lifeline

I’m sorry. I saw the drowning
look in your eyes – the one
I know so well from
the inside out, the one that says
everyone thinks everything
is fine but it’s not okay, I’m
not okay
– and didn’t throw
you a lifeline. I know
how it feels to be the only one
in the room who’s holding
on to a grudge because it’s
been with you so long it feels
like a part of you, so that to
let it go would mean losing
something of your identity,
even though everyone else thinks
you’re punishing the person
for old dead deeds and why
can’t you just get over it
already. you can’t. you’re
not ready. you might not
ever be ready. and he doesn’t
deserve your forgiveness.

you warm yourself
by the fire of your hatred.
I know.

the Lion

I’m at 125th street, waiting. in an
exhausted daze, took
the wrong train
again. story
of my life. next to me
a woman clutches a pamphlet
with a crudely drawn cartoon
of a lion on it.

“There’s a Lion
looking for you,” it reads.
it’s just some creepy
Xtian tract, but the phrase
haunts me. I’m reminded of
the Tarot card for Strength,
and of Narnia.

where’s my Lion? has he
found me yet? will
he eat me already, and free me
from this hell of my own
making? or am I already
inside his belly – is that why
everything feels so very
dark?

Continue reading the Lion

telepathy

“what are you thinking?” my mother
used to ask me, whenever
we were alone and I was quiet
for more than ten minutes. I can
never remember now what I
actually was thinking, because
as soon as she said it, my mind
always went blank, wiped clean
like a blackboard, like a kill switch
on a computer, erasing all
the data instantly, just
so I could say “nothing”
and have it be true
in that moment, so that
part of me could believe it,
because that’s the only way
people with glass faces
can tell lies.

Continue reading telepathy

bonsai

twisted, constricted
bent every which way, but
still striving towards the light.
I’ve been sadly warped by you, mama,
and never learned how
to straighten up and grow right.

what does sunlight look like
when it’s not filtered through glass?
what does love look like
when it’s not strained through an agenda?

trained and pruned,
grafted and transplanted
all that artifice and care
just to make me look like
everyone else.

the wires mustn’t show.
don’t look at the gardener
behind the curtain.
you wouldn’t like what you see.

miniaturized. my need for growth
was used against me.
no matter how hard I tried,
I couldn’t expand beyond
the hard limits
imposed by the tiny pot.
if left alone, I would have sprawled
over ten times that surface area,
run rampant, kudzu-like,
over all your proprieties.

the pathos of things
like trees tortured to stay tiny
but look like their normal size parents.
if this is what your empathy looks like,
spare me.
I’d rather have been raised by wolves
than oppressed by your idea of civilization.