In Sickness & In Shame

Usually when I feel sick
I want to be kind to myself
that strange illness gentleness
that I am compelled to offer

But this time is so different
I've never felt more deserving
of discomfort and disease
no self-love will assuage this

Crumbling under the cruel hand
of a justice that came too swiftly
suffocating weight of monstrous guilt
painfully pressing me into dust

Already too late for last minute redemption
succumbing in silence to what's only fair
the body's mutiny against insufferable selfishness
unable to look away from what I've done

I’m Not a Good Person

I'm not a good person
there, now I've said it first
as if this self-awareness will shield me
and your agreement won't feel worse

I'm not a good person
I hide behind my fear
as if anxiety absolves me
from hurting everyone I'm near

I'm not a good person
I've never claimed otherwise
as if an acknowledgement of poor character
somehow makes me look better in your eyes

I'm not a good person
there's nothing I can do
as if a weak constitution
can protect me from the truth

I'm not a good person
I wish someone else would help me
as if an external force of energy
could change the way I choose to be

I'm not a good person
and a really do apologize
as if feeling bad about my actions
eased the pain of all my lies

Corrosive Ocean

Morning light illuminates shame
picking up half-dead carrion debris
carcasses and ribcages cracked open
leftovers from one more night of
feeding the wrong, wretched wolf

Spiting pestilence with twisted tongue
poison projectiles, tiny fragments of 
casual torture hurled forth to reveal
the contorted storm within that
chokes as it choreographs cruelty

Pleading with indifferent sirens
to still and silence the sea inside
or to at least tie my hands and feet
and take away my vindictive voice
so I alone may suffer the tides


Comparison is the thief of joy
and my wealth has all slipped away
through the heavy sieve of envy

The swelling warmth of gratitude
has given way to the sweltering heat
of sharp, gnawing jealousy

My eyes keep straining toward empty places
between vast, unobserved abundance
fixated on the violent feeling of unfairness

Cinder blocks of bitter energy build walls
to block my view of countless blessings
souring my simple share of happiness

Unable to stop magnifying this self-induced, unnecessary suffering
while being simultaneously smothered by the shame
of being unsatisfied when I have so much

Oath of Silence

A silent prayer for quiet
is drown out by detestable drivel
this out of body experience of being unable
to stop myself from speaking is unbearable

Double voice of internal tongue-lashing
while arrogant assertions and petty comments
continue to spill from cracking, spiteful lips
in the moment it doesn't feel like a choice

Conversations contaminated with dread
presenting myself as someone I don't want to be
the sickening shame of perpetually poisoning
others' perceptions of me

The reoccurring oath of silence never seems to matter
when my mouth falls open again against my will
how have I still not learned how to bite my tongue
or simply speak in line with my true intention?


A poisonous worm eats away at my heart
excreting the thick slurry of selfishness
that runs through my veins

Sudden flare of fierce emotion
at the disclosure of others' good fortune
leaving me feeling ashamed

The wretched sensation of anger
that suffocates more appropriate emotions
choking off a chance to celebrate

A friend's success could be shared
by relinquishing comparison and competition
fed with heavy spoonfuls of self-doubt

The fear that another's joy might threaten my own
as if there is only so much happiness to go around
and my chances of winning that lottery are now lessened

What a sad state of affairs
to let the luck of a loved one tear at me
instead of fill me up

What kind of person am I
that my first instinct is to be unkind
to someone that is thriving?

The best I can muster is to remain silent
when I should be smiling and adding
my positivity to their blossoming abundance 

The Unedited Self

First loves, I've learned
can cut to the quick because
we haven't quiet learned yet
how to conceal our worst qualities

There is a certain magnetism in someone
who has seen our deepest flaws
but chooses to love us despite them
there is a humbling awe in such acceptance

Not to insinuate that later lovers
would not be as generous of heart
rather that the older we get
the less chance we give them

After adolescence we get so good
at hiding away all the parts of ourselves
that we aren't proud of
hidden under a heavy layer of secret shame

Only those who've always known me
have seen who I truly am unedited
before I crafted the silk screen of self
I've erected for protection

No opinion of love or hate
can touch me as it once did
there is a certain safety in isolation
but the soul withers without sunlight

Unconditional love is hard to come by
when you won't allow yourself to be known
maybe the world would surprise me
but I fear I'll never let myself find out

Stifling Myself

Imperfection paralyses all endeavors
the subtle ache of not enough
clipped wing of creativity

The hovering eye of criticism
haunts each heavy pen mark
lips pucker with impatience

Who am I to exert my existence
in the form of further manifestation
polluting the world with more mediocrity

Embarrassed at the thought of
presuming myself to be a great artist
through blundering attempts at self-expression

When really I'm just letting out
slow exhales of tangled thoughts
in an attempt to postpone an implosion

Secret Summer

Summer Saturdays by the waterfront
the Festival of India in Wheeling, WV
streaming colors of elaborate scarves
the wafting fragrance of warm spices

Celebrating ancient cultures with old friends
buying raw crystals from a precious grey woman
suddenly handed prayer beads and a mantra
pleasantly trapped in impromptu meditation

Slipping away after a free meal of fresh curry
a few secret shots behind the door of a bathroom stall
just a little liquid courage to quiet evening anxiety
before blending back into the smiling crowd

Reckless abandon and eager enthusiasm
for mind altering substances at every moment
used to make me feel exciting, wild, and interesting
but as I near 30 it's starting to feel shameful instead

Hoping no one notices my enhanced mood
wondering at these strange things I do
even more curious to know what private lives
other people lead when no one is looking

Shocked at the idea of all the things
that could be hiding behind bright eyes
disturbed by the notion that I'll never
really know another person completely


I've lost another holiday
to heavy drinking
a blank void where
memories should be
left to fill up with regret

Waking up to one eyelash
a bruised, aching foot
dozens of unanswered texts
and a body that feels
like it's full of static

Fighting the urge to vomit
as I sip an unsatisfying coffee
wondering how badly
I embarrassed myself
in front of my family

It must have been bad
because my mom insisted
on following me home
tried to convince me
not to drive a few blocks

I feel slimy with shame
as it seeps from my pores
the hopeless desperation
to undo what cannot
be undone