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The first time I get a proper look
At the tattoo playing peek a boo
Along your ribcage
My eyes might see it first
But I'll read it with my tongue
Every day
I run boxes
To the doorsteps of -
Magnificent houses
With stone porches
And towering windows
That smell like wood fires
During the winter
And flowers during the summers
With driveways that stretch nearly a mile
Down hills
To overlook acres, many acres
Of land
They are materialized dreams

And on every
mountainous stone porch
Or tree trunk of a door
Or posted at the very bottom of the endless winding drive-
There is a doormat
Or a plaque
A cut metal sign
"The Miller's"
"Kate & Rex"

And I am momentarily so sad
So jealous
Because that is all I want

The woman inside has a husband
With a good job
And a big smile
And her parents love him
And he is nice to her
And he built her a PALACE
And that's all I want
Is OUR last name on a plaque beside the door
But I may never have that
No matter how hard I work
I wish to God
That I could go back
And find all of the moments we shared
So I could read over them
Like a familiar and favorite book
So that maybe
I could find me again
How do I tell you
That I miss your hell fire?

Cigarettes in the middle of the night
Wine by campfire light
Lakeside loops
Hula hoops
You were the whiskey in my Dr. Pepper
My now until forever
We walked through the darkness as a pair
I still make our drive but you're not there
I miss you
Joy has such a way
Of compromising
My art

These days I string together words
That leave behind vacant metaphors
Empty spaces where my soul used to take residence

I can't stand to sign them
Why brand something I do not own?
Nevermind that the kerosene has evaporated from my pen
My spark died with my anguish
With nothing to light it, it abandoned me, dispersed
I spent so long trying to numb myself
I used to think it was poetic, beautiful
The nights I'd drink a half bottle of whiskey
Before nine o'clock
The way my smile brightened
My eyes shone
One million cigarettes later
Different kinds in so many different places
Oh the adventure, the whimsy
Like it wasn't all a disguise
Suicide wasnt an option
Destruction was a thrill

I used to exist bouncing between worlds
Ones which I had created and therefore was God

In one I flourished inside my own mind
My own pain
I lived amongst my sins and worshipped my vices
They were a part of me there
Where my art covered the walls in murials

Unlike it's sister
Where my words were nothing more than an amateur's graffiti
Sloppy splattered nonsense that decent humans took as a sign to flee
There was no beauty there
Just the bleak hopes of a woman running from who she was
A permanent prohibition
No liquor
No cigarettes
Just grey sidewalks and clear skies that couldn't even be bothered to rain
The world without poetry

I stepped in and out of each one
Relishing the sadness while simultaneously running from it
I'd never planned on the joy
So when it came I had no more words

"Joy has such a way
Of compromising
My art"
I wish someone had told me that growth
Required so much sacrifice
I chose the most unsavory parts of me as my main adjectives
I put them on display so that only those who wanted those parts of me could get to any of the others
Now that I have erased them, lessened them, retired them
There are so many blank spaces left
Most of me, maybe
Are these sacrifices a compromise
Of the altar I've built
Or gifts that I finally believe I deserve to adorn it with?
All things I'd deprived myself of
Hidden from
Lamented about
I'd written a million poems about things I'd never had
How I longed for them, was robbed of them
But now, at my best, at my purest
When all of those things lay before me on a platter
My lips are sealed
My words have wilted and died
I mourn for them like I would a friend - a lover

The foundation of my sanctuary
Had never been solid
Yet I Kept building on top of it
Up and up
The highs got so heavy
That I couldn't keep filling the cracks
With weak empty excuses
Addiction was such a pretty poison flower
It flourished in my garden
I fooled myself and everyone else into thinking
That tending to it first
And everything else last
Showed dedication to myself, my legacy
To being aware of the tragedy of the world
It was such a Johnny Cash-esque charade
The woman in black
With her liquor and cigarettes
Look at me
Lamenting about the injustices
While doing nothing but drowning and preaching
Look at me
I'm a ******* poet
I ooze messiness and disdain from every pore
I ***** metaphor
I'm so deep
So deep
In the hole that I dug myself
With no plan for a way out

After I tore down
The unholy temple I'd made of myself
Stripped my altar of lipstick stains
My pain, his pain, your pain
I dressed myself like a fresh ****
Spilled my toxic guts onto the floor
Drained my tainted blood
Skinned my arms - my *******
To clear away the dark words I'd tattooed there
I Set fire to the Bible I composed
Full of strung out verses
About death and life and loss
All those things poets dwell on
Make a living off of

Then all that was left was me
And I didn't know what that meant anymore
I'd forgotten so long ago how to simply be
Sober, happy . . . Alive
I was staring at a blank piece of paper
I could write anything I wanted
But somewhere along the way
I'd run out of words

The sacrifices we make
Are so frightening

I'm still afraid
Still grieving
But I've planted roses in my garden
Repainted my temple with greys
I've invited in visitors for the first time in so long
To worship alongside me
Leave gifts at my altar
There are windows now
So that when the sun rises there is finally light
And though the words still don't come so easily
They trickle in with the rain
They tumble out with a laugh
They're tracked in on the soles of shoes
Little by little I'm piecing them together
Like a priceless and shattered vase
They're taking shape at last
To find me at peace
A new artist
Weaving different worlds with my words
Finding new things to say

Maybe, joy has a way
Of compromising my art
Or maybe
Joy has a way
Of repainting
My world

These sacrifices we make
They're poetry too
Maybe this isn't a poem so much as it is a letter. Not that it's anything new since once upon a time I wrote you a book. I only looked you up because I've been watching a show that has a big display of your type of crazy. It made me think of us for the first time in a very long time. I hate most of the things about you. The way you talk. The things you like. I hate your music, and for the sake of rhyming I hate your stupid ******* bike. I don't know what it was that kept me around for so long. I guess more than anything it was chemistry, not details that drew me in. The great ***. I don't know anymore I haven't thought about it in so long.
Moral of the story is I looked you up today. You've got a new girlfriend and for a second I was jealous. She's not as pretty as I am. Maybe she loves you more; or maybe just for real. All I know is I'm glad we're not together, since I missed you for the first time in years just tonight. There was nothing for me in you. Bye now.
I mourned you
As if you had died
Then I saw you today
With my own eyes

And it sparked joy in me
That you were alive
Remembering a time
When you were by my side

It wasn't easy for me
Seeing your ghost
The very soul
Who I'd loved the most

But there you were
Bag in your hand
Unkept beard on your face
Less of a boy more of a man

So consider these words
A lingering kiss goodbye
Because you've still left me
And I still don't know why
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