Friday, January 22, 2021


The Malingerer

I am a malingerer,

The boy who cries wolf

When the sheep are already dead.

I eat with false teeth

Because my own were all pulled,

And now my smile cuts like knives.

I am shielding my cards

So no one else can see

It isn’t just cats that have nine lives.

I don't want to go to work.

I don't want to cook 

Or clean my hair

Or beat the dusty rugs with brooms.

My limp is a ruse

I use to excuse

A tendency to run late

I have a short fuse 

But always the first 

To back down from fate.

My anger is the thin patina 

Coating sensitive skin

That festers with raw wounds.

My stutter buys me time

To find the right words.

If I’m half deaf

I can’t be expected to hear

Your frustrated sighs.

If I claim cataracts or double vision

You can't expect me to see

All the beautiful shells

You collected from the beach.

This is a confession.

My fake cough is pure theater

For when I’ve forgotten my lines.

When I ought to say I love you

I can say lost my voice.

It’s not my fault.

You can’t get hurt

If you don't play the game,

If you can't be up on stage.

Let me show you drawers

Full of doctor's notes I've forged.

I say I am a hemophiliac

So even a small bruise

Signals an unwarranted risk

Of bleeding out

Even if your blade is dull.

I cry when I ought to laugh.

I scream when the house is empty.

I leave when the carafe is full.

You see right through me.

You know I’m not ill.

You know I am hale and hearty,

That these laments are a series of unserious jests.

Truth is, I am as hard as my unbroken bones,

As impregnable as Kevlar vests. 

When you break your heart

Or lose your mind no one can tell.

There are no visible scars.

Everyone is walking around so normal.

What do you want me to say?

Slide your hand between my ribs to feel the hole in my heart?

Run your fingers along the textured ridge of my despair?

Swaddle my loneliness with rolls of gauze?

Just walk normal you insist.

There’s nothing wrong,

Don't try to teeter and list.

We all do it.

Just walk

Without pretending to fall down.

I’m wanna be sick because I’m afraid to try and fail.

I’m an asshole because one kind act

Always leads to the expectation of another.

I’m a coward

Who can fake a headache,

Who can feign indifference.

The truth is I feel fine


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