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

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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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They Follow Me

There are these
Stilted Scarecrows
Jolting about
On corpse legs

Forcing their way
Into my line of
Vision
Throwing blood about
Beating on a drum

Funny
They choose not to notice
My silence

The past
Cannot be
Re-done
Re-spoken

Some wounds
Cannot heal
Until the
Scar tissue
Is erased
In another life

So desperate
For me to be
Sitting around
The fire
With you

But I remember
What those embers
Can do

I’ve collected
These Scarecrows
Though I’m really
Not certain how
Or why
They shamble around
In the dark
Just out of sight
Waiting to pounce
To stitch their bony joints
Into my hair

I’ve befriended
Murders of crows
I’ve decorated
My home
With them
Etched them
Into my bones

And yet
These Burning Eyed
Scarecrows
They find me

Clothed in dead skins
Sickles in their hands
Carved faces
Straw innards
They haunt
Ghoulish calls
Carrying clappers
And stones

They are my funeral march
Hurling perilously
Into the fires they create
Pinning me the patsy

I’ve collected
These Scarecrows
They keep hiding behind
Death masks

I do not belong
To them
But they claw
At my skin

Their past presence
Scarring my Sight

I belong to the ravens
I side with the crows

 

By Daphne shadows

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Ode to the Roaches

On the first day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
A cockroach in a spare key.

On the second day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the third day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Six bushels of bay leaves,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Seven types of roach spray,
Six bushels of bay leaves,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the eight day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Eight boxes roach traps,
Seven types of roach spray,
Six bushels of bay leaves,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Nine hours of no sleep,
Eight boxes roach traps,
Seven types of roach spray,
Six bushels of bay leaves,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Ten thoughts of arson,
Nine hours of no sleep,
Eight boxes roach traps,
Seven types of roach spray,
Six bushels of bay leaves,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
Eleven new pairs rubber gloves,
Ten thoughts of arson,
Nine hours of no sleep,
Eight boxes roach traps,
Seven types of roach spray,
Six bushels of bay leaves,
Five new roach generations,
Four exterminators,
Three hours internet searching,
Two crawling bedrooms,
And a cockroach in a spare key.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my new town gave to me,
A bag of diatomaceous earth
And the roaches died
Finally!

 

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Never a Dragon, a Lotus, a Hero

 

To watch someone you love, suffer

That is the worst pain

To have ever known.

 

I have lived through abuses of every kind.

Horrors little children should never know

Memories I’d sell for bubble gum houses

and storybook bedtimes.

Pain that sears through my heart and mind,

Memories in my muscles I cry for

Physical scars,

Emotional scars,

Scar tissue growing stronger

and stronger.

 

But watching someone I love…

These tears hurt worse, somehow.

Somehow they burn

and twist

Until I can hardly breathe

And I loathe watching you go

Knowing you need help

But not knowing how

or what I can do.

 

I know you are strong.

I know you are the

bravest soul I’ve met

I know you can slay your own Princes

and befriend the Dragons lurking

deep inside and all around.

I know you don’t need me

for these things.

But I wish.

 

I wish I could keep the pain from you

I wish I could swipe it away with my tears

or my arms or my words

I wish I could absorb everything

and make life,

fair.

For you.

 

All I can do is hurt with you

Try to help

Understand

Be a shoulder, an ear.

Lend a hand.

But I know I cannot brandish your sword

for you

Not that you need me to.

Not that you aren’t stronger than me anyway.

 

I still wish.

It still hurts worse, somehow.

And yet, I know.

 

I know my scars

Brighten my lips when I know joy,

More brilliantly than if my skin was smooth,

Memory free.

Peace is only found when I

know it is so slippery a prize

after it was ripped away

and I stole it back, one drop of blood

at a time, one struggle at a time.

But I know peace, is the point.

I know joy.

I feel it until I am bursting.

 

I see so many others

sleepwalking.

That’s what pain does

shakes you up

awakens you to your awful state

state of misery or confusion

state of contentedness or settling.

Once awake I knew how to fight

even though I didn’t.

The pain ended up helping me

in a sick sort of way.

It showed me how to fight.

How to stand.

 

I know the horrors of my past

and they know me.

We laugh in the face of the horrors

Climbing through my windows,

Edging into my room

at night, trying to frighten me

with their newness and unknown.

I laugh because this scar tissue

Sees them for what they are.

They are whispers in the dark

Compared to the hideous trumpeting

of my past, my forever scarred words,

lashing into my skin with the blade of no knife.

These new nightmares are cotton candy

and daydreams I spot in the clouds

Compared to the devilish landscapes

lurking in my then.

I know that all that I have suffered

All I have hurt

It lost.

To me.

Without these villains

I never would have

Become.

 

And I know

Your tears will spill and leave.

Your fears will charge and back down.

Playing chicken with you will not work.

I know you will grow scar tissue of your own,

Small battles counting down the time

until they help you slay your next villain.

You will shout in silence

Sob into your pillow

Scream at every smothering glance.

You will find the words to stand your ground

Disperse the hordes that challenge your might.

 

Yes, you will hurt.

And I will hate every moment of it.

I will help you however I can.

I will stand witness to all the snares and wounds

failures and confusion.

I will hurt with you. I promise.

But I know.

You will win, too.

I know you don’t need me to fight these battles

for you

But I will always, always

be here with you.

I will gladly accept these lashings

if it means to stand by your side

As you suffer into Becoming.

 

I still wish you didn’t have to suffer.

It still hurts worse, somehow.

Worse than anything I can remember

suffering inside my own skin.

And yet, I know.

There was never a dragon, never a lotus, never a hero

without suffering to overcome.

 

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by Daphne Shadows