(In Memory of Ned Vizzini)

I’m cleansed in fire, born in flame
among the siblings born for blame.
in boiling water, I could claim
to be someone without a name


It feels so good to boil, to sit in scalding water and wonder what another life is like. I’m almost surprised sometimes, at the egg-timer’s eighth chime, that so much has passed. To leave is to embrace the soft-boiled shell with no gold hidden within, but to stay is to surrender. It feels so good to boil, though, even through the searing pain. I even twist for the heat, as if maybe I’ll be pretty once something’s burned away. It hurts to imagine imperfection, even when the mirror shows it up front, but it feels so good to boil.


a phoenix finds a life in fire,
but I just see it burning higher
with fuel of failure and desire;
eggs and ashes – poor man’s pyre.


If heroes die to mortal wounds, how long do legends echo? Romantic words may feel okay, but that’s all I’ll ever be, I think. And I think. And I boil. At least, with the curtain closed, nothing else matters. Simplicity reigns, and my skin peels off. I don’t bleed – that would complicate things – but I think it might be pretty if I did. It’s hard to see these feet in shoes that don’t fit anyone else’s eyes, but what more could I expect from an eight and a half dollar disguise? It washes off. And I boil.


I know I’m but a mile away,
at least, that’s what my people say,
but I might never see the day
that I will truly feel okay.


The first step is always the hardest. Changing habits, breaking strides, progress, entering, leaving, living. I believe in ghosts now – breathing, silent, invisible, just like me, but I’m like them, and I’m glad they can’t see me. I learned the trade of day-by-day from an expert, but he too fell prey. His demons aren’t mine, but I hope mine didn’t learn from his. Mine are scared of steam, and live in my skin. I burn them out and zombie-walk toward the next purge. Day by day.


a foggy mirror fears no flaws,
ignores the clenching fingers’ jaws,
denies the problem, not the cause,
but that’s enough to be my Oz.


I’d write more, but I hear four stories can kill. Footsteps in air leave no echo, only daughters and regret. I bet a heartbeat’s ring could pierce traffic and falling water, heat aside. Badoom. Badoom. I live. Live. Live.

Live. Live.



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