Category: Poems


Suddenly Alone

Legs stagger

Steel stilts that merely act as legs

I ponder, “When did I get this tall?”

 

I reach my destination

do business

flush toilet

go to sink

wash hands

look into mirror…

 

With water still running

With hands soaped

With eyes wide open

I ask him who he is

 

We meet at the mirror and I glare

Faces nearly touching

Flaws glow:

Bumps, dryness, unnatural facial hair

I recoil in shock as I unmistakably hear,

 

“You’re so handsome!”

“You have a girlfriend, don’t you?”

“What would it be like to be you –“

 

Burning with rage I stop him

with a sharp stab of my finger

 

You want to be

This?

You’ve forgotten this face was

Bright, shining and smiling day by day,

Emanating joy and innocence

We could hold like a

Sphere of pure, white light

In the palm of our hands

 

What would it be like to

Be me now, you say?

 

I jerk away

Slam the door, and find

Tears falling from my eyes

 

Leaving

Him alone

Unchanged, forever

Reflecting the face of

Betrayal by his

Only trusted friend.

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(Art by Brent Lynch)

 

He almost takes a sip when He hears

Her order. Skeptical of Her class, He

peers at Her, only to be caught by Her

lush glow. She has already made the

 

first move. One point for Her. He

breaks this trance to make the next.

Confidence seeps through His cigar.

He lights it with a crisp, and draws

 

Her gaze to His. One point for Him.

The bartender interrupts their game

and hands Her a martini. The smooth,

silk garment slides down Her arm,

 

shoulder to wrist, like a river effortlessly

flows across ground. He is pulled. Two

points for Her. But somehow His body

resists and anchors itself to His own

 

glistening drink. The bartender fades,

along with the sound of polishing wine

glasses, and a silent chasm forms

between them. They wait–

 

He smokes his cigar to fill Himself

with what pride remains, but it

vanishes like the smoke He exhales

into the dying air. He looks at Her

and sees a goddess giving life to His

 

heart. He sets down His cigar. He pries

His hand from the martini. He takes

the first step into the space between.

 

(Hate) Me

Breathing turns to fiendish growls.

Shoulders hunch and my back rises

A despicable creature.

 

I scan the endless forest

Surrounding me to ensure solitude.

A sweet breeze attempts to help,

But uninvited, is instead

Received by moaning trees.

 

Impatient eyes fall on the path

My journey into darkness continues.

A ferocious cry explodes from my chest

Like that of a beast in captivity,

Frantically demanding release.

 

My face becomes distorted as this

Ominous presence

Materializes from within.

Hideous, I think,

Unlike anything I could imagine

And at this realization, I stop.

 

My heart beating rapidly.

This thing inside me,

Seeming to have come

From darkness itself.

 

Unless

 

It has always been a part of me.

Dormant like a dog

Performing the only trick he was taught–

To play dead–

Since he was born.

I’m safe because of his rules. I tip-toe

into his room at night and gaze at his

trophies, sparkling like crystals, sleeping snug

in the warmth of a lamp. I reach for one

and wrap my arms around it, rocking it

gently side-to-side, talking to it like

daddy always does. But then his shadow

looms over me. My body freezes. I

turn, but don’t see daddy’s Hollywood smile.

 

Sometimes daddy cares too much. Spanking hurts

him more. My own Hollywood smile appears

as I look at the hot bruises left by

my fault, and realize how much he loves

such a terrible, bad boy like me.

A Step Into Space


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The man almost takes a sip

when he notices the bartender

offering the same drink to the

woman on his right. He peers

 

over to determine her worthiness

in making such a request, and is

caught by the lush glow emanating

from the woman. The man slyly

 

examines her, while holding a cigar

firmly between his relaxed, calling

hand. As expected, the woman is

gravitated towards his irresistible

 

gaze. Only experts can play this game

with this subtlety. But she does not

easily surrender. The smooth, silk

garment slides down from her arm

to her wrist, as if on its own. The

 

man is pulled, but his body remains

anchored to the pride in the glass

he is holding, the kindle to his own

glow. The bartender soon fades,

 

along with the sound of polishing

wine glasses. All sound drowns out,

and a silent chasm forms between

them. And they wait for each other.

 

He inhales and exhales from his cigar

and slowly sets it down on the table.

The man looks again at the woman,

Now staring straight into his eyes, his

 

heart, and is given strength to pry his

left hand from his source of security.

He takes a step into the space between

them, beginning the merging of a fully

 

complete, vibrant world.

 

 

-Art by Brent Lynch

Immigrant Dad

My father, surely a wonderful man

So dedicated, I’m reminded, when

He tells me he came to the States for me

At the cost of his bright future career.

So warm-hearted, he says he loves me each

Time I kiss him good-night, tucked nice in bed.

So loving, a soft smile appears when I

Look at him, and he asks me if I want

To eat gourmet dinners, until the day

I asked, “What are we doing today, dad?”

 

The ends of his familiar round smile

Drop to reveal an empty plateau that

Crack open to release fury which seeps

As I question in fear, “Who is this man?”

Stopped

Shards of shattered glass

Suspend all around me.

It’s cold, dark.

A hot throbbing on my head, my body

Crimson red flows up with me,

But no pain

I’m flying.

Vision blurs into black

The sound of screeching wheels

Fall away into far distance

As I imagine the

New life that is approaching.

 

Time has completely,

Stopped.

 

But then peace is

Interrupted by an

Excruciating scream for rescue that

Resounds inside my chest.

My heart is tearing everything apart,

Vigorously pounding

To send me a message.

Silence becomes a hollow echo, and

I, too, find myself trying to escape

Eyes flickering in desperation

 

Fear floods my mind.

Finally it reaches my ear:

You’re going to die.

Bathroom Powers

Legs stagger

Steel stilts that merely act as legs.

I ponder, “When did I get this tall?”

 

Without notice I reach my destination,

do business

flush toilet

go to sink

wash hands

look into mirror…

 

 

Then nothing.

 

 

With water still running,

With hands still soaped,

With sincere disbelief

I ask, “Who is this guy?”

 

I meet him at the mirror and glare

Faces nearly touching

at an almost microscopic level

His flaws glow:

Bumps, dryness, unnatural facial hair,

I recoil in shock.

 

“You’re so handsome!”

“You have a girlfriend, don’t you?”

“I wish I could be as gifted as you.”

“Why are you so smart?”

“What would it be like to be you –“

 

You want to be

This?

This face used to be

bright, round, smiling all day,

Emanating joy and innocence

that I could hold like a

sphere of pure, white light

in the palm of my hand.

 

What would it be like to be me, you say?

 

I jerk my face from the reflection,

and head out the door.

If only you looked as close as I did,

You would see

an imperfection

Beyond all that I’ve told you.

My Mother

She showers me with her love,

kissing me on the cheeks,

asking what I want to eat,

asking how I’ve been

for the past few months.

But why can I not return

This wonderful gift,

Instead tossing her image to the side,

To the blindness of my eye?

Although I cannot see it,

I know

That on her face is the same

Unbearably bright smile

More genuine than goodness itself.

(Hate) Me

A blinding screech

Escapes my lungs

As I walk

In darkness.

 

Breathing turns to fiendish growls.

Shoulders hunch and my back rises

A despicable creature.

 

Just before surrender

I scan the area to ensure solitude.

Impatient eyes fall on the path

And another ferocious cry explodes from my chest

Like that of a beast in captivity,

Frantically demanding release.

 

My face becomes distorted as this

Ominous presence

Materializes from within.

Hideous, I think,

Unlike anything I could imagine.

And at this realization,

I stop.

 

My heart beating rapidly.

This thing inside me,

Seeming to have come

From darkness itself.

 

Unless it has always been a part of me.

Dormant like a dog,

Performing the only trick he was taught –

To play dead –

Since he was born.