Versions

Sometimes I cannot sleep; my mind is busy noticing things, things that were hidden (buried) in the peripheral throughout the purposeful rigor of the day.
The backs of my eyelids are vivid nightlights, magnifying glasses for the razor-edged Rolodex of things I have meticulously filed away.
I notice all the things I did do and wish I had not, the things I did not do and wish I had.
In the unwanted illumination, my heart reveals a measuring stick that is rigged in someone else’s favor. I notice how I often fall short.
I notice time’s mnemonic remnants: the faint ridges of forgotten fingerprints, the oily glow of haphazard handprints, the glossy shine of a forehead once rested in daydream.
I notice the scattering of chalk outlines, evidence of the versions I had worked so diligently to scour away.

-imagie via Pinterest

Advertisements

Absence

they say the pines a’whisper,
a rustling lullaby song,
as the breeze plucks at treetops,
and cool nights grow dark and long

but their sound does not lull, no,
it sings harshly of a ‘bye,
disappearing in shadow,
and cruel whispering of lies

there’s no bogeyman hiding,
in the darkest nooks of night;
it’s absence that’s a’haunting,
hollow howls in the moonlight

-image via Pexels; revision of older poem as part of Imaginary Garden with Real Toads’ prompt, hollow

Elements

I have been beyond tired, beyond lonely –
simultaneously lonely and never alone,
with an emptiness settling in so deeply,
it was a stone inside of me,
hard and sharp

my past and my fears are the leaden shackles I have always felt a duty to escape;
my rest is formed by my waking life,
and my waking life has too often been formed by feelings of defeat,
sorrows I allow to permeate as I set forth in my duty

but, in the center of my core,
I have always known it is possible to break the old, rusted, fear-forged chains of the past,
to encourage elements to transition from one state into another,
transforming and casting an entirely new life

sadly, chains made of blood and memory are a million times more difficult to sever than those made of steel,
and the past has a tendency to overtake me when I am not paying enough attention,
or, when I pay too much,
and I’ll find myself making the same mistakes as those who’ve come before me,
with the same resentments set to boil

but, I have also been tired, yet content,
simultaneously fulfilled and alone, but never lonely,
hard-won self knowledge settling in so deeply,
silence and gratitude are all I need to feed the gentle stillness in my soul

because those old, rusty chains do eventually break,
even though the breaking is an endlessly tiresome business,
and when I look the fearful past in the face and call it by its name,
it loses its rigidity and strength,
becoming just another corroding element,
flaking away with time

-image via Pexels; shared as part of the dVerse Poet Pub’s prompt, The Art of Confessional in Poetry

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

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

Patchwork

they don’t even notice I’m a mess

the truth is,
I’m not even sure how I’m able to function,
because it feels like I’ve been splintered into a million little pieces

and today, like most days,
I’m just clumsy patchwork,
exhaustedly strung together with recycled red string,
fate stitched to the soles of my tired feet,
and they’re all scavengers,
viscously peck-pecking away at my seams,
wanting more, more,
more

-image via Pinterest, original via google images

Undoing

silence settles in like cold settles into my bones,
words, once fertile and blooming,
now become itchy, phantom limbs,
a nagging taunt,
contemptuous, even

you see,
I went so long without ripples,
and a stone had finally been dropped into the water,
every circle fanning out to move my destiny along the course of some inevitable, magical destination,
but now the moon seems to have halted the tide,
and my eyes have become an unyielding blackness,
tinting the world

that blackness had, for so long after the ripples,
become a reminder of how the night always comes before the glory of morn,
a time when the world is a beautiful mystery

but now it only reminds me that shadows are all I have,
and the crazy thing is –
maybe I’m ok with that,
maybe I always knew

I always knew that love would be my undoing

-image via Tumblr, origin unknown

Not One

I am not one of you
I’m a sieve
A sponge
I adsorb your cue

I am not one of you
I’m a strum
A reciprocal vibration
I hear your hue

I am not one of you
I’m a bubble
A transparent vessel
I see right through

I am not one of you
I’m a translator
A personifier
I feel your askew

I am not one of you
I’m a palate
A canvas
I soak in, imbue

I am not one of you
I’m a double-take
A tip of the tongue
I’m Deja vu

I am not one of you
I’m a moment
A slide show
I’m a tribute

I am not one of you
I’m a quarry
An excavation
I’m a revue

-Image found on Tumblr, source unknown; reworking of an older poem

Hollow

img_1374

in the daylight it is camouflaged,
so well masked it is almost an illusion,
a disconsolate hologram diffracting light,
mirroring smiles, avoiding eyes

but at night, it strikes,
an unrelenting ghost attaching itself,
impossible to shake as it closes its wicked hand over hers in predatory ownership,
whispering a solitary word in her ear:
mine

and it eats her alive,
so that she is no skin,
only sharp, brittle little bones,
so hollow the wind makes a song of them

-image via Pixabay