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

God Bless America

This country is a cancer
that disfigures the landmass
of North America

The natural wonders
we once lauded in lyrics
are defiled every day

There is a special kind of shame
that comes with celebrating
years of injustice and genocide

Gloating over our stolen home
as we are still unearthing
the dead bodies of native children

The constant reminder of
those that have died for us
with un-ironic exclusions

The bittersweet remembrance
of a little white Christian girl
who passionately loved her country

A tiny heart that swelled
with pride and gratitude
for the red, white, and blue

Innocence ripped away
unveiling the horror
of the truth

Today is a day of mourning
for reflection and repentance
for the atrocities of our forefathers

A god that would
bless this nation
is no god of mine


I make myself sick
with secrets
deceptions meant to
bring me peace
justifying the ways
I try to cheat
agonizing over lessons
I should have learned
a long time ago
I'm lying to myself
as much if not more
than everyone else
the jolt of exhilaration I feel
when I come out unscathed
pales in comparison
to the wretched fear
that consumes me
in the moments before
why do I keep trying to
outwit the scales of life
to prove karmic justice
does not exist
when I feel it
in the marrow
of my bones

The Greatest Species

A long history of shame
hidden from our children
the hubris of humanity used to
overshadow the heinous truth

The large scale atrocities
that humans have committed
far outweigh any small kindnesses
we try to use to demonstrate our divinity

The arrogance of a corrosive species
proclaiming to be superior
the filth and hatred we scatter
and leave to sour upon the sterile earth

Once I was shocked to discover
that the end was so near
now I'm amazed that we made it this far
slinking forward by pure selfishness

Each day waking to face the horrible fact
that I am a human being
entrenched in an unforgivable legacy
of greed, exploitation, destruction, and sin

I shudder at the thought of all the poison
passed down through my veins
my only solace, the thankful knowledge
that it ends with me 

When I Feel Small

Silence settles in my throat
a choking conviction that
coils around my vocal chords
a sickening, slithering sensation

A sacred connection
cruelly muffled by shame
the all consuming ocean
of not being enough

Set me free from the binding belief
that I am unworthy of witnessing
taking up spaces where
I have to earn my place, but haven't

Grant me the courage to exist
within this vast, incomprehensible world
to take what I need, what is offered to me
without guilt or apology

Give me permission to be present
to consume and create 
and collect my share of love
from the universe 


No one deserves to suffer
I thought this was something
we could all agree on
someone working full-time
should not have to live in poverty
this too, I assumed was an opinion
we would all share with pride
oh, how horrified I am to know the truth
that these thoughts are controversial
that so many actually disagree
there are really people
that think suffering is right and just
when it's others, that is,
never in regard to themselves
because they know the intricate details
of why they made their worst decisions
while looking outward, they assume
steps are taken for shameful reasons
selfishness, laziness, carelessness, and malice
are explanations for other's actions
even though the same acts 
are certainly due to different motivations
by those who lay these heavy accusations
against their fellow men
for some people its very important
to know that someone else is below them
fuel for the fire of their delusion
that despite it all, circumstance, genetics, environment
it was their indominable spirit that overcame
that they are special, strong, resilient
that others simply don't have the will power or desire
to make a better life for themselves
and that they should suffer for their shortcomings
if only as a reminder that life is fair
by some warped definition of the word
it's more important to believe
they earned their good fortune
than to acknowledge
the random, cruel hand of fate
and use their blessings
to lift others up into the light