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

Craving To Be Seen

No one paid me any attention. No one noticed me.

It hurt.

Put nasty coils and engine oil in my gut. Threatened to make me cry.

I kept going anyway.

 

Who cares if no one saw me?

I cared. But I didn’t want to.

I mattered to me.

Others mattered to me and I showed it.

Why couldn’t I garner such a response?

I kept going anyway.

 

It continued to burn at the back of my throat.

Made my feet heavy.

Almost as if what I did didn’t matter.

It might float away. No weight to it at all. Maybe it did.

 

But I squeezed my eyes shut and refused to feel jealous.

I did not like that feeling one bit.

It was disgusting to me.

Bacon grease mixing with gutter water.

I refused it. Wouldn’t touch it.

 

I did my thing.

Buried my tears.

Held a plushy to my chest and didn’t care that it was childlike.

One part of myself I never cared for approval of.

 

I pretended I didn’t care.

Until I didn’t, really.

I did my thing because I chose to see me.

I did my thing because I enjoyed it. Loved it. Wanted it in my life.

I did my thing because I wanted you to smile.

I mean, I’d always wanted you to smile. But I let go of the importance I attached to your noticing me.

Just had fun. Gave what I had.

That’s when you noticed me.

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I Know Better

And yes, I remember you.

Slinking through the corridors at night while no one was watching.

I saw you.

I knew you.

 

I remember the air in your veins breathing past my lips.

Filling every heartbeat until my teeth burned.

They didn’t know you had a secret.

Or where you went.

I knew you.

 

They say you don’t exist.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Empty Tongues

Hushed footsteps
Is there such a thing?
The carpet could be screaming for all we know.
Our socks could be praying for mercy.

We act like everything is trying to silence us
We blame doors, padding, muzzles
Why bother?

It’s not like many are trying to speak up
Any longer
We have families, you see
People to hurt
Dreams to set ablaze

They have us quite choked on fear
Our volume turned to mute
Our choices turned to disregard
Don’t they?

They’ve taken our vocal cords
Buried them in the cellar
While they feast on Just Corpses

No one behind the curtain
No one soundproofing our eyes

But I bet that’s the carpet’s fault
Hushing our footsteps.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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