Marble Tongues

Maybe when it drops down

We’ll make sense of it

Maybe not

 

If the sun drips sapphire

It might burn to the bone

Maybe simply warm

The ashes

Until they catch fire

 

If we drown in our riches

Perhaps the earth will sorrow

Or perhaps she’ll sigh

And drink down the blood

An offering to the carrion

To restore balance

 

Maybe when it falls down

We’ll make a foundation of it

Maybe not

 

If the bones keep dry

I’ll sleep inside the carcass

No one will breathe my way

 

 

By Daphne Shadows

My Lips on Your Lungs

There isn’t black black-enough to cross it out.

Sitting like a king on the horns of doubt.

Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

 

If I set fire to the moon, would you notice?

Could I sacrifice my pain to see truth, to know this?

Misery is the only home I’ve had but it’s one I wouldn’t miss.

 

It’s a little crazy, isn’t it?

Grinning to ensure you fit.

It burns, doesn’t it?

 

Almost like the world wants us to live. But it doesn’t.

Realizing I’ve walked in the skin of someone I wasn’t.

Until I became you to stay away from what I mustn’t.

 

Mustn’t, little miss.

Good girls and boys all know this.

 

Mustn’t be a mess

Pretend you have no stress

Got society to impress

They might ask you to undress

Must always answer yes

And speak a little less

Win this game of chess

Ignore your heart’s abscess

Yes – you can breathe, I guess

(Just not in excess)

Climb to my your success

Must make everyone obsess.

 

I tired your way, discovered something –

I don’t want this life and I’m fighting.

Everyone ready? You might need better lighting.

 

I’ll undress alright, unzip my skin,

Drop it on the floor and let the horror settle in.

Pull up a chair, take a seat, I’m about to begin.

 

I’m a mess, I confess, no doubt about that.

Can’t just pull mental health out of a hat.

And something’s making it worse, let’s talk about that…

 

You want who I am to be the mask you used to see,

But that’s just not me and I’d rather be free.

Instead, I’ve started stepping into me.

 

You’re angry but that’s okay, I expected the worst.

But this shabby glass bubble, I’m going to shoot, it’s going to burst.

I need some space. My soul needs to be nursed.

Sometimes all this compassion makes me feel cursed.

I’m drowning in pain ‘cuz I never put myself first.

I wish all these wasted years could be reimbursed.

When I speak up now, it has to be rehearsed.

Feeling so spineless? Let me tell you, it’s the worst.

 

Have to climb a mountain just to open my mouth.

Always afraid the situation’s going to go south.

 

Then there’s this other part of me that wants everything to burn.

‘Cuz maybe if they hurt too, they’ll have to learn.

With their pretty plastic melting, with nowhere to turn,

Maybe they’ll remember some respect, some human concern.

 

If I’m honest though, sometimes I just want them to hurt.

Yeah, I know, it’s childish. I’m trying to divert.

No, I won’t smile and no, I won’t revert.

I’m thinking it’s time to draw some lines and assert.

 

Let me just slide it down like lace,

I won’t force but you’ll embrace

Or I’ll leave, erase every trace.

I’m using my own two feet if I’m running this race.

You can’t have my voice or my face.

Won’t sell my soul, get off my case.

Think I’ll eat it? You’re off base.

 

Won’t take it for the crowd or sit like a lady,

Won’t wait politely in line for a bowl of misery.

Think you can stop me? Then you never knew me.

 

Sewing my own skin now and it’s Mizz not missy.

You want into my life? Show me!

Think I should go back to pretending? Try me.

Think I’m too messy? I’m so not sorry.

Think I’m too open? Don’t follow me.

 

Throwing husks into the fire so I can see inside myself.

Taking all these voices off the shelf.

Going to work. Shattered mind won’t fix itself.

Watch me stitch them together into one self.

 

Double sided, bipolar, multiple personality,

Jekyll and Hyde. Yes baby, that’s me.

Normal to be more than one thing, you hear me?

 

Not enough whiteout to cover me up now.

You could probably extinguish me, but I’m not sure how.

Kill me but changing me’s not something I’ll allow.

Killing butterflies and making dignity bow –

That’s not for me, I’ll stop you somehow.

Bottom line is, you won’t have any part of me, I disavow.

 

Silly shadow eater, you thought I was done?

I’ve got my ribs to crack open and wars to have won,

Barbed wire to come open, velvet to slide on,

I’ve got my boots to lace up, some hearts to shake, hon.

Walls to break until your fears come undone,

I’ve got heavy nights to bleed through to meet the sun.

Oops – that’s not what you meant by some edible fun?

My lipstick on your lungs, I’ve got a reckoning to run.

 

By Daphne Shadows

 

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Choose to See

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

This will pass, you see. Gotta make it what you want it to be. That’s what they keep saying to me.

But I’m empty, scarecrow wondering who I want to be. Things holding me down, rocks in my pockets, underwater struggle to break out of the sea.

Yup, that was a cockroach crawling on my skin. Yes, living room lights dying, going dim. Can’t pay my bills and my patience is growing thin.

Work harder and smarter. Keep pushing farther and farther. Halfway through with a little baby starter. Everybody telling me to hold on longer.

Easy for you to say when food doesn’t hurt you. You want me to believe accepting your table scraps is a virtue. But I bet you can sleep and receive successes for your hard work, too.

Some of just hurt and hurt no matter how healthy we choose to be. We have to learn to trust in what we can’t see. Cuz our elbow grease and overtime leaves our energy stolen and our souls empty. Our experience shows we’ll never get to where we need to be.

Telling me I need to believe better. Telling me I must need to try harder. If I’m still not in my right mind, if I’m still falling behind, if I’m still running blind, I’ll never have anything to offer.

Fact of the matter is you don’t have to try that hard to get what you need. I used to run until my demons started to bleed. But my body decided I couldn’t even have that and I had to concede.

You brag about your bootstraps and all your achievements. While I’m out here fighting to get out of bed, my own mind, and bereavements.

I’m sinking but keep swimming. You’re throwing insults and demeaning. Some of us out here fighting fire in our skin, ducking and swinging.

Gotta run a marathon before we can step to our dreams. Cuz the giants are in our blood, pulling us apart at the seems.

We have to play doctor for ourselves. Pick up the pieces of our own egg shells. Take a gun to our personal Hells.

All of this before we get out of our beds. Because our hangman lives inside each our heads. All the while people advising us to start popping meds.

This is where you want us to break. Crying about how there’s only so much we can take. Don’t mind my creepy smile but this is where you made your mistake.

Didn’t you hear what I said? We’re out here working to silence the voices in our head. And that’s before we’re working on paying for our bread.

Yeah I’m gonna have days where I complain. Hello – no matter what I do, I’m in pain! But all this extra work isn’t in vain.

But listen up, pull out a chair, be a good kid and sit there. You don’t have to tell me, I already know life isn’t fair. But if we go a few rounds I’ll forever be there!

Oh yeah you’ll knock me down and I guarantee you’ll mess me up. But if there’s one thing we’re pretty good at, it’s getting back up.

You can fight me all day long but I’m a beast in the ring. You don’t understand the kind of pain my own issues can bring. But if you’ll notice, every day I’m the one winning. So if you think I’m weak or easy, you haven’t been listening. I’ll keep falling down but I’ll get back up and swing.

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

I think I’m going to mix it up and stay out of bed. Ignore all the ugliness swarming in my head. Do something different just like my heart said.

If I had to give advice, I’d say be careful what you’re fed.

 

by Daphne Shadows

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Mourning a Loss

Do you remember the first words that fell off your lips?
Or the first thing that caused joy to well up?
I don’t.
Funny, the things we remember.
So important, our first steps.
Yet we never get to see them.
Remember the rush of our chubby baby legs working how we wanted.
Or our first words.
I wonder what mine were?
Maybe it’s better not to know.

So silly, the way we see ourselves.
Lost in memories and thought loops
Experiences we label and poke at (from an unsafe distance).
Staring into mirrors that distort
And ask the wrong questions.
Peering into eyes that hide behind plastic masks,
Use paint to hoodwink reality.

What do you remember?
I get these flashes.
I don’t want them.
My chest breaks in half
Everything is frozen in blazing nausea
And the world goes dark
They color my sleep in muddy hues
Robbing intimate moments of safety.
I got so sick
Sick of paying for others’ sins.
Confused body, still paying with sickly health.

The only things I remember, hurt.
I wish it wasn’t that way.
Wish I could hold happy childhood memories in my thoughts
Like little flakes of gold, suspended
Always there to infuse me with heart swelling snapshots.
The foundation all the healthy people have
The people who don’t fall apart every day.

But protection came at a cost.
My mom bought me gold flakes at a field trip once
I think they’re in storage.

I wish I could remember
The day I was born.
Fresh.
New.
Untouched.

I wonder what it felt like.

But if I tell…
If I tell, you might look at me
Like I’m made of porcelain, so easily broken
Or smothered in slime I can never remove
(Even though I didn’t put it there)
It infuriates me.
Perhaps if I hurt you, you won’t see me as weak
But I’m not a bully, so I’ll wait for you to hurt me first.
Silly memories, telling me you will.

I wish I could remember what I felt the day I was born.
Would I be the same person?
Would there be something at the center of me, holding me up?
Convincing me that I am solid and here and…
I wish I could remember.
What emotions flooded my body, the day I was born?
Can you take me back to the beginning, before everything became broken?

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when you get lost

when you get lost, pick up a pen, a pencil, your phone, keyboard, paintbrush, chisel, hammer, loudspeaker, break open your chest and rip your heart out.

whisper to it scream why you’re still here why you will not give up how you are too stubborn to just die you are too glorious to accept this misery this lack of life.

force your heart back in refuse it’s radio silence, sew yourself back up, one foot in front of the other into the garage, hook yourself up to the jumper cables and step behind the curtain, take control of the command center hijack the speaker system, scream like you mean it until your neighbors believe it.

dig up all your broken bones, peel off your empty dead skin, collect the blood and hours of secret tears, chew it up spit it out, push the pads on remove all the metal, stand

CLEAR!

bring it to life, fashion it into rope, make an incision, tie it to your gut find your way home, crawl back into who you knew you were always meant to be who you want need to be, because this drowning in a walking flatline only ends one way.

you don’t need advice until you know where you’re headed.

the man on the moon doesn’t know, put a glass to your ribs and listen, you do.

pick up an ax, stalk the brokenness out back to the post you’ve been chained to, throw the strongest link on the chopping block and SAY CHEESE annihilate them.

take a flamethrower to your slave masters, use their ashes to create your own garden because you can feed yourself.

this is about you, sit in the fire and when you open your eyes push magic through your veins like electricity, a closed door cannot stop your flames.

and if you’re feeling cold, warm yourself with the licking of lashings scarring your insides where no one can touch you, make it all better.

make it all better.

you’re going to burn. burn true. heat cities. grow multitudes. create mammoth atoms to spin within your own sphere, always pulling you, holding you home.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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I’m Not Waiting Any Longer

And I sit there on the floor

Legs not crossed like a lady

But crossed like I’m four again

Sitting at school on the carpet

Waiting for the teacher to explain.

 

Okay, I’m ready.

For you to let down your wisdom

Breathe the secret into my ear

Pull back the curtain

Ignite the barren emptiness

Of not knowing

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Waiting

Rubbernecking like nobody’s business

Wholeheartedly believing

Now I’ll understand

Now it’ll all make sense

I’ll get it

Understand

I’ll know what this life is all about

What I’ve been missing

 

I’ve lived into my how-to manual

People will come rushing through the terminals

Hard earned years of enlightenment

They’ll bustle in their hurried fever

Of needing to get on with their lives

Because they have so much to live

What, with all that understanding

Due to age…

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Realizing the room is empty

It’s a stage with polished floors

And vaulted ceilings

Rows and rows of chairs

The nice cushy ones you might’ve fought your grandpa for

When you were four years old

 

I look around and see

The lights are off

I’m the only one on the stage

The crowd is empty

Those nice soft seats, void of any life

Any know-how to impart

 

That’s the first lesson I really learned

About everyone else,

Outside of my skin.

It didn’t knock off any innocence

I wasn’t shiny or brand new by then

That got rubbed off before I could speak

But I’d kept some silly hope that when you said

“When you’re older you’ll understand”

…that you spoke the truth.

 

You did not.

The truth is

No one knows.

 

I found this out, sitting cross-legged

Like a child

Vibrating with enthusiasm

And excitement

Ready to warm my hands

At the fire of everyone’s experience

 

With the heat of age

That’d crept into my body

That everyone told me, made me

Better, somehow

Like numbers of lived life

Ups your worth in some cosmic game

And so you earn more lives

And redeemable information to trade

For a bunch of useless tasks, you performed…because….

 

Still sitting on an empty floor

Holding a ticket that leads nowhere.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Photo is property of Daphne Shadows