The Ebbing Tide

By Catherine Schwerdt

The roaring lion as the wind whips the air,

Pushing the water closer and closer,

Faster and faster.

Creating swells bigger than mountains

Flowing quickly,

Shoveling sand and debris onto the soft beach.

The once gentle waves now set to kill.

The dangerous pull of the current,

Dragging the innocent to the depths.

The rigorous motion set forth by the turning of the tide.

A Swan Gourd

By Catherine Schwerdt

As the blue skies fade to dark gray

When the Swan Gourd begins falling away,

If moving gets too hard to do,

With skin littered with hues of black and blue

I never know how the days go,

Is it here or is it there? I don’t know.

The music tingles down my spine

From creaking bones as an aching whine

Endless colors I will rehearse

Colliding blues into a universe.

Echoing voices all around,

The blue tinged voices forever bound.

I Fucked Up…

By Brandon Bartley

I am surrounded by people

And yet I feel alone

People have told me I can talk to them

And yet the person I want to talk to isn’t ever home

I now know the things I put you through and how your mind was over-run

I am devoured with shame and guilt at the things I have done

Because I too now feel the burden of living

I too feel as if I am alone

In my eyes the tears are always brimming

And like you I wish I would have picked up the phone

Because now it is me that wishes you would pick up

Now it is me that keeps fucking up

I think I’m doing the right thing

But its seems that it is only sorrow that it brings

I think I am finally getting through this

And then I look at the scars underneath my fist

I realize that this is what you went through

When I ignored you

I realize this is what you went through

When I drew away and wanted nothing to do with you

Yet the problem I come back to is that now I want to be here

I want to be here for you

I want to be the person you go to with your problems and thoughts

But we are acting like we are enemies from a past war terrifically fought

And it kills me

But I also realize that it almost killed you

It almost killed you and I was too concerned in my own problems to see

To see all the pain I triggered and caused you

I just want my friend back

But I don’t think it will happen even after all this Prozac

I don’t think it will happen because for it to

I’d have to accept and let go of this rue

You’d actually have to look at me in the hallway

And have more of a conversation than a one lined “have a good day”

More than the formalities between strangers

More than a conversation that is walking on pieces of glass platters

But it won’t ever happen because I fucked up

and I don’t think I can fix this one

 

Full Circle: Daughter of a Punk Queen

By Aline Taylor

The girl who used to

love me exhales Hookafina

shisha and downs a shot of

 

Jack from a pitch and nickel

flask stashed under the table.

Turns the queen of hearts lays

 

a straight flush, slides twenty-four

quarters into her backpack, heads

out a side door to pee behind the dumpster.

 

The girl who maybe

loves me trips on jagged concrete and

tears a piece of flesh from

 

fresh Keyblade wrist tattoo; slams

into rusted bin, cracks head on metal; cradles

fissured face, rakes sanguine hair

 

crimson hand grazes garnet ear stud

a gift from me

on her tenth birthday.

What She Doesn’t Know

By Jennifer Sherlund

You are fifteen. You go to your first party because someone called you an over-achiever who always listens to mom and dad. You break your parents’ rules. You’re in someone’s car on the way to the party, and some girl you hardly know yells, “Big girl shots!” You see her take a shot of cheap vodka without a chaser, and the bottle passes from hand to hand followed by that maxim. The girl from New Jersey hands you the bottle of 5 O’Clock and you repeat what you’ve seen. You tip the bottle up and drink. You cringe, but then yell “Big girl shots!” and cheer.

The next thing you know, you’re in a bed at the party. You’re wasted and tired. Some guy lies down in the same bed, but he isn’t lying against you, so you don’t care. He asks, “Wanna hook up?”

“No, I want to sleep.” And then you do, you sleep, or something like that. You wake up to a girl dragging you out of bed by the hair and screaming at you.

“You stupid fucking bitch!” she yells. She’s upset, although you’re not sure why. All you can do is focus on her face and the way she forms words. How her mouth forms the word “you” will stick with you for the rest of your life, like the letter “o” has become angry with you. It sticks with you because you’ll blame yourself for everything that happened that night.

The following Monday you will go to school. You will see your friends. They will talk about the party. Some guy will ask you if you really slept with the college football star, and you’ll think, “What the fuck is he talking about?” More people will ask, and you’ll piece everything together like some fucked up puzzle.

You’re eighteen now. You just started college, and everything is going better than you ever expected it to. You’ve made some great friends, and you’ve also met a guy. The guy seems like he could be your soul mate, as he’s the sweetest guy you’ve ever met. He’s a real gentleman, you never have to touch a door or lift a finger. He knows everything about you – from the the pet chicken you had when you were little to the guy at the party when you were fifteen.

“I hate when men disrespect women,” is his reply, and you think it’s sweet. You think that this means he won’t disrespect women. He asks you to spend the night, and you agree as long as he understands you don’t want to have sex. He pretends like he’d never expect such a thing, and you go. You spend the night. He comes onto you, and you don’t really push him away. He asks if you want to, but you don’t say no because that’s never been easy for you.

“I don’t know… Maybe later?” You pretend like later will be better even though it won’t be. He stops for a few minutes, but then comes back onto you. He doesn’t ask this time. He just keeps touching you. He moves his hands across your skin, and every piece of skin he touches feels like the nerve endings have died. You go numb. You wish you would die.

For some reason, you can’t push him off you. All you can do is lie there and stare at the ceiling. You stare at the rough texture of the ceiling, and all you want to do in that moment is stand on the bed and touch it. You want to touch it so you can feel something besides his skin scraping against yours. You imagine yourself dying and floating through the rough ceiling because it would feel better than anything you feel right now.

Now you’re eighteen, almost nineteen. You’re in the car with your mom. “Do you still go to church when you’re at college?” she asks.

“Yeah,” you say, even though you don’t. It would break her heart to know the truth.

“I’m so glad one of my three kids raised in our Catholic home still goes to church. I’m so proud of you, Lou. Do you ever carry that personal alarm I got you for Christmas, in case you were to ever get attacked?”

“No,” you admit, even though it’s not what she wants to hear.

“You really should. It could save you from something terrible. You never think it’s going to be you.”

Elusion

By Erica Krol

Language rots under my tongue

It curls and twists between my teeth as it is preparing to be spit from my cold mouth

 

Truth eludes me to that patch of earth recently warmed by the sun

Down by that sparkling creek

 

Hands caress the sour smelling grass

 

Fluorescent goldenrod pours into my lungs

 

I gasp; run

 

My feet are enveloped by the fresh water

I step over the soft stones shaped by the harsh current

 

They grab my feet

They grab my arms

They don’t let go

 

Soon they have all of me,

Choking—

 

My eyes open to the underworld

 

The angels and demons swim before me

They come closer and grab my neck

 

I try to inhale but I realize that I am already gone

 

Yet I still see the angels

And the stones

And the water,

rushing to go where no one knows

 

Let go so I can too

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