when your mind decides to quit,
it shudders and shrieks as the padlock clicks closed,
binding shut the safe where precious words are held.
you can reach for a pair of headphones to disrupt the white noise,
like you did,
like you always do–
but when melody strikes, the lyrics crash down
onto your lungs,
into your memory,
they’re threaded within each breath you take
until every word you could possibly use to wrap the white noise in chains becomes
a cheap copy of some other artist’s words.
and they hurt–
the forgotten words that get stuck in your throat–
oh, how you wish that something
would crawl free of this white paper,
of these white noise cuffs,
and stain your page
not because you feel the need to write melodramatic poetry,
(though what else have you ever written?)
but because for some screwed up reason,
you think that words on paper or
lines drawn across some strangers’ lips
touch deeper into your core than the thoughts inside your head
because what are thoughts if not slivers of mind-bound babble
poison to the thinker,
cure-all to the reader.
they argue back and forth, the belladonna letters,
’til they decide on a single word to grind into your bones
and suddenly you’re driving down Main Street on a Sunday evening and everything you pass is branded red.
red, regretting the words you never wrote
and the ones you always said.
red because yesterday at 3:00 AM you sat up straight
and watched a phrase dance across your palm,
but you surrendered to sleep
and now its gone.
you have yet to figure out a way to punish sleep.
though then again,
to build yourself a reputation,
on language’s back,
by God, you must be a fool,
for anyone sane must know that language fails and words are bastards
who run away to cheat
until it is not they who have been torn apart and laid to rest on paper,
not within the words themselves,
but spread between the lines
in the empty spaces where language will not lie.
there it is.
and poison white.