The Marked One.

There are a lot of things I’m afraid of
Being pulled over by the police
Watching the cataracts form in my parents eyes
Going on a cruise ship over spring break and contracting botulism only to spread it to all my friends
But to me there’s nothing more fearful than this
I’m terrified and you can’t even tell

What moment?
This, me, standing here, speaking into the microphone, repeating words I’ve memorized for countless days only to have them dance across my tongue at breakneck speed.
I mean who knows if I’ll say them right, maybe I’ll st-st-stutter and you will miss the message because of my tongue twisters or I could pull a Ricky Bobby and not know what to do with my hands because this taboo not charades
Yeah sure stage fright is real but I’m talking about being the only voice in the room
How I can stand under the spotlights and bright eyes only to expose a dark shadow of secrets
You see, poetry is painful.
It’s a personal open heart surgery done with no anesthesia
When you snap all I hear is the tap tapping of my fears knocking on my rib cage and
I can’t wait to get off this damn stage, sit back down and become a face in the crowd.
Because instead of seeing you all naked as told I’m the one who has to bare it all
Forced to find a way to entertain each and every one of you
to relate and connect with all of your struggles at the same time
And still sprinkle a rhyme scheme to make these bitter truths easier to swallow
Being a poet means you infect yourself with the worst of humanity and use your voice as a vaccine for others
Allowing your soul to be tainted with tales of injustice, rape and suicide
Just so others don’t have to discover it on their own
It’s hiding weaknesses only to have them put on display like a screenshot of deleted tweets
Our souls are a breeding ground for the questions you’re afraid to ask in prayer
It’s waking up alone and realizing that this feeling is all you’ll ever know, how words will never comfort but only cover you.

My grandfather once told me that the devil is beautiful
For he was the first poet
Lucifer, once light bearer of heaven
had the power to persuade others with his voice so it’s only natural that
Sometimes I think I’m out of the hands of God, left only with his fingerprints
Trying to absolve the case of the missing Father
Why do I subject myself to such torture?
Because…you listen to me
For a few minutes you turn off your phones and silence your minds to give me all of your attention
So I feel obligated, maybe even required to tell you things about myself
I’m here to let you know that sometimes poems can taste like the morning dew
That being nervous is the first step towards happiness
And love is so more than a four letter word
But…then I must show how my fears often get the best of me
To say that I am scared of dying but more afraid of living
To share with you that razorblades and tongues can cut flesh the same
To tell you how my grandfather’s alcoholism plus my dad’s cancer caused me to have anxiety beyond medical comprehension
And hiding behind seven syllable words and soliloquies is the easiest way to protect my soul
Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a poet but… no
Now I just wanted to be a poem

~J. Varina

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