By Mike Austin

is there anyone out there
does anyone care
where am I going
what am I doing

it's so lonely in here
beneath my shields
under my protections
behind my mask

it's safe
but it's cold
and I'm lonely
and I need someone

someone to care for
someone I can care for
someone I can entrust
with all my secrets
someone who won't hurt me
someone who cares

but I'm lost
and I don't know where I'm going
or what I'm doing

can I tell anyone my secret
no, it would be too hard
and they might hurt me

I would never be seen the same way
they'd stop seeing me as a person
they'd see me as "him"
not a person
but a thing

some would see "him"
just different
some would see "him"
someone that chose a different lifestyle
some would see "him"
someone that should have their ass kicked
some would see "him"
the poor soul that needs salvation
some would see "him"
the sicko that'll burn in hell
some would see "him"
and run away
some would see "him"
and ignore "him"

maybe some would see me
as the same as before

and maybe


someone might see me
and say
I think I like him

but who will say what
how will I know

who should I tell
should I even tell
I could stay behind my walls
and always be alone
always cold

so very cold

I don't want to be cold
I'm tired of being cold
all my life I've been cold
and lonely

wondering if I'll ever find someone
ever find anyone
that I could let inside my shields
beneath my protections
behind my mask
and into my heart.

composed at 3:07am on 3/24/96

Mike Austin, 16, is a high school sophomore in Florida. He can be reached at mike15@usa.pipeline.com.
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