Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry

Marionette to Maestro

It’s a wily road, you know.

Yeah
You know.

And every time I wake up, look in the mirror, take a breath, the hinges around my tear ducts start to break.
Someone keeps crying at night, leaving breadcrumbs from within my soul. There are demons and memories and pains eating them before I can see.

There’s a voice farther down that path, you’ll hear.

Yeah
You’ve heard.

It coils about your ankles, holding you in place. The silly putty of your heart jumps to please it’s palms. Betraying any nonsense your mind or soul offer. They hide then, small and childlike, alone and bleeding, in the recesses, far behind the grove of trees you used to play within.
No more sunrises. Sunsets.
Instead you cower within the confines of your castles, diamonds. Porcelain masks that keep the chains at your throat from noticement.

It’s an empty promise, that path, you know.

Yeah
You know.

All the petty words, empty shells, carcasses ripped out and left to dry in the noonday sun. Don’t worry. The tide will come in, wash away all the signs, all the proof. Wash away their footprints, but their words never leave the space in between bruises on your back.
Pockets filled with safe numbers, tongues lashing at your drop in armor, accidental glimpse behind the paper mache curtain. Mustn’t let them know. You’re human. Your banquet room filled to the brim with their laughter and guests who watch you when you head to your room.
Lock the door. (Sometimes that doesn’t help though, does it. The cracks in the walls of your spine let them in just the same.)

You didn’t choose this path, I know.

Someone picked you up,
Sat you down,
Pointed.
Slid their fingers inside your brain and switched it off. Gouged your eyes out and clicked ‘play’.

Did you notice?
Those weren’t fingers. They were claws. Leaking with the blood of another.

Do you want to know a secret?
There’s a fork in the road.
Crossroads inside the darkness.

A pair of scissors, lying on the ground below.
Pick it up. Cut the strings.
And then you’ll know.

You left the breadcrumbs, a maddened wild thing inside your chest. All that time kneeling, taking the knife, only made a monster of your heart. They didn’t think about that. How fragile a child. How horrific, how unstoppable a monster. And you know all their shadow puppets. All their truths. You are the keeper of secrets when you’re weak.
But when you wake.
When you wake, hands dirty with the yeast of your memories, demons, and pains on your side, when the silly putty is long dead and dried, when the voice is booming inside your chest louder and louder than theirs about your feet, when the need for a sunset is greater than their diamonds, your hands become stronger than their chains.

You are welcome, then, wild creature, to breathe through your own lungs.
Off their path and into the forest, find yourself.
Then
Then come find us. The wild souls, broken and rebuilt by the master’s hands. Our own.

Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry

I Am

Sunken into the fresh fallen cold, it cannot touch the soles of my feet, though they’ve been swallowed by now. Snowflakes dust eyelashes, a sullen caress in the barren of night. Every breath is a knife down my throat, a bite to my skin. But you touch me.

In this void, in this valley, no sounds to bring me back. The rushing of blood inside a body I can’t quite feel. Only slices of agony down my naked arms, my toe tag going numb at this point.

Forest hedging me in, looming in self-righteous magnitude, the only movement in this wasteland. Leaves dusted with crimson, everything smells of copper.

I can’t stay here or winter will take me, with its blue lips and frozen tears, sliding tendrils of false-heat inside, threading its fingers through my rib cage until the frost of rage ignites within an empty concert hall.

Moonlight slips through vast limbs, reaching for the heavens with scent of pine and flaking leaves. They cannot block her sway. But I cannot feel her. Only the cold touches me.

I am carved of the most sincere marble. I am stonework left from eons before, deserted by hands no one remembers. I am time worn and raw with pink, exposed newborn flesh. I am the decay intertwined within the rubble of war-ravaged homes. I am the empty pyre, filled to the brim with ashes of souls who knew better but could not outrun their own hearts. I am the first breath in the silence of night, soaked in salt and blood, a cry of conquering that never left fingertips. I am the empty bonfire, skulls stacked high in the center. I am the empty bed with a note carved in tears. I am the swelling within your chest when your eyes smile back at me.

I stand alone. Snow falling heavy in the dark cover of unknown. I am here. With empty hands and a swelling need. I am.

by Daphne Shadows

Micro Stories

how many deaths?

Life flashes before your eyes before you die.
They say, whispers turning to smoke in the night’s chill.
Tightening the noose.
It’s a lie.
Every time
Every time I die, they erase a little more of me.
Disaster etched his lips, only the simplest of pains stitching his heart back together. They keep supplying the knives for him to cut it open.
Don’t rock the chair.
Their eyes closed, backs turned to the empty shoes and spilling sobs.

Life flashes before your eyes before you die.
It’s a lie.
Frozen clocks in their hearts, razors for tongues.
They knew all along. Steered him clear of me.
Drowning us both.
Better to leash a sheep than fear a wolf running free.
Right?

Don’t rock the chair.
Every time
Every time it breaks me a little more.
He’s running out of stitches.

Life flashes before your eyes before you die.
It’s a lie.
They stuffed their hands with paper mache, pockets with gold.
Didn’t know it would weigh them down, slow their hold.
Step by step, forgetting their fear, dragging their feet.
Someone whispered into the wrong ear, jewels wouldn’t be sold.
Caught up then, in their halls of majesty, they forgot.
They forgot about the slipping leash, their crooked crowns dulling the cuffs.
And he found me, sitting on the edge, feet dangling, holding their noose, rocking the chair.

Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry

hope

i’m not sure i have a voice


you see, there’s a slumbering trembling that takes a step into something warm and inviting, like the sun, but with training wheels

and every time the light of day hits it, someone comes along with a sledgehammer and takes it all away

i keep lying there, catching my breath. before sitting back up, playing with my fingers in the sand, writing maps no one understands but me

it’s lonely


but i can still feel the pulse of it in me, thrumming into a hurricane of neediness, ready to explode and take everything in its path with it. down into this dessert of warmth and cool breezes and nothing that really belongs in these flat lands

do you remember the first time you felt the sun’s heat on your flesh? i think i must’ve had a hand over my mouth, but it wasn’t mine. i think i must’ve had some words fall out, but they came from another tongue

so i grab my shoes and shake the dust out and, what do you know? i’m still entirely ready to get the wind knocked out of me by hope.

Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry

i act like i need it

I stared at the words written on the wall for hours without ever seeing them.

The warmth of the day bloomed in me until all I knew were the leaves above in their muted dance.

And my lips recognized the lyrics before my thoughts did. Paint splashing against the wall of my heart. Your voice reverberating through the hollows of my dreams.

You follow me into the empty. Crushing colored glass under my toes in paradise, some sense of you leading me forward.

I can feel you breathing beneath my skin, I see you speak every time I close my eyes.

And there’s this buzz, deep in my flesh. Past the marrow and into the atomic darkness, hidden where the dancing lights of misery and joy fight. It puts a gun in my mouth one second. A love letter the next. Because I remember.

I have to feel it. So I wake up.

And you’re not there.

Micro Stories

hushed tone

whisper into the hollow

and forget yourself

until every spark ignites your soul

they’ll fight through the thicket

trying to drown the light

inside


what are you saying?

words whispered

lips parting against

somebody’s neck

what are you saying?

when they’re not watching

etching tendrils of magick into being


was it a noose

or did you let down your hair

to save them?


press your palm

into all your wet intentions

take it back and they’ll remember

your name

is it dripping gold

or blood?

Micro Stories

lift

the wind whispers through your embrace. heat strangling the darkness with lace. and they forgot to look for you. should have done so when the lights were on. to be honest, they thought your light would be gone. give it a few days as they pursed their lips and dropped poison down the line.

but we can all see you now. waiting on the horizon, darkness draping you ablaze until it’s hard to look at you. harder to look away. all their hushed gatherings, blood in the drain… for nothing. not even they could hide the brilliance of your silhouette.

not with a thousand nooses. not with a single lie.

traipsing around in ringlets and finery, death shrouds at their wrists. even they stood in awe when night fell. you’d won when they’d counted on you coming undone.

its dangerous to forget. the waves can only erode so many bodies. their secrets can only hold so many people down. until someone remembers you.

a single voice to wake your truth. then nothing can hold you back.

insidious breath never smothers the live fire.


By Daphne Shadows

Micro Stories

chrysalis

they poked holes in our walls so they could siphon our voices. and pulled down time to remove our choices. but we remembered our nightmares and made them our soldiers. took to the night and stood on their shoulders.

they scoffed from their pretty plastic houses and ordered us dead from their plush designer couches. not a finger, no, not a one. they needn’t lift to get anything done. they forgot all the danger, all the danger in their lies. ignoring the downtrodden’s desperate cries.

we never forgot what it meant to survive. never a chance, not one, to thrive. but survive pain we could do and do it well, no matter what new challenge, new ambush, new Hell.

we took to the streets and remembered our names, they covered us in deceit and burned us with flames. we took back the matches and rose from our ashes. stalked through their perfect and broke through torn patches.

inside their lofty mansions with stolen rations, they laughed and they jeered. outside in the cold, we struggled and feared.

but every little lie, causes a rift. and every empty promise comes with a gift. because inside our emptiness, we called on a light. and with it, you see, we won this fight.

little did they know, we fight every day. with the poison in our blood and the stones in our way. we fight our own minds each time progress rewinds. and fight our own demons as each day begins.

we choose from our hearts, we choose from our mind. not a piece of plastic nor mask will you find. because we already learned, we already know. what we hide is where we’ll grow. and vulnerable hurts, yes, but it’s better than their mess.

so they can come with their arrows and come with their spears. we’ll show up in armor we stole from our fears.

by Daphne Shadows