Have I not hurt enough? ~ A poem

Has the earth decided 

That because I have roots

I may be whipped by the wind 

Until all of my leaves are torn away?

Have I not hurt enough?

Has the sky decided

That the dark, icy grip of the night

Is merely a payment I owe

For the beautiful, but distant stars?

Have I not hurt enough?

Has the universe decided

That since I am a speck in the galaxy 

To never allow me to forget 

That I am small and insignificant?

Have I not hurt enough?

Has it been decided 

That the suffering forced upon us

By forces over which we hold no power

Is no more than a part of Life?

Have we not hurt enough?


A. C. Mortale 


Gone ~ A Poem

My name resounds in the empty room,

The sound, an echo on blank walls,

They call for me, they call to me—

Searching down these empty halls;

The bed waits cold in the empty room,

Where only darkness laid that night,

Eyes scanned the star-speckled skies—

But failed to spot one dying light;

Shadows pace in the empty room,

Waiting, hoping, for my return,

This life passes like a forest fire—

No one notices the last leaf burn;

Darkness retreats at the light of dawn.
They search for me—

 But I’m already gone. 
June 8, 2017

A. C. Mortale

Expectations Among the Stars

The world is spinning.

I’m motionless.

I’m caught in a rift in time, watching in excruciating silence as people pass by, and I’m blocking them out, all of them.

It’s like I’m drowning, sinking deeper and deeper while a flurry of boats above me spread over the surface, masking the struggle of my submersion.

It’s like I’m holding a tall pile of papers, incapable of seeing around it as I climb uphill, afraid to lose a single important document because they contain my identity. But each step is worse than the last, and gradually, the wind pushes me back, sweeping away the precious papers.

Nobody else feels it. I’m just the quiet one, standing in the crowd with my hands shaking, because when I’m around people, I get chills. The cold seeps into my bones, and I’m losing control. I’m losing the part of me I feel I have when I’m alone. I’m losing myself.

In this world, I am a number—casually dismissed by wary eyes that scan over the lists of thousands. And yet, how can a number be weighed down by such heavy expectations?

“The top. Aim for nothing less.” These words resound in my soul, its echoes an endless reminder of the world I am to be pushed into, but with it, exists a fear. Assuming that I meet this expectation, what then? Perhaps, once I reach the top I will be tempted to look down and realize how close I really am to the ground. Perhaps the view of the mountain from ground level was more beautiful than the view of the world from the peak.

More frightening still is the idea that, at that peak, I will not be satisfied. The incessant voices of expectation urge me to be better than others, but the true competitors are not those who walk this path with me. We can race each other to the top, but success lies amongst the stars.

Yes, I am a number. Just one in more than seven billion people. Dismiss me with your eyes and mind. Expect of me the greatest. I will not fail to meet your expectations. Just know that when I have reached the top, free from the restraints of expectation, I shall be inclined to reach the stars.

Then, I will be one among hundreds of billions, and those blank eyes with which I was once so casually dismissed shall sparkle with admiration when they look up at the starry sky.

A.C. Mortale

A Gentle Pond ~ a poem

Shadows stretch across the surface-

Of a small, unnoticed pond,

Delicate lilies cling to its face-

Masking that which lies beyond;

Not a ripple dares to shatter-

This plane of tinted glass,

Fixed firmly like a scenic picture-

As many, lonely years pass;

Although rare, there comes a time-

Where eyes sharp and perceptive,

Seek out the waiting, forest pond-

With its depths dark and deceptive;

Timid toe gently breaks the face-

The ripples scattering the illusion,

Of calm contentment that truly is-

Naught but a self-conjured delusion;

Bare skin meets the freezing water-

Hopeful smile turns to worried frown,

The pond is deeper than expected-

All who attempt to delve shall drown;

Beware, step not further my way;

Attempt not to unmask my lies.

I am dangerous under my surface;

This gentle pond is my disguise.

04/18/16 A.C. Mortale