I’m standing on a stage and as I reach and turn the page

of the transcript of my speech, the bright lights searing heavy

into my raw aching eyes, blocking out all of the faces of my family and my friends

sitting straight up in those pews—all of those who did attend

And I take the deepest breath I can and let it out in segments

Like that will somehow calm my beating heart or make me make more sense

My voice rings out among them in the heavy lights so hot

“I’m not okay, I’m not okay, I’m not okay, I’m not.

I wake up every day with the sunlight on my face but the rain is in my head

and it just won’t go away.

I’m a mess of bad decisions, good intentions and the like

And no matter how that I try I can’t make it come out right

I’m standing in a huge glass case and I see you all outside

And the water’s at my chin although it’s dry enough outside

And you’re laughing and you’re smiling and the water fills my lungs

And it’s lapping at the inside as you reach and take my hand.

And I don’t know where I’m going though I’ve got it all planned. 

And I don’t know why I wake up though I know I shouldn’t sleep.

I know I have the answers but I can’t grasp them in my hands;

Words are only words when your heart beats like a drum

pounding out the pain and sorrow at a constant, heavy beat.

Who knew that silence could be oppressive—

Who knew my thoughts are worse than any silence ever was?

There’s a ringing in my temples and a pressure on my spine and

there’s nothing I can do and I can’t erase the time

All the time that I have wasted and the lives I failed to touch

And I’m starting to believe I’ve got no effect at all

If you woke up tomorrow and my sheets were on my bed

But you looked upon my pillow and you couldn’t find my head

Would your lives be changed that much? Would your lives be changed at all?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think so.

I don’t think it’d change at all.”

And I stepped back off that podium and I tried to catch my breath

As I blinked my bleary eyes and tried to inhale beyond the burn

I looked at all those faces in the crowd

All those bodies in the pews and the people in the aisles

And I squinted past the lights and to find one familiar face

But they were not my brothers or my sisters or my mother or my friends

But a palace of cadavers, staring at me with dead eyes

An auditorium of decoys so that I would still believe

someone had shown up to watch me cry

But no one was there at all

The End

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