Rinse and Repeat

every day I paint it over,
calling red rover,
one stroke, death grip,
then another

cover stick, first,
masquerading bags,
the jet lag,
life at light speed,
so many green flags

then, lining the lids,
tallying bids,
gotta be strong for the kids,
keep up appearances in the social grids

now, time for the mascara,
lengthening lashes,
hiding ashes,
gotta hold back tears,
don’t want to trash it

next, brushing blush on high-boned cheeks,
erasing weeks,
turning pain to rosy peaks

can’t forget the smokey shadow,
shrouding eyes,
masking lies,
for, behind these lids,
the well runs dry

last, bold color on pouty lips,
dripping quips,
blood red smile oozing script

mask complete,
a battle to beat,
costume in place,
emotions to eat

rinse and repeat

-image via Pixabay; older poem given a slight revision

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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

Hollow

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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

Forest

‘what happened to the forest?’, she asks,
and I tell her how I was never a sapling,
how the canopy was too dense for far too long,
that I now flourish in the splintering of old wood

but what I cannot tell her,
what my heart fractures to know,
is that I see some of my wicked splinters
were seedlings which now flourish in her

-image via Pixabay

Hollow

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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 found via rebloggy.com, revised older poem

Fraudulent

she often had this feeling in the pit of her stomach,
more often than she cared to admit, actually

it was this marrow-deep disconnect,
this soul-withering fear,
this uneasy sense that she was somehow faking a life for them,
giving them a pretend childhood

instead of listening to her gut,
instead of allowing her soul to speak,
she often asked herself –
what would others think?,
allowing that thought to guide her actions

and that left her feeling like
she was wrapped in cellophane –
this protective barrier meticulously put into place,
meant to shield her from the hurt she so intensely feared,
but that barrier was useless,
a transparent facade

because no matter how hard she tried,
there it was –
the fear, throbbing behind her eyes when she knee-jerked a guilt-inducing reaction,
tingling in her fingertips when she felt the anger hide the fear,
an empty feeling thrumming in the center of her chest when she resisted her true self

and she couldn’t stop the constant
real of regret that played over and over in her mind –
there was something so fraudulent feeling about this way of behaving

the rituals weren’t real,
the smiles weren’t real,
the kisses weren’t quite real

real was right there,
in front of her face,
but she couldn’t (wouldn’t) quite reach it

and worst of all,
she sometimes felt like they were going along for her sake;
they could see right through her

and they knew they were being shortchanged

-art by Johanna Harmon

Light Years

surrounded by the night,
I humbly stand, gazing up at the stars,
overwhelmed with both melancholy and hope;
I know I’m looking back in time –
it takes years for their light to reach the earth –
but here I stand, able to see it

surrounded by the night,
I humbly lay, gazing into your eyes,
overwhelmed with both melancholy and hope;
I know I’m looking back in time –
it’s been years waiting for your light
to reach me –
but here I lay, unable yet to see it

-image via Pixabay

Death By Roses


death by roses, she thought, 
death by roses

but she couldn’t write about that right now –
her skin was too thin not to write about stars,  
because heartache was a burden that was too heavy to bear

so, she sat there, writing about stars, 
forgetting about how he once brought her red roses and watched her bloom

she wrote about stars and kittens and the rising of the sun on cold January mornings, 
so that warmth might settle into her bones,
if only for a moment 

she sat there, pen in hand, 
pretending everything was fine,
writing about stars she couldn’t see,
warmth she could no longer feel

her skin was too thin not to write about stars,  
because heartache was a burden that was too heavy to bear,
and when she stopped writing about stars and kittens and the rising of the sun on cold January mornings,
the bruises felt all too fresh and the scars still itchy and tender 

when she stopped writing about stars and kittens and the rising of the sun on cold January mornings,
her pen couldn’t stop writing about how he cracked open her rib cage with fistfuls of longing, 
about how he watched as her entire being bent toward the light of his promises of forever,
about how she gave him pieces of herself she’d never shown another human being,
only to be pricked by his indifferent thorns,
about how he haphazardly plucked her from the life-altering soil and left her to wither to dust 

she knew for certain that to love is to burden oneself with cracks in one’s rib cage,
with bruises and scars,
with the inevitable dangers of thorns

her skin was too thin not to write about stars –
but if he were to show up on her doorstep with open arms and a fistful of red roses…..

death by roses, she thought, 
death by roses

image via Pixabay; written in response to Mindlovemisery’s First Line Friday prompt; another popular, older poem that’s been revised a bit (again)