manifesto

don’t tell me it doesn’t matter
if this person understands me.

as a poet, all my writing
is a constant attempt at
self-defense before the
uncaring judges of eternity,
I’m always arguing my case
in Anubis’s eternal court –
THIS is why
I am the way I am
this is why
I did that thing I did –
I do this even
(maybe especially)
when
the only person I’m trying
to convince
is myself.

so this is why
I did the most recent thing I did:
there was a little girl
whose father left
when she was seven years old.

she didn’t understand
why
she didn’t understand
that her mother did
the best she could
in an impossible situation.

she was told
her father loved her
but still he left.

her mother smothered her
and told her lies
about her nature, trained her
to abuse, invaded her sovereignty
so that she had no space
to be herself.

is it any wonder
she grew up thinking
the ones who really care
are the ones that
walk away? and the
ones that stay
can’t be trusted?

is it any wonder that
she doesn’t know how
to take care of herself?
she only has two models:
never there, or always.
so she ricochets between
extremes, craving togetherness
until it gets to be too much,
and then needing more space
than exists in the entire
universe.

weigh my heart
against your feather, and see
which one comes up
guilty.

waxing

I can feel the madness
coming on:

it creeps
like beetles in my
blood it cranks up
my brain higher and
higher it makes me
so high that I don’t
want to sleep
even though
my bones are weary
rest has to sneak up
on me and knock me
out I wake up
too soon
by midnight
I’m off again
the leash on my
thoughts gets longer
I can shoot my mind into
the stratosphere
with ease
even as the cells
of my body get
more electric
I am full of moonlight
but down below
lurks darkness waiting
to hold me in its
slow death embrace.

I’ll dance as long as
these red shoes
hold up.

punching bag

I’m sorry
about last night. my
soul was eating itself
alive, my mind
turning inside out
like a coat,
fears and rage, guilt and sadness
chasing their tails
in circles and
my art needed fuel – I had
to get some feelings out,
it felt like dying –
so I rifled through my
pockets, found an old wound,
a small frustration
hidden deep
inside my heart,
left over from those
olden times when I
carried a sad torch
that was never needed
or wanted, and I
used the feelings, coupled
with the memory, to light
a bitter bonfire
to burn off the excess
pain.

the things
that weigh upon me
the most are the ones
I fear so much
I cannot write a word. so
when a safer outlet
presented itself,
I took it. I see now how
it was a coward’s move.

next time I’ll try harder
to find a way to let
the real demons out.
or at least
find a better target.

ingenious

I’m laying down
my arms. I suppose
I must admit that
I’m not entirely
free of fault here.

I could have retired
from the field gracefully
when it became apparent
that I had picked up
the wrong kerchief. to fight
so fiercely for the favor
of someone whose eyes
and heart were elsewhere
was my own pointless
misadventure.

sometimes a windmill
is just a windmill. the
Fair Dulcinea is not really
a ragged peasant girl under a spell
that requires me to give myself
three thousand lashes
to break it, she’s just
otherwise occupied.

burn all my books
of chivalry, then
and let me swear off this madness
for a year. we’ll see
if I still want to pick up a lance –
or a Lance – when my blood
has cooled.