When We Were Young

Once upon a time,
Joy poured from thick, gray clouds.
You and I
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
And curled around my rosy cheeks.
Your glasses
And you abandoned them
And all caution.
The others
Ran inside.
We stayed.
We lived
In the mud and grime,
And we were free.
It rains again,
But what falls from those clouds
Is sorrow
As you put up an umbrella
To protect your vision
And hurry inside.



It’s so peaceful here.
My feet are burning,
Like when we’d run
As children,
Barefoot and carefree,
From house to house
And tree to tree,
Across blacktop in the summer,
Through snow in the winter,
And then they fall numb.
My hands feel dry,
Like when they would ride waves
Of air from the car window,
Skin cracking,
But I was laughing,
But now the feeling is gone.
My face hurts,
Like when we’d get in fights,
Pelting each other with chunks of ice,
And then get even,
Rubbing each other’s faces
In soft snow
That always felt harder than it was.
Now that’s gone too,
As the last of the warmth
Rises from my body
Like steam,
And all that’s left
Is nothingness.


A tightness holds my throat,
Tightly, unfaltering.
Air will not break through
Though I gasp and struggle
With every ounce of strength
I have left.
My muscles spasm
And my limbs shake
As the blood runs cold
Beneath my skin.
Screams will not erupt
From the frigid chasms
Deep inside me
Where they echo off the walls
My eyes burn
With un-shed tears
As the voice in my head
Voicing fears,
And insecurities.
I squeeze my eyes shut,
Clamping my hands
Firmly over my ears,
Curling into myself,
Shaking my head
As if the words are not true.
But I know they are.
The thought stings
At the back of neck
Like electricity
Shooting through me.
I’m squeezing the air from my lungs
As if it is poisonous,
Still while trying to breath,
Gasping, heaving, choking.
How long have I been here?
How long will I remain?
When something breaks through
All the glass of the fortress
I’ve locked myself away in.
A warm hand at my back
Pulls me closer.
Whispers into my neck
Chase away the chills.
It is going to be okay.
I can feel
The ground
Returning beneath my feet,
And my anxiety at last
Begins to retreat.

Steel Being

I have been burned.
I have felt the flames
Engulf my skin and my being.
I felt them wrap around my heart,
Twisting it into something
I never thought it could be.
I saw the world,
Distorted through the smoke,
And had to remind myself
Where I was,
Who I was,
And why.

And in the days passed
Since such trauma
I have been told
How it has made me who I am,
How it has made me stronger,
How it has turned my skin to steel.
Don’t they understand?
The flames did not do that.
The flames tore through my skin
Like it was paper.
The flames left me inhuman,
Looking in the mirror
Was never so painful.
I built the steel
Around myself
To hide my scars,
And I told everyone
It was my new skin,
Wearing it with false pride
As if being made of steel
Could change what I’d been through.
But it’s still there.
It will never leave me.
And when I am told
How it’s made me stronger
As if I or anyone
Should be grateful
For something so awful,
The scars burn
As if the fire
Has been lit again
This time, beneath my armor
Held against my skin.
And I can relive
The agony I went through
Trying to put it out.
I am no steel being,
Only someone too afraid
To live without armor.


As I travel,
Two lines unravel
Like a scarf,
That’s not been knotted
At the end.
Hypnotic is the pattern
My feet follow after,
In rhythm
With some song
In my head.
Alone, I’m not lonely,
As birds chirp around me,
Their melodies,
I’ve not heard
In years.
Or perhaps I have heard them,
And simply ignored them,
Too caught up
In my own
The buzz at the back
Of my mind has relaxed.
My muscles
Their tension.
The caress of the breeze
Puts me at ease,
As I follow
The labyrinth’s
Around each twist
Away, I let slip
From my mind.
And as I enter
The mandala’s center
New answers
And peace
I find.


Is a funny thing.
It can make darkness
Appear bright.
Shadows reflect across horizons
Into rainbows.
But do not be deceived.
Just as darkness
Appears lighter
And more comforting,
The monsters hidden inside
Are illuminated
As you draw near,
And their shadows
Stretch before you
Growing larger and larger.
Even across the horizon,
Where they would appear
As colorful arcs,
You may never find
Where they reach the ground
Around you.
Instead they dance
In front of you
And behind,
So that you are unsure
Of which way you should run
To escape the illusion
Laid out before your eyes
As beauty.
Perhaps, it would be better
To simply see them
As they are,
So that you
May better face them
With a clear sight
Of what needs to be done.

Illusion of Memory

I dream of you,
But your features are blurred,
Always hiding behind the veil
My mind has created
To keep you out.
And your words mix together
As though being played
On a broken record
That never stops spinning.
Your touch is soft
As though made of sand
That will drift away on the wind
The moment it is grasped,
Forcing me to wonder
If you were ever truly there
To begin with.
I reach to remove the veil,
But you are hidden in the shadows
At the very back of my mind,
My memory.
I light a candle
To illuminate this corner
And you,
But the veil catches,
And I panic before I can think,
Squeezing my eyes shut
To block you out again.
Will I ever stop running from you,
Whose memory I so desperately
Run after in the night
But can never seem to catch?
For what will I do
If you are not as I believe
And I have created a false you
To soothe the blisters
You left on my skin?
Or if you are exactly
As I thought all along,
And I was right in wishing
Never to see you again?