written in

I can never be a pilot

Nor an astronaut

I cannot dredge the seas

Or climb the mountaintops

I cannot be a surgeon, nor a soldier

Will never be allowed to hold death in my hands

But I can be a fighter

And a lover, and a writer

I can breathe the oceans and sail the sky

I will always see the heights if they’re set under the right guise

 

the only thing i need to live the world

is

this

pen.

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Medical trauma and the ghost hands

I was just watching a tv show when I saw it. Somebody being lifted from a gurney onto a hospital bed. And suddenly I could feel it. So strongly. The memory of being lifted, just like that, onto an operating table. I think maybe I was supposed to already be asleep. I can feel the many pairs of hands; I felt weightless. I should’ve been asleep. It had been a while since the anesthesia slid into my veins, I think. My specific genetic mix means not all that stuff works the way it’s supposed to. Now I can’t stop feeling those hands. The light in my face. The mask over my mouth. The dim, sleepy feeling coupled with knowing I was completely helpless and at the mercy of strangers. I can feel it like it was yesterday, but it was almost a decade ago.

Where did I go? And did I come back all the way? Part of me was missing when I woke up… or was that a different surgery? They start to blend together. They’ve cut parts of me away many times. The hands have come for me more than once. I wonder if I dream of them, the way I dream of bodies in the road. I wonder if the death that stalks me in my sleep is because my body will not heal and so my mind is eternally fractured. Do you have nightmares? Do you dream of vomiting blood, because some of your earliest memories are of capillaries bursting throughout your body? Can you still taste it in your mouth? Do you confuse the taste of salt, steel, blood, and spinal fluid sometimes?

What have I done with the time I’ve been given? I sleep and relive the nightmares I survived. I revisit the blank rooms, the unknown hands lifting me effortlessly. I dream of death waiting for everyone I love. Because I fear for them after I am gone? Because I know that to live must eventually mean to die?

I feel alone. Does anybody understand this prison in my mind? It was constructed to protect me from all the stunning blows that used to knock me off my feet. But no, they can’t knock me down anymore, because I never take my hands off the rails. I cannot love or live because I am always braced to be struck, hands clenched firmly around the guard-rails… waiting for the next earthquake to come. Is this who I am now? The waiter? The expectant-of-more-pain? Why am I in this fog of nothing? Where do I belong?

It is not in the blank room with the effortless hands lifting me away. No, it is in the sunlight and the stars. The wind and waves. I belong in the day time, under the skies, with the breeze chasing my hair. I belong to the day, one day at a time, each day, not the eternal wait. I do not belong to the shadow-dreams that try to convince me I am not real, my pain is not real. I do not belong to the eyes that see only youth and forget all that I have endured. I do not belong to the shiver of cold that licks down my spine whenever some facet of reality suggests more lifting hands in my future.

I do not belong to the hospital bed, or on the operating table. The sleep-givers do not belong in my veins, and the quiet places of the ward do not own me. I am real. I am real. My past is real. My future is far more solid than the phantom hands that keep dragging at my skin. I shake them off and continue to breathe. Nothing can own me but the Star-keeper, whose hands do not need any assistance to lift me.

I am free.

The hurting

I have never lived a life not knowing constant pain

I have never seen the stars without an icy, driving rain

What would it be to have shoulders unbowed by heavy strain?

How do you function free from such limiting constraint?

Who would I be untainted, unbroken by this fate

How would I stand – the taller for the freedom from this weight?

WHO WOULD I BE WITHOUT THIS CURSE THAT BUILDS INSIDE MY BRAIN

the poison that is in my bones, my body – so betrayed

Chronic pain has made me stronger, made me weaker, but a soldier

I don’t know who I’d be or what the world would mean

I can’t believe you exist, you free from this red agony

It sounds like a fairytale, some senseless make-believe

That anyone could live and breathe without an omnipresent ache

What kind of life is that?

Indulgent, a dreamland, utterly fake

Who could possibly spend all day without hiding screams inside their face?

The blades that stalk my body have slipped into my mind

Everything is a threat, I am ready for death at any time

I cannot remember a day where I relaxed or ceased to hide

I have always been waiting, waiting for the worst, knowing the toxins will not subside…

Knowing my destiny is this agonizing life.

Trying to ignore the shrieking Worst inside my mind.

I am tired now, it has been decades of fight

I don’t know who I am except the girl hurting inside

The outside, beside, every shade of me has died

A thousand times I’ve waited for my grinning demise

I simply don’t know anymore what hope could possibly be

My faith has yet to desert me, at least I know that I am free

But my battle has not paused for a single momentary rest

I’ve been screaming, bathed in blood, since I drew my first breath

I’ve never existed without constant stress, the pressure of my life a test

How can I pass? What do I say? When will this nightmare fade?

Will a night ever start without my muscles burning flame?

Who am I if not agony, if not the girl who waits

to be saved?

Refusing to be the one who breaks because I’ve always been the broken one and I wish i could refuse this face?

I do not know what life would be without my thorns, these pains

I’ve never taken a breath that wasn’t shadowed by a cost. It’s inconceivable to me

That so many

Breathe for free.

Hospital

There is something in me that wants to return 
To the bleached white walls and the chemical-room
To the soft silent plain of the starched stiff sheets
And the endless night where I wake and sleep.

The waiting breeds new agony
But the sleeping-room brings me release
I warmly breathe in the numbed-up night
Where the painless hours finally find

Me.