You spend nights
Leaving salt-trimmed wet stains
On gaily patterned pillowcases
When the house is dark
Because the shame of a pair of eyes
Seeing yours crying
Would be unbearable.
After all,
The things you cry about,
Aren’t moving enough
To be shared or heard.
You spend days
Carrying back-bending burdens
That indispose you to cheer
And tire every cell in your body,
Leaving you exhausted at sundown
But unable to find rest or sleep.
You dump your most dangerous feelings
Into a glass bottle
And cork it up.
You know that’s dangerous,
But you do it anyway
Because your heart is already
Criss-crossed with so many scars
That a few more
Wouldn’t really make
That much of a difference.
You walk around
With sorrow stinging your eyes
Like a hundred angry hornets,
But for the sake of appearances,
You’re absolutely fine,
You couldn’t get any better.
Those bags around your eyes?
You pass them off
As the consequences of a three-hour slumber.
But you’re still here…
You never dragged a blade along the inside of your wrist,
Heart beating—
You never fell asleep unnaturally in a filled bathtub,
You never drowned your troubles in lethal cocktails.
You’re okay.


Brave the Night

My Sun has set on this place,

This place that once reminded me of home,

Leaving it stripped 

Of warm light,

Of heartening color.
Now that my beacon is gone,

I grope in the darkness of 

This serpents’ hunting ground,

This whispering ghosts’ lair.
No more does a flower raise its head here;

No more birdsong is heard amidst the boughs—

There’s naught to soothe my senses,

Naught to allay my fears,

Naught to give me a grain of hope. 
The cold surrounds me 

Like a band of menacers.

Its sting is merciless, painful…

And I fear its evil might. 
Maybe I can try running,

But I fear my path sports 

A litter of sharp, blood-hungry stones

And a scatter of brambles.
This night is too long

And too full of terrors. 

When do you intend returning,

My dearly beloved Sunshine?

These fiends will fly far 

At the sight of your splendor. 
Your coming is certain,

That much do I know.

I’ll see the flowers bloom,

I’ll hear the birds once more.

But ‘tween then and now,

I must brave the night alone.


For what, I ask, do you waste yourself 

Raining on a beautiful canvas while it’s drying?

Decanting your acid into my spring waters? 

Destroying what you haven’t created?
My happiness, does it counteract yours?

Does breaking bridges gratify your appetite for destruction?

(But all you can hope to achieve is a non-calamitous dent.) 
I’m a leaning tower that defies 

The gravity of your acrimoniousness 

That persistently but futilely labors to 

Cause my fall, my breakage. 

But the integrity of my substance 

Exceeds the strength of your pull,

Keeping me from shattering,

Keeping you from triumphing. 
The hand that holds the knife is not

Guaranteed against being cut by its own blade. 

The arm that swings the hammer of destruction

Will itself debilitate, courtesy of its weight. 

Evil Eyes

With coal dust in your myopic eyes
You see warped, distorted images

Like reflections in carnival mirrors,

The surface of disturbed water,

Or the cave of a polished spoon.
Seeing with a visual apparatus 

Slick with a film of judgment 

Perhaps renders your discolored, 

Tinged view of my world and me

To yourself most sightly.  
But, how long will you bear to see nightshade where there actually bloom roses?

Serpents where there actually stand people?

Relieve yourself of that judgmental culture, your cataract, your coal dust.
Do yourself a favor: wash your eyes and see,

Behold the beauty that is,

Rather than contriving an ugliness that never was. 

The Art in Authorship 

The scrape of the pointed end of graphite is musicTo a white-knuckled writer who creates art with words. 

The smell of ink-adorned and blotted parchment 

Or parchment untouched by the tip of his quill 

Is to him a perfume finer than the notes compounded in Paris. 
In lieu of floral embellishments, his study is strewn with wads; 

Royal blue and pitch black tributaries make a map on his veteran hand. 
His myopic, bespectacled eyes are like those of the genius jeweler: 

Scrutiny-laden and hypercritical. 

What the lapidary encases in cloth of velvet and a bed of satin, 

He infixes betwixt bindings of vinyl or leather. 
When contentment makes its slow but sure way into his self-scathing mind, 

The man with the callused and dull aching digits knows that he has 

Contributed to humanity a Mona Lisa in words. 
With pen and paper, quill and inkpot, he created art – a magnum opus.