How to be Raw: a Poem

There are Raw Poetry Contests afoot, so I aims to enter them!


How to be Raw: a Poem


Decipher the code, she said to me.

And I found it came in a set of three.

A man in a glass box, an empty picture show, a lens.

I found it tricky because we think with thoughts but write with pens.

The glass box was perfectly clear. No reflections or marks. An Anti-mirror.

I saw the man shed two of his skins. But you don’t understand, it still wasn’t him.

I asked him why he’d killed the boy. He turned and spoke, empty words bereft of joy.

It’s okay, he said. That wasn’t the real me. This is the real me. I’m sincere and gay.

But it’s the same you. You haven’t changed at all, I say.

He sheds again. I’m sad and lonely, not deranged, he said.

But I can’t hear you, I reply. Defense against Change, the glass box read.


Unpuzzle the puzzle, she suggested next.

And determined, I dove twice as deep into the text.

The picture show was empty except it wasn’t, because I was there.

She sat alone, but apparently she didn’t care.

There was a gap in her smile, almost as big as the one in her soul.

She said it’s not that I can’t be filled, nothing fits my want to be whole.

I tried food and sex and drugs.

I tried movies and Netflix and hugs.

I know I’m not the smartest or the prettiest.

I’m definitely not the most patient or the luckiest.

But I got it where it counts. At least I’m not a child murderer.

I ask her why she’s alone. She says, the same reason you are.

I’m not alone. I have friends.

Are they real, or just means to ends?

I didn’t like that, but she didn’t see.

She pulled out a pipe that smelled vaguely of tea.

Will this get me high, I asked.

No, it’ll get you fucking high, she rasped.


Know thyself, her final command.

And then, only then, did I understand.

The lens is the way that I see the world.

I hungered for knowledge, for secrets unfurled.

I looked through the glass, hoping to see the universe.

Instead I found the inner stitching of my mini purse.

That’s it? This is all I can witness?

What does this say about my mental fitness?

So small, I bellowed. Why is the world so small?

Oh my dear student, you’ve learned nothing at all.

She took the lens from my hand and tsked tsked my conclusions.

She asked how exactly I’d earned these confusions.

I told her the answers seemed simple enough.

Like the man in the glass, he wasn’t too tough.

He can see out and people see in.

Yet he thinks he can hide again and again.

He represents a man with poor self-awareness.

He killed his inner child and thought we wouldn’t notice.

The picture show was harder, but I think I cracked it.

The girl all alone was a shallow meth/crack head.

Her bottomless hunger was a strangely shaped hole.

She numbed it with pleasures but it just left her cold.

The lens is what stumped me. I thought it’d reveal

The world as I saw it, but instead it stayed sealed.


No you fucking idiot, my instructor chided.

You got it all backwards, my teacher derided.

The riddles were clues, my Maestro invited.

That it’s not about you, my sensei confided.


The glass box is your identity. Paper thin, artificial and see-through.

You can’t make human connections because you’re stuck in a prison made by you.

The picture show is the story you tell yourself about yourself.

You’re the main character, everyone else are props on a shelf.


That’s a terrible rhyme, I said, pouting.

Shut up.

Finally, the lens is the world you see as you may.

The problem is you have it pointing the wrong way.

She flipped the lens over, and suddenly I saw

The whole world was people. Humans all.

Of course, how could I be so stupid!

I’m too self obsessed. Self absorbed. Self-


Stop it. Just stop, my mentor instructed.

The problem is you, but the solution is not, kid.

Don’t wallow in grief like a narcissistic douche canoe.

Stasis is death, so try something new.


Break through that glass and get out of that theater.

There’s people to connect to. So go forth, dear reader.

3 responses to “How to be Raw: a Poem”

  1. It seems you didn’t get the pingback notification, so I’m going to have to ask you to check my blog for a little surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw it last night. Thought I was dreaming!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sending a virtual pinch your way…

        Liked by 1 person

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