Beautiful Insanity on a Fire Escape

What is it about a fire escape?
A rusty, old fire escape
attached to a building that has seen many years,
many faces...
What is it about a place to sit
that looks out over a small world...
What is it about feeling small
that takes us into deep thought
and shows us that we are miniatures
in a world of giants
that tower over us,
kissing the sky with such a passion
that won't ever end...

He wonders as he sits
on the edge of his small world,
his thoughts fermenting,
bubbling over,
like the soup on his stove inside.
He hasn't a care-
not in this dimension, at least.
He knows not the date or time,
he doesn't understand why he should.
All he knows
is that it's sunny outside
and the world is his-
this small world, at least.
He smiles because
he can make it whatever he feels like.
His smile is crazy...
and beautiful.

The stories
that slither through his mind
haven't yet shown up on paper.
But he can see them-
oh, there is no doubt in his mind,
he has a story to tell.
In his story,
he is the hero.
He is the only one
who can change the course of action,
but even he, the author,
knows not how his story will end.
Of course,
that's the way he planned it.

He sighs
and sits back against the wall,
his blue eyes searching the sky
or some other world
above his head.
Why such wild thoughts?
Why the never-ending stories?
His mind is so jumbled,
and he lives gladly in it.
He dreams so deeply in sleep
that he questions
even his own reality.
But isn't that
the best kind of mind to have?

They say he's crazy.
They say there's a look in his eyes
that can't be changed.
They underestimate him,
they don't understand him.
But do they ever give themselves
the chance to?
Why does he sit on his fire escape,
alone on a clear day?
He doesn't even understand himself.
But he hopes someday,
someone will.

The rust on the fire escape
cakes his fingers
as he grips down hard on the edge.
The metal is hot-
it scorches his palms
as he casts his eyes down
at the sidewalk.
He always says he hates the heat.
But the heat
makes him think.

Being alone
clears one's head,
eases the heart...
He furrows his brow
and wonders
why, on this fire escape,
he does not escape the fire-
the passion,
the inspiration.
Rather, this is where he finds it.
"Ironic..." he says aloud,
his deep voice startling
a bird perched on the railing
and causing it to fly away,
toward the sun.
He smiles-
and beautiful.

He continues to let the rusty metal
scorch his palms.
After all...
He'd rather feel the fire
than freeze his carefree heart.



I am in the process of transferring to another college and would be so happy to win this scholarship. I wrote this poem last year (at age 19) about one of my friends who lived in New York City with me and is a fellow poet. I chose this poem for the scholarship because I feel that it is one of my best, and shows some of the things that I am very inspired by. Thank you so much for reading!

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