porch swing

innocence rests in your eyes
I see my grandpa sitting on that porch swing
with a cup of coffee and a cigarette
smoke puffs like clouds above my head
a miniature universe and he is god
he tells me tales of time gone by
about flying kites and falling in love
he says that hope is like a bubble
mirroring the passion in the sky
he says it reminds him of my life
how I never quite touch the sunshine
but I also see my grandmother
standing by the kitchen counter
making peanut butter cookies
and telling me about growing up hard
she said her daddy never loved her
he never told her she was beautiful
he drank his life away
and she hated him until the day he died
and that hatred has eaten her alive, she says
I hear my mother
crying all alone in the bathroom the day her father died
I hear her whimpers pierce the hallway
through her fake smiles
barely reaching my ears before I fall asleep to dream
of my father’s hands
working hard but hating life
struggling just to put me through school
and give me the life he drank away when he was younger
I see a man
who can’t quite mutter the words “I love you”
a man
who was never told how beautiful his insides were
a man
who is struggling just to be accepted
the innocent blueness of your eyes is captivating
but it kills me more than you know
because I see a childhood
that never manifested
and a man with festering wounds in his heart
I see a soul ripping at the seams
but he seems okay
and you act alright
but I know that you are praying to a god you don’t believe in
and hoping in a light you’ve never seen
a light you never hope to see
like my grandfather
sitting on that swing
talking about the good ole days
the ones he can’t get back

dreaming of being a star

Your lips move like a stuttering soliloquy
reciting rehearsed lines from the prose of your mind
but the subtext of your heart proves you a liar
your curvaceous silhouette conceals your sly hesitance
but the contours of your heart bulge through the scars in your skin
not cuts, but scars
cuts are endodermal but these scars are endocardial
they are cardinal; like the color of your blood
as it frees itself from the prison of your wrists
shackled hate unfettered from arteries 
arteries so clogged that mere breath is stolen from you
lungs filled with regret
plagued from the infection of past deeds
cloistered by apprehension and blundered trust
you are recluse
shamed by reckless love and blackmailed happiness
trust; born of a virgin 
too naive to discern and
your bones were made of glass, stained glass
stained blue by despair
and shattered by cutting bitterness from broken promises
the cons in their speech led to knives in your back: conniving
your pride lies 
lies murdered in the streets of abusive relationships
you’re abandoning ship
but smooth seas never made a skilled sailor
so you take a ship called emotion and sail her
sail her farther west than sins were cast
joy castrated from your heart
a weary soul casts a shadow of impotence on unsuspecting travelers
but you travel alone
bearing the burden of darkness entirely
willing to trade intimacy for a quiet conscience
and passion for sane thoughts
you travel alone
a lone wanderer
or maybe a soul wanderer 
they say “not all who wander are lost”
but you are lost
shipwrecked in a teeming town of solitude
your eyes are like Paris in the rain
dark, but still lovely
abandoned, yet hopeful
a contradiction
the antithesis of optimism
but not quite a pessimist
with ambitious dreams and lofty aspirations
self pity is a temptation
that leads to self depravation
and allusive fantasia
you’re a dreamer
with your head in the clouds
and an anchor on your ankles
the immobility is paralyzing
you linger with your head high but your spirits downcast
your sun was cast down from its conceited throne
and thus ceases the illumination of the moon
so you waltz with stars
though they burn you, they save you
though they cut you, there you find salvation
you envy the stars
they fall when they desire
shoot daydreams in beams of freckled light to a lamenting earth
and people are always thrusting dreams upon their shimmer
but as those stars grow brighter
your light fades
dimmer, dimmer, dimmer
until the only lightness about you is a free spirit
unabridged apathy
bridges the gap between body and soul
now your arms are your mind’s diary
your heart’s monologue
logging every affliction 
affectionately writing love on your arms
hoping someone might speak your language
but your silent screams fall on deaf ears and colorblind eyes
as you lie in bed at night
dreaming of being a star
you have a faint hope
a faint hope that tomorrow will be a different day

gravity

some days I wake up like God put too much gravity in my knees
and now I’m falling prostrate
and on my face is written the name of a god that I created
a god that can’t know my name
this god is a million empty bottles
and a pile of burnt grass
and a collection of brash masks
and a feeble past
and lonely ash
that will one day become my body
I’m killing myself softly
and slowly
and intimately
my feet are dancing vicariously around the idol called me
and I’ve forgotten which way is up
I climbed down from a tree
and ended up in the sky
that was the last time I trusted my own intuition
or my own sense of direction
I asked God to tie balloons around my eyes
so my face would always tilt upward
and so that every god that dust created
would fade away
and fall apart
and die in someone else’s arms

waiting for the feeling to return

there comes a time in every man’s life when he must decide
when he must choose his way out of choosing neither side
when he must climb down off of his white picket fence
and earnestly claw his way out of the apathetic rut that he has slowly swiveled his heels into
there will come a day when he must realize
that grace and obligation have everything to do with one another
instead of praying for the orphan and the widow, he’s been preying on them
and while he’s been trying to fit the ocean in a cup
his brother’s heart has been overflowing with the Father’s love
his heart is feeble and his mind is week
never knowing the nearness of the grace that he seeks
he has run away
and into an embrace known only to this world
his feet have been set to walking
and his heart to wandering
he drips with sweat he was never meant to bear
and carries chains he was never meant to wear
he spends restless nights awake and alone
praying to the god that never listens
he’s been screaming
he’s been shouting
he’s been crying out
he’s been searching
he’s been seeking
he’s been dying now
longing for a touch
hoping for a kiss
he says, “I prayed my life would never be like this”
and he waits
he waits
sometimes we wait too long

metaphor

every morning I wake up taking my first breath underwater and fidgeting with a blade at my wrist
whether this is metaphoric or not I still have not made up my mind about
my love is not for you
it exists only in a past time to your former self
your yesterday and your tomorrow are both darkness
the former, the latter, the now
they stand tall in the face of giants we could have never faced together
the mountains weep
the stars tremble
as love dissipates
every bird participates
I cannot yet explain this melody my heart creates
but I know this
I heard once that nothing is real but love
I know now
that nothing real is love
I wake up every morning with indentations
around my neck
I breathe in the salty ocean air that rests only behind my eyelids
I know this can never last
I know this will never be
there is no hope for people made of paper
and rings incomplete
wedding bells never sounded so silent
or streets looked so grim
I see you
you stand beneath lights that once signaled my return home
now denying your every pass at humanity
I see you
cold-blooded killer
my dreams nestled in your shoulder
like the bullets in mine
I believe my metaphor died when you did

boxes

They life is like a box of….a box of
life is just a box
we stuff everything inside and lock it all up
every thought a person can think I thought
I thought of life and death, of friends and love,
of everything under the sun,
and everything under the moon too
when I was 17, I told a lie
by the time I turned 18, I had already told 27
I’m 21 now, and I have completely lost count
I blocked out every hurtful thing ever said to me
and every hurtful thing I ever did to myself
maybe my pain would feel more real if you could touch it,
run your fingers over it,
feel the mingling of blood and sweat dance across your pupils and waltz down your face
what if I told you i cried the first time?
and the time after that
my cheek knows no lover like the back of your hand
my lips know no savior like red wine in a lonely hour
mistaking attention for love, I wrapped up every secret thing you said to me and swallowed it
it couldn’t fit inside my chest, so it dropped down into my stomach
I like to sit at the lake alone and think,
but I often find you here,
wrapped in my every dream,
every thought,
every breath
I swallow that tobacco wind, and I taste you
running hands down legs and across chest to find the knife wounds again
fingers touch scars not made by you
I wish I could crack open ribs,
pull out heart,
and touch my real scars
the ones flesh could not heal
the ones prayers did not answer
the ones that keep me up at night
insomnia is a colder lover than you ever were
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t gotten used to the bruises
they’re like constellations
mapping out every insecurity and pointing me home all at the same time
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt
I’d be lying if I said I was alright
I’m 21 now,
and I’ve already told more lies than I could ever count.