She tells me, to make this work, you need a thicker skin.
But my skin is thin like paper, pages of an unfinished manuscript, scraps of poetry hastily scribbled on cocktails napkins and forgotten receipts crumpled in the depths of pockets.
Fragments of meaning. Pure nonsense, pure wisdom.
Stumbling along I am mostly metaphor, interpreted differently by each new set of eyes, wandering the streets like a ghost, untouched, unseen.
Would that I could coat my skin with scales, impenetrable to the sharpest of words, encase my eyes, so that I may dive deeply into the fray, able to see past and future. Transmuted by alchemical fire, I am Immune to the burning of tears. Make of my skin a leathery battleground, because I am strong, but I am not tough.
Not tough like stony faces with cool eyed stares owning their burdens silently.
I am the antithesis of silence.
My pain reads across my face like a neon sign, promising live nude girls, obvious to anyone regardless of their literacy; attracting those that would fetishize my vulnerability.
Jacket ripped, spine cracked from overuse, ink trailing.
And so I augment my words
And I complicate my stanzas
And I become a tome of such weight and complexity
that knowledge of me becomes unreadable without mastery
So forgive my thin skin, my ripped pages, my velum transparency
All I have to cover myself is the illusion of artistry
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