A Land of Tortured Souls

Time bears no meaning.
You’ve been here before…
A barren realm, an empty room.
A mirror reflects back a face you once knew.
Now it’s marred with scars and lines
That tell a story of war and fear.
The endless abyss set in your eyes
tells of harrowing loss and pain so severe
You found yourself here.
For this is the world where all is on hold:
A land of tortured souls;
Where the broken may be safe,
Where the walls remain raised,
Yet, though life stays on hold,
You won’t escape growing old.

Sense of Control

I write in poems that rhyme
for a craved sense of control.
But what if I break away?
…Write in verses without rhythm?
Without syllabic structure painting pretty little pictures
Lining up in melodic sounds
just to satiate the appetite of a little girl
Who never got to have a childhood
Or a choice of who she was-
Who she would be, who she could be-
All was taken before she knew
That the world was made of choices;
She should’ve had the room to choose,
But she did find she could choose one thing-
She could choose the perfect words…
Put them down on paper
in an arrangement that rendered them magic.
And as she grew and weathered more storms
Than she could bear throughout her time,
Along with choosing perfect words
She saw it fit to make them rhyme.

a winter lost

the leaves of green turn red then brown,

the sky of blue turns gray.

no life withstands the frozen ground,

much less the darkest days.

it’s here you’ll find me, left alone,

with ice caked in my hair.

imposed to face a world unknown,

caught in life’s cruelest snare.

no clothes to shield me from the cold,

no shoes upon my feet.

I feel time dying, growing old,

it’s heart has slowed a beat.

the endless night brings out the frost,

the winds blast me away.

and still, I muse, that getting lost

still trounces having stayed.

Life is but a Dream

I traced a crack along the sky into the realm of time;

Reality had broken, but perhaps it’s only mine.

The music played to eerie beats, the lights a blinding glare,

I searched out faces that I knew to find they were not there. 

The roads to destinations far and wide all led to one,

The voices speaking at me sounded off in foreign tongues.

The stars that once hung in the sky no longer held a gleam,

I closed my eyes and laid to rest, for life is but a dream.

Time Can’t Heal All Things

I could write you a poem
but it can’t be enough
for when things become broken
and life becomes tough

Though the saying that stands
is that ‘time heals all things’
when it comes to the heart
it can’t heal everything

Time can’t heal a cruel word
once it passes the lips
It can’t heal a fell blow
when one’s temper has slipped

It can’t heal the hole left
when you’ve lost someone dear
or the terror remaining
when trauma comes near

Oh, the best I can do
is just sit by your side
and remind you I’m near
until hardships subside

And if time comes to show
that they never do ease
I will still remain near you
In hushed empathy

Summer Faded

It was a summer evening, just trailing on spring’s end
a vibrance formed between us, rooting us as more than friends
those days, we’d talk for hours, about life and simple things
we were so very young then, life was full of hope’s lush springs

We’d wander through the forest, on the path along the creek
I recall our first kiss there – my whole body rendered weak
we’d then sit at the park and just watch the setting sun
there could be crowds of people there; to me, was only one

Then summer faded quickly, suddenly life became cruel
we were still the same players, but the game had changed the rules
the downfall of our story wasn’t your fault, wasn’t mine
we both became the victims of the savagery of time

I dealt with it by shutting down, you dealt with it in rage
and so our story faded bit by bit and page by page
I wish things had been different, yet time marches to a beat
I still wish you the best of life, despite it without me

Regret is a Heavy Burden

I sat in the bar car staring aimlessly out the window at the scenery passing me by. It was a 25-hour train ride from Grand Junction, Colorado to Chicago, Illinois, and I was only five hours in. My tumbler of Crown Royal sat untouched in front of me as I remained fixated on the scenery. I never imagined how much would only be seen traveling on the rails; yet, here we ran through passes too narrow for highways or even the roads paved for ATVs. Meadows spread out before my eyes between the vertical cliffs on either side. Sandstone and sagebrush, orchids and juniper. Wildflowers painting the foothills in a dazzling palette of flame and dusk. I was fixated on the raw beauty of it all, so much so that I didn’t even notice the old man hobbling down the aisle until he was standing beside me, clearing his throat and addressing me.
”Excuse me, miss,” he spoke in a hoarse tone, like someone who had smoked for many years, “I don’t want to intrude upon your space, but would you care for some company?”
I didn’t want to be rude, and I had, in fact, been sitting alone for five long hours, so I gestured for him to sit.
”Go right ahead.” I said.
”Thank you.” He replied, and he took a seat on the bench opposite me and rested his cane against the side.
”Are you coming or going?” He asked.
I smiled, though I knew it didn’t reach my eyes. “I’m visiting family and friends in Chicago. It’s where I’m originally from, though I live in Colorado now.”
”Forgive me if I’m being presumptuous, but you don’t seem all too happy about that.” He said.
I looked out the window once again and caught sight of a herd of bighorn sheep making their way up a nearby foothill. I briefly mused that it must be nice to be so free to roam where you please whenever you choose.
”I miss my friends.” I answered the old man. “And my family. I moved to get away from things, but now I just feel as if I’m missing out on everything. My first nephew was born this year. I wish I was around to see him grow up.”
A waiter came by then and asked the man if there was anything he would like. The man ordered a scotch on the rocks, and the waiter quickly set off to fetch it for him.
”If I may give you a piece of advice I’ve learned in my plethora of years?” The old man said to me.
I nodded, inviting him to continue.
”If your heart feels torn, or you feel it being pulled somewhere that you’re not, you have to listen. Life is too short to stick around where you don’t belong. If you’re missing out on something, you’ll find yourself with regret, and regret becomes a heavy burden to bear over the years.”
I didn’t realize I was tearing up until the dampness dripped down my chin onto the table. The man handed me a napkin from the holder beside us.
”Don’t cry for a problem that has a solution. You’re young. Don’t stay stuck. Take it from me.” He said with a sympathetic smile.
The waiter then returned with the man’s scotch. The man took it and handed the waiter some bills. As the waiter walked away, the old man took up his cane and his drink and stood up shakily.
”I want you to think about what I’ve said. Go in the direction your heart is pulling you.” He stated. He then hobbled away as abruptly as he came.
I returned my gaze to the scenery outside. Cliffrose and horsetail. Cacti and willow. Wild stallions running through the clearing without a care in the world. I knew then what I needed to do.

Monsters

lock your jaw into a smile

tell them everything is fine

you can run far from the past

but you can’t outrun your mind

all you taste is bitter tears

all you hear’s internal screams

there aren’t monsters in your closet

they exist inside your dreams

stand and fight

you go about each day as it’s something wrought with dread,

just running from the pain, you retreat inside your head.

take solace in the silence, in the emptiness you find.

until the demons seek you and take hold inside your mind.

where are you going to run now when the danger lies within?

how are you going to fight now in a war you’ll never win?

keep count of all the shadows and take note of where there’s light.

you may be without ammo but you’ve strength to stand and fight.

When you Felt Alive

Tell me about when you felt alive, or is it too far-off for you to recall?

It was only a lifetime away, my sweet child, but pull up a chair and I’ll tell it all.

My friends and I got up to mischief each day – never malicious, just all in good fun.

We’d lie on the beach at the end of the day, counting the stars above the setting sun.

I still endured pain, that can’t be avoided, but laughter had always outnumbered the tears,

I urge you, my child, don’t let life make you jaded – hold on to your dreams at all cost through the years.

I learned people change and the world will grow harder, and these are two certainties no one evades,

But through those life changes, the ups and the downfalls, you’ll learn of what virtues exactly you’re made

When I felt alive, I lived days to their fullest, I treated my life like a fantastic ride.

And though much was tragic, I held to the magic, eager to take every new day in stride.

Why?

***Trigger Warning – This story is on the topic of domestic abuse. If you or someone you care about is in a domestic abuse situation, PLEASE reach out for help. It’s not hopeless. It’s not too late, and you are worth saving. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Stay Strong 🖤***

“Look at you,” he said with a sneer; saccharine sweet, betraying his usual tone and indicating the instability that was currently driving his actions. He spat out a maniacal laugh before tightening his vice-grip on her wrists.
“Look at you,” he repeated, more emphatically and condescending to her as he hovered over her on the bed, pinning her down with his combined strength and size.
“Like a child” he mused, observing her hands trapped within his grasp. And to him, she suddenly realized, she was. A scant 5’5 with small bone structure to his 6’5 and a body built and hardened from years of manual labor. Not to mention the age gap of more than a decade. She had told herself for so long that it was only a number, but as time trickled by she saw that it was so much more. It was just another way of holding power over her, making her feel small and foolish, an excuse to control her at any opportunity.
He was now digging his knee, impossibly sharp, into her thigh to hold her down even further as he leaned in more closely. She could feel and smell his musky breath upon her face. Marijuana and something else she couldn’t quite place… She never knew what else he was up to outside of their home. His lies ran as deep as his mistreatment, though brought to his attention he would flip the table upon anyone who dared to do the bringing.
“Get out of your head and look at me!” He suddenly barked, the illusion of sweetness broken like a trodden-on twig. To enforce his command, he tightened his grip even more, her hands going numb, lightning strikes of pain shooting up her arms into her shoulders and neck into her jaw and teeth as he gave her a firm shake, and she looked him in the eye. His eyes, typically blue, were colored a piercing gray with pupils so dilated the black pools nearly took over. Like shark eyes, she thought. Dead. Lifeless. He showed no emotion about what was taking place as he kept her pinned and trapped to the bed that they shared as a married couple. No apparent remorse for the violence he was bringing upon her for no reason other than ‘he had a shitty day at work’ and she was there.
She was just about to breathe a sigh of relief as one of his hands released one of her wrists, restoring the feeling to her arm ever so slowly, but before she had the chance, it was redirected to her throat in a flash, with a vice grip tighter than she could fathom. Hands so large that only one could span the circumference of her entire throat, closing off all access to air. It only took seconds, perhaps less, for her vision to begin growing hazed and spotty. She could only see his eyes go from dead and lifeless to sickeningly amused. His lips were moving, but she couldn’t hear anything but a rushing waterfall of blood just behind her ears as her vision darkened more and more. Her last conscious thought was very simple. Quite calm. Only one basic question.
“Why?”

too young

[disclaimer: the following is a poem about losing my older sister to cancer. she was only 39 years old. it may be triggering for some, so I wanted to give a little warning. cancer is a bitch]

you left me with a letter telling me I must be strong

along with all your pictures and a list of favorite songs

I wish that I could tell you that the day you went away

my life, once lived in color, faded into shades of gray

there’s so much left unsaid and how I yearn to have you back

but that is not to be, I must accept the time we lack

I always took for granted that I’d always have you there

you left me far too soon, and much too young, it’s just not fair

Time Slipping Away

In the days before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,

There lie memories of freedom, playing kick-the-can…

With true human connection, we’d see the whole town,

We’d only go home when the sun would go down.

The stars still shone brightly, not clouded by haze,

And fireflies still lit up the end of our days.

Those times I hold dear, but there’s no going back.

There’s no use in mourning that which today lacks.

Remember, be grateful for what’s here today,

There’s no guarantee, but time slipping away.