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Mar 2017 · 604
Fingerpaint in Gray
Ian Cairns Mar 2017
My gut reaction remains the same
shade of grey I remember finger painting yesterday.
The smears cloak my fingerprints
like manuscripts of the negative.
Sharp enough to break through the holiest of sentiments.
It's night two in the dark alone when I call on the ghosts.
Exercise the demons so I may leave the couch at once and turn the lamp on.
Warm bodies approach- blurred yet familiar- radiating only eyes.
Dull and full of assumptions.
I can't respond.
I reach out and watch as effort manifests as motionless limbs again.
Now, my eyes neither open nor closed, identify nothing.
My hands, palms dripping a simple shade of gloom I've come to embrace, greet my brow.
Grey sweat covers this grey reflection and these paintbrush arms I own just want to get up and live.
In color again.
Dec 2016 · 2.1k
On Burning Bridges
Ian Cairns Dec 2016
We would sneak on your rooftop during every thunderstorm
Watch raindrops kiss our flannels closer  together before we knew just how powerful the clouds could be

Lightning cracked
And just like that
It's Wednesday morning
This ceiling fan drowns out that wet pitter patter as I sit up in bed
Estimating how much water these bodies can hold
I tell myself the rain here settles down better than I do

I close my eyes
Pretend every droplet becomes another letter you sent for me
Pretend my silence now is just as deafening as my silence then
And the skies rip open
Your voice drips down my window pane onto my carpet
Asks me one last time for an answer

So I just want you to know
When we grabbed our hearts and became the flood
I thought we would be free
This nefarious rubble is all that's left
And now you're gone

I haven't slept much since I left
Most nights I stand at my window and wait for the wind to greet me
If I stand close enough, I can spot the stream behind my bedroom here
The sound it makes at night frightens me
Mar 2016 · 531
On Remembering to Breathe
Ian Cairns Mar 2016
What of the moments we dare to forget?
Are these not the wars worth fighting?

Sometimes my mind leaves behind those Trojan horses

Sometimes I call amnesia home because it feels safer there

Sometimes I wonder whether white flags
are too shy to accept the victory they deserve

And sometimes
my armor falls off
and I feel human on purpose again
Feb 2016 · 589
Here is Heaven
Ian Cairns Feb 2016
From my bedroom, I imagine what it would take to become nothing. Some days, all I am is the comforter. Others- the mattress. I could waste away and become this bedframe forever. I mean, I've been thinking and what does it mean to be here anyways? I mean, how much effort is required to exist in these tired sheets? This narrowed gaze some called alive once is fearful of the windows now. The walls shrink across these hallowed bones and here is heaven. Spirits rising or angels falling. Here I am. The casket sits below this windowsill where the dust collects and dares me to make the first move. Home is stuck between these rib bones and I've been looking for a way out for a while now. Existing just hard enough for a pulse. Some scattered breaths. Feet face down stuck above the floor boards- quivering towards their next step. Yet I am here. Seem too worried about the timing of it all. And how I never loved the ground enough. Never cherished that fertile soil swelling beneath these feet until it could become me. And what now? Escape this body?  Suffocate under the promises these pillows keep? Or stand.
Jan 2016 · 462
Ian Cairns Jan 2016
And it was there I said I'd meet you.
Under the overpass, your eyes grasping for new ways to say I told you so. And that smokestack heart of mine piled up a few more miles of the most beautiful memories that could fit into my nap sack before the bus left:

When you remind me I'm lip-synching on our car rides to nowhere which is everywhere with you and how I hate telling you I'm wrong.

That smile- and how it wraps around my lips when I try and refuse that lighthouse from ushering me home.

The echoes your laughter makes across the empty dining room and how intentional you spin this sound so I can hear it from the bedroom.

Your left temple- tabernacle and all- leaning against the smoke. Every night.  Not afraid of the fire.

And before I leave you remember that these trips are every bit as permanent as they are temporary. You tell me to hurry home and I remind you that I always am with you. You smile. The Sun screams, raising its voice across your face as we depart and you've never been as beautiful as when you said

*Just come back soon
Jul 2015 · 1.3k
The Artillery Remains Open
Ian Cairns Jul 2015
White man got degrees
White man studies rap albums on weekends
White man still dreams on the hardwood
White man Steph Curry and Larry Bird in his head
White man be both- no problem
White man been hurt before
White man wears braces on both ankles
White man pick a new pair up whenever
White man down each aisle twice
White man throws the receipts away every time

White man left home this one time
White man always trying to help
White man night off whenever he wants
White man swears and means it
White man perpetual grin
White man still here
White man gets louder and swears no one hears him
White man silence still got a few words in it
White man says sorry sometimes, but
White man forgives himself always

White man ten ten year plans
White man why not more?
White man white lies
White man be a boy when he wants
White man lies face down when he chooses
White man love guns- need none though
He brings bigger weapons every time he leaves the house
This poem is after a poem done by Jon Sands, who followed similar patterns from Angel Nafis and Terrance Hayes.

Here is a link to Jon/Angel's version--
Jun 2015 · 394
Ian Cairns Jun 2015
In the distance I can hear the preacher man scream Gospel verses to the patrons with ears tried enough to listen.

On this table I meet one hundred ants who didn't know the end would come sooner than expected
Some survivors mourn the table cloth body count.
Others trample on without worry.

Forgive them Father, they know not what they do

Forgive them Mother, they lost fathers and mothers too

The struggle comes not from death but the belief that your fate is greater than the fallen before you.

I watch this congregation.
Hear the prayers of those still struggling to find the most peaceful way to apologize.

And it all stops.
At this time I wonder if heaven can be folded up and shaken out this easily.
If angels ever feel their wings begin to fall this fast.
Mar 2015 · 267
The Road
Ian Cairns Mar 2015
When you go
Follow the road
You can't see

When you go
Make the most
Of your own worth

When you go
Pick up the horizon
If you feel like falling

When you go
Watch me go
Far too

When you go
Follow the road
Of your own worth
If you feel like falling
Watch me go far too
Jan 2015 · 442
Ian Cairns Jan 2015
Let it be not for glory
Not for the riches
Forget the shiny reflections you carry in your pupils
Carry on without haste
Empty your pockets of all things cold and empty
See confidence in your own worth

Let it be not how you intended
Not the way you knew it could have been
Control the stare you know exists still
Become your own doorman
Your own therapist
Forgive the days that got you hurt

Let it be a mystery
The way you stumble through this world
Aimless and unassuming
Allow each step its own symphony
Enjoy every sound you take
And become one again
Jan 2015 · 410
Ian Cairns Jan 2015
Watch out
For the greatness
That sits
Inside of you

Do not leave it alone
It is not luggage
Not visiting
It does not need your permission to stay

Treat it like family
Like summertime
Treat it well
Like it belongs there
Make it bold
Hold it tight to your body
Make it your body
Live within it every day

Be bold
Be great
Before you forget it is yours to own
Dec 2014 · 894
Ian Cairns Dec 2014
I wonder if my fingers touch
the plastic covering my analog clock if
I can hold on to a few more seconds
of the beauty this moment spins
into a feeling I've never grasped before
and I'm starting to think that
time is more than the minutes
captured in a circle
and more about the seconds
we can't shape on our own
Dec 2014 · 446
Uncertainty at 20,000 Feet
Ian Cairns Dec 2014
People tell me I overthink things
It has never been about mountains or molehills
I always see land big enough for shelter
I do not need reasons
This is what worries me

I am the best at sort of
I think I know
Then I know I know
Then I see you in public and you're laughing
And I can't tell if you're laughing at me
Or just laughing
I'm not laughing because I don't know what you're laughing about
So I smile
Not because I want to
But because I think you want me to
Hope that your giggle is the drawbridge to a conversation I've been dying to have
But you walk by
Barely nod your head and say hi
And suddenly I don't know anymore
But I think everyone else knows
I wonder if you know
And I sure hope not
I've been trying to tell you myself
So I turn back
I swear in my head this was easier
The words just a quick skip down the walkway away
But I stand here
Discussing with myself the things I know I could have done better
But definitely shouldn't have done better
Because the possibilities of better bring thoughts of the worst that I've never envisioned
So I sit down on the pavement
Each passerby shouts another reason why maybe next time won't be like this
But I most certainly will be like this

It shouldn't be this hard to climb mountains
To lose my breathe as I look out at the landscape
I just want to see you
Shout your name at the highest peak
And watch the echos vibrate off my chest
Hope that you shout back
This is what worries me most
What I need
Is the courage to say exactly what I intend
Believe I already own this certainty
Live within the in between
Dec 2014 · 520
Ian Cairns Dec 2014
that monotone heart
with my sanity
and watch my brain melt
the fragments of doubt
you tried calling love
Nov 2014 · 610
A 48 Hour Sensory Timeline
Ian Cairns Nov 2014
Yesterday tasted like teardrops
Each droplet the loneliest messenger
The saline was tougher than usual this time
It skipped my cheek bone
Lit up my taste buds like gunfire
And now my mouth is drowning in the vowels tomorrow has to offer

Yesterday felt like monster truck tire marks
On the junk car assembly line
Yesterday never felt this deadly before
Those weapons
The ones with dragons painted on the side
The big purple ones with names like Beast or Destroyer
With fire decals that looked fake enough to smile at
Were real enough to crush us
Crush yesterday
Crush everything we always wanted to be
And I've never been so ready for nothing to exist

Yesterday sounded like daffodils in December
The silence only former lovers know
Each petal looking for one last chance you know it doesn't deserve
Yesterday sounded like a good time to give up
To get the hell out of here
Yesterday makes a fool of the horizon
Pretending there is nothing worth searching for
Like there is nothing left at all

2. It's morning
Today hits you in the forehead with a spitball
Grabs you out of bed
Points you to the windowsill
And smiles

You turn around
Bed is just out of arm's reach
But today taps you on the shoulder
Leans in and whispers the good news mom used to leave you with at the bus stop
It blends in with the cool breeze for a moment
You go outside
Grab that jacket your grandmother bought you last Christmas
Zip it up right above your bellybutton
And remember the wind can give the best advice

Today brought you your favorite mixtape
The one you left in your high school locker
And today likes the stereo real loud
You cruise with the windows down all day
You drive west
Swear you can beat the sunset
You imagine you're driving a monster truck
The biggest monster truck
And you crush today
Take everything you ever wanted back
You see yesterday in the rear view mirror
As you approach the beach
It's dusk
You smile
You jump right in the water and know there's no turning back
Ian Cairns Nov 2014
I, Lou Paloma, do hereby request that the following items be given to their rightful owners

To my dearest mother-
I leave you my promises
The ones tucked gently under my pillow
Those dreams I never mentioned
Keep them safe
Make sure no one ever knows I cared

I leave you a brother more adequate of your affection
More worthy of your testimony
Do not mourn me wild woman
I am leaving you with nothing
Soon, I will be nothing to you too

To Billy-
I leave you my body
Take me
This spoiled temple
And discard me like the heathens do
Transform me into nothing more than the dust that I deserve to be
Forget the rules you always follow
Forget about me brother
Burn me at the stake
And don't let the smoke settle

I leave you my wife
Take her
And see her as whole again
Pick up the pieces I left in the kitchen
On the living room carpet
Scattered across the tree lawn
And give them back to her
Like the pieces of jigsaw from Christmas morning
Watch her place each piece more confident than the last
Enjoy every move she makes- It will make you whole too

To Irene-
I leave you my house
The one I couldn't pay for
The home you never adopted
Make it your own
Treat it like you did me
Take those tender hands
Outline each crevice my fist created
Patch the holes when it starts to crumble
It will crumble soon

Oh Sweet Irene
I leave you my dignity
Set it like spare change on the nightstand
Knock it under the bed when the time comes
I leave you those scars
From the first time
And the last time
And every other time therein
I leave you with vows never honored
I leave you here without me
I will leave you alone now
Like you always wanted it to be
Sep 2014 · 784
Ian Cairns Sep 2014
And to think
I thought of times
where compromise
confined us

The beauty
in your mind
that opened mine
revives my purpose
Aug 2014 · 1.3k
Ian Cairns Aug 2014
In case you forgot
that toolbox heart
you left out
has yet to return home
Jul 2014 · 317
In the End
Ian Cairns Jul 2014
In the end
To be one
There will be nothing left
To be anything at all

In the end
Everything will be anything
You want it to be
Anything at all

In the end
There will be nothing left
Anything will be everything
Anything at all

To be one
Be nothing
Be everything
In the end
Jun 2014 · 677
Ian Cairns Jun 2014
When the dust clears
and the smoke settles down
I'll live again
take this beating heart
close its holes
turn the volume up
and breathe a little longer
for now
Jun 2014 · 346
Hide (10w)
Ian Cairns Jun 2014
Reach out
and feel nothing
where everything
used to hide
May 2014 · 755
Storm Clouds
Ian Cairns May 2014
fell into
my lap like
raindrops without the splash

But when I stand
the onslaught I
adopted is

**Strength is the ability to move through the
storm clouds
May 2014 · 1.2k
Ian Cairns May 2014
The rhythm wakes up
Underneath the microscope
It regains all hope

The molecules dance
Never stopping the spirit
Provided by us

The dance floor is open
Looking for atoms split in half
Couples jive the runway

In a tiny world
The truth connects through tiptoes
Make every step count
May 2014 · 1.2k
Ian Cairns May 2014
When I tell you I'm tired
The trouble is my bed
It doesn't seem to fit right
Without the outline of your head

When you tell me you're tired
The trouble is what's said
Typically in times of trouble
Your patience rests instead

When I tell you I'm sorry
The truth is I don't know
My intentions never crooked
Though my weakness always shows

When you tell me you're sorry
The truth is hidden low
You overthrow my worries
Keep tradition and just let go

When I tell you I'm leaving
What I mean is I'm holding on
Staring at the unmarked path
Reluctant to move along

When you tell me you're leaving
What you mean is you're already gone
So far down the crossroads
You can't make right from wrong
May 2014 · 641
Ian Cairns May 2014
My gut reaction remains the same
shade of grey I remember finger painting yesterday.
The smears cloak my fingerprints
like manuscripts of the negative.
Sharp enough to break through the holiest of sentiments.
It's night two in the dark alone when I call on the ghosts.
Exercise the demons so I may leave the couch at once and turn the lamp on.
Warm bodies approach- blurred yet familiar- radiating only eyes.
Dull and full of assumptions.
I can't respond.
I reach out and watch as effort manifests as motionless limbs again.
Now, my eyes neither open nor closed, identify nothing.
My hands, palms dripping a simple shade of gloom I've come to embrace, greet my brow.
Grey sweat covers this grey reflection and these paintbrush arms I own just want to get up and live.
In color again.
Apr 2014 · 545
Through the Breeze
Ian Cairns Apr 2014
I need you to confuse me
Jumble up every piece of my being
And throw me through the breeze

Make me disappear
Take my certainty to the summit
And throw me through the breeze

Throw me for a loop
Circle my reflection
And throw me through the breeze

Hold down sophistication
Summon the darkness I possess
And throw me through the breeze

Break through the fortitude
Pick through every expectation
And throw me through the breeze

Take me to the absolute
Change the way I look at you
And throw me through the breeze

I need you to confuse me
Make me disappear
Throw me for a loop

Hold down sophistication
Break through the fortitude
Take me to the absolute

And throw me through the breeze
Apr 2014 · 803
Facade (10w)
Ian Cairns Apr 2014
For a brief moment
this felt more
fact than facade
Apr 2014 · 865
Ian Cairns Apr 2014
Maybe I'm a good man
A lost soul on the move
I'm a liar with conviction
Maybe you are too

I think the sky is blue on purpose
The moon still full enough to view
The stars add up in surplus
Maybe one plus one is two

The way you laugh is angelic
Maybe you already knew that
My compliments sound long overdue
I think you knew that too

I'm scared of asking for your name
Maybe I know you'd only be passing through
We're separated by more than six degrees
A conclusion you already drew

Maybe life provides no guarantees
And all I ever wanted was the truth
I don't know what to believe
Maybe I always needed something new

Maybe there are no keys to succeed
Maybe success is knowing who you are is true
Maybe who you are is complete
And you and I will make do
Here's an edited version of my latest write. Let me know what you think!
Apr 2014 · 911
Ian Cairns Apr 2014
Maybe I'm a good man.

Maybe one plus one is two.

Maybe the sky is blue on purpose.

Maybe the moon is full enough to view.

Maybe you already knew that.

Maybe I'm a lost soul.

Maybe you are too.

Maybe I'm a liar.

Maybe you knew that too.

Maybe the way you laugh is angelic.

Maybe my compliments are long overdue.

Maybe I'm scared of asking for your name.

Maybe I know you'd only be passing through.

Maybe we're separated by more than six degrees.

Maybe you drew conclusions you hardly knew.

Maybe life provides no guarantees.

Maybe I always needed something new.

Maybe there are no keys to succeed.

Maybe success is knowing who you are is true.

Maybe who you are is complete.

Maybe you and I will make do.
Mar 2014 · 381
Shut (10w)
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
find myself the best
when my eyes
are shut
Mar 2014 · 398
Inside Voices
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
are better left for
the way your eyes
scream out for sanity
the way your mind
knows only to greet your skull
because safety seems latched
inside the voices within our senses
Mar 2014 · 686
When a Fire Starts to Burn
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
When a fire starts to burn
It doesn't ask questions
It doesn't make excuses for the rubble

When a fire starts to burn
It sprints in a whisper
It circles the competition- reinforcing fallen timber

When a fire starts to burn
The battlefield is everywhere
The castle conceals the mausoleum
The casualties are nowhere to be found
Mar 2014 · 418
Split (10w)
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
approaching Evening
Adam splits

the significance paramount
clouds hit genesis
Mar 2014 · 441
Slumber (10w)
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
The subtlety
in your slumber
sings me
through my dreams
Mar 2014 · 746
Ashes (10w)
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
In other words
Your stutter burns
the nightstand
down gently
It is important to remember that ashes once stood upright
Mar 2014 · 701
In Between
Ian Cairns Mar 2014
The simplicity I'm searching for
Hides beneath my fingernails
Occupies the dark spaces I refuse to frequent
Consumes the sweet fumes I forget to swallow

I've been told I overthink things
It has never been about mountains or molehills
I always see land big enough for shelter
I do not need reasons
This is what worries me
I hesitate all the time
Then I think I know
Then I know I know
Then I see you in public and you're laughing
And I can't tell if you're laughing at me
So I smile
Not because I want to
But because I think you want me to
And suddenly I don't know anymore
But I wonder if everyone else knows
Or if you know
Then I'm back beneath the mountain
Or the molehill
And I don't give a **** about geomorphology
I just want to see you
walk to the highest peak and shout your name
And watch the echos vibrate off my chest
This is what worries me most

What I need
Is the courage to say exactly what I intend
Believe I already own this certainty
Live within the in between
Ian Cairns Feb 2014
To finish anything in entirety requires a full circle- and goodbye is a picky eater. Good is the pieces of pie fully enjoyed already- don't forget the fingertips good. The ones licked crisp and clean from the plasticware every time. While bye remains the uneaten slices spoiling silence in the kitchen. Crumbs too stubborn to move along, to move anywhere at all. Notice these slices never once greeted each other on a dinner plate- and there is no place for distance during dessert.

2. Goodbye is invisible ink scribbled too quickly for certainty. Proper sendoffs deserve the type of visibility that billboards form. So if you have the audacity to send seven letters my way disguised as our final embrace- I will unwrap your formality, like 5am Christmas morning, and pretend I'm on the naughty list. Hidden messages lack a sense of transparency that leaves only second guessing and farewells should need no crystal *****.
Goodbyes are as good as guesswork- and we are not fortune tellers.

3. Goodbye implies loss or rejection, but well wishes are meant for times
when loss is undeniably absent. Wishing wells bathe separation with good intentions- each copper coin anointed an underwater masterpiece.
While goodbye addresses detachment with partial reflections, splitting waves too strict for clarity. So all I see are the ripples of me spread too thin, the pieces of me scattered in every direction. Goodbye wishes no one well.

4. Goodbye is simply one word. Goodbye is not naturally destructive. Goodbye is no vocal cord villain.
Words are neither inherently good nor bad because we ascribe their significance, but evidence suggests a one word farewell serves innocent ears unjust death sentences.

5. The moment you allow I love you to skydive from your tongue, the word goodbye steals the parachutes mid-launch causing fatal free fall to artificial grass your hands never actually planted. This land is lunar rock rare- desolate when day breaks.
Goodbye is not fertilizer for greener pastures- rather an open invitation for wildfire to reduce the cosmos to ashes.

6. Endings are inevitable and sometimes quite necessary. And I'm not suggesting we prolong foregone conclusions. But our parting words need not necessarily be regrettable. Goodbyes are often stressed in tragic spectacles only designed for Broadway stages and sometimes all that's needed
is a genuine platform to stand on to say something like-- I'll miss you or I'm not ready for this or I can't do this anymore.

7. Goodbye is not a last resort.
Last resorts lead to final destinations you never come home from and you were never home, you were never home for me, you were always goodbye. Goodbye was your one way ticket to paradise, the kingdom your words worshiped and call me a traitor if you must, but the paradox you fundamentally found comfort in is tyranny trapped in one breath.
And that's never been comforting enough for me to believe in, never been real enough for me to hold.
Goodbye is sweet sorrow- one hollow word that makes your smile hurt.
It's solid rain on sunny days, stolen hearts on lay away. It's two syllables that were forced to hold hands that were never ever friends to begin with.
Goodbye is an oxymoron- and it will never justify your warm hello.
Feb 2014 · 1.1k
Ian Cairns Feb 2014
It was a Wednesday
The September weather impersonated summertime shine
But my eyes were barbed wire to the shimmer
Twisted and tied shut to the summer
Refusing to adjust to the glow
I entered that classroom alone
An intruder
I thought we were all intruders there
Social Work 1140- Minority Perspectives
Peacefully confined to the classroom blackboard
Caged up reality for protected heads to understand
We all sat situated in straight lines
Staring at chalk too bright to comprehend
Silent minds creating the kind of noiselessness only known to tiptoe
We all tiptoed there
Wiggled into tiny seats small enough for suffering
Yet large enough for complacency
The pseudo-summer heat peaking through the curtains
Draped over certain advantages we dare not speak
We all closed our eyes in unison
Wondered when the suffering began
Wondered when the wondering would end
Avoiding chalkboard glares and awkward eye contact
But the chalkboard glares started staring contests
And the eye contact was too awkward to ignore now
I was a sophomore
I wore freight train headlights
I was a trojan warhorse in broad daylight
I was an intruder there

My professor excused our intruderness upon her entrance
Transforming foolishness to fuel the mood
She must be an intruder too
It was noon
And this room of undercover drummers
Marching to different tunes was nothing new for her
She saw the truth in us
Stared the vulnerability away
Spread sunlight sanctuaries through our brains
Our eyes no longer wandering through oblivion
Wondering when the wondering would end
It all began when she said
I think it's time we all open our eyes
We looked confused
Eyes expanding to bite size balloons
Placing helium time bombs at the foot of her news
I stared at the fuse
And she stared at our staring daring us to make the next move
But we refused
Cause it was barely noon
And that's too soon for collective movements
No time for any inch of improvement
We all refused to move
Thankfully she resumed
I want you to look around this room
And understand one thing
Your story is the only proof you bring here
The only sword you swing here
And this is no home for fresh bruises
We are all safe in this room

I sat there in silence
I've always been an overabundance of riches
A treasure chest filled to the brim
But in this moment my gold is good for nothing
My sword is null and void
Skull and crossbones to understanding
My Excalibur belongs permanently stuck in stone
I never opened my eyes that way before
Only saw what I assumed was true
My once royal empire collapsed around my desk
Tears dropped like fallen gemstones crashing the class discussion
I sat there in silence
I sat there alone
Refused to tell my story
Refused to feel so low
It's a tough pill to swallow
Acknowledging you have lived with privilege your entire life
So I sit here in silence
Choking on my silver spoon
Looking for the way to say
I don't want to be an intruder anymore
Feb 2014 · 939
Déjà Vu (10w)
Ian Cairns Feb 2014
Déjà vu
only exists
for those
whose eyesight
has amnesia
Feb 2014 · 765
Ian Cairns Feb 2014
As I watch the sun evaporate today
I'm sure you wished it luck
Awaiting its safe return
This is a strange sensation that I'm facing
Bittersweet memories of when you faded away

You've been gone for quite some time now
Leaving true intentions in open view
You only crossed the ocean upon first snowfall
But this transatlantic separation
Has only brought me closer to you

It reminds me that distance was our specialty
Our love cast out into distant atmospheres
Only vagabonds dared to see
And we examined every inch of stratos between us
Connecting all the constellations we perceived

But you cried out for home far too often
And I tried to climb through space far too soon
It seems my courage was only matched by your convenience
A collection of defenses sent out on hot air balloons
A contradiction floating freely to the moon

So while I hold onto every flickering excuse
As you journey through the unknown
I hope you realize how fitting this trip may seem
For the first time you left your worries at home
A step you always skipped with me
Feb 2014 · 19.1k
Ian Cairns Feb 2014
For centuries philosophers have speculated the role sleep plays in society
But it was not until the 1950s that sleep woke up in academia
And today sleep studies show what dormant minds really look like
Information about our rest we've never seen before
However, I've always understood the importance of bedtime
You see my parents taught me that sleep and love are soul mates

My mom
She's the sleeper
She loves to sleep
She cuddles up on any piece of furniture in my house and snoozes for hours
Never views a sitcom past the first commercial break when she's tired
And she's okay with that
Dad never lets her drive on road trips when night falls
Preferring his sleeping beauty tucked safely in the passenger seat
Their hands meet as she lets the stars serenade her to slumber
While he anchors his left hand on the steering wheel
Thanking his lucky stars for his real life princess

My dad
He's the snorer
He loves to snore
He roars like a lion on his love seat and naps for hours
Never views a sitcom past the second commercial break when he's tired
And he's okay with that
Mom never lets him sleep alone too long though
Keeping his nose plugged strong enough to signal for bedtime
They both stand together as he lets her guide him to slumber
While she ushers her left hand around his back
Thanking her lucky stars for her own prince charming

Now my parents call me the dreamer
And I sure do love to dream
It seems my parents are textbook role models for me
Because when you live inside a fairytale for far too long
Your reality becomes an endless stream of fantasies
Your expectations are exceptionally out of context
Strictly written for poetic lines in picture books
Never meant to be held
Never meant to be felt
Only meant for spines stuck on rosewood shelves

My parents call me the dreamer
And boy I love to dream
I believe in creating the unthinkable
And when you live inside a fairytale for far too long
Nothing is fictional
You picture a life with storybook endings
Praying the author never runs out of ink
You crown each syllable the king of the moment
Treating each page like royalty
And I've always been okay with that

So when I asked my mom when she knew she fell in love
She spoke of an instant of unadulterated emotion
She said she knew instantly
She didn't need to sleep on it
When I asked my dad when he knew he fell in love
He just smiled back at me
He must have known instantly
He didn't even speak on it
So when I ask myself when I might fall in love
I can't help but smile
Think of fairytale titles
Mile wide love notes in all shapes and styles
And a moment where my reality sets my hopes on fire
And I won't need to dream about it anymore
Jan 2014 · 2.4k
I See You
Ian Cairns Jan 2014
I see you

I've seen those eyes before
Drowning in patched-up paddle boats
With promises of tomorrow slipping down your face
Like saline shipwrecks fleeing harbor
And greeting the ocean floor with damaged handshakes
And now you're hopeless
Focused on could have been's and maybe one day's
Knowing one day
Swelled up storm clouds
Could slide through your cheek bones
Like sunshowers preventing your skyline parades
But I see you still searching for rainbows
Covering your face with two handfuls of imagination
Daydreaming of days where technicolor dreamcoats
Become wrapped around your soul
Like tuxedos for the bold

I've seen those arms before
Deafeated willow branches in the moonlight
Rebellious to rise upright
And now you're tired
Only fired up when your flesh
Converts to kindling on a campfire
Building sparks that shimmer for seconds
When your light deserves a lifetime
But I see you still inclined to shine brightly
Trying to assign meaning to your life with two inspired limbs
That can freely build bridges or climb mountaintops
Clinging onto hope with sturdy fists
Exploring the peaks of your potential

I've seen those legs before
Tattered toothpicks on prom night
Frozen in stage fright on the dance floor
Pressing muted prayers with each footstep
Into creaky floorboards waiting for silence to ensue
And now you're nervous
You're certain those two left feet can't possibly find the rhythm
So your shoes are the victims of bashfulness
Fearing one false step will uproot your jitterbugs
And place them alongside the butterflies in your stomach
But I see you still owning your insecurities
Because you know you're alive just fine

I see you
You are who I envisioned you to be
I see you
Brushstrokes of imperfections shaded in perfectly
I see you
It's more than just your typical hello
It's a phrase for all of us to speak solely with our souls
It can make you feel at home at the center of your bones
When all your hope is lost and there's no where left to go
So when I greet you
Listen carefully
This is a reminder that your eyes can be thunderous
Your arms can be victorious
And your legs can be ambitious
Your presence is necessary for this discussion
And your essence is accepted here
Let me speak your spirit into existence
Seeing is believing
And believe me
I see you
Jan 2014 · 3.1k
Soul Mate Science Test
Ian Cairns Jan 2014
Attention class:
There's been a shift in our syllabus
There are some questions on my mind that warrant a new lessonplan: Does true love exist?
I will admit lately I've hypothesized that it's merely just a myth
Some wishful thinking from romantic half-wit heretics
So I'm assigning a soul mate science test
A pop quiz prophecy that could bind two of us together forever
Proving true love is suited for scientific vindication
If you respond to each question honestly
One trusty staple is capable of uniting this loose leaf love
Depending on your lead-based expressions
And their smudge-marked impressions
So please put your notebooks down
And pick your pencils up
Let's begin:

1. Is the beauty you possess easily represented in the thoughts you express?
Provide an ample sample size of your logic to suggest your loveliness works wonders.
2. Given that the fastest manned aircraft reached 4500 mph
If you spiraled down from the heavens at 9.8 m/s²
How long would it take for you to shatter record speed
And recognize that my arms are open to being your landing pad?
3. If your failures colored red and successes tinted blue
Became marbles piled high in mason jars
Would you let me embrace your entirety in the most worthy shade of purple?
4. Skin, rarely remembered, is the human body's largest *****.
Without caution, show me that your brain and heart
Are eager to become the king and queen of your anatomy.
That your organic vastness can infiltrate others' flesh majestically.
5. Think carefully. Who was the last man you kissed?
Are his lips worth enough for you to dismiss
A potential chance at creating unending bliss?
6. True or False: You would lie to me to spare a hurtful truth.
Provide evidence that you are comfortable revealing the undisputed details of your personal journal
Unraveling the spools of your most mysterious fibers.
7. Disprove Heartbreak Theory.
Show your work with mild-mannered mannerisms and sentimental illustrations.
Use crayons or colored pencils to emphasize your best intentions.
8. Chemistry is the study of the properties of matter.  
Using the periodic table of elementary emotions
Describe what matters most to you.
Remember to cite your sources of inspiration.
The inner workings of your engine that fuel your fondest explorations.
9. Fill in the blank spaces between my fingertips with your tenderness.
Is it a perfect fit?
If not, describe the characteristics possibly prohibiting this grip.
10. Cells are the smallest units of life.
Draw a diagram dissecting the little pieces of you
That belong in my possession at all times.
Include both strengths and vices.
Exhibit a sense of self-awareness that I can mimic
When I'm stuck inside my quicksand mind.

And one final reminder:
Remember to print your name legibly on the front page.
Failure to do so will result in catastrophe.
An unidentified masterpiece resulting in agony for you and I.
Practically reversing the critical proofs that your pen just described.
So let my eyes scan your signature with methodical joy.
And the curves of your cursive ink lines can become my mind's strongest ally.
Let me know you're willing to be known.
Because I need to know you're alive.
Jan 2014 · 12.8k
My Own Yellow Brick Road
Ian Cairns Jan 2014
I have these scars on my elbows
They're from a long time ago
And I never really appreciated their protrusion until now
Pretending to prefer unblemished skin
But when I was 10 and still believed in Superman
I had a tendency to ride my bike with stuntman speed
Forgetting about the frivolous concerns that consumed me
Hoping my kryptonite never crept up from underneath sidewalk bumps
Flipping my ambition over handlebars
Leaving the pieces of my reflections painted crimson along the asphalt
Scattered like hand-picked petals of an ill-advised ascetic
I am me, I am not, I am me, I am not
So I always wore my helmet as a precautionary measure
It contained my thoughts from running straight through my skull
And becoming neighbors with the pavement
But I never wore my elbow pads
They collected dust beside the waste bin
Replacing security for sincerity
I improved my flexibility while losing some skin
And that was a trade off I was willing to make at the time
I finally felt alive
I was invincible on my bicycle
The sidewalk my only bully
The summer breeze my only friend
And at the time I never realized what it meant to be vulnerable
But those bike rides were the closest I would get
I was fixated on fitting in around my classmates
Accumulating fake friends by
Ripping insincerities out of my esophagus
And stapling them to my forehead
I stole my own identity
Morphing my puzzle piece and jamming it into the jigsaw
Claiming to be the missing link everyone was searching for
But what am I searching for?

I was lost on my own yellow brick road
I had two left feet and no right way to go
I stopped dead in my tracks
Hoping the soles of my feet would soak in the golden stones while
Singing Dorothy's hymn like spoken sin
I just want to fit in
I just want to fit in
I just want to fit in

Wondering if that was loud enough for Oz to hear me
I didn't have any magic slippers
And this situation was twisting towards witchcraft
I'm not even sure Oz can help me
You see these requests were a tall order for a tiny man
Who wore masks just like me
Oz and I were anonymous
Oz and I were synonymous
Using smoke and mirror tactics to terrorize the innocent
When in reality we were only playing tricks on ourselves
Hiding behind perfectly sculpted ****** expressions
And make-believe manuscripts
Doing basic impressions of manufactured mannequins
Out in the real world
I really needed to speak with the Scarecrow
The Tinman, the Lion, and Dorothy too
And investigate their stresses with relentless pursuit

The Scarecrow would tell me
Wisdom is wasteful for those
Without a strong appetite for improvement
But sometimes common sense can lead
The most sensible person astray
The Tinman would tell me
Compassion is constructed for
Tender hands to hold
But sometimes empathy can leave
The most charitable person betrayed
The Lion would tell me
Courage can be critical in
Times of distress
But sometimes vulnerability can make
The most sensitive person brave
And Dorothy would tell me
Home is paradise
Wrapped in picket fences
But sometimes a terrifying trip can bring
The most wary person escape
And suddenly it would occur to me
That strengths are just solid scars
We have confidence to display on our sleeves
And perfection can only permeate the souls willing to recognize
That faults shine golden too
So from here on out I'm placing my masks alongside my elbow pads
Both collecting dust beside the waste bin
Replacing security for sincerity
Finally embracing the scars on my skin
Now that is a trade off I'm willing to make
Because I want to feel alive again
Dec 2013 · 1.6k
Cold Case (Extended)
Ian Cairns Dec 2013
9-1-1, What is your emergency?
I seemed to have lost my sense of urgency
I froze
Which is funny, because undoubtedly
You used to be the one cold as ice
I sat there
My body solidified above the concrete
But my faults began spilling out from my very being
Becoming a temporary repair for the fault lines along the road
9-1-1, What is your emergency?
The operator mimicked her opening line
With remarkable consistency
But my ears are not the problem here
I've always been a good listener
You told me that every now and then
And although I interpreted her question rationally
It was your final farewell that still had me perplexed
My breathe walked with you as you departed
Mostly due to your uncanny way with words
You used your utterances as building blocks
Crafting such a painful path with your magnificent mouth
Your condolences were candy-coated consolation prizes
Awarding my sincerity halfheartedly
And this heartbreak is my podium now
So while I lean on it willingly
Raising fate above my head as my only trophy
Know that I'm struggling with my acceptance speech
I've always had trouble wording my verbage
And expressing my sensations efficiently
So bear with me while I materialize this message

9-1-1, What is your emergency?*
Dispatch sounds distressed at this point
And I'm desperate for a proper resolution
So I try to recollect my mental resources
And muster up the ability to announce my anecdote properly
In order to explain my crisis precisely
And what comes next is nothing
My thoughts hovered around my mouth
But lacked any sort of volume
Thus remaining a mystery to the operator
And typically I turned to you in these situations
When my words became my worst nightmares
You see, you always knew what to say
You always responded with world class precision
And I need an expert's advice every now and then
But since you fled the scene
Fearing the certainty of an imaginary apology
I struggled with summing up my situation
I've been attacked, please help me
Finally I mustered up the energy to form
Sounds similar enough to that phrase
Close enough so this woman could send me
Someone with the proper credentials and
Experience for such misconstrued circumstances
The detectives arrived and investigated the scene
Doing their due diligence while I laid motionless on the pavement
They looked for clues
Studied for anything that could lead them to you
But I guess my words weren't grounded in truth
And although I knew only one suspect remained at-large
They carried on with no substantial leads or possible breakthroughs
The only arrest that occurred
Was the false imprisonment of my heart in yours
There was no bail set and parole will likely be denied
What a deadly criminal at large
This is a repost from an earlier poem I had written... I did some editing and came up with this. Let me know what you think!
Dec 2013 · 1.4k
Ian Cairns Dec 2013
this delusion
could become
our source of inspiration
but chronologically speaking
our chronicles
could never combine
because destiny penned
a rhyme where I'd say
goodbye too swiftly
Dec 2013 · 1.0k
Ian Cairns Dec 2013
Beacons of truth
out loud
the night
blesses us
with her
devilish grin
so when
darkness stares
down at us
our vicious vision
for times
when outrage
is acceptable
Dec 2013 · 2.6k
Silent Speeches
Ian Cairns Dec 2013
I'm speechless
That's my approach as you approach me
And usually I'm too focused on finding the perfect words
To penetrate the simple space I provide
So when beautiful girls intentionally invade my atmosphere
My need for speech is satisfied
Your beauty speaks sufficiently for two
So while I'm struggling for oxygen, I hope you recognize
Your presence is all I've ever needed to breathe easily

I'm stuck
Between unexpressed elegance
And helplessness
My mouth is screaming out
But frozen completely shut
I'm worried my compliments
May be complications
That my suggestions
Might suppress my objective here

We typically rely on our words
To settle the score
As if you and I are in overtime
Of a tie ballgame
Looking for phrases to frame the scoreboard
With an absolute victor
But I was hoping that you'd be willing to join forces
To break through the proverbial force field
That prohibits rivals from overthrowing obstacles
Because I've always believed the input overpowers the outcome

What if it were possible
To eliminate our speech
So our ears could erase the need to draw conclusions
We don't etch our words in pencil
Our words are enunciated in permanent marker
Brutally beating through our eardrums
Rhythmically reminding us
That silence can be more sweet sounding than any set of syllables

All I know is I'm hell-bent on remaining a straight shooter
My arrows will always be designed for the bulls-eye
But lately I've been questioning my targets
They haven't been painted red and white for all the world to see
They've been camouflaged by constricted communication
Secretly searching for statements that haven't met the airwaves yet
So I'd much rather absorb your definite thoughts
Than accept your remarks as absolute
The truth is
I'm not sure
What needs to be said.
The syllables I've learned to form
Don't apply to situations where
Words remain inherently absent.
And too often we force our hand
To make phrases appear
Where they don't belong.

But something about
Silent speeches is appealing to me.
Because the power in your eyes reduce
The need for any type of sound.
And the shock waves your steps make
As you inch closer to mine
Create the sweetest melodies.
So all I will tell you is this:
Let's leave words out of this.
Dec 2013 · 8.7k
Ian Cairns Dec 2013
I was raised by a man with broad shoulders and a gentle heart
A sign that my strengths would reside above my waistline
I learned to stand up straight at an early age
Not necessarily to improve my posture like my father had intended
But I believed looking into his eyes would give me an all-access pass to manhood
And by double digits I wanted to reciprocate his masculinity
Nothing would have harmonized my earlobes like the words- You're a man now son

As I grew taller, I finally met the spheres into my father's soul
And much to my surprise, they screamed a sadder melody than I had anticipated
They leaned on crutches, crippled by societal catastrophes
Their stories- captives to cultural constraints
They stared at me blindly as if my presence was backbreaking
My heart was crushed as my father's shoulders shook
And the strengths I once desired were now fossilized by fear

To be a man -society grunts so effortlessly- is to be masculine
And since masculinity and success are socially synonymous
Obviously, success cannot be established without perfection or aggression or oppression

To be a man is to be unbreakable
Because the slightest wrinkle in armor alludes to inability
And combat is unavoidable regardless of swordsmanship

To be a man is to be rigid
Because being fixed in outdated traditions is far easier
Than challenging for innovative conditions

To be a man is to be emotionless
Because passion is pathetic
Sensitivity strikes the community as instability, not authenticity

To be a man is to be strong
Because strength means maintaining control and independence
Not establishing dependability or acceptance

Masculinity still towers over little boys just like me
Presenting textbook answers for real world problems
Masculinity is a skyscraper imposing its will on innocent civilians
By replacing sunlight with systematic shadows
And ripping shooting stars right out of the sky
Masculinity forms internal thunderstorms harboring havoc
For individuals that need more than rainfall for adequate growth
We are not shrubbery photosynthesizing our thoughts into energy
We are not born to throw our feelings into sealed vaults
Our genuine intentions deserve to be delivered on silver platters

Gender roles are one way streets clogged by oncoming traffic
Mirrored headlights approaching complete chaos
There are no maps to point you down the right path
There is no right path
There is no right path
Only roadblocks inhibiting you from any type of progress
Life is meant to be traveled on unmarked ground
Where men and women alike regulate the steering wheel regardless of society's traffic laws
And I long for the day when my son or daughter looks up to me
The day when my son or daughter stands up straight
Looks me in my eyes and sees a portrait painted differently
A soul actualizing strength, not personifying ingenuity
Dec 2013 · 1.4k
The Horizon
Ian Cairns Dec 2013
Your story
cobalt casualties
while my rendition
silver linings.

Even storm clouds
resist temptation
when sunshine
the horizon.
Nov 2013 · 721
Ian Cairns Nov 2013
I tremble
With paper thin eyelids
Shivering frivolously on ice sheet irises
Time is construed through blizzardous views
Echoes of blue come rumbling through
My visions of you now clouded and few
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