Every Thursday I share with you a poem I love or one I’ve written. Today’s poem is called The Way You Are and is about people who are hiding under layers of bravado and narcissism. I hope you like it.


The Way You Are

You say this is just the way
you are—to which I say no,
no way

the way you are
brings chaos
and destruction
and forces

people into
tears of dread
and regret, no way

the way you are
needs silence
to survive, no way

that is
how this works
who you are


Strip off
the layers, strip down
to nothing, wear
what you wore before

you knew
how it felt to strip
someone else

of dignity, of power
of clothes, of
her innocence,

before you were told
the way
to come into your power
was to take it
from another

back to
when you

the only way to be
the way you are is to
go home, to strip

down to nothing,
down to your roots
down under your boots

of bravado, your belt of
fury, your tightly-tied tie
of feigned

quit pretending to be
so dense

quit wearing your pants half-zipped

go all the way, take
off all your clothes

and there—see! STOP—that
you, that naked and shaking
you—that is who
you are,

so small, so unassuming,
so human, the big, amazing
oz… not

so much but

that is where you’ve
been hiding.

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