Free Verse

Rumors

They tell you there will be days you go without sunshine.
What they don’t tell you is you have years ahead
where rain paints your horizons,
and you feel like Noah without an ark or a lifeboat.
You stand in water up to your shoulders,
and nobody ever bothered to teach you the doggy paddle.

Nobody ever told you about the days shadows shaded the light,
so your days were as dark as sin. You couldn’t see
two feet ahead of you without a flashlight,
and when you slept at night, you dreamt as a blind man does.
Dreams of shadows, murmured whispers.

The air is still thick with all the bridges we burnt.
The damning hate stirs hot waves inside of you,
churning like a storm brewing.
Passion is measured in degrees Fahrenheit,
and your thermometer seems too warm this time of year.

It may be unkind to say
the years have changed you,
but you’re not who I once knew.


 

Silent Treatment (or Love Gone Cold)

Across my ceiling
are echoes of stars
whose constellations
I could once map out
across your body.
(I wanted to rip apart
your universes
and tear apart your skies.)

You allowed me to believe forever
until I was left holding onto
nothing but frayed rope
and memory.

Stick to me like Velcro to satin
(as in, not at all).
We would lie there beside one another
but farther than any miles could split us.
Push too hard,
and I could have ended up with broken ribs,
a splintered heart.
(This distance was enough
to shred my sanity,
though everyone says we were
as thick as thieves.)

I shot you into my vein like heroin,
and I believed in you like fairy tales.
The happily ever after story I always wished for within grasp
yet the distance made my breath
thin (like driving through
mountains)
.

You caught me in that net
of yours, but when I began
to wriggle, you freed me.
(Though freedom was
the furthest thing from desire.)

Love me, leave me.
I’m always gasping, “More”
for you are a fire that never
smolders yet burns everlasting.
I have loved you from the start.
Now, alone, I cling to photo albums
devoid of pictures and journals
empty of love.
(For this silence is vast,
and my echoes fall upon deaf ears.)


 

Invisible Monster

If only mental illness were visible, then people would accept it as a real disease.”

This monster reigns as king,
as heavy as an anvil,
as visible as air. It slings a noose
around my throat and isn’t satisfied
until my eyes bulge and my skin sallows. When all I wanted
was peace (desperation in
the white flags I waved), it begs
a fight (hungrily demanding
human sacrifice). The bruises
it leaves rot from the inside out.

The pain sears, yet the monster
hides, cloaked in shadows.
You coward, come dance
with me. Instead, it lies
dormant (as unreliable as
a volcano, as unstable as a
hurricane) for years.
When it wakes,
crimson blood drips from its fangs.

Snarling, seething, it searches for
a captive. It takes, holds me
hostage. The monster is as toxic
as fumes and as haunting as
nightmares.

I’ll be brave; I’ll slay the monster,
but some nights, it seduces me.
Whispers words as sharp as thorn
(yet as smooth as silk slivering
down my throat).
“Kill yourself.
Why are you still alive?
No one loves you. Give up.
End it all. You’re a failure.
No one will cry at your funeral.”

The bottle of pills near,
the banishment of the monster.
If it means destroying myself
to destroy you, I would gladly
mutilate and conquer this city
contained within my chest.
(For this monster is a demon
I have courted for twenty-eight
years, and this is not romance,
love. It’s disaster.)

I’m sick of this monster masquerading as defects.
They look at me like I’m
broken, damaged goods,
sick. This monster is everywhere
inside of me, and rotting me
from the inside out.


 

Forgetting You

I keep forgetting what I try hardest
to remember.
The color of your eyes when upset.
(Hazel with a shine like a mirror.)
Your voice.
(Scratchy sweet like a record played
too many times.)
Your love
like a gift that I could reopen again
& again.

I keep forgetting what I try hardest
to remember.
Your smile.
How you would cheat in cards &
try to deny it.
The way stories would tumble out
of you almost as though it were
an accident.
How loving & gentle you were,
but how you would hold onto
a grudge & not let go.

I wear this bracelet
so I don’t forget what I try hardest
to remember.


Pompeii

Take you like a drug
(inject you under the skin,
and under my skin you’ll stay)
.
It’s easy to find love
in these dog-eared, tattered photographs.
When the memories ignite,
and all we’re left with is ash,
my heart skips a beat.

They say this is the weight of love.

She haunts these grounds
like a ghost,
but the truth of the matter is
she left me for dead
years ago.
I need a hand to pull me
to my feet
(and maybe to my feet,
I’ll stay).

***

Once on my feet,
I know how things will play out.
Things that begin well
don’t always end well.
I offer you the best of everything,
but everything I ever had to offer
was never enough.

I had the brains to tell her “no”,
but even after she leaves,
my brain is stuck in the memory.
It’s easy to find love
in the photographs.

Even after she leaves,
even after the ashes blow away,
I’m stuck holding onto the pieces
of my broken heart.

(I put my heart on the cutting board,
and as you sever through an aorta,
I begin to cry out,
but my cries are in vain,
and silence is the only song you hear.)

You’ll never be enough,
though the memories tell me otherwise.
You were a dramatic end
(all the ruins in smoke)
when all I wanted was
a fairy tale end
(a happily ever after).

***

I never hated you,
but my fingertips burn
when I reach out into the ash.
There are words laced to your lips
(words I’d never say,
but the words I could think).

When I think this is the beginning of something new,
you’ve already retired to a goodbye
never heard.

The silence is deafening.
(When I feel like shouting,
it falls on your ears like silence.)

I should stop clinging to these dog-eared, tattered photographs.
I should stop wiping these tears from eyes.
Sometimes, silence is best
because the less you know,
the better you are.

There are times where I hope
your thoughts wander down this lane,
this lane I’ve traversed the past few years.
(And my hands are still hot with ash.
They say this is the weight of love.)

 

 

 

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