Volcanoes Are People Too

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 14:51 -- arij221

You tell yourself again, firmly:

This is not a symbol.

But your hands are shaking again and there’s

An ache in the center of your throat that

Tastes like mottled ash and

Your heart is beating itself against your rib cage,

An unstoppable force and an immovable object:

Which will turn molten first?


You think you hear sirens,

Chasing down the car crash in the syllabic nines

You tried so hard to write down.

You think you should get ready to run away

But there are no maps large enough yet

To run away from yourself,

Perhaps there never will be –

They say the world has no need for more explorers.


You’re shuddering apart on mass transit,

And people are looking at you like you’re

Something dangerous.

That’s when you realize you’re the natural disaster,

You’re the volcano that’s seconds from erupting

And there’s nothing that anybody can do for you,

Not that anybody would.


Because your disaster,

this chaotic dismantling 

Of everything you’ve ever known

Is beneath all of them.

Because none of them will stop and speak to you

Except to remind you to please,

Would you keep your ash from falling into their tea?


This is not a symbol.

You have never been anybody’s first choice.


You think you’re crying now, but you’re not sure.

Your music shuts itself off like a sign

From whatever deity watches over active volcanoes,

A symbol that even you can interpret:

Will you listen to yourself?

You sound insane.

So you pray to a god you’re not sure exists,

But you must get the answering machine

Because you don’t get a voice in your head telling you what to do

or a sudden epiphany from above.


There’s just – not silence ­– there’s just you.


You figure there must be some innocent child out there praying for a pony,

and really, you’re sure God has his priorities.

You have never been anybody’s first choice.


You want to force tea and ash down everyone’s throats just to see but

This is not a symbol.

You are sick of people telling you that

You don’t know suffering.


There are volcanoes everywhere, they say,

waiting to erupt and dormant or not,

you are not special.

You have never been anybody’s first choice.


So here you are,

Writing in second person because you are a volcano

Because your blood pumps molten lava

And your skin is a chilled wine glass

Waiting to fracture.


So here you are,

Writing in second person because it has always

Been too difficult for you to say “I.”



You have never been anybody’s first choice.

This poem is about: 
Our world


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