The pain of uncertainty,
The vacuum of unattested misery,
The dread of a tomorrow marinated in bitter drudgery.

I’m shackled to the floor where I stand.

Where should I go?

Where should I hide?

Why should I hide?

When everywhere I turn
my face looks back at me,
telling me to
go back
where I stand,
where I am,
where I belong,
where I am only allowed to exist under
the shadow of who I should have been
becoming–

The floor threatens to swallow me
with every clink of the chain;
I am not even allowed the illusion ofΒ breaking free.

My chest hurts from the weight of
breaths held;
I am free to breathe,
but I cannot,
because freedom is poison
that takes your hand
and leads you through
wildflowers,
and riverbanks,
and the back streets of Venice,
and kisses your hand under the
moonlight,

only to disappear
with the first pen strokes of day.

I am tired of trying to find light,
only to find the light at the end of the tunnel to be the glint of
the mirror, telling me I am right back where I started.

Is this it?

This, is this it?

I promised myself the world;

I talk about words being said,
promises not being kept–

But sometimes,
an important part of growing up
is realizing
that sometimes,

we make promises we thought we could
keep.

Because we have been made to believe that the world is ours.

That if the world is not ours
right now,

it will be.

With hardwork.
Or prayer.
Or wishing on stars.

We don’t realize how bitter
lies taste on the tongue
until the dishes we serve
end up finding their way into
our own mouths.

A part of growing up
is realizing

that

the world can never be ours,

for a slave is not allowed the audacity to own
its master;

We are the world’s,
shackled through and through,

Allowed to dream of flying
but not allowed to bid adieu,

Allowed a view of the stars
but never allowed to break through.

The sooner the light dims into a memory,
The sooner the chains feel like an
accessory–

The sooner captivity burns less like a treachery;

A part of growing up
is realizing

that

the sooner freedom blurs into an illusion,
the sooner acceptance beckons as the
solution;

How far have you run
before looking down at your feet
stepping over your own footprints?

How far have you danced
to the rhythm of the melody
of a broken radio?

How far have you made yourself believe
before looking up “believe” in the dictionary?

Tomorrows and yesterdays
don’t seem that different,
when todays can only go so far
as a futile arm’s reach to the sky;

A part of growing up
is realizing

that

the chafes on your wrist can’t hurt that much–
lying on your back, not chafing it at all.

–Β “Prisoner”

LL.

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