Mask of Bronze

It is a blazing mask of bronze with inflamed highlights and angry shadows.

A brow perpetually clenched-chipped clear above a frowning eye,
A mouth consistently pulled earthward-words earning sighs smoldering within,
A jaw forever fastened against pleasantries–traitorous pleas for yes and you: the padlock.

But look! Just when I had turned my mask of muslin away,
The glistening I had been listening for appeared on that clenched eyelid,
Much against its will.
It lingered, boiling within her, toiling to begin her
Decline from gilded to wilted,
The petal tones of which I would rather revere.

Now how it slithers so slyly down her cheek,
Leaving in its trail a cool blue green that belongs to a morass of adolescence.
A trail of oxidation breaking that bright bronze along a vertical chasm,
A striking imperfection.

As the acid that once frothed forth from her very mask,
This glistening dissolves and burns the metal
To expose a petal,
A gorgeous face of flesh of fruit of earth,
A pink rose.

It is a gentle mask of flowery flesh with compassionate highlights and contemplative shadows,
Just as she once was.
When all she had known was the touch of a mother,
Before the first touch of acid from another.

The Next Death

War Picture

His eyes held such animalistic awareness,
As if the sentient being had been knocked, shocked out of him,
And rather than expecting to turn and see a love,
He saw his next death.

He saw his next death in front of him at all times,
Like some misty smoke screen, a watermark on his vision.
His face glazed burgundy with mud and blood
Which, at this point, had become one and the same.
One as plentiful as the other.

The hollow creature had once been hallowed.
The strange creature had once been strong.
The crippled creature had once grappled with things much larger than he.
Now how he stares.
How fragile.

That is all that comes to mind: how fragile he is.
What will his next death be? And will his next death be enough to kill him?
Will he be strangled, shot, drowned, crushed, poisoned, shocked, burned, stabbed, cut in half, blown to bits?
Will his heart stop of its own will because it cannot endure any more?
Will his mind betray him and lead him to an early coffin?

How easy it is to kill.
What innate lack of skill
Does it take. No creativity.
Certainly a tedious activity,
No doubt. Couldn’t be bothered.
Because I am not, altogether,
Sure that it achieves anything.

When all is said and done,
A man killed in the name
Of God or country or valor
Is no different and quite the same
As a man with empty veins
Over food or water or shelter:

He is gone.

Ghostly Light

I glared at the glowing apple,
The altar of her white chapel.
I remember how I loathed the bite
That had been taken from the side …
Now, I see the bitter irony
In the apple’s loss and felony.
Her mind only had time for i’s,
I couldn’t see how those eyes cried.
Behind the ghostly light on her face,
The blood was stopped and tears displaced.
Her only movement had been to type
A face with a frown she couldn’t wipe.
So strange this vista between us,
The duality of the distance:
I watch her disappear behind
As she gazes into it, blind.
She thinks she feels a face and heart,
Yet she is an island apart.

Her hands were tucked away, but I knew
What fleshly scores of pain she’d come to.

Do they realize they are killers?
Do their words still further chill her?
They have partaken of the fruit;
Adams and Eves, they all are mute.

Perhaps the fault is not with them
Perhaps they are not to be condemned.
Perhaps the evil is that light
Which shines on their tears in the night.
Such a mighty blow from light so small-
A light that makes ghosts of them all.


NOTE: While this poem does not depict my own experience, it is inspired by others’ experiences, particularly the unbearably large number of students who committed suicide during my time in high school due to bullying. This is meant to pay those students homage, even if only to warn others of the trap that consumed them.