Purple Balloon

This purple balloon
spit with wet lips
filled with hot air to maximum capacity
bulbous and breathtaking in the space it makes
and takes
without asking.

This purple balloon
tied with a string
straining toward the ceiling
wanting to touch the fluorescent light
just to see what happens.

This purple balloon
breeding more static
into electricity
causing gravity to rebel
in the rubbing hair of passerby
trailing its string from thing to thing
draping its arrogance
into the center of your attention
without thinking.

This papier mache
torn from pieces of infinite care
torn from pieces of wretched think
the fingers sure and staunch with destruction
jagged edges and smooth intermingle
inside the blue bowl soup.

Each slick piece
waxed to the balloon
spread with sticky adhesive
chunks of newsprint slathered like egg whites
onto the surface

Each slick piece born from honest work
painful missteps
creative choices
the words repeated on one strip full of step-by-step instruction
others experienced with time and influx
of crunchy expulsion

The blurring of paper into grey matter
the layering of life
work
missteps
choices
words
time

drying and curling into a new balloon-shaped being
in grateful preparation for the prick

of the needle.

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Set Free

It wasn’t pretty, parts of my days
burnt my skin and scratched my veins

blew quite literally from my mouth
pinched my heart and ripped like cloth

the vision I had to sustain
the colors I clutched at desperately to see

were pointed at to me by you
your fingers found that they could bleed.

The tearing of our flesh and sound
our metaphysical seams

was necessary to find this light
that I can finally see.

I wonder where I’d actually be
if you hadn’t helped me along
if you hadn’t shown me the truth of pain

Would I be lost?
Would I be gone?

Your truth I can gladly see
is knotted at my ankle

it knocks me down when I am dumb
and flies me higher than I expect

it never drops me on my head
but shows me the ground I’ll find instead

it tugs and holds me in the comfort way
the swaddling warmth I need

it reaches for me when I’m down
and hands me air I need to breathe.

The fingers bleed and the truth tightens
the flesh still red and raw

But my flesh is mine and your blood is yours
it’s malleable and strong

The world is bigger than it seemed
and chances are scattered ahead

No longer buried beneath my burden
I am set free

and I am here.

And I Return

Haven’t seen you in ten years
Your hair has changed, your face is fatter
But your eyes are still curled at the edges.

Your teeth are crooked,
Your stomach wider
Your thighs growing ever in the wrong direction.

But look at the way wise shines in your skin
The pallor of experience changing hands with pale and tan.

The bracelets on your wrist don’t fit anymore,
The charms too bulky and cross.
The eye that watches is blinded now
You can walk off the edge of unknown.

Now you balance on your toes
Once more the ballerina
Once more the clown for the pose
Your ankles criss-crossed with purple warnings.

Your chalk lines on the carpet smudge your elbows
As you rise
And sink the sweltering pile of panic
Behind you.

Suck on the words of indecision
Swallow the pride and chew on the choices
Blowing bubbles of brightly colored goals
Taking polaroids of your face for posterity

There is no more learning if these moments aren’t captured

There are clouded pillows on the foggy ground
Your face-first land is not deathly

But prepare yourself for what is to be found.

This Life

I want the wish to last
the crystalline clouds hanging over trees of ashes
no less composed than the crayola sunshine on the paper
in front of us.

I want the picture to real
the smiles we plaster to melt when they’re wet
the hands we hold warm and perpetually fused together
as we stare into the open air
ready to face the world.

I want the change to change me
the foreign wakefulness of sleep
the chance to dream in REM stages
the bedding I choose to suit me for me

I want the newness of life, this life
to rip the wrong right out of me.