Ugly

I think I was pretty once,
A really long time ago–
Days?
Weeks?
–time has stretched on since.

It was before I stopped cutting my hair
And grew out straggled ends resemblant of straw,
Vacant, desolate tree branches in winter,
Dead or dying,
Certainly no longer caring.

It was before I stopped smiling,
Lips dried out and permanently pressed
Into a rigid line,
Laugh-lines faded from lack of use,
And dimples that haven’t seen daylight in decades.

It was before the storm clouds
Rolled in over my blue eyes,
And with them demons
That gluttonously gorge themselves
On any ounce of light
That tries to break through,
Dark ravines hanging beneath them
Against skin that’s abandoned all color
And life.

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Tired

I am tired
Of getting out of bed
And the heavy darkness
That hangs beneath
My foggy eyes
When it’s been another night
Of the wrong kind of sleep.
I am tired of showering
Only to drag my feet
Through pits of mud
All day
Every day.
I am tired of trying
Or caring
About what happens if I don’t.
I am tired of pretending
Like all of this shit
Adds up to some larger goal,
A bigger picture
That I can’t see
And am tired
Of having to imagine.
I am tired of the zombie
That stares back at me
In the mirror each morning,
Craving
Not energy, not happiness,
But motivation
To keep fighting
To stay awake
When I have just grown
So
Fucking
Tired
Of everything.

Truth

It scares me
How I can look away
For only a moment
When something disappears.
The memory of it fades
And I no longer have the energy
To try to retrieve it,
Remember it
For what it really was.
Suddenly,
I no longer know
What really happened.
Everyone tells me
Different things.
And I can’t seem
To put them in order,
Decipher the lies
From the truth.
Has there ever been any truth?
Or is that
Something my mind distorted,
Concocted from thin air,
And used to shape me?
And they still keep yelling,
Telling me
What happened
And expecting me to know,
When all I know
Depends on the day.
It depends
On what I see
In the mirror.
It depends on the details
I’ve chosen to focus on.
And they’re all in pieces
Like broken glass
Shimmering deep inside of a fog.
Today some have caught the light
While others are still
Shrouded in darkness.
I can never seem
To grasp them all.

Monarch

Her lips were always smiling,
A bright shade of pink
That always made me think of spring.
We’d sit at the table for hours,
Picking beads of certain colors
And arranging them in stencils
To later be ironed.
I always loved the sparkly orange one
Because it looked
Like the wings of a monarch butterfly.
And that’s what she was:
The monarch of our family.
Wings stretched,
Sparkling in the sunlight,
I know she must be soaring
Somewhere in sunset-pink clouds.

When We Were Young

Once upon a time,
Joy poured from thick, gray clouds.
You and I
Cheered.
I kicked puddles at you,
And you tried to push me into them
As we screamed,
Wild beasts that we were
When we were young.
My straight hair
Frizzed
And curled around my rosy cheeks.
Your glasses
Fogged,
And you abandoned them
And all caution.
The others
Ran inside.
We stayed.
We lived
In the mud and grime,
And we were free.
Today,
It rains again,
But what falls from those clouds
Is sorrow
As you put up an umbrella
To protect your vision
And hurry inside.

Merry Go Round

I used to love
The merry-go-’round,
Always riding
Up and down
On a beautiful horse
Whose mane stood still
As it rode in circles,
Ignorant to thrill.
There came a day
When it began to feel slow,
And I realized
There was nowhere to go
On a horse that always
Rode the same path,
The scenery always
The same as it passed.

Phoenix

Gray walls surround me, desolate and empty.
No pictures hang here, no art, no color.
So barren and void of all feeling, all emotion.
Water seeps down from one corner,
Inspiring cracks in the paint to form around it.
In one place, the paint has chipped off entirely,
Revealing a single orange fleck
Of immunity to this depression.
I begin chipping the paint with my fingernails,
Desperately needing to know
What lies dormant beneath its cold surface.
The chips flutter to the ground, catching the light,
Like snow against the dreary, gray background.
They collect at my feet, sticking to my socks,
Gathering in a pile on the floor around them,
A cluster of ashes, dust, and decay.
I stare at the pile as it grows, my fingers still picking,
Gray chips floating down like smoke billowing up
As the pile of ashes stretches higher.
The cracking of chipping paint like the crackling of a fire,
Leaving disintegrated residue beneath its brilliant flame.
It is alive.
The chipped away paint reveals a vibrant mosaic,
Color stretching from the pile of ashes upward,
Like fiery wings erupting from nothingness,
Illuminating the room with newfound glory,
Creating summer from a wintry wasteland.
A shame it was ever hidden,
But how extraordinary to uncover,
Born from the ashes,
Inspiration.