Or Something Like That

I am what I am but 

I’m inspired by what I could be —

the smoldering bit of coal named 

Dissatisfaction that sends my gut 

jumping and jittery towards 

dark precipices of desire,

dangerous as they are infinite. 

A sign reads: “Leap into the abyss 

and find what you want most of all.”


I want to cast off my shameful youth.

I want to shed these second guesses until I 

reach the glossy chrysalis of maturity.

In goes the fragile, powdery wings —

torn at the mere suggestion of strife. 

Out comes the hardened caterpillar,

with legs made for stability and not beauty. 


I want to catalogue each time I bleed 

so that one day I might staunch the flow. 

I bleed mental absence and naivety. 

I bleed nervous-tick nail beds, picked raw. 

I bleed most of all on pristine white panties 

because fate likes to feel a little tempted. 

I prefer bleached sand-dollar to ink-stain tar 

but neither are nice to the touch. 


I want to pull on the threads of my heart 

in search of the one that might unravel

this great and terrible love within me 

that spills into all I touch. Midas’ love. 

More curse than blessing.

I fear that only once my fingernails 

are forever stained with the red of my love 

will I have unpicked every knot. 

And only then will I realize that

the tangled mass was a single string. 


I chase these counterfeit wishes 

with the hopeless hope of one day

digging damp sand from between

my toes rather than jagged glass — 

blessedly succumbing to a bubbling cloud 

of rolling sea foam with no familiar 

trace of burnt hair or acrid sulfur.


Few stand before this great blue expanse 

and find they don’t long for something more. 

This poem is about: 


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