Lies

you tell yourself what you think you need to,
rationalizations, one after the next,
constructing and threading and weaving
in order to go on

you meticulously dig and bore and bury,
you force it down, down, down,
into the sinister pit, caging it away,
resigned to doing whatever it takes to keep it there,
fear and shame fueling the defiance

and you mercilessly protect it,
clutching the lies like a shield,
believing the pain will be lesser and the humiliation slighter,
if only no one can see it

except it only grows and metastasizes,
the loathe a burning itch,
the fear always there,
just beneath the surface of your skin,
the shame a purpling, omniscient bruise,
an ache invading,
taking up more and more space,
taking over

there it is –
in your eyes that say what your mouth does not,
in the slight recoil at a simple touch,
in the humiliating burn behind your eyes that threatens to spill in revealing droplets,
in the distance you keep,
no matter how close you get

there it is,
in the silence,
a clamoring so loud,
it won’t ever allow you rest

it never stays down –
I know,
I’ve told myself the same lies

-older poem revised

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Mirror Image

Tucked tightly beneath her chin, her favorite blanket created a cocoon around her as she lay quietly on the couch, everyone else going about their business around her. Sitting on the floor in front of the tv, her two younger half-sisters bickered over who should have control of the remote. Her mother worked in the kitchen, cleaning up from a dinner she hadn’t been able to eat.

More than anything, she wished she was invisible right now, and yet, she couldn’t make herself be alone with her thoughts. 

No matter how hard she tried to divert her attention from the hurt, she could not. It bubbled and boiled beneath her skin. It was sludge, heavy through her veins and a pulsing pressure behind her eyes, threatening release. It sat like a boulder on her chest, making it impossible to breathe deeply. She was afraid if she tried, she might burst.

She didn’t know what to do. How to feel. How to move. Her feelings were so huge and twisted, it seemed as if she’d never escape them. She had no idea how to go about a day without the weight of it pulling every thought to the pit of her stomach, into the darkness.

I wish I didn’t feel anything at all.

She’d hurt her boyfriend, Doug, and she felt terrible. Worse than terrible. It was revolting. But it was even bigger than the immediate hurt; it was much deeper than that.

She’d done something really stupid, sleeping with that other guy, and the guilt had forced her to tell Doug the truth. Well, mostly. The ugliness and shame had kept her from telling him the whole story. And the fear.

She tried really hard not to think about the whole story, because when she did, the loathing was so intense she could taste it’s metallic tang and smell it’s charred blackness. The fear would burn and churn in her stomach until she could feel the sting of bile in the back of her throat. The worst part was, it wasn’t even the first time. She’d done it before and let the guilt liquefy her insides all this time.

I’m just like her. 

It was her biggest fear. She could not let herself be just like her mother.

Her mother had been married five times already, and the sixth would no doubt be soon. They’d moved in and out, and in and out. All of them were men who were not worthy of her mother’s love, none who treated her mother with respect. Men who took. Who hurt. And it seemed as if her mother searched for carbon copies, over and over, leaving the good ones in her wake. She cheated on every one, and always seemed to be looking for a plan B. And it often felt like she and her sisters were just along for the ride, and the ride had no breaks.

How on earth will I ever be able to outrun that? Look what I’ve already done, and I’m only 17.

It took her by complete surprise when her mother knelt down next to the couch and stroked her hair. It was uncharacteristic; she was not cold, but she was also not really a huggy-touchy type. Vulnerability wasn’t in her wheelhouse.

“Are you going to be okay,” her mother asked, making eye contact.

“I don’t want to end up like you,” she replied, through quivering lips and involuntary tears while maintaining eye contact, the hurt ans fear vibrating softly in each word. She couldn’t believe she’d said it aloud, but it had been sitting right there, on the tip of her tongue, for so very long. And maybe, just maybe, her mother might understand. Maybe she could help. Maybe it would help.

But, no other words passed between them. No words were needed; her mother’s eyes had replied.

Hiding tears of her own, her mother stood and walked away.

-image credit studiojoslizen, found via Pinterest; edited older post

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

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

Weight

can your strength support me?
for I’ve gained too many pounds

and this extra flesh is nothing compared
to this shame in which I’ve drowned

-image from a gif created by Alessandro Baricco, found via Tumblr; reworking of an older poem

Nothing

she sunk to her knees,
the outline of her ribs a desperate whispering
against the smooth cloth of her shirt,
eyelids closing over foggy, tired eyes,
like haunted marbles lodged into two deep, dark sockets,
and she cried,
a brittle bird bone cry,
futility whispering against her ribs,
just as her ribs whispered against the flawless fabric;
she was withering away to the nothing she always felt

-art via Pinterest, original source unknown

Lies

you tell yourself what you think you need to,
rationalizations, one after the next,
constructing and threading and weaving,
in order to go on

you dig and bore and bury,
you force it down, down, down,
into the pit,
locking it away,
resigned to doing whatever it take to keep it there,
fear and shame fueling defiance

and you protect it,
clutching the lies like a shield,
believing the hurt will be less,
the humiliation slighter,
if only no one can see it

except it only grows and metastasizes,
the loathe a burning itch,
the fear always there,
just beneath the surface of your skin,
the shame a purpling, omniscient bruise,
an ache invading,
taking up more and more space,
taking over

there it is –
in your eyes that say what your mouth does not,
in the slight recoil at a simple touch,
in the humiliating burn behind your eyes
that threatens to spill in revealing droplets,
in the distance you keep,
no matter how close you get

there it is,
in the silence,
a clamoring so loud,
it won’t ever allow you rest

it never stays down
I know,
I’ve told myself the same lies

-reworked as part of Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge

Silence 


it closes in on you, the silence,
the pressure of it robbing all the oxygen,
absence coaxing a primal voice to arise that is something no one can imagine until it’s heard

twisting and splintering as it rises,
it’s wicked tongue lies to you,
convincing you, corrupting things,
loading itself with shrapnel from dark crevices and welding it all together into sharp ammunition

it fires and fires, stealing from you,
leaving you without a single word of comfort

only smoke, wafting in its wake

-image via Pinterest