A child whose concave chest was already filled with debris
had been told she contained no worth
that child grew up soon enough to an adult with
penchant for self-hatred and did not master, necessary ladders and confidence
she could observe herself holding back, broken pieces unformed and bad
not supporting a part of her who wished to climb
and believe those good things to try her hardest
she saw others with so much faith and belief
light footed reach their goals and she saw the disappointment in others eyes when her own
efforts were hardly made
she left really, no significant imprint
of course, because of this, she became a poet
and that poet, if you can call someone who simply writes
such a thing
I would argue, it takes more than writing poetry to be a poet but that is another story …
had become lost in her years of wandering, to the point where
looking in the mirror she did not see herself anymore, but a shadow
perhaps a wraith or something strange, replacing whom she’d seen
as a child when there were posibilities and futures worthy of reaching
these years later, she stares at the shapes in her face
the ancestry printed there like leopard skin
where her mother changes to her grandmother and her father
and back again
and in this face she sees the excuses and the weak blood
of people she knew and loved and she sees the strength and the fire
of which she has none, as if she caught a glimpse of who she could have favored
and then it was removed, blotted out in a great gush of time and immobility
a few years ago she had suffered under an illusion of being on the cusp of something, finally
after years of working toward it, many hours, lost in pursuit
for a time it helped her to believe she was about to reach this new dawn
until like all the other times, she’d hoped, it was revealed to be no more than potent delusion
and that feeling, when you take the canvas off the future and find
nothing there but the madness of bewitched fantasy
in the hands of one who has become old and wretched in her walk
and you turn around and nobody is there anymore
only the echoes of those who told you, turn away, choose a different path
she would have spoken to her mother and said; You were right …
all the hate you felt, all the bitterness and disappointment, you were right
I did not amount of anything and whilst love should not be based upon
such things, I can see why I held nothing for you, but a wish to remove
my existence from your timeline and walk alone without reminder
of someone you birthed, who gave you only regrets
if you think I do not understand and only feel anger, you are wrong
when you left, I only hated myself and this is how I have always been
hating myself for existing and the way I am
from the time I can recall, I did not fit or understand
it was as if I had only foolishness as my guide and could not
make the right decisions, I longed then to be loved and to take away
the pain I felt ever present in myself like a badly mixed cake
will not rise.
I dreamed then of finding somewhere to be, a place to belong
where being me would feel right and you didn’t lie when you said
I pretended to be anything but myself, in such savage, unrelenting self-hated
I’m sorry what came from you turned into me.
All this is true and now, when it’s all been stripped down
and I stood unable to see, losing my eyesight, losing my courage and my clamor
to a wasting disease that refuses to leave my side
I begged for loyalty and it came, curling itself
around my useless frame until I hardly knew where
I began and it left, in that savage garden
where roses did not bloom and birds did not sing
I flung the doors of the asylum open and asked
what do I learn from standing on this presipice?
where would you have me go? When I never belong
and my trudge through life thus far has been without sense
it has added to the waste I felt about it all, and a long history
of dreamers who end their dreaming in front of walls
staring at bricks thinking something should surely
no, no we are who we are and though we may run and hide
change ourseles and pretend to be what we desired
the truth cannot be avoided, a price is always exorted
I lost those I loved most
I lost the belief I could be loved
the safety we take for granted as children
my invulnerability struck out and destroyed
I knew my own mortality as clear as day
the rent of owing for our lives, that fragile place
where in an instant, all is lost
I never returned from that shore
I am still there, staring at mellow, sinking sun
and my own diminishment
for now I know my end and the dimming of time
I see in this act, the way of things, finally
how easily we fall and cannot get up
the temper of illness refusing to move on
polluting what we once took for granted
and gone is the boon of youth and health
all we believed fervently in
the promises of others, to never leave our side
now we are alone in that echoing dark place
count the broken vows, the ruined trust
it falls like toxic rain
reminding me of nothing and everything and emptiness
a weak part of me wishes to reach out and cry
don’t, please don’t
but I know the permanancy of fate
where I have led myself in circles, ever diminishing
it comes as no surprise, in a funny way
for all the hard work and the devotion
I was as blind, as I was unseeing
perhaps from the start, born inside out
where everything I felt too much and not enough
my memory fades along with my sight
the thunder in my heart feels like horses are breaking me beneath their hooves
again and again, with each returning gallop
that pain is the only thing, I know will stay
as it was then, in my little room with teddies and demons
where first I felt the fear and the unknown
creep toward me from the outskirts of safety
and this time, I hear my grandmothers voice
she tries to reassure me, all will be well but
she lied then, as she lies now
and all that stands outside is the darkness of coal and memories
and all who comes for me now are the shadows and enemies
for I have passed over to a wasteland of regret
even my words are turning to dust
even my sense has fled
I expect the last thought I will have
as I sink underground, feeling grit in my mouth
is the memory of your kiss and how
for just, that one moment, I believed
this was not my hollow passage
sometimes what you loved the most
is that which kills you cold
for the reflection of it is like a moon
in a dark place
taunting the prisoner
in her opulescence
oh how I hate to know
the lines and whorls of my life like a palm
stretching their futile trajectories like dying stars
wishing never to have been born
22 thoughts on “From the outskirts of safety”
Heart-rending. As always, what makes a poet is one who Sees, Feels, and Bleeds. Holding bloody truths up to be gasped over. Shocking in their revelation.
Rich, raw, and….
So pure, Candice. Very well done.
This is sadly tragic, many a line I could associate with, I have tears on my cheeks, and heartfelt words like these touch my soul.
“as it was then, in my little room with teddies and demon’s”
I see… so very happy you were born and exist, exquisitely grappling with pain and promise in all its unfolding.
You are your own savior–there’s so much to you, so much that it cannot be explained. You–in the very skin that you are in, with the soul and heart that you have, are a miracle, Candice.
Poe said it better than I can.
“If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul; you haven’t experienced poetry.”
This is such a poem.
And, it is those who could not see your worth who were tragically blind.
Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
TheFeatheredSleep – The taste of toxic gifts
This is a epic and harrowing journey Feather. Kudos.
This touches me deeply. Thank you for the truth and courage you put into your writing.
So intense just wow
Love your long writings
This poet sure can write from the depths
it takes more than writing poetry to be a poet but that is another story … I think you have that.
This line, “I never returned from that shore” and this, “all who comes for me now are the shadows and enemies”, are beautiful lines, capturing and packing the entire poem tightly. Beautifully written
Why did the flower fade? Because I held it too close to my heart … She is a hero, a true as any of Joseph Campbell’s epic characters. I will call her Constance
You always have such a brilliant take on anything I write. I read what you say and it makes me want to write something else. That is one of your many talents my friend. Thank you. I appreciate Joseph Campbells mythology and figureheads, and Constance it is.
Some tell us words are like fingers pointing at the moon, yet I have heard it argued that the word – not light – was the first element of creation … in the beginning God “said” let there be light … I have always found your words to be revealing at many levels – evident in the comments, people feel the emotion in them, others like the thoughts they create, but look at Henri Nouwen’s interpretation of Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son and you’ll begin to understand the full impact your writing has on others, in ways they may not even be aware of. Apologies for my absence, I do drift off at times, I too think of you often, and always cherish what I find on my return. You should always write more ! Thank you …
Have I said lately how glad I am you are back? I missed you. I love the way you think.
Thoughts are puzzle pieces we arrange based on our perceptions, our interpretations of the world around us. Have you ever looked at something and have your brain see something else, and watch it change before your eyes? Is that hallucination, or purely brain function, saving time by seeing things that might be … automatically “jumping to conclusions “?
Oh that is so true Peter. I have experienced this a lot. I have terrible eye sight and just found out I have very, very premature macular degeneration in one eye caused by having the genes for MD from both parents (they don’t have it, but if the kid gets both genes they have a really high chance of getting it and in my case I thought I was losing sight due to my other illness but then found out it was this) and it is losing sight. I think when you cannot see well you absolutely do this anyway as a matter of unconscious interpretation. It can produce some interesting effects! And you?
I wish we could protect the young. I believe the world attacked us and no-one is prepared. Your words left many things for the reader to ponder.
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