The Clinging Mirror

There is glass in my face
Pieces of mirrors that come away on my skin
Broken shards and splinters maybe too small to see
I can feel them on my cheeks
The inverse images
That caught my eye and then wouldn’t let go
They line my eyelids
brushing on the exposed skin of my eye
Clinging to the darkness
And when I close my eyes I can still see
The reflection of my tear stained face and
My awkward, ugly selfie-smile
They flash before my eyes each time I blink
And I’m afraid they’ll blind me
No please!
I don’t want to be trapped in the dark with these
Thoughtful reflections
And deflections
I feel glass across my cheeks
Shimmering across my skin like
Razor sharp star dust
It sprays out of me like feathers
Splinters glitter in the light
Fragments of reflections stick to me
Like gold leaf or water
The hair on my chin
In the mirror in the restroom
The circles under my eyes
In the metallic sheen of a store front window
My vauge, tiny shape
In the judgemental eye of a stranger
Somewhere deep in that hateful gaze
I am reflected upside down
A glint in an unobservant eye
An eye that never cared that it had held
My reflection
They stick to me
Stick into me
And they cut anyone who touches me
But first and foremost they cut me
And I stare in the mirror to watch
The tiny bead of blood
And I turn away
And the blood snatches a piece of silver
And it isn’t red anymore
It reflects on me – but it is not my reflection

Unturned Earth

You do not know what wretched things may lie beneath my skin
Nor do you see the fertility that promises new life

There are stones in my belly that weigh me down with guilt and apprehension
There are worms in my mind that tunnel and burrow and will not be still

But are not these diamonds – here in the core of me – that thing which men call valuable?
And look! the tiny shoots of fresh green things are churning in my soul

Seedlings rise from my heart, not yet strong enough to break the skin above their prison
But watch them reaching, reaching, reaching, watch them reaching for the sun

It is all here: a garden yet to bloom; an unopened cavern of rare things
It is in me: a glorious cacophony of decayed and growing things – one from another

It is unseen; untried; untested; unknown; unexpected
I am the unforeseen: I am the unturned earth

Phoenix of the Foam

Do you hear it

the crashing of the water

the pounding of the waves

Do you hear it

The rise and fall of oceanic wings

The pounding beat of my aquatic heart

I rise

I rise

Only to be brought low time after time

I crash

I crush

I crumble

And

Yet

I Climb

Unheard

Unseen

Un wanted

Invincible

Untamable

An ever-rising wall

Rushing towards my desecration

Racing towards the fall

Roaring headlong into the utter darkness of the rocky beach

Fear me now

I am the ocean wave

Which breaks and rises up

A phoenix

Of the foam

Ready to break again

A place called Away

Can you tell me how to get ‘away’? I’ve heard it’s an amazing place. 

Away from that look people keep giving me. Away from prying eyes. I get postcards from every corner of the planet. Away from pain. Away from darkness. Away from my whole life. Away from my failures. Away from yelling voices. Over and over I hear it playing in my head. Away…Away…Away…Away…Away… Away… On… and on… and on…

Is ‘Away’ better than here? Does ‘Away’ feel like home? Are the people there nice? Would they mind if I stayed? I’ve always wondered about away. 

Does ‘Away’ hurt? Is it hard to reach? I don’t mind if it’s far… that would be great actually. 

See, I’ve never fit in Somewhere. I’ve lived Somewhere my whole life. My address was always This Place Drive, no matter where I moved. And my daddy still drinks. And my mommy still will never let me lock my door. I don’t want to live at This Place, Somewhere. Not anymore. I want to go Home. But I’ve never lived there. I’ve never even visited. I would lean out the window and ask if we were there yet… but we never were. The GPS said we’d arrived at our destination. And here we were at This Place Drive. That’s how I knew that we were never actually going Home.

I tried addressing mail to Home, in Away. It got stamped Return to Sender. So Sender is my name. That’s not what daddy calls me… or mommy, come to think… But the mail said I was Sender, and they sent it postage due. I tried to ask about Home. I asked about Away. They said “but This Place is so nice! And aren’t we good parents Here? We’re very Somewherian, and no one else complained.” 

No one else did complain. My life is pretty good at This Place Drive. Just sometimes, my mom seems scared when I’m nice. Sometimes my dad seems frustrated when I’m happy. I don’t think I fit here. Maybe I’m mislabeled. Maybe Was supposed to go somewhere (though maybe not Somewhere) and someone marked me with Return to Sender. But I was Sender. So they just took me Somewhere. Nearby Anywhere. Maybe I got given to the best people around: Right parents, wrong kid. The It’s Not Me It’s You child, named Sender.

Either way, I’m stuck here. I can’t go to Away. Even though I see it at every corner, every turn. Away from empty glass bottles. Away from your tears. Away from this pedestal, and the chains that come with it. Away, Away, Away, Away.

But what would that mean? Away from Papa comforting me? Away from Mama’s goofy smile, and life-saving advice? Maybe This Place Drive isn’t real at all. Maybe I’m… Away. I’m away now. With the strange mommy daddy version of my parents. With no sister, with no nothing. Without even me. That’s why I can’t go Away. Because I’m already here. That’s why the mail I sent arrived here, addressed to me. I’ve been away too long, I think. I don’t remember much. I know that I’m Somewhere, but not more than that. Here I am, home I am: Somewhere Away. If I could go back… do it over again… I’d never give up on myself, and my world like I did. I’d take my whole big, deep, wide life, and write on it “Return to Sender”, and go Home.

The Future

Fine, I say
Fine
Silence my words
Give me hell
Very well
Strip out my voice while I sing
I can speak without those things
Alright enough
break down my barriers
and pour into my soul
Shred me when you find me whole
I am immovable inside, and you cannot change what you find
If that’s what you wish,
I say
Then that’s what you deserve
So go ahead
and take away the dignity I’ve earned
Laugh while you’re at it
Laugh
Enjoy the shape
enjoy the height
Mock all the parts I do and don’t have
Tell me that I’m not alright
ignore the boundaries I’ve marked
And trample all my golden grain
Tell me again
while you steal from me
That you have nothing here to gain
Remind me, one more time
remind me
Why you aren’t threatened by me
And when you toss and turn at night
blame, because I’m all you see
Lust after me and hate me
call unclean
call me unseen
Your words can tell me that I’m nothing
But I know what you mean:
So cower in fear of me
Cower in fear
Hiss
and spit
and hate
mock
but let me make this clear:
You can doubt me
you can hate me
but you only slow my pace
You know as well as I do
-And you hate it because it’s true-
When you glared, and stared at me, you
Looked the future in the face

Contagious Rhythm

It’s been said that life is a dream
or a stage
but that’s not true

Life is a song
the harmonies are complicated
– sometimes even discordant –
and the words are hard to hear
– whether because the are too soft, or too horrible –
But the rhythm
oh! that rhythm!
That infectious, contagion of a rhythm
The steady bu-Bum bu-Bum bu-Bum
Which seems to spread that virus we call life from one medium to another
Awaking in art
in nature
in philosophy and science and the farthest reaches of time and space
That pulsing beat keeps grabbing my attention
pulling me back to this viral tempo
and reminding me why I sing

The song can be painful
The notes feeling either too low or too high
The tempo raging ether too fast or torturously slow
Sometimes your words get lost in with the rest
Sometimes you can’t hear your own voice
and when you make out your lyrics
or the lyrics of those around you
sometimes you wish to God you hadn’t
so you could continue thinking that the song was always beautiful

Despite all of this
Nothing lasts forever
Your part in the music could be done
Maybe today, tomorrow, or pages and pages away from now
Or maybe that high descant you barely noticed
Will have vanished
and no one else will know the notes for it
Or else the quiet drumming under your feet
will lose timber as the earth shifts
and it’s never quite the same after those drums

Music is ever changing
Ever swelling in mercurial arcs
Crashing like sound waves against the sand
the crescendos and decrescendos will never be the same twice
and what you hear won’t last
whether you loved or hated it

So while you have the opportunity
Right now
before you have all the notes
Before you’ve figured out your harmony line
Before you’re sure if your voice is worthy of the song
or if your fingers are talented enough to play the piece
Before that rhythm fades
Right now
Right now, Jeanne:

Get up
and Dance

Ignorance Is My Bliss

If I had known, when I was younger, the paths life would take

I would have tried to prepare myself

I would have coached myself for all theses failures

I would have tried to avoid the slip-ups and missteps

I would have done a million things differently, and gone a very different place

Saving face

Losing grace

Being prettier, braver, more successful…

Looking at my failure of a life, and all the things I’ve missed, and the fool I have made of me:

I’m glad I didn’t know

Because I wouldn’t change a thing.