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.

Shadow Poetry

more

i forgot
to lock the door
to my heart
once before

you left me
on the floor
drowning in
my gore

evermore

i took flight
i climbed ashore
clambered for air
survived the war

the bruises
they’d ignore
i found a salve
i couldn’t pay for

evermore

i watched justice weep
heard silence roar
in chains i’ll kneel
nevermore
nevermore

Shadow Poetry

sore

caked about the edges
soft belly
so fragile
ever breakable

soaking in the
pitch
whispers dotted
in the silence

it’s tethered
to my soul
skin charred
fissures in it’s
bones

they warned me
not to lift my
gaze
never believe
in fairy tales

but i knew better
not in knights
no
shining armor
is a farce

pretty lies
packaged nice
a net waiting
to lure and drown

dragons though
i hear their wings
in the darkness
i’ve been buried
beneath

if dragons exist
perhaps
i can fly
too

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

Shadow Poetry

behind the deadbolt

how can i speak? when my tongue is in the bedside table, where i left the salt and took the gun…

and every time i walk down the stairs in these heels, i feel your rules, cutting into my soul, stealing every inch of light i have left.
two ways in, two ways out.
i forgot to mention.

if i don’t like it, i can break it, re-shape it, re-make it.
you don’t have to be here.

with all your height, all your size, my monsters are towering over your head, watching you sleep and eat and breathe, chains dangling round their throats, begging me to let them go.
maybe i am
my own armor. but i left it under the bed, beside my skin, and i took the knife you wanted to put in my back.

when you hit my spine with your heel, my words came tumbling out.
the beside table burst and the boogeyman under my mattress rushed up and out and now i know why my shoes never fit right before.
its like the dust in me turned to stone, all those years of kneeling morphed to fire, my skin remembered it’s own savor and now

i’m not putting the barrel in my own mouth.
i am my own gatekeeper.
i forgot to mention.
the hinge swings when i say and once i’ve opened i’ve decided. are you the weapon or the meat?

your daggers i collect as roses in a vase made of bone-carved trophies, my darkness pacing in the background, holding all their tally marks until the rage spills into my sight and sometimes i let them off the chains, digging about in my own shadows, where they wait, just inside my gates.
i will wait you out. your grave will serve as my foundation, the length of rope about your neck a gift you spat in the face of, all the way to your feet dangling.

Shadow Poetry

magic peddler

if i could have any job, i’d be a magic peddler.

leave fairy dust behind in my barefooted trail, sprinkling madness into your lives, waking you up, slipping fire into your veins.
every time you’d walk the same ground i’d walked, heat would shoot through the soles of your feet, spreading chaos like a disease, giving you the choice to harness or fall to it.
i’d sell tinctures to open eyes and flush hearts of doubt. carry a deck of cards, read your past and extract the damages so you could find the slivers of silver left behind.

i’d unleash dragons and fashion lakes of healing for lepers.
charge you to swim with the mermaids (for a nominal fee) and sell second chances for pennies.
i’d brush my fingertips over lips to hush destruction and hand out re-purposed gags as bandages stitched together with bone dust of the long lost enemies of life.
i’d breathe karma into the lungs of the sadists parading about as saviors and poison the earth with regrowth and health.

expose truth and lies the same – break the world’s rib cage open and expose that soft, squishy, vulnerable heart beating in the dark, begging for help.

pull the sky down and sing it a lullaby. dust rain down the saddest souls, sweeping all the decay and dead skin cells out of the way. there’s no other way to prepare one for joy, not even for a magic peddler.

i’d bottle your tears and water my garden as payment. as the loveliest flowers grew, i’d place a vase on your pillow and help you pray with your heart, connecting to everything growing and thriving about you until breathing came easy.
gather many together and open their chests, sit everything that hurt in the middle and sob together. i’d whisper magic words as you slept. help you come to, pick it all up, and put yourself back together. help you stand with rose petal splints and laugh as one.

maybe i’d learn to heal me too.

by Daphne Shadows

Shadow Poetry

vicious cycle

i keep fighting forward
and just when i think i’ve got my feet under me
i realize i’m on my knees
bloodied and hazy

can you create castles out of sand?
a masterpiece from oils and fine brushes?
a whole, walking, talking person
out of a broken, beaten, wraith?
– only to have a sledgehammer taken to it?

again
and again
and again

do you choose to stand, crawl, scream
rage against the silence
chip away at the race you cannot win
and keep kind against the cruelty?

only to end up back here again
dazed
wondering who cried the tears on your cheeks
or left the spire of rage in your chest?
who took the wind from your sails
the breath from your lungs?
left your hands mere shards of bone
with your lips sewn shut?

i get tired of this place
i know you’ve been here too
how can we all feel so alone
when we tread the same footsteps
until the ground is more worn than our spirits

is this it?
an endless loop

a trudging march to the beat of whatever drum happens to hold our reins
a constant gasping above the surface
before we fight not to drown once more

i choose to believe it’s not so
even though…