Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Your words fall out
of your mouth like black tar;
they are cyanide, an instant death,
to my fragile heart.

You throw hatred at me
like Molotov cocktails,
setting fire to my love
as every breath fails.

You burn me to the ground
with all of your lies and secrets;
and you smile as I disappear,
like you have no regrets.

The wind picks up my ashes
and whisks me away,
holds me tight in the night sky
and keeps me safe.

The stars collect my pieces,
the dust you made of me,
and they put me back together,
held in place by gravity.
They breathe light into my soul,
illuminating me;
you didn't win and I am finally
who I was meant to be.


I speak
on a frequency
you can't hear
so I speak
until my voice

I raise my hand
but you never call
on me
like I'm imaginary,
a blind spot
no one can see.

I'm not here.
I don't exist.
I'm just a memory
though I'm standing
right here.

you won't even remember
my name.
you don't remember


I sit stunned,
like your words
are a taser gun
on full blast,
hitting my skin,
my lips,
my brain
in one angry jolt.

I play them again
and the epiphany
blooms like a violet.

I cannot move,
or speak
as I listen
to you rewrite
I witnessed.

I was there. 
I know what happened. 
Don't I?

But now
you reveal
the last piece, 
like a puzzle thief
holding out
until the end -
keeping the victory
in your back pocket
so no one else
could have the glory.

I saw only two sides
of the story
I lived
but I didn't see
the masked man
hiding the truth
behind the door.
Your side
stayed in the shade
like a shadow
for the sun 
to fade
and hoping the moon
didn't out you.

But I see you. 

Now my eyes
are open
and clear
with the Visine
of the truth
you speak.

You're in HD,
4K Ultra,
bright as daylight. 

You're a criminal
playing dress up
as a gentleman
who never had
anyone's interests
at heart but his own.

I should've known.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Freedom Cry

If your words
were fists,
I’d be black
and blue.

I wouldn’t
really exist;
I’d be nothing
but walking
scar tissue.

But then maybe
you’d see
all the damage
you’ve done to me,
and the world
would finally
see it too.

Until then,
I could pretend
they are
a string of syllables
falling out your mouth,
nothing sensible
anyone can make out;
nothing that can hurt
or denounce
or discriminate
or sound
like hate -

just utterances
of love,
of what was,
of being enough,
and all the other stuff
you are too tough
to say.

Now it’s too late.

No one knows
what you did.
Only my memory
of it exists.
Only I am the one
who has to live
with it,
and the shadows
and the scars
you left.

But I am
still here,
and there is
only one thing
I know for sure:

you can’t hurt me

Knowledge Is Power

I remember the phone call
from twenty years ago;
not the text
as much as the tone. 

I still don't know
why your rage
onto me like hot lava.

We were just friends.
You'd said it over
and over
and over again. 

in one random conversation,
we were nothing. 

What had I done? 
I still don't know. 
I have suspicions,
but what's done is done.

Time spun 
us out
in different directions,
like two tops
once together,
now apart.

But the years
brought you back
like clockwork,
and I opened the door,
hoping to get answers.

I never got them,
but we became friends.

It was tentative.

Growing up
had made us both
to words
and sentence currents,
the undertones
and underbellies
of emotions.

Words became
instead of meaningful
and what was
never became
the love
we were both
looking for. 

Promises got lost
in the shuffle of life
and one wounded heart
urged a wandering eye,
while the other wounded heart
let it all die. 

I'd rather be alone
than afraid of loneliness.
I'd rather not know
than feel like I'm less
than who you expected.

You moved on.
I haven't. 
I'm still the same,
still without answers. 

So many words
have passed
between our lips.
So many questions
still exist.
What could've been
never was,
but I don't think
it would've been 

Our memories
still make me smile,
especially the quote wars
and how we laughed
until we cried,
but you went your way
and I have gone mine,
and you're the only one
who knows why.

Maybe someday
I'll know too.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Talk Therapy

I saw a man
about the darkness
in my heart. 

I felt it
seeping into me
like black tar.

It comes around
when things go south,
and I stop
wanting to play my part.

I didn't want to talk.
I didn't want help. 
I wanted to disappear.
I wanted to fly,
but I didn't have wings - 
not that I cared if I fell.
I had no fear,
which scared me
the most
and led me
to the chair
in front of him. 

We all fall. 

But all the tears
I cried
told me
this was different.
I wasn't ready for it.

He said, "It's good to want things".
He listened. 

He saw the pain, 
but he didn't try
to take it away. 

He said, "It's okay to feel how you feel."
He believed me
without lengthy explanations.

He made connections
I didn't have to map out.
He understood
what this was all about. 

Then, the magic happened. 

He said,"Grief comes from love."
And like a blink of an eye,
the darkness lost the war.

A Personality Disordered

Seven days
on Depakote
and I didn't know
or anyone else

I was a stranger
in the mirror,
a phantom
in my skin,
a lost cause
no one wanted
to find.

Benzos and Lamictal
make me predictable,
but charged up
like a battery
looking for a fight,
or like lightning
waiting to strike -
but I never do.

I just keep waiting.

Three pills at night
help me sleep,
but sometimes
I dream
bad things
are coming for me.

Maybe those aren't dreams.
They could be memories.

Anyone who'd know
is dead and gone,
so I keep hoping
they're not real,
I'm not real.

too sensitive,
aggressive -
negative words
attached to me,
etched into my brain
like a tattoo.

You assign a label,
then two,
and soon
I need a different kind
of doctor
to do what you do.

How far does it go?
When does it end?

I flush
all the pills
and start again.

Sometimes, a mood
is just a mood.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dear Whitecoats

You may have read more books.
You may have seen the insides
of a perfectly-preserved corpse.
You may have practiced your top stitch
until it was perfect,
and you may know the Latin roots
of requiescat,

but I do too.

I also know when breath
slips between screams
of pain and pleas,
your technique
may be the reason.

It wasn't her mind
playing tricks
or the opiates
you prescribed
to keep her quiet.

It didn't happen
until you
shoved your hands
beneath her skin
in surgery
after all.

Doesn't one-plus-one
still equal two?
How did you get three?

Fast forward
three years
and her chest
is pressed
into her back
by invisible weights.
She vomits,
and her mind senses
it is the end;
but you say it isn't.

What is it then?

You point to him,
he points to her,
she points to you.
No one knows
what to do.

 A resident
tries Nitro-
a quick fix
under the tongue.
The symptoms end.
The day is saved
even if you failed.

119 days
is all we get.
But her heart
ends up a fraction
of what it was.
Could we have
had more?
Should we have
had more?
I'll never know.

You stole
the time we had left
because you assumed
instead of assessed.
You may know a lot
about bodies and minds
and the anatomy inside;
but I know something
apparently you don't:

when a heart stops,
it might not be a side effect.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Half Life

I have opened my eyes
every morning
for 13,951 days.

I am more than half way
through your life,
maybe also through
more than half of mine.

Every choice
is an avenue
where what I choose
can be the end
or beginning.

I freeze.
I can’t think.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t see
what road to pick
that will lead

Home is not where
it used to be;
you’re not there.
I’m not there.

Everything feels
in between,
like a forgotten path
nobody travels anymore.

I feel separate,
lost in the middle
of what was
and what never will be

Every day my eyes open
is a day I have not seen.
It is a day
you will never see,
another tick
on my calendar
of grief.

Time is a thief,
a disease of my mind.
The days keep
and going,
and going.

But you do not.
I will stop
and I wonder
if anyone
will miss me
as much as I miss you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Silent Scream

There is no sunrise,
only rotation.
There is no sadness,
at least not that I can mention.
There is only silence,
a scream inside
I can never let out
like the painting -
frozen in color and pain.
I am orange, yellow, red -
flames curved around
an alien face
you can't see is me.
I open my mouth
and push out only air.

Yet I keep screaming.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Storm Surge

It came in waves
at first.

I'd duck under
or climb over,
tire myself out
with every effort.

Then, another hot slap
from the Atlantic
took me down,
sucked me in
until up
and the ground
weren't any different.

The air slipped
one bubble here,
twenty there.

My lungs burned
with the hunger
and pain
of wanting more.

I always want
when there's nothing

No breath, no happiness,
it's all gone -
a sunken beach house
smashed to memories
by the storm;
an entire branch
of family
broken off
at the seams.

I am lost
because no one
sees me

I scream
in the distance,
hands flailing,
body frantic,
but you
are never listening.

After three tries
I fail;
the water
taking me
with it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our Past Has No Future

Blue eyes
Red lips
You always go
for the same thing.

Twenty years back
we knew it all,
but we were still babies
learning to crawl.

Life went on
until the bottom dropped out.
You showed up just in time
to drag me farther down.

I fell apart
and you let me fall;
you enjoyed the show -
it's your fatal flaw.

But time pushed us forward
and away from you I flew.
I was suffocating here
and underneath you.

I slipped away
and out of your life,
down the road
and across the miles.

Then I see you -
a stranger staring back at me -
smiling in familiar poses
with someone who's not me.

But something has changed;
you look different.
Your smile is wide and bright,
and there's no hint of diffidence.

You finally look happy,
which makes me happy too;
and I am finally free
from whatever I was to you.

We are a past without a present
or future to speak of,
but we have had our time
and it was more than enough.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Life In Color

You paint me
in black and grey,
then ask me
where the color
has gone?
Where is the yellow
in the blond
of my hair;
where is the blue
of my eyes
you imagined
when looking
at the ocean?
I cannot say.
The palette
was never mine
to choose the paint.
I live somewhere
between the light
and dark
of your mind
and heart,
a place color
cannot go
because you
never chose
to live outside
the shadows.

Monday, September 4, 2017


I dreamt I died
and you didn't care;
it was just more drama
you didn't need.

It was just a dream
but it was also true.
It wasn't real
but it was still
me and you.

Why can't I
be drama-free
the way I am -
man-free, child-free,

This is what you see
and think
and believe

But this is not who I really am.

I don't fit the image
you've worked hard
to create.
I don't understand
how full your plate
or how to save
and plan
and wait
for life to work
the way you need
it to.

I'm not in tune
with your needs,
your goals,
your pain,
your hopes.

They aren't mine;
they are yours
which is fine
until it's not.

I don't know you
the way you pretend
to know me.
I don't say words
out loud I can't unspeak.
I don't use my mouth
to shove your face
to the ground
when you're already
on your knees.

I don't turn your good deeds
into crimes
to justify my inadequacies
or anonymity.

I show up.
I stand up.
I shut up.
I shut down.
I take the blame.
I swallow the pain.

And I believe
if I was gone
a part of you
would feel relief.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I Let You In, You Let Me Down

I spoke the words
out loud,
giving this pain
a name
so you would know
it's real. 

I let the truth
spill out of my mouth, 
revealing all
like word vomit,
hoping you
could understand
what I've been through. 

But you didn't.
You don't. 

And I haven't spoken
to you since. 

What's the point
if you don't listen?

I know my demons
by name now -
I guess 
thanks to you -
but you don't need 
to meet them
or know them too,
if you're not around
to help me fight them.

This pain isn't fleeting,
it isn't going away. 
It's another battle
in a war I fight 
every time I wake up, 
but it's mine. 

It isn't something
you can fix
or prevent
or take away.

You used to ask me
to be more open,
to tell you things
you didn't know. 

Now that I have, 
I wish I never did.

Maybe then
I wouldn't be
so disappointed
in all the ways
I've let you in
only to be 
left alone.

The Eye of the Hurricane

I once stood
in the eye
of a hurricane. 

I was nine. 
Or ten.

I remember
the silence
and the stars
and the way
the storm
seemed angrier
when the second
half came round. 

It was like I stole
something from it - 
coming out
and looking right at it
so boldly in the face
and I've never done it again. 

Some Days

Some days
I can't sleep.
A hurricane
bubbles up
inside me,
and my thoughts
swirl and churn
until they
are spun dry.
It's a spin cycle
that won't quit
no matter how
hard I try.

Some days
I can't get
enough sleep.
My bed sucks me in
like a Serta Sleeper vacuum.
I'm alone
and free
to sleep sideways
if I want -
and sometimes I do.

And then there are days
where thirty-eight
is too old,
my life is too young
to be this empty,
my heart is too melancholy
to thump one more time.

But it does.
And then it does it again.
Beat, beat, beat
against every word
or feeling
that tells it not to.

And then it does it again.

I Felt Myself Sinking

I felt myself sinking,
toes first
into the pluff mud
of my life,
slipping away
one piece
at a time.

The darkness rose
like an island,
pulling more of me
further down
and before I knew it
or could say a word,
I had already drowned.

It was that quick -
the silence -
and you were nowhere
in sight.
I guess if you looked
from a distance
I always looked fine.

Or maybe
you just never looked.

My Hometown

You are filled with history
and controversy,
ghost stories 
and monuments
of a time long gone. 

But you will not let go. 

You hold the past
with an iron fist
dug into the ground, 
anchoring us
to a sinking ship
no matter how hard
we try to swim, 
we know what's going down.

We struggle
against hurricanes
and heartache, 
rebel flags
and white rage,
sins of the past
and present mistakes. 

It just never ends. 

I escaped. 
I moved away. 

I found somewhere
I could breathe again,
where the humidity
didn't win
every time 
I walked out the door, 
where memories
didn't surface
every time
or any place I drove.  

Then I came home. 

And the only change
I see
is me. 


I wanted more,
I wanted to be yours;
but you said you weren't ready -
it was all just too much.

Years changed us
but not how I felt.
Then you said the words
I'd waited for since we met -

And I was still not enough.

Somehow we made it through
and something honest began,
but it was like trying
to hold onto smoke.

You disappear
and reappear
like a bad magic trick.
I don't know about your life,
you don't know about mine.
We know nothing
because we don't ask
or talk or try.

we were never really friends,
just two people
walking in the same direction,
occasionally making conversation.

we were
but that was then,
and now -

I don't know you at all.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Heart Is A Barrier Island

My heart is a barrier island
with bridges and inlets
keeping the world at bay. 

It's untarnished by hate,
wild with the overgrowth
of unchartered love. 

The ocean beats
against my shores,
beckoning for explorers
to come. 

No one does. 

I pull the bridges up
and withdraw
into the brambling forest
of loneliness. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Like Old Clothes

You tried me on
to see if I'd fit -
my intellect
and your wit
could make it
work right?

But that isn't it -
there's more skin
and sinew -
too much for you
and the wrong color
I imagine.

You tried me on
once before
to see how I'd feel
but you took me off
in an instant -
something wasn't right
but you didn't know what.

We were friends
and then nothing.
You just put me back
in the closet
and left me hanging
until you were ready
to try again.

Two times you tried,
just enough
to be sure...
but it's not you -
it's me -
so you traded
me in for someone new.


Discarded, unfit...

It's time
to quit
if I'll ever find
someone to keep me.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell

Your mind was a garden
of rhythm and words,
sung out in four octaves,
touching the wounded souls
in this world with gentle hands.

Your mouth was a white flag,
begging for forgiveness
and peace,
whispering prayers
to anyone who'd listen.

We learned your words,
we sang along,
but we never listened.

No one does.

The darkness swallowed
you up like a black hole
and we all stand shocked
in the sunlight of today,
wondering what went wrong?

You had everything, didn't you?
What shadows followed you
besides your own?

We'll never know.

Your life ended
before we could find
the right questions.

Say hi to heaven for us.

Monday, May 8, 2017


It's been 2,975 days
since I saw you take
your last breath.

I struggle to catch mine
each time
I think of you
as my eyes blur and burn
with sadness.

We had so much still to do -
separately -
but life goes on
without us
and our plans.

Everywhere I look
there is a memory
of where you once were,
where you stood,
something you said,
your smile, your hurt.

An ache builds in me,
pain screaming out
just to have you back again.

But no one is listening.

My voice is silence
in their ears -
much like it was
to you most of my life.

I fold into myself,
into this void
created when you left.

I cannot catch my breath,
I cannot imagine a life
without you
no matter how hard I try.

2,975 days becomes 2,976
and then 2,977...

We all just keep going
like the second hand of a clock
who does not realize
the minute hand
8 years, 1 month, and 22 days

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sentence Prison

It wasn't the night we met
that ruined me.
It was three -
no four - years later
when you labeled me
the dream girl
you always wanted -
- a dream of a girl
in a world
I could never fit in
or belong
or could be.

I heard what I wanted,
but you said the words -
I just ignored the grammar
and the order.

It was all there -
for a single moment -
the life I'd imagined we'd share
breathed into existence
by words
that have caged me ever since.

I was never enough
except for one night
in a Burger King
where you said everything
I wanted to hear;
where truth I knew
and you still don't
dropped from your lips
like atom bombs filled
with glitter and dust
instead of napalm and indifference.

I can't remember now
what you said
or how it stopped my heart
the way it did.
They were just syllables
and punctuation -
nothing more, nothing less.

Words strung together
like old Christmas lights
you hope will set the tree
and not on fire.

Words I have made my prison,
locked myself in
and thrown away the key.

I'm still sitting
in that booth,
though it's been years
since you left.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


You wrote me letters
and signed them with love.
You sent presents and money
like your words weren't enough.

You always offered to help,
no strings attached.
I blindly accepted,
falling right into your trap.

I loved you like no other,
and defended you to the end,
but your letters stopped coming
and I was left alone again.

You think money is the answer,
that it'll buy everything you need,
except at the end of the day
only your love could buy me.

So what did your words mean
now that you've disappeared?
What about your promises
that you'd always be here?

There is no defense
that could mend my broken heart.
You were nothing
but a liar right from the start.