To the Greek God of Sleep, Hypnos

Sleeping after an hard night Image Belongs to Pedro Ribeiro Simões. Image: “Sleeping after an hard night”. Some Rights Reserved.

I see you, walking on the clouds.
Tell me of a time absent of hurt and words meant to cause pain.
Or better yet, confuse me.
Tell me that I am still dreaming
that I have never been awake before,
that my eyes have never truly glimpsed the world outside of my dreams.
Tell me that I am not alive,
just previewing experiences belonging to another.

O, God of sleep, give me slumber from which I will never leave.
Remind me of a time where innocence reigned
and dread and anxiety were nothing but puffs of smoke
from Grandfather’s pipe.
I yearn to one day touch your hand,
grasp your fingers,
and walk with you.

Lead me across the horizon to the bittersweet end of this world,
where I will go with you willingly.
Hire me to happily paint clouds sunrise-golden or sunset-magenta with you.
Take me away from here.
Deceive me.
Tell me that my existence was nothing but a lie after all.


A Secret for a Secret

Lightbulb Filament Lighting the Blue Image Belongs to Orbmiser. Image: “Lightbulb Filament Lighting the Blue”. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

“The truth is, Callum,” I took a deep breath as if oxygen could neutralize the fear and anxiety boiling in the pit of my stomach. “I’m gay.”

Callum rubbed his face with his right hand, the muscles in his forearm stood out in the yellow light of the hall. He dropped his hand and exhaled, sighing.

“I was wondering when you were going to tell me,” he said, fixing me with his turquoise stare. “You know, I’ve been hearing things about you. It’s all starting to make sense.” His fingers dug into the brown-striped arms of the cushioned chair he was sitting in. I could tell he was deep in thought and his next words were going to be well thought out and carefully picked. He stood. His gaze left my face and drifted to the maroon carpet on the floor as he turned, half-facing me and half-facing the window that looked out into the darkening sky. “I’ve never had a friend come out to me before. So I hope I don’t come off like someone who doesn’t care. Because I do care, you’re a good friend to me.”

I nodded, knowing that he would never understand the desires that I harbored in my mind, my yearning for him, thoughts that I considered forbidden in the insecurity-inducing and sometimes hostile environment of high school. Especially since we were both adolescent boys who ran in different social circles, I knew he would never reciprocate. He, an acoustic guitar playing, athletic god, and me, a boy too concerned with watching performance poetry.

“I’m happy for you. I’m glad you’ve decided to come out of the closet. Listen, you’ve told me a secret. Now I’ll tell you one of mine.” He gave me a faint smile. “You know that lady you saw me with the other day? Margaret, you remember her? She teaches philosophy and English at Cremwood. Well, she’s…,” here he paused, his right hand reached behind him to his neck, digging through his tousled hair. He bared his teeth to me in an awe-inspiring grin. “She’s more than a friend. Margaret and I, we spend a lot of time together.”

There was little I could do but stare in shock. Sherman High’s most popular jock, accomplished athlete, and coveted ladies’ man was tongue-deep in an affair with a Cremwood University professor. Was she married? Did she have children? Was Callum on the threshold of ruining a family that was picture-perfect on the surface? Callum continued to smile at me, it was clear that his mind was elsewhere. Maybe he was remembering how he and Margaret rendezvoused at her expensive mansion that only a bestselling author and professor at a highly ranked university could afford. Maybe he was remembering how it felt to roll around underneath her silk bed sheets with Margaret in lacy lingerie. Of course the thought didn’t fail to make my insides twist in envy. Hopefully it didn’t show on my face.

“It’s not like that, Ray. She doesn’t have a husband. She’s divorced. Margaret’s been a divorcee since long before I met her.” Callum seemed to read my mind.

“I wasn’t thinking that. I’m happy for you too, I mean…,” and here my awkwardness almost killed me, “I’m glad you’ve found someone who makes you happy.” If only that someone could be me. If only you and I, if only we could be possible. The possibility of Callum and me, it was killing me as he crossed the small amount of space between us and clapped me on the shoulder before gripping me firmly, the hair curling from the top of his head almost touched my eyebrows and I could feel the warmth of his breath.

“There. A secret for a secret. Now we’re even.” His turquoise eyes burned themselves into my mind. Something glinted in them like an unspoken agreement. Something like bonfire smoke in the backyard and the beer-stained lips of teenagers when their parents weren’t home as an introverted loner tries to find his way among the discarded red plastic cups and tangled, laughing bodies. Something like a shiny glass pipe passed between friends in the woods where the only witnesses are birds perched overhead. Something a little like love and something a lot like unrequited infatuation and my heart pounding away, deep inside my chest.


I was waiting for a train in Grand Cupid Station

When I spotted your profile

You swept the platform right out from under my feet

Gave me no choice but to fall head over heels


The clock ticks too close to the hour

I missed my ride home

The clock strikes and I can hear my heartbeat

Reverberating off the cold, distant planets

I wonder if you can hear it

Echoing off of your physique


You swept me off my feet

I felt the floor vibrating underneath me

As the train passed me by

“Wait, stop!” I’m still here.


All this time we have been waiting

To catch the train but in reality

Our eyes were looking skyward

For the stars to notice us


Oh blinking star

Have the skies known all along?

All this time we were waiting for each other

When the crowd subsides I look for you

I see your profile again this time

But you’re in the window of the passing train

Your companion touches your collar

You smile


I guess the moon and stars might stray from each other

The passing train drowns my cries

You turn your head and meet my eyes

Could this be a sign?

All this time I was waiting for you and me


I Don’t Know You

I don’t know you

But I know that your toxic tongue

has hurt more than one

I don’t know you

But I know that your words of hate

carry twice their weight

I wish I knew you but now all I know is that

Those you’ve marked as foe and not friend

Walk this life believing that no one sees them

All I know is that

Those you’ve painted with hostility

Should know that they don’t walk alone on their own two feet

I Don’t Know Myself

“Do you know yourself?”

Hard amber eyes meet mine.

Lipstick smeared across full lips

asking me to be honest so don’t lie.


“It’s hard to know myself.”

Sometimes feelings of inadequacy surface in my mind

so I burn my bridges before I can cross them

and I forget why I tried.


“Why is it hard to know yourself?”

To be honest, I don’t know.

To be fully honest, I am alone

and on my own.


I don’t know.