Like a parasite, it claws at my flesh.

It’s in my head, gnawing at that part of the brain

which no one knows the name of:



A king among shadows,

It rules over unsuspecting subjects,

Towering behind us,


Strapping chains around ankles,

Yet leaving wrists unbound

For there is work to be done.


The clock,

its ever constant henchman,

mocks me;

A permanent smirk across his numbered face,

Watching as I struggle

and drown in a whirlpool of words,

notes, numbers, deadlines--

my own creation.


You might not see them.

Smiles hide the residual shame

as makeup covers insecurity.

Laughter hides the cries of angst

that run parallel to misery.


I’ll avoid your eyes,

weary of what you might see,

Even add a blush for effect,

shrouding shadows

with painted, plastic petals

To divert your curiosity.


But if you really knew me,

You would know

I am a person of tangible truth,

Not to be swayed by this pink illusion of a cause,

This facade which I work so hard to sell you.


My agenda is worth more

Than any phone number

Surrounded by infatuated gossip.


If tears ever damp my cheeks,

Which they have in many a night,

Their summons shall not be of heartbreak

But of simple fatigued frailty.


So if you ask of my well being,

I shall respond with yet another smile.

This one, which is sure to shame

The last in all of its brightness,

Quelling any inquiry

And silencing any doubt.


With hungry eyes did I look upon this path,

Greedy hands stretched out

towards the glory of  success,

And I set out.


It was of my own will that I resolved to proceed.


But the once clear river has faded into a murky marshland,

Roots and aquatic plants

Bending and twisting,

Entangling themselves with my legs,

Begging me to stay.


They embrace me warmly,

A disparity to the cold,

uncertain, and clouded water.


I try to look back--

Don't you dare.



Yet another oppressing entity enters the stage,

Bred from the audacity of my spineless actions.


How could I?

Am I so weak as to renege

At the face of failure?


I sowed.

Therefore I must reap.


Any other action taken would render me

A dog

And destroy all chances

of becoming a wolf.


Lethargic, hypocritical, pathetic, disgraceful…


Self-loathing builds up the magma in my stomach,

Turning the convection currents of burning adjectives,

And catalyzes the transition to scorching lava.



The ashes clear.


My face feels tight,

Not unlike the strings of a cello

when they go sharp.


My eyes are dry-

Too dry.

Every brush of air bringing

A sense of cold with it.


Fingers pulse from exploitation,

Their tips harboring a tint of red.

My scalp tingles from the abuse.


What am I doing? 

There is a moment of blankness

As thought ceases to circulate.


I can feel my emotions draining away,

The river emptying into an open ocean,



I am left vacant,



Knees hit the ground,

Chains rattling behind me,

My ears ringing...


Body folds in half,

Mimicking the form

Of an unborn soul.


I clutch my head.

I can still hear the outlines of my words

Echoing through the silence of my conscience.

Among them:

“I'll get it done.”




Once again,

I feel the pressure

Of the ever present shadow king

Whom I avariciously invited,

Weighing on me like a blanket

In the middle of summer.


But it's okay.

I promise.


Regardless of the burden,

It is still my creation.

While I might be a subject,

I am also a host.

And while stress is my king,

He is also my guest.

This poem is about: 


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