Here I am,
Pen and paper again,
Being asked for self-reflection.
A piece of me for the fodder I need,
Trying, desperately trying not to sound too proud,
But never presenting myself as too meek-
Why do I sit here, long after the world has gone to sleep,
Awake with the pressures it placed on my shoulders,
A beggar for what I, as an artist, am meant to abhor.
I ask myself: who am I? and the answer is clear.
I am cardinal,
Of prime importance, chief, principal, primary.
Only a year ago, I would not have said so;
How easy it is to become a secondary character in your own story,
To allow yourself to exist only in context with another,
Or as a product of your past.
I hold within me now all the passion and all the power
To silence the outside noise that assaults my mind
And listen to my heart.
My heart was a cardinal,
A little red finch that sang out, oblivious to the danger,
Despite the knowledge of angry predators lurking in the forest and the
Memory of the harsh winters past.
I was a cardinal,
A hooded cloak of scarlet cloth,
Designed to protect, to complement,
And O how I have protected and complemented.
Much of my life has been scrawled in scarlet.
I was not born a jaundiced cherub;
I was cut out of my mother's womb,
Coating both she and I in scarlet,
I was a lively child, a burst of light,
My hair turning, in summer, to scarlet,
Then I was corrupted, misused, desecrated against my will so young,
And as he tore through me, I bled scarlet.
The world was dark, cruel, frightening,
Over all I could see lay a filter of scarlet.
The first girl I ever loved drew pictures with a blade on her wrists,
And to tell her that I loved her, I copied her artwork with craftsman's precision,
And then we both dripped scarlet.
I stayed by her side for years, afraid and in pain;
My cardinal heart bleeding affections until she shot it.
Her love was translucent while mine was scarlet.
The stains coat my feathers,
Once-white and once-clean, so now I am scarlet.
But I am cardinal, by nature and by virtue,
Guided by prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude,
Of chief importance,
My life resting on my wings and mine alone;
A little red finch that sings out despite the danger,
Despite the memories of being forced so far so young,
Despite the knowledge that I have yet so far to go.