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For as long as I can remember,
the women of my family have lived
in hunger like hulking tigers in a cramped cage.
Love is quickly used up, its quality fading
from golden light into grainy shadows
flicked haphazardly across God’s great canvas.
After Love departs, nothing remains but
the splinters where we have torn away limbs
and dug holes in search of that light again,
the flecks of gold streaked through our hair,
the ones that know better than revisit our homes.
When we give up, we sit in our drab backyards
to watch the sun sink over a police state
masquerading as the ultimate state of grace.
We tuck our freedoms into bed, kiss our sacred rights
goodnight in case we never get the chance
to lead by the hand into the light of day,
and sneak back down to the kitchen for one last snack,
maybe two. Maybe more, maybe our mouths
wait in secret to transform into one bottomless pit
as we reach with every breath we take for something
we have always known and long since learned
we’ll never be able to grasp in our earthly fingers.
Thank you for reading. If you liked this poem, you'll probably like these:
Apr 25 · 124
The Back of My Hand
Passing by an old brick building on a slow road
I almost laugh to think the last time I was there,
I thought I’d found who I was supposed to be
When I barely knew how to do anything more
Than stay quiet and stay out of everyone’s way.

I told my old soul sisters I’d see them soon
But I haven’t seen those pieces of my heart in a while.
Back then lies went down easy with a smile
And I didn’t know when everything would change
Because all the other new beginnings I prayed for
All too quickly became the worst things I could imagine.

It nearly broke me to know tragedy like the back of my hand,
But every story has its perfect ending and the last days
Were truly (almost) everything they should have been.

Looking back now I felt like I was flying through clouds
Even when all I wanted was to let myself scream again.
Read the full version of this poem exclusively on Medium here:
Dec 2020 · 206
[diving into dreams]
Brianna Duffin Dec 2020
A diver, down far too deep for her own good
She fills in the blank spaces with whimsy and dreams,
Gives herself a grandchild here and a good book there,
Perhaps a batch of cupcakes to prove she has life left to live
A hike through the woods to remind her she can be strong
She’s still breathing, isn’t she? She swims down again.

Maybe she dreams herself across a river made of snow
Or transforms into a spider, crawling across ceilings unknown.
She screams from the pulpit, " be brave, have faith, give thanks"
She stands in front of Congress, telling them to get wise.
She returns to her bed, the air too clean- she’s a messenger now
Except she’s forgotten what war she was supposed to wage.

She debates going deeper, to the caverns of her treasure
Where she hasn’t dwindled any since the glory days
Where she can cast aside the constant question of how long to stay.
Uncorroded, she descends until heartache fades from view
Left in the rain for a round or three with eternity, she grins
It’s easier, she insists, to swim than it is to sleep. So she dives.
Inspired by various poems from "Dearly" by Margaret Atwood.
Dec 2020 · 96
Mars and Venus
Brianna Duffin Dec 2020
I was bleeding out, a crimson stain on a cream carpet
With a hand under my sweater you kissed it better
And still, you looked at me like I was precious.
At that moment, all I could think was, "I'm done for."
Because to love someone is never a safe endeavor
And I don't do well with those risks that take all of me.
I thought I knew you well enough, I guess you never know,
I guess when you open your soul like a canvas waiting
For another person to paint in new colors- it shows.
If I believed in wishes coming true, I'd want one thing-
To stand hand in hand with you and stare at the stars.
Point out Mars and Venus to me, and show me again-
Remind me there can be more to this life than fighting
And don't forget sometimes you'll have to fight for me.
This is a sample of a poem I wrote recently. You can find the full version exclusively on Medium, here:
Nov 2020 · 86
Final Road Trip
Brianna Duffin Nov 2020
If Depression conducted traffic
The way it controls most other things
People wouldn't judge my driving nearly as much
You see, it's not me. It's Depression.
But I can't use that as a valid excuse-
Honestly Officer, I didn't do anything,
Depression was behind the wheel all along.
Depression is a teenage cry for attention,
Not a diagnosis that garners sympathy casseroles
Even though I didn't eat last weekend
Cause I couldn't get out of bed for the life of me.
If Depression managed medication
With all the strict precision with which
It regulates chocolate cravings maybe
My body wouldn't revolt so violently, so frequently
And then maybe I'd be good for something
Without constantly fearing my eyes deceived me.
Here is a sample from my most recent poem, a piece about managing anxiety and depression. The full version is available exclusively on Medium. Check it out here:
Apr 2019 · 210
Brianna Duffin Apr 2019
What you gave him was something

So monumental you naturally forged it

Into something unforgettable.

You’re not fireworks on New Year’s Eve,

You’re the Big Bang- Life illuminated.

There aren’t words for that known

To a monosyllabic tongue like his.

But, nevertheless, he wanted something

And you gave him just what that was,

The golden egg your pet dragon begged you

Guard with your life in each waking hour-

Please… vigilance, and don’t forget, care.
Excerpt from a poem I wrote recently. Read the full piece here:
Brianna Duffin Apr 2019
Jumped off a roof.
Back up: betrayal.
Dinner with the enemy,
and flashbacks to, well,
the Old Days I suppose.
Beauty and the Beast
Pervert and Pretty.
What have I missed, boy?
I woke up in all gray
Lived through the ugly day
And I found God, somewhere.
But don't mind my Spanish
and please ignore the self-loathing
until I find my cloud of white light.
This poem was made from an excerpt of one short story I recently published. Check out the full story (with images) here:
Mar 2019 · 357
Excerpt: A Long Time Ago
Brianna Duffin Mar 2019
All the songs always told me
When you know, you'll know
And I know
I know that I've Done this before
But I also know that it's never
So come on little heart of mine
Let's give this
Come on you beaten golden thing
Give it one more try.
This is the first part of a piece I recently wrote that a lot of people liked. If you liked this excerpt, please check out the full poem. The best place to view it is here:
Brianna Duffin Mar 2019
Whatever you seem to think I have
Is what you seem to want from me
Seventeen is too young for life,
But real to you became real to me
You were only interested in love
When all I wanted was space.
I know you demanded I stop running.
It’s just that I wanted to run from you.
Diamonds sparkle for people like you
And still, I’d rather not hold the cold.
Jan 2019 · 127
Brianna Duffin Jan 2019
You bring ineffable beauty
into a world that has never known it before

You bring infinite love
into a world whose hatred seeps through
every crack in the unending turmoil

You bring infatuating joy
into the life that needed hope’s sweet touch
to pry open the heart’s shuttered windows
and draw laughter’s tattoo over the scarring.

You bring inescapable light
into the world plunged into darkness
for when the sun jumps ship on us,
you are every other star still shining
like you see tomorrow dancing on the horizon.

And even if I’m sitting all alone in my bedroom
screaming at the voices in my own head- shush!
something about you means life’s worth living.
Jan 2019 · 979
Cry Like the Rain
Brianna Duffin Jan 2019
I still search for you in the boys
I mistake for bandages,
The delicate deer I mistake for lions,
The ones with eyes almost the same shade of you,
With hair just like you lips resounding your laughter,
Resembling a wisp of your smile, but they aren't you.
I don’t think about them the way I think about you
And they don’t look at me the way you looked at me.
Look at me like a piece of dead meat for the chomping.
Sometimes I pretend you're dead,
Fantacise about all the deaths you could die
Because it's so much less painful
Than the alternative you left me with.
You left me to deal with all that’s happened.
My mom laid the blame at your feet
for everything that happened that awful year.
She was on the outside the whole time-
What a luxury, don’t you think?
A luxury like melancholy poetry.
Did you know I love Sylvia Plath?
Especially that really smart poem
Where she talks about expectations
And disappointments. Disappointing.
You'll never know that even now I think
Most of us are so selfish, we can’t help but
Always, eventually, go down Plath’s path.
Even you. Eventually you. Especially you.
Every version of you except the one I know.
I don't know if you still think of me
But, boy, I sure hope you do
Because God knows I remember you--
You’re insist on dominating everywhere I go
And you turn everything your shade of blue.
That blue haunts me in everything, everyone.
It's useless, no matter how much I try to forget.
No matter how much I just want to forget.
And the pieces of me so desperately want to forget you.
But how could I forget you?
When forgetting means forsaking
And I’m not sure it’ll be you that’s forsaken
Because erasing you might mean
Accidentally actually erasing me.
Because the worst part is I lost where we stop and end.
I was so afraid of you that I gave everything
Trying to make you happy, to satisfy that appetite for blood,
Hoping in response you wouldn’t hurt me so badly
But you burned the empty pieces of my soul
And you desecrated the ashes.
Did you forget me when the room went dark?
Because that’s when I think of you the most.
Because when I go blind is when I see it all
When I can’t see a thing through my tears is when I hear you
I can see you sitting there while I bathe in my tears
Your Cheshire grin and sick laugh bordering my thoughts…  
While I grimaced and wondered if I had yet died
Your deadly force overpowered all of my NOs like a joke,
Your army all prepped and primed and ready for the show
You made yourself the atom bomb, renamed me Hiroshima
So even now I'm up all night, licking wounds, crying myself to sleep
The will in my days no longer mine to have or to hold these nights-
I wake up in the middle of the night, you know,
Gasping for air and I can never seem to breathe.
The sound of your voice, the sound of your grunt,
The smell of your sweat, the smell of your hair,
The look in your eyes, the look of your mouth
They say time is this grand solution, but I haven’t been solved.
But this is not the way to heal, not the way to be whole,
Not the way to get revenge, not the way to get justice.  
Because something horrific happened and ignoring it can’t lessen the imprint
Because lo and behold, after all this, I’m still stuck here knowing how sickly
Your friends enjoyed the show, in fear. So stupid I can’t get it out of my head.
I wish I wasn’t, how you say, “just a stupid girl”,
Wish I wasn’t a ball your grins could toss back and forth
Until it comes time to- Stop, drop, and move on
I should have shut up, listened to the song of my dying heart
You all wanted to play and you all wanted to touch
But you don’t get to use me as stomping grounds
Even though you seemed to think NO wasn’t enough
Another moment closed are my sunken eyes
As the tears gracefully crawl down my face
My body is a deflated puddle of numbness
All it knows is the inkblot of mascara tears
On my skin- and surprise, what do you know-
It’s just enough to paint a dancing mask over
The scratch running dryly down my chest,
And- oh look- it complements the purple
Of the scattered map drawn through bruises
And to top it off, red paint decorates the scene
With a knot full of knots, I fantasize about
Swallowing just enough pills
To make my pain as numb as my (everything else).
I lost my mind as I lost that war over and over
You desecrated and disintegrated the fibers of my soul
Over and over as you forced your poisons deeper inside
The world slowly went dark from the fighting and pain
And still, I scream like the wind and cry like the rain.
Apr 2018 · 207
Dead Flames + Flower
Brianna Duffin Apr 2018
Her lips were petals of flame against the icy fingers of her lost love.
She left a soft and sweet pinkness on her flesh
Charlotte knelt down by Lana’s casket and talked to God
Please. Please. Please. I won’t ask for a happy wife, happy life
But I really need you to bring her back to me.
Lana’s eyes remained closed. Her fingers were icicles of elegance.
Charlotte didn’t think she could climb to her feet. So she cried.
0 for 2 in terms of dry eyes in the room, Charlotte thought.
The candles all around continued to shimmer. They began to flicker
And then all the flames in the room were gone.
Oh sweet precious flower
Whose final petal has fallen after nine decades in bloom
You’ve brought the crushed pieces of my heart down
Oh sweet precious flower
Whose withered stem returns to the earth this grey day
It is cruelty for you to leave my side now
If I shall live and you shall not
Oh my sweetest flower in the vines
Let me hold your scent, mirror your beauty,
And always remember the depth of your faith and your grace.
Oh sweet precious flower
My grandmother so dear
Whose matriarchal beauty inspired me so
And who gave so much with every breath
You shall be missed as you were loved
And honored as you were obeyed.
Mar 2018 · 164
Always Us
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I can’t imagine all the beautiful places you’ll be someday
But I see that the world will take you from me, sweep you far away
I know it’ll be awhile before both my pillowcases are dry
But they’re still here if you ever want to give them another goodbye
I smile to hide the truth that I want to run to you
But I’m not happy at all, another thing you can see through
I know all about that talent and the charm you use
I should’ve known it was foolish to become your muse
Only issue is I look back on the days when the sun shone and we both would sing
And I glow in sweet memories, shining so bright I know I wouldn't change a thing
Don’t bother looking back, cause you already know what you’ll find
You know I’ll be pretending you’re not the only thing on my mind
It was always you
It was always us
Mar 2018 · 221
Mirror Me
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Where there is hope
There is some faith
And with just a little faith
There lies possibility-
For huge miracles,
For great achievements
For a brand new sense of home.
At least that’s what Mom told me.
She said, look in the mirror
And if you see something,
You’ve got hope.
Only problem is I hate mirrors
They always seem to show me scars,
Even the ones below my skin.
I’ve never felt faith, never seen hope
It just doesn’t work like that, I think.
Mom always said all we need is love
And I’ve got love in my heart,
But not the beauty she promised it brings
I can’t stand mirrors- so full of scars
The one thing I can’t hide my scars from-
They glitter in sunlight,
But then they go face to face, toe to toe
With a real person.
No, no, no.
It’s so different,
They’re cold and mean, always hurting
And watering. Always somehow ugly.
Mom said if you look in the mirror
And see something you’ve got hope.
Maybe she meant if you have hope
Despite what you see in the mirror,
You know you’re really strong.
Mirrors. I hate them and all their scars.
Full poem can be read here:
Mar 2018 · 223
Try Me On
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
It was just a
“Nice to meet you”
But for once it felt genuine
It was just a
“Came for a quick hello”
But I thought it made me something
Now you’re trying on
“Good night baby”
Like I keep trying on dresses you’ll like
This isn't all! Read the full poem here:
Mar 2018 · 131
Letting Go
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
You might think I’m still that sweet young girl
Sitting around, combing her hair, baking cookies
And waiting patiently for the blessing of your love.
But as usual, you’d be so wrong.
I’ve got a new man with me
And he’s actually by my side, giving me his hours.
He opens up his soul to me and he earns my heart.
So here’s to what we were, and cheers to you
Because staying is nice, but…
Letting go is an even nicer thing to do.

Letting each other go was the best thing we ever did
And severing all ties wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been
But I was done with how you gave love to the highest bid
And now I’ve got a brand new, golden lover in my linen.
Mar 2018 · 171
Our World
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
The diamond ring on my left hand
Sparkles when the light touches it;
And I didn’t think that anything
Could make me this happy.
But the diamonds glisten,
And in fact, I know happiness
Like I have never felt before.
It’s like my past with all is crazy troubles
Doesn’t even matter anymore.
There is only the future,
And no longer is that future only me.
Now that a simple diamond is resting with me
It feels as if nothing could be wrong in our world.
Mar 2018 · 202
Too Complicated
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I’m not supposed to be grieving
My Baby wasn’t supposed to die
How did this happen
How did I wind up counting dead roses
How did I wind up being reminded of proper funeral decorous
I can’t explain what’s going on
Something happened when that boy came along
That boy who started dating my firstborn son…
What has that boy done?

I’m not supposed to be burying my baby,
Shouldn’t be standing by a pile of dirt with no one to clutch my hand
I shouldn’t have ice in my heart over my pride and joy as I hold his jersey
How did anything ever go wrong for us
How did a present, devoted, loving mother and a smart, strong, sweet boy end up here
How could God let us find ourselves in a cemetery we have no way out of
I can’t reconcile this horrible day with real life
Something went terribly wrong
When that boy came along

I’m not supposed to be crying this hard nonstop
It was all so nice a week ago, throwing big parties
I shouldn’t be making a speech about my son in front of everyone
He supposed to be grounded for when his music rattled the room every day
But he’s not home, he’s supposed to be with me but he’s not
How did that boy who’d been so polite to me bounce into our lives and end everything good
Everything was wonderful like a Hallmark card
Until that cursed boy came to tear it apart

How? Why?
Why, why, why?
Mar 2018 · 210
Don’t Come For Me
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I don’t care if you think you can save me
I don’t care if you think you have the right to change me
I don’t care if you think I’m scary or crazy or whatever
I don’t care if you think I’m someone for you to change, to control
You don’t get to come for me
Don’t try to come for me
Don’t even think about coming for me
Don’t you come for me ever.

I don’t care if your circuits are blown by being in my presence
I don’t care if your friends are coming for you over what I am
I don’t care if your hormones are raging out of control
I don’t care if your systems are screaming in a desperate need to lash out
You don’t get to come for me
Don’t try to come for me
Don’t even think about coming for me
Don’t you come for me ever.

Do you understand now that not everything is about you
Do you understand now that you don’t get to run me
Do you understand now that I’m no toy for you to play around with
Do you understand now that causing strife by minding my business helps no one
You don’t get to come for me
Don’t try to come for me
Don’t even think about coming for me
Don’t you come for me ever.
Mar 2018 · 149
One Good Reason
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Give me one good reason, any at all
Why killing the silence will work this time
Then I will give this world one more chance
To not hurt me when there is no silence to safeguard
I will **** the silence, just give me one good reason to try
Every time I let someone in they cut even deeper than the time before
But if you give me a reason to **** off the sacred safety of the silence I will try
I will try to trust, to have hope, to let go of all the hurt from the past, to move on
I just need one good reason why I shouldn’t remain tucked in the embrace of silence
And I will venture back out into the world with arms wide open and the door to my heart unlocked
Give me a reason to **** the silence.
Mar 2018 · 192
Too Fast
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
You became my everything
Only you did it way too fast
And now the world is in chaos mode
Because I’m not used to being in love
And I don’t know how to be yours the way I want to be
I don’t know where the boundaries are, how to know…
The only certainty is that I love you,
And even Romeo and Juliet had that
But I don’t want us to be anything like them,
I want to keep you and cherish you forever
I’d hate letting you or our love slip out through my fingertips
The thing is, I’m not used to having a love a could hold
This all happened so fast, way too fast for me to even understand
Can you understand all this?
Here’s to our love thriving like this for a whole lifetime,
But even more importantly,
Here’s to us understanding the care and keeping of true love.
Mar 2018 · 214
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
02:09 An angel’s manicure taps at my window
14:09 I realize I’ve turned invisible, all is pointless
02:00 I pull out a big bottle, a fistfull of angels rests in my other hand
14:00 I cry out into the crowd for help over and over, screams silent as a song
01:40 Words run all over the page like an ant army, the paper is no longer dry
13:40 I can pretend to be okay for a little while longer as long as I don’t think
01:23 Sleep has become a feather in Chicago fog, as evasive as Love, Truth
13:23 All I can think about is sleep, my mind slipping into a hopeless abyss
02:09 An angel’s manicure taps at my window
02:10 My nightingale still sings to me
This poem has a lot of significance to me, so I'd appreciate it if you checked out the full version here:
Mar 2018 · 60
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
The energy of a thousand suns cannot feed a hungry soul
The strength of s thousand suns cannot heal a hurting soul
Where are you
When I need you?
We’re Close as brothers
But that’s not our fault
We’re Far as strangers
But that’s not our fault
Life did this to us
Life made us
God decided what happened
Even if the guilt haunts me forever.
Mar 2018 · 523
Big Reputation
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Big unwieldy reputation
Every time I take a step it’s a big conversation
But nobody ever wants to talk about the real me
And once upon a time, I had someone by my side
But I learned long ago real friends are hard to come by
Well, if good people are hard to find that must be why trust is even harder
Big unwieldy reputation
And people who want to play like adults but are scared like children
Because they’ve learned nothing in life is ever, not even close
And they know every move you make enlarges your reputation
No, no, no, it doesn’t matter if it’s true
It matters if it’s good; it matters if it’s exciting
Because we are a ruthlessly sick crowd craving a taste of excitement
Which is why we all get left with a big unwieldy reputation.
Big unwieldy reputation.
Mar 2018 · 167
Life Changing
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Her life changed
Only when she realized
The monsters had been
Trying to protect her
All along.
Don’t ever try
To get in and out
Of a monster’s head,
She knew that lesson well,
But don’t ever doubt
That this girl can tangle with darkness
And never break a sweat.
That’s when a new day dawned inside her,
When she confronted the monsters in her head
And realized they were foremost a shield.
And she needed a shield. Badly.
Because that’s a habit of monsters;
Be what a person needs, not what they want.
Mar 2018 · 74
Someone in My Head
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
She bent heaven for me
And I raised hell for her
Now there’s someone in my head
But it’s not someone who’s like me.

She made herself an angel
And I became one with the devil
Now there’s someone in my head
But it’s a voice that has never been mine.

She built a boat to outdo the Titanic
And I battled my way through the Black Sea
Now there’s someone in my head
But it’s someone I never thought could get to me.

We did what we had to do
But at a cost we didn’t count
Now there’s someone in my head
And I don’t know if she feels what I feel.
Mar 2018 · 148
We Were Just Kids
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
We were just kids
Still innocents
Getting dangerously close
To what’s realer than we know
We could hear laughter bouncing off the walls
When guns screamed out and friends began to fall
We didn’t know what we were doing
We never found where we were going
We were just kids,
No innocence.
Mar 2018 · 193
The Invisible Cost
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
These people are small town stereotypes
Their great-grandparents were in nursery school together
They can recount who went to prom together for generations back
And divulge every intimate detail about every individual for miles around.
I’m an eighteen-year-old whose biggest accomplishment is “server of the month”
And no family except for a four year old son no one knows about
With no history save for backup vocals in a garage band from the Bronx.
I have to turn this town into my home; do I ever get to swear off the word “impossible”?
I turned it into a swear word the day after my son was born- the one his mamma died.
Oh, god, don’t ask about his mamma. Lorraine. My angel. Born, raised, buried in the Bronx.
There’s a reason she kept the baby. Me. The rough hand I was dealt as a kid. My desire for kids.
But, as every bump on the road will reassure you, every gift comes with a cost.
And that kid- my new whole world- cost me everything. Lorraine, for one.
But now I live in a small town. I have two names: “waiter” and “daddy”.
I don’t do drugs but I do drink; once a month I get wasted. I don’t smoke, steal, cheat, or lie.
But, lord almighty, do I drink sometimes. Like I said, once a month.
I don’t know if it comes from self-loathing or mental state, but there’s no escaping it.
It’s like a rumor whispered in the window of a small town church.
Like this? Poem appears in full here:
Mar 2018 · 129
The Shore
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I’m not fine.
I’m not fine.
I’m. Not. Fine.
not fine at all.
You’d think I’d miss being happy
But I don’t come close to caring.
I was once a victim of a cruel boy
Now I’m a victim of my own mind.
And nobody cares about what happened to me
So I wonder if anyone cares about what he did
Because there was a crowd to witness
Who stood by with bubbles floating from their mouths
So now I’m a victim of my own mind and I’m not fine.
Will I ever be fine again?
I’ve been working on getting stronger, on not apologizing
But I haven’t been working on being stronger, forgiving
I’m not fine and I hate myself and it’s a cycle
I feel so damaged and I’m not fine and it’s a cycle
Will I ever stop drowning and swim to shore?

My fingers move with their own will
And little clicks reach my ears to say hi
And there are little lines on the screen now
And my heart doesn’t feel how it did before.
But I still haven’t made a sound.
I thought if I lost control for a bit
I might feel better but I'm still not fine at all
My eyes are glass holes; I can't see the shore.
This poem appears in full here:
Mar 2018 · 151
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
You might think you’ve found your flower
But you’ve got something brand new hitting you
Her eyes could burn down the room
So get out while you can, this is your last chance
You don't understand- you don’t know her at all
She doesn't know how to lose and she’d rather die
She'll run with your mind and drop it like a baton
She’ll whisper to only you and pull you in tight
Then trade you in for the newer one in the room
I know what it's like, I fell for it twice, she’s killed me too
And now she’s eyeing her prey and I'm just warning you
Once she gets her eyes on you, you’re done.
If you don't know who Chloris is, the title probably didn't make sense to you. Sorry about that.
Mar 2018 · 79
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I yearn to be close to him
I feel a deep tide of something
When he sits next to me
Something like joy or contentment
It’s relief but not exactly peace
Because still I may yearn for more
Something I cannot ever touch
But can always gaze upon afar
So I shall never know satisfaction
And I may just yearn forevermore
Mar 2018 · 105
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
What would you do if I broke down on the outside
You’re far more decent than any of your friends, your peers, any of the rest
But that’s when you’re looking me in the eye and I’m perfectly in control of myself
But would you be just as kind to me if I lost control right next to you
If I couldn’t stop the tears would you acknowledge that they exist
Or would you go back to ignoring me like the rest of them did so long ago
Would I affect you in the way of humans, the one they’re all immune to
Mar 2018 · 185
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I still have your jeans on my bedroom floor
I haven’t touched those gowns you never wore
And I’m stuck missing what we had before

I never understood why I can’t see you again
I still don’t comprehend why we’re back to “just friends”
And all I know is I’ve never felt so broken

I know you like everything fresh and shiny and new
But since when am I just some leftover to you
After all the raging storms we have been through

I must admit I got a bit scared earlier
But the sky was so blue it made your eyes look paler
And nice skies always make the world a bit prettier

When the storm of the day didn’t come
My mind flashed back, where’s this coming from?
I guess it’s still hard to say we’re done.
This poem appears in full here:
Mar 2018 · 128
One Day Only
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Today I am healthy
Today I am happy
Today is a good day
I won’t let the past matter.
No matter how much it hurts
It doesn’t get to touch me today
It might have the gaping jaws of a monster
But it doesn’t get to eat me alive today.
Today I am alive again. I will hold that.
Here's to happiness, I hope you have it.
Mar 2018 · 155
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
All around me these people stare
And I’m supposed to impress them.
I really wish I could say something real,
Something that doesn't sound so insane
But lately, I don't trust my brain, not at all
You tell me I won't ever change- but I have
So I just keep my teeth ground together
No matter how bad I wish I could say something.
I’m surrounded by you and your friends
And you keep running your mouth at me
I have so much to say to you all
I so desperately wish I could say something
But my lips are glued and glossed
Because you’re too cowardly to see my brain
No matter what, I say nothing. Nothing at all.
Mar 2018 · 267
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I was raised in Darkness
So Darkness I became
You wanted to leave me in a world of Darkness
So now I belong only to the world of Darkness
I hope you’re happy
Because I finally am.
Cross my heart and hope to die,
Darkness is my master and my home
Because I’ve never had another
And I know comforts in Darkness.
And as for the man, my partner as I think of him
He saw Beauty in my Darkness
I saw Darkness in his Beauty
We belong together.
Which leaves me in a good place, you realize.
The only thing left is you.
You aren’t my mama, Darkness is my mama.
But you abandoned me. Big mistake.
We have unfinished business, you realize.
And I so hate loose ends.
But wasn’t that how you saw me?
A loose end to tie up?
A piece of evidence to destroy?
Don’t ever try to touch me,
Don’t even think about trying to get inside my head
It’s much too dark for you in there.
I’m not a baby anymore,
I’m a beast full of Beauty and armed with Darkness.
This poem appears in full here:
Mar 2018 · 119
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
The girl directly across from me now
Is the very one I was a decade ago.
She is not at all overweight
Bu will waste the rest of her life being told she is.
She is not sick or troubled today
But soon the ways of the world will take their toll, no refunds or exchanges.
And perhaps then, when she has been broken completely,
She will be depressed and overweight and uncared for.
But perhaps she will beat the system yet
And find a way to be a functioning woman,
Happy with herself, at peace with her mind.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Mar 2018 · 45
I Don’t Know Why
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
I don’t know why
But something in me
Has this need-
A need for him
To make me smile again
I don’t know why

I don’t know why
But something about him
Has this hold on me-
A hold I don’t suffer from
That’s running me down and round
I don’t know why

I don’t know why
But something about me
Is susceptible to his charm
And lets it keep me up
Making me something else
I don’t know why
Mar 2018 · 782
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Her heart was a secret garden
With walls to dwarf the Eiffel Tower
Mine, on the other hand, was a pebble on the beach
Completely open and natural
Her body was an oasis awarded to the worthy traveler
Displayed in the Louvre with the lights angled just so
Mine, on the other hand, was a cave on a mountain
Privacy’s abode, enclosed with ancient stone armor.
It was just the two of us alone in a hotel room
With Paris, France peering in on us.
She was the best friend I’d been yearning for,
The lover my childhood crush could never have been,
The sister who showed me how to understand myself,
And she was the girlfriend I was never brave enough to imagine.
This poem appears in full here:
Mar 2018 · 148
This Moment Forward
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
Whatever happens from this moment forward
I promise I’ll always be your friend
That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn-
That I can never abandon the ones who matter
And from now on
You will always matter to me
We namaste together
And we take names together
So I can promise you with my heart
Nothing breaks this matching set.
I hold your pom-poms during the cartwheels
You hold my earrings during the bar fights
And from this moment forward
We’ll always have each other to hold.
Mar 2018 · 57
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
The world is full of broken people
The world brims with shattered pieces
We break because we’ve been exposed to reality
We break when we come in contact with one another
There is no way to avoid being broken
And ain’t that some ****?

I wish I could’ve helped you
I wish I knew back then what I know now
I wish I could’ve seen your pain too
I wish I knew back then what I know now
Because now your soul is in pieces
And you’ve left me broken.
Feb 2018 · 175
Great Lakes
Brianna Duffin Feb 2018
I entered into a staring contest with the nerd from English class
It was a deep dive exploration of the Great Lakes
Two great crystallized depths locked on me
They mirrored each other brimming with emotion
They were a river and torch to baptize me by fire
But it was just a staring contest
And afterward, she turned right back to her notebook
Completely unaware she’d left my soul spinning
Which leaves me terrified of how effortlessly enthralling she is
Feb 2018 · 139
Brianna Duffin Feb 2018
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
A dark chuckle fell from his bubblegum lips
Yet somehow the butterflies in her stomach went crazy
All she had done to prompt this was ask him one question,
The minuscule and simple words of which still tiptoed through her mind:
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
She felt like saying please, but she didn’t know what she was begging him to do
Maybe she was only asking herself to erase the words still slithering like a garter in a garden
It was like she was begging herself and him not to let this be painful
But she knew in her heart that his darkness was seeping out like he was going to hurt her
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Feb 2018 · 191
Brianna Duffin Feb 2018
His voice brought back memories
Of dark rooms and broken bones.
His voice rebuilt old structures,
A whipping post with a chain.

His voice crawled under my clothes
And burrowed beneath my flesh
It brought me back to blood-soaked basements
And mattresses that were never quite dry.

His voice threw me into the closet
Hiding in a nest of dreariness
While praying for Death’s liberation
And drowning out the echoes in my ears

His voice brought back memories
Of being paralyzed more often than not
And his voice reminded me
That I will never own the body I inhabit.
Feb 2018 · 147
English Study
Brianna Duffin Feb 2018
Depth of the gray evening
Envelops the lone wolf child who wanders through it
Slowly making her way up the river, careful of the damp moss on the cobblestone path
Only looking up from the ground to gaze upon the stars
Looking to the constellations for guidance, unafraid of what surrounds her
All she really knows is the cold and the dark and the stars
Tips fading as they emanate from the center point
Even as dreams fade with outward pushes, the stars fade as the light moves. And she moves.
She has class at 7:30 the next morning
Paling in importance as it looms closer, its pressure now mere hours from her shoulders
Ants crawling across the sea and she’s had her fill of  the meaningless chaos
Chaos. From ordered civilization emerges organized institution, but those incarcerated can’t be tamed
Even zombies without worth run wild within the stone walls
So when another stretch looms before the lone wolf as she breathes in freedom, she can’t care.
Slipping through her mind is only one reason to submit. She whispers his name in her mind.
Tall, handsome, sweet, and funny… just her type and he’s right within reach…
If she submits and lets herself try
Loud hints in the soft and subtle moments make her feel like submission is worth it
Left to her own devices, she’d wander forever. But now she’ll have to make her way to class.

Part 2: Great Lakes
I entered into a staring contest with the nerd from English class
It was a deep dive exploration of the Great Lakes
Two great crystallized depths locked on me
They mirrored each other brimming with emotion
They were a river and torch to baptize me by fire
But it was just a staring contest
And afterwards she turned right back to her notebook
Completely unaware she’d left my soul spinning
Which leaves me terrified of how effortlessly enthralling she is
That her eyes have such power… and she doesn’t even seem to know.
This poem appears in full here:
Feb 2018 · 161
Beer Cans
Brianna Duffin Feb 2018
Beer Cans
I remember the afternoon we spent alone in the woods
Putting bullets in beer cans
With amber filtered through the green
As if someone had taken reality and cocooned it in spider silk, softened.
But we didn’t embrace that softness, just left it hovering in the atmosphere
Because I was teaching you how to defend yourself.
That’s how I got you to tell me about the things your dad made you do as a little boy
And  impressed you because I understood why you cried for a week after.
That’s when I told you about my parents, a money marriage with fondness on a good day.
I remember the jokes you made when you kept missing
And I never forgot how your hands trembled-
You hated firing that gun, even at beer cans,
But I wanted to make sure you could defend yourself
So you told me I had a Lady Liberty complex,
And I said no;
I had a Mamma Bear complex.
To which you replied that I didn’t have an interest in being your mother,
I wanted to be your safety and your fresh start; your guiding beacon of strength.
And maybe you’re right. Lady Liberty and the Independence Day.
I won’t forget you as long as I live.
[Rest of the poem isn’t here, but is on Medium.]
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