Under the burden of the wind she cowers
Squinting through the red dust
That circles her in a taunting suspicion.
Crimson nothingness erecting the moon’s illusive tides
In which each cold gust fate had blown.
Wind, that tastes of the bitter turn of Autumn,
That cries as she cries now.
Pounding against all that sees her dull eye,
Intertwining, encrusting the fractures of her spine,
Noosing her chest to the promise of the future
And limb to affliction of the past.
Embracing her fair neck under the omniscient moon,
Like a snare coated by nature’s damp concealment,
Binding her to what she has not overcome.
Under the burden of the wind she cowers.
Red dust builds as jagged nails stab at her cheek
The vigor in her neck,
The shade of her breast,
Hiding as red dust hardens to stone,
Locking her feet in chilling soil to where she denied escape.
Frozen within the blinding Autumn night,
Rising to the beauty ignorance was sworn to perceive.
And yet, evermore, she remains still.
Around her toes, this red dust is threaded,
‘Tween her wrists, the wind is bound.
Under the stone, she hides nevermore,
A magnificence mistaken in judging eyes of self-reflection
Not the thriving rose, but its trusted stem,
With lips untouched by this deep flush, paled in its own stunning victory;
A craft from her gentle curl of splendor’s compassion
For the petals of that rose.
The rose that which she grips
‘Tween the stone
Through the red dust
And under the burden of the wind.
Who am I, who strides the dirt with dollars on my heels?
Who disregards reality society reveals?
Deriving specious wisdom from the ignorance of night
Amused by shameful mockery the media deems right
Who am I, neglecting hands to aid my crooked spine?
Assume constructive alms are placed to renovate what’s mine
Who am I to tremble ‘fore the thought of redesign,
When notions of my turning point will lead to my decline?
Who am I to stand before a Prophet of the just,
When fleeting, shameful doubt ignites the oil on this rust?
Set aflame by reasoning to prominently live
When all in his returning gaze is power to forgive
Who is he who molds upon conformities of earth?
Who strives with love and confidence to prove what we are worth
Whose pleasure dwells in charity, to cure this wordly cause
Whose hope dwells in humanity, in what I am, or was
What is life, if not a sign to roll up both your sleeves
And struggle to enforce the words his humbleness conceives
And though I cannot touch the hand of wisdom’s mortal cast,
His words imply that “who am I” shall never ‘gain be asked
I’m a fierce endorser of the truths I trust as clear
I’m a voice that’s singing words that everyone will hear
I’m a child born of dawn who ventures to the night
Converting nonbelievers to the innocence of light
I stepped before a Prophet, and I lie awake tonight
And trust that, when the morning breaks, then peace will reunite
It’s funny how the mind works. At one moment, you could be completely and undoubtedly stable. And the next? Unstable. But I’m only using that word as a euphemism, a polite replacement to a word I’d never imagined my hands to scratch on paper. My “unstable” mind has been to Satan’s basement and bedroom and back, and I think I deserve the deception of this situation’s intensity. But then again, as my back leans against this cool, white, brick wall, as my fingers create for you this confession that which you believe is merely a story, I’m bound to realize that I began writing this for release. And keeping this word locked in Satan’s sock drawer will not allow my unstable mind the full extent of a release.
No. It’s funny how the mind works. At one moment, you could be completely and undoubtedly stable. And the next?
You see, I comprehend this particular reality: that to you sane minds reading this confession, it’s nothing more than a work of art. But before I utter another word of truth, let you grasp the understanding that this is my life. This is real. This is real, even if this is not.
It’s funny how the mind works. As I lay against the cold wall, carved by ice, it seems, fingers scratching what I can on this crumbled paper with this stolen pen, I hear Him again.
He’s here. He’s in this room.
The walls are so light, it’s blinding. The walls, the floor, the leaking ceiling, the slowly circling fan. It even smells white, like that revolting scent of alcohol at the hospital. But with each step He takes – slow, calm, and as loud as gunshots – the walls, I swear to you, fade to grey in contrast. My eyes squint to see Him clearly. Though His skin in your reality is as mundane as the skin of a passing pedestrian, to me His skin shines with a light indigestible to mortal eyes.
If you had seen it, you would know.
If you were blessed with the curse of witnessing the phenomenon, or cursed with the blessing for the same ordeal, you’d understand.
The walls are truly fading. They are fading to every faded color on the color spectrum, a sight only slightly unbelievable, to me at least. Hell, I hardly notice. Each brick, a different faded color: blue, purple, orange, red. They practically display a washed out color pallet as He emits a light so blinding that I scramble to the blended corner and hide my face.
“Shh,” He says.
“Shh,” He keeps saying.
“Shh,” He says over and over and over until the suffocated sounds resulting from His mere presence stop.
Why tears are leaking from my eyes? I’ve yet to confirm the sold reason. Could very well be from simply the mere absolution of His being, a sensation that leaves me writhing in wonder and fear and intrigue and pain and love.
My face is still hidden in those bricks so cold that it’s as if they were carved from ice. My face, my freezing tears, my pale cheeks and white lips and shut eyes are still hidden.
Until I feel warmth gingerly touch my chin. A beautiful eruption of soothing, warm tranquility shoots up and down my body still hidden in those bricks so cold, it’s as if they were carved from ice. They are fingers. Smooth, long, soft fingers. His fingers. Fingers which then connect to a shoulder that frame a chest that balance on legs and feet that all belong to him.
The intrigue of a man who is hardly and everything that which a man is, who lives in the scrambled corridors of my mind, should certainly not reach such a distinct intensity, for if anything, health purposes. There he sits, in the darkened, shattered hallway connecting my brain to my senses, a mutual home so tattered that it’s as if it had been struck by Hurricane Katrina.
He hits, crouched, shushing me to the cliff edge of comfort, living in my mind and my veins, and the white walls and the leaking ceiling and just about everything else reality holds in its discreetness.
See, if I had learned anything from my time in this institution, it had been that there is truly a thin line between what is reality and what is not. There it lies, hardly noticeable, dividing the moment you awake from your intoxicating lucid dreams. And if I had learned anything more, it had been that that great divide which we are blessed from birth to acquire had abandoned me somewhere along my journey to Satan.
Everything is reality, and everything is not.
He is real, He is alive, He breathes the same air we are engineered to breathe, and yet He does not. I live just as He, and you and your family and yet I do not. That which is labeled as true is very well merely a story the human mind had configured. Understand: everything I say is real. Everything I say is not.
Mind you, I did once obtain that line which marks my conscious as one to blossom. I was once stable, or sane if you prefer that term. Before the war, before the blood shed from a man by the hand of another. Before I had witnessed it all. Before He appeared through the mist of my tattered innocence. What was my reality, if not the only one I knew to be true?
See, I was engaged to be married. Me! Married to a man so sane that, considering the present outcome, it’s verging on ironic. He was everything an eighteen year old romanticist would dream of, just out of college and as handsome as those topless men you’d find on a Nora Roberts novel. Oh, what a man he was.
In a funny way, he had shaken my world before my world had legitimately tilted off its axis. At the same time, he sobered me to the wonderful chapter of maturity. A new chapter, that which I had heard of second handedly, but never experienced. Have I yet experienced that chapter? Had I yet written in those black pages? Had I ventured into that land so secretive and mysterious, hidden behind a wall of blinding fog? Not with him, you can presume. Not with him. Not with the man I had so naively opened my heart to during a raging battle between brothers.
God knows I had learned much in romance. It is quite unbelievably unfortunate: how much I had learned.
Two weeks before the wedding. It happened then. The assumed turning point, or the date that which the hurricane struck. It’s funny; I had been suppressing the memory for so long that attempting to remember is as futile as regenerating a car lost in quick sand. It’s trapped in the suffocating embrace of that liquid, hovering just above absolute ruin. And yet, the line I had cast for that almost sunken dream shines the smallest ray of hope for survival. Look, the quick sand is melting!
I was worried, in the beginning of this confession, that when I had veered closer to this inevitable point, I would be unable to gather the pieces of the memory. Even worse than that case: I worried that even if I were to gather it, the jagged edges of that broken recollection would reopen old wounds and spiral me directly back to the condition in which I had begun. You realize, I presume, some things are meant to be kept broken. Some memories are best left forgotten. We all have those memories. I’m not the only one with regrets.
Nonetheless, the quick sand is melting. I feel it. And you know, it feels slightly good to start remembering, even though I realize that He is here remembering with me. Not he, but He. The one who is strangely silent at the moment. Observing, always observing.
It had occurred two weeks before the wedding. I had neglected all womanly worries most brides would drown themselves in. My mother’s adequate wedding dress was stowed away in my closet, protected by the sheer plastic it was engulfed in. Though I recall the bold, erupting excitement I felt regarding my wedding, the only bonding I currently had on my mind was the bonding of the bandages on my soldiers’ bloodied bodies.
I worked as a nurse, yes, but it was more than merely an occupation; it had become my identity. My disgust had grown numb toward the grotesque images I had seen on a regular bases, and nothing but determination thrived from there. In a way, I suppose the pain a regular human would feel during the exposure of such gore was, like so many other aspects of my existence, suppressed. Bottled up, like carbonation trapped by the slim walls of a glass bottle and capped. In turn, I suppose, the determination rocketing my success as a nurse shoot that bottle with every hardly-surviving soldier I aided. The only blockage between my nadir and I was the need for my soldiers’ wellbeing. My soldiers’ and my husband’s.
… Oh God, it’s so close. God. I almost with He would start talking to distract me from myself. From my own mind, and memories.
Ha, tears are streaming down my face. They’re dropping on this paper. I hope they won’t blend the ink.
But I remember. I remember so fucking well that broken feeling during which my composure, my soul, and my sanity were all shattered into the vast oblivion. Everything I had ever worked for, in one moment, dissolved into the pain I had been suppressing for so many years as a nurse.
I was visiting one of my favorite patients, Marcus. He always made me smile, despite the physical and mental destruction we both knew he lied in. It’s safe to say he was one of the largely contributing factors to my equanimity. Who was I to be weak when someone chained to the inevitable brink of death sill managed a beautiful smile?
We were laughing. What about, I forget. Maybe the weather, maybe my wedding. Something ordinary. But one of my colleague nurses swung open the thin white sheet separating Marcus from another patient. She told me my fiancé was on the phone, asking for me. Urgently.
I couldn’t recall the last urgent message I received from him, while he was the only tranquil control in my life. I threw Marcus a quick half-smile goodbye and followed the nurse to the main office, where the main phone was kept. I placed the phone to my ear and asked my fiancé what was wrong.
As seconds passed, silence rang on the other line, quickening my typically stable heartbeat with precognitive confusion. I heard him breathe my name.
He sounded weak. Hurt. Like the soldiers I try to aid before they are stolen by stillness. Worry held the air in a tense, iron embrace. “What’s going on?” I asked, scared, struggling to keep the ground from falling beneath me. He didn’t respond. I asked again and again, each time with more hysterical urgency sneaking into my voice.
He said my name again and, oh God, he sounded weaker. “Run,” he breathed. “Get out. The soldiers. Run.” And then I heard the utterly terrible ring of silence, suggesting the only thing that can uncap that bottle holding me. I gripped the phone to my ear and screamed his name. My hands grasped the edge of the table on which the phone was held and I screamed his name again, willing him, begging him with the shear force of my absolution to say my name back. I vaguely heard footsteps behind, and vaguely felt worried hands gripping my arms. But reality’s silence grabbed and knife and thrust it into my back, unleashing the screams for my husband.
And before I could take account of his last words, I felt the ring of the quiet dancing on the back of my neck.
And then I felt the fire, slamming me against the wall behind and shattering everything else I held dear to me.
The fire, the bomb.
Debris fell from the ceiling that was no longer there. I laid there staring up, feeling nothing but the ringing silence and the numbness to my life’s ruin. It smelled of destruction. I smelled the metallic scent of blood. Maybe my blood, maybe not. Could I move? I couldn’t think. But I tried. First my fingers, then my toes. I breathed and closed my eyes. When I could, I gathered what was left of my physical strength and pushed myself off of the bed of debris.
The room and the ruin spun around my cracked head.
Oh God, the pain. The pain I felt. I had no idea a human could feel this much pain. A pain so strong that the grey, red, and other miscellaneous colors I could have seen were blotched by a searing, white color. But I ignored it. I balanced my body on my hands and knees and crawled slowly out of what was left of the room. I heard nothing. But sweet God, what I saw.
My nurses, the doctors, seeing nothing, lying in their own life’s blood. My soldiers, stolen by death before nature could prevail. And Marcus… where was his smile? Where was the gleam in his eyes? His right leg and part of his chest, and his eyes’ gleam and his beautiful smile were stolen, stolen by the bomb.
I was the only one, they later said. The only one that survived. But, you see, I didn’t survive. I was as much taken by that bomb as Marcus was. Staring down at his unbelievably torn body, a laugh leaked from the bottomless pit by which my heart was replaced.
I laughed and laughed and laughed. I laughed at the destruction around me. I laughed at the torn, bloodied bodies I once aided. I laughed at the outcome of my wedding, at the outcome of my husband, of my life. I laughed so hard that tears finally leaked from my eyes.
And then, through the dust clouding my late workplace and home, over the bodies I shared coffee and smiles and words with, I saw Him. For the first time.
It’s funny, I thought he was God at first. And then I realized, why would God have the nerve to peer at what became of his children? No, he wasn’t God.
He was close though.
He is close.
He stood there, staring at me with those colorless and blinding eyes. I don’t remember if his feet were touching the ground or not. The aura in which he was engulfed was so white and heavenly that I don’t even know if I noticed it.
Then, with the will of his gaze, I swear to you, my wounds closed instantly. I stood with strength I had no idea I obtained. My feet left the ground and I’m telling you, his gaze carried me in an embrace warmer than any I’d received, and more comforting than my husband had ever been. Ha, I guess I was cheating. I should probably feel guilty.
But then, I didn’t feel anything. Just blackness. And that’s all I was. Blackness.
And here I am.
Countless years later. Writing this confession on this crumbled paper with this stolen pen, Him watching my every move.
His name? I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t tell you my name either. I couldn’t tell you if Marcus’ name was really Marcus if I was ever really a nurse, or if I was ever really engaged. Maybe I was born in this institution, into the brick walls and under the leaking ceiling with that slowly circling fan. I can’t tell you my father’s last name, or if I have any sisters. But this is my story. Believe everything I say, or don’t if you prefer. They are both intelligent actions. They are both suggested in this case.
But I promise you this.
Everything I say is real. Everything I say is not.
Deceitful white walls are now veering intent
A spark to the readily drying cement
With hair set aflame by the rage of revolt
Each laugh adding men to insanity’s cult
Grabbed by the threatening hand of their god
Now sparked by their anger, once frozen and awed
A god? Beg to differ, control has been cracked
Now a façade, that portrays she’s intact
But no, the machinery’s falling apart
Oil that bleeds from her penniless heart
The hands on the clocks point to iron offense
I’m gliding on edge of the cliff of suspense
For while the tension ties most of us down
This man with the laugh is now claiming his crown
And while the flame in our hands start to ache
He opens his arms and the walls start to break
A moment behind’s now a mere broken truth
A moment we shared in our curled, broken youth
A leap from a girl striding six years behind
Who favors a man spent embracing her mind
This channel of love’s their conspicuous path
A crime by the hand of fate’s prosperous wrath
They stride on the edge, on the side of the blade
Catching each fault on their silent parade
During this moment of hesitant touch
With fear that a moment too soon’s just too much
They faltered with awe on this newfound terrain
And braided their fingers to steady the rain
Their new sense of certainty braced with their height
That they were each other’s if just for one night
All of the stories of love that she’s heard
She’s now bringing truth to each spirited word
They tread through the waters, propelled by their trust
Fueled by their hope and their hesitant lust
Elongated seconds that last their parade
Let romance imagine the morning’s mislaid
A moment’s a moment, as swift as the last
That seems its eternal ‘till moment has passed
See, time lapses quickly in yesterday’s eye
Only when dawn’s noticed breaking the sky
This channel was warmed by the fire they drew
Blind to their air fire penetrates through
The fire had died when a boulder had neared
When leaped back to land, all the warmth disappeared
A moment’s a moment, the best she has known
Now, free from the moment, she feels so alone
Without fire’s fever to cradle her high
She sinks to the concrete, suppressing her cry
The moment that’s passed is now carved into stone
A memory kept to not feel so alone
Through written words, where their romance is sworn
To wait for the rekindled moment reborn
Love is a difficult concept to hold
When a question of purity threatens to mold
With varying moments of levels of doubt
What’s this deceptive perfection about?
It’s almost as trying to sum up a word
And scratch it on paper to never be heard
Or seen in the eyes of your clandestine love
Or known in his heart, of the words you write of
See, love has a current so rarely controlled
So strain to evade its resilient hold
So build your resistance, a durable shield
And try to defy the force fondness will yield
Suddenly, though, one’s love broke through my dam
And morphed me to love being all that I am
I’d walk ‘cross the water that broke through my shield
If it means my affection’s no longer concealed
One day I will bury you in my embrace
I’ll feel your soft fingertips grazing my face
If just for a moment, three feet off the ground
I’ll melt to your voice’s sweet, serenely sound
A feeling has conquered the best of my cause
My on-flowing reason now halts in a pause
My future is paved by this humbling man
And I’ll lead to love him, as best as I can
I told myself repeatedly I wouldn’t fear the sun
That as it’s crawling through the shades, I’d pause before I run
And stand directly ‘fore the rays of day’s appalling light
And smile through the misery that’s severing my sight
Through the dark, exquisite night, before the twilight falls
I’d gather all my strength, and then I’d build defensive walls
I’d shape a brace around my spine to aid my bended back
And breathe in luminescent light, supplying strength I lack
The whispers thickening the black will hug my weightless hand
Convincing absent rays of love they’ll shame the place they stand
And words of notice serenade in night’s undying preach
That one mere glance of notice is how for I’ll ever reach
Suppress the ache for something waiting farther than these walls
And realize it’s bound to be when prospect never calls
But notwithstanding tendency of midnight’s brutal truth
The weight will make me recognize the innocence of youth
That though I bathe in darkness of the ancient, handsome night
Vibrant to my base, I am a child born of light
And though the mask of sundown holds the will to make me strong
The brilliance of morning is the home, which I belong
So as I stand with courage ‘tween these still and silent walls
And slowly, slowly, slowly, as the threat of morning falls
The walls that once were dimming are now touched by warmth of sun
I lift my arms above my head and, darkness, I have won
Just for a moment, I’m once again found
My feet momentarily touching the ground
Been more than forever since shoved from cloud nine
Fallen from heaven, a home I called mine
If just for a moment, before you reply,
I’d like to confess my heart’s still in the sky
There it remains, on the stand side our bed
Along with the promise of bliss in my head
I guess I was blind from the haze of our love
Or faint from no oxygen miles above
I guess the light shining around us was fake
Bound by the halo you took time to make
Guess I’m momentarily trapped by your spell
Forging a heaven that’s clearly a hell
In settings somehow just a breath from sun’s shine
Fooling my eyes on exquisite cloud nine
Through years since I’ve fallen, I’ve morphed to a soul
That’s practically soulless, a vapid black hole
Is now momentarily filled in my chest
But solitude’s pain is, in truth, for the best
‘Cause, moments ago, when I saw my reflection
I realized that I now decide my direction
I don’t need your lies to protect my frail youth
From this moment on, I’m defined by the truth
Your ice walls are crumbling, melting at last
But now I have vanished, the moment has passed
And you’ll walk this earth with a tear in your eye
And each moment wonder and glance at the sky
She’s looked upon with jealousy by those who pass her by
An angel drenched in innocence, compassion in her eye
But, that’s not just compassion causing her brown eyes to glint
She’d paralyze them into shock if they all caught a hint
When other eyes are shielded, silence simply sitting still
A shattered cry is broken lose, pain strong enough to kill
Waterfalls of tears fall free, leaking from her heart
Pathetic, worthless, stupid, strange, each word tears her apart
The liquid running through her veins has lost a sense of truth
Her eyes are dull, expressionless, neglecting her sweet youth
She’ll always be pathetic, she’ll always be alone
And what they see’s not what she felt, instead its what she’s shown
A flower bloomed, so beautiful, is none but one lone weed
A nun that’s praying to a God in whom she’ll never creed
A wolf that yearns to stray alone, but leader of the pack
When eyes are once more glued to her, a smile’s plastered back
She’s dealt for years and time again that life just isn’t fair
She comes back home into a place where Mom just doesn’t care
She’s waiting for the day when she can watch you from above
But it’s okay, ‘cause she is just the girl you’re jealous of
I yearn for the pain just to know I can feel
And misery’s blessing confirming I’m real
To know that the teardrops that run through my soul
Aren’t the scars from your torturous toll
I live for the screams that I scream as I fall
‘Cause living for pain isn’t living at all
In agony’s shadow, I dwell where it’s cast
Called by the future but locked to the past
Come in on a secret but swear you won’t tell
My eyes display nothing I fell from this hell
I’m burning, I’m yearning relief from the pain
To shower you’re love but not drown in your rain
‘Cause every damn time someone calls our your name
I fall back again; I’m in love all the same