Three Poems by Michael Oakes

Being Misled

When he was young he wanted to be like The Flash.
Quick. Agile. Unseen.
He could just run away from whatever was bothering him.
Just like his Dad did.

As he grew older he wanted to be like The Hulk.
Strong. Fierce. Larger than life.
Anything that bothered him he could destroy or abuse.
Just like his Mom.

As a teen he wanted to be Superman.
Incredible. Superhuman. Looked up to.
He wanted to be bulletproof.
Unlike his sister.

Now he just wants to be normal.
Quiet. Hard-working. Blending in.
No abandonment. No abuse.
He needed a Hero.



This Poem is Not an Apology

Be a storm chaser.
Fear not the consequences of your crazy conquest,
Target the terrifying tornado and thunder,
Wrestle with the wild whirlwind you’ve wrought.

Be like a hurricane hunter.
Stand inside the storm surge,
Let the water wail away on your skin,
Be free of the frightening fear.

Be an avalanche adventurer
Scratch the surface of the snowy lake,
Decide to dive into the depths
Dig deep and dare to deal with the cold,
Find peace in this perpetually polar place.

Act like…
No. Fuck that –
Be the storm.
Be the best blizzard.
Move much like a mudslide
Spring like a surging tsunami.
Hit harder than hail.
Flow free like a flood.
Be you.
Be alive.



Round 1
His overconfidence may cost,
but he doesn’t think ahead.
He hears his name.
“The Kid.”
Ecstatic cheers proceed to feed his ego.
Bell rings.
He’s dancing, he’s dodging,
he’s got this, hands down.
Couple jabs, couple hooks.
He can taste the win.

Round 2
His overconfidence is evident,
but he won’t think ahead.
He hears the count,
“Three, four.”
His opponent getting up damages his ego.
Keep going.
He’s punching, he’s punishing.
Opponent won’t back down, hands up.
A few strikes, a few connect.
He can taste his sweat.

Round 3
His overconfidence is waning,
but he’s trying to think ahead.
He hears his coach.
“Get up!”
The mat cracks his ego.
Skull pounding.
He’s dragging, he’s sluggish.
He can’t keep his hands up.
A bunch of regret, a bunch of uppercuts.
He can taste his own blood.

Round 4
His confidence is gone,
and he can’t think at all.
He hears his opponent.
“Stay down!”
His ego is eviscerated.
Knocked out.
He’s done, he’s down.
His hands are the least of his worries.
He feels the disappointment, he feels every jeer.
“The Kid” is broken.