Last night I died
A sacrifice to self
My stomach emptied its contents
My breath came in gasps
My skin oozed the stink-sweat of death
As the husk of what was lie still
The Eye appeared before me
It judged me, and I knew my failures
Then a voice drew me near
Fearless, it said
And a thought found me, whatever I was:
Why do you act fearlessly
When you are so afraid?
Deep in trance I could not respond
But could only reflect upon
And tears fell from my dead eyes
A reel of actions was displayed before me
I saw consequences I could not have dreamed to be
It was like watching the branches of a tree grow
Like watching an asymmetrical pond ripple
A mushroom cloud of a life
My lidless eyes could not look away from the waste
“I don’t want this!” I cried wordlessly

The Eye became a Mouth with many teeth and wicked lips
It spoke these words

Sacrifice to become
Become what you are
Deny all else and cast it aside
All illusions of being
Become the nothing that you are
There can be no return

Yes, my anima said

All at once I was submerged in thick liquid that held me paralyzed
Tiny fish-like beings began to pick at my flesh, tearing away pieces of me
Something took my teeth
I thought it would never end
A realization of how far I’ve strayed
Until at last I stood again, and hairless, new flesh, red and raw began to form over my exposed bones
Teeth pushed through my bleeding gums
My eyes ached as if they’d never been used
I was whole
Lighter than before
And I breathed deeply for the first time

As I stood on my feet, weakened but stronger than ever before
I saw my love
Smiling at me
He wrapped me in his arms and said
Now everything can be okay

I died last night
And became myself
I am not what I was
And cannot return
To a face that is not my own
The goblin in the mirror smiles at me
And now
I smile back, unashamed

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.


“And Don’t Forget to Smile”

Morning, up
Bedhair stumbles to sink
Teeth brushed
Clothes in dryer
Seek coffee
Bleary eyes try to focus
Weary mind tries to remember
While the heart tries to forget
Another day in paradise
Another day in hell
Focus now
Build grocery lists
Push shopping carts
Put on uniforms
Clock in
And don’t forget to smile
There’s always tomorrow

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“Good Medicine”

There’s a truth that betrays me, or rather,
A truth that I deny, and thus betray myself
In this, I am no different from anyone
Not even those I admire
Each truth is different
That thing that we refuse to accept
Because it’s more unpleasant

If we, or I, or you
Accepted our own truths
Took the harshness of reality
Instead of running from it, or
Trying to cover it like a bad smell
We would be more understanding

Life isn’t supposed to be constantly pleasing
But reality is supposed to be real

A bitter little truth
Is good for the soul

Whereas denial
Brings only self-deception

I, for one, will not stagnate in a pool of my shortcomings

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.


I’m tired
Of watching them try too hard
Attempting to wrap strands of gossamer around the mundane
As if that makes something poetic
I’m tired
Of watching the little talent I see
Spent attempting to be pretentious
I’m tired
Of watching fools pretend brilliance
And the brilliant escape responsibility by feining ignorance
I’m tired
Of cleaning up after children
whose parents failed at teaching
I’m tired
Of being responsible for those
Who have too little self-love
To tend themselves
I’m tired
Of smiling
At the man who waits for opportunity
Who undresses me while I pour his drink
I’m tired
Of cheery Good Mornings
Thinly masking bitter grudges
I’m tired
Of self-medicating
To do it again tomorrow
I’m tired
Of being strapped into the corporate machine
For another day, another dollar
Another night
Another ache
Another disappointment
Another lowering of expectation

I think
My spoiled, pink meat,
My weakened, flaccid brain
Needs a vacation
That my identity can’t afford

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“Seasonal Shift in an Old Country Home”

The mice and I are feuding again
It seems I’ve been remiss
In leaving them food
And so
They now chew loudly
At something in the walls
Like tiny prolific puppies in want of attention
Leaving little poops on my floor
As if to mock my efforts at extermination
The joke’s on them
For they may be many
But I am quite mad
Whatever sanity or dignity I once possessed
Was sacrificed long ago
For far less than this contest of wills
I will be triumphant
If I have to burn this old house to the ground

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“A Place Called Home”

Deep down we all yearn for a place that feels like home

A bed with the imprint of our bodies
A blanket that smells of someone who loves you
That picture you bought at a flea market because it made you smile
Where cabinets are organized to your specification
The cat that yowls until you give it the attention it no longer wants
A place that you never want to leave
A place that you’ll always come back to
A place where you belong
Without pretense,
Without posturing
A place of true freedom and peace
A chaotic flash of children bursting through the screen door
The sound of the city you know
Or the call of the owl you never see
The smell of her cooking
The smell of his socks
The laughter of friends
Or the quiet of isolation
“Home” can be anywhere
As long as there is love

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.