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It was my fourth time. I loaded the magazine with five bullets and inserted it to the gun. I cocked the gun, aligned my sight, pulled myself together and squeezed the trigger.

Bam!

The first round is bull's eye!

Indoor firing scares and relaxes me at the same time.

I still feel uneasy of gunshots. I know what's coming, but I never get used to the explosion, to the dreading sound. The boom repeats in my head, it becomes an earworm. Just thinking of pulling the trigger scares me, but I pull it anyway, conquering my fear over and over again.

----

It has been weeks since I heard from him and almost a year of uncertainty and confusion. The white flag is about to flap with the wind and I don’t know what I am waiting for. Is your silence the answer?

And I thought I was afraid of the dreading sounds.

19 Oct 2017
 608° 
Leonila

Fly Butterfly

Trapped behind the iron bars in the cage of my mind.
I dilly dally and wrestle with putting aside who I am.
For what if others don't like who they see before them?
See I'm aware that rejection is a cold and heavy prize.
Yet, I'm used to and acquainted with the way of sorrows.
But the masses of people prefer the joy of the acceptable.
And so I fight holding back the tears of darkened nights.
For soon morning will rise and I will go forth with a mask.
It's just too paralyzing to reveal to others who I really am.
Into the world I go, imprisoned by shackles of my mind.
Prisoner of self doubt and people pleasing is who I am.
Because God forbid they should feel the pain that I feel.
I'd rather revert and crawl back into the safety of my shell.
Raveling into the shackles of the frame of my weary bones.
But I should pose the question, what is so terrible about me.
What could it be about me that hasn't been seen before?
Is it my simple brown eyes beneath my hooded eyelids?
Could it be woven, twisted curls cascading from my head?
Maybe due to height challenge and speaking with an accent.
Is it that I'm severely sensitive and extremely, painfully shy?
Who knows, the mystery lies in that I myself don't even know.
There I am wanting to say hello, but hoping for a quick exit.
It's of essence to be prepared in case timidity hovers over.
And there I am a wallflower in the party sitting by the wall.
The ugly chrysalis shrinks back into the safety of her shell.
Comfortably secured in the safety of my chains and shackles.
You see I'm not ready for the unraveling of breaking forth.
So I wage the war of the imprisonment that suffocates me.
For I feel the butterfly's journey, is undeserving and distant.
An unknown new territory in my simplicity to undertake.
Because what kind of butterfly would I become anyhow?
I mean, I'm caged in my jail by the agony of self denial.
I'm in chains and shackles of my frame's skin and bones.
How can I be a beautiful butterfly? I don't dare to even fly!
I crawl through my existence in this awkward body of mine.
But I would like to fly, fly, fly like the free butterfly fly, fly, fly.
I want to glide with the grace that she glides through in life.
I want to fly, fly, fly like everyone else in this world does.
For butterflies come in many spectacular shapes and colors.
They take the redemptive flight of freedom's journey solo.
Butterflies don't care about the incarceration of the process.
They just willingly trust and obey nature's gruesome plight.
Taking steps in cycles and stages they break forth and fly.
So I fight and wait until the day when I am good and ready.
For I know when I'm prepared I too will take freedom's flight.
My soul will whisper to my being, "It's now your time to go!"
"Fly butterfly in the beauty and the freedom of who you are!"

©Leonila

I wrote this to a prompt challenge and ended up weeping as I was writing it. Perhaps my most free verse poem.
 599° 
Rabina Rahamat

maybe
i should learn
to love my own arms
because they are the ones
who hold me
when i am
sad.

R.R

 578° 
stephanie burrows

Colder than the December snow a soul carved from stone. A heart grown cold sold out and betrayed everyone I ever loved.I have become a slave to the Judas in my mind.

 333° 
Marco Amora

A disgruntled heart beats a lonely tune
And hums the words that float their way towards
stars that weep near a melancholy moon
That shines light on lovers moving backwards
And slowly I waste away this and all
Quiet nights spent dreaming of all our dreams
That gracefully walk their way through the halls
Ripping false reality at the seams
And the love that I lived to give you
Falls short to all the lives you leave
When the regret I feel is meant for two
Longing for a love I'll never receive
Maybe this is the last echoing cry
Shed for the idea of you and I

Im a sucker for rhyme
 220° 
Summer Shellhamer

When I make a masterpiece that I would not like to show,
When I do something that makes the ones I know,
"Giggle" and say "Wow",
Blush and hide me and my pride,
When people just don't care,
Say, It is horrible "tare off my ears",
My tears become quite clear,
The saying, "As quiet as a mouse" I wish applied to me

I am very bashful just look at my profile, and me presenting this to the web.
 220° 
Jordan Birchfield

you must be selfish for the sake of your own happiness
i didn’t want to hurt you, it was the last thing on this planet that i ever thought of doing.
i hurt you for me, for my own sake and well being
i still think of you constantly and how in love i thought i was
i knew i deserved better but i still stayed because the last thing i wanted to do was hurt you like you did me
you left such a deep wound that is slowly becoming a scar
i hurt you so i could stop hurting
i’m sorry

 210° 
Tessa F

You light yourself on fire
Trying to destroy the darkness that’s your reality
And your whole community comes to put it out.
Family, friends, everyone cares when the fire alarm goes off.
The hospital assesses the damage
Stamps out the flames
Then tosses you to the wind.
Now you’re just a pile of ash
Empty and barren and scorched,
People have stopped bringing water buckets these days
And yet you still choke on the smoke.
People who don’t have depression are obsessed with the Phoenix metaphor:
That from these embers you will rise again anew
But your depression is an ugly beast
That at full strength can even consume a Phoenix.
The truth is that you stay a pile of ashes for a long time
While you try to rebuild.
I just wish everyone would stick around and help with this burned and shaky structure of me.
I hate having to yell “fire”
Just to get someone to turn the sprinklers on.

 210° 
Navya Pothineni

It is a modern miracle
To fly safely
But why is there turbulence
Only when I pee?

 208° 
M

say you can hear it
oh what a spirit
kind soul hearing
I can't do nothing
I can't do nothing
say that you mean it
oh what a kind spirit
can you feel it
can you

oh
I'm good
I'm fine

through these white lines
that switch my mind

I'll never quit
oh it's just the best
I've ever been

You left my heart broken
You never give me a chance to breathe
Broken in pieces that it can’t be fix
You didn’t even leave me a piece of you
To make it whole again
I have to rebuild myself
And tell myself that
I’m strong enough
And I’m worth it

 151° 
Anna Blake

it's you.

i would have never known
unless i saw
the light meet your face
that morning.

neither of us are early risers,
but i couldn't waste
a second.

above me,
at 6:40 in the morning,
a perfect blend of
blue, gray, and sincerity,
which began
with the rising sun,
seeped through an ivory curtain,
and landed on a gentle face.

infinity soaked gaze,
honey coated touch,

your color was
the crisp mountain air
through a rolled down
Jeep window.

your color was
a John Prine record
and local barbeque

your color was serene.
it was the light's reflection of
a summer enveloped
by two people
in love with
right now.

-Anna Blake

 139° 
Mygreatestescape

The tendons
in your body
must rip and tear,
must bleed
and suffer
to become stronger,

and I think
it must be the same
for our
hearts.

I feel so stupid.
 138° 
Abraham Uwe Esang

WHEN YOU ARE OLD.

When you are old and dim and loaded with rest,

What's more, gesturing by the fire, bring down this book,

What's more, gradually read, and dream of the delicate look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows profound;

What number of cherished your snapshots of happy effortlessness,

What's more, adored your magnificence with adoration false or genuine,

In any case, one man adored the traveler soul in you,

What's more, adored the distresses of your evolving face;

What's more, bowing down alongside the gleaming bars,

Mumble, a little unfortunately, how Love fled

Furthermore, paced upon the mountains overhead

Furthermore, shrouded his face in the midst of a horde of stars.

 116° 
Eve

The place where the atmosphere consists of main outbreaks,
Whether the dishes weren't done or the floors weren't mopped correctly,
Something so small can effect the gross unification of "family".
Feeling like you can't necessarily express yourself,
Leaves you to feel drowned out by the many emotions that flood your mind at the worst of times,
It allows your feelings to grow more and more profoundly erratic; anxious.
Allow me to go into full elaboration as to how I constantly maintain my well-respected position of a so called "good person" or complain about the many people who are just as careless as the majority of people nowadays who simply do not ask how I've been.
I've let days slip by,
Suddenly, I feel no difference in what occurred yesterday or really, no contrast in the feelings I'll most likely encounter tomorrow.
At home, mass mental destructions happens,
It's where I get pulled into a place where I'm just trapped in my own self, similar to the way I feel in school.
I don't know, it could possibly be causing my continuous feelings of nervousness whenever I'm surrounded by people,
Or it could merely be the fact of which, I haven't yet chosen a path or seen quite a way to go through and feel a protective environment around me.
These winter days are gradually approaching,
It's only a matter of time until my mind goes away like the sun at night,
These seconds, minutes, hours can patrol for what feels like perennial timings, but anticipation is what's really foreshadowing my shallow whole of a "home".

 98° 
alex

let it take its time.
let it drift down the river
from the top of the mountain
where it was closest to God
let it be touched by the hand
that crafted your soul
only that hand knows exactly
where it will fit.

let it take its time.
let it waft into the room
like the smell of sun-soaked rose petals
and the perfume of the love
you lost but never truly
had in the first place
only that love knows exactly
where it will not fit.

let it take its time.
let it leave the room when you enter
because it is too shy to wave
in fear that it will remind you
of the waves that crashed
against your lonely body
only those waves know exactly
where it will withstand.

let it take its time.
let the blessing tap you on the nose
and then dart away
like a snowflake that does not turn
the lake to ice
the ice that you cracked and fell through
only that lake knows exactly
where it will not withstand.

let it take its time.
and when it arrives
let it in.
greet it like an old friend
even if you have never met.
let it stay.
give it a place in your hand
and hold it to your heart.

let it take its time.
it is on its way.

 97° 
Angela Rose

He made sure I knew just how lucky I was to have him
But he never hit me
He played games with my emotions repeatedly
But he never hit me
He made sure I didn’t leave the house in a skirt above the knees
But he never hit me
He knew the words to say to make me feel so small that I could not breathe
But he never hit me
He tossed me in and out, in and out, until my mind was in an out of control tizzy
But he never hit me
He messed around on the side late at night while I rested in our bed
But he never hit me
He made it clear that I wasn’t to go out at night with the girls
But he never hit me
He told me over and over again just how hard it would be to find anyone else to deal with me
But he never hit me
He fell asleep safe and sound as I laid in bed trying to catch my breath through tears
But he never hit me
He needed to have the password to every device, app and account
But he never hit me
He knew the power he held and used it over my head to weaken me
But he never hit me
He made jokes at my expense in front of friends and family and we all giggled together instead of cringed
But he never hit me
He assured me the women he texted were coworkers or colleagues but I could never know what they spoke of
But he never hit me
He made it clear that my interests and goals were not of pertinence
But he never hit me
He knew the exact words to say to take my entire day downhill
But he never hit me
He broke my heart over and over and over again until it was minuscule shreds
But he never hit me

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse please contact 1-800-799-7233 this is the national domestic abuse hotline. Abuse can happen to anyone, man or woman. It does not make you weak to seak help. <3
 88° 
Matthew

I turn this corner to see you're not home. I open the door only to be greeted by an empty house. I go to sleep in an empty bed just to wake with you still not there. My phone never rings because you're not calling. My skin is always cold since I don't have your warm touch. My insides twisted with the passion I can no longer give. My hand left empty since yours is not there where I'm reaching. Movies with no sound or understanding since there is no laughter next to me to fill the silence. Songs come on and they remind me of a better time whilst ripping my heart out. I'm keeping my head high and my heart open in hopes of these painful memories eventually being released by someone or something. Understanding and accepting a life knowing that I will never see you again as painful as this reality may be. You were my everything, the only light in my dark unforgiving life, the only heart paired with mine in this fucked-up world. I am suffering, yet the biggest pain is from knowing you're hurting more and I may well be the true cause. I wish every moment of every day that life brings you peace, because you..........truly you deserve eternal happiness. I will love you until this world takes my body and my breath, then still I will love you after.

 80° 
helena alexis

i want you
to taste the
sweet nectar
between my legs
that drips ever
so slowly
because of you

so much sexual frustration ahhh
 72° 
Ashes to Ashley

Silence is also conversation.

 66° 
Rick Stachemore

You want a poem?

I have nothing to say

The less I write

The more strengthened

I feel towards my words

 62° 
Zoie Marie

I got drunk last night
But all we did was be quiet
You didn’t respond
We didn’t bicker
I just wish you where near
You’re everything I need
And everything I wish
But maybe you didn’t need this

 61° 
CGW

A bomb is born into the sky
Its mother a fighter jet.
Like a falling anvil the bomb rushs towards earth. It is excited to touch dirt.
Tanks are rolled out.
Guns straped to backs.
The iron clad diseal engine of the tank is deafening.
The sound of a gun.
Pow!
Pow!!
Pow!!!
Gut wrenching is the clicking sounds of the heavy iron guns.
Death is watching everyone.
He is waiting.
Watching
the every move.
The bomb hits the ground and death is there looking around in the ruble for any souls who have separated from their body.
A wave of air destroys every thing in its circualar path like a leaf blower.
From the outer radius of the bomb explosion the heat and force are slathered upon everything and everyone like honey barbique sauce.
And death stands in the field like a lone stag looking up to the above.

 52° 
Sun

He was
     my favorite book
           Few pages could bring tears  
                   in the corners of my eyes
                            unknowingly. Softly
                                
                         Most of them
              could make my heart
     smile widely
                
I touched every pages
        every words behind words
                     My soul craved to read him
                             for a thousand times over
                        My solitude ached for him
    like Sunflowers missing the Sun

 52° 
Mary Coleen

As the blade pierced my skin,
I wondered if it reached your heart --
As all our sadness, fears, guilt and sins
Chased us away, taking us farther apart.

As my soul screamed for you,
On this battle we persisted to fight
I saw your bloody carcass
And the blade sinks deeper at the sight.

I cried out in despair over your flesh
Screaming, cursing, refusing to part.
I grew bitter and darkness fell over us
And the blade sank into my own heart.

 49° 
bess

Inspired by “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon

I am from glowing, late night campfires, from Coppertone sunscreen and colorful thread bracelets that rested across my thin wrists.

I am from the winding pavement of Riford Road, but that home isn’t what made me. I was made by the ceaseless games of capture the flag and the smoky haze of fireworks on the 4th of July, the sleepless slumber parties and the heart shaped waffles that followed the next morning.  

I am from the beaches of Lake Michigan and the sand that sparkles like millions of jewels in the sun. With our sticky hands covered in chocolate ice cream and the melodic cadence of waves crashing into shore, erasing our names that we wrote in the sand with our chubby fingers.

I am from ultra-competitive poolside games of Uno, and generations of people who either can’t say no or refuse to say yes. From Betsy and the black and white pictures that cover the walls of her home to her age-old family recipe for chocolate chip cookies. From Cullen’s bookshelf that towers over even the tallest of men, each novel packed next to each other like a can of sardines. From Jack, who’s childhood torment turned me into the person I am today, a little bit tougher and a little bit stronger.

I am from the family reunions which are less of a reunion and more of a debate, every one of us desperately trying to speak the last word. From the tough, stone cold stubbornness that each of us possesses like a small voice in the back of our minds egging us on.

From mantras of “It could be worse” and the “It will always get betters.”

I am from sugary cinnamon buns on Christmas morning, muddled by the laughter of all my cousins and the cheesy carols playing over the radio.

I'm from the quaint, colorful streets of Charlevoix and the shops full of salt water taffy and their wax paper wrappers that litter the ground. A melting pot of freckled Scots and dark-haired Dutchman, all with the same wide, toothy grin. From the gooey gobs of marshmallow that stain our hands late at night, mixing with a crackling fire and waves slamming against the shore, the stars above us gleaming even brighter than the light radiating from our smiles.

From jumping into ice cold swimming pools in the middle of October, my brother by my side. With our skin freckled with goosebumps and our bones chilled to the core, we splashed and laughed until our bodies were numb and our parents forced us to get out. From the lazy summer afternoons that turned into starry nights. From jumping shoulder to shoulder into the deep rivers of Montana, our laughs suffocated by the frigid water as we ricocheted downwards.

I am from the small cardboard box sitting on the musty floor of our basement, teeming with memories captured at the other end of a  camera. Sepia pictures of my grandmother when she was no more than three years old with her white parka and oil black hair, looking into the lens like she was seeing the entire world. Photographs of my mother at the same age as me, her eyes overflowing with optimism and a smile made of gold, all too similar to my own.

this was a school assignment from my freshman year. one of the first poems i'd written.
 48° 
Sandoval

Do you remember, what it was like,
before you were born?
Before you came to this earth..

I don't. I have no recollection of who or what I was.
A million earth years could have passed by.
And yet, I still wouldn't remember who I was.
And I don't think I ever could.

This is how it feels. When you ask me,
who I was before you. My answer is, I don't remember.

There was nothing before you, nothing.
I was nobody before you, nobody.

You should have been called earth. 
 It is because of you that I live. And it is because of you,
that I see the whole universe' worth..


Sandoval

 47° 
Kerli Tulva

The road in front of me
Extending. Diminishing.
Back and forth. But I walk.
I keep the balance. No talk.

Drops are falling through
The mirror. I see the face.
I ask silently. No words.
I answer silently. I break
Silently. It only hurts.

 47° 
Melissa S

A victim becomes violated
Does not matter how
It feels like every room in their
house has been broken into
We pay too much attention to
Who did this or even why
Passing blame on this or that
We lose focus...
We forget about that person
Living inside the house

Don't lose focus of the victims!!! Sorry just something I feel very strongly about!!
 47° 
Brandon Lee

I wish for a journey
of winds loose with rush
and seas that shine with stars
looking close enough to touch
I was wishing for bliss
instead I'm floating in despair
I keep wishing for a journey
something that would get me
out of my head

Letting my mind wander
 47° 
Sid

Just maybe the stars used this navy blanket as their catharsis;
did you think that your uncaring hands on my face
my arms
my torso
was the same?
Because the stars had a
choice
and the night sky was more soundproof than these walls-
though you didn't seem too concerned;
lashing words out like slaps
or was it the other way around?
(connecting the dots
with unscarred patches of skin left is easier said than done;
you made me hate the colour violet anyways.)
Fast forward to a few light years
where the same swings I'd enjoyed during my childhood
repurposed itself
as the rope I'd temporarily worn like a necklace;
(they weren't supposed to be that tight anyways
and silly me hadn't kicked the chair away far enough.)
Dazed eyes and mind all muddled up taking in my new surroundings-
unmarred white with my hands secured to the small bed;
hadn't I been so disoriented
I might've noticed that familiar shadow hurriedly slip from my room
just as the monitor
beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbe-
and
then
nothing.
The night I died
the stars shone on;
I'd like to believe their way of release
was easier than mine.
// there has to be more than this //

I have learned
that in
affairs
of the heart,
tongues
speak
verse
in loving
cinquains.
~
I have
learned
in
matters
of
absolutes,
soft
beats
thrum
terse
truth
refrains
.

K.R.Dalton
1­0-10-17 (C)

Thanks for reading! K:)
 43° 
Lereko Mohlabeng

Sometimes, the only person who will be around to pick you up
off the floor
and run you a warm bath will be yourself;
and that's okay.

 43° 
Katie

It is easy – easier – to imagine that at the first stirring of the breeze,
Everything ought to be thrown to the wind. The tides are going out
But does that mean that everything on the shore will be swept away?

When I feel the gurgle of the waves on my feet, is it feasible that
God does not intend for me to be drowned? I stand in a pool of possibility:
Root myself deeper in the sand, or surrender myself to the sea. I think

My mother worries about me, 300 miles away, because in our
Distance she senses dissonance. I am the rock face bruised by the wind –
But only because I want to be. She is the lighthouse entreating me to come in

Off the water’s edge, and join her where it is safe and light and where she can
Train her gaze on me in all my darkest days. Am I tempted? Her unblinking eye
Implores me to be honest. How far must I cast my beams for you to find me?

The spray of salt reaches my side before I can answer, and brine beats Light in this race. Storms come and go, and I watch them and hope
For the sake of my mother that when I cry, it goes unheard under
The squall. The wind and waves, unrelenting, ground me in humility.

After all, when a sea-weary sailor spots a lighthouse, does his hand
Quiver on the tiller to change his course, or does the quiet thrilling thought of home
Encompass him, comfort him, call him to stay steady ahead!

We steer clear of the lighthouse: we keep our eyes level,
Our emotions at bay, and clew our sails for the cliff,
A brooding entity rising out of the ocean, recalcitrant: resistant.

My mother keeps my flame burning from another state.
Tender stoking, stalwart tending. I stand tall not because
I know she sees me, but because I can see her doing the same,

Daring the sea to stifle her laugh, her light.

 43° 
Karoline

I’m 5’9”, loud and strong. 

I’ve got big hair, perfect brows and a straight back.

I radiate confidence, sexuality and metaphorical balls as my curvy hourglass figure walks with purpose down the street.

My attitude says “There’s nothing I can not do.”

My eyes say “You wanna fight? I’m ready.”

To them, I’m a lioness. 

I protect all that is mine — except from myself. 

Behind the facade, I am small. 

Behind my words, I am afraid. 

Behind my sunglasses, my eyes are wet. 

And under my luxury lingerie, I am naked, just like my soul is when I’m writing.

I’m not who they think I am, are you?

 42° 
Ignatius Hosiana

You always had the keys... you did, but you chose the chains because something in them was beautiful. You always knew the destination was close, but you chose the painful journey, you chose the adventure. You could have chosen the obvious, but obvious wasn't meant for you, you were born to be different, to let go of the good for the greater good. You could have had heaven, but there was an Angel in Hell you had to set free, no matter the price.

I was a kid who happened
to be happy being lost
In a crowded amusement park.

It was a fine Saturday evening
And the circus was performing.
A firework of excitement
Was exploding in my head.

A candy floss was on my left hand
And right was parental boredom
That I purposely let it slip away.

And how sweet is memory?
Too sweet to forget
As the circus leaves the town
Early morning on Sunday

 40° 
Sensa

In the brightest days,

In the darkest nights.

I will be your moon
and you will be my light.

- Nigel

 36° 
lostboy

I have disabled myself,
Thinking about you.
Forty three self induced bruises
to the head, to the head
Forty five, forty six

I got that vibe,
That feeling from you.
I start my appointment
At eight thirty two,
Thirty three, thirty four.

Forty eight, forty nine.

It is not the cure
That will help this,
But only you.
Thirty five, thirty six.

Fifty two, fifty three.

So I try to get you
Out of my head...

Fifty two, fifty three.
So that I can be free.

I have disabled myself
Thinking about you,
But now that I am free,
I don't know what to do.

 33° 
Donna Jones

Make your day lovely
Fill it with big happy smiles
And cups of coffee

Smiles and coffee :)
 32° 
Alex

she understands my heart
she is forgiving
she is kind
she holds me when I don't know why I'm crying
she listens while I try my best to explain why I'm scared, or why I'm anxious, or why I'm sad, or why something means so much to me
and then she never forgets to say, "I'm always here, if you want to talk more"
she has the best taste in music
she got me in the habit of taking my medicine every day
she takes care of me, and pretty much everything else
she cleans the litter box when I'm in too much pain, even though she hates dealing with shit
she even deals with my crazy family

I love her because
she encouraged me to go to all the doctors when I was scared and in denial that I was getting sick
and now
she drives me to every appointment, she sits with me,
waits with me,
and then sometimes she speaks for me because she knows what it sounds like when articulation fails me, and my words get all caught up in my brain, confused on which order to come out

I love her because
she's my good feeling
she makes my stomach flip
she's my favorite smell
she kisses me with soft lips and care
she has little ears and freckles and the best damn smile you've ever seen

I love her because
when I was awful, she loved me
when I was lost in the darkest nights, she made my mind a better place

I love her because I used to spend weeks in storms of dark, listening to sad music and writing sad poetry

and now I write things like this
and listen to ridiculous happy fun music with her and we sing like fools
and she says "thanks for doing life with me"
and I have never been more at peace

 31° 
Mike Hauser

What part of God's love
Do you not understand
Where is your compassion
For your fellow man
Why is it that you hate
The way others might live
When excuses you continue to make
For your very own sin

What part of God's grace
Do you not get
The mere fact it's clearly here
So that you yourself might live
He knows the moment where you're at
And where it is you've been
Where all that you have when all is said
Again is your sin

What part of God's mercy
Do you not show
Do you help the lowly
And the widow alone
Are you there for the poor
Who call the streets their home
What part of God
Do you fail to show

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