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System

I used to wander
aimlessly.
But not anymore.

I, for a time,
focused on rejection.
No longer.

I once built foundations
based on flimsy plans.
Never again.

Who the fuck are you
that I allowed myself to cry
even a single tear
over those feelings unreturned?

Who the fuck is she
that I wasted hours of my life
beating a dead horse
with the hope it would gallop?

And who the fuck is he
that I should be compelled to give in
to childish jealousy
when I’m happy, so perfectly content?

I used to wander aimlessly.
Now I realize
my purpose.

I, for a time, focused on rejection.
Now I notice and appreciate
all of the acceptance surrounding me.

I once built foundations based on flimsy plans.
Now I look to the heavens,
knowing I can’t do it by myself.

Who the fuck are you?
Who the fuck is she?
Who the fuck is he?

I am what I’ve been influenced by.
But much more than that,
I am a complex system defined by
decisions, words, actions.

Who the fuck are you?

Milestone

I don’t know if it has ever been said
that a poet’s first thousand poems are garbage,
but if it has, then I’m happy to have crossed that threshold,
to have finally climbed the hill and appreciated the view,
exchanging the colored pencil of juvenilia
for the fountain pen of a respectable writer.

From this day forward my poetry
will no longer be tempted to cry over spilled milk,
won’t be a cup brimming with the tears of my youth,
or a cloud gorged with rain, for that matter.

Gone will be the tired clich├ęs and uninspired lines
that were born simply out of a rush to do something else.
And melting are the icy words resting in my palm,
leaving a refreshing drink for us to enjoy beneath the sun.

Instead the poems will have a polished look about them,
as if they’ve perhaps just graduated from university
with a degree in creative writing, having paid no mind
to the advice of others to major in business or law.

Their names will be more like clues than answers,
and even when pressed they’ll keep a secret
for longer than five minutes, politely requesting
your presence at their condo some evening
for lively conversation over wine and cheese.

Yes, tomorrow I’ll wake up to find I’ve lost
all desire to jot down my thoughts and call it good.
Tomorrow I’ll approach that dark, narrow tunnel,
with flashlight in hand, and begin to crawl toward
the afterlife, both physically and metaphorically.

I haunt these drafty halls each night,
creeping through pockets of time.
It might be wrong, it might be right,
but I always end in fragile rhyme.

Stacked Odds

blank cards
lost in “the shuffle”
stacked deck

Feels Like Home

Raindrops land in steady rhythm
on the windshield of my motionless car
resting in the narrow driveway,

the heater vents warming my pale hands
as I wait for the soft vibration
of my phone to announce your call

and the voice I haven’t heard in years,
the one that feels like home,

that doesn’t utter any judgement,
but overflows with the sincerest of kindnesses.

Jewel

When I’m feeling low,
my face pressed in the dirt,
you faithfully appear
and remind me of my worth.

Without your love
where would I shine?
You take my hand
and place me in the sky.

You’re my stable rock,
my jewel amongst the muck.
It’s amazing to realize
I’ve been met with such luck.

Drink in the stage lights.
The mic is turned up loud.
Feel the beat of the drum.
Hear the noise of the crowd.

The words land like punches.
I feel their weight in tons.
They contain heavy truths
beneath the jokes and the puns.

There’s a feeling of flying
before it all crashes down,
but we’re not afraid of dying,
only losing our crown.

So if you’re listening,
throw your hands in the sky.
Kindle a little flame
when the notes become dry.

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