Storm for Sixteen

A deep, empty rumble that sounds like a hunger
I cannot name
Swallows the barren landscape again and again
With
------each
-------------rattling
---------------------breath
Insatiable. The tempest knows…

Crooked, golden last resorts illuminate the nothingness in brilliant, unforgiving contour
(For a second)
Then fade
Drooping to the horizon like the dejected faces of fireworks that never quite make it out of this world
All noise and no liberation
Fade, as I knew they would but hoped they wouldn't
Fade, as if they were never there at all

Then, trapped between the earth and sky, I understand why the gale cries
Close enough to the heavens to see that the world is flat
Close enough to the ground for the stars to condescend

I count the seconds between the quarreling cacophony,
Count the distance between its fatalistic warning and me
Sixteen
Too close, too humid, too much to breathe
The space between, where out of the chaos comes the day's new face
A face that hides just behind the torn nimbus curtain and calls itself
-------------------------------------------------------------------future
In the endless suspension where tomorrow becomes now
And now becomes only what it will be worth tomorrow
Where success becomes compromise
Where compromise becomes someone else
Where unconventional becomes crazy
Where different becomes wrong
Where sleep becomes coffee
Where passionate becomes a laundry list
Where accomplished becomes insane
Where happiness becomes the taste of alcohol and apathy
And blissful oblivion for $7.50
And other things I cannot understand
Where dreams must become definitive
If they want to live
Sixteen, oh so sweet sixteen
Becomes
Sixteen and bitter already
Sixteen
Becomes a license to try
Just so one day you can drive into the horizon and keep driving
Until you can forget that you're hopelessly trapped between the moon and the pavement
Sixteen,
Sixteen years
Sixteen seconds away
It's never enough
The flickering radiance beneath the curdled, violet haze bellows and sobs and shakes the world
It wants you to believe it is indestructible by making you realize it is there
And it is not going anywhere
But with every valiant crack of effort, light falls upon its uncertainty, its visible cracks
And silently, I can sympathize
But god, how I envy the skies beneath the skies
Then comes the disaster, the endless fall
The torrential deluge of
----singed resumes
------and polaroids of freshman year
--------and expectation
-------------and award-winning pretensions
-----------------------------and all the empty space I am

too

small

to

fill

And with a single, disinterested crack
The
-----sky
---------falls
And the future shivers on my shoulders

Then comes the aftershock
You cannot know
For you cannot hear my tempest
Besides, you have your own
You cannot know
What it is to live in my mind
When it streams with ticking watches and deafening warnings

Can't you see that I am turned inside out so that
All you can see is
The silver lining and the afterglow

You cannot know

And still, the deep insatiable rumble has no name

Empty…Empty…

Empty…

Empt—

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Sixteen