Oh, but I’ve embraced a frown
And painted all the world in black
And turned my smile upside-down
And mourned for everything I lack

And thus was I the dagger held
And, too, the turning back
The hope to not see light dispelled
And, too, the dark’s attack

Woeful, I have braced the doors
And painted all the portals red
And sang the songs of “Nevermore”
And followed not, but always led

And thus was I the faded map
And, too, the path I tread
The one who feared it all a trap
And, too, the plotted dread

Thus, I wake and wonder now
What map, today, I seem to hold
A map of what could be and how
A map to ropes and bowing bough
To honest words or breaking vow
To kneeling low or courtly bow
To what I wish or back to what I sold



If my nose were missing
Would you treat me as if I
Were just a snake forever hissing
Just a pest that needs to die?

…Or would you so embrace
The imperfections of my face
And all the flaws I can’t erase
And see instead, the parts that cannot be replaced?

If my hands were mangled
Would you treat me as if I
Were just a monster to be strangled
And discarded like a fly?

…Or would you try to hold
Me knowing well how very cold
It is when empathy is sold
And by our blemishes, our value is controlled?


Words can hurt as much as heal
Convey the pain and pride you feel
Or else, your courage, they can steal
Defend or decimate what’s real

Words withheld can mollify
Or make us think it’s all a lie
Or leave us lost when asking why
And silence is the one reply

Words we offer mean as much
As any reassuring touch
As any fist or broken crutch
As any promise that we clutch

Words refused are like a thirst
That leaves us dying, cold and cursed
And begging that you just converse
For otherwise we oft assume the worst


I understand the slip
The blade you held was not borne of intention
I understand the drift
The force that so compels
The wind behind the sails of your invention

I understand the sound
The one that emanates from your inflection
I understand the ground
That saw you pivot ’round
And set your feet upon secure direction

I understand the plight
The burden of the coin before it lands
I understand the sight
The wondering of hope
To fear it’s just a rope
A tether that will bind you where you stand

I understand the loss
The sound that isn’t where it used to be
I understand the cost
As vision must exchange
The left from the remains
The fear that this what we choose to see

I understand the words
The ones you aren’t speaking but you think
I understand the urge
The want you so resist
The ones you know persist
That linger in your eyes with every blink

I understand the facts
The ones we’re not accepting as we should
I understand the cracks
That litter our intent
And leave us feeling bent
As we deny the one we understood

I understand the dark
The one that’s growing deeper with abscission
I understand the spark
That struggles to remain
For still my hands sustain
Unwavering intent to keep your vision

I understand it’s hard
The push you need to give when still I pull
I understand the cards
Are not we expected
The vision so reflected
Could take our half-filled selves and make them full