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Fragments

every fragment of me.
every shard of broken glass.

the pools of
misleading words.

small cuts. bruises
of empty color.

here. is. me

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battles

i will save my energy
for the battles i can win
or the battles,
that even if i lose,
i can still make
a difference.

battle for the
forgotten and the fearful.
for the tired and
the downtrodden.
battle for those who
have less than you.

stand should to shoulder,
be someone’s anchor
in the storm.
hold each other up
so we know we are
not alone.

okay

i have to be okay
i have to be okay
i have to be okay
i have to be okay
i have to be okay
i have to be okay
i have to be okay

(i am not okay)

essential

yesterday,
we were essential.

it was essential
that we came to work
sick because they were
understaffed.

essential meant missing
our child’s game
to work that extra shift,
or knowing someone else
was putting our child to bed.

giving thanks
for the microwave dinner
we ate before opening the store
for massive crowds, or
sitting alone in a dark room,
watching the Christmas lights twinkle.

now we wonder how long a meager
savings account will last.
the bills pile up as we teach
our child the math we never understood
in the first place.

cutting apart precious clothing
to make masks to keep us safe.
watching worship services on
bandwidth that is too slow.
the future a blank wall
in front of us.

tomorrow we will be essential again.

so why aren’t we essential today?


kisses

it comes in time.
a thousand kisses
on forbidden lips.

you waste away
where in silence
you are laid to rest.

one who,
if death were the end,
could not be saved.

edges

the souls of those
i have touched
with my broken heart–

the sharp edges
now help
keep them away.

darkness

there is a gentle breeze
rustling the branches
of the trees
just a few feet
from where
i am sitting.

the sun is setting
over the river,
begging me
to join in the
darkness to come.
my feet burn to follow.

whispers

inside i am
screaming—

but all the
world hears
are the
sweet nothings
whispered
in the moonlight.

wanting

you are here today
without a word either way
and gone tomorrow.
i cry out, here alone,
tears fall.

everything is lost —

except that nagging feeling
of wanting something
that isn’t real.

turn

turn.
just once. turn.
smile at me.
so that i may
know that i
was loved
at least once
in this lifetime.
just once. as the
fiery gates close
behind me, god,
let me see that
not all was lost.

time

you have time enough
to love yourself
after you have
given up
on loving them.
but you can’t
keep the world out.

it’s always there,
like a dirty needle
in your vein.

tears

if you are a woman
and you say something
bothers you,
no one will take
you seriously
until those tears begin to fall.

they are currency—
and i am bankrupt.

stains

my heart bleeds
like ink through
a stained piece of paper.

if you look
close enough,
you can see
the memories
i’ve desperately
tried to erase.

spark

there is a spark,
sitting right behind your heart.
it might dim a little
here and there.
tarnish and have
a scratch or two.

in its shadow,
hoping to be forgotten,
are all the mistakes,
the missteps, and
misfortunes of a heart
that loved without limit.

its light shines
when life goes dark.
lights a path
through the storm.
gives hope when
all feels lost.

we can lose sight of it,
misplace it or
try to snuff it out,
but it’s always there.
don’t hate that spark.
that’s the real you.

pieces

words cause pain.
blinding rage.
words that tear
out your heart.
pieces that come
back to you with
grass stains
and broken stitches.
pieces that are never
put back together.

he smiles and
does not understand.

phoenix

let it all go.
let it all shatter.
let all the pieces
of the person you used to be
fall to the floor
and turn to ash.

now rise and
set the world on fire

pages

why can’t i ever say
what i’m thinking
to the people closest to me?

everything just
—trapped—
in here.

all my words written
on pages
they never see.

mercy

i need
somewhere to waste away,
a rainy day.

i need
to wash away my pain,
this rainy day

i am
blurred, distorted, surreal,
my grief.

i turn
without a backward glance,
mercy passes by.

i try
to disguise the truth inside,
all my pain.

life

beauty is
the sparkle in your eye
after you’ve told a dirty joke.

joy is
cleaning up the mud you tracked in
after dancing in the rain.

peace is
curling up under a
blanket fort in the living room.

wellness is
enjoying the last spoonful
of mint chocolate chip.

life is
the unexpected, the messy,
the rain, and the sparkles.

chains

i scream away my pain,
crying for the lost little girl
hiding inside of me.

knees drawn up, head tucked down,
small fingers pulling at little curls.
ribbons choking.

begging. screaming.
wrapped in chains.
held within the darkness.

searching for the spark
that can set her free—
finding only a void.

reflection

it was the same routine
every night —
walk the halls.
check the stacks.
turn out the lights.

when the last door
was locked
she saw her tired smile
in the glass.

this night,
her smile was too bright
and her eyes crinkled
where they shouldn’t.

the reflection wasn’t hers.

breaking

i sit here alone
in gray shadows.
i cry these tears.
no one knows.
the pain is
breaking me.
letting out my
desperate cries.