NPM: The Lie In Which You Linger

I understand why you do it. 

The lie in which you linger

Is a beautiful one,

Delicate like blown glass

And just as fragile.

We all lie to ourselves at times. 

I don’t blame you. 

But gilded cages, no matter how ornate,

How pleasing,

Are still cages. 

And despite how contentedly

You dwell within,

You cannot find freedom in their bars. 

Do not linger too long

And forget what it is to live. 

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NPM: Cold Iron Words

Cold iron words
Black, twisted, and cruel
Writhe in the pits of our stomachs
We spit them out like venom 
And their barbs tear our throats as we force them
Up and out

Slinging them at each other
A heedless spray of bullets
Ripping wounds into our gossamer souls
We let them fly with fear in our eyes
Horrified at what we’ve become
Even in the becoming

NPWM Day 15: Moon

As we drove along the winding, shadowed street

I gazed at the sky, criss-crossed with branches

Flashing by, blurred by speed and motion

And I said I would write a poem

About the moon, hanging like a golden coin in the dark

You didn’t say much, because the thought

Of poems was painful to you

No golden coins could make up for

The price you paid in the reading of poems

I cannot un-write them, cannot un-feel them

You cannot forget them, though you wish otherwise

And the words hang between us

Like a moon in the sky

Like a curtain of rain

Like a frozen memory

And I ended up lying after all

I didn’t write of a golden moon

But of you

NPWM Day 11: Tomorrow is Yesterday

I thought love

would help me not to break

but now I know

that’s my mistake.

I beat myself

against your walls

until I’m battered

close to shattered

I never thought I’d be like this

Said I wouldn’t be this way

But here I am

right in the middle of

who I don’t want to be

Every detail memorized

Played on repeat in my restless mind

Unable to unravel

where I went wrong

again

Always afraid

that tomorrow

will be yesterday

and I’ll never get past it

Never get further

Because tomorrow is yesterday

and I’m defeated before I’ve begun

And yet the sun

will rise, despite me

And I can’t help but

feel a feeble flutter of hope

from this broken-winged bird of a heart

that tomorrow can be different

and so can I

and so can you

 

NPWM Day 7: Silence

I used to love silence.

I used to savor that quiet stillness

because it felt almost holy.

I could be silent on my own

or silent with a friend

and it didn’t bother me.

It was good and full and rich and deep.

It spoke to me of comfort,

of contentment,

of simply being and not striving.

 

But that’s not our silence, is it?

Our silence is dangerous,

a razor edge.

Our silence is filled with

the crushing weight of words

we cannot find.

It presses down on our shoulders

and leaves us staggered.

It sits on our chests until we cannot breathe.

It grips its fist around our throats

and squeezes. Hard.

This is not the sacred silence

of fellowship or solitude.

This is a silent scream

and we are utterly defeated by its noise.

 

I sit here begging you to speak,

knowing you have no words,

knowing I am spent and broken,

and wondering how the hell

to reach you

through the paralyzing silence,

so different from the one

I used to love.

NPWM Day 2: Dynamite

Why is it that

Our conversations

Are laced with dynamite?

And we strike matches with our words

And hope they don’t ignite?

 

What happens to us

In those brittle moments

To make us take up arms

And grit our teeth

And throw ourselves into

A battle we don’t want?

 

And when we retreat,

Bloodied and bruised,

To lick our wounds,

How is it that I turn to you

And look into your eyes

For some reassurance,

Some glint of forgiveness,

Even so soon?

 

And how is it possible

That I find what I’m looking for

There in your gaze,

Nestled amidst the hurt and

hesitation?

How do you keep forgiving,

Keep loving,

Keep needing,

Even as we stand there bleeding?

 

This is our miracle.

This slow lowering of guards,

This tentative trust,

This tenacious hope

That tomorrow we will start again,

And again, and again,

Until we learn that

Words are not weapons

And we are not at odds.

How Does A Heart Break?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it a glass falling to the ground?

A scatter of shards and

the irredeemable sound

of fractures, too many to repair?

Is it sudden, complete?

Is one left standing

in the circle of glittering pieces

staring at the refracted light,

trembling hands empty, and empty inside?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it the slow shifting of a fault-line,

a grinding pressure, a bit at a time?

Does it compress and harden

under all the weight?

Collapse in on itself, until a great

seismic shudder of energy

surges and presses out

and throws everything around

into chaos?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it a stone in a river,

silent and still?

Letting the persistent waters of grief

wash over it, years upon years,

until the river’s tears

have worn away any definition

and it is smooth and unresisting?

Little by little, day by day,

does it give itself away

so there’s nothing left to take anymore?

So it can’t be robbed

by the constant throb

of pain or loss or longing?

 

How does a heart break?

Is it a glass, a quake, a stone?

Does your heart feel these things?

I know only my own.