You can let down your guards
but do not let down your eyes.
Despite going through the blood-shed of failure
and the romance of intentions
stay close to the accumulating truth.
It is yours.
It is only a handful
but it is what you have brought back
from what you were born knowing
from the dark swim to the bottom
in a drowning world
you have brought back an island.
Take that fistful of yourself
and do not shake any hands
do not make any deals
for love or shame
to give yourself away.
There are many waiting
who would love you
until you love them too
who would favor you
until your trust is earned
because they are gambling empires
for a handful of that truth.
I urge you to believe in yourself—
however, there are times
when believing will unfold such a deep wound
when believing will unravel every seam
that I would not blame you
for turning away.
Our strengths are furrowed with weakness
sometimes our graves are closer than our dreams
when we are flat on our chests
we can kiss the ground.
The ones we love may not swim with us
and as we plunge into still darker waters
it is not their fault
only a chance disaster
arranged by fate
because sometimes our own strength
keeps us swimming in circles.
I am sorry the way is not easier for you.
As a poet, I will never become a preacher
I will never thrust meaning onto your chest
not when I when I know, all too well
the burden we already carry
and the value of open arms.
Walk the path of your own
drink the sap of your own heartbreak
the spice of crushed attempts
keep one hand empty
and the other full of that piece of life
that came from you
that was born of you
gripped from a thousand deaths