1. Cowardly Hero

The Hero was born in a hall meant for battles and mead. A hall where the shout of mighty warriors turned to humble praises for the rightful Hero on the throne, where musicians would never cease their merrymaking, where both sun and moon shone majestically, illuminating the chosen ruler and protector.

The Hero would sit all day, entertaining the parade of travelers and wise men who wished to stand before him, if only to gaze. The Hero would feast and laugh and give advise and accept kisses at his feet, flinching internally whenever the knights walked in with full armor and sharpened blades.

For the Hero was a coward, you see.

When the mice gathered enough courage to roam the halls, and when the guards prepared for their night shift, the Hero would hide in his room, remove his vest lined in gold, and let his armor clatter against the cobblestone; a caged cub told to behave like a lion.

His brow glistening in sweat, his hands dancing in spasms, and his legs barely strong enough to keep him upright. And every night, the Hero would ask,

“Why me? Why me?”

Why give the title to him, a man who never asked for it. Why celebrate him, who never did anything worth celebrating. He was a legend, a murmured tale for children to sleep soundly, a stereotype for maidens to place upon other men.

One such night, the Hero fell to his knees and whispered the question no more, and gazing out his window into the vast meadows of his kingdom, he contemplated running away.

“Why?” asked the sword locked in the closet.

Rising, the Hero hurried to the voice, and prying open the wardrobe doors, came face to face with a sword encrusted in precious stones and dried blood.

A sword worthy of a Hero.

“I don’t deserve you,” he whined meekly.

“Quite right you don’t!” Boomed the sword, rattling from the tip to the hilt, offended by the sight of the unhero.

“Right. I shall go.” It was all the Hero needed, convinced that the sword’s dismissal was enough blessing for his departure.

“That’s it?” scoffed the sword, “Shortest fight of my life.”

The Hero paused his way to his trunk, feeling his blood rising.

“Well, what do you want?! For me to argue against your reasoning?! To wrench you from your scabbard and bend your will to mine?”

“Yes.” Came the sword’s simple reply.

Bewildered, the Hero walked closer towards the wardrobe, his voice dropping to a whisper.

“But, why?”

“If you don’t you’ll truly never be a hero.”

Years later, when the Hero had long since been buried in gems and gold, when a new Hero hesitantly stepped into the halls, the people still spoke of the man who once stole a sword that did not want him, eventually gaining the sword’s acceptance with the many adventures and noble deeds they did together.

But that’s just a tale to birth new heroes.

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the myth i told you

You’ve dived into

Izalco

The weight of blood

stirred in bubbling lava has

p e e l e d off your human skin—your rebirth is

monstrous.

Suspended in

dark coils that wrap around your cursed flesh

Tlaloc himself marks you an                                             outcast.

Surgery (Revised)

I am resting on the operating table,

the fluorescent light code-morsing

that I’ve been here before.

My hands shake with the weight of scalps,

of barely visible thread,

my gaping stomach oozing–

too much intestine and half a liver.

There’s a group of cloaked crows

standing in judgmental regard,

humming their approval, tsking at my rookie mistakes.

“Aren’t you better qualified to do this?” I gasp as

I accidentally rupture my pancreas.

“But it’s your body,” they chant,

“you know best.”

We gather under new born suns,

the homes you built as gifts missing rooftops

to protect us from the elements you seem to crave.

and so We shift, shaking on skinny ankles,

to the predator, jaw opened wide–

warmth in this deadly cave, food, a reverberating

echo of welcomes.

you gave us an incomplete home,

deeming us incomplete.

We migrate now, to the beyond

you claim no longer exists for people

like us.

now that We’ve learned you’re lying

you’ve lost our meek hands:

keep your suns and broken homes.

Landscape

there are mountains on my wrists

for every corrosive spillage of greed.

there are mountains on my thighs

for every bad angled reflective surface.

there are mountains on my stomach

for every unreturned meal.

there are mountains on my scalp

for every entity reaffirming worthlessness.

It takes earthquakes to bring mountains down—   (my chest wheezes in tectonic plates)

Egotistical Egoist

I wake to lingering warnings:

egotistical egoist.

Suffocated between insomnia and sleeping pills

I must be dreaming about you.

It pisses me off,

your lyrical subconscious presence far too elevated for your pathetic reality.

It pours, flooding words escaping my cracked hands

and I wonder if I can recreate you long enough to edit you into

revisable.

In nightmares, too, you tease:

waking in cold sweat and

embarrassed regret: egotistical

egoist

too good to waste.

I can’t pretend

to masquerade roles

I have no script for.

Standing in the ballroom: centered and focused

will not get me to light the chandelier.

A soft spoken promise lies dormant in my right hand

so tightly clutched

I wonder if it lives still.

I’ll flex open these muscles on the day of

reckoning

when stars detach from their strings–

stage collapses.

I’ll take on paper wings,

sprouting from its cave, this promise

producing a gust so fearful

tables turn upside down.

Then: centered and focused

I’ll gaze upward.

Stage direction:

The chandelier drops elegantly.