WE ARE Narcissus

I have tried to write my story many times and have never been able to get far. I always go over my words again and again, editing and polishing and getting caught in the obsessive intricateness of arranging lyrical phrases. I am hoping that writing this online and posting as I go will keep me pressing forward.

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13. Selected High School Poems

I’m sorry is ONE:

Sorry for all the times I just had to run;

Sorry for the all the trouble I so conveniently disguised as fun.

 

TWO is goodbye:

For the tears we all cry;

The endless, hopeless romantic sighs,

And the song the wolf sings, his nose to the sky.

The people we meet, who still dream to fly.

 

And I love you is THREE:

It’s the channel to the heart, that sets all the rest free.

 Carousel

 

Slowly, softly, I fade away;

Slowly, surely, they forget my name.

I watch, invisibly, as the world around me changes;

Round sky spinning above me, the king's hounds hunting in their starry
ranges. *

This is the way it is, the way it will be forever;

Season fading into season, but the pass of time ebbing never.

There's nothing I can do, nothing I can say,

Because it doesn't belong to me, not a single moment of your day.

I know I'm not perfect, I've never tried to be;

But it's something engrained in my nature, the never ending battle, forever
a part of me.

Now I'm spinning in circles, watching the world go by;

Wishing that somewhere, along life's vast, cold expanses, stood someone as
all alone as I.

It's a breath of fresh air that makes everything bearable;

The smile in your eyes, the incongruence of troubles insurmountable, and
joys unattainable.

Impossible dreams only leave you starving, for life you've only pretended to
live;

The sorrows will run you into the ground, when you realize you've got
nothing left to give.

That’s how it is, the way it’s supposed to be;

I hate myself but I’m in love with you and me.

Fading slowly, fading fast;

I keep your smile locked, untarnished, in my heart, because I know it won’t last.

But then again, perhaps I should keep this moment of silence unbroken while
it's still mine;

Because I'd be far too embarrassed to show anyone, this sad, stupid rhyme.

*allusion to a myth that King Arthur was cursed to search the stars forever
for the Holy Grail with his two grey hounds.

 

Watercolor Dreams

 

I used to think, that everything was so alive, around me.

I used to dream, of other worlds, just beyond reach.

I used to think, there were dreams dancing within my seizing;

Playing upon the breeze.

And everyone said magic isn’t real, but I thought I could see it.

The moon’s just a lonely reflection on the water,

But I could stretch out my hand and hold on.

But now, I have grown, and I understand what they mean.

I still have dreams but now they’re jaded, pale and fading.

When I was younger, I was stronger;

I felt music, in everything.

But now I know it’s just a mirage.

In the blink of an eye, heaven on earth dissolves.

Drifts away in the pale morning sky.

 

All that ever was is a dream.

If only I could go back to that innocence;

That naïve bliss, that doesn’t have to miss you in every breath.

I am searching the stars, for I am haunted.

 

God, give me the strength to try again,

Because life isn’t fair.

I’ve just got to tell someone what’s on my mind,

Though I know you’re not really there,

And I’m all alone.

I’m not at home in my own mind;

It’s a dangerous place to be.

And as empty as it is, your presence is all that’s shielding me.

They all say it’s better to love and lose and move on.

First love isn’t what we’d choose,

But I don’t know how to go on living when you’re gone.

 

Innocence never lasts;

I used to dream of new worlds, but now that’s all in the past.

It all fades.

Like ghosts on the wind;

Insubstantial and frail.

The flower that withers and dies;

Dissolves into thin air, right before our eyes.

You can’t go back because life just won’t wait.

And if you stop to catch your breath, it’ll be too late.

Once upon a time we all knew how to fly.

Then someone tore out your heart,

And the only thing you can do to dull the pain, is take away mine.

It’s all just one moment;

A choice we couldn’t make right.

A silly game we can play, to try to pretend, just for tonight.

Just a breath of fresh air, for such a short space of time.

Swept away by old pain;

Forced on us by everyone who’s carried it before.

Just so we can share in the burden.

You have to be selfish to make it in this world because if you stretch out your hand,

You’ll find there’s no one there.

But no one wants to believe it so we don’t try;

We play out our petty delusions and we deny;

Lie to ourselves, until we don’t remember sight,

Because no one wants to have to face that we’re all blind.

We all want the best part, but we can’t share.

 

It’s the way things work;

It’s already been written in stone.

Everyone knows life isn’t fair,

And we all used to be carefree but now we just don’t care.

 

Another Parable in Trees

 

The first things I’ll remember to think of, are the trees:

Not the cactus, or rubber, yellow shrubs of my native land,

Nature that’s born already submissive and wilting, to cling close to wind-swept desert sands,

But the kings of trees, Alaskan mountain hemlocks, who forever whisper of longing and great distance,

And rise to tower above all others, as if it wasn’t insurmountable enough just to fight the heat for existence;

Their never-fading greens and grays, the bark cracked and peeling at the touch of a hand, like too much sun soaked into clay;

Frosty needles, and seasonal smells;

Damp, rich soil, black as night, and always with its own special fragrance,

And branches like cobwebs ever reaching, seeming to fight amongst themselves because of course they’re too proud to ask for directions, 

And yet utterly and astoundingly at peace, as only the chill of morning mists can be,

Wrapped around leaves that wind, taking a thousand courses and seeming to grope forbidding,

Like the hands of a great fear we bellow will always feel but never quite understand;

Tall, haunting, and sinister trees, like something out of a deep, murky nightmare,

Waiting to snatch at the clothes of passersby,

And remind them how truly blue is the sky,

Shining through the branches of something so old it seems like a ruin of times long forgotten,

That still stands as a reminder, until the end of time, that there is so much beauty in imperfection.

 

When I remember how I used to dream of far off places,

The first things I’ll remember to miss, are the trees:

Alaskan mountain hemlocks, imported even to sound out of place on a street called Sunrise Ranch;

I won’t remember them because they’re strong, or tall, or unshakeable,

But because they’re only human, like me.

Because no one knows why, but they always grow crooked, as if in the exhaustion of trying to stretch so tall and touch the sky,

Their will to fight gave out in just the last few inches, and now forever the kings of trees will bow their heads in silence.

And for all the courage it took, to imagine such ambitious direction, they cannot speak.

In the end, it isn’t ours to say they should have grown higher and stood on their own worth;

We all have days when we’ll stumble, and come tumbling, bowing our heads, back down to earth.

 

What I do not see, when I look at my favorite trees, is defeat;

I don’t think that they envy those who aimed lower, had an easier time walking the straight and narrow, and grew in an unwavering line,

But  imagine for a moment the courage it must take to still stand unashamed, as a testament to a moment’s weakness and failing, which undid a hundred years of trying,

And how badly, on really lonely nights when they were still small,

They must have really wanted to touch the stars, to be able to keep alive a dream so tall.

 

A Prayer for Sweet Dreams

 

One more time, I have to try to convince myself it’s not a dream;

I have to hold myself back, from wild, hungry, desperate, and violent things.

I have to break my heart with your sweet words,

And force your music to clip my wings;

Brining me sinking back down to earth.

 

And I don’t know how to make myself believe it;

The God I know wouldn’t do this thing,

Give me a heart, just to watch it bleed,

Make me a creature of love forever caged in unrealized dreams.

I know you’re afraid it’s yourself you’d be deceiving,

But I look into the future, and, boy, I just can’t see you leaving.

 

What if I let it all go, and drowned my insignificant, aching soul,

In the bright, blue, open sky shining through your eyes?

What brilliant fire would pierce through my heart,

Like a bolt of lightning giving life a new, and more real start?

 

I don’t know how to make myself believe it;

The God I know wouldn’t do this thing,

Give me a heart, just to watch it bleed,

Make me a creature of love forever caged in unrealized dreams.

I know you’re afraid it’s yourself you’d be deceiving,

But I look into the future, and, boy, I just can’t see you leaving.

 

The same old songs are wreaking havoc in my brain,

For once, my mind gone blank in an overflowing, bittersweet, blissful pain.

I want more than anything else to take this foolish chance,

Because even one perfect moment would make everything worth it;

And don’t be scared, because even if you tried, I know you could never hurt me.

 

And there’s a next step surging through my veins;

There’s an already faded glimpse of a joy too perfect to exist,

On the tip of my tongue, but impossible to explain.

The way one tiny movement could strip away the distance between us,

And all of your protests, that you could never be free in a love like this.

 

And I don’t know how to make myself believe it;

The God I know wouldn’t do this thing,

Give me a heart, just to watch it bleed,

Make me a creature of love forever caged in unrealized dreams.

I know you’re afraid it’s yourself you’d be deceiving,

But I look into the future, and, boy, I just can’t see you leaving.

 

I imagine the way my body would tremble at the slightest brush of your gentle, disbelieving lips:

The electric agony of perfection that would crown with fatality,

My first, my only, surreal and stolen kiss.

 

You’re the song wreaking havoc in my brain,

For once, my mind gone blank in an overflowing, bittersweet, blissful pain.

And all I know is, I won’t let myself believe this thing;

No force on earth will tear down all that I believe in,

No more than words can erase what my own eyes have seen.

The God I know created my heart to sing;

And in every single song I know, you’re the king.

 

And it’s this hope that keeps me smiling,

When I used to cry myself to sleep.

Back then, I could have passed you by unknowing in a crowd,

But I was searching for you, even in my dreaming.

 

Courtney’s Recipe for a Good Day

 

First off, it’s best if the ingredients never combine in exactly the same way;

There’s a new recipe to try, to find the secret to fly,

And a rebirth of fresh chances rinsed clean on your cutting board every day.

To succeed, take every breath as if it’s your last, but always learn from the past.

Add little hints of spice, never overpowering but always unexpected,

And when the pace has slowed be prepared so you’re not afraid to look ahead.

Let your actions speak with flavor but live quietly;

Hidden strength is worth the most because it’s so surprising.

Fall in love often; warm your heart so it stays softened.

And if your work needs its own distinction add a spring of mint;

Seek out that little lift of excitement to keep you interested.

Unless there’s a prize in sight, don’t play games,

And don’t forget that everyone needs at least one really good hug, once a day.

Mean every word you say, but still feel a little carefree;

Remind yourself when fun was innocent, when you caught the rain on palms held open,

And where you stepped puddles felt like ripples of joy running through your bare feet.

Avoid obvious sources of trouble;

Don’t dip your hand into the kettle with surface broken by bubbles,

And if you can help it, never make the same mistakes again;

Breathe the sunlight like gasps of fresh air flowing through your skin.

When you’re given a chance to make a new friend, smile brightly;

Keep your spirits airy, and handle big ideas often but lightly.

Sometimes we have to let it all go and just cry;

Remember to see angels in the darkness every time you blink your eyes.

When you’re most weak find a place where you can feel that you belong;

Remember nothing God makes is ever wrong.

For a boost in confidence walk and talk maybe just a little saucy;

But never sugar coat the truth, and don’t be indifferent or frosty.

If your reviews aren’t warm, don’t be daunted; laugh always when you’re most taunted.

And for some sweetness, make sure your best friend knows how much they’re needed.

Don’t wait around for preservatives to freeze what isn’t meant to keep;

If it’s time to let go, hold someone’s hand, and though it’s hard, always try to understand;

Above all, act like the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Never judge or take criticism hard because everyone has their own brand of individuality;

Be original, and never compromise your personal sense of morality.

Let your guard down with the people who really care;

Have faith it all works out for the best in the end; never assign blame, or say it isn’t fair.

Never for a moment doubt your own creation because it’s taken you this far;

Don’t regret or take back flashes of inspiration because they made you who you are.

As you work remember to pause, and lick your spoon,

Because that’s how you know if life tastes good.

Don’t hold onto pain grown stale, and in every cookbook strike out the word “fail.”

Last but not least, love yourself, and always grant an honest wish;

That’s how you add your signature to any dish.

 
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