April 14: If I were (blank)

If I were an optimist; If I were a wisp; If I were a weeping willow; If I were a mask; If I were a question; If I were a game

 

If I were an optimist

If I were an optimist, I’d assume there’s a master plan
for this place that sings anthems while trampling flags,
and races to topple oppressors while carrying one
on their shoulders – I’d think there’s a purpose, that
maybe everyone is lying, and someone will announce
there’s been a mistake—

If I were an optimist, I’d believe there’s a chance for change,
for the pattern that weighs heavy on us since generations to
begin to unravel – if I were a fool, I’d assume that’s exactly
what is happening, but I know that is not the case:
I’ve lived much too long in this place to have faith in that—
but if I were an optimist, perhaps…

If I were an optimist, I’d keep searching for certain things,
a place to work, a perfect time to create, perhaps I’d ask
about how my pieces are doing… if I were an optimist, and
had any faith at all in their success, if I didn’t think that I have
a knack for ‘second-best’ and ‘not quite yet’, I’d believe, but
sadly for the optimist in me: I have experience.

If I were an optimist, I’d think my outlook would be less bleak,
I’d have some kind of plan, how to square away debts, how
to find opportunity without it having to knock me over before
I see it – I like to think, though, that I am a realist, despite
my flights of fancy – but perhaps I’m just bitter, perhaps
I haven’t had reason before this – perhaps I will one day? Or not.

If I were an optimist, I’d think there’s a reason to my rhyme
why I keep wrapping myself up between the lines of
existence and non-reality; if I were an optimist, I’m sure
I’d have more success, and I’d believe my shortcomings
are simply not finding the right outlet – perhaps I’d be one,
living somewhere else – and perhaps there’s no hope of that.

If I were an optimist, I’d say there’s a point to fighting, that it’s
never a good time to give up as long as there’s a chance, but if
being an optimist means lying to myself, I think I’d rather not—
I mourn my brothers and sisters whose minds have been
blurred beyond all reason – if we were optimists, perhaps
there would be a way out, if some thought as I:

…if I were an optimist, I would believe my homeland
has a chance, I’d believe I have a future and success waiting,
and perhaps I’d just keep trying and scrabbling with
bloody fingers on the edge of my cliff with a stupid grin;
but if I were an optimist, I don’t think I could bear what goes on here,
I don’t think I could take another blow, and I’d never laugh again—
if I were an optimist.

April 14, 2014

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If I were a wisp

If I were a wisp, I’d be dancing in a forest,
shimmering from patch of sun to shade to moonshine,
and whispering the secrets webbed in the foliage,
the true essence drawn by the shoots on the forest floor—
I’d be wrapped in silken moss when the world needs me not,
and when humankind wanders too near, I’d lead them deeper
to the waterfall, where the fae dance sometimes, and
see if they are easily swayed – from those, we only take a day,
but it might be more, I don’t know; if they are resilient
and beautiful in soul, we would ravish them, drink deep, and
they would transform to become one with us,
the fae-kind and fae-made, and I would rejoice for not being
alone anymore: they would make them just like me,
a wisp that dances from tree to tree…
…so if I was a wisp, I’d make sure you join me.

 

April 14, 2014

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If I were a weeping willow

If I were a weeping willow, my leaves would rustle
with quiet mirth, I would be the one standing in
the garden of my home, majestic and with a little swing—
I would still guard innocent dreams, and the house
would still stand; if I were that weeping willow,
I would weep when my human form cannot, expressed
in physical thought with leaves brushing a ground
cold and sheltering at once – but, perhaps, I would also
have a pond I could touch upon and shade,
but at the very least, I would remain constant,
as, in truth, no other thing in this world truly has been—
I would spread a fine web of green across the sky,
so that when little ones rest their heads against me,
I would be the sheltering arms and a curtain of magic—
if I were that weeping willow, I would not grieve for me,
but sometimes I would weep when that is what I need.

 

April 14, 2014

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If I were a mask

If I were a mask, I would be sleek satin,
with velvet patterns snaking vines across, and
I would have gems to sparkle, rubies of a deep
blood-red for heritage, cool sapphire to
express your innate seas – moonstones and pearls
to ask for the blessings of this moonlit night, and
illusionist’s plumes of fire to wreathe—
I would hide your eyes but set you free, for
from the depths of my shade, you are an enigma,
and no longer need to speak words untrue, or
leave things unsaid—
if I were a mask, I would be one of truth
and justice to your heart which flutters, a steady
and calming veil to unclench your twisted stomach,
and behind my façade, those deep pools
can see truth uncut, your words no longer oblique,
but suggesting more
than you would ever say without me;
hidden in my embrace, you would be unveiled,
your hunger stark in a sea of opaque individuality—
and if you see the one who steals your breath,
with me, you would never hesitate, for this
is the carnival of life we dance in,
a theater you are masked in, and yet
left unashamed of instincts stripped of social codes…
just beware that the dam is broken slowly, and
remember to take me off once in a while:
so you can breathe easy, your secrets safe,
but recognized still as a deep part of you—
and not inherently me…

 

April 14, 2014

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If I were a question

If I were a question, I’d attach myself
to everything you know, and haunt you night and day
till you can answer me and melt me into mist,
but even beyond the grave where questions go to, I
would persist and utter myself on your lips unaware,
just before conclusions settle in and you think
you know me – I would have you ask me about
sun and stars and all of your existence, just so
when I finally decide to go, you could be sure of
your answers – but if I were a question, perhaps
I would not be needed, for your mind would expand
without me, bridges cast across a sea of reality wherefrom
I come, unbidden or summoned, and I would not need
to be voiced for speculation to infest your box of truth;
but should I deem it necessary, I would
be a web to ensnare you unawares if you waver,
a simple stop to the foolishness you get up to—
I would be small, but profound in importance, and,
at the end: I would question even the need of myself.

 

April 14, 2014

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If I were a game

If I were a game, I’m sure you’d play me fairly,
you control my board and my pieces would
obey your commands—
but am I chess, do we trade tactics? do we battle
with false friendly smiles? but I forget myself,
if I am the game, I would not be playing it…
would I have strings attached, perhaps tokens
to lose and win back? I’m sure that you would
try to gain the upper hand, but
if I was the game, you would never need to win me;
would I be rather a game of intrigue,
where I kept you guessing? if that is so,
then I only have one chance to grab your attention:
once you know and my secret is out, I can only hope
that you would not just set me aside
to gather dust on a shelf; perhaps, at least,
I’d hope that you played my game with personality,
and kept in character throughout—
even if that means that when I’m here to entertain,
our relationship is a sweet web of spun lies; yet,
perhaps, I would enjoy that more
than feeling the desolate emptiness seep from
your fingers as you hold my figurines,
the lack of purpose in your eyes as you study me—
if I were a game, I’d wish at least to coax a smile
onto your stony face; but, perhaps, if I were a game
I’d have no place in your life to begin with – if that is so,
then I’d be a game to match the ages,
irresistible and enthralling, full of vibrancy and
intricate enough to shame the finest lace:
if I were a game for the likes of you,
I’d be the game of life itself.

 

April 14, 2014

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