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

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Civil

they are polite,
careful with one another,
reduced to a civility that keeps the peace,
that passes the time in a finely stitched quilt of status quo

it’s complaisant, unnerving,
this glass house and no stones,
this sort of civility that’s an undertow of mistrust,
this politeness that is nothing left to say

-image via Pixabay

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

Swan’s Song

standing at the creek’s edge,
our fingers’ clumsy knot begins to unlace
as he turns to look at me,
eyes flickering like fading filament,
a passing swan’s cursive curve a question mark’s reflection on the glassy surface before me,
just like the words he so softly speaks

and I stand there, stuck,
wondering if, no matter my answer,
no matter what choice I make,
would the swan still sing our song?

-image via Pixabay

Longing

I long for a deep and dreamless sleep,
a certain sleep,
for relief from the excruciating pain of living a life that is less than I always imagined,
less than I hoped it would be

I long for a quiet and peaceful sitting,
an undaunted sitting,
for solace from the thunderous reel that’s been stuck on repeat for as long as I can remember,
for as long as I have allowed it to play

it’s true,
I mostly prefer aloneness,
but it eats me alive to know what an increasingly isolated life I’ve been living,
a tiny, dark triangular world of gambling, shopping, and reading,
three points to which I traverse,
one after the other,
trying my best to outrun the thunder and the pain –
it’s no wonder I’m always so tired

but what I long for most of all,
is rest,
for the ability to finally stop trying to fill the seemingly infinite void,
rest from trying to make life smaller

-image via Pixabay; poem inspired by my mother

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