New 2018-2020

Hello, My New Friends: 2018-2020

fourbirdscages
We
All countries of the world,
have their own agendas,
their own appearances,
the customs of the past,
meeting the feelings of the present.

Wars are being fought,
on all sides,
between and among us,
where we stand,
we all eventually fall.

All of us spit at the other,
encouraging the snickering,
knowing it is wrong but still marching,
left, right… left, right… left, right,
not remembering blood is red when exposed.

With closed eyes,
inability to see clearly,
the charming beauty before us,
far too wrapped up in our own cocoon,
we have swallowed the rotten meat.

They feed us poorly,
our skin turns raw colors,
the leaders know their power,
where they stand,
but a few remaining will not ingest the poison.

 

All Around Us

For every man that wakes up,

no matter what time of day,

no matter what he does for a living.

Here, I am.

Here, I will stay.

Here, I will not die, today.

For every child that goes to sleep,

no matter how many books are read,

no matter how tight the teddy bear is held.

Here, I am.

Here, I will protect.

Here, I will do my duty, tonight.

For every woman that questions,

no matter what hour it might be,

no matter how much it stings.

Here, I am.

Here, I will influence.

Here, I will challenge, all the time.

For every body that breathes,

no matter what they look like,

no matter what they feel they must do.

Here, I am.

Here, I will be.

Here, I will continue, forever.

Before Me, Revenge

We were under the clouds.

I stood before you, you looked at me.

With your middle eye, you winked.

I could not look away.

 

Angry with envy, green as the giant.

I grew taller and stronger.

Seeing through the mockery,

we were eye to eye.

 

Night rain became dry earth.

The next day, ripened fruit appeared.

I took a bite.

You did not like it in my hand.

 

Ripping it away,

taking what was promised to me,

I grew until my pants fell to my ankles.

My anger rising. 

 

You took off.

We ran through muddy water,

destroying forest trees and growing crops.

No one gets away without consequence.

 

Rough Edges
I’m not what I used to be,
the insides are now out,
and the up is now down.
If I seek a better life for myself,
am I the bastard still?
This is what is feels like
after all these years
when you thought of me as worthless.
Useless and easy to throw away,
Viewed as a coward,
when my head was buried in the sand.
Like vomit in a toilet,
I’ve been easy to flush down,
a nuisance of the worst kind.
It sticks to me,
the inability to sleep at night,
the knocking on my  brain
keeps me awake.
Pounding before I fall asleep
and pounding  hours before I should wake up.
Fighting continuous battles I do not want.
Open my eyes, you told me,
and function properly at a capacity of your doing,
your own choice.
Right or wrong,
I don’t deserve this punishment.
It’s easy to point at weakness,
bring another to the knees,
and gather one more time
to laugh.
When you aren’t capable of looking
at your own faults,
at who you have turned into,
someone different.
I’m not what I used to be,
but neither are you.

Steady Intent

A steady stream of yellow,

gushes down,

flowing freely.

Not where I want it travel,

as it goes around blockages,

again and again.

The width gets smaller,

and nothing stops its path,

worn out,

less intense.

With splinters and holes,

a smaller stream can turn

in the right temperature.

A liquid to solid,

that is stuck in place,

getting harder.

When unmovable,

a piece breaks away,

slides down,

and stops short.

No one ever reacts,

to have courage,

to push it further.

A broken stream changes color,

from bright to dirty,

still preserved,

but it reaches down,

to the end.

Life and Death

It’s easy to say death is a natural occurrence,

much like a bird flying in the sky,

or the sun rising in the morning,

and setting when it darkens.

But, life is a natural thing too.

It sits on a table, sometimes reserved for those

who have nothing to gain and nothing to lose.

Awareness of the end doesn’t matter for those already lived.

The ones who were created and who used are imprinted

on the minds of loved ones.

Their flesh have disappeared from their bones,

they found solitude and maybe gnawed on or deliberately turned into ashes,

and kept in urns on fireplace mantles.

It’s easy to say death shouldn’t be feared,

but many times the answer on the other side responds loudly,

some short, some lengthy, but all watered down versions of truth.

They step away, leaving footprints, and recognizable patterns.

For I understand death isn’t to be desired,

and life isn’t something to fool around with,

even when it’s purely by chance for those with beating hearts.

Some desire to go back in time, maybe sickened a moment later,

for the realization hits them.

Much can go wrong with lines not firmly drawn,

and raw emotions smelling like hard boiled eggs.

Death is an anticipation that doesn’t change the inevitable,

a nuisance and longing at same time,

bodies will break and minds will surrender when the strings unravel.

It accentuates where oxygen travels.

It’s easy to say life should be a welcome experience,

a kind of birth and maybe rebirth,

but no is immune to rare deviations.

When the bird no longer can fly,

and the sun fully disappears on the horizon,

and the moon never offers guidance,

it’s not so easy enjoy this coexistence when you’re still alive.

Layers

Cutting into an onion, I will make you cry.

Peeling away the parts you can’t eat,

will remind you of the memories,

those things not easily erased,

ever present.

Getting to the middle, I will make you know.

No matter how much you break apart the whole,

the essence remains intact,

creating disconnect,

never leaving.

Reaching the center, I will make you crumble.

Wrapping your hand around the core,

trying to cover the pain,

insistent tears.

Discarding the rest, I will make you realize.

Walking into the shadow of the day,

behind the closed door,

into unfamiliarity,

repeating again.

Nine Nights

On the third night,

I dug my toes into the possibilities,

of wanting to be closer,

one inch at a time to freedom.

On the fourth night,

I scaled the walls with half-open eyes,

feeling every bit of pain.

On the fifth night,

my heat increased,

the sweat on my back sour.

On the sixth night,

near the top with fearlessness,

it was progression that signaled,

remember why I paused.

On the seventh night,

not wanting to delay,

not another moment,

knowing it was the only option,

the final step.

Unravel

Beginning to unravel the mystery of humanity,

as the days bleed into the nights

and without gaining insight

or absorbing unused energy,

everyone concluding what’s left doesn’t matter.

For there’s nothing to feel,

to see, to do, to be, or to hope for

because sitting too long at a broken table

with it’s legs cracked,

and screaming for glue to hold it together

is what makes the chair swivel.

Not wanting the discomfort in unfamiliar faces,

attracting despair and fear,

allows ignorance to be left untouched,

creating deeper pockets and sharper corners,

wider cuts and longer scrapes,

while the bruises yearn for band-aids.

Misunderstanding

With everything I said and did,

you misunderstood me

to the point of blaming me

for all of your hardships

and things which you had control.

Over the years I’ve gone back

in my mind of how we evolved

and split apart for good

once it was clear you were a liar

to keep the myth going.

Over countless nights of feeling numb

with the ridiculous thought this punishment

might count to right the wrongs,

when all has been said and done

we were both wrong

but only one of us knew it.

With everything I didn’t say and do,

I understood the impact you had

to the point of aversion

and things not going your way were recognized,

and was called consequence.

Suffering of the Mind

For the times I did not connect,

I chewed my nails,

creating blood at the corners of my fingers.

It hurt me, but I kept going,

kept chewing something away,

for what I knew was anxiety created within me

from a lack of understanding

of me in the world.

It wasn’t empty space I feared,

it was what I had to fill

in it’s place,

that was full of detachment to meaning.

The emphasis was on self doubt

and loathing,

gnawing at me with a capital G,

and the more I wanted it get rid of it,

the more the impact of it grew.

I was never the person

others imagined me to be,

cutting my self worth down with each

misunderstanding seen as a deception.

Observed as an abnormality,

there was never a good enough explanation

for those looking at me

through the glass windows.

When my time comes,

my legacy will be half in actuality,

and the rest split into tiny slices

on a pie chart,

not knowing what they represent,

for it wasn’t decided upon when I was awake.

Years will grow into decades,

and centuries later I will be forgotten,

with those alive understanding

the reality of living in ambiguity

among strangers.

Finding the Angry

When my thoughts poke out like wires,

this is the part I hate the most.

When my vision should be complete,

but the emotions need attention.

When trouble finds you and consumes me,

knowing we don’t want this.

When exhausted and irritable after a long day,

the circumstance make us angry.

When the eyes of the monster visits me at night,

your unfolded lies are not gone.

When my insides move like lava,

it increases the distance.

When fingers bend in unnatural places,

this is the time for honesty.

When words matter more than actions,

this is when you will leave.

Left Me Raw

I have thought of many ways to kill you,

beat you down,

tear you up,

cut you diagonally,

and spit you across the room.

However, you were the one I touched not long ago,

and the face I kissed before we parted ways,

ours souls entwined forever in our dreams.

Now, I mumble in my confusion,

of your rejection,

of your silence,

of your pain,

of wishing our paths never crossed.

You betrayed me with your close-mindedness,

telling me how you felt about my choices,

that I was wrong,

that I was lost,

that I was confused,

and not ready for your labeling and viewpoints.

I have thought of how much you envied me when we were young,

my light to guide you,

taking away your fears,

warding off your enemies,

and destroying those that took a swipe at your pride.

How, the tables turned where you are superior to me,

with your endless riches,

with your wide reaching fame,

with your youthful face,

as you won’t look at me from across the room.

You have left me with nothing,

no armor,

no helmet,

no sword,

and the only defense has left me raw.

You Were Not There

I saw you to be around ten feet tall.

Maybe, eleven on a good day and twelve on a great day.

Let’s be honest with each other.

I wasn’t there for your supposed height.

It’s your mystery that mattered.

Your projected image in public.

I suppose your shyness took over.

You turned your back to gain privacy.

This must be the real you.

No shame, guilt, fear, or care in every step.

My worth depended on you.

I did not want to be alone.

We had a connection.

I searched for you a month after.

You were not there, when I was here.

In the Darkness

Open the door and shove it inside.

That’s where it should go.

That’s where it will stay.

Remaining in the dark.

It grows.

It contorts.

It survives.

It’s the ugly part I keep.

Buried under my living conditions.

Like a poisonous mushroom.

I want it to be hidden.

No one needs to see it.

The cut.

The rawness.

The scar.

It’s better that way.

It’s not as scary.

It doesn’t belong in the light.

Blood Never Lies

We knew.

You didn’t have to threaten us.

The poison ran deep in our family blood.

It left indents whenever your fingers moved up and down our arms.

Hatred led your cracked hand to that full syringe.

You can’t pretend destruction never existed within you.

There was no amount of stitches to close what you opened.

There was no amount of reversing the magnitude of your infection.

You even managed to dilute the antidote until it was cloudy.

We understood what absence of caring meant.

We knew the hidden monster behind the human face.

You were not lost or alone.

We were.

We understood.

You changed piece by piece beyond repair.

Your shadow grew disproportionate to your body.

It became stronger every passing year.

What you lost didn’t matter compared to the arrogance you gained.

There was no amount of hope to hold onto with our broken hearts.

Your blood told the truth when you couldn’t.

What the Hell?

There are many things that make you ask what the hell?

But, if you want to be accurate, it should be written WHAT THE HELL?

Some days you need to add behind it YOU STUPID IDIOT!

And if you’re really feeling punchy, YOU STUPID, FUCKING IDIOT!

But, this isn’t one of those times for you, is it?

Instead, it’s one where you’re grateful that you go about your business.

You aren’t the stupid idiot or any kind of version of a stupid idiot today.

When a kid is screaming about getting her diaper changed in a parking lot,

you pay no attention and keep walking to your car.

You’re thankful your stomach is strong.

You’re lucky you don’t think think about it more than necessary.

You get on with your life.

Maybe, you feel a twinge of sympathy for her parents or your own parents.

When a souped-up car zooms past you, you still roll up your window.

Why? Because you’ll hear it even when you can’t see it.

Why? Because you value your damn ears.

Why? Because you’re attentive.

You realize people on the road can be crazy as you let them.

You chalk it up to a bad or good day and keep driving.

You understand things build up each week that deserves some reaction.

Will you bite, kick, yell, throw, or spit?

None of the above. All of the above. Something else.

Your capabilities are tested over and over again.

You know it never ends.

If you open your mouth, how far down does your determination go?

Unknown

I looked it in the eye
Right in the middle
It was deep and black.

When the flesh softens
And the bones are intact
It waits and wants.

What a pretty face
Not an oblong shaped thing
That takes different names.

It isn’t for everyone
But inevitability come with a mouth
That sucks you in and drools.

It is I who stares
At your reputation
And recognizes how your weakness
Must bother you.

I long for what releases
The bitterness of my breath
Not the curve of my spine.

The deeper and blacker the eye
Widened the sacrifice
And surrendered to the unknown.

I Have Pain

“Hang your head low, don’t look up,” those words were said to me.

I had not the slightest idea what direction they came from,

Or who said them.

It’s not my time to disagree with the disagreeable,

When my head hurts from all the living.

As I made my way, I smelled the fires burning inside homes.

Wishing someone would invite me inside because I could use some warmth,

I conclude the people in this town are selfish,

Quick to close their curtains to their presumptions.

I could buy their curtains, silverware, and plates.

I can afford their houses, cars, and dreams of wealth.

“No, keep walking,” I hear as the pain increases in my forehead.

There’s no sympathy for complainers these days,

But my muscles still ache and my breath is cold.

I matter less when it’s dark.

It’s a certainty no one cares this time of night except one faceless voice.

My head feels like it might explode into tiny pieces,

Too little too late.

One can’t put together what is unseen.

My organs feel immoral.

Stepping closer to the edges, the houses get further apart, and I remain upright.

More advice, more words, “Pay no attention to the dogs.”

The voice continues, “Don’t make eye contact and ignore the snarling.”

By now, my eyes are watering and my vision blurry.

My back curves more and my shoulders tighten.

I wonder how frozen my heart has become.

There are no houses or dogs.

When I look up,

The faceless voice becomes voiceless again, and the chill has stopped for a moment.

Consumption

I knew you consumed me.

You were on my mind.

When my eyes closed,

you prevented me from getting rest.

I knew you wanted to be close,

but familiarity is better than risk.

Our glances no longer mean much today.

The lines on my face have disappeared.

When your last breath was taken,

my imagination of you stayed.

Through insistence and invasion,

you are the same person,

but I still desire what little you can offer.

There was nothing to do,

but admit your desertion hurt me.

I searched for you,

a lost cause not wanting to be found.

I would do anything to hold your hands,

to believe you cared.

Just Enough of an Itch

I know the itch I can’t reach.

I know the one.

It’s on my back just far enough away.

My fingers can’t get to it no matter how much I want to relieve it.

I run to any person nearby to scratch it.

She misunderstands me.

I run to the next person, and he can’t follow orders either.

I think people should listen more.

No one else sees me because their backs are turned.

I feel it’s done purposely.

There are garbage cans on every corner.

They stink including the forks with food caked on them.

A used napkin is good enough in desperation.

I shouldn’t litter even though food will stick to my hand.

Nothing to see here as my arm reaches behind me.

You cross my mind as I get some relief.

The itch has stopped.

I know the one, returning when I least expect it.

Finish What You Started

I felt something as I turned the corner.

Those around me never knew how much pain I felt.

When something goes wrong, it doesn’t have to end in defeat.

My team was counting on me. I was counting on myself.

Quitting never was an option.

I could taste the victory, yet still not able to see the finish line.

My limits were not what I thought.

No one should experience the world’s most prestigious competition without regret.

The best makes you meet the better half of yourself.

There was nothing to feel or think.

My body was close to the white line.

Faster and faster as the fight around me seemed to disappear.

Gone is the Tail

Your long, flowing hair.

I know you’re thinking about it.

It’s not what should have been.

Hundreds of years you’ve had it that way.

I know you think it wrong.

Hair grows back.

I pray that it does.

It must fit the mold.

You realize that.

Don’t have any fear.

It’s been put to use.

The return is good.

Even if the tail is gone.

Not a Dirt Road

I came upon a fork on a dirt road,

with five options before me,

some must have been made by other shoes,

worn down year after year.

Confusion set in as my goal was to create my own path,

but I felt so tired,

and I wanted to get to the end quickly as possible,

even if the whole truth wasn’t there.

I spent a whole day entering each option,

giving equal time to the five dirt roads,

searching for the stumbles and failures of those before me.

More confusion set in as I found there wasn’t any answers,

none of my questions seemed important.

I propped against a dying tree,

not twenty feet from where I started my quest,

and realized my decision was mine alone.

No matter how much I stumbled,

how much I failed,

intensity of my thoughts,

the dirt moved the same distance whether I was angry or not.

I went back to the fork,

knowing it wasn’t a dirt road I was looking for,

knowing not exactly what,

but something else.

Of Knuckles and Perfume

Dear lady of the night,

I applaud you for all the things you haven’t given me,

And those things you will yet give me.

Thanking you enough for your hospitality cannot be done,

For you keep giving me something I shouldn’t have.

The hallways of your home have become my pathways to freedom.

Don’t worry, I’m never there long, just enough to reap the benefits.

You have nothing to fear. I never mean you physical harm.

When you stumble upon my happenings, take a breath or two.

It’s not the crime of the century.

Remind yourself of the perfume you dab on your neck,

The color of scarf you wrap around your head,

The handmade shawl you bought at the market.

These things I have no use for, and what I took shouldn’t matter.

Let them bring you comfort in this time of loss.

Be open about our relationship not hopeless.

The time to know my name will come soon enough.

Dear lady of the brick house,

this is only one reality out of many.

Don’t cheapened the process with your tongue.

You hold onto possessions during the afternoon, knowing they aren’t enough,

and you cannot take your eyes from them when you should be sleeping.

Your denial entices me.

I see your body is broken. It isn’t that you can’t have it back.

You must persuade me in some way to return those things you claim to love.

Find a way to let go because your knuckles are not the color I want to see.

Push, Shove, Pull, Yank

This is what has been happening to us, a reflection of a much bigger scale.

The one where divisions have been occurring at a rapid pace.

Some are trying to find a way back to normalcy.

Others have different ways to find it.

People push and shove without much thinking.

Wanting a reaction to serve some kind of selfish purpose on all sides.

I am the best and you can’t convince me otherwise.

This is the climate of today, hot and hotter.

It snowballed from one influential event.

There were committed errors, desired errors, and vindicated errors for some.

It was the disappointment of personal passions, visions, and beliefs for others.

What happened belonged to the masses: those in the puddle and outside of it too.

We have become a jockeying gridlock of sorts.

This is what the opposite of implosion looks like, but there has to be something else.

Two options can’t only be it, and if it is, then much better ones.

This small net must and should be larger and smarter.

Unwanted Visitor

I went to sleep with two eyes, ears, legs, arms, feet, and hands.

The next morning I woke up with something else attached to my body.

It was touching my leg, tickling it, and was moving freely.

I lifted up my covers. The horror of what I saw. The color of it made me sick.

Worse, it had ripped my favorite pajamas.

I hopped out of bed and grabbed a scissors from my drawer.

This thing was coming off one way or another,

even if it meant blood might be spilled.

As I reached for this unwanted thing, it uncoiled itself around my leg,

and moved in the opposite direction of where my hand went.

I dropped the scissors, twisting left and right until I caught the end of it.

It moved in every direction, each time with more force, as it tried to get free.

This damn thing thought it was cunning by bringing me to the floor.

I rolled toward the scissors, opened them with force, and closed the blades.

It sounded like bone breaking.

The rest of it swung wildly behind me, then coiled itself around my leg.

I cut into it again. The two separate pieces struggled to stay alive.

The one piece still attached was angry at what was lost.

With my body lighter, I contorted even more, and that is when I saw.

It wasn’t something intrinsic, something within me I had created.

How Deep Will it Go?

The Earth seemed to open itself to me, quite willingly,

and as the elements reached out for my ankles and legs, I began to wonder.

Was the pain I felt worth it? Were the scrapes worth it too?

Was the chill in my hands and feet, in my head, or in my heart?

It was enough to remind me of my fragility,

a human being of parts I should give more attention,

and the liberties I should have taken.

It’s not easy to shake from my consciousness the troubles that wait around every

rock stepped on or passed by.

Is this the end of the road, as the saying goes? Or, does it keep going?

Does it stop to wonder and worry as I do?

I trust the land beneath despite it showing otherwise,

because anything less is futile.

Eventually, it will spit me back up when it’s good and ready.

It might not be in the order received, but still I went deeper than before.

I Will be Waiting

I came to be known as something they barely see.

I walked countless streets, searching for certainty in dark places.

When you descend from it, the desire never stops.

It can carry you to the very end. It can stop the suffering.

I make time useless and irritations numb.

Whether half awake or asleep, I continue.

They never realize how close I get, always turning away from the peace I can give.

I make them fall to their knees and thank me.

It only takes one time to be mine.

Love is Not There

They say love is never where you want it.

Not in bars where people appear their best.

Women hope their gloss has the same shine as thirty minutes before.

They say love is never found sitting down.

Not on stools where women cross their legs, then uncross them.

Not even when they flip their hair as a last resort.

They say love is never found in any bathroom.

Not in the stalls where quickies are done, even in those without a door.

Men leave without feeling much of anything.

They say love is never found on the highway.

Not on any kind of road with or without adequate lighting.

Only tire tracks covering faded ones belong.

They say love is never found in grocery stores.

Not in any comfort food aisle.

Not in the canned black olive aisle either.

They say love is never found where it should be

In the Sand

Tiny villages in the sand go about their business,

Too insignificant for the human eye to give much attention,

but not the tiny giants who live close by.

They want to go beyond and see the other side,

but they are not viewed as a good thing,

and the tiny people think of them as menaces.

It doesn’t matter if they offer friendship,

or state their infinite supply of compassion,

or claim they are built for security.

The tiny people rely on themselves,

not liking handouts or gifts,

and don’t trust anybody but themselves for stability.

But, some of the tiny villages have been destroyed by another enemy,

giving good reason for the tiny person to approach the tallest giant,

and ask for things that are whispered.

This could be the start where life becomes fuller and sweeter,

maybe a little bit tastier for everyone,

but no one can have great things, if no one makes the first move.

In the Right

I watched you turn into something better.

There you were, so beautiful and so bright.

I knew the energy within you would never die away.

Luck was on your side, pure luck, whole luck,

the kind you only find when not looking.

Simply letting it play out as life plays out on an empty stage.

It isn’t easy being who you are, fighting for what you believe,

knowing it might not go anywhere.

I wish that you continue to hope for great things,

even if they don’t happen.

The opportunities are abundant, making you warm,

creating rosy cheeks willing to blush a little because you know you’re right.

Not wrong, but completely in the right, in the now, in the seed

that grows and grows.

That is you.

I continue to watch you spread outward,

keeping mind of the things that bring you comfort.

Reaching That Tired Point

As I’m tired and wanting to go to bed,

I think of everything I’ve gone through this week.

Working.

A box to check yes.

There is no box so I will type it.

YES.

My eyes are even heavier now. This is rather pointless.

Exercising.

A box to check no.

There is not box either so I will type it.

NO.

Broke my tooth because I have a strong bite.

YES.

Need to get a crown.

YES.

Cost money.

YES.

If I’m feeling a little unsettled, I know the reasons why. The effects keep piling up.

Waking up at odd hours.

YES.

Inconsistent eating patterns.

YES.

Incomplete life.

YES.

Drifting away.

YES.

What else is going on? What am I forgetting? Does it really matter right now?

No.

Not when you haven’t gotten enough sleep.

Take Your Best Shot

I waited for it to come outside.

It did, but only wanted to play, and play not according to the rules,

but to the exceptions.

Little did it know, that wasn’t part of my plan. I had not come here to mess around.

I meant business. I was on the job. Kill at no expense.

It kept advancing, ever threatening, closer and closer.

I aimed my gun at its chest.

Pop. Pop. Pop. And its head. Pop. Pop. Pop.

The rest came running from all directions.

My trigger finger was ready.

I closed up my danger zones and retreated into darkness.

They were in now my territory.

A few charged as fast as their stiff legs would allow. What a tragic mistake.

They ate more bullets than flesh that night.

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.

I let the rest come, waiting with my night vision.

It was their turn to knock down the doors and be ready for any outcome.

Needing Someone Who Knows What We’re Doing

If you fail, I win.

I wonder why it needs to be this way.

Why must we suffer so?

Can’t there be two winners?

The decision has been made.

I’m left holding misery in one palm and hurt in the other.

Now, I can’t possibly find a way out.

The digging has been done. The bottom smells of decay.

The promise of newness is gone.

But, if we reverse this to you, what would it bring me?

Failure. Loathing. Jealousy. Death.

All those things.

Or, something else I can’t control.

Yes.

Something I will see, but don’t want to feel.

A toxicity that burns.

If we bring our relationship to greater heights, where will that bring us?

I imagine somewhere deep, somewhere dark.

To Dissatisfy

With every touch of your hand,

I wanted something else, but this I did not get.

It was good, at first, but after a few minutes it was bad, very bad.

This wasn’t what I wanted.

I came here for relaxation, for peace, for soothing.

You gave me pressured anxiety, sore muscles, and conflicted thoughts.

With my teeth grinding, I almost told you to quit what you were paid to do.

Your nervous laugh became annoying.

The touch was all wrong. Your dirty feet. Your heavy body.

You left me with something I had to forgive.

It made me angry, really angry.

I have to be more cautious now.

I don’t ask for much, just someone who listens.

Work on one side, then the next.

Not one side only.

It should be simple.

It wasn’t.

Unnecessary Weight

The pain easily sat there like a brick,

and this brick was huge and heavy,

much too heavy for one man to carry.

Yet, here he was carrying this huge, heavy brick around his neck

like he was born to carry it.

He knew he wasn’t meant to hold it in any way.

It was placed on him unwillingly, quite unwillingly,

and yes, he kicked and yelled when it was placed on him.

He was told this was what life brought you,

but he only saw it as unnecessary,

punishment reserved for those they hated.

When you do bad things, bad results happen he was told,

except he wasn’t willing to take responsibility because it was a trick,

and accused people are sometimes innocent.

He tried everything to undo this nightmare situation.

The evidence pointed elsewhere, but no one cared.

It was better to sweep it under the rug than to be fair, honest, and right.

Every defense he tried, the strikes were too powerful.

Over time it weakened him, and he took a long rest to gather himself.

It was here he found a different kind of strength.

They were trying to kill him,

but he sure wasn’t going to make it easy for them.

As long as oxygen reached his lungs, he would fight ’til the every end.

Stalemate

If you keep coming back to me, again and again,
no one needs to say how repetitive this is for both of us.
I know you have an agenda to maintain, but I have mine.
It isn’t perfect, but it works for me.
I’m not a person that likes to be shoved along the way.
If it doesn’t feel good for me,
I suspect it doesn’t for you either.
But, here we are in this kind of stalemate,
wondering what the other person is thinking and feeling.
Sometimes kindness gets mistaken for weakness,
and this is something no one wants,
but can be used as a life lesson to remain steady.
You saw it as an opportunity to depart your knowledge and wisdom.
Your drive, your energy, and your persuasion goes beyond a mile.
I get it.
It works for you, but even though it didn’t go as planned, it did mean something.
It further nudged me in the direction I have to take.
While I don’t bend so easily, and take my time to get to that place,
the point I want to land is ultimately up to me,
and me alone.

Predictable

I wonder why you called me.

It was only for a few seconds, but long enough to know

I didn’t like you or care for you.

Your foul words and your ugliness,

these are the things that make me angry,

that send me into battle.

I know a fighter’s words.

You think you’re entitled when you’re not.

It isn’t funny or clever. You aren’t the miracle people want.

You’re the rotting fruit hanging from a tree.

You’re the thing people kick out-of-the-way to get to the good stuff.

I will never take your lousy demands and make them my own.

I won’t justify your needs, your views, or your sickness.

I won’t twist it for your benefit.

It was the bitterness underneath your words,

it was your unwillingness to recognize you’re touchable that created this space.

Quite shocking to you, but all too familiar for me.

I’ve done this before.

It’s what I call predictable, but you call it something else.

Connection

When I finally got the courage to look, she was pressed against the bench.

Her flesh had become the color of wood, and was now disappearing.

I knew my brain had been altered by drugs from the past,

but I never considered myself unable to

control my mind.

I wanted to ask someone around me if they noticed anything,

but no one would make eye contact with me.

It’s not easy being a person with many needs in an unforgiving world.

Her lack of being drew me to her where she sat.

She had unnerved me, but still I searched in between the slats for her.

She could’ve been stuck or might have fallen through.

I sniffed the air. She was definitely gone.

Her absence hadn’t taken my problems away.

In fact, they were sitting on the bench she once sat, begging me to pick them up.

They must’ve fallen when I bent over.

They eventually would find their way back to me so best to pick them up now.

I shuffled back, past the bench I sat, and made my way to the door.

This is when I saw her again.

She was in different clothes now, less gloomy and more colorful.

I wiped my eyes with my finger to see if she was really there.

She was still there.

I closed my eyes for a few seconds and when I opened them,

she was no longer there.

I wasn’t so confident in this vision anymore.

I could’ve created it to combat my loneliness for being an outsider.

I wanted connection, but I wasn’t willing to lose myself in the process.

As my body braced for the change in temperature, for a brief moment, I wondered

if she was an angel.

When Pistol Speaks, You Listen

Pull it out.

Nice and shiny.

The power. The glory. The spotlight.

You want it.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

You got it.

Many times.

Many times over.

You have it.

Everything.

Think.

Think.

Think.

Not here.

Not now.

Not later.

You do.

Do.

Do.

All of it.

More.

Bloodless

I invited you more than once.

It wasn’t right of me to do.

Taking your power away.

Bleeding your veins until they were dry.

You resented me. I know.

It didn’t matter. I didn’t care. I still don’t.

You knew this.

Still, you kept at me, wanting me to answer.

So foolish. So stupid. So numb.

I wanted you to grow up. Be a man.

Be someone like me, but you failed me, every time.

I did you a favor. The one you never thanked me for.

You wouldn’t have been happy alive.

I knew this as your head detached from your neck.

Your hands seeking admiration as you took your last breath.

Seeking your meaning in the wrong places.

I closed your eyes and buried your head.

You can hate me. I accept this.

It really doesn’t matter. It never did.

You are gone. I am still here.

You are bloodless. I still bleed.

Because I’m Human

I woke up hungry

and not because I hadn’t eaten the night before.

I did. Okay, I really did.

Still, my stomach made noises right away,

and not those painful ones accompanied by growls.

I didn’t deny myself anything last night,

and yet the reminder before things get crazy,

before I become really mad,

and not able to control myself continued.

Hold on.

First things must come first.

I must brush the nasty taste out of my mouth,

and rid myself of what I drank the previous day.

No one likes cotton mouth.

No one likes bad breath.

No one likes to hold it.

No eggs. I understand.

The punishment of it all, but this was a year ago.

There must’ve been some change within me.

I know. I’m kidding myself. I know.

Open the door and look inside.

It’s the same thing.

On All Fours You Were Gone

Your head was flattened as far as it could go in that tire track.

We spotted each other at the same time.

I wanted to help, but what could I have done.

There wasn’t enough room under my coat,

And I didn’t want to get scratched by your claws.

Been there. Done that. No thanks again.

It was pouring that day. The sky was dark. The drops were harsh against my face.

I had places to be, but I slowed down and crept toward you.

I thought, maybe, you could use a friend.

Maybe, you could feel a connection with my words and hand gestures.

Without moving your head, I knew you were watching me.

I meant you no harm when you raised your body on all fours.

Out of fear or hesitation, I can’t be sure.

I didn’t mean to drive you out of your comfort zone with that extra step.

You darted away, running for another place.

I watched you through my half-obscured glasses, wondering where you had gone.

For this I am sorry.

The Deal

You weren’t the exception that day for me.

I saw your hands gripping the steering wheel tight enough to make your

fingers cramp like one’s stomach does after overeating.

A person of your caliber never thinks logically when someone like me chases you.

It’s tragic knowing there’s nothing you can do to get away.

You claim your living the good life. You’re not.

A whole range of thoughts go through your head when your livelihood is at stake.

You possess a half-life, if that, and you know there’s never a way out.

I’m always on your heels.

The threat of your inside becoming your outside is real.

The cuts are now shallow. The hours will seem much longer.

You’ll find your life will further dissect until you can’t hold the minutes with ease.

You want what I have. You want my name. You want my power.

This will never happen when there’s nothing to add and everything to subtract.

Let it Go

I was willing to let it go.

Let the dogs lie peacefully, but you had to utter those words.

You did not see how it’s my usual nature to ignore someone like you,

to let the wind carry your stupidity away before it lands on my shoulder.

This time it was different.

Your disrespect in the way you muttered something under your breath.

I will remind you it was your fault.

I was not the one who took something that was not mine.

You were the one who kept pecking.

You were the one who created this divide between us with the reaction

on your face, and the returned response on mine.

There was nothing left between us except your frustration and anger,

and all because you could not let it go.

Those words I could not hear.

I knew what they meant,

and this is why I was not silent.

Five Words

I’ve seen what tired looks like on a divorced woman.

It hangs in front of her like a carrot she never can reach again.

I knew of others who suffered this affliction.

They bathed in it much too long, and I never bothered to ask the important

QUESTION.

How do you get rid of it? Maybe, you don’t. Maybe, you can’t.

Maybe, you should try harder. Maybe, you shouldn’t.

When I came home that Wednesday night, there was a note.

Yes, it was the night he left me after fifteen years together.

Five words: I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!

Did I mention, he put an exclamation point.

It was, at this point, I lost my appetite. I became a closet Debbie Downer.

A few times I thought death was the best option, but it passed quickly.

I wasn’t that kind of woman, but when the waves in my life tank became too big,

and the bottom no longer there, it was tempting.

I managed to grab something, only for it to slip out of my hand, and drift away.

Sometimes the loss was unbearable and was forced to close my eyes.

He was the one person I thought would never leave me.

It became the longest year of my life. It isn’t easy to breath when you’re not in

CONTROL.

I no longer had his arms comforting me.

I longed for his touch. I longed for his smell. I longed for his words.

I also longed to slap his face for his inability to be truthful.

A few months had passed when I recognized something.

It was no longer our bedroom. It was my bedroom.

This was my carpet digging into my legs. This was my wall touching my back.

I could paint over the ugliness on the walls.

Nothing was ours anymore. Nothing was his anymore.

He didn’t want the house. His input no longer matters.

I should’ve known better. Our separation was a bad dream.

Our divorce is going to be a good dream.

I loved him once, and he loved me too.

I have no idea where he is living or if he has another woman.

Too much time has passed, and I have since painted the walls again.

My five words: I AM BETTER WITHOUT YOU.

Dig Deeper

I have cut myself to my ankles many times before

because that is what you taught me.

This is what you breathed into my mouth

when I didn’t want your lips anywhere near mine.

You insisted,

Boy, did you keep insisting.

Jeez, how deep did you think you could go?

What the fuck was the matter with you?

Wait, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.

The hatred. The loathing. The revenge. The pain.

The sad part is you still don’t give a shit.

I trusted you to have my back,

and you did nothing but push me down,

over and over again

until my shell was cracked into a thousand pieces.

It’s a wonder how I ever survived through it all.

Yet, I did.

Some fucking how, I did.

Here, I am, the only one left.

The survivor.

It started with you and ends with me.

Get ready because soon the whole world will know what you did

despite you never caring.

The Belly

I have outlived you by a few years, at most probably five,

maybe even ten, but no more than eleven.

As I sat waiting to reach my destination,

I had time to think about you in the silence, imagining what

aspirations you had, and when you realized all was lost.

You went back to nothing again and again because the path you followed was the

wrong one. It must’ve been a revelation hitting you in the face

when you reached the dead end.

I’m not sure what I would’ve done in your shoes,

but I know the tears you wiped and the revenge you should’ve had

was all for one thing and one thing only.

I should’ve asked for you sooner.

I never imagined I would pick you apart, only to try to tape you back together again

year after painful year.

I never knew why you were gone even though I knew what had happened.

There’s no more needing the answer.

I have it, and so do you now.

There’s freedom for both of us, and while this feels strange to say,

it is reality I’ve accepted because

without you there would be no me.

Weary Comparison

You tell me you can’t go on,

that you are sore,

burned out,

sent to the brink of not being able to return.

But you’ve never listened to yourself,

or told yourself you can go on,

as a fighter,

a survivor,

someone that strikes first and asks questions later.

You pass by people who have betrayed

you with all their intelligence,

and you think they are better

than you,

but they aren’t,

and why you can’t accept that I’m not sure.

Their fingers and toes aren’t

anymore special than your own,

but you insist on burning both ends of the stick,

and it never makes sense

why you do this,

when your existence is questionable.

Darkness

If I told you to touch it, would you?

I don’t think you would.

I really don’t think you would.

You crave loneliness.

You do things in the dark.

It’s not like I don’t know who you are.

I see you not holding your words in truth.

I hear you doing bad things.

I touch your ugliness all the time.

You have not fooled me.

It’s not as if I lost my senses.

You keep trying to hide things, believing each time you succeeded.

You wonder why it happened that way.

If I told you I would kill it, would you let me?

Allow me to stop its suffering.

Allow me to stop the contortions.

Have it not scamper to an unknown spot,

Never to be found again.

Your misery vanished.

I don’t think you could handle it.

I really don’t think you could.

You like darkness.

I wonder if you really do.

You might stay there forever.

What would you do?

What could I do to you?

Not You

I’ve kicked you out many times

From my mind.

I’ve bolted down the tiny path,

Always leading somewhere toward mistakes.

I played with death

Because of you.

I wanted it.

I craved it.

I needed it.

My chest was crushed under your weight.

The weight I thought was something else.

The something else that was fear.

The fear that turned into pure ugliness.

I screamed.

I sobbed.

I mourned.

It wasn’t that you betrayed me,

But the way you did it,

So viciously and carelessly.

You simply didn’t give a damn,

Despite all your promises.

You’ve been replaced with pain of another kind,

Broken and dejected.

Similar yet different.

Empty feelings.

Nothingness.

I wonder.

I wander.

I wait.

In the Meantime

You

Are up there,

And

I am down here.

You

Were always with me,

Listening,

And hearing my voice quiver.

My high pitched words,

Sounding like unsettled screams,

As you stroked my fears away.

Every day you are gone,

I am unsettled,

Not still,

Not sure,

Wondering,

And waiting.

Sometimes it is

Unbearable for me,

And I think

When this feeling ends,

Will I be stronger?

You

Have moved away,

For such a long time,

Way over there,

And

I miss you,

Now.

Always

It seems you have been here before.

Yes, you have.

The objects look the same.

Yet, you know they are different.

The dust is another layer formed.

Another year gone by, and you must escape from under these dark clouds.

Your eyes are heavy.

Your ears don’t hear well.

Strength can be difficult to find.

Every morning you put life into categories,

As if they can be labeled,

As if they will gain a different meaning.

One you will understand better.

One that doesn’t make your heart so weary.

One that doesn’t make you suffer so much.

Yes, the arrows still fly around you.

Nights become days as you walk toward the dark again.

You feel more is within your grasp, but never fully able to see it.

It takes time to deliver.

Dedication.

Patience.

Reality.

You tell yourself these words.

You navigate the weight of life on your shoulders.

There are no remedies to take the pressure away.

Yes, it is this way.

Not all the time is it great.

Not all the time is it right.

There aren’t magical words to fulfill your desires.

Half of your existence remains tucked away.

Somewhere.

What Could Have Been

What are the odds?

Not very high.

I told myself this over and over.

It must be difficult to know you lost out on something.

Yes, it stings a little bit, but all the time people lose.

Some lose something small.

Some lose something big.

It is easy to let it fester.

Stay up all hours of the night.

What was the meaning of this?

Am I not seeing something there?

Is this is another lesson?

Why did I miss it?

What do other people do?

Because I only feel numbness.

This is a screwed up way to teach me a lesson.

I wasn’t told these kinds of things would happen.

I wasn’t given the choice that life would get harder instead of easier.

I wasn’t told many things.

I find myself not so hopeful.

It is sad I might never be reunited with the might have been.

It is downright a gloomy prospect.

I am not sure where to place my feet now.

It scares me more than I am admitting.

The sun rising or setting does not comfort me like it once did.

This kind of repetition gets old.

Will the sun stop rising and setting at some point?

Will it disappear?

I am not feeling like I once was.

I am not feeling much at all.

The odds were very high this time.

There had to be another way.

There simply was not.

The Blind Date

She told me to not be so damn perfect.

It wasn’t that I was trying all that hard.

I told her this. I truly did. I did.

I did, I did, I did, I did, I did.

You think she listened to me.

No. No. No.

Each no for what I presume to be each of her emotions.

She didn’t listen to me,

For she was intrigued too much.

Maybe, my thick hair.

Maybe, my biceps.

Or, my imported leather jacket.

Were any of those her reasons?

She didn’t let herself hear of my minor flaws.

It didn’t even enter the space between her head to listen.

She hardly knew me, and to make it worse, she was such a stubborn, little thing.

I would’ve let her slip her hand into my pocket: back or side, if I cared

To listen to her chattering on and on.

It wasn’t that I tried to get to this point as she sipped her cosmopolitans.

She did. She did. She did. She did. She did.

This wasn’t the right woman for me. It wasn’t the right woman, at all.

She had none of the characteristics I was seeking.

I wasn’t sure why she put my entire essence on a gold encrusted pedestal.

If only it were real, then that would be something to get excited about.

How I wish it was both, the gold and our initial meeting, at the same time.

This girl wanted to be a gigantic do it yourself woman.

This bubbling world we call modern life isn’t suited for men like me.

As the saying goes, she was turned on.

Yet, I didn’t want to go anywhere with her, suitable or not.

I’m all for bringing chivalry back,

But not when it includes this kind of woman.

Certainly not.

Certainly not.

Most certainly, definitely, absolutely not.

But something held me back.

I couldn’t run even if I had tried.

So, don’t fault me for not leaving,

Because when a man cracks,

Everyone hears it.

I Ask When

This too shall pass, they told me.

When I asked why, there was nothing but silence.

This was why it never went beyond the first question.

On that day, I never received anything substantial.

I wanted more and rightly so, but it was never the right time.

They proved me wrong over and over again.

These hardened feelings still fracture my heart.

If they haven’t passed yet, it soon will was the message.

But I’d like to know when.

Mirror, Mirror

The face in the mirror looked at me.

Hadn’t seen this face for a long time, but here it was to haunt me.

Couldn’t tell if it was mine or that of the monster.

I hadn’t seen the monster for a while either.

He held my attention even when its features became blurry.

No longer could I spot where the sides of the face ended.

The flesh seemed to melt away or maybe it disappeared behind the steam.

I wasn’t ready for it to leave quite yet.

But I knew it was not mine to claim.

I had tried to discard this face a long time ago.

It was the right choice to make, and yet the dark eye was visible to me.

It had restricted me at certain times.

I was too impressionable back then.

The small changes within myself were purposely forgotten.

My proof of turning a new leaf was an invention of mine.

I had turned into an ugly liar, and it felt crummy.

I was not a good person as much as believed otherwise.

My insides never caught up with my outer appearance.

The face in the mirror was despicable.

The monster that scared me was wicked.

There was a time I saw my innocent face, but I knew deep down it was cracked.

It didn’t matter what I desired.

None of it would come true.

The face in the mirror continued looking at me.

Couldn’t tell who it was, but only that it was searching for something more.

The Night

The music between us was loud and boisterous, as if it shouted from the speakers,

PAY ATTENTION TO ME! DANCE TO ME!

There was no one in that room not moving that night.

If you weren’t dancing, someone would have grabbed your hand and dragged you

onto the floor.

All of the movement made my head dizzy. The price you pay for fashion.

My headband somehow managed its way into the dryer.

The things people hold onto even when they are too tight.

I never wanted to go back to the old way of doing things.

That night was so close to perfection.

I haven’t been able to get that back.

I’ve tried, but I never rolled snake eyes.

I felt so safe around him.

Even if we weren’t in the same room, things were easier for me.

The way his wavy hair cascaded past his shoulders.

Some of my friends told me men shouldn’t have long hair, but I didn’t care.

All I knew that he was mine.

I wanted to lose a part of myself to him that night, and he did not disappoint.

The way he touched my face when the beat slowed a bit.

His hands were smooth, and his breath was a mixture of coffee and cigarettes.

I didn’t care about the stink when I kissed him that night.

This was how our relationship developed.

He allowed me to release all the worries as I boogied on the dance floor.

He had such a carefree attitude.

I felt free for the first time in my life.

This freedom lasted throughout the night each time I grabbed his hand as he

twirled me around.

We only existed to each other. He mouthed something to me.

I made out a few words.

LOVE… FOREVER… DANCING.

The music remained the same when he drifted away from me.

He was no longer close by my side.

Something BOOMED! Something BANGED!

He still made me believe in things. His advice mattered. He kept my heart intact.

We experienced from the same place.

This was an important time in my life.

There were no limits.

It was worth it when we reached our finale.

Yellow Bird

If a bird landed on my shoulder, what color would it be? And what would he do?

It might defecate on my new white crispy shirt from my favorite brand name store.

It could stand on one foot attached to a spindly leg, then the other as if life were

only a game to him.

But when he appeared, he did neither.

Instead, took one glance at my eye wear resting ever so peacefully on my nose

And then tried to lift the frames off my ears, hopping from one side to the next.

This continued much to my mixture of delight and slight irritation until I was

consumed with irritation alone.

I made limited contact with his frenetic body after a few misses.

I concluded with a purposeful swat to his body.

Quite stunned by what I had done, he collected himself and flew away.

I blurted rather loudly, “good riddance,” and went along my intended path.

But when I turned my head to make sure he was gone, he was about 25 feet away

And flying towards me with his wings flapping in a state of what appeared to be

sheer panic or rage.

Maybe, this yellow bird has something to tell me.

“That can’t be,” I said with emphasis. Birds can’t talk. Sure, they can chirp. But

talk to a human being?

Absolutely not!

I turned back, hoping I would only see a dot in the sky,

With thoughts of what my body must do and my mind should release from the past

week.

It was no such luck because he was still there, only closer.

And as I continued onto the next physical destination,

My mind clearly was not in sync with the next task before me.

I was flustered from head to toe and beyond.

If only there were repeats in one’s lifetime.

If another bird landed on my shoulder, would the color be different?

Would he be a she this time?

Would she peck my eye out?

Females tend to be more aggressive than males or what I noticed as of late.

Would she take something away? And not return it back?

Would she return it to me in a million broken pieces?

Would she succeed?

The bird, at hand, must be paid attention to instead of wondering about

hypotheticals.

The future may hold many possibilities but not currently.

I straightened up as much as my crippled back allowed, and

Prepared for another duel with this stinking yellow bird.

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