This is a Portrait of Me

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Despite my resistance,

or perhaps as a result,

I live within boundaries,

yet am unable to discern

clean edges, as all walls

fall into grey on approach.

The poem is dark, as you,

who like a peeping Tom,

slip through these words,

hoping to glimpse more

at the window frame open

before you than can be

imagined on your own.

This is a portrait of me

within a frame, a simple

frame, not minimalistic,

certainly not ornate,

for either would provide

far too much that is not

a part of me as if it were;

and, you would believe

these thick lines to be

exposing more to you

than I could possibly

reveal on my own,

as if I do not know

what it is I write.

It is arrogance to think,

on my part and yours,

without blinds one can

see all that exists

within a well-lit room

while standing on the street,

as if life were a simple

sentence tucked neatly

in a proffered book,

like a love letter

marking a certain poem

lovers shared in secret.

Oh, do not tell me how

to see the lines I write,

nor open my words

to finger a wound,

probing for pock marks

to read like Braille

along bloody bones.

Yes, this is me here.

Yet, it is just as much

not me. My borders

extend like language

blurring dialects

with familial tongues.

I refuse to speak

Into the silence

simply to speak,

as if any sound

by itself could be

enough to save us

from our muffled

dread always near.

 

(May 27, 2018)

Supplication

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My mouth is my wound,

a stigmata of broken teeth

and words. My tongue’s slashed

like ribbons flapping

in the mountain’s wind.

My prayers snap violently

into the icy air’s silence.

 

I don’t know what to do

now: swallow my own

blood, and drown; or spit

my life onto the ground

to call forth a bitter

beast which I fear

will devour me whole?

 

(May 11, 2018)

Self-flagellation

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The familiar voice, a constant whip, rips

Bits of metaphorical flesh to fleck

The truculent air like a moist firework.

If one listens— the recriminations

Claw, maul, snag and cut to reshape the past;

The pressure provides us old forms to drape

Like silk shrouds upon the dead and dying.

 

I hear the fears of my world, the cold doubt

Niggling each broken phrase, like a dry catch

At the back of the throat. I do not know

What to believe, or which patch can still fix

The tattered fabrications, or which will

Transform into the next tale to be told

Before the voice begins to speak again.

 

(December 29, 2017)

Blood in the Mouth

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As if thrown into the sea,

I drown in myself. Adrift,

Worn from lack of sleep again,

I berate and taunt my past.

 

Each faux pas, each arrogant

Act, repeated and rehashed

Until each cringe inducing

Detail is nailed to my skin.

 

Time does not layer armor

Tightly enough to protect

Against the internal thrusts,

 

But rather sharpens the blade

To more precisely dissect

Each vein flowing from my heart.

 

(December 14, 2017)