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During the day,
I’m equipped to keep the monsters at bay.
But at night, when I’m asleep, I’m helpless.
Stripped of saber.
Devoid of strategy.
So the monsters crawl under my sheets and, when I wake,
their talons are wrapped around my throat.
Sweet dreams are easy.
Sweet awakenings are another story.
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Your monsters are slick
like movie villians
-they always get the the cool costumes.
They smoke cigarettes
and lurk in dark alleys.
They hide behind trees in forests.
They creep into your houses
and into your daughters’ dolls
to make their heads spin.
They hide in your basements
and wait in the darkest corners
for you to go downstairs.
when they are ready
they arch their backs and scurry like crabs
up walls and onto ceilings.
But my monster is different.
She crept in between my thighs
after I had a cocktail
and slipped inside, warm and gentle.
She swam through my veins
until she reached my brain
where she curled up
and now the two of us
and wake together
even in the sunlight.
It is impossible to be unhappy on this beautiful day.
The sky is clear and blue
only blue-the perfect compliment to the newly sprung leaves of verdant green
under whose canopy I sit and appreciate
the gentle breeze and glorious sun
whose rays sneak through this lush umbrella
to kiss my skin
It is impossible to be unhappy.
Is it not?
But the breeze-it lulls me to sleep
a dull dreamless sleep
which I do not wish to enter.
I long for a sharp and bitter wind
to jolt me awake.
My eyelids are heavy.
My limbs carry the invisible weight of complacency.
But it is just so pretty
It is impossible to be unhappy.
This poem was originally published on June 3, 2018
Is this death, this dull ache in my back?
What of these pains that pulse through my body?
This fear that sleeps and wakes with me, is it death
like a crow picking on carrion in the street?
Is she death, this face that greets me in the mirror each morning?
This woman I do not recognize?
This exhaustion, is it death
ringing the bell, waring me that the time for eternal rest is fast approaching?
Perhaps it is death.
I do not like it though.
I prefer to believe it is life.
Life marching on.
Life marching over me.
Perhaps I will grab hold of it
and let it carry me along
through this maelstrom that rages for an eternity
or a moment.
Perhaps, when the winds die and the sea stops churning,
there will be peace
peace in this life
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Worse than criticism is silence.
I put it out there.
I laid myself bare
but all I heard
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Four years ago, I wrote this poem. Four years ago, I let go of the misguided belief that to write about painful family relationships is to be disloyal. Four years ago, I began the process of becoming an artist. Make no mistake-you cannot be an artist if you censor yourself; if you hid your past; if you sacrifice your truth to protect others.
Shadows & Light
Life with you was shadows and light.
On days when there was only light,
there was never only light.
A small step
in either direction
and you would cast your shadow.
Some days it would remain small
It would lurk
and then grow.
It would grow
until it reigned over us.
And tears would rain
longing for light’s return.
If only it was always shadow,
the light would not be missed.
But such was not our fate.
Now that you are gone, it is only shadow-
that haunts my memories
that burdens my conscience
that chases the light.
that never ends