to lock fingers and create a wall no human could possibly scale
alone

they hide my most precious secret

knees to chest,
arms wrapped tightly around,
and eyes unable to meet yours –

don’t see me

I am not what you think
(I am not what I wish I was)

-image via Pinterest

Reality

the funeral goes by in a slow waltz of shiny cars,
perfectly pressed black suits,
and choreographed tears,
and I think to myself –
is it all bitter, in the end?

because, in my experience,
that’s the way smoke always speaks as it rises,
the way others’ eyes painfully prophesize,
the way the mirror constantly fogs

history has planted seeds of pain so deep,
so bitter it taints everything I savor,
but the painful truth is –
my story is stale;
I can’t let go of it,
because if I did,
I wouldn’t be a victim anymore

who would I be, then,
without the luxury of living in the past,
without the invisibility of living in my head,
without the decaying wall that so carefully keeps it all in?

I have always wanted to do something that matters,
something important,
something that leaves a precious piece of myself behind,
but I constantly deceive myself –
in order to do that,
I have to do the dirty work

but I sometimes pretend to do the work,
when, in reality,
I’m making shiny the excuses I’ve disguised as dirty work;
I’m a foggy mirror,
a faulty cog,
an enabler

tired is just an excuse;
I’m afraid,
I have always been afraid

I’m afraid I’ll never be able to stand on stage alone,
baring my fucking soul,
taking the risk of not knowing if I’ll be applauded or booed,
and the crazy thing is –
I think I’m most afraid of being applauded

the funeral goes by in a slow waltz of shiny cars,
perfectly pressed black suits,
and choreographed tears

mine among them

-image via Pexels

Priorities

not long ago,
if someone had asked me,
I’d have said my husband was the most important thing in the world to me,
but he wasn’t,
not then

what was most important to me wasn’t love or passion or trust,
but my ability to lie convincingly to myself,
to believe I was strong

and I’m not sure who I couldn’t forgive for finding out I wasn’t,
for knowing all along I wasn’t –
him or me

-image via Pexels

Glutton

I crave the soaring fly,
the savory-sweet dopamine high,
the trojan-horsed famine to feast,
fist to mouth feeding this homeless core,
my shattered beast,
desperate to numb its bitter and cold,
but its icy fingers won’t release their deadly hold

I yearn for the rolls and folds to soften the deadly blows,
for this insulation to thicken and enclose,
for this savage internal verse to shift,
becoming honeyed prose,
but the strikes never slow, never soften;
at this rate, this oversized shell will be my coffin

I hunger for the serene, obsidian quiet,
for the release of this crippling riot,
for the free fall into the sweet, thoughtless void,
but it’s unreliant;
it’s all razor-edged neon, blinking, non-compliant

in it,
there’s only me,
myself,
and I,
all hiding behind the insatiable high,
this corpulent encasement a cage for the silver-tongued blows;
I am gluttonous shame,
a faceless name I don’t quite know

-image via Plusmommy.com

Rind

I am the space beneath the mushroom caps,
tightly tucked into the cool folds of the fanning sponge,
into the spaces where the sun can’t find

like perfectly polished dew drops,
truths lay scattered and exposed all around me,
but somehow, they lie in secret,
ungraspable,
like pollen bouncing on the breeze,
and I desperately stretch for them,
but my fickle fingers keep coming up empty

I wither,
in the absence

I am nothing but a husk,
a shell,
a rind,
something the sun can’t find

-image via Pexels