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Land of the free
words fed intravenuously
like opiates into opened veins
until the lies they tell us become truth

Propaganda filled drips
drown out the screams of the innocent
killed by fear and misdirected hatred
and soldiers fighting "wars" on terror

How then does the aggressor become hero?
while handing out oppression labelled as democracy
liberty  comes encased in the shell of a bullet
and if you resist.........freedom

comes quicker than you wish
Life is often dark for
those that dream

brighter for those born
kings and queens

brighter yet for the ones
that find beauty in all things
the train whistles lull me to a dusty sleep
     an ancient sleep
primitive and timeless as the sage
          it tastes like rain
          and reads like a folk song

and when the engine songs are gone
the interstate strikes up it's serenade
     flooding my heart valves with gasoline
     and valvoline
     and the smile of what i can only hope to imagine are young lovers
with a fiesty case of wanderlust
and a puppy in the back seat
with a wagging tail

"happy trails" i whisper
and the stars flicker
and i smile

the walls let their secrets slide while they sleep
     all those restless memories they keep for themselves
floating around
and settling in the parlor dust

they trust me just enough
to let me cradle them in my chest
woven between my rebar ribs
and my flat-tire heart
     thud thud thudding as it speeds off into the distance

the dogs rustle the sheets as they rise
     just long enough to sigh
          dance a sleepy circle and a half
and put themselves back to bed

i finally crawl out from inside my noisy head
as the boy nestles up to my neck
and traces my clavical with his humid breath
and ropes me in closer to his chest
     with his big bear arms

his heart sings like a fire alarm
stirring the brave to save me from the shadows
     and chase the ghosts from my gallows
          and he even lets out puppy snores in his sleep
the tune that finally pirouettes me towards my dreams

where the birds sing like drunken sailors in the mango groves
and the rows and rows of lime trees
     my heart and mind innertwined to paint me a scene i've never even seen
          not with my own eyes

it's so nice to think it's within me
and not without me

     for every sound, a source
for dave, and they days when we could stand to inhabit the same space.
"you really are beautiful,
in your own kind of way",
he says
     as he spits through his teeth

in what way is that,
i wonder?

in a way that can't be crammed into a size five dress?
in a way that isn't actually aesthetically appealing?
in a way that's too intelligent to find your misogynistic outburst colored flattery?

he pushes the wire-like hair away from my face
and wipes an angry tear from my freckled cheek
     "see, all you have to do is try."

oh, boy
     that's what i'll do
so i can catch another in a long line of "men" who think i COULD be beautiful

as if beauty is only one color
     one size
     one shape
as if it can truly be measured with a bathroom scale and a hand-held mirror
and can be purchased at a costly brand-name outlet in a shopping mall near you

my mother's mother has an affinity for referring to my twenty-three extra pounds
in a way that one refers to the neighbor's busted-down ford that needs towed away
"oh, catrina, you really could be so gorgeous,
     if you'd just get rid of some of your fluff."

she pinches at my sides
     and the backs of my arms
     and the little curve at the tops of my thighs
          just below my ***
like i'm an over-stuffed pillow on her antique love-seat
that's about to burst at the seems
     should the seemstress not pull out the threads with her teeth
and remove the unsightly over-fill like black-heads from a slender nose

everything she buys me comes from a plus sized store
     and wears a fat filthy double XL on it's tag

considering that i factually only need a large
i fight back my plump tears and wear a cheap smile
as i give thanks i don't mean
and kiss her on her heavily perfumed cheek
     "oh, such lovely lips
     why not a splash of lipstick?"

as soon as i'm out of her home state
i take the clothes back to the "big-girl" store
and trade them in for pizza and beer money

the girl behind the counter ironically weighs ninety-two pounds soaking wet
and that's only if she's still got on her padded bra
     and supposedly ****
since when were curves a curse?
and who the **** decided it was a good idea to pattent worth with a lipstick shade, anyway?

     no way

i am beautiful without having to paint myself that way
my existence is not defined by the shape i take
my flaws and imperfections can't be remidied with any myriad of poking and plucking
     nipping and tucking
and all of my greatness and wonder sure as **** outweigh a tiny bleach-blonde *****

     and that pretty little pony you rode in on

i refuse to be pressed against a rubric and graded like a show-dog whose owner will only settle for best-in-show
     and kicks his failure of a companion sharply in the ribs when he doesn't bring home another ribbon

this obsession of society's is making us sick
we don't teach our children compassion and empathy
     we instead instill their heads with talk of thread count
     and color schemes
     how to brush on blush
     and how to pick a suit
cute won't save the world

i beg you sisters
let us not give this disease to our daughters
let us not allow our sons to carry the gene

     let's put to rest the ill-concieved notion of our beauty residing without us
          rather than within

let us never again bow down to the revlon gods of vanity

we are Woman
     and we deserve to finally soar
i share my name with a hurricane
how fitting

a set of bruised shins in running tights
who can't get much of anything right
and still hasn't remembered where she set her drink

that's me

i sometimes think they should've named me tiffany
or brittany
or stephany
something pretty and normal

maybe then i would have been a ballerina
instead of just a mess
in a second-hand dress

sometimes i swear
the wind calms when i laugh
and the thunder cracks
when i finally let go
and let myself fade
back into the sky that shaped me

i make it rain

some things never change
not names
or headstones
or birthdays

and some things always do

the sky shifts slightly
setting a yellow kite to sail
and a pair of hawks to soar

maybe they named the storm after me
so that i could see
how beautiful turbulence can be

maybe i just wasn't looking right

a rose by any other name
wouldn't seem as special
if there were spaces
     gaps left in the english language

places meant for characters left to be invented

if there were phrases
     and definitions
yet to be coined

i could finally tell the whole truth
about me
     and the monsters in my head
i was super ******, and reading an article on mentalfloss about words from around the earth that have no direct translation to english. hauntingly beautiful, really. anyway, this started bouncing 'round my head, and after two shots of whiskey, i dubbed it worthy of being written down.
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