can i force it if i need it? or am i held hostage by my own heart?
i think about this a lot sitting on the stone, empty floor of a cage i don’t remember entering. there’s this voice, rattling around inside my head, bouncing off the walls.
i keep thinking it’s you. i guess i’m wrong.
i used to believe i could find the key to let myself out. if only i fought hard enough, kept my head down, paid my dues.
i used to believe in a lot of things. a lot of people.
i used to look in the mirror and see hope. i didn’t notice the hard, shiny collar, slicing into my oxygen supply. do i hold the leash? does anyone? or am i hallucinating, crumpled in the corner on the bathroom floor, trying to soak up the cold from the tiles like it’ll cure all my ills? i don’t know anymore.
i’m knocking on my ribs, calling out for help, “can you hear me?” i guess not. maybe my heart decided it would hurt less if i didn’t feel as much. you can’t break what you can’t find, right? boy was that fairy tale wrong.
i am a broken mask, crumpled and muddied by others’ boots. i am a forgotten newspaper ad, empty rooms never viewed. i am the only cry you cannot hear in the dead of night. a howl so lonely you’d almost prefer fear.
because nothing hurts more nothing soothes less than lonely love letters from death.
who else lives daily with the feeling of defeat? if your heart is heavy, come sit it at my feet. I understand you, I know you all too well, tell me when life broke you, how hard you fell.
you can find solace, here with me I promise to truly hear you, to really see. I know this world is ugly, believe you me sometimes all we do is ache, exist, be.
you don’t have to smile for me, no pretending I know how much energy you’re expending. every day, just trying to smile, keep it all together fearing a breakdown under the weight of one last feather.
but here it is quiet and here you are free here you can lay your burden down with me. we can sit safely together in the darkness of life and you can spill all your secrets, your shame, your strife.
we’ll stare at the sky until something beautiful shines even as our light, our fire, sputters and whines. I know you have merit, sometimes you have joy and I know this world treats your heart like a toy.
come sit with me, and take a moment to breathe remove your mask, this fake, suffocating sleeve. unzip your skin, for what we need is each other so come with me this night so we can make it through another.
And every time I wake up, look in the mirror, take a breath, the hinges around my tear ducts start to break. Someone keeps crying at night, leaving breadcrumbs from within my soul. There are demons and memories and pains eating them before I can see.
There’s a voice farther down that path, you’ll hear.
Yeah You’ve heard.
It coils about your ankles, holding you in place. The silly putty of your heart jumps to please it’s palms. Betraying any nonsense your mind or soul offer. They hide then, small and childlike, alone and bleeding, in the recesses, far behind the grove of trees you used to play within. No more sunrises. Sunsets. Instead you cower within the confines of your castles, diamonds. Porcelain masks that keep the chains at your throat from noticement.
It’s an empty promise, that path, you know.
Yeah You know.
All the petty words, empty shells, carcasses ripped out and left to dry in the noonday sun. Don’t worry. The tide will come in, wash away all the signs, all the proof. Wash away their footprints, but their words never leave the space in between bruises on your back. Pockets filled with safe numbers, tongues lashing at your drop in armor, accidental glimpse behind the paper mache curtain. Mustn’t let them know. You’re human. Your banquet room filled to the brim with their laughter and guests who watch you when you head to your room. Lock the door. (Sometimes that doesn’t help though, does it. The cracks in the walls of your spine let them in just the same.)
You didn’t choose this path, I know.
Someone picked you up, Sat you down, Pointed. Slid their fingers inside your brain and switched it off. Gouged your eyes out and clicked ‘play’.
Did you notice? Those weren’t fingers. They were claws. Leaking with the blood of another.
Do you want to know a secret? There’s a fork in the road. Crossroads inside the darkness.
A pair of scissors, lying on the ground below. Pick it up. Cut the strings. And then you’ll know.
You left the breadcrumbs, a maddened wild thing inside your chest. All that time kneeling, taking the knife, only made a monster of your heart. They didn’t think about that. How fragile a child. How horrific, how unstoppable a monster. And you know all their shadow puppets. All their truths. You are the keeper of secrets when you’re weak. But when you wake. When you wake, hands dirty with the yeast of your memories, demons, and pains on your side, when the silly putty is long dead and dried, when the voice is booming inside your chest louder and louder than theirs about your feet, when the need for a sunset is greater than their diamonds, your hands become stronger than their chains.
You are welcome, then, wild creature, to breathe through your own lungs. Off their path and into the forest, find yourself. Then Then come find us. The wild souls, broken and rebuilt by the master’s hands. Our own.
Sunken into the fresh fallen cold, it cannot touch the soles of my feet, though they’ve been swallowed by now. Snowflakes dust eyelashes, a sullen caress in the barren of night. Every breath is a knife down my throat, a bite to my skin. But you touch me.
In this void, in this valley, no sounds to bring me back. The rushing of blood inside a body I can’t quite feel. Only slices of agony down my naked arms, my toe tag going numb at this point.
Forest hedging me in, looming in self-righteous magnitude, the only movement in this wasteland. Leaves dusted with crimson, everything smells of copper.
I can’t stay here or winter will take me, with its blue lips and frozen tears, sliding tendrils of false-heat inside, threading its fingers through my rib cage until the frost of rage ignites within an empty concert hall.
Moonlight slips through vast limbs, reaching for the heavens with scent of pine and flaking leaves. They cannot block her sway. But I cannot feel her. Only the cold touches me.
I am carved of the most sincere marble. I am stonework left from eons before, deserted by hands no one remembers. I am time worn and raw with pink, exposed newborn flesh. I am the decay intertwined within the rubble of war-ravaged homes. I am the empty pyre, filled to the brim with ashes of souls who knew better but could not outrun their own hearts. I am the first breath in the silence of night, soaked in salt and blood, a cry of conquering that never left fingertips. I am the empty bonfire, skulls stacked high in the center. I am the empty bed with a note carved in tears. I am the swelling within your chest when your eyes smile back at me.
I stand alone. Snow falling heavy in the dark cover of unknown. I am here. With empty hands and a swelling need. I am.