Voices

That nagging voice is back again
telling me to pluck my brainstem
like a freshly picked dandelion

It’s been a few days, maybe weeks of it —
I can’t really tell, it always starts quiet
more like a polite suggestion
than the boorish demands made later

I’m exhausted from it, eyes blurry
as the voice presses my occipital lobe
threatening cortical blindness

Sunny days dwindle to dreary dark
to the point where I don’t know
where I am or where I’ve been

There’s no desire for a permanent solution
to a temporary problem, but man
am I sick of this all

I’d sleep more
if not for the nagging voice
keeping me up at night

But I will not give up my light
until it’s meant to go out
years from now when the wick
is old, tired, and full of stories

I will not give in to its pleas or trickery
of “peaceful” premature sleep that leaves
behind loved ones and unfinished business

To that nagging voice’s demands:
I refuse
I refuse
I refuse

Acrophobia

As I watch a black bird
fly to the top of a tree
I can’t help but wonder:
can birds be afraid of heights?

If so, do they get teased,
given nicknames like “kiwi”
and always being hit with seeds
from other bird bullies in high up trees?

What’s real estate like for them?
Do they have to pass up penthouses
for not so bougie bungalows
in the marshes with frogs and mosquitoes
as their not-so-conventional neighbors?

Are family gatherings a nightmare
spent trying to hold it together
hundreds of feet on a small tree branch
as in-laws talk about their new pet flea?

And do they even want to overcome their fear,
or have they become content with their life
preferring to live outside of the nestbox
close to ground?

I mull through this and the bird squawks
as it soars away to its next stop
reminding me to quit overthinking
and walk home

I Know How Lucky I Am

Hearing that song I’m brought back to that bed
where you’d been whittling wood

making an elephant if I remember right

At that time

over half a decade’s moons passed
to be precisely particular

I was falling in love
not realizing how the song
would come to bring chills of finger tips to my body
touching me and my space without my permission

But that song doesn’t touch me the same way anymore
much like how your violent gestures have stopped long ago
leaving me in an empty room that I’ve come to fill
with framed photographs and objects of love in action

From People I’ve regrettably hurt along the way
waiting for them to lose their patience with me
in some sick self-fulfilling prophecy

I know now that, after what you did to me,
I wasn’t always the easiest person to love
with my scared silence and irrational fears of being yelled at

or worse

always testing the boundaries to see if this person was just
going to be like the monster you were

But everyday I learn more about myself
and I Know How Lucky I Am
to know you wouldn’t even recognize me today
and I’m so glad

you’ll never know anything about me anymore

Writed Lefts

Righting wrongs
is hard when words dry up
when things go

down south

to mass graves of San Fernando

When I’d prefer to think
my actions are left justified

But

I know that’s not true —
I know I’ve overreacted.
After time, guilt becomes
a comfortable uncomfortability

A fine balancing act of managing
a stack of plates
wobbling unevenly in the center of my stomach
on a bowling ball of shame

I wish I could stop and stare at the plates
only getting to briefly look at passing images
of mazes, negatives, and a red prius among other things
before stacking them onto an ever-growing pile

But

in control of it all
is that damned bowling ball in the shape
of a person’s head with hair dyed crimson
and jagged fangs that sunk in

leaving scars in my teens

deep in my amygdala

from a slinking snake

an immortal hydra
no matter how many
heads I cut off

It couldn’t be beat

until I learned,
like the computer in WarGames,
that “the only winning move is not to play”

But

I sit in a garden of snakes
offspring of the hydra
mortal, but ever-resurfacing

And I know

It’s time to grow up and leave
this garden of garter snakes
waiting for the next one to bite
so I can draw attention to a preventable pain

I intend to leave this yard today
and turn it into a research site
only meant to teach me a life lesson
and never to hurt me
or anyone else again


Nature

cattails cut through ice
in a half-frozen marsh
hidden from the wind

the sun warms my face
as birds lay down beats
for nature’s latest
lo-fi hip hop track

it’s been a quiet winter
as Nature worked in secrecy
no tweets announcing its drop
until it’s released midday
to no fanfare

it’s simply simple simplicity sounds
like their very first album complete
with that signatory Natural hook
of rumbling animal sounds

it’s nothing new, that’s for sure
but you know me;
I’m a sucker for
simple sweets

On Breaking Hearts

As I sit here, questioning my M.O.
I add another heart, broken
I think “How can I change this reckless soul?”
staring at this container, left open

I add another heart, broken
losing track of my count
staring at this container, left open
how could it get to this amount?

Losing track of my count
the pain I’ve caused that can’t be undone
how could I get to this amount
I never meant to hurt anyone

The pain I’ve caused that can’t be undone
why does this keep happening?
I never meant to hurt anyone
to start this cycle, unending

Why does this keep happening?
Am I just a shitty person?
Can I stop this cycle, unending?
or will my past be too great a burden?

But I’m not a shitty person
I’ve just hid from past hardships
but I’ll no longer be a burden
I’ll rip off these old bandages

I’ve just hid from past hardships
of an armed robbery and loving abuser
it’s time to rip off these old bandages
and finally heal this wound with sutures

Of an armed robbery and loving abuser
I will confront and conquer
and finally heal this wound with sutures
turning from victim to victor

I will confront and conquer
and change this reckless soul
I’ll turn myself from victim to victor
and slowly change my M.O.

Loneliness

As I stand in my room,
watching a pool of loneliness
drift through my blinds
like poison gas,
I think:

Researchers say
the perception
of loneliness can kill;
it’s like smoking
fifteen cigarettes a day

I think how rude it can be
sneaking through quiet pleasantness
like the sound of neighbors talking
in thinly-walled apartment complexes

Turning solitude
into solitary confinement,
introspection to isolation,
wonder to withdrawal,
self-loving to self-loathing.

I feel it envelope me
with cold hands
of an abusive lover

It lies to me, saying
I need no one else
before throwing me
onto a poorly-made bed
filled with salt and ice

And as I lie here,
numbness spreading,
I think how

I’ll share my stories,
my fears and worries,
my strange peculiarities,
my unique idiosyncrasies,

And end the cycle
of false loneliness

Elevators

My emotions function
like a faulty elevator
with mislabeled buttons

Most times the buttons
screech upwards to anger
a peregrine falcon seizing
an insignificant insect

It’s common, or so I’m told;
most broken elevator
default to this

Some days they miss
by a few floors
the button for ecstasy
going to a small chuckle
or deep sobs of sorrow
to a single sniffle

on the worst days
the buttons fail
leaving me stranded
In a painfully silent
box


Planes

Walking back home
on a cold winter’s night
I look up at the sky
as a lone plane blinks by

I become a kid again
in my parent’s front yard
watching that jet soar by
beating the speed of sound

I look down to a yard
filled with flickering fireflies
casting a beautiful cascade
of light over fallen leaves

I listen to the crackling wood
as the final flecks of fire
flick off the bonfire
before my parents call me in
for the end of a perfect fall night

I hear a crunch of snow
crinkling like lettuce leaves
crispy under my feet
I’m brought back to the present

my head snaps down
to the road to my apartment
a path lit by dim street lamps
highlighting the occasional
broken booze bottles in gutters

I hear the whoosh of cars
on this street with no sidewalk,
wind whipping through my hair

And I look up one more time
at that night sky, now empty
waiting for the next plane to fly

Just Drive

Today the thoughts run rampant through my head
they’re naughty children with nothing to do
until I decide to take them on a road trip

The drive’s surprisingly quiet and uneventful
as they sit in the backseat with headphones
moody music flowing through their ears
only acting up when I slow down
to park at our destination

As my thoughts and I hop out of the car
I study a deserted landscape of frozen sand
while they run off to play hide and seek,
leaving me with the sound of my heart

I observe a distant power plant
minuscule and insignificant
its smokestacks exuding exhaust
over nature’s beach of ice

And I feel my eyes well up
As I watch the steam drift
lazily towards the sun
before fading away
into soundless
nonexistence