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Into my ear you slipped poison
words that ran off your tongue
to me for years.
it’s origin I had forgotten
until today, on my way to a place
of life, not death.
But death is what I thought.
And death is what I believed,
a death delivered by a fork-tongued hag
who was dead herself .
When I was twenty
life offered infinite, though imagined, pleasures.
And, as I delighted in dreams of my future,
I floated upon the bottomless sea of fantasy.
But years passed
and I found my feet set firmly
on its sandy floor,
chin thrust upward,
gasping for breath,
looking into an infinite sky
an infinite void
an infinite nothingness
and I wondered if, when night fell,
sea and sky would become one.
in this glimmering twilight
the sea is shallow
drained of dreams
and I am dry.
Only my toes remain in the well of possibility.
But the sky, still separate from the sea of youth,
I look to it and wonder.
“Are you happy?”
they ask every few months
that their investment in your well-being
is an investment in their being
it is understandable
given that your unhappiness makes them
people make conversation uncomfortable
because they address
are best left unsaid,
best left to settle to the bottom of the
it’s dark there,
an appropriate place for dark
are thoughts because you keep them to yourself.
You do not share them with people who are
people are happy people.
They are bright and light and they avoid people like
don’t tell them you are scared and sick and angry and sad
because they could not be
people need you to be happy
My darkness covered you like a blanket weighted with lead.
But I didn’t know.
I didn’t mean to shroud you
In a moment of clarity, I saw it all
the horror of it all
the confusion of good intentions
and foolish actions
the incapability of a mind full of chaos
to move toward the light.
Instead, I carried the heavy weight
dragging it along
and laying over all I touched
crushing all the good
And what now
if I lift this leaden blanket laden with all my darkness?
The broken remnants of what could have been;
who could have been?
Or is there hope buried beneath the withered remains of possibility?
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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.
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