Yesteryear

Yesterday seemed so sweet. The world was simpler and my decisions were made easier. While I fidgeted with a camera, snapping shots of memories frozen, I dallied with the idea that I could turn back time.

The calendar pages blew softly in the winds of my mind, carrying me back to the year before, and then the year before that. The puzzle pieces were not so small then, and the picture seemed that much clearer. You didn’t exist, and moving further back, neither did he. My heart had not yet been broken and those friendships I lack now were sturdy as trees.

But then I thought back further, searching for the memories I ran to when yesteryear was today. I longed even then for the past, clutching to my chest the poems that defined my youth. What did I think of then, to pull me through the turbulent seas?

The sad truth struck me, jolting me back to here and now. Forever we spend our lives looking back. How do we treasure each moment, when the one before it seems so much sweeter? Who will I be the next time I visit today? With each step forward, I catch myself stealing one glance behind.

I raised the lens to my eye and pressed the click. Best to savor the now, I thought, for on the morrow, it will become the yesterday.

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Instinctual

I didn’t have a plan. From the very start, I followed the wind to bring me to new places. I was tickled by the dandelions and graced by the sunflowers. Dancing barefoot under the cloudless sky, I’ve never felt so alive.

I didn’t have a clue, and until the very end, I don’t believe I ever will. Every step in stride leads me closer to perfection and further from the chaotic magnitude of your sullen devices. This too shall pass, and so I too must carry on.

I never asked for much. My needs are as they’ve always been; a place to call my own; a locale just for me. I’m much too large to be kept in here, confined by each suffocated note blaring from your old school radio.

I never followed the rules. Or the path. I wandered off course and questioned every lesson the great Book taught. If it condemns me, so be it. I’d rather embrace all that’s meant to be endured with my own version of truth. Your light simply wasn’t bright enough for me.

I always knew I’d make it to the edge and back again. What was offered on silver platters spoiled my appetite and churned the bile. I make my own way. I govern my own indoctrinations. This life is mine, and when I began it, I left the rulebook and the maps behind.

Own It

She told me to own it.

Own it? I asked.

Yes. Own it.

You’re angry, and you have a right to be. How many times have you been hurt in the past? How often have you been betrayed? Those you love and care about have taken your trust and used it to suit their own needs. They won’t budge. They will never apologize. They don’t even realize they’ve done you wrong.

What is the definition of family? I bet you don’t even know. What is the definition of love, or trust? You have yet to find out. You’ve endured a lifetime of broken promises and vacant lies, held in place by those you call your friends. It’s time to go and find new ones.

Stop asking for so much, if you know you’ll only be disappointed. Lower your expectations. No one can provide your happiness but you. This is your life, and you need to take charge of it. This pain that you feel- this is your story. It’s a part of who you are. It makes you, you. Use it to your advantage and turn it into something good. Make it your strength. Make it worth your while. You need to own it.

But, I told her, I already have.

Well then, she replied, what’s the problem?

After The Storm

You came into my life like a hurricane, stirring things inside me and making my head spin. Thoughts of you flooded my mind until I drowned beneath the waves that spelled out your name. What was left when you’d finally gone was only debri. I’m still picking up the pieces of my broken heart.

You entered my world like a tornado. You were fast and strong, whirling violently and tossing me around. I trusted you, so I forsook my shelter and stayed above ground. With kind words of encouragement, you battered against my windows and brought the trees down around me. All that remained after you’d gone was the evidence that you’d been there. I stood in your wake and watched you go.

You swooped into my life like a blizzard, with soft flurries that weighed me down and changed the way I viewed the world. You iced over my hopes and dreams with promises of a winter paradise and warm cocoa. I stood outside, tongue to the sky, looking to catch a flake or two, before freezing over completely. I still wait, in your absence, for the spring to help me thaw.

You rocked my world like an earthquake, shaking the foundations and tearing down my walls. I bared my soul to you, and instead you split it in two. My pre-existing fractures grew deeper by your subtle movements. The glasses shattered, and all my finery was laid to waste. I may never trust you again.

And after you’ve gone, what’s left of me is bare. I have nothing to show from my time spent with you. A single vision remains; a picture that’s been weathered and worn, and a memory that only I hold dear. You’ve forgotten me already, like all your other lovers. But as is true with every great storm, I could never, ever forget the likes of you.

Like a Band-Aid

We could have been something, you and I. We were the perfect blend of light and dark, uninhibited and raw. We passionately offered tiny pieces of our lives and I wanted to share all of mine with you. It felt so good in your arms. My name felt right on your lips. I came alive to your touch; fingers trailing down my spine, caressing my cheek, your gaze sinking into mine…

It’s been longer for me than it has for you – since I was last loved, wanted, or cherished. I kept hoping you’d be the one I’d support, and I, in turn, could lean on you. I was only still learning your secrets, and I couldn’t wait to turn the page again.

But you knew all of mine. You had all the answers. Without meaning to, I asked you choose for me, and you saw fit to let me go. You picked honesty over lies, and I understood no explanation would be given. Your silence I deserved. Your truth I deserved, but not your integrity. You left the memories sitting in my open palms while they waited for more. You left me feeling like a fool.

It came all at once, like a band-aid. The sharp pain of rejection and the taste again of freedom. The time was right, and against my preconceived notions, I think I already knew better. We had too much at stake. We never would have lasted, you and I. Like two dragons locked in a spiral, we would have fallen together until one of us decided to let go.

I told you in less words that it had to be you.

Something Other Than You

I’m all wrapped up in a twisted game of fate and “keep it to yourself.” I can remember your smile and the way it lit up the room, filling the corners where the smoke collected. Trouble rested neatly on your brow, shadowing the thoughts you’d never share aloud. Not that I blame you; I am but a stranger, gently prodding for the key to unlock your mysteries.

But I’m all caught up in your arms, your sheets, and the telephone wires humming lazily outside your window. The methodic rhythm of your breath slows to a steady stream, widening and winding through the valley. I’d need a raft just to get across. You’re safe there, for now, balanced carefully on the edge. I’m simply too far to be reached, with your fingers laced tightly behind your spine.

And so I am trapped in the weight of your gaze and the pressure of the moment. The current moves me, carrying me away when all I asked for was a nudge. Validation seems unreasonable. Now I can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong. Did I move forward, or have you taken a step back? You laugh and I smile. You breathe and I choke. The air thickens and swells; does no one feel it but me?

I’m engulfed in a spaced called the “unknown.” With colored strands of light and dark, this woven blanket tunnels my vision and suffocates my mind. The clouds keep changing so the weather won’t stay still. I ask questions and find no answers. This is a bitter pill I’m being forced to swallow.

But I know this game all too well. You give and take, and I’ll wait patiently for the tide to ebb. Every movement of the earth rocks beneath my feet. A breeze moves across the prairie and I wonder if you’re thinking of me. So I’ll give, and you’ll take once again. The cycle repeats until at last I step away. All I hear is white noise as I slowly turn the dial. An attention once rapt focuses on something different. It narrows my sights and tunes me out, until finally, I am wrapped up in something other than you.

The Cadet

If I could pick one thing I’d want you to know, it would be of my incredible strength. I carry the weight of my world and am unburdened by it. The pressure is no stranger to me. It swells inside, tumultuous and raw, seeping slowly from my pores. Keeping it together is how I get my kicks.

It comes from the feeling of being lost. I kept it all in, having nowhere to turn, and it solidified inside me. It became my purpose, and so I raised my head a little higher. Shoulders squared, I’ll keep moving forward.

I show no weakness – soldiers never do. We march onward with our backs straight and our throats closed. You’ll bear no witness to my tears. And my scars; I wear them proudly. They make me who I am.

But if I could tell you one thing, it would be of my steel backbone. I’d try to convey that I’m near impossible to break. My fortitude is unshakable. Ready your bows and find your marks; I’ll be here, primed and ready. I couldn’t possibly yield. To give in would mean my demise, and I love life too much for that.

I am not immobile. I can be moved. My lips curve a smile as the sun touches my skin. I still tingle when the waves rush past my ankles and my feet slip deeper into the sand. Your smile makes me weak at the knees and to see you cry brings me to tears.

I can be strong for both of us. I’ll lend a hand to anyone who needs my courage. I am a mercenary and my sword is for hire. Worry not about me, kind soul, I can lick my own wounds and piece myself back together.

Because if there’s one thing you should know, it would be that I can handle anything. A world of hardship is never too much for me. I rise above it all and blaze a trail for the next victory. There are no purples hearts, badges or honors. I wouldn’t want them anyway.

All I desire is a connection. I yearn for a root to anchor me and be called my home. Even a lone warrior needs a place to rest her head. And yet, by reaching out for your hand, I leave myself vulnerable to the most devious of plans. Cradled carefully inside, under a tight lock and key, is the hope that one day I can lay down my arms.

And that maybe I can fall down into yours.

Save Our Ship

FREE WRITE

Time moves at warp speed, and as always, I am standing still. Your minute hand moves across my face while I watch the sun. I swallowed my pride and said goodnight.

The water was shallow; this time, we waded in up to our knees. The salt soothed our burns, acquired by long hours praying to a god to save us. False idols, all of them. They make us cross the coals, splitting the sky and uniting the seas. There is no land here- little we can do to change the tide. Held tightly to your hand, we watched them wander aimlessly into the abyss.

One foot before the other. Never look back. Show no fear.

But I wont go that way. There’s more to life than to blindly follow in the hollow steps of another. I will sing, loud and clear, and hope that someone hears me. Never before has this rung more true. The bell screams liberty.

Our freedom is no illusion. It’s a journey to the tallest peak and a slope to the lowest hole. A wormhole that no one dares go through. I’ve thrown down a line or two in the vague hope that I hear a reply.

Tap. Tap. Tap. It echoes against the walls. They’re clawing their way out, searching for a breath of fresh air. These poor, hapless souls- they don’t know what’s up or what’s down. Their confusion is their condition. Their only hope now is to sit and wait.

Dash. Dash. Dash. They’ll sit at the bottom of the sea, listening to the voice caused by the fear in their hearts. They are ruled by it. They hear the evil. They see the evil. One by one, they close their minds to the evil. The truth, they know, will set them free.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Can’t you hear it? Why won’t you move? Save them! Go to their aid! They’re crying out for you! I will live to see the day when we think independently. When the curtain falls, I will take a bow at center stage.

This is your time. Speak now, or forever hold your beating heart in your hands and watch it slow. We are withering away and I keep reaching for you. Out-stretch your arm and let me help. I can pull you back off the ledge. You’ve done all you can do.

The chisels are blunt now, and this is so much bigger than you and me. We’re standing on a pin. One wrong move and we’re both gone for good. We’ve done all we can do. We’ve left behind the message for whoever comes. On the face of the only mountain, we’ve carved in stone one final hope:

S.O.S.

I Belong Here

FREE WRITE

This is where I belong. Above blades of emeralds, crisp and cool, I lay at the bottom of the world, thinking solely of you. I’ve been here forever, staring into infinity and asking the question why over, and over, and over again.

The stars have been blinking for hours and when I looked, I found them in your eyes. Your hands were silk. Through your fingers slipped the sands of time and so here I lay, counting the pieces left behind.

But this is where I belong. Buried to my knees in warm grains, watching the waves foam. We’re on the edge of the something so grand there is little room for error. I’ve traced the ripples in your eyes, and I know what song you sing; a whispered hymn, echoing politely in the darkness.

This is my home – the vast open space – the void, tucked away secretly. I belong to the canopies, balanced on the branches. It’s been only me. They could never understand the strength of it all. From under here, I’ve watched the world fall. But you… you are my eagle, soaring proud and free.

It’s a pity, really, that it’s taken me so long. I’ve wandered across the sky, muttering frozen clichés and holding myself for comfort. It has no end, because there was never a beginning. Wrapped together in a coating so clear I can finally see through the fog: It’s been only me, sitting on blades of emerald crisp and cool. I’ve been here forever, thinking solely of you.

Little Red, Like You’ve Never Seen Her

little_red_riding_hood_by_bmjewell-d56eama

Looking through some of my old writings, I discovered this:

Gather ‘round my children
And come hear a tale,
An event that occurred
When I was just a gal.

My mother said to me,
“Here, please take these cakes.
Granny’s not feeling well
She’s complaining of aches.

She lives beyond the woods,
You know where to go.
But do stay on the path
You know that wolf tries so –

To gobble little girls
That pick wild flowers.
Don’t dilly or dally,
It’s only an hour.”

She gave me the basket
And a rifle too,
“It’s to protect yourself.
Use it if you have to.”

Off to Granny’s I went,
Through the woods I skipped.
With my basket and gun,
I was fully equipped.

And as luck would have it,
That wolf I did meet.
I looked him in the eye
And told him to retreat

“I have a gun, you see
And I will use it.
So go run along now
You no good misfit.”

He looked at my basket
And began to grin.
“Let’s have a race,” he said,
“I even bet I’ll win.”

I took on the challenge;
I never back down
“The finish line is Gram’s.
She lives just outside town.”

The wolf took off running
Before I said start
I hurried after him
We weren’t far apart.

When I got to Grandma’s,
The door was ajar.
Worried for her safety,
I prepared to spar.

If that wolf touched one hair
On my Granny’s head,
I’d pull the trigger and
Shoot that villain down dead.

“Granny?” I called to her.
“In here!” she replied.
I entered her bedroom
And I wasn’t surprised

In her bed was the wolf,
Oh, that rotten crook!
He ate Granny, I’m sure,
I could tell by his look.

I took aim with my gun
And swore not to cry
“My name is Little Red,
Now prepare to die”

“No, wait!” he waved his arms.
“That’s not how it goes.
You’re supposed to ask me
About my ears and my nose.”

“Tell me why I should care
About what they say?
You ate my Grandmother,
And now you have to pay.”

So I pulled the trigger
And shot that wolf dead.
The bullet found a home
Buried deep in his head.

Then I rescued Granny
From the wolf’s belly,
And used his intestines
To make grape jelly.

I tell you, my children
The lesson to learn,
Don’t ever trust a wolf
Or you might end up burned.

I saved my Granny’s life
On that fateful day
Because I knew a thing or two
About wolves and gunplay.

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