Selfies

A poem written as a tribute to p.G. Holyfield and others we have lost this year. Themes are presented in the form of self-portraits of various figures; most of them from a fantasy genre. This could also be seen as commentary on social networking and how we don’t truly know people as we should.

Auditions are ongoing until October 17 for an audio version of this piece.

If you like the poem, please share it with your friends, families, and anyone else you may think might be inspired. What do you think it is about? Share your thoughts in the comments.

One:

I’m a curious child
with her parents at bedtime.

“Daddy, would you tell me your stories again
so I don’t forget?
Mommy, can you share your memories with me
so I won’t regret
not knowing your hopes and sorrows;
your triumphs and failures?

“I want to know
all the things
and have all the feelings
before the magic fades away.

“I want to keep them safe
like fireflies in a jar
because they are so pretty!
They make me happy
every time I look at them.

“When you go,
can you leave the closet light on this time?
There are scary things in the dark.”

Innocence.

Two:

I’m a pirate
lost on the high seas
of tangential connections.

I’m searching for the priceless treasures,
the pearls of wisdom,
the rare gems,
the mementos of your life’s work
amidst the flotsam and jetsam
of your everyday activities;
shipwrecks of doomed ventures
violently dashed
upon the unforgiving reefs of reality.

I’m starving for information
that slips through my fingers
like so many grains of sand
in the hourglass.

Only the leftovers remain.
The dregs will have to do
if I want to survive.

It is my curse;
the albatross that hangs around my neck.
I’m weighed down by my plight;
it threatens to drown me.

The dark storm cloud
hovers over my head
like a vulture
waiting for death to come.
Lightning is the gleam in its eyes
and thunder is its laughter.
It mocks me
and my futile attempts
to keep going forward.

Scavenger.

Three:

I’m a dragon
fast asleep on her bed
of piles from the past;
both recent and forgotten.

What can I say?
I really love shiny things
with an all consuming, burning passion.

They bite into my exposed flesh
and taunt me
while I dream
of happier times
when my race
was much more than myth and legend.

We were revered.
We were protectors.
We were gods.

The distant pain reminds me
of what it took to get here.
The people lost interest.
We became the scapegoat
for their attention deficit disorder.
From protectors to predators
and gods to monsters.

Instead of being at the top of the mountain,
I’m somewhere near its roots
in a cold and damp cave
like some cliché in a fairy tale.
The throbbing echos of my conquests
pay me back with every fetid breath.

Irony.

Four:

I’m a shaman
that harvested knowledge in my younger days.
I became a grand master
of the game we call life.

I plumbed the depths
of good and evil.
I journeyed through dark paths,
read the forbidden tomes,
and found secrets I should have kept hidden.
There are reasons some things
are best left alone.

Delicious powers overwhelmed me.
The rewards have been bitter sweet.
My humanity is gone.
I am dead on the inside,
devoid of compassion,
and a mere husk
of the king I used to be.

Lich.

Five:

I’m a raving lunatic
shackled in a dungeon
of my own making.

I’m enraged by the twittering,
the snapping,
the commenting,
the chattering voices
that pitter-patter about in my skull
like bats in a belfry
or rats in a maze.

They tell me things
I already know.
I constantly beat my head against a wall.
It doesn’t help though.
The signal to noise ratio is deafening
within the vastness
of this echo chamber.

I can’t concentrate
as I flip through the pages
of the book of faces.
They stare at me
with those hollow gazes
and wearing such vapid smiles.
Who do they think they are fooling?

All of these images are filtered
through my judgmental lens.
Everything is a blur
and out of focus.
I see through the masks they wear.
I hate them all.

Troll.

Six:

I’m a zombie
shuffling, stumbling, and crawling
throughout my undead existence
as if I were some blithering idiot.

I have no priest to guide me;
no necromancer to rule my actions.
I’m a putrid puppet
in a no strings attached relationship.
I’m alone in a crowd of exquisite corpses.

I’m a slave
to a whipcracking hunger
that is never satisfied.
I can’t go on strike
unless you remove the head
and destroy the brain.
Isn’t that what they teach you
in those silly survival guides?
What a killing joke.

Vampires have it good.
At least, they get to control their own destinies.
Not me.
I couldn’t be as fortunate as those bloodsuckers;
leeches by any other name.
Why do they get to be special
and live the night life?
If I had the final say so,
they’ all would die by the silver spoon.

The universe rolled the dice
and fate stepped in to shame me.
I am doomed to feed on flesh
while my own mind is empty.
My birthday suit falls away
little by little with every step.

Who was I again?
I don’t remember.
My so-called friends don’t even know.
Will you recognize me
before I’m just another skeleton
trapped in your closet
or your Cabinet of curiosities?

Forgotten.

Seven:

I’m an exile
in the twilight of my career.
I wander
hither and thither
in between worlds.

I harass the living
and conspire with the dead.
Neither place will grant me asylum.
I have nowhere to call home.
I’m forever in limbo.

I am blind
to all the colors around me.
There’s no black and white;
only two-hundred and fifty-six shades of gray.
I’m an ectoplasmic shell of my former self.
Whoever that was.

Wraith.

Eight:

I’m a ninja
lurking in the darkness.
I stealthily climb
the walls and battlements
you built up over time
to keep your precious heart safe
from rogues like me.

I spin truths into lies
and fiction into facts.
I am the spider
and you are the fly.
There is no escape
from my tangled web.

I cut you down from afar
with my Shurikens
made of stolen secrets.
You beg for mercy
where there is none to be found
while I swoop in to finish the job.

Character assassination
at its finest
as I stab you in the back
and then cut your throat.
At least you get the red carpet treatment, right?
Isn’t that what you always wanted?

Fatality.

Nine:

I am the ultimate weapon of total obliteration
that many seek to wield
Only the most proficient
can survive my cold edges
or the internal battle of wills.
Master me, and I will be your saving grace.
Fall to me, and you shall be my thrall.

You will never see me coming
but I can be heard
in the faintest of whispers
and amidst the racing heartbeats.
It all starts with one seed
planted where you least expect it.
I am an agent of paranoia
that spreads deceptions
hoping they will break out
and become viral.

A knowing wink here.
A little nudge there.
That’s all it takes.
I warp a world of order
into a wasteland of chaos.
Quaint little kingdoms
become enclaves of anarchy.
I hide in the shadows
until you see me strike
like a flash of panic
that contorts your face
when you realize the truth.
By then, it is too late.

I catch your dreams
and shatter them to pieces
like porcelain dolls,
crystal chandeliers,
and glass menageries.
The emotional shards cut deep,
burrow into your subconscious,
take root,
and reemerge
as living, breathing nightmares.

Fear.

Ten:

I’m a samurai
who has fought valiantly
for many years
to quell the storm within myself.
I’m highly versed
in the ways of the warrior.

my enemies,
(Age and Time),
have me surrounded
like a couple of ravenous wolves.
They are tireless,
patient predators.
They are ruthless
in their pursuit of the end game.
The wild hunt is their favorite sporting event.
I am their latest prey.
Oh, how I wish I had their zeal
and their appetite for destruction.

Before their sharp teeth
can pierce my skin
and their tongues
can taste my blood,
I shall steal their victory
from under their noses
as long as my trembling hands don’t fail me
in my final quest.

They won’t take my life.
They won’t take my dignity.
My fighting spirit is unbreakable;
for I have honor.
I am unafraid.
I am at peace
as I write my death poem.

My second stands at the ready.
All that looms before me is the present.
With a couple quick strokes,
I will unlock the last achievement.
My story will be told
on the tapestries in the great halls.
My work will be finished.

Seppuku.

Eleven:

I’m a lighthouse
on a rocky outcropping.
I stand alone;
the stoic, resolute guardian

The waves of emotions
batter me from all angles.
The fog envelops me
in a suffocating miasmic blanket.

I mourn the loss
of the vessels that have faced dire ends.
I can shed no tears.
I can only watch
and shine a light
on the golden path each one can take.
I am helpless to do much more
but hopeful they will find their way.

Sun and moonlight occasionally pierces the veil
allowing me to gather strength.
I am silent in my solitude
as I reflect on the ever-changing world around me;
meditating on what has been,
what is to come,
and the here and now.

Beacon.

Twelve:

I am the looking-glass
that reflects the memories of your mind
and the experiences of your heart;
I am unable to be tarnished
by negative events.

I’m the fire
that can’t be extinguished
and burns brightest
in the darkest places.

I take flight
on the beams of moonlit inspirations
and live among the stars
where your broken dreams
can be made whole.

Pour me out
in every piece of art
you sculpt with your hands
or paint with your brush.
Let me be heard
in every story you tell,
in all the songs you sing,
and while your magnum opus
is being played
until the end of time.
I am your legacy.

I’m the reminder
that life is about the little moments
you encounter through your journey;
the lessons you learn along the way,
the fears you face and conquer,
the tears you shed,
the laughter and smiles shared with loved ones,
and every victory earned.
I am the greatest gift.

I gaze on the world
through my many colored windows
and let you know that there is always hope
even when your life is at an end.
The reaper’s scythe
holds no sway over me.
I will endure forever.

Soul.