It’s no big secret that I hide my pain from others.

It’s not really meant to be witnessed unless I have that person’s complete confidence.

But when I was a young lad, I wrote poetry as a way for me to show off some of my pain. To talk it down in public, so to speak. I wanted to be publicly vulnerable. Better yet, I wanted to be praised for being vulnerable. I was easy prey anyways so why not get an applause line along the way?

I never dreamed of a world where nagging voices did not nip and nibble at my nerves. Outside myself, far from who I was then, I see I was an outsider. He sees I am one now too. My childhood was not bright, it ambled along like an amputee who, at a tender age, learns to walk anew while others are running with carefree delight.

Miraculously, I learned that I was not the first person in this world to have suffered. My ‘come to Jesus’ moment, though it was more of a ‘come to buddha’ moment was when I realized I could console someone else who was in pain. Maybe, I told myself, if I could be understanding, then I too could be understood.

Of course, I had this notion first with my mother, who was Atlas holding the roof above our many screaming heads. But, she was eternally occupied. So, I turned my newfound spirituality outward. Which is when my song of innocence ended and I began to perceive such strange suffering sinking behind so many eyes glassy like an egg being swallowed by a snake.

Worse still, when I tried to heal, I discovered that the pain of others was always stitched together by a home-brewed prophylactic and the reasons for their remedies or the source of their symptoms would repeatedly get lost in translation no matter how earnest and loving our conversations.

When my song of wisdom began, I left my home town to study and to seek
the friends I knew I could one day have
And I had them
For a time
But the old wounds lingered
In me
. In them.

Old roots wriggled and sprouted.
Children returned home to their parents, seeking refuge in this storm of a century
But I could not.
I could not have my hometown and I suspect it would not have me.

So instead, I weather the barren reaches of a random field alone drinking water from the air and vying for a melody or a tune that could land my pain home.

Perhaps, with one divine breath of air, I could sing a tune so lofty and sorrowful and sweet that it would sail upon the tides of some languid weather system drifting between my abode and my father’s home, and he, ever the lazy lion on the Savannah, he might pause a moment to take in the air and instead hear this pressing, poetic tune and finally wonder about the inner life of his strangest son enough for him to beg the universe a burning question.

And some notes are barely forming now like static electricity, I feel them first, on my fingertips, it’s a heat storm and so I reach out for the words and the melodies that are on the tip of my tongue and